Trying to improve my line work. My tablet draws sucky jittery lines, so I’m constantly fighting it as I go. I suppose I should do everything with the pen tool. It looks nice, but takes ages and ages, and I’m impatient. :-p
A friend commissioned me to draw his DnD character, so here’s what I came up with:
I think I’m improving. I can now draw something that is fairly close to what I envisioned, even though I still fight the artwork every step of the way. I can’t draw without reference. But even the old masters used reference for everything, so maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
I have a rant brewing about why artists should never run down their own art, and it also applies to writing. But I don’t have the energy to write it at the moment. :-p
I know I should really be writing my superhero youtuber book. (And it’s an amazing story!) But I keep getting distracted by Destiny 2. Like, distracted to the point of fanart and fanfics.
Like this tiny little flash fiction I cooked up, just to have the excuse to put a comic at the end.
The ghost had wandered for a thousand years since its birth, seeking his Guardian. He had watched empires rise and fall, witnessed humanity’s retreat to the Last City. And he still had not found the spark that sang to him, the heart destined to bind to his own Light.
Weary beyond expression, the ghost made his way back to the Last City in the Traveler’s shadow. He might have to return to the Traveler, admit his defeat, and hope the Traveler accepted him back into the Great Consciousness. He had failed. He couldn’t find his Guardian.
But then, as he flew above the buildings of the City, he halted. Was that the pull of a spark? He hovered, turning this way and that, feeling for it. Yes, surely it was his Guardian! Here, in the City, the last place he thought to look. Guardians usually didn’t appear among the living, so he had never bothered looking.
He darted downward, scanning the rooftops and walls, searching. The sense of the spark drew him onward, through the neighborhood to the smallest house at the end of the street, nearest the city’s wall. He was so desperate to find his Guardian that he phased straight through the wall to enter the house.
The ghost entered a small bedroom. A woman sat in a rocking chair, holding a newborn baby.
The baby’s spark sang to the ghost’s core.
How could it be possible? He had waited all this time for his Guardian to be born? It staggered him with confusion. But there was no mistaking the glory of his Guardian’s spark.
The mother saw the ghost and gasped. “What do you want?”
“Your son,” the ghost said, still shocked, himself. “He’s my Guardian.”
The baby turned his head, gazing at the ghost with a deep, wondering look. And the ghost’s heart was lost forevermore.
Oh yeah, I’ve got it so bad. Like, here’s a sketch of our fireteam:
My husband’s character, my character, and our friend Josh. We each play a different class and have a ton of fun. Well, until we burn out. 😀
As for fanfics, here’s one of my fanfic hero, Jayesh:
Story excerpt: Jayesh inhaled and drew on his stored Light. He was still tired and sore, but that slid aside, becoming secondary. He pushed through his own doubts, his disillusionment with his own people, and his secret fears that maybe he really hadn’t seen the Traveler, that he had dreamed it somehow. The Light was real. He could feel it. In his mind, he was back with the Traveler, feeling the Light around him and inside him, warm, electrical, and alive. Its voice spoke in his mind, along with the Light, saying in recognition and approval, “Guardian Jayesh.”
He hadn’t made it up, after all. Sudden courage filled him. He had been telling the truth–the Traveler knew his name. No amount of sneering media could change that. The Light surged inside him, though him, empowering him as its chosen Guardian.
“I fight for you, Traveler!” Jayesh cried. Fire burst from him, wreathing him in a cloak of burning light. It billowed from his shoulders like a pair of wings. A glowing sword appeared in his hand.
He shot into the air and hurled himself at the Gate Lord.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
We raised them in our backward, and they laid eggs for us. One of my favorites was an Arucana (Easter Egg) chicken named Benadictine, after another chicken story from Readers Digest. She laid olive-green eggs, and she was a stinker.
One time my brother and I had let the chickens out on the lawn. He went and made himself a ham sandwich.
Benadictine wanted that ham.
So she sneaked up on him …
… and pecked the ham out from between the slices of bread.
My brother was not happy.
He stormed inside and made himself another sandwich. Meanwhile, I laughed myself silly.
Benadictine ate that whole slice of ham, and was very happy about it.
This year for school, I had planned a very laid-back year–having a baby due at the end of November kind of throws off all my grand academic plans. I found Education.com at the end of the summer (loads of printable worksheets for preschool to 5th grade), and realized that I’d struck gold. So many customizable curriculum options at my fingertips! So we started doing those, in addition to some mathbooks and a very nice dictation book.
Then I read about Thomas Jefferson Education. It’s more or less what we were already doing–I just tried to harness it a little more intentionally. Basically, you work on your kids’ character, as well as studying things that interest them. I couldn’t ever really do “unschooling”, because my kids do much better with a predictable routine and structure–but Thomas Jefferson ed seemed to fit the sort of structured-yet-unregimented style I was looking for.
So, one morning when the kids made “aquariums” out of glass cups, with water and the stamens of flowers for “jellyfish”, I embraced it. We checked out books on jellyfish from the library, and watched documentaries, and colored pages about the jellyfish lifecycle. The kids can now tell you the difference between a true jellyfish and a false one, that the top is called the “bell”, and a full-grown jellyfish is a medusa, and how baby jellyfish stick to the rock like a plant until it’s ready to break free.
This week, because Halloween is coming on, we’re doing bats. All things bats. Every day we discuss echolocation, and bat babies, and what it would be like to be a bat. Likely I’ll be drawing bats for my next Inktober pic.
We’re still drilling math facts, spelling, writing, and all that good stuff. I also ambitiously started reading Lord of the Rings aloud, buuuuut I think I’m going to switch to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here pretty soon. LOTR might need to wait until later. 🙂