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Art vs. Illustration October 22, 2018

Posted by thejinx in art, writing.
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I’ve been drawing seriously, or at least trying to, for the better part of thirty years now. While it hasn’t been my only, or even necessarily primary, method of creative expression, I’ve done a lot of it. My artwork folder on my computer, which consists only of pictures I have at one point deemed worthy of sharing, has over 500 files in it.

Most of those pictures are more or less portraits. The character(s) might not be looking at the viewer and they might be doing something interesting, but the whole point of those drawings is just to show off a character. I’ve drawn my share of scenes, pictures showing a clear story, but they’re still one-off images. I have considered and even scripted comics and/or graphic novels, but I haven’t taken the time to really attempt it yet.

Now that I have been drawing for the chapter book I wrote, however, I am starting to understand the particular challenges to actual illustration, particularly now that I have started colouring my illustrations. Up till now, it’s mostly been fun: determining visual quirks of characters the first time I draw them and extending those to subsequent illustrations, designing characters’ clothes, hair and accessories, setting the scenes I’m trying to convey. There was a challenge in keeping characters consistent, of course, and I had to consider things I’d never dealt with before, such as height of characters relative to each other, but it wasn’t all that different from what I was used to.

When I coloured the first character in the first illustration, however, I suddenly realized that I should colour all instances of that character to keep their portrayal consistent. And then as I worked further, I found myself needing to consider things that even backstory for the book itself didn’t prepare me for. Take this drawing, for example:

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All went well enough, I was enjoying the way it came together as I coloured each character over the course of a few nights, and then I got to that breakfast bar. What colour should the counter and the cupboard be?

I hadn’t put much thought into it at that point, but suddenly it became a crucial issue. I knew what colours the characters may favour, but they live on a space station. What would the counter and cupboard even be made of? An aluminum counter top is easy enough to decide upon, but what about the cupboard? Trying to answer that question only spawned more. Are these characters the first ones to live in this apartment? Because there wouldn’t be wood or drywall on a space station, and I don’t think repainting would be likely on a space station. How old is the station? Because that’s going to determine whether this is a new apartment or if they’ve moved in to someone else’s design choices. What would the walls be made of? Because that’s going to affect their colour, and so the design elements in the kitchen.

I hadn’t even considered these things while developing the story. I probably never would have if I hadn’t been trying to answer a simple question regarding a background element to a single illustration in the book. And this is only a taste of it; I have several more illustrations to go. What other issues may crop up as I work through the rest of the drawings? What else might I discover if I went on to write and illustrate more books?

It certainly makes for an interesting, and fun, challenge. In a way, I’m also a little saddened, because I have to, and I want to, focus entirely on Sisters of Chaos book 2 after I’ve finished with this book, even though I already have some ideas for another book. I’m also enjoying creating the art for this book, as time-consuming as it might be, too much to consider letting someone else illustrate for any possible future books. This has been a very fun process, weaving art and writing together in a way in which each affects the other, and I hope to get the chance to do it again before too long.

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New art: Breezin’ July 13, 2016

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afro

Sketch of the day – July 5 July 5, 2009

Posted by thejinx in art, eyes of a dragon.
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Today’s daily sketch is also another glimpse into the past of the characters in my novel Eyes of a Dragon.

sotd-03

Krisiniel Larius and his father Nioreshtan relaxing in a faux hot spring – achieved through coals – while on the march with the Therian army.  This scene appears 1-2 years prior to the story.

Larius June 23, 2009

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New art:

Concept art of Krisiniel Larius – Shiani‘s brother – from my novel Eyes of a Dragon.  This was an older sketch – two or three years, before I cleaned up and elaborated on it yesterday – and the outfit design is a bit older still.  I still rather like the design, but it’s a bit too fancy for the character.  And if he was going to wear something like this, his hair would not be down.  It gives a general idea of how he looks, though.

Fanart: Protecting the mysterious girl June 12, 2009

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New art:

Locke and Terra from Final Fantasy VI, in a scene from the beginning of the game when he protects her in the mines of Narshe.  I don’t normally like to say this in image descriptions, but I put a lot into this picture, so if you could please spare a few seconds and have a look, I’d really appreciate it.

Glimpse into the past June 11, 2009

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I’ve been having so much fun developing the backstories for the characters in my novel Eyes of a Dragon that I decided to do a series of sketches illustrating their past.  Here’s the first two:

Nayori

Nayori Trevaulle accompanying her merchant father on a routine business trip, shown here with his wagon driver at the time.  I picked a more cartoony style for this drawing because I thought it suited the scene better.  I also didn’t know until I drew this that Nayori had freckles, though she does seem the type.  This scene takes place 5-7 years before the story.

Shiani

Krisiniel Shiani, the most educated of the humble Krisiniels for her gift with magic, practicing her calligraphy at home.  This was the drawing I actually did first, and as it’s more of a visual expression than a specific illustration, really, it could happen almost anytime prior to the story, though she does look a little older than I intended her to.

Look for illustrations of other characters to come!  Although, I suppose I have already done a picture from Marlin’s past.

Picture of the week – Summer sun January 25, 2009

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New art:

July image for the 2010 catgirl calendar.

So far, my art-related goals for the year are on the right track.  I’m still keeping up with one new finished picture a week, so far, I have been colouring a catgirl calendar image every other week, and I even found a print shop nearby where I can have prints made even cheaper than I suspected I might, making an artist’s alley table at a con or two this year looking more promising.

Halloween November 2, 2008

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New art:

The first image is something I felt compelled to draw when we bought our Halloween costumes for this year.  The colours aren’t perfect, but you get the idea.  We didn’t do anything Friday evening, but there ended up being a big to-do at work, so I actually got pretty excited about it for a change.  The second image is the jack-o’-lantern I designed and partially carved for our department at work, which won second place in the office pumpkin carving contest.  I offered to design when we first got the team/department assignments and not knowing what would interest people, that design – which greatly interested me – was the only one I brought in to the meeting to organize our Halloween efforts.  It ended up being accepted and we went with a whole medieval/fantasy theme on our team.  It was pretty fun.