The whole time I’ve been writing my After Atlantis superhero books, I kept saying, “I wish these were graphic novels, they’d work so much better that way.” Finally, after hanging around the extremely encouraging authors of the Legends of Amora comic, I decided to take a crack at drawing it myself.
I decided to start at about the midpoint of Waygate. Waygate is a short novella that comes right after book 5. It’s a nice, self-contained story, and it has some cool fight scenes I wanted to draw. I had no idea that I’d get hooked on drawing these characters and their struggles. I’ve just finished two issues and concluded Waygate, and I’m thinking of what to draw next. The logical thought is to go back and draw Bloodbound, but it’s a whole book, not a novella. Kind of like trying to drink the ocean with a straw. But I think if I take it a couple of chapters at a time and turn them into comic issues, it shouldn’t be too bad.
Starting January 1st, 2023, my commission prices are going up. I’ve spent 6 months doing a LOT of commissions at my old prices, and I’m worn out. If you have an outstanding commission, you get the old pricing, but after that, it goes up.
I’ve been doing art for my After Atlantis series lately. I feel like my skill has finally gotten to where I can do justice to the way my characters look in my head. So here we go:
First off is Jayesh, one of my favorite characters. He’s the team healer, but is granted fire powers that were supposed to kill him. Instead, he conquered them and learned to use them without quite blowing up everything around him. Well, maybe one gas station. You know how it goes. 😀 His story begins with Bloodbound.
Next up is Gladiolus from the Guardian’s Awakening books. She’s half-Atlantean and has wind powers that she’s never been allowed to use. She’s also under the effects of a curse and is dying of the super vision in her left eye … unless the curse can be broken. Unfortunately, the only way to break a blood curse on a woman is for her to marry out of the cursed line. And the only one left of the uncursed bloodline is Tane, Guardian of Mercury Island. Cue the sparks and conflict!
Max is a teenager with a broken ice power. Zero is an Atlantean superweapon. Together, they make an unstoppable team. I’m still writing this book, but it will be called Oceanloft, and chronicle what happens when Max joins the team from Islesworn.
This series is hard to explain. On one hand, it’s framed as superheroes fighting all kinds of crazy villains. On the other hand, it’s solidly fantasy, with Atlantis and the Lost Isles. There are three Lost Isles: the Mercurion, Sanctuary, and the Lighthouse. The last two are still being built in their pocket dimensions (which is what Islesworn and Bloodbound/Sanctuary are about), but the Mercurion has already been deployed and is out in the world, where bad guys are constantly trying to hijack it.
On the other hand, you have all the drama with supers working on their HeroTube channels and being courted by networks and advertisers. You have the awful witch hunt in Bloodbound, when the HeroTubers have decided that the wrong man is the villain and do their best to kill him.
So, the nearest thing I can compare the series to is urban fantasy, or contemporary fantasy. All kind of fantastic things happening in our world, if our world had been given magic when Atlantis fell.
Sanctuary launches on the 11th, so I’m doing a ton of art to show off what the book is like. This past week, I focused on the main characters and some excitement they get into. Next week, supporting cast and some of their shenanigans!
Sanctuary is Jayesh’s book, more or less a direct sequel to Bloodbound. Jayesh is still coping with being magically bound to a magical island, even if it does rocket his healing magic through the roof. As it turns out, he’s the only person in the world who can heal manticore venom stings and bites. But all he wants is for his girlfriend to not run away from him anymore, and to not be so crushingly lonely. This is him and his tiny dragon Suntala.
This is Kari Winters, Jayesh’s longtime crush. She’s a lightning super, dealing with grief from the murder of her boyfriend, and she’s kind of using Jayesh as an emotional life raft. Not exactly the healthiest of relationships, but the events of Sanctuary force her to confront her feelings and actions, and make a choice regarding Jayesh and loving him–or not.
“I’m just going to use my powers on the quetzalcoatl,” Jayesh said to the others. “Maybe diminish his pain.”
“If it attacks you, I’m zapping it dead,” said Kari, fists clenched at her sides. “I wish you wouldn’t do this, Jay. It’s a monster, just like the manticores.”
But it wasn’t like the manticores. Jayesh couldn’t explain the sense of grief and compassion inside him. He placed both hands on the silky feathers and drew on his healing shard.
He sensed the life in the great body, life mingled with magic. It reminded him of Suntala, but not quite. This creature was huge and blazing and alive, as if a shard had melted and run into its bloodstream. But that life was leaking from many wounds, both inside and outside. He found four hearts, one central one and three secondaries. A secondary heart had been shot through, and was draining the pressure of the rest. The creature’s entire magical being strained against the damage, trying to heal it.
Jayesh focused on that heart, first. “Come on, boy,” he whispered, drawing in the creature’s own magic. “Work with me.”
At first, the serpent’s magic blocked him out, like the tide running contrary to a swimmer’s path. But gradually, little by little, Jayesh’s healing magic soaked into the creature’s body and bone, redirecting its native magic. The damaged heart struggled, and the other hearts spasmed. Terror shot through the serpent and into Jayesh, potent as Kari’s lightning.
But Jayesh had enough empathy built into his healing shard to catch that fear and quiet it. “Shh,” he whispered, closing the holes in the wounded heart. “You’ll be all right. You won’t die, I don’t think. Come on, boy, you’re strong. Feel how the healing works? Work along with it.”
Rodion stepped up beside him and lifted the Mender’s Rod. Jayesh’s sense of the serpent’s wounds grew clearer, and it became easier to heal. “Thanks,” he said softly.
“No problem,” said Rodion, flicking his white hair out of his eyes.
After a moment, Kari joined them and laid her own hands on the feathery coil. All along the great body, wounds began to expel bullets and to close up. The serpent’s own magic surged in response to their assistance.
For the first time, the creature stirred, lifting its head out of hiding. For a moment it hung a few feet above the humans, watching them with its yellow eyes, the feathery crest standing upright, like a question mark. Then it relaxed and rested its chin on the coil they were touching. A third eyelid closed over the eyes like a gray film.
“I didn’t know he had eyelids,” Kari said. “Snakes don’t.”
“I notice that he only has the third,” Rodion said, “and not the first and second. Possibly because his flight ability demands it.”
Jayesh said nothing. He was in tune with the serpent’s magic, conducting their healing like a concert, and euphoria crept through him. His weariness, fear, and hunger fell away. All that remained was the ecstasy of healing, directing that energy, mending and regenerating. He was aware of his friends as beacons of light on either side of him, the serpent as an ocean of magic, and life, and potential. And nearest of all was Fith, watching, adding subtle hints to Jayesh’s magic, directing him in ways he wouldn’t have attempted.
He didn’t surface from that sea of bliss until the serpent slid its head forward and touched his forehead with its snout. “Little human,” it whispered, “stop before you die.”
Startled, Jayesh opened his eyes and gazed into the strange, narrow face of the serpent. The eyes were bright as jewels, the mouth turned down in a frown, then up in a smile. The tongue fluttered in and out through a hole in the lips. It brushed Jayesh’s forehead like the touch of an eyelash.
“My magic is overwhelming you, Bloodbound,” said the serpent. “Thank you for closing my wounds. I will manage the rest.” It turned its attention to Rodion and Kari. “I extend my thanks to you, as well. Because you showed me mercy, I lay no curse upon you, but a blessing. May Fith accept this offering.”
So, this week wasn’t supposed to be a nightmare week. It was supposed to be a nice week. I was going to catch up with the weeds in the yard, and it rained a bit, and it was nice.
Then on Tuesday one of the big girls landed on the 20 month old on the trampoline and broke the baby’s ankle.
Nice week instantly shot. I’ve gone back and forth to the ER, bounced around appointments for the orthopedic surgeon, etc. etc. all week long. The baby now has a massive cast that she uses to club people with. (Her ankle is already well enough to do that, which I find amazing.)
In the midst of this, I tried drawing a golden age of scifi book cover for a friend.
Me: Hee hee, this is fun.
Her: Wait, the girl is supposed to be black.
Me: mojo crashes and burns because that means the whole pic has to be redone
So now it’s Saturday and my poor hubby has to work. Next week, 3:30 wakeups, which turn both of us into zombies. I just can’t catch the mojo again.
This morning, I scraped out a quick drawing, just to keep in practice:
So that’s been my week. I’ve been so tired and stressed that when I sit down at my computer, I’d rather stare at the wall than create anything. But maybe things will calm down now? Maybe?
I just love December, and not because of Christmas. I mean, Christmas is nice, too. But I just love it when people start writing their end of year retrospectives. What art they made, what books they wrote, what they learned, where their journey of life took them. They usually come along about New Year’s, and I’m looking forward to them.
I haven’t had a chance to go back through my records and see how my books did this year. I’ll save that for the New Years retrospective, heh. But I was looking over the artwork I did this year, and I’m happy with my progress. Here’s my Art vs Artist meme:
You can get on twitter or instagram and look for #artvsartist and see loads and loads of people showing off their best work. It’s a neat way to find new artists to follow or commission.
I had other artworks I’m proud of that wouldn’t fit into the eight boxes. Here’s a couple:
Each artwork has been a study in a new technique. I’m trying to learn all the time. Starting next year, I want to feature some new artists I’ve found whose work I’ve found to be absolutely marvelous.
On the writing front, I finally finished the next After Atlantis book, Sanctuary. It had to have a giant rewrite the way Mercurion did, because I wrote it while pregnant and stupid. I can write fluff while pregnant, but not action scenes. My brain just won’t do them. Sanctuary needed a some really big action scenes at the end, with everybody getting their Crowning Moment of Awesome, so I redid the climax to make it better. I was joking to my Discord that this book is hurt/comfort, hurt/comfort, cool thing, cool thing, cool thing.
I’ve written enough books now that I can be my own developmental editor, and I am a brutal one. I wrote my own letter to myself. “The first 100 pages are nice, if a bit thin. But those last 90 pages? Garbage. Do them over with more attention to each character.” Crushing when coming from someone else. Pretty grim when coming from yourself, too, heh heh. But it’s done now, and I’m hoping to launch the book late January. Just depends on how long editing and revisions takes. I already have the cover done, which I hope to showcase on the blog soon. It’s already up on my deviantart gallery, if you want to take a peek. 😉
Also, have a merry Christmas! Here is my Christmas artwork from last year:
Had a couple of commissions over the last few weeks. I’m happy with how they turned out. Here’s a peek into the painting process.
This was a tricky one because it had three characters in complex gear, plus a background I had to paint. I’m not good at architecture (more things to study!) so I had to grab screenshots and meticulously trace them. The rocks and trees were impressionistic painting, just a few colors and shapes to imply trees and rocks. You’re not supposed to look at them, anyway. 😀
(These are both based on the videogame Destiny 2)
This pic took a long time to do, and I’m happy with how it turned out. So was my client, which is the best part. 🙂
Next up, another commission. This client gave me the basics of how his character looked, and told me to pick a pose and background myself. I wanted to try drawing the current game season’s TRON look, so I tackled that.
This one was fun to do because it’s just so colorful. Also, I really love drawing people of different ethnicities. The features, hair, and skin tones endlessly fascinate me, and they’re just so pretty. 🙂
You know, since I started doing this series of girls, I’ve gotten more commission requests than I ever have before. I guess people like pretty girls, huh?
People like midriffs and cleavage. Do you know what is also really hard to draw? Yes.
I was going more for ‘cute’ than ‘sexy’ with this one. There’s this one Spiderman comic book artwork by J. Scott Campbell that people either love or hate, so I used the pose here. I’m nowhere near Campbell’s level, so it was good practice.
This one became a tiny comic by accident, mostly so I could explain why this character is suddenly rocking a coat with all the fluff. Drawn mostly for the coat.
And this one, which is telling a story of a dramatic, lightning-powered rescue.
Since I started posting these, I’ve gotten so much positive feedback, and commission requests, and nice karma in general. I’m just over here trying to improve my skills, and people like it. It also helps that my brain is finally coming back after having two babies back to back. I can actually envision action scenes again.
Two weeks until we move, then I can open up for commissions again once we’re settled. 🙂
Been trying to make more art lately, try out new techniques! I’ve also had to rip back my last book and rewrite the last third of it. I took a hard look and it just … had to happen. But the new stuff is coming along, bit by bit. Readers will be so glad I did this to the book. They might actually enjoy it. :-p
My personal challenge to draw more girls continues:
Except I have to sneak cute guys in there sometimes. This is Max and Sorrel. Sorrel was in an accident and has road rash scars on her face and neck. Max thinks she’s beautiful anyway.
This one is very purple. This is Lethia Marr Dasa, a voidmage who can rip the life force out of people. When she first got her powers, she hated them and thought she was evil and broken.
Action scene from a fanfic. I wanted to try out the angled perspective with a hero and a villain, and I like the way it came out. Inching ever closer to being able to make my books into graphic novels.
I spent most of the week working on the cover for my next book, but I’m not ready to show that off yet. So have a pretty gal in armor:
I was trying a new tutorial for shading and I liked the way it turned out. But I wanted it to be shinier, so I’m going to try that with my next attempt. Also, my Discord voted that I need to draw more pretty girls, so I’m working on that.
That’s pretty much all I got to do this week. The baby has decided to not sleep during my morning art time, due to the sun rising earlier. So … less art time means less art. :-p