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Subject:The First Steps of the Journey!
Time:10:50 pm
Current Mood:happyhappy
It begins...

Well! Here is goes! My personal writing/art blog is now live and there are a about a half dozen entries awaiting your reading leisure!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog and join me on this next step of my creative journey.

Homeland - 2012 Redo - Full

So at the moment I'm pretty swamped for time, but I was trying to figure out how exactly I could get the ball rolling on this blog and start opening up a bit more about my characters, their stories, and their world.

Like the first page of a fresh sketchbook, I want so much to create the perfect image to set the mood of what's to come. I'd love to work on a trove of new art for the occasion! Perhaps make a video to share the excitement, or pass along songs relating to their world, and the stories that have lived in my heart for over a dozen years now.

But the reality is: there's no need to wait or delay longer simply to try to capture the "perfect" moment for those first encountering my work. I have a personal journey to undertake to share and further refine my writing, and it's exciting and terrifying both at once. But the more steps forward I take, the more I can grow as a storyteller.

So, to get the ball rolling, here is a scene I illustrated twice over. Once in 2006, and then again in 2012. The scene was originally scripted for Book 3, so a hefty amount of story and adventures had taken place before these four characters ended up on the side of a mountain at dawn overlooking an expansive view below, but you'll have to trust me on that one. There's just so much more ahead for everyone involved, and myself as well!

So to anyone first encountering my work: welcome!

To friends and family that have encouraged me over the years: thank you for your incredible support, and thank you for joining me in the next evolution. It's due to be a fun ride.

And welcome, everyone, to a first glimpse of the Kingdom of the Twin Lions!

Follow me online:
My New Art and Writing Blog
My Old (Outdated) Website
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Subject:Opening Up About My Stories: Input Welcome!
Time:11:02 pm
First! A TLDR: I am trying to figure out how to proceed with sharing my stories in a more public format and would welcome your opinions.

Background: For about fifteen years, I’ve been working on a series of novels, short stories, art, and behind-the-scenes work regarding an expansive world and set of characters that have captured my imagination, and whose journeys I want to share with a wider audience. Over the years they’ve certainly evolved much as I’ve grown (thank goodness!), and while there have been pitfalls along the way, such as a catastrophic computer fire, I know in my heart that this something that is incredibly important to me, and that I WILL accomplish.

Thousands of pages have been written over the years, and to aid my organizational efforts I even have a private wiki that spans over two hundred unique pages. I have private albums, blogs, countless journals, and more. So to say this is a project borne of love and tenacity is putting it lightly. You might not be able to see it, and you might not hear me talk about it every day, but this is one of the more important things to me that I think about on a daily basis.

Over the years I have generally kept most of my writing private and shared with only a few close friends, and I’m trying to figure out just how I want to take those first precious few steps into opening up my work to a larger audience. While I love the ideas within my first book, I don’t feel that it is quite ready for prime-time, so instead I’m considering releasing some short stories (and possibly associated art) regarding the world that is so beautifully vivid to me. While the idea of money is of course enticing, at this point my biggest interest is getting my work “out there” and into the hands of readers, and would love input on different ways you guys think I could accomplish this. Along these lines, I also want to make sure that I retain copyright on my work, and in this digital age, I will admit it’s a bit tricky for me to determine how to best go about doing that.

Input, ideas, assistance, and encouragement welcome. This was oddly difficult for me to write, but I feel like it’s kind of freeing opening up about it after so long. ♥
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Subject:Oh Hai!
Time:12:33 am

Social Media is awesome, but it's also damn tricky to figure out the best way to keep interacting with various groups of friends, niches, and communities.

That said:

I tend to be rather active on Facebook (comment/message me here and I'll consider adding you depending on how well we know each other :) ).

I've resumed using Deviant Art.

I have a Twitter but I don't use it really.

I have a few other other niche personal blogs relating to various projects.

Life is pretty good otherwise, I just wish there was a fantastic way to cross-post stuff to various sites, blogs, filters, and lists so I could keep better tabs on everyone. :(


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Current Music:DotA Remixed - Basshunter
Subject:Art: Unlikely Companions: Completed!
Time:09:03 pm
Current Mood:accomplished beyond belief

Art: Unlikely Companions: Completed!

The post is fairly image-intensive, with lots of "in progress" pics, so give it a little bit to load. :)

I also wanted to thank everyone who encouraged me on this piece and gave me C&C so I could get it to where it is now. I am SO thankful for the extra sets of eyes and input. :) *HUGE hugsf*



Tags:, ,
Subject:Collaborative Arts!
Time:04:29 am
Current Mood:accomplishedaccomplished
So while I was visiting shadowdragon, we decided to try some sort of collaborative arts, and so begun some fun little projects. :) I've been working on the one I have for the past few days, and it's finally done "enough" to show...for now. ;) When I get back home, I'll probably re-scan it once I nitpick a few "problem" areas (that probaby ony I will ever notice...) and fine-tune it with my Wacom tablet (and add in a full tail so the one horse's tail doesn't run off the side...and perhaps a background before Cindy colors it...), but... I'm pleased with how it's turning out. :)

The process on this one is pretty interesting since shadowdragon did the initial base sketch of it, with all her amazing flowing shapes, and I went inking detail crazy over top of it. I'm told that it looks like a cross between our styles, which is pretty nifty in and of itself. :) So, here's the process thus far!

These characters are our own, from an independent story we are working on (and having fun with!). On the left is Sashah Dreamspirit (werewolf enchantress), riding Oberon (Friesian) (both my characters), in front is Charcoal (minotaur), riding Honey (mule) (both Cindy's characters), and in the back is Richard (undead Paladin) riding Lady (undead Shire horse) (both my characters). Yay for the under-appreciated undead! :D

Many Many More Photos Are Behind This Cut!Collapse )

Enjoy! And hollar out little edits if you see them, if you please. :)

Sooooo, sometime later I think Cindy will be coloring this, so that should be much awesomeness! Yay! (I also might yet add a background, we'll see. :) ). It's really neat seeing what it's evolved into! Enjoy! It's been so wonderful doing art for pleasure for the first time in freaking MONTHS. Sooooo, nice!

~~~~~ STAGE 4 ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~ September 15th, 2006 ~~~~~~~~~~~

After my muse hit hyperdrive this evening, I decided to formally make this piece my second "new" portfolio piece. .... which means I've an awefully long ways to go! The fact it was about 80% inked is helpful, but I have a lot more I want to do in Photoshop to liven it up. Tonight's big project was some tweaks here and there, and some major reworking on Honey (the mule in front)'s tail. It jsut never QUITE read right to me, and once I started looking up photos of mule tails... I saw why.

It's sort of a pity that it reveals more of Lady's tack, however, because now I'm trying to re-envision how the cloth and leather and stuff would lay over her bones. ~_~ I feel soooooooooo much more confidant of my sketching ability in real media. Arg! But yes: lots of tweaks now here and there and around now that I'm taking on as a serious piece.

I'm also heavily tempted to do a lot more in the "inking" realm and thicken some outlines (probably that smake part of me that adores crosshatching so, but I disgress), but I think I'll wait and see how this starts to go once I get heavily into color For the moment I'm torn between starting tonally and lying in flat color, but I think I'll start with colro simply because it will give me a better idea how all the colors in the piece get along and what variety of lighting and time of day will help to bring everything together (I'm pretty much set to make this a "spring thaw" seasonal picture). There are just so many colors I don't have much of a better idea how to begin. O_o I suppose I'll start by cel-ish shading just to get an idea what ALL these folks and their mounts, gear, and tack would look like beside eachother.

I will also be making this a great deal more "panoramic" once I start more seriously on the background.

....and this is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more intricate than I realized, arg!

~~~~~~~~~~~ September 16th, 2006 ~~~~~~~~~~~

I've put about 12-13 hours into the color so far, and I've been painting almost exclusively to David Arkenstone CDs and the Narnia sountrack. :)

At this point I've "nearly" finished the (mostly) flat color base-coat. So the piece as it is is totally lacking in variations in tone and of course, is entirely unshaded and unreflective. But... BUUUUUUTTTT!: For the first time, ever, I can now begin to see what the characters will look like in full-color, since before this point they only existed within the minds of shadowdragon and I. :) Richard's armor is going to be a challenge. ~_~

This is a really really really vague mock-up of how I'm planning to "adjust" the composition. The airbrush background is not going to stay, but at least now you can see they are on a road (and the undead Richard and "Lady" show up now). ;)

BTW: I've never worked this large with Photoshop before, but for this amount of detail, is 10000x6072 too... large?

And because bahamut173 said Richard and Lady didn't look "alive" enough.... Have a gag-pic (because all undead should sing show-tunes be consumed by unholy flames...right?...):

bahamut173 said I had it all wrong, however, and that Richard and Lady ~still~ didn't look "alive" enough, so he offered.... (so THAT is what they mean by "smiling undead!"):


In any case: Critique/input/thoughts strongly encouraged! Just please keep in mind these are just flats right now. :) The "fun" stuff comes next!

~~~~~ STAGE 5 ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~ September 17th, 2006 ~~~~~~~~~~~

So this is how the story goes on the background:

This piece was not originally planned to have a background, at all.

Thus in order to make something "fit" I changed up the size. I'm not sure if anyone noticed in "The Princess and the Dragon" piece, but one of the first things I did was to define a light source. Thus, for this piece, with no background, I had no light-srouce to go by, and that's part of the reason I decided to start with flat color (since as long as I knew what color the figures were supposed to be in full, regular light, I could adjust them tonally from there).

Since (admittedly) I also needed a break from the figures, I took a smaller save of the composition and started to ponder out a formal background. I had some ideas, but as is the way of the muse, at some point I had this flitting idea I sketched out in a few minutes and, well, it just wouldn't let go. Thus, these "Unlikely Companions" find themselves on a forest path somewhere after daybreak during the spring.

The background is still largely in flux, but I was purposely working with a REALLY large brush so that I could channel the "impressionistic" side of Kymba that might actually allow me to finish this silly thing in the near-future. If I didn't, I fear I'd find myself attempting to ink the background with as much tenacity as I inked the figures, so to stay away from that, I'm insisting to myself "loose loose loose." The right side isn't complete at this point, but I thought the fact it wasn't sort of lent itself to showing some of my process.

....that and it amused me for some reason that it sort of looked like the forest was "smoking."

Anyway! Once it is at a decent stopping point all over, and ONLY then, sometime in the future I can import the background back into the main file and go back in and detail a bit of the trail and foreground and blend it smoothly into the background.

BTW: on this particular save, the levels on the figures were adjusted to be "warmer" to fit in with the background a bit more, and I hastily added some light and shadow just to give me something to go on. The ~actual~ figures in the original file have not been touched yet, and I don't plan to (formally) merge the figures and background until I'm decently pleased with how the background is looking, and I have a ways to go on that one.

....and is it just me, or is this a few steps closer to Thomas Kinkade-ish than I've ever dared trod?... >_>

(Look, ma! I can attempt -actual- backgrounds!)

I'd also like to point out that the background isn't of my favorite colors as the Dragon one turned out to be somehow inadvertantly (green/TEAL/blue/purple)... TAKE THAT, MUSE!

I really have fallen in love with a particular brush-setting I tweaked around. It reminds me so much of when I oil paint, except now that I'm painting digitally, I'm almost assured some sort of "zomg smudge tool! Has to be!" accusation. ;)

BTW: I can post more of the "in between" progress if people are interested, but do let me know. :) It takes time to crop/convert/upload files, so if no one minds if they are or aren't here, I can skip that and instead post the large leaps in progress. ^_^

~~~~~ STAGE 6 ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~ September 20th, 2006 ~~~~~~~~~~~

Showing more of the progression. :)

Without a Background!

With a Temporary Background!

So... Progress! All character-related! Still a good chunk to go, but I'd like to think I'm over halfway through now. :) There are a lot of details, but I'll save that for when this sucker is FINALLY finished. Wooo!

-The background hasn't been touched since the last time I posted, so... lots to do on that still (and of course add atmospheric and such where the -horses/mule are running.
-No highlights or warm real lighting have been added.
-Levels have not been adjusted (I'm working in CMYK for the first time and rouch compressing to RGB for web view)
-And the levels to "match" the characters to the warm lighting of the background has not been done yet (Step 5 had a decent mock-up, however. See how they are warm and cozy there? There is a mock-up of the warm "backlighting" there as well.).
-The background behind Lady and Richard will not be the same tone/color as their eyes when all is said and done. That was pure coincidence.
-Did I mention no highlights have been added yet? I'm sooo eager for that stage, so I can make the fabrics all diverse. *squirms*

Some portions haven't really been worked yet:
-Sashah (in general)
-Richard's shield
-Other metallics on Charcoal, Honey, and Lady (horse-shoes too!) as well as the hinges on the gear on Lady's side-saddle.
-Reigns/Leather on Oberon and Honey.
-Fur, manes, and tails all around.
-Little jewel-thinger on Oberon's chest, and all of Sashah's jewelry/headpiece/etc.
-All characters' eyes.
-All tassels.
-All detailing (further "aging" leather, fabric, other trim, etc.).
-Refine Sashah's Hands
-Reflect more surroundings on all metallic surfaces.

There is still a deal of work ahead of me, but I thought I'd put this up as it is for critique. :) Pretty please? ^_^ Even if you think I might already know it, have a go at helping me if you have a moment to spare: any and all input is muchly appreciated.

Thanks again, all!

~~~~~ STAGE 7 ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~ August 31th, 2007 ~~~~~~~~~~~

And here it is...

So...I kept recalling this piece, and every time I looked at it I be moaned things that weren't really "fixable" at this stage without entirely re-envisioning the whole thing. Sort of cel-shading? A fun experiment over top of my crazy linework, but SO detailed that I found myself overdetailing everything in ways which wouldn't even be noticeable without being fully zoomed in. >_< The way the characters looked in terms of their environment was flakey and just... I was about ready to throw in the towel.

But my gut spoke otherwise.

I decided to see what I could do in the timespan of about 8 more hours, and get it to a relative sense of completion. This meant resizing it to about 15% of its original size so I COULDN'T go crazy detailed, and it also meant compressing all the layers so that I could work on it like a painting. It's so strange, really, seeing where my skill has gone in a year: this feels so obsolete. :-/

But at least it's "done," or rather, "done" enough. I'm fairly pleased with how it's turned out, and the last step (from 6 to 7) really "feels" good to me. This is a good example of when one needs to figure out WHAT they want to show in a piece, since you clearly can't over-detail everything.... especially not 6 characters and a background, arugh.... *whimper*

I also learned that linework is all well and good, but I think I'm prefering to run without it these days. Huh!

Here are some close-ups!

Here is Cindy's starting sketch...

Then my crazy inking and detailing...

Then... completion!

And then we have the other side...

Cindy's starting sketch...

...and then...

...and now! Complete with lion/star themed armor for Richard. :) Random fact: I started getting "interested" in armor from this piece, but now it pales in comparison to my understanding of reflective surfaces now. Still: it's an interesting evolution, and to see how far I've come in a year is really a good feeling.

I hope you guys enjoyed this little journey. :) it feels really, really good to finally put this piece aside as "done." *confetti* I pushed myself to get this done, and it feels really incredible to have accomplished even that. Yay!!! :)

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Subject:Gemstone Lore: Opals!
Time:02:58 pm
Gemstone Lore: Opal (requested by numerous)

First off, I'm not sure how many people are aware of just how many sheer TYPES of opal there are (and all but one are entirely natural!).

Opal, Australian White Opal, Black Opal (Australian or Honduran), Mexican Fire Opal, Boulder Opal (Australian Boulder Opal (also called the Queensland Opal) and the Honduran Boulder Opal), Peruvian Pink Opal, Peruvian Blue Opal (alternatively Carribean Blue Opal), , Moss Opal, Oregon Opal, Green African Opal, Koroit Opal, Yellow Opal (Peruvian or Tibetan Yellow Opal), Golden Opal, or Amber Stone, Opal Wood (Opal Petrified Wood), Opalite (Opal Moonstone or Sea Opal--which is actually an artificial stone made from plastic!).

So I thought I'd try to hit the majority of them. :)  Beware there are a lot of photos and explainations of opals behind this cut!

Gemstone Lore: Opals! (Behind This Cut!)Collapse )

...Okay so, that took me 3+ hours to work though: I hope you learned something new! :)  I'm not sure if I hit every type of opal, so tell me if I missed any!

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