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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:


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.


Scenes from the mountains June 19, 2018

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Sharing some shots from a recent trip to Colorado and Taos, New Mexico. Among the outings were a ride on the Royal Gorge train, a visit to the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. A few of these were taken with my phone, but most were using my camera. In my usual way, no editing of any kind was done on any of these pictures.

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Another avian interlude August 1, 2017

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Owl pictures taken at a Harry Potter event at my local library, everything else taken in Niagara Falls, Ontario on 30 July 2017.

Some summer July 18, 2017

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A few pictures I’ve taken in the last month or so (I’m trying to get better about posting).

An avian interlude May 25, 2017

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Some pictures from Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, the southernmost part of mainland Canada. As is probably obvious, the place is known as a hot spot for migrating birds, and this Monday, 23rd May 2017, was at the tail end of the annual Festival of Birds.

For these pictures, I tried acting like a real photographer and shot in RAW format for the first time, including post-processing. Alas, my telephoto lens simply doesn’t take pictures as sharp as my other lenses, so despite the extra work, they don’t look quite as good as other unprocessed pictures I’ve taken (which would be nearly everything I post here). It was an interesting experiment and I did learn a few things as a result, however.

And to round it all off, here’s a couple panorama pictures I took with my phone. Naturally, these, particularly the first one, are shockingly sharp and high-res, especially considering the full-size images are 30% of the original size.


An entomological interlude May 1, 2017

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Pictures taken 23 April 2017 at the butterfly conservatory in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

An autumnal interlude October 16, 2016

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Pictures taken 10 October 2016 in Huntsville, Ontario. The third image is the only one with any post-processing done to it (and I’m still not that happy with it, but I am only using my tablet’s built-in image editing).

Playtime March 29, 2016

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Up until last weekend, I hadn’t been picking up my camera much this year. Which is incredibly unfortunate, as late last year I was given an external flash and my indoor photography quality has skyrocketed as a result, though I am still learning how to use it.

However, yesterday I did an impromptu photo session and took a few (dozen) shots while my cat was feeling playful, so here are the best ones. I hope you enjoy them.


2015 art update September 3, 2015

Posted by thejinx in art, books, enduring chaos, photography.
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In short, I still haven’t done much of it. However, in my typical way, I have done a bit of dabbling, and at times perhaps I have been doing more drawing than much of the time over the past few years, even if it is just sketches. The beginning of the year, in particular, saw me picking up the sketchbook a little more frequently:

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 I have also done some character designs on my tablet:

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More recently, after having the materials for upwards of a couple years, I finally tried my hand at some proper wire wrapping:


And finally, earlier this year I upgraded to a proper DSLR camera, with which I am very pleased:


New art! March 10, 2014

Posted by thejinx in art, enduring chaos.
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Well, hi there! Long time no write. (Of course, if you’ve been a viewer of this blog for very long, this should come as little surprise.) There is plenty that I should write about – like the fact that I never mentioned that Enduring Chaos is now on sale – but for now, I’m going to deflect attention by showing off some new art.

The latest, completed yesterday:


This one’s been a while coming, as I originally sketched it in 2010 or 2011, then updated the sketch, inked, and started colouring it last summer before finishing it over the past few days.


Terra and Sabin from the video game Final Fantasy VI. For my friend’s wedding, her mother put out squares of cloth on a table at the reception with fabric markers for guests to write messages to the newlyweds, which she then planned to sew together into a quilt. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my plans to attend the wedding last minute, but the mother of the bride shipped me a square so I could contribute to the quilt.


The Avengers, my jack-o’-lanterns for last Halloween. Original art not by me, I only converted the images to pumpkin format and carved them.

And some progress images from the cover art for Enduring Chaos:

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The complete background of the cover art, painted from a photo I took a few years ago; the characters, before effects and some fine tuning done after combining the two; and the completed front cover sans text.