Tag Archive | work in progress

The gaps you have to fill in

First I thought I’d give you an update on the image I’m working on. You recall I’ve been working on an image which includes water and splashes, something I’ve always wanted to do but could never figure out how it would work. I never would have believed that I could actually be doing it now, and it’s not even that hard! It looks pretty good, so I’ve just got to get the rest of the image to work out and… well, hope for the best. Even if the overall look of the thing doesn’t turn out the way I would like it, I’m already glad I decided to try it out and discover that this sort of thing is actually possible.

 

The second thing I wanted to talk about was… well, it was actually a thought I got from watching Dancing with the Stars. Oftentimes on the show there will be a star who, although not the best dancer, lights up the room when they perform. It’s just a joy and a pleasure to see them. It makes me think about people you know in real life who are like that, the people who make your day better just by being there. There’s an indefinable quality about them. I would really love to be able to emulate that, but I’m not entirely sure how to do that.

Sometimes I think about those times when you’re a kid, and teachers keep asking you what you want to be when you grow up– which, even as a kid, I’ve always thought was something of a stupid question. Especially now that I’m older, I realize there are a lot of things I want to be, but none of them really relate to a career, and few of them are anything directly addressed in school curriculums. Of course education is extremely important in being successful in life, but there are so many gaps you have to fill in yourself.

The best example I can think of right now is comedy. Being funny isn’t easy, yet somehow you manage to get some hilarious people in life. I would love be funny. I’ve always enjoyed being entertained and made to laugh, and I really like the idea of giving that same feeling of pleasure to other people by being funny. But they didn’t offer classes on humor in my high school. So all of my success in academia, all of my study habits and good grades… they didn’t really help me become funnier. So how do some people get to be so funny in real life? Now, I’m not completely sure of the answer, but I’m thinking that rather than having a teacher and coursework, it has more to do just have a sort of awareness and being willing and able to piece things together– like figuring out comedic timing and the nuances of verbal irony and so on. Humor is something we really value in human beings, and yet it’s something we largely leave people to figure out for themselves, maybe out of the mistaken impression that some people are ‘born’ with it and others aren’t, but it’s a talent that takes nurturing like anything else.

That’s the best example I can think of, but there are a lot of other things too– things that are valuable to know but aren’t directly addressed or valued in the school curriculum.

 

 

Behind the mask

Recent success gave me a boost of energy. I’ve gotten the sketch down for my latest image, now I’m focusing on getting some color down. When it comes to coloring an image, that’s largely the grunt work part of the project. Formulated a concept and drawing it out, that’s fun and exciting. But color is a very important part of my work, and would be incomplete without it. Now, coloring this one will be interesting, because it’s so busy, it’s people heavy rather than giving more attention to the environment. Never have I created a calendar image with this many people in it. It’s really exciting, I’ve wanted to do a masquerade scene for the longest time, but never quite managed to get it until now.

 

This image is based off a holiday I created for the world in which most of my characters live. Masquerade Day was created by Twist, one of the Trickster Fate twins. Like our Halloween, Masquerade Day is a time to dress up in costumes and masks and take on a new identity for a time. But those who participate in the Masquerade tend to put more thought and depth into their costumes than we do as trick-or-treaters. The main themes of the day are identity, disguise, and concealment. Masqueraders keep these themes in mind and play with them as they consider what to wear, so that they create a guise with intrinsic significance.

 

For example, one of my characters is a fairy king. I figured he would be a Fool for Masquerade Day. In old times, like if you read Shakespeare or something (there are examples of Fools in King Lear and Twelfth Night) Fools are hired entertainment for royals or nobles (like King Lear or Olivia.) These are jesters, “licensed fools,” and because of their roles they were given a little more leniency by way of the sort of things they were allowed to say in court. Therefore, they’ve become a sort of archetype in literature, probably best demonstrated in King Lear. Because Fools have a certain amount of leeway, they can mock openly and speak freely against… well, people of authority, among others, exposing them as the real fools. As such, Tison the fairy king would think the irony of being a Fool incredibly delicious– then he could mock the way the kingdom was ruled, instead of actually doing the ruling.

 

This is also the kind of costume I would like to wear, were I to participate in Masquerade Day, so I made a cameo in this latest bit of artwork with a Jester’s mask. Meanwhile, I had to come with a different costume for Tison since I took his idea. I figured bird costumes were pretty simple. Then I did some research to see what different birds symbolized to see which was most likely for him. Then I discovered that was a bit tricky, because each bird could symbolize a lot of different things, and there were just a few traits that Tison had which I wanted to represent in his costume. Besides, I don’t have much by the way of credible sources in which to do this research, and that’s annoying. But at last I picked a Bluejay, which is associated with power used responsibly. Apparently it’s also associated with being pure and faithful. These qualities really suit him and I’m not sure of one that would work better.

 

Another character I included was Piper, the other Trickster Fate Twin. He’s evil, but charming. He typically dresses in black or green (to contrast with his red hair), but on Masquerade Day I figured he would think it fun to dress as he thought angels should. So he’s wearing a white suit. This, again, is a guy who would enjoy the irony of the costume– a guy like him wearing spotless white, including white mask with a soft smile. But his mask doesn’t have eyes, which kinda turns the whole thing creepy. It’s hard to trust someone, or tell what they’re thinking, when you can’t see their eyes. It’s unnerving when something weird is going on with the eyes– just think about some of the movies you’ve seen. And that’s just the thing, you can’t trust Piper. No matter how he presents himself to you, there will always be something he’s withholding.

 

Other ideas I had have made it into the image. For instance, I’ve always loved the Phoenix, which stands for new life and rebirth. I’ve also been interested with the idea of old age, it’s generally something people fear and yet I think there is something to be envied in the wisdom that the elderly can possess. I figure that one of the fun parts of Masquerade Day could be looking at other people are wearing and trying to figure out what they are trying to say about themselves or the way they think others see them with the costume (you can tell I’m a bit of a nerd, right?) That’s why it was so much fun conceptualizing the image.

 

Now the trick is getting it done.

 

Hectic weekend

It’s been pretty busy. The siblings didn’t have school on Friday, so we’re having a three-day weekend. This was big, of course, because my brother hadn’t been home for long, so of course we had to do things with him and talk with him and stuff. Also, my grandparents and cousin decided to visit for the occasion. So… now we have a lot of people and a lot of stuff going on.

 

Interestingly enough, I still managed to do a decent amount of artwork yesterday, despite the fact that I wasn’t feeling very much like doing it and that there was so much going on because of my brother. This was mostly because the activities of choice were mainly playing board games and going frisbee golfing, neither of which I find very interesting. That was fine, since I spent a lot of Thursday talking to him, so it gave the rest of my family a chance to spend time with him. So I had some time to myself, and I discovered that Leverage was on Hulu. I could make myself to artwork if I convinced myself not to watch Leverage unless I did so while coloring. My plans for spending time with my brother yesterday were to watch The Hobbit  with him, but my Grandparents arrived in the middle of the troll scene, so we never finished. But that’s okay. Today is my other brother’s birthday. So we’re still going to be busy, but I bet I can find some time to do artwork if I really tried.

 

As for this latest image, I think it looks kinda pretty. I’m already intensely aware of what I consider to be a flaw in the image though, so it’s hard to be completely satisfied. Nevertheless, I think it will be a worthy addition once I finish it. Finishing it is the problem though. There’s an emotional pay off that comes with completing an image, but recently it’s been harder to feel that payoff. I’m not satisfied with what I create, I’m frustrated because I feel limited in my abilities– not only my artistic ability, but other creative endeavors like writing a story– I feel isolated at times, and sometimes I think I would really just rather settle down with a book for a while.

And then of course, there’s all the distractions this week.

 

I can’t think of what else to do except push through, realizing that I will find it all worth it next year when I go to school and show off my artwork. And maybe one day I will complete a story.

 

Trouble

I admit I’ve been having difficulty of late. I get these bouts of discouragement and depression. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but it’s been making it hard for me to work today. You may recall that this past year in school was a little rough for me. That’s fine, the only problem is that it still stresses me out, even though I’m home now. I don’t know what to do about it, I don’t even know why I’m still being bothered by it. I’ve approached these problems in my mind so many times, I’ve worked them out through writing, I’ve done it again and again, so I can’t figure out why I haven’t moved past all of it yet. Is this normal?

When I get into these moods, it’s hard to get anything done. It’s kind of disabling. I know I want to do artwork, but getting started on it has been a challenge. This is incredibly frustrating to me, a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and optimism to get work done. I’ve always thought myself a person who could handle stress, one who could get past it and get work done despite setbacks. I think I could handle this too, if only I knew what the problem was– why I’m still letting myself get bothered by things that are over and done. I can’t imagine what I’m doing wrong.

But maybe I’ll take some time to talk about my next image. I’m doing a Wisp picture. Wisp is… I guess you could call her a wind elemental. I really love the wind, so I created an entity who embodied that. She’s great to do artwork for, because the way I tend to depict her includes a lot of color blending, which I consider to be one of my strengths as far as technique goes. In the past I’ve often depicted her as a gentle breeze. This time, she’s more of a torrent. Well actually, just a little stormy wind. I have a hard time drawing anyone with enough ire in their face to really justify being a torrent. It’s pleasant to work on, because it uses a lot of my favorite color, blue. I think the color palette is beautiful. I just hope it still looks good by the time all is finished.

I started on the concept art after I finished The Pool of Sight (which I discussed two posts ago). It was after that image that I felt some of that discouragement, because it wasn’t as wonderful as I had wanted it to be. But I wanted to keep going, I couldn’t stop. I decided to draw Wisp because she’s reliable. It’s hard to go wrong with Wisp. I wanted her to bring in a new wave of beautiful artwork, artwork that I could be really happy with. It’s just been a bumpy start, because of the discouragement, but I suspect I’ll be alright and able to work tomorrow. I still believe there could be a bit of magic this October. It’s not over yet.

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.

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.

Continuing

I continue to work on my latest image which I’m calling “Worlds without end. It looks like it’s going to take a long time. But it shows promise. I’ll just inch my way along and hope it turns out good in the end. It’s a long process. Being in the middle of it can get tedious sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself why I like doing this, and that mostly deals with that sensation I described before, the surprise you get as the color starts slowly spreading across the page.

 

My hopes for this image are that it will first of all look nice, but also inspire… something. It’s really inspiring to look at the cosmos. I guess people feel really small when they compare themselves to the scale of the universe, which makes sense, but I hope they also realize that we as human beings are not only part of creation, but we are creators. I think that can be empowering. Certainly it’s a nice thought to keep one going during a very long art project.

 

I need more watching/listening material. Unfortunately, Dancing with the Stars hasn’t started up yet, but it will soon. I had my sister request The Screwtape Letters on CD yesterday, so that should be arriving even sooner. Studio C won’t start their next season until October, so that will be a while longer. I should find a new source for watching documentaries, but it’s hard to sort through all the options to find something that’s actually interesting.

Speaking of which…

I started a new image. I’m really not sure how it will turn out, since I’m dealing with a lot of different things here. It’s kind of a picture of the cosmos. I’ve always loved pictures of from the Hubble Space Telescope and supernovas and other stuff like that, pictures that show that space is beautiful and has color, I love the color. Hopefully I will be able to show that in my image, but it’s a bit hard to say, since it’s still in it’s beginning stages. I am excited, however, that I get to deal with the concept of– what’s it called? Negative space. I talked about it before, I was introduced to the concept when I watched a watercolor tutorial online. I’m going to be applying that when I try to depict the stars.

 

 

The interesting thing about my art is that I don’t tend to use a lot of solid black, but I’m probably going to use a little more of that in this image. I think I’m also going to end up using a lot of white, which worries me, because I don’t have a back up white coloring pencil. White is one of the colors I go through the fastest, I use it on every image– to blend if nothing else. Often white works better for that than my blending stick.

I’m kind of excited about this image. Not because I’m sure it will turn out really good, but it’s a challenge and I get to work with new techniques and other things which make it unusual and unique. It may take me a long time to finish, especially with how much work the background is going to need, but hopefully it will all be worth it.

 

 

In which I discuss the background

I think I mentioned my background yesterday, and I’m going to go into a little more detail today. The background is incredibly simple, perfect for image to ease me back into the art world after a long break for the sake of schoolwork and family vacation. As I started the background I found what it really looks like is the background of a photo, the kind that’s hyper focussed on the foreground, and the background just becomes a colored blur, and there isn’t really any depth. That’s part of what it makes it so simple. I think it’s also a bit fitting for the image in question, remember that it’s focussing on a flower. WHat I regret is that I couldn’t see the end from the beginning, so that I could shape the colored blurs in a way that was more appropriate. As it is, you can tell I didn’t really have a plan when I started the background. Which is sad, but again, I’m not going to beat myself up about it too much, since I’m getting back into the swing of the thing.

 

Right now I’m watching the video blogs for The Hobbit. AAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I’m sorry, I just get so excited, I love this movie and I love watching special features. It’s so beautiful. I’m so blessed to have been born in an era when I can appreciate wonderful films like this. Oh geek moment. I really hope that one day I can, in my small corner of life, create beautiful things too.