Never run down your work

Ever see a piece of artwork that just blows your mind? It’s incredible, and it looks like it was painted it just a few strokes. Yet it somehow captures the essence of the subject in a way you’ve never thought about before.


Then you read the description. And the artist says something like, “I whipped this up in five minutes. It’s not very good and I hate it. I’ll probably take it down later.”
And you feel let down, because YOU liked it. But the artist knows better than you, right? And it must be crap, somehow. So you go away slightly offended without knowing why.


Dean Wesley Smith talks about this in a blog post called No One Cares. He’s talking about writing, but the same rule applies:

When you wrote a book and got it out, it was the best you could do at the time. Some readers paid good money for it and many liked it and bought more books from you.

So you go learn something and now YOU CAN SEE WHAT WAS WRONG. Before, those same words looked fine to you, but now you can see โ€œthe problem.โ€ Oh, noโ€ฆ

But no one else can see. And no one cares that you have learned something you add to future books that wasnโ€™t in older books.

Only you know. Only you care.

And one additional thing.

NEVER PUT DOWN YOUR OWN WORK. Especially older books.

Some reader might think your older book is the best thing they ever read and the last thing they want is to be insulted by you putting down their tastes in books.

Keep your mouth shut, keep learning, write the next book, and get it out. Repeat.

And if you really do realize no one cares but you, the freedom in your writing is amazing.

Go have fun.


See, when you put down your own work, whether it’s writing, artwork, dance, music, or whatever, you’re insulting that person who liked it. Sure, you can remark that you have room for improvement. Don’t we all? But stand by your work. Don’t run it down and cheapen it. Your audience liked it. Don’t insult them.

I could go on about what’s wrong with this pic. Or I could point out what’s right with it. Negativity doesn’t make anybody feel better.


Sketches of people and stuff

School started today in Arizona, so I’ve been running all day. It’s kind of nice to have the structure back, though.

Anyway, WordPress has informed me that on August 1st, Facebook will no longer let WordPress autopost to our personal feeds. They’re only allowed on the Pages … you know, the ones you have to pay to let anyone see. So I expect my traffic to drop by half. If you enjoy this blog, consider adding it to your reader of choice. It’ll still autopost to Twitter, of course.

And now, without further ado, my artwork practice!

human-sketch-practice

Sorry about the Destiny stuff in there, I’ve been playing it a lot and it’s taken up residence in my brain. As you can see, my grasp of human anatomy is tenuous at best. Ah well, practice practice.

Then it dawned on me that I have very little grasp of values, so I practiced those, too.

vlue-study-double

I’ve gotten so rusty, it’s been good to practice the basics again. I’ve seen so many artists do amazing things with very narrow value ranges, and I just … cannot think that way. So I’m going to LEARN to think that way.

I love velociraptors

You know how in my previous post, I talked about trying to figure out how to adult awesomely? And how I failed at it?

Well, I sort of rediscovered how much I love the Jurassic Park velociraptors. All I did was look up t-shirts, and …

raunisex_tshirtx1000101010-01c5ca27c6front-c235200225294-bgffffff-u3cbfc2ec0e83d13dfd694621e14d3aa1dmtn_103101f__73418-1389218567-686-800kjsb086_jurassic-world_t-rex_velociraptor

53968d56a2ff2c8a95e8ab1524279464
This is me. Especially with my glasses on.

squad-goals-t-shirt

Okay, so they’re not ALL raptors, but they’re all very cool. My hubby wants me to stream games with him, and I need something fun to wear on camera, right?

I have to also not suck at games, but one thing at a time.

Sketches of dinosaurs, dragons, and drakes

In my teens, I took art classes from a terrific teacher named Ron Moore. He taught everything–painting, pastel, wood carving, clay sculpture, you name it, he’d teach it. Anyway, while learning to sculpt animals, we studied anatomy. I learned proportion tricks, what joints did, how shoulders behaved, and on and on. I sculpted animals, cartoon characters, dinosaurs, anything that struck my fancy.

That training still resides in my head. So when a friend suggested that I draw an amargasaurus, this training kicked in.

First off, this is an amargasaurus.

Amargasaurus
Amargasaurus from Wikipedia

Pretty gnarly-looking sauropod.

Mr. Moore always taught me that if I did artwork from another artist’s work, I would copy all their mistakes and make them worse. (Boy, have I seen new artists do that.) So I went hunting for the bones of this sucker.

Amargasaurus1_Melb_Museum
Amargasaurus skeleton from Wikipedia

Okay, so, all the spikes are attached to the vertebrae. Notice the way they lay. If he kept his neck straight, they’d more or less lie down. But if he bent his neck, they’d fan out and display whatever skin stretched between them.

amargasaurus-display

Like this.

So now we have this idea of a dinosaur bending his neck around to show off his frill. He’d have to bow his head a lot. Now we get ideas of what a courtship display might look like.

amaragasaurus-courting2

They might have danced like this. Ever seen an iguana display his dewlap to attract a mate? It’s pretty funny. Or like that red-capped manakin bird.

moonwalking-bird-o

It’s really fun to extrapolate from dinosaur bones. It’s not like anybody can go look at one and disprove my idea, right?

Anyway, the same process applies to building dragons. Here’s a reference sheet in progress for a story I’m writing with little drakes and big dragons.

drake-sheet2
Drakes and dragons

As you can see, my drakes are very lizard-like (with pterodactyl wings), while the dragons are the traditional European dragons. Lots of comparative anatomy studies while drawing these, trying to make them work. Well, as well as any six-limbed creature would work. There’s a lot of biological hand-waving when it comes to dragons.

While dragons would be majestic predators, drakes would fly on highly-maneuverable albatross wings, able to pull off midair gyrations like those of a flycatcher.

I suppose I ought to put some kind of a tail fin on them, so they can steer. But then, not all pterosaurs had them, either. What do you guys think?

I can’t contain it any more–Jurassic World art

So, I’ve been nerding out over Jurassic World. Seeing as it comes out tomorrow, I figure, I might as well go on a concept art binge-post, you know?

I mean, the first Jurassic Park is why I called myself NetRaptor all those years ago. Having another JP movie is making me relieve my childhood, in the best way. I just wish I could let my kids watch it, but they’re still a bit too young. Besides, I want them to LIKE dinosaurs.

valley_by_jamesdesign1-d76ms87

uninvited_guests_by_jamesdesign1-d7vqqf2

indominus_rex_by_jamesdesign1-d8i731p

Indominus Rex, by jamesdesign1

Raptor_Squad

underwater-jurassic-world

t_rex_jurassic_world_by_manusaurio-d87xdl8

jurassic_park_wallpaper_fan_art_by_professoradagio-d6gtc8p

Jurassic Park Wallpaper fanart by Professor Adagio

Dinosaur drawings–protoceratops and velociraptor Mega Sceptile

I’ve been drawing dinosaurs a lot lately. I guess I’ve always drawn dinosaurs as kind of a comfort thing, so I kind of revert to them whenever I need something to draw.

Here’s a protoceratops, which grew out of griffin-related ponderings.

griffin-protoceratops

I’ve also been down with a flu bug. And what better thing to do when you’re sick than play Pokemon? I’ve been burning through Alpha Sapphire like there’s no tomorrow.

So here is a raptory version of Mega Sceptile, in all his leafy goodness.

megaraptorsceptile

Also been playing the Forestry mod for Minecraft. You raise bees and trees. It’s slow and just my speed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pretty fantasy artwork for New Year’s

Let’s start off 2015 with some really gorgeous fantasy artwork/creatures!

tsintaosaurus_by_tepuitrouble-d88ipnc

Tsintaosaurus by tepuitrouble

Because even duckbills can be awesome.

little_gatherers_by_the_sixthleafclover-d876ruf

Little Gatherers by the Sixthleaf Clover

Cute little dragons “helping” in the kitchen!

january_by_atenebris-d7zzg9h

January by Atenebris

Because a snowy griffin encounter like this deserves a story to go with it.

sunny_may_by_alsaresnolynx-d84dev4

Sunny May by AlsaresNoLynx

Also, little griffins are cute.

syracosaurus jungle

Styracosaurus Jungle by raven-amos

This one is a T-shirt design! Because everybody loves a good tribal styracosaurus design.

apocalypto_by_88grzes-d27uazb

Apocalypto by 88grzes

Because any chick with jeans and black wings is totally bringing about the end of the world. Also, she totally looks like the End Boss of the Spacetime series. ๐Ÿ˜€

Raptor sketches, both kinds

I’ve had the itch to draw for a while, so I sat down and scribbled out some velociraptors.

raptors-sketches

Gotta draw some feathery ones and some Jurassic Park/Jurassic World ones. As I was drawing, I kept up this running narration to the kids:

“See, real velociraptors are three feet tall, and they’re feathery, like roadrunners. They probably wouldn’t eat you, again, like roadrunners. But Jurassic Park raptors were made back before they knew about the feathers, and the idea of a six foot tall two-legged lizard was terrifying. Think how fast those things go. So the new movie has the lizardy raptors because they’re scarier than cute widdle fwuffy waptors.”

Jurassic World’s raptors aren’t feathery and that’s okay

Ever since the Jurassic World trailer came out, people have been throwing a fit about it. Particularly scientists, those all-knowing folks who look closely at fossils and say, “OMG it had FEATHERS.”

microraptor-fossil-1

“The dinosaurs don’t look like dinosaurs” they shriek. “They still look like LIZARDS. We want BIRDS.”

Well folks, filling a theme park with giant carnivorous ostriches wouldn’t sell many tickets. Especially since this is a SEQUEL. And you kind of have to, you know, use the same monsters as in the original movies. Admittedly, these monsters look much spiffier than they did in 1993.

jurassic-world-poster

No scientists are squawking about the GENETICALLY MODIFIED D-REX, the star of the movie. Which, going by the buzz, means we finally get the rad dinosaurs from the Lost World book that could turn invisible.

Nope, all that matters is that the raptors and gallimimus don’t have feathers. Yep.

six-foot-turkey

Nevermind that the velociraptors in JP are technically utahraptors, and only a couple of fossil fragments of them exist–therefore we don’t know if they had feathers. (Seeing as their smaller cousins did, we can assume they did, but we don’t KNOW.)

The point is, Jurassic World is a movie. Likely a GOOD movie. With the sorts of lizardy dinosaurs people expect from the series. Scientists can go off and make another season of Walking with Six-Foot Turkeys, if they’re going to whine so much.

Inktober, first week

There’s a fun meme going on this month called Inktober. Basically you draw something with an ink pen every day of the month, then show it around online.

I didn’t feel like doodling on paper when I have a perfectly good tablet. So I just drew with pure black and no erasing.

inktober1-3

Okay, I erased a few things on the first three. I was rusty.

inktober4

No erasing here! Just pure scribbly goodness.

I think I’ll post a compilation of drawings every weekend and see what drivel I churned out. ๐Ÿ™‚