Making art again

So I’ve been trying to make art more often, now that I have a new tablet. The littlest ones are old enough to sit and watch videos while I draw, which means I actually get to focus on my doodles.

I recently discovered the joys of texture brushes. They make painting a lot of little things, like leaves, a lot more pleasant.

Or chains.
chained-tree

I thought it might be nice to try a matte painting tutorial. The one I found turned out to use a lot of stock photos that you have to buy first, and my attempts to Google comparative images was hit and miss. I gave up, but produced this.

matte-painting-1

However, I learned a few things, I tried my hand at speedpainting a mountain scene. It’s more a study in values and atmospheric perspective than anything–both things I need to study up on.

mountain-painting-practice

Here’s the painting I did today, using these cloud brushes for Photoshop. They’re kind of odd and blocky, but they stack well with themselves. It was also fun to paint a dragonish creature there in the foreground. I’m super rusty, though. I need to get back into the swing of art.

sunset-dragon

So there you have it. My super-productive week. :-p

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Grumpy elves and a spiffy dragon

Hey guys, Rebecca Minor is re-releasing Diving Summons, and she’s running a giveaway for a poster of the cover art. Check it out:

Dragon poster

Isn’t it lovely? Anyway, I just reread Divine Summons, which has been lightly revised for its rerelease. Here’s the summary:

When Captain Vinyanel Ecleriast, an officer in the elven cavalry, narrowly escapes a devastating reconnaissance mission, he discovers a new calling to establish the first airborne unit of mounted warriors his people have ever known. Joined by an enigmatic half-elven prophetess and a silver dragon, Vinyanel struggles to come to grips with this responsibility, while mourning the recent loss of his unit and only friends.

A subversive plot to undo the task Vinyanel’s unit died in accomplishing takes shape, right within the walls of the elven capital city. Only with the prophetess’s help, however irritating she may be, will he unravel the mystery behind the enemy’s plans. Vinyanel barrels headlong into territory where he will need more than a sword and shield to prevail. Only if he can look beyond himself for the strength to defeat his enemies will he survive to answer his divine summons.

And here’s my review:

I bought/read this book in its early version. Reading the new, improved version was sheer delight–especially since I’ve also read the next novella, and the novel that comes after that. Vinyanel, grouchy elf captain, is hilariously snarky and irreverent. For me, the best part is the subtle lampooning of Christian fantasy tropes. It never fails to make me chuckle.

Yes, this novella is short–but the next one I think is longer, and the novel after those is a long, lush romp as Vinyanel’s pig-headedness gets him into deep trouble.

Here’s the Amazon link! If you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free!

Elves and dragons (artwork)

I haven’t updated in a while, but I’ve been working furiously on a pic that a friend wants to use for a book cover:

valors-worth-color1

Becky Minor drew the lineart, and I’m coloring it. I’ve been having an absolute ball with it. I added the background and the dragon (who will be white, I’ve just been modeling her shadows).

I’ve been coloring it with an interesting technique outlined in this tutorial. Basically, you spend a long time making the black and white shading perfect, then the color goes on really quickly. I’m really enjoying it. Anything to make stuff look really awesome with minimal effort, you know?

Anyway, I’m hoping she does more artwork for her other books, so I can color those, too. 🙂