I’m so excited to announce that the second Vid:ilantes book is live!
One by oath, one by blood, one by election.
In a world of superheroes, Jayesh has a rare healing power that he uses in the local hospital. When teenagers are admitted with feather-patterns burned into their backs, Jayesh is reluctantly drawn into the underworld of black market magic smuggling. A chance encounter with Omniscient, the villain in charge of the smugglers, leaves Jayesh with his magic shattered. A portal to the hospital goes wrong and Jayesh is instead sent to an island in another dimension: an island that has awaited its Bloodbound for centuries. In exchange for healing, he is magically bound to the island, and half his magic is turned into a tiny dragon. Now, with the help of the Islesworn, James Chase, Jayesh must go undercover to recover the mysterious Pandora. But this means facing off with Omniscient, a villain who can bring a person’s fears to life—and who is increasingly ruled by his own power.
This is one of those stories that was just so much fun to write. Jayesh is the gentle, quiet, introverted type, very much a healer. And he goes and gets himself into very hot water, just because of trying to do the right thing. I wrote it as an escape, mostly, so all the parts where he hangs out on the island Sanctuary, just walking on the beach or resting, were because I wanted to go to a place like that, myself. I hope readers enjoy the visit as much as I did. I’m already messing with a followup because I just can’t leave this universe alone.
The third book in the trilogy will take it full circle and plug everything into the After Atlantis trilogy. Tane might even appear in Bloodbound. Everybody from After Atlantis will meet up with the Vid:ilantes, and things are going to get really crazy.
Since I have a few nice progress shots of this pic, I thought I’d share them and show how this pic got started.
This is the finished pic. I really had fun with the smoky bar atmosphere, and I looked at a lot of bar and grill interiors on Google. They all seem to have the earth tones and low lighting in common. (Heck, I wouldn’t mind having lunch in some of those places. Some of them were really cute.)
Anyway, since I couldn’t find reference of the exact poses I wanted, I posed some of the 3D models in Clip Studio Paint.
It’s a painstaking process, getting the limbs and hands and heads and everything positioned just right. But it’s sure a lot faster than combing Google for somebody sitting in kind of the right position, then the arm doesn’t come out right and you can’t quite fix it because you can’t see it and just … argh.
Next comes the sketch:
Here’s the initial sketch, tracing over the models, adding clothes and gear, hair, faces, etc. The models are a nice shortcut, but I have to look up how to draw eyes every single time. Eyes, why are you so hard to draw?
I’m also trying to draw with more expressive hands, since human beings talk with their hands as much as they do their faces. I was pretty proud of the way the hands convey each character’s mood, here.
I guess I skipped taking a screencap of the inking stage, but you can see it here. My inking isn’t that great because I’m too impatient. So I went straight into making a value study. I wanted my characters to be sitting under one of those lights above the bar, with a darker background. Then I had to figure out what that kind of lighting does to the human face, so I had to go find reference for that. This took a lot longer than I expected, but it made the final version go much faster.
Some of the value study, I just painted over with a color set on Overlay and let the study show through. Other parts I repainted entirely because the study was messy. Since I am abysmal at drawing mechanical things like cups and bottles, I just grabbed some off Google and painted them into the scene.
This pic took me most of the week, so that’s all I have to show off. See you next week!
I sketched a lot this week, rather than really finish much. I’m trying to get better at using hands to emphasize expressions.
Concept art for Vid:ilantes 2. I needed to draw the wyvern, since he’s kind of important, and of course any excuse to draw Jayesh is fine with me. I also wanted to try a Studio Ghibli style for the background. Landscapes in Studio Ghibli films always have
1. Puffy clouds,
2. Deep blue skies
3. Green landscapes with a complementary undercolor,
5. Often a picturesque cottage of some kind.
Well, I put in everything but the cottage, but I might try that in a later pic. This was just a speedpaint, and I left a lot of things undefined.
And now, the sketches:
I really tried to convey the sense of the scene with the hands, here. Max is saying, “She’s gone. I just can’t get past it.” And Jayesh is saying, “You have to move on, man.” The hands are instrumental in conveying their expressions, here. I’d like to finish this one up, even if all I do is ink it. Love my Destiny characters. And their hair. So much fun to draw their hair.
My husband has been getting into Warhammer: Age of Sigmar lately (I blame you, Jeff!). He’s teaching the kids to build models with the eventual intent of playing the game, but you need a ton of minis to even play a small battle. Anyway, there’s these creatures called gryph-hounds, which are like griffins, except eagle/grayhound instead of eagle/lion. I have been amused by the mental image of the warrior dudes petting their hounds and going, “Who’s a good boy?” I mean, somebody has to train these beasts and give them treats when they kill people. 😀
And that’s all for this week. It’s been really relaxing to just do quick sketches and not worry so much about finishing things, so I’m hoping to do more of that this week.
I tried to make more art this week, but it’s been kind of hit and miss.
Here’s a Destiny warlock with a bearded dragon, kind of keeping with the pets theme from last week, of the guy with the sun conure. I forgot how much I enjoy drawing reptiles.
This pic started out as anatomy practice in a kind of fun pin-up pose. But anatomy is hard and I got frustrated, so I turned her into a Dawnblade. I also found a really cool fire brush in Clip Studio Paint that does perfect fire feathers. More practice is needed.
And then sometimes, you just have to draw dinosaurs. Dinos have always kind of been my comfort subject, so last night was just this fun scribble.
I started this week thinking, “I’m going to draw every day!” Then I got to writing a story that totally sucked me in, and wound up using all of my early morning time to write that, instead. On the plus side, it’ll be done in another week or so, if I keep writing as much as I have. More art after that!
Once I finish writing this book, I’ll have more brainspace for drawing, heh. I hope people enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it!
A few years ago, we were on a long car trip. I was sitting there, thinking about YouTuber drama. Then I started thinking about all those Marvel movies, and how cool it would be if superheroes recorded videos of their crime fighting exploits and put it all on some kind of Youtube. Maybe … HeroTube. And the best heroes got invited into the big networks, and got big name sponsors, and the best ad affiliates. And they were always trying to outshine the other supers in order to win those sweet, sweet ad clicks.
Then I went, why don’t I just plug my SpaceTime characters into this universe? They needed a new home, and I’d unpublished their original books because the books weren’t that great. Heck, I could bring over the villains, too.
That was the beginning of what came to be called Vid:ilantes, a book about superhero Youtubers. And it’s finally available!
In a world where everyone develops superpowers at puberty, James Chase is an aspiring superhero, dreaming of having his own popular HeroTube channel. But when practicing his powers opens a portal to an island in another dimension, he unwisely posts this video to HeroTube. It goes viral and James finds himself in over his head. The networks want him. The villains want him. And worse, he has tapped into one of the lost secrets of Atlantis, one that many people would kill to steal.
Now James must join forces with his roommate Indal, along with a super on the wrong side, and an irritable nonhuman inhabitant of the island, if he wants to save the world–and himself.
I’m already writing the next book and having a blast. The Vid books tie in with the After Atlantis books, so you might give those a look while you’re waiting on book 2. (It answers a lot of questions raised in Islesworn, like who is the Guardian and what is the Mercurion?)
Anyway, I am so excited that this book is finally out there for folks to enjoy. Hopefully I can have book 2 finished and out in another month or so. 😀
This week I only had time to finish one pic. And it was a pic I drew ages ago and just got around to coloring.
Just Destiny stuff, as usual, heh. I just really like drawing the armor and stuff from it.
I did a speedpaint this morning, but I only got the first couple of stages done.
Just the big colors and shapes blocked in at this point. The armor is really detailed and fiddly, and I want to spend more time on it than I had.
This week I buckled down on edits for Vid:ilantes, the superhero youtubers book. It’s looking pretty good so far, just needs some more polish. I’d love to kick it out the door by next week, but that depends on how fast I can do a cover.
I also finished the first draft of a sci-fi story this past week, which felt really good. It’s very soft, as sci-fi goes (not much math, heh), more space opera than anything. I’d love to launch it next month, but we’ll see how many revisions it actually needs when I read back through it.
My next project is a sequel for Vid:ilantes, since I’ve been carrying it around in my head for months, now. Time to get it all out and see how it goes. It’s fun, because the After Atlantis trilogy deals with Island 1, Vid deals with Island 2, and the sequel will bring in Island 3. Then the book after that will be the big, fat crossover, where everybody unites the islands to face a bigger threat. I’m having way too much fun with this.
I’ve been working on a book cover commission for the last two weeks. Today was the final push to really get it finished. The author has been showing it off, so here’s my heavily-watermarked version.
This is for Reformed: The Supervillain Rehabilitation Project by H.L. Burke. As of this blog post, it’s not out yet, but give it another month or two.
Here’s the progress pic:
You can see some of my initial sketches, figuring out layouts and poses and such. Then the refined sketches where I was changing angles and positions and things. There were quite a few more of those, but I didn’t want to bore viewers. Then I moved to inking, then color roughs to figure out the mood. Heidi wanted an overall blue color scheme, so we went with a nice rich dark blue.
I personally can’t wait for the book to come out so I can read it. 😀