Archive | October 2012

In the meantime

Okay, I’m going to work on that image some more. Let’s hope I actually get somewhere.

I took a walk with my mom and sisters yesterday. It’s a good time of year to walk and talk. Though I don’t remember much of what we talked about except that part of it was writing. See, it’s something all five of us relate to in some small way. On my part it’s a matter of ‘yeah, it’d be cool if I had a story running around in my head to entertain me in the time between going to bed and actually falling asleep.’

So while I’m still working on that image, which will be done before the end of the week, here’s a picture I took from that walk.

 

 

Every once in a while I think it might be fun to take up photography as a hobby. I don’t know anything about photography, however, and the LCD screen on my camera is broken, but it would have it’s advantages. Mostly the fact that I might have time for photography while I’m at school next year, whereas I will not have much time for art. I like having nice pictures, and knowing that I took them. It’s just one of those things that brings… satisfaction.

 

A Christmas Carol

I have an audio version of A Christmas Carol in my itunes. I love it to death. I remember when I first heard it a little less than a year ago. It surprised me. I’d seen a couple of movie adaptions, but they had never been, for me as a child, Christmas entertainment. But I love listening to stories, and the Mormon Channel had a whole radio performance on their website, free for download. And the narrator, oh the narrator, has the most heart-melting voice in the world. It was quite a pleasure to listend.

Even moreso when I realized that the story was actually funny. I had no idea. I haven’t experienced a lot of Dickens, except that of watching the musical Oliver and a few excerpts from his book in English classes- none of which were particularly cheerful. So imagine my surprise when the first thing the book says is; “Marley was dead, to begin with. There can be no doubt whatever about that.” And then proceed to wonder at the expression ‘dead as a doornail.’

It was a strange delight that one gets, to have the most beautiful voice in the world make you laugh. I had to listen to the rest of it. And it was, I declare, a most wonderful story- all the better for the auido performance that was given. It was… funny, as I said before. Funny in ways that, despite being written so long ago, you can still easily understand and enjoy (unlike Shakespeare, who you can enjoy- but not usually before reading the footnotes). But also serious and emotional where it needed to be. The language was… beautiful.

It was such an experience, listening to it. I quite fell in love with it. It was one of those times when you finish reading, or listening, to a book and you feel… different afterwards. Like you just returned from a trip to an immortal realm, and now your back to real life, but it feels different.

That must sound really cheesy or melodramatic. Ah well. I can’t think of a better way to describe it.

Anyway, I was thinking of A Christmas Carol last night, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it. It’s definately something worth sharing.

Problems

It is so tempting to give up on this image. It’s going so slowly, and I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. It would look so great if I could get it right, but I don’t know how to get it right. I have to keep changing things to make it hopefully look better.

And another thing, my cell phone issues are not quite as cleared up as I would like them to be. So I’ve got to get that figured out, since I’d prefer to have a working cellphone than not.

There could be more troubles tomorrow if my driving skills have to be counted on. I hope that will not be the case.

It is most frustrating. Especially my latest artwork.

I’d probably take a break from it, the trouble is that I don’t have a lot of other projects going on right now. But I’ve got to do something to keep my mind occupied, and myself busy.

But for the sake of leaving on a happy note; I love Fall. Fall is a good season. The leaves are starting to fall. And the weather is nice. Also, we have a lot of hot chocolate- and I am the biggest sucker in the world for hot chocolate.

Good news all around

So for Kiddo’s birthday, we got him The Avengers. I have to admit, I was a bit doubtful for the first fifteen minutes in the movie. When Iron man showed up it was like “Good, we get some laughs.” Then Thor showed up and the whole movie got better. It was okay as an action flick (but really, explosions and gun fights get really old really quickly for me), but what makes it a good movie is going to be the characters and the funny lines. And if those weren’t played well- it wouldn’t be that much of a movie. Explosions really really fail to impress anymore. They’re nothing new. If you want an action flick to appeal to me, try a bit of good old PG swashbuckling. But we had fun anyway and got some good laughs. My favorite is Thor, followed by Iron man, and then The Hulk.

And I am making progress on my next image. I hope it’s good progress, but it’s really hard to tell until it starts coming together, and I’m kind of jumping around the place with my coloring- since I’m not exactly sure what to do until I start doing it. I got a fair amount done yesterday. I hope to be able to convince myself to do a fair amount today as well. I’ve discovered that I can watch Gargoyles while coloring- and as I have said, it helps to have something new to watch while you color. I find the references to Shakespeare particularly interesting. Like the four-episode arch with Macbeth. But I also got to see an episode with Puck. My brother showed me this episode before, because he knew I had a fondness for Puck. And he was definately fun. I’m also interested by the fact that one of the villians got married, and his wife is now expecting. Evil Genius Junior. It should be fun.

To top it off, I think I have the cellphone issue fairly well cleared up.

Yes, and I am determined that today shall be a good day- one in which I will get a lot of work done I hope. I got to keep these images coming so I can have plenty of options for my 2013 calendars.

 

Calm down, game on

So… I think I overreacted yesterday. I was probably just a little frustrated with my image. It looks a little better now. Not that I have done anything to it since last I wrote, except trying to reworkt he hair as best I could so that it looks a little more real (and that was a bit difficult, seeing as I had already colored it black). But sometimes leaving an image alone for a while does much to improve the way it looks to me. It still doesn’t look like much, but then I don’t have a lot of color down. I am determined to at least be happy that the stone wall looks good.In fact, I was thinking yesterday as I looked at it, that the grey stone is really cool when you cast subtle shades of blue, green, or purple in there. I should really utilize that and play it up in one of my future images.

It just… seems a little unnatrual. I don’t usually do guys. Last year I only did one image that featured only a guy, and that was because I had an idea already in my mind. This time the image was specifically created to add in a guy. He’s good enough looking, I suppose, but I don’t think my art really does him justice. But different is good right? Helps change things up a little bit. So there’s that, and the background, and the dragon. I used to draw dragons all the time. But I haven’t in a while. I wonder what color he’ll be. But I figure that won’t be decided until I finish the background- though right now I’m thinking blue.

Well, wish me luck that I won’t ruin this image.

 

 

Okay, I’ve worked on the image for a little bit. Now things are really starting to get interesting, because I’m adding an element I haven’t really done before; mist. I mean- yeah, mist is beautiful to look at, but how exactly do you translate what you see and what you remember into art through colored pencils? Well I’m going to find out, but it’s tricky business.

In the meantime, I’ve got cell phone issues that I need to deal with. Grr. And we are celebrating Kiddo’s birthday today. Boy, that one was a fun one to work out. Apparently this entire week is pretty busy, espcially for some of the siblings. Even today wasn’t ideal, but it was the closest we could get. When did the family get to be so busy? Or maybe it always was.

But the plan is to find something to listen to or watch that will help keep me going on this image, dispite the fact that I don’t really know what I’m doing, and do as much as I can before we move into birthday celebrations.

 

Aaaaaah! What did I do to myself?

Okay, I know this is the second post in one day, but… well…

I started coloring my new image to day and wasn’t enjoying it as much as I would hope. I also realized that the pallette thus far looks very similar to my last image (it’s my fault for putting in another stone wall). So I decided to take a break this evening.

The problem is that I often don’t know what to do if I’m not working. But I ended up wondering into Mom’s room and reading through her book about how to draw kung fu comics. Comics, as I have said, are a good way to improve your art skills. So I looked at some of the ideas the author suggested for drawing people. Then I went back to my work area and drew out one of my characters using what I read about doing hair.

And it looks so much better!

It was a simple thing too. Figures. Such a simple thing, and now my mind is on overdrive and I think I can revolutionize all my character designs. Hopefully at the same time, I can learn how to draw folds in clothing. That was my I was looking at the kung fu drawing book to begin with.

The problem is… now I look at the image I’m working on (and I’ll probably do this to all of my other images) and I go “AH NOOOO! IT’S ALL WROOOONG!” I’m not sure this will do much to make me want to continue the image I’m working on right now. Or work on any calendar image at all. Now I just want to striaght up draw all my characters. But I’ve got to do more calendar images, Mom’s wants to send a calendar to my grandparents. And I want to make sure they get good images, especially since I’ve spent all this time on them.

Such a simple way to improve the hair though, so that it looks a little bit like it was actually growing out of the head. Why couldn’t I have discovered this years ago? That’s the problem with me. I learn primarily by experimenting, but it would be to my benefit if I actually took classes or read books on it, like I did today.

The world continues to amaze me, and it does it with the simplest revelations. It’s almost upsetting. I find it hard to take myself seriously as an artist, when there’s still a lot I have to learn. And I’m learning things continually. It’s like… like actually becoming good at a particular talent, like art, is such a far distant thing that you can’t expect to reach anytime in the near future. I mean, I’m twenty years old now, and I’ve been drawing… for a long time. I’m certainly much happier with my work now than I ever was in my first three years of high school. But there’s still a lot more I can do to improve. A lot more. And it’s going to take even more time to get there.

There is a reason why patience is a virtue. I mean, it’s one thing to be able to not throw a fit or get frustrated when you have to wait for somebody or something to happen before you can move on. It is quite another thing to say, “Yeah, I have potential as an artist. Why, given another ten or twenty years, I might actually be a good one.”

*Huffs. I need to draw more. A lot more. Yep, there will be a lot of doodling whilst I am in school next year. I wonder what sort of artwork I’ll have turned out by the end of 2013?

 

Some people are amazing + info on my next image

Yesterday I had a pleasent surprise, a visit from an old friend. He was one of our former Home Teachers, but he and his family moved away in 2006 (I think) for military. Sometimes when he is back in the neighborhood, he will stop by and visit. I really don’t know if I have met his equal for cheerfulness and good humor. You can’t help but laugh when he’s around. And instant friend, and always good for a chuckle. And so open too! He was just visiting us for maybe twenty minutes, but he was showing us pictures of his famiy and sharing stories, it was wonderful to see him again.

Some people wow the world with their achievements and accomplishments, this guy make the world better just by being who he is, a happy, funny person who can just put you at ease.

When I was at BYU-I, one of the girls in my apartment complex had a similar way of making the world a better place. I remember when we first met her, my sister and I were walking back from our last classes of the day. And this girl met us on the way back to the apartment. She recognised us from church, and she began conversing with us. As we got closer to home, she asked if we liked homemade bread. Do I like homemade bread? Who doesn’t? So she invited us to her apartment and fed my sister and I homemade bread. And from that day on, she would often invite us to her apartment for food. Which is, by the way, the quickest way to my heart.

I have been incredibly blessed to have many other good people in my life. Family, of course. I love the fact that my older brother still acts as my counciler, even though he’s hundreds of miles away and I only hear from him once a week. And I’ve had great roommates. One of them baked a lot- which naturally endeared her to me. But she was also very helpful to me and my sister. She’s graduated now and I wish her the best in life. I think she’ll do amazing things. Some others… well, some it looks like I’ll be able to room again with 🙂

 

Now, my next image. The challenge was to do a guy. This isn’t really all that hard, I do draw guys you know. But it is hard to come up with something for them to do that would fill up enough of a page to make a good calandar image. Especially since it has to be different than things I’ve done before. But I did come up with something. I even harken back to the old days, when I used to draw dragons a lot. Basically, Drako (the name of the guy I ended up drawing) has a ‘shoulder dragon.’ Back when I was younger, I envisioned a domestic dragon that would hang out on your shoulder, like a parrot might, and that his diet consisted of meantballs- unlike full-sized dragons, who ate pancakes. So that’s what Drako has perched on his arm in this next image. The background has a stone wall in it. I couldn’t help it. I wasn’t sure what to do and… well… I liked the stone wall that I did in the last image, and it didn’t get a lot of response. But instead of taking up the whole background, it’s just a small wall in the back. Something an adult could probably climb over. The rest is hills and a few trees. I’m hoping to create a sort of misty effect as you go further back.

Actually, I was having difficulty with the background. Besides not being something particularly spectacular, I couldn’t find a way to link Drako to the background. See, while Lori was thinking about how all of my calandar images had girls, I was thinking “I wonder if the backgrounds feel to disconnected from the featured female, I don’t want them to look like an afterthought, even though sometimes that is the case.” And as for Drako, or any of my guy characters, he didn’t… shall we say… come with a background in mind. So I had to create one. And then, just before I started coloring, it seemed like I was missing something. It’s hard to explain these nudges. But I thought, ‘What I need is Kimodo in the background.’

Let me explain, I have made up these characters before. There are three siblings, Wyvren, Drako, and Kimodo (yes, I know, theme naming, deal with it). Before you ask, no- I have not written a story with them. All I’ve used them for is a comic that I wrote, purely to entertain myself- so it doesn’t make sense. But the advantage of writing a comic is that it helps you in your art. It helped me learn to draw people in certain positions, and to get better at hands in particular.

Anyway, I was thinking about Kimodo, because I was trying to think more of the story of the image. This has been one of the comments about my art in general that I hope to stay true to, and that is that my images have a story to them. And I didn’t think “This image was to prove to my sister that I can do guys in my artwork” made a good story. But there he is, with his dragon, and a wall and hills in the distance. So what’s he doing out there? Well, maybe him and his dragon are thinking about going outside the wall and into the unknown. And then Kimodo came to mind.

In the comic, the oldest brother- Wyvwren, is the Evil Overlord and Kimodo is going to succeed him. She’s only ten, but she’s preparing to be a world class Evil Overlord. Drako is either ‘assigned’ by Overlord Wyvren to chaparone Kimodo as she goes on her escapades, or Kimodo drags Drako along with her. Drako just goes with it. He likes being out and about and watching over Kimodo, even if he isn’t into the whole ‘world domination’ gig. In the image, she his already behind the stone wall, and is calling to him.

Creative people rattle my mind

I wrote to my brother about my art, how I was feeling good about it until last Saturday. You may recall the mood I was in when I wrote that day. And Ben, like the awesome guy that he is, wrote back regaurding my artwork. He said that “art standing by itself is almost invariably of less value than art applied to something.” After illustrating this point, he gave this advice; “If I were to give you a suggestion it would be to see what you can do by way of combining your ability to create images with your desire to create a faerie tale feel, probably aming for an effective child’s story. Keep the story/writing simple and short and remember that it does not have to make sense completely to use your images to tell much of it.”

My first reaction was, “Oh my goodness, he thinks I should write children’s books.” Anybody who has actually been keeping up with my blog posts may recall that I have ranted about this before. Teachers and other people have told me that I could write and illustrate children’s books. I don’t quite remember what I said in that earlier blog post, but it was probably something on the lines of “Have you guys loooked at any children’s books lately?” Maybe I grew up to Dad reading The Eleventh Hour as a bedtime story. Have you guys read any Greame Base books? You should. They are gorgeous. But anyway, my mental reaction to the claim that I could write and illustrate children’s books has always been, “Don’t be rediculous.”

But I tend to give my brother a bit more credibility than my teachers or the ladies at my church. Because he’s seen the process. As I’ve said before, the experience that the creater has is way different than the one on the recieving end of things. Maybe I also give him more credibilty because he didn’t outright say ‘you could write children’s books.’ He always has an interesting way of wording things. And maybe it is also because he doesn’t imply that what I do could or should be published. It makes the suggestion less of a ‘don’t be rediculous’ kind of thing.

 

Well, I pondered what he said, and seeing as I’m having a bit of an artist block (featured guys are not nearly as easy to work with as featured females), I decided to look up Greame Base. This is so me. If all else fails, do a google search. So I googled him. And it turned out to be really interesting. Something you must know about me is that I love ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. I love watching special features and commentaries on movies, I love looking at all the background information that they give you on your program when you go to see a performance, and I like interviews and documentaries that talk about the creative process. I love, love, love it. I just eat it up. And I found an interview with Greame Base.

Such a neat experience. I mean, when you’re a kid (well actually, I think I was an early teen when I read some Greame Base books other than The Eleventh Hour) and you are looking at all these beautiful pictures (and they are gorgeous) it doesn’t usually occur to you that, “Hey, I could just hop on youtube and actually see this guy’s face and hear him describe to us who he is and how is work is created.” It just brings things a little closer. And the interview ended with a certain website (www.authormagazine.org) and there I listened to two more interviews; Tamora Pierce- who’s books I haven’t read, but I remember seeing her name as I walk through the selves of the library, and Louis Sachar- who wrote the Wayside School stories and will always have a place in my heart for that reason. And that was especially interesting, because not only have I read those books, but I’ve heard his voice reading those books on the book on C.D that I was listening to a few weeks ago. So I read his books, then heard his voice, and the interview was a video, so I could see his face. Also while I was at this site, I read an artical titled; Writing Sucks, Don’t Do It. Or something like that.

Facinating. Especially these people who make a living off of their creative works. That is crazy. It takes… faith, for lack of a better term than ‘crazy.’ Like Louis Sachar, when he was talking about being torn between law and writing and how he kept thinking, “I should get a job, I should get a job.” And then he said, “And I kept telling myself that for four years.” Then he realized that he had already made his decision, so he should stop kicking himself about it. Wow.

 

Creative people are crazy, but I have the highest respect for them. Moreso when I realize how crazy they are. It makes me wonder about the stuff I do. Maybe if I’m to actually do something with this, I’m going to have to be a bit more passionate.

I just remembered something from National Treasure.

Ben: “Go one step short of crazy, what do you get?”

Wriley: “…. Obsessed?”

Ben: “Passionate.”

Yep. So here I am knocked in to a contemplative stupor. Again. Human beings amaze me. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio” and all that. And this was all put into motion by something my brother said in an e-mail. It’s all so very… interesting.

 

Scheherazade

Last night I was thinking about how I would like to write a story. Not so much because I like writing, but I like stories- and I would like to have one to play around with. I would really like to write a fairy tale, or a fairy tale retelling, or a story that took place in a world that combined fairy tales.

Well, a lot of my freethinking happens at night, when I’m laying in bed before I go to sleep. And for some reason I was thinking about Scheherazade. It’s not as random as you think. The other day I did a wikipedia search on ‘folklore.’ I just wanted to know what constitutes ‘folklore,’ and if I could find some examples of stories or something. And it had a list of links, to help you understand the differences between fairy tales, fables, myths, ledgends, anecdotes, etc. And somewhere in one of those links, I saw a link to Scheherazade. I knew, of course, that she was she told a thousand stories over a thousand and one nights, so that she wouldn’t be killed by her husband who killed all of his wives the morning after he married. ‘Well that’s pleasent,’ I thought. But I couldn’t quite remember why he had the urge to have all of these beheadings, so I looked it up. Apparently, he was upset because one day he discovered his wife had not been faithful to him. So then he would marry a virgin, and kill her the next day before she could be unfaithful to him.

Apparently, the guy takes the Queen of Hearts solution to his anger management problems.

Anyway, I was thinking about this last night, and I thought that the way you would turn the story into something more kid-friendly was to say that the reason Scheherazade had to tell a thousand tales was not so that she could save her life, but she had to do it to save his life. Save his life from what, you may ask. Well, in my kid-friendly story, the King is just so weighed down with the burden of being king, that he is resolved to run away and join the circus the next day. His wife isn’t too happy when she hears this. They had an arranged marriage, and they didn’t really know eachother beforehand, but the queen- Scheherazade, really likes the King and she doesn’t want him to leave her (the king is totally oblivious to the fact that his wife has a crush on him). So she tells him the stories, and then stops in the middle, so that he doesn’t run away to join the circus the next day so that he can hear the rest of the story. She keeps doing this, and by the time the silly fool catches on, he has started to love his wife too and doesn’t want to leave her.

Yeah, I know. The things I come up with just before dropping off to sleep. Hey, I never claimed stories were my forte. But I typed it up nevertheless. I actually set it up as a sort of frame story. A girl asks her Dad to tell her the story of Scheherazade, and her Dad tells her this story- which he considers more appropriate for a six-year-old than the original. If I ever did come up with more stories, or modified versions of stories, then I figure they would also be told as bedtime stories to her. If the style of the story is different (for instance, I can play one fairy tale retelling straight or do a parody- with a more comic spin to it) then the reason why they are different is because she asked someone else to tell her a story.

I figure if I keep this up… it may be another fifty years before I can create a story (or enough short stories) that’s actually any good. It may only be thirty years before I create some artwork that is really good.

There you have it

It strange how things work somtimes. Friday I was really excited about my art and the things I was doing with it. Saturday I felt really discouraged. I’ve been working so many hours to get to be as good as I am at art, and I’m not yet at a level where my work is really worth a lot.  I kept wondering if there was something else I could do with my art besides make it a sellable product, like the calendars I keep talking about. The problem is that I don’t know what.

I have to say, something I’m really tempted to do is to cut up one of my old calendars. It’s a calendar I created out of the images I did last year. And it was actually really useful, not because I actually used the calendar much (although it was convinently there when I needed to get a look at the month). Rather, it was just really easy to pull it out when people told me they wanted to see my artwork. So instead of shuffling around inside my clipboard- I could just take the calendar down. But, I’m not as happy with some of the images now as I was last year. So part of me does want to take some of the pictures and then crop them down to just the parts that look good.

Of course, I don’t know what I’d do with them then. I could create a scrapbook: Art to Inspire. Where I would talk about the image and the inspiration behind it. Or maybe I could just show the progression that has happened over the years. “As you can see, at the age 19, I still didn’t know how to draw convinceing clouds. But because I did not give up, I continued in my efforts and only a year later I was able to do more more believable clouds. You too can be the most wonderful cloud artist in the world, if you never stop trying, and always believe.” Or I could turn at least two of the images into an accordian project- where it looks like one image if you look at it from one angle, and a different image when you look at it from another angle. Except the only time I’ve done one of those was in high school where I was provided with all of the materials.

Or… I could just keep it and continue to show it off to people who want to see my artwork.