Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Peeking Out of the Rabbit Hole ~ My Art, Other than Writing


I don't talk a lot, because I'm writing a lot. I'm also anxious...a lot. Talking to people clearly will lead to the zombie apocalypse, so I don't do it.  It's just safer for everyone that way. Trust me.

Because I do honestly believe that speaking to others, be it in person or via social media will spell doom (I am truthfully spinning into a mania while I type this and I will cry about it later.), I struggle to make good use of this blog. I would like the content to create itself magically. I need gnomes.

But before I get too far afield, the purpose of this post is to let everyone know that I'm going to work at maintaining a stronger presence. I have to, if I ever want to open up a Dryth Chronicles forum and chat with people about mystics, elves, dragons, dwarves, giants, etc.. (And I really would like to.)

I shall begin by sharing art, which I have almost no time for while on a legitimate publishing schedule. Still, I do fit it in when I can. I love to doodle, and I manage that more often than not. Drawing is something I once did lots and now do very little.  The same can be said for painting (though my manner of digital painting is completely mutated from any traditional form through necessity of having to use a mouse only.  I call it molding. I'll explain more about the technique later).

So, in an effort to get me to dedicate more time to visual art, I received a gift.


This set came with the Slate itself, a sketchpad, cable, clips to hold the paper in place, and both a pen and pencil with the 'magic' rings. The rings enable you to draw with physical media on physical paper and simultaneously saves a digital version, which you can work with in the companion app and also in a program of your choice, such as Photoshop. It will export a .psd file, among others. It eliminates the scanning part of the process, essentially, and also allows you to build/save your sketch in layers.



I've only had the opportunity to just do some quick doodles so far, but it has a lot of promise. I've always avoided drawing tablets because I felt very disconnected from the art (hence my mutated style of painting on the computer), but this enabled me to draw comfortably. It syncs well and does allow you to center your page whenever necessary.  That said, I did fumble a bit with it at first and managed to get my lines off a few times. Having virtually no experience with a drawing tablet of any kind, that's probably to be expected. Those with experience would likely have no issue whatsoever.

Here's a video of a doodle using the Slate. I found the coloring options whimsical and fun, though I would save any serious rendering for Photoshop, as there are few color options and limited brush tips. The rings do not process the color of any pen or pencil you may use, but, if the ring fits, you can use any pen or pencil. Instructions are included on how to fit the rings.

video


Here's some of my digital style that I concoct in Photoshop, via my 'molding' process, which can be summarized as creating a glob of texture and color and then sculpting/molding it into shape by using the smudge/finger painting tools. Details are done in much the same way, then refined through use of eraser and smudge brushes, and shading tools and techniques. (I may stream the process in the future.)


I have mainly studied faces, and they take me many, many long hours. I plan to incorporate full body and full scene over time, by better maximizing the time I have. Most of my drawing experience has been in designing my own characters and a lengthy, early period of studying to draw graphic novels (I experimented with that option once, but writing always wins.) I also enjoy drawing/painting animals and beasts. Architecture and landscapes are my weakest skill. I have previous professional experience in design and like to create design elements, which tend to come from my doodles.

I also work with needles and thread. I manage to get at least an hour in for embroidery every night, which helps to settle my racing mind down at the end of the day. I use patterns sometimes, but mostly, I free-stitch.

I've been working on this project for nearly a year.  I started with the peacock, then built the frame and filled it in. There are thousands of stitches here.




And that's what I do, other than write. Now to save this puppy as a draft and bury it(or press 'publish' and run away).






Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Bone Tree






Ma Shou, disgraced mystic of Sheng Fan, is captured by imperial forces during the Southern Campaign of the Celestial Year 279 and sentenced to stay at the school on the top of Mount Ding Fa.

Having spent months in the presence of the necromancer, Lei Kui, Ma Shou feels that the darkness of the shunned mystic has followed him. It is hoped that the Supreme Astralmancer Che Wen Tai will be able to sever the threads of the necromancer’s enchantment, but they seem spun of the essence of the Spirit of Death itself, and they seem to be pulling Ma Shou ever nearer to the depths of the Infernal Regions.

All the while, the mysterious Bone Tree looms over the school, promising the ruination of the land and the destruction of its people.  For Ma Shou, it is a beacon, a marker at the gates of the eternal prison of the damned.  The souls of the dead seek release.

In the summer of the Celestial Year 280, Ma Shou disappeared from the school on Mount Ding Fa without a trace.

Coming December 30th, 2016


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cover Reveal: Raventide (Fifth Anniversary Edition)




Some secrets are better left forgotten... 

Drayden Torvannes has made a career out of uncovering secrets of the past. When he receives a peculiar summons to one of the more elite houses in the city of Vindra, he is prepared to take on a new research assignment for a modest fee and more experience to his career. He is not prepared for the proposition offered to him by Elarien Fannael, a compelling young man whose past has been left to him in fragments that begin with a ring, a family heirloom carrying memories and truth. Elarien is willing to pay a prince's fortune for answers. All Drayden has to do is uncover them, but can he against the disapproval and secrecy of the Fannael family, and against obstacles and adversaries that continue to grow as his research brings him to the nearby and haunted town of Raventide? 

Enshrouded in the mystery of a famous and grisly murder, the town promises not only answers, but danger for Drayden as he sinks further into a well of conspiracy, betrayal, and madness. Not only his livelihood, but his life become a running goal that he must chase through the elevated tiers of Vindran society, into its cavernous underbelly, and through the mystery of the town in its shadow as he races against time to uncover the most dangerous secret of his career.

Coming October 18th





Friday, July 22, 2016

Cover Reveal: Four Barbarian Generals (Celestial Empire Book 3)




Cover Illustration by Charlie Creber (creberart@gmail.com)

Han Quan’s dragon has been put to rest.  The Empire beholds a moment of peace, a brief hour of victory, though at great cost.  

The Imperial City has suffered significant damage from the dragon’s assault, the turmoil between the Five Kingdoms has escalated in the face of a continuing rise of dark forces now attributed as a curse upon the Song Dynasty, and Han Quan himself remains at large.  Pursuit of the geomancer uncovers secrets connected to the persisting influence of the late Scholar General, and to the School of the Seven Mystics itself. 

While the Phoenix continues to rise through Xu Liang, the dragons of the mortal plane begin to awaken.  And as the southern kingdoms unite and rise against Xu Liang and his barbarian allies, the people of Ji continue to look to their ‘Silent Emperor’, some believing that he is favored by the gods, even above the Empress herself. 

With Ying threatening to turn away from the Mandate and Du promising to join the southern rebellion, it seems that the heart of the Empire stands alone, unaware that the efforts of the Barbarian Generals will help determine the outcome of this battle between kingdoms. 

Coming October 2016