Thursday, January 28, 2016

Writerly Wednesday: Thursday Edition. It's Live!

Barbarian and Elves fairy tale novella

A broken-hearted general on a deadly mission
A mad elf maiden cursed for a hundred years for loving him
The cruel power that separated them long ago and a new threat that now wants them dead…

Before a decisive battle victory in the century-long war against the elven Elsyrians, Balthaar of the Barbarian Empire finds the combat halted and his mission changed from general to ambassador. 

But Elsyria holds more than former and current enemies. His lost love Hatia resides there, in a fog of madness and amnesia induced by torture magics at the hands of Barbarian priests. Their reunion sets off a chain of events that imperils the ill-fated lovers and involves political intrigues, royal secrets, and murderous treacheries.

Will the lovers-- kept apart for a hundred years-- forge a weapon from their love strong enough to end divisions and break curses...and ensure a future where they will never part again?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Makes: Process, How to illustrate with watercolor and acrylics

This is mostly for my personal use so hopefully the next time I find myself painted into a corner, I have a quick reminder of how to get unstuck.

Overview: sketch, thumbnails, references, stretching paper, pencil in basic shapes, start with washes, light to medium. Dark, light, medium repeat until it looks okay and then details.

Important to remember that it's not about the things, but about the form, the light, the shape. It's easy to get distracted by things. Eyes, noses, lips, but those don't exist except for the light that falls across them.

This project was supposed to be a quick first draft, but it took 3 weeks. Far too long for a quick anything. I'm out of time for anything else, so this is what will be on the cover. Luckily, I like it.

First concept sketch

Thumbnails to fine tune composition E was selected. (bottom, middle) 

Photoshoot. Was as exciting as it looks.

Watercolor washes and blocking in basic shapes

working with acrylics, his face, body fixed. Got rid of the gold I didn't like. 

Finally pleased with his expression and shading
She was a hot mess. I painted her over and over and over but she only got worse until one day...

She came together beautifully. 

So wistful, emotional, full of movement and light. It feels right.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Making Messes

I admit it. I hate watercolor. I love the way that other people do it, but for me I tend to panic and flail and before I know it, the picture has drowned in terrible flat pasty mud. I tell myself this doesn't count, is not real watercolor because I will slap acrylics over anything I don't like. Fearlessly. I still drown. Ah well.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Monday Makes: A for Alligator and B for Bear. Also Thumbnails and sketches

This is a beautiful day, but cold! Ah well. I've been trying and trying to conceptualize covers for Watergirl and Barbs and Elvs, or 'Forget Me Not', which is rather generic, but beats Barbs and Elvs. I think. I like books where I know the title from the beginning. Watergirl, Butcher, Baker, it takes out a lot of the stress. I'm completely overwhelmed with covers this round. I want something beautiful and elegant and whimsical and magical and romantic and... something far above my level of illustration. Of course I will pretend it isn't and keep at it until something blessed occurs. At which point I will go to bed. 

Lemon Tree, very pretty. I meant to take a picture of the blossoms, but I smelled them instead.
Aaaaaaaa! Bbbbbbbbbrrrr!
B for Baby Bear's Belly.
A for Alligator says ah.
His name's Al.
buttons. And other things. Is that an earring? I was looking for that.
Silk, Quilt, Curtain.
'Forget Me Not' formerly Barbarians and Elves. Something like this. Maybe.
I'm trying to figure out the covers of Watergirl. I have 5 more books tentatively planned. That means new cover for the original that work over a series. I kind of love this but I think it doesn't scream contemporary Fantasy.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year

Wow! I can't quite catch up to the idea that 2015 has gone the way of all good things. And bad things.  It's been a crazy great year. We moved, I made a schedule (that I've stuck to) I've sewn a million things and ripped up carpets and lived in boxes for six months (which actually helped me focus on writing) and basically lived life.

Plans for 2016 involve more painting. This last year has been so crazy busy with writing, it's kind of skewed my art in that direction instead of being more balanced like I like. I want to do more variety instead of rushed ink jobs when I need a cover. Hopefully that happens.

It's still going to be a crazy writing year. This butcher, baker series has taken over my brain, and I have a fairly solid working copy, so that's going to be a three book series out next fall through winter. I think 6 books a year is my goal although that means more fluffy books because frankly, House of Slide books are hard to write. So much stuff going on in them and I need to do them right. So, after I finish House of Slide, in JULY I'll only do kind of simple stuff, like Watergirl. I have a plan to have two Watergirl books out this year. I planned it a standalone, but it morphed into a six book series. Maybe that will change. I don't know. I love the world. Two Butcher Baker Books, and a couple of novellas. (Wilds Part II and III) That's this year as far as writing goes. It's going to be fun.

Homeschooling. I really want to hit science and history hard. The kids are eating up computer programming, so it's kind of easy to set them up and write while they're occupied. We're going to do Astronomy, and more than the first chapter of the book. Ancient History, the first month is going to be Egypt, and we're going to go to the museum to check out the sarcophagii? (how do you spell that?) We'll do a different country every month so hopefully be able to do cultural things, literature, music, art, clothing, food, language, that kind of thing. I will hopefully be able to write my name in hieroglyph by February. We're going to read aloud the Kane Chronicles.

Personal fitness... Yeah. I should do some of that.

Sewing plans are rather ambitious: A 12 pack for each kid. I have ideals about sewing one's own clothes, being self-sufficient and not exporting our slave labor to other countries. It's one of my ideologies. Yep. I have those every once in awhile. Also, I want to finish the SWAP for me this year.

I think that's enough for now.
New Year's Day Walk


paper lanterns

purple flowers
knotty wood

ducks and fountains

green grass

less green
sparkling sunshine so bright I could barely open my eyes. The most perfect day to begin a most perfect year.

For my mother, because she wanted to see my happy birthday to me outfit, got the linen jacket done. Yay! Also the red riding hood felt doll ...