Step by step – Gunslinger

Here’s the progress on last week’s pic: a gunslinger from Destiny 2.

It took a lot of sketching to get the pose right. Then it was really fun doing the black and white, figuring out how it was going to come together. I wanted to do a lot more art, but this wound up taking all week to do.

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Step by step – Flirty (and tutorial)

Only one pic this week, but I worked on it all week. As you can see here, each step took a day. In the case of the shapes stage, two days.

These are me and my husband’s Destiny characters.

I was practicing figure sketches, and I liked this one because it kind of tells a story. So I turned it into a full pic. I also tried doing all the shadows with the pen tool, mostly because of this tutorial:

Practice pic by WinXu Xu on Artstation

See how the black shapes and the gray shapes in the first stage are on separate layers? And he colors on them separately? I wanted to try doing that. I’m afraid my first try was pretty tame, but I want to continue experimenting with this technique.

I’ve also been scribbling out a new fanfic. I noticed that it was getting kind of long, so I checked and realized I’ve written 30k. Pretty much just for fun. I love it when a story has that much pull. So I’m tossing it online, slowly, until I get it finished. Fortunately, the last third is in sight, so it’ll be done in a few more weeks.

A couple of comics and how to kill your art

A friend of mine has been dealing with her son’s suicide last year. She wrote a blog post today about how art is fun, and good for your brain–until you start trying to do it for money. Then you’ve killed your joy. She partially credits this for one of the many reasons her son killed himself. It’s worth a read, if you’re feeling society’s guilt that you’re making art and not selling it.

It’s given me a lot to think about, especially since I’m drifting that direction, myself. Where is the balance between art and business? I’m not sure, so I’ll continue to write fanfics, draw fanart, make zero money, and have all the fun.

Here’s the finished version of that comic from last week:

And then this one, which was based on a true story.

One of our friends went to send out Ghost to do a thing, but he punched a dude instead, which looked like he hit the dude with Ghost. Then Ghost didn’t do the thing. So I made the comic for him. 😀

This past week was a marathon of building IKEA furniture, finding we had the wrong parts, exchanging them for the right parts, and in general having a sea of cardboard boxes and Allen wrenches everywhere. I didn’t draw as much as I wanted to, because I slept through my early morning art time every day. But hopefully, next week will be better!

Art I did this week (or didn’t)

I didn’t do as much art this week, alas. I wound up sleeping through my usual drawing time because sleep.

But here’s one, with a self-explanatory joke:

Once you see it, you can never un-see it.

I’m working on another Destiny comic strip, but I only have one panel done.

It’s kind of super detailed, so it’s taking a while to do. It’ll probably be done by my next update.

In other news, we got a new dresser from IKEA, so I will probably spend the next portion of my life assembling drawers. Yay me!

Dawnblade – step by step

Artwork I did this week–some Destiny fanart, which means two people in armor and fiery wings and swords battling it out.

Pretty!
This is my initial sketch, just working out poses and stuff. Erased and redrew a lot at this stage.
Next, more details. The sketch is more refined, and I drew their armor.

Next comes inking. I’m not super good at this stage, and my tablet is uncooperative. The pros do this stage with the pen tool and vector lines, but I’m usually trying to get this done while the baby is asleep and lack time.
Next, I blocked in their colors and added the shading.
Time for background and special effects, my favorite! The inked lines stand out a bit. I color over those last.
The wings needed more contrast, so I added black to really make them pop. The inked lines got some painting treatment, too.
Last of all, a red gradient set to Liner Dodge to give the figures a nice red glow.

I haven’t done a pic like this in a while, and it was nice. Here’s a comic, too, about what happens when our main tank jumps games from Destiny to Fortnite.

Return of the art blog

When I first started this blog a few years ago, it was just a place to post my art and talk about how I made it. I branched out from there, but I still like the idea of just blogging my various sketches and things.

I’ve been trying to post art on Tumblr, but … let’s face it, Tumblr is just about the worst platform I’ve ever used, even worse than Facebook. Facebook will at least put all your pictures into an album. Good luck finding ANYTHING on Tumblr.

I do post to my deviantart and Pinterest, but I’d like to have a central spot of my own to post extra bits. So expect more art from me and less pithy stuff. I don’t have much brainpower for pith, anyway, which is why I haven’t updated.

Art-wise, I’ve been furiously studying and practicing, trying to improve. Mostly I’ve been focused on comics and things centered around Destiny, because it gives me an excuse to draw both humans and armor, two things I’m sadly bad at. So you may have to endure a lot of game-related jokes and fan characters.

So, really, the same stuff I draw for the Sonic fandom. 😀

So here’s a few of the things I’ve done recently, just to kick things off.

Character concept sketches

I’ve been building a new character for some stories. Actually, he’s kind of an old character I’m adapting, but whatever. This is Jayesh, and he has a tiny dragon that is actually half his magic. I had to draw them hanging out.

A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? These guys have had a short story so far, and I can’t wait to put them in a book. Thinking of tossing the story online somewhere so folks can give it a shot.

Resolutions for 2019 (or not)

Here we are in 2019, and the year is nice and shiny. I’m sitting here with a baby asleep in my lap, coffee with no sugar in it, and Switchfoot’s new song Native Tongue blasting on my speakers. The kids are playing New Years events in their various Nintendo games. I’m going to come back to this post at the end of the year and laugh at this.

I’ve been thinking about a word for this year. Last year was Steadfast. This year, I think it’ll be Kindness.

Last year, being pregnant and miserable, I wasn’t very kind to anyone. I had to work very hard, because I felt so bad. This year, I want to make up to my family for being such a grouch for nine months. My poor kids are troopers, but they need a mom who is much nicer. So does my husband, who puts up with so much.

And now for resolutions!

I resolve to read all the unread books on my Kindle.

Yep. That’s it.

Come on, I have a two-month-old baby. I’m not going to plan anything deeper than that.

Usually I have a list of all the books I want to publish in the upcoming year. But … same problem. Baby. If I release anything, it’ll be a bonus. At this point, I can’t promise anything. I do have three superhero books in the hopper, two finished, one half-written. Those are probably a lock. Beyond that, I have no idea. Right now I’m finishing up a self-indulgent romance fanfic that nobody asked for, but I’ve had fun writing.

I’ve been really brushing up on my artwork, trying to plug a lot of holes in my education, and really tackle the areas I’m afraid of. Like human eyes. Do you know how hard eyes are? ARGH. Thankfully, Google reveals billions of tutorials. If I work through even a tenth of them, I’d have a fantastic art education.

Kind of like all the tutorials I did to make this pic. It’s this joke about Bioshock Infinite … and this Sonic villain named Infinite … so it’s like … a crossover … yeah. But I had to do a ton of tutorials to make it, especially that logo. UGH especially the logo.

Anyway, that does it for resolutions. Read more books. Maybe write something. Maybe draw something. We’ll see how this year plays out. 😀

What I learned in 2018

I went back and looked at my first post for 2018, back when the year still had that new, fresh smell. Ah, I was so optimistic.

My word for this year was Steadfast. And that was a good word, because it wound up describing everything I did, including getting unexpectedly pregnant and hanging on to life by the skin of my teeth.

I had mentioned wanting to publish a new Spacetime book, as well as the second dragon cozy. Welp. I published the cozy. But the Spacetime book got 30k in, and I had too much of the old books in my head. So I set it aside to get some distance.

I had planned to write a fairytale book. And I did wind up writing a short story with the idea I had, and it appears in this anthology. (A guy and a girl share a psychic link, which gets more interesting when she is cursed and turns into a dragon. The idea of the story was that psychic links would let you share too much information with the other person, so the story is called Too Much Information.)

I also revised and launched the first book in a series that is superhero fantasy. People with powers fighting each other and such. I have two other books in the hopper that only need revisions and editing, but I didn’t have the brain.

What did I wind up writing? Fanfiction for the game Destiny. The space opera setting just appealed, for some reason, so I wrote 17 fanfics in it. I really wanted to read official novels in the setting, but there aren’t any, so I had to write my own. It was kind of a self-therapy, working through being pregnant for the sixth time. I was so very sick with this baby, and when I stopped being sick, I was in massive pain. And I was so scared of labor. So all that got rolled up and dumped into the fanfics.

I now have a whole bunch of readers who like the slush I was cranking out, and I don’t know if I can write it anymore, since I had the baby. Sorry, readers!

I did come up with some really great characters who I’d love to transplant into other stories someday. And I found that I really dig writing space opera. Writing the physics of space ships and battles and space marines on other planets was totally fun.

But yeah, this year went nothing like I expected. I’ll write a goal list tomorrow, so I can laugh at them next December. 😀

Destiny fanart. Nell is sitting in a tree, chatting to her ghost Hadrian.