Archive | October 2013

The transition stage

Those of you looking for an explanation behind The Seer’s Pool, it’s in the post down below.

I like it a bit better now that I’ve had time to sleep on it. Still, I’m not quite at the level that I would like to be at– notwithstanding the compliments I’ve been getting from people. I need that encouragement from other people to keep doing my work, but the fact that they like the image doesn’t really help me to like it more. I just get a boost of energy that makes me want to start the next work so that I can do better. Yesterday I was so exhausted after having finished that image. I was completely drained, because I struggled a lot with it and it still wasn’t as brilliant as I wanted it to be. So I took a nap, which threw me off for the rest of the day but at the end I pulled myself together and created a concept sketch for my next image. As Shakespeare would say, all’s well that ends well (although I shall never think of that phrase in the same way since I’ve seen the actual play under that title.)

But moving on to more temporal matters. My family is in a weird transition stage. Two of us are collage students, one of us is due to graduate next year, and one has been a missionary for the last two years and will be returning shortly. He’ll work for about a year before returning to school. This creates an interesting sort of dynamic. For example, suddenly a greater majority of the family is becoming more financially conscience and concerned about the future. It’s good to know I’m not the only in the family who has that tendency, though I’m sure we’ll be fine. There’s also the fact that we’ll be going our own separate ways soon enough, so this is the time to be doing things together as a family while we’re all still here. That’s part of the reason why this October was going to be so… full.

Hah, and they said that being a teenager was hard.

Still, I’m grateful that I do get to be here and have movie nights with my sisters and stuff. I’m grateful for Dad’s homemade pizza and for Autumn in Ohio. I’m grateful for Studio C and their dedication to providing clean entertainment and to the Piano guys for producing uplifting music. I’m grateful that my parents are working together to help Mom get her work out there into the world. I’m also grateful that said parents have been supporting me in the development of my talents. Life is still good.

New Image: Pool of Sight

I talked a little bit about this image in previous posts, but for the convenience of those coming over from Facebook, I’m just going to repeat myself a bit.

 

 

I’m basing this image off of one of the very first stories I ever came up with. It should have a kind of a folk-lore feel to it.

Basically, it’s about an artist. She was highly gifted, and much beloved of the fairies. They welcomed her into their realm, and her work caught the attention of the fairy king. He befriended her, and gave her his trust. He even let her use the Seer’s Pool to inspire her artwork. When you look on it’s still surface, you can see into other times and places. It is said that if you drink from it, you gain the gift of prophesy, yet all those who have tried drinking from it have gone mad. But the artist had no intention of drinking from the pool. She was content to look upon it, and find inspiration for her artwork. Then one day, she betrayed the trust of the king and stole water from the Seer’s Pool. However, instead of drinking the water, she mixed it in with her paint (meaning she’s most likely either a watercolor artist or she uses tempera paint). Since then her paintings were said to hold prophesies. She was banished from the fairy realm.

I struggled with the composition of this image, until I decided to add Sandra. It’s a bit of an inaccuracy, because the painter is banished before Sandra comes to live in the fairy realm. But the picture wouldn’t really work without her, which is sort of fitting for her character- even if she doesn’t do much, she’s always there. Besides, I read recently an author’s blog where she discussed cover art and how the artist would change the heoroine’s hair color so that it could stand out against a dark background. If professional artists can create those sort of inaccuracies with other people’s work, I should be allowed to take lisence of my own for the sake of composition.

Now, I’ve had this story thing since high school, but it was only this last year when I was doodling in class that I decided that I wanted the pool to be inside a hollow tree-trunck sort of thing, with part of it twisting around the way it does. I figured that it would look really great, if done right.

Over all…. the image is not as brilliantly spectacular as I would like, but it’s decent enough I suppose.

Goal in sight

My goal was to finish The Pool of Sight in three days. That means I would have to finish it today. I think it can be done, but it’s hard to keep going. I tell you, backgrounds. They’re the most draining part of an image. Coloring pretty dresses is fun, but trees… that’s just tiring. It’s hard to keep motivated at this stage of the image. But I still want to get it done today. Even though I’m not sure the quality of my images have greatly improved from last year, they have not diminished. Yet I’m still managing to get them done a bit faster. That’s good, especially since I had one less month to do them in than I normally do each year. Extended road trips are not ideal for doing colored pencil artwork.

 

17 hours later

Clearly my hopes of finishing on time were in strict contradiction to everything I have ever learned through experience about backgrounds. They take a long time to do. And they’re tricky. It’s not something that gets a lot of focus in art classes, so I have to figure out how to do them myself, and often that is through a process of trial and error. I finished coloring the background. Technically. Then I decided it looked all wrong, so now I’m trying desperately to fix it, but I don’t know how, and sometimes layering on top of colored pencil can be tricky. What I have done is an improvement, hopefully I can get it to a place where I can be satisfied, but I’m not going to hold my breath for long.

 

The Pool of Sight

I’m working on my latest image. I think this is my favorite so far, especially as far as composition goes. At first I had now idea how I was going to get the composition to work, but it got better after I added a few people. The original plan was one, then two, and now it’s three. In that way it’s a little bit different from the story the image is based on, which would have had one or two at the most. But I added in Sandra, and the image looked a whole lot better. I guess it’s a bit fitting for Sandra anyway, since she’s always in my head, but she doesn’t typically do a lot. She’s just… there. She completes the story or the image, even though she doesn’t have a very large active role.

Coloring is going slowly, but I did manage to finish up the main focus of the image, which is the Pool of Sight. Now, this story is one that I’ve had in my head since I was in high school, but it was only this last year that I had a neat idea for the Pool. I wanted it to kind of be in a hollow tree trunk, that has sort of twisted around it, so it has really sinuous lines. Hopefully it looks kind of elegant and mystical and not your average enchanted puddle of water. It looks great, I just have to make sure the rest of the image does too.

 

Life’s good right now. I can’t seem to get myself to stop doing artwork. I just go from one image right to the next. It’s a natural thing now. And even though I’m not entirely happy with the images I’ve been coming out with, I think there are some good things ahead. I just have to make sure I don’t give up before that time.

New Image: Bree and Helmer

Finished my latest image today.

 

 

It’s nice I guess, but I’m thinking that my next image will pack a little bit more punch. I like the background, but I feel like the image relies to heavily on that background and the color palette for visual impact. In my next image, the subject matter is going to be what stands out. It’ll be part of a story. Literally. I’m basing this image off of one of the very first stories I ever came up with. It has kind of a folk lore feel to it.

Basically, it’s about an artist. She was highly gifted, and much beloved of the fairies. They welcomed her into their realm, and her work caught the attention of the fairy king. He befriended her, and she gained his trust. He even let her use the Seer’s Pool. When you look on it’s still surface, you can see into other times and places. It is said that if you drink from it, you gain the gift of prophesy, but all those who have tried drinking from it have gone mad. But the artist had no intention of drinking from the pool. She was content to look upon it, and find inspiration for her artwork. Then one day, she betrayed the trust of the king and stole water from the Seer’s Pool. However, instead of drinking the water, she mixed it in with her paint. Since then her paintings were said to hold prophesies. She was banished from the fairy realm.

The hope is that I can get this right, and that’s easier said than done. The composition of this image, as well as the coloring, is going to be difficult. Especially for what I have in mind for the pool itself.

Magical October

It has been a long time since I’ve been able to sleep in this late. It’s kind of lovely. And I wake to the sound of rain. That’s lovely too. It wouldn’t be if I had to go outside, but since I don’t it gets to be magical.

There are a lot of wonderful things happening this October. One of my friends came back home from his mission yesterday. My brother will be coming home from his mission later this month. When he comes home, we will almost certainly go to the Indian Mound– which is a beautiful place and I love going there. My other brother’s birthday will shortly follow, during a three-day weekend for my siblings. Studio C season 3 will start tomorrow. My two best friends get to be together again (I won’t be there with them, but it’s great anyway). The next Percy Jackson book will be released this month, as will the fifth Phoenix Wright game, Duel Destinies. And, of course, there’s a certain matter of the candy. There’s even the possibility of seeing new faces in Seminary.

I truly believe that gratitude is one of those undervalued virtues. So I think it’s important that every once in a while I talk about the things I’m grateful for here. It’s great to be able to look ahead in anticipation of something lovely.

Bumping back the deadline

Well, it looks like I won’t be able to finish that image as soon as I would like. It’s been hard getting the motivation to keep at it. I suppose the creative urge ebbs and flows like everything else in the world. Hopefully by the end of Monday I’ll have it done. Right now, listening to Beethoven’s Last Night is helping me to keep going. It’s inspiring, in an interesting sort of way.

The color palette is still really nice, early Fall colors.

Problem solving

It’s interesting to me how much I have to… figure out when creating an image. I haven’t actually received a lot of training for my artwork. I took three years in high school, and a semester class my first year in collage. Aside from that, I’ve mostly been training myself and getting a little feedback from my mom. I haven’t even done much by the way of reading art books or anything. Sometimes I’m inspired by the things that I see, for example I remember when I was younger I was watching Pokemon, and I noticed the face shapes of the characters, and started to use that more in my artwork. Stuff like that. Still, there’s a lot I have to figure out on my own. In art class they tend to focus on things like perspective and shading (still things I struggle with, by the way) and so on, but I need to figure out how to do things like create layers of foliage with more detail than just an outline of a bush with texturing.

I find there’s a lot of problem solving in stories too. It’s a matter of having a problem, and then finding the solution to that problem given the abilities and resources that your characters have, it reminds me of D&D a little bit. Currently in my story, I have to figure out how an animated wooden puppet is going to sneak into a building that’s guarded by a bunch of grotesques (which is more technically accurate than gargoyles– which are basically grotesques, or stone figures, that act as water spouts). I’m thinking that grotesques were the security cameras in the sort of medieval-fantasy time period.

In the works

I’m still really uncomfortable with my situation as unemployed. But until I get more of that worked out, I guess there’s still artwork to talk about.

I was looking at some of my blog posts from October of last year. It was fun, most of them discussed the images I was currently working on. I realize I haven’t done as much of that this time, probably partially because my confidence has dropped a bit, and so I didn’t want to commit enough to write about them, but I’m going to try to turn that around. Right now I’m working on a fall picture. But it’s not like many of my other fall pictures, which include a lot of red, the reason being that our scanner seems to have trouble picking up all the shades of red. So I’m trying to do more of every other warm color there is. I’m also making sure I include yellowish greens. The fall colors in Ohio are quite striking, and driving around I’ve noticed a fairy amount of that yellow-green color. I’m also trying to make it really detailed and busy, with different colors of foliage all piled on top of each other. So far it’s not looking quite like I intended, but still workable. It’s got the basic idea of what I wanted.

My featured characters in this image are Bree and Helmer. Bree is especially fun to draw. Drawing people is the easy part, the background is the challenge, especially when that background includes trees, and a lot of mine do.  My goal is to finish it by tomorrow or Saturday. Then I’ll have been able to post three images in one week. I haven’t been able to do that in a long while. And the quality of the images haven’t suffered from the speed from which they were able to finish.

Uncertainty

The problem with art is that I have a lot of intrinsic motivation, but not much by the way of extrinsic motivation. In particular, I’m thinking of a salary. I’ve never really though I have much of a chance at making any sort of money on my art, but I guess I still maintained a hope that I was wrong. I get a lot of positive feedback from other people, in this last year I even got considerable praise from an art major. I give a lot more credit to compliments I receive from art majors. As for everybody else, they’re wonderful and good friends, but good friends don’t always make the best critics. It seems that even though I’ve been acutely aware of that fact, I still allowed myself to think that maybe something would come of my artwork. Looking at it realistically, however, it seems unlikely that I would even make enough to cover the expense of the art supplies. I don’t know why I’m pursuing this so hard, I’m not even an art major. I suppose I could make it into one of my clusters (which is like a half of a minor, I think it’s unique to BYU-I), but I have a hard time in art classes, because I keep comparing myself to others and art becomes stressful.

It’s ironic that people tell you to follow your dreams. When you think about it, it would seem like they’re trying to set you up for failure. You wake up from dreams after all (my dream last night included a high school classmate of mine dancing a Dancing with the Stars style number as the final act of an Extravadance performance.) I have the hardest time trying to wake myself up. I love art, I really do, but I kinda think it would be nice if I got myself to face reality before reality wakes me up from my dream. It wouldn’t be pleasant.

If only I could be sure one way or the other.

 

Anyway, on to a less angsty topic. I had meant to comment more about the relationship between Sandra and Yuki, the featured characters in my most recent image. They aren’t exactly the most sisterly of sisters, but they’re all each other has, until Sandra gets married off to the Fairy King and Yuki-onna starts chasing after a mortal. Of course they have their mother, Ivanna the Snow Queen, but Ivanna’s heart is literally the coldest in the world and she has no love for her daughters, or anybody. Sandra and Yuki are both capable of love, but it’s a struggle for them, especially with Ivanna teaching them that love is nothing but a lot of bio-chemical processes experienced by mortals which one must transcend in order to become free and powerful.

In my mind, Yuki was the one who would defy Ivanna more actively, and would be deliberately antagonistic. Yuki wanted to prove Ivanna wrong about love. But again, Yuki herself struggled with the concept of love, and can be a bit rash and thoughtless at times. Because of that, things turn a bit messy for her. This is where the fairy tale comes in. While she was working one day (think of her as an ice elemental, fey, a spirit of winter), she was seen by a mortal. She vowed she would kill him if he ever told anybody about her, and fey are bound by the vows they make. But the mortal was a handsome young man. She would appear to him later in mortal form, and they eventually get married. As the years go by, she looks more and more fey-like. He tells her one day that she looks like a snow spirit he saw once. According to her promise, Yuki must kill him, but she can’t bear the thought of it, so she breaks that promise– which bears fatal consequences for her. In a twisted kind of way, she died for love. Even in death she was defying Ivanna.

Sandra never gave as much thought to love as Yuki, until she was made part of a marriage of alliance to the Fairy King, who had a great capacity for love. That’s a different story though, and not based on a fairy tale, so I have to make it up myself, which presents a few difficulties.