I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and books on writing lately that are changing my perspective a bit.
It started with Don’t Give Money to People Who Hate You. This book was eye-opening for me. But it also gave me resolve to go on writing the sort of entertainment I’ve been writing. You know, fun, fantastical escapes. People need that more than ever.
Then I picked up The Pulp Mindset, which explores how pulp writers of past decades wrote fun, entertaining books that sold like hotcakes. James Bond, Conan the Barbarian, Doc Savage, and other heroes are from this era. With the advent of ebooks, we’re back in the era of cheap, fun entertainment for the masses.
I finished the first draft of Mercurion on Saturday, and immediately started writing a couple of fanfics I’ve had waiting in the wings. As I did, I got to thinking about those books I’d just read. Fanfic is just another form of publishing. People read them by the truckload. Here’s some of my stats from May, which is the last time I published a story:
That is a lot of hits. That is a significant amount of people reading my stories. We’re talking over a thousand unique visitors who came back every day or two to read the new chapter. Some reread the old chapters while they waited for new ones.
Fanfiction is the unsung pulp fiction of today. It makes no money, but people read it for the same reason they read anything–for escape, for entertainment, to have an experience.
It made me sit up and realize that if I write for this hungry audience, they deserve the best content I can produce, the same as my paying readers. I don’t know why I never thought of it that way before. I guess I don’t think of fanfiction as “real” writing because it doesn’t go through a publisher. For me, fanfic is play or practice, kind of like the sketches I’m always posting on this blog. But those are serious readers. A lot of them. So I’m going to work on giving them what they want. And I’m going to try very hard not to do what other writers have done to me and drive off my own readers by chasing the almighty buck.
A friend gave me George Bridgman’s Constructive Anatomy, so I’ve added that to my study alongside Andrew Loomis’s Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth. Now I really feel like I’m taking an extremely challenging art class. Here’s what I’ve done this week:
I left the construction lines in the sketch, so you can see all the detail. I did my yuppie armor treatment (all black figure, three values in basic shapes for the armor, a few details here and there) and it turned out looking great.
This was when I started working on Bridgman’s book. He builds figures a bit differently than Loomis, concentrating on the masses. Lots of twisting figures, so I tried to draw some. Then I tried to figure what in the heck a real person would be doing to get into some of these poses. Looking over their shoulders, obviously.
I figured I’d draw a scene from what I was writing this morning, so here are Jayesh and Tane. Tane is a really huge guy, and Jayesh is average, so there’s quite a disparity in their sizes. My grasp of anatomy isn’t great, but I’m working on it. Wish I could say I only had one problem area, but at this point, everything is a problem area. More practice needed!
It’s been a few weeks since I did an art post, so here’s what I’ve done lately:
A hastily-painted character in a sweater and scarf, just to show off some possible fall fashions.
This last one took me two days to get the perspective working. You don’t want to know how many layers of discarded sketches this file has. I’ve been trying not to use my 3D reference models, but in this case I had to cave in and use them. Argh. I’d like to color this one eventually.
So that’s what I’ve been up to. Different styles and angles and experiments. I love drawing other people’s characters for the challenge it offers. If you have a character you’d like a sketch of, let me know. I always need more fodder.