Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Like any proper nerd with new technology, I just can't stop fiddling with Painter. :)

This time around I was trying to figure out my optimum brush for (oil-like) painting, and I think I modified one to my liking! It's versatile and blends well, and I like the results I've gotten from it.

Subject this time around is Ganzorig, because he's great. I kinda want to do a sequel to "Shadow of Takeryuu" with the same characters... not sure if/when I'll get around to that. First, I have to solve the mystery of where Terra's sword came from.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

More Painter practice! Anyone surprised? No? Okay.

This is a character from an old and not that great story concept I came up with in high school about elemental dragons who could assume human form and, I dunno, had dragon drama going on or something. I'm kind of fiddling with the idea of retooling it as a novel eventually. It would take place in the Middle Ages, and this would be the main character, an intellectual shadow dragon from Persia who has to travel to hopelessly backwards Europe to find three other dragons currently masquerading as humans. One has firmly entrenched himself in the French court, one has joined a Highlands clan in Scotland, and one... is a smelly wizard living alone in the English woods. She's got her work cut out for her.

Also in this picture I figured out what happens if you watercolor on a layer that you left set to "pick up underlying color"! Not gonna lie, I think it looks awesome.

Monday, November 26, 2018

More practice with Painter! These watercolors though.

Subjects are just some old ridiculous character designs from when I was a teenager. I tried so hard to make a Mega Man fan character until I finally realized I'm just not into Mega Man. (Doesn't help that I'm awful at the games.)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Disney's Gargoyles fan art needed to happen. :) This show is legit one of my favorite things of all time--I watched it when it first aired, and knowing there was a new episode on Friday afternoons got me through a lot of weeks of school when I would rather have not been at school. (I was a contrary child.)

Honestly I think a portion of the reason I like Gargoyles so much (besides the awesome concept, great writing, and characters I totally wanted to be friends with) is because I have Scottish ancestry, so basing anything off of Scotland earns huge brownie points with me. :) I had many childhood fantasies about my ancestors somehow being connected with gargs... and of course I wanted so badly to go to Manhattan and find Goliath's clan myself and help out in their awesome adventures.

And then I grew up and learned how to draw not badly and realized that's what fan art is for. :) So here's an epic garg warrior who fought alongside my Clan Cameron, quite possibly the craziest of those crazy highland clans. Camerons fought for King Robert the Bruce, and much much later fought in World War II wearing kilts, scaring the stuffing out of their enemies with their ferocity. Even if they didn't have awesome monster-warriors assisting them, the Camerons sure fought like gargs to defend their families and their homeland and do battle for a valiant cause.

And her red hair is an homage to another of my Scottish lines, the Maitlands from Glasgow, who were apparently known for their red hair and fiery tempers. Carrot-top-ness really does run in that line of my family--my grandpa had bright red hair before it went white (he still has red eyebrows). (Also the fiery tempers bit is true.)

Her tartan is not the Cameron tartan - it's just a random design I made up hence why it looks so bad - but clan tartans actually didn't start being a thing until the 1800s, so I felt it would be inauthentic to have a medieval garg care about what tartan pattern she was wearing.

I have been to Manhattan. Didn't see any gargs. Next time I'll be sure to look harder.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

More playing around with Corel's watercolors. <3 Monochrome portrait of Isengrim who is... nearly monochrome already so it makes sense.

Friday, November 23, 2018

More Corel Painter practice!

Trying out different watercolor techniques. I'm impressed with how nicely Corel emulates the real thing! I actually love working in watercolors, but in real life they are such a hassle to set up, and use a lot of space. It's really nice to be able to get some good-looking results on a computer!

It's Suhel, yay! It feels like it's been ages since I wrote some Neopets stuff. I haven't had anything in the Neopian Times since "Shadow of Takeryuu" earlier this year. I did submit a short story that I'm waiting to hear back about, and I have something planned for around Giving Day too. After that, sometime early next year I'll submit "Shadow Play" because it takes place in early spring and I like to have my stories correlate with real life like that. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

More playing around in Corel Painter, getting accustomed and trying out different brushes.

The character on the top is from a Digimon roleplay I did a few years back, and I had a lot of fun with her character. She was a Digidestined from Digimon Adventure who ended up staying in the Digital World after the events of Adventure, and became a scrappy swordswoman who hung out with Ogremon a lot. During the events of 02 she was revealed to be the reincarnation of an earth goddess Digimon and regained her true form, but she continued to use her human alias during visits to the real world.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Today's writing notes:

Working on: The Voyage of the Kaus Media 2nd draft

Or, to be more accurate, I finished the second draft! :) It took quite a while because I've been busy with other stuff and there was a lot I needed to change and add, but I think it's looking a lot better than the first draft.

It's now at nearly 112,000 words, which means I added about 20,000 words... wow.

As for major edits near the end, I added in a scene where Angela and Captain Saixaphas have a good heart-to-heart, because Saixaphas is a great guy and I wanted to make sure he got his due recognition and some character arc closure. He becomes Angela's surrogate father, and I wanted to make sure that relationship got the attention it deserves.

I also ended up greatly expanding the Peren section of the story to give Nir a better character arc and make that part of the story make more sense. It also helps the latter portions of the story to not feel so rushed. I admit that by that point I had run out of ideas and just wanted to get the plot finished ASAP, so it did start to feel more like a bare-bones checklist of plot points to tick off. That's why I appreciate both the opportunity to let the manuscript sit for a bit so I could think about what I wanted to do differently in the next pass, and my editor's feedback.

I think this additional material is also great for giving a more comprehensive look at some of the characters' personalities and dynamics, such as Angela's and Radnama's strong, solid friendship and Nir's ridiculousness. Nir is fun to write because she is a very flighty 16-year-old, but she means well and she doesn't back down from fighting for the things she believes in.

This new material also gives Saixaphas more character development, and I think he's turned into a really likeable character. We can see from his actions now that although he appears stern at first, he is really warm, patient, and gentle, especially with more sensitive types like Angela, Berenice, and Nir. It's said in the story that he has a daughter around Angela's age who is very similar in terms of personality, so he understands Angela like few others can, and knows how to comfort and encourage her. It's these traits, coupled with his steely determination and sincere caring for everyone under his jurisdiction, that make him the great captain he is.

Also this new material includes a new character, the admiral of the secret Pereni skyfleet, and her automatus, because you can't go wrong by adding more giant robots, right? :) My excuse is that her appearance helps the big battle at the end of the book make more sense too.

Friday, November 16, 2018

More painting! I picked Zoltan as my next subject because he's got all these fun glowy effects going on, as well as a nice range of textures. I'm quite fond of how his design turned out. I seem to make a hobby out of creating good guys who look like bad guys... although that's also a component of Zoltan's character, that he likes to allow rumors about him to flow unchecked, so people will fear him and thus leave him alone to do his job which is fighting real bad guys. Except, Terra and her family don't go for that silly nonsense and they feed him pizza instead. :)

Nerd moment: Zoltan is actually named after Zoltan Levay, the recently-retired visualization expert for the Hubble Space Telescope, the individual largely responsible for why Hubble images have turned out as breathtakingly awesome as they have. I find it ironic that Zoltan Arnyek works with shadow magic, while his namesake's profession deals with the manipulation of light data.

If you're wondering about Voyage of the Kaus Media, yes, I am still working on it! It's been kind of slow going because I have been busy with family stuff and other jobs, but I am slowly but surely getting through the second draft. Already it's looking a lot better. I took the liberty of making Princess Nir even more ridiculous, because she is a teenage girl after all. I also added in a scene where Angela, Saixaphas, Berenice, and Radnama play charades while they're stuck waiting somewhere, because what else would you do in that situation, really? :)

Monday, November 12, 2018

More paintings!

I'm having so much fun with painting now! And yes, of course Nemegtomaia could smile like that. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2018



To be fair, this is not something I ever learned in school; my classes focused on animation and concept sketches, not painting. I'm actually kinda embarrassed about how long it's taken me to figure out how to make painting not a terrible pain.

But here's the secret: underpainting. Put down the big color underneath your sketch so you don't lose the shapes and details of your image. Then, paint further on top of the drawing, and you'll actually be able to see what you're doing and not lose any important information from the sketch! No wonder my previous paintings always turned out blobby and wonky and took way too long.

I decided to see if I could make use of this technique in openCanvas, and

this happened! I feel like it looks sooooo much better than any past painting I have ever done, and it was much more fun, too!

I feel awfully silly for taking this long to discover this, but the important part is that I figured it out, right? :)

(I guess I can't get enough of "Shadow Play" Terra being epic. I feel like that story is really where she starts to come in to her own. And gets a magic sword. Gotta celebrate the magic sword!)