My Work in Progress

A sketchblog where I post a few of my scribbles from a variety of works-in-progress, usually from my rather random personal creativity outside of the daily grind. I occasionally, but not always, post the final artwork.



This past week I celebrated another birthday...whee. Yeah, it's that time of life when you're always turning 29...and will do so "ad infinitum". :)

My work friends were very sweet: from making a very delicious, very rich, home-made chocolate cake for me to share (although I did take a small second slice home with me, heh); treating me to lunch (yay, sushi!); to creating a poster birthday card for everyone to sign of my "mightiness". Ha. I was quite flattered. Even the Texas weather celebrated with a lovely Spring day filled with sunshine and near eighty degree temp. Especially nice since the following days have been much cooler and cloudy with some rain here and there.

Meanwhile, I've been keeping busy with my homework: from organizing my art files and setting goals and deadlines for my home illustration work (including the art mentioned previously being developed specifically for my new portfolio); to setting a sterner handle on my budget (I think everyone is doing some tightening there); to getting my taxes done (should have that finished after next weekend - bleh); to having a hella lotta fun doing my creative writing. :)

The DFW Writer's conference that I attended a last month provided a good bit of info to soak up, but no agent pitching from me just yet. If ever. :) I came back with several pages of notes, a better appreciation of the DFW writing community, and some homework. Part of that homework includes doing some recommended reading to help me build stronger, more interesting characters; to help me with developing dialogue for my characters (an area I feel a need to work on); and motivate me to "get my ass in gear" so that I finally finish my first novel manuscript and (possibly) send it out to the appropriate literary agent. Most of what I learned could also apply to my picture book stories and my other Tween or YA story, which is the graphic novel I've been developing. I also attended Sarah M.'s presentation on Graphic Novel development which pretty much affirmed some decisions I'd already made about the one I've been working on, but I also noted some additional points to consider for future projects.

Like anthologies. :)

But first, I need to finish what I've started as well as keep in mind some of the creative priorities that are key to my illustration and vis dev artist career: like finally updating my online portfolio, darn it!

I also have been getting a few newsletters from Holly Lisle that I signed up for about a month ago. Can't think at the moment how I found out about her postings; likely another writing blog that I was checking out from my notes. I like most of her books -- they're usually a fun read; and I'm looking forward to checking out a YA series that she's mentioned (saw the cover artwork in development on another artist's site which originally peaked my interest). I definitely appreciate that she takes the time to share some of her writing experiences and provide some good insights to her writing process, although not all of it is applicable to my stuff.

In any case, my novel is progressing quite nicely by this point. It's been seriously fun (and surprisingly addictive) to finally take my rough notes and outlines and bits of story, characters, world-building, conversation and narrative that I have been writing by hand in my spiral notebooks for the past several years (totally for my own amusement -- some of these notebooks have traveled with me quite a bit, too) and type them into a tighter format on my computer a few nights each week. It's actually somehow turning itself into a 60-90,000 word novel (not quite there yet, I'm only at about 6 delightful chapters typed in at the moment...hmm...about 30,000 words).

Even better, this one I'm writing up is really one out of several notebook stories or potential novels, in fact.

Still occasionally trying to decide if this particular novel is better presented as an eventual pair of books or if I should shoot for a trilogy...(eh, what's that about not counting ones chickens...). However, I'm only focusing on the one novel at the moment (I'm not counting my graphic novel, or the picture books as part of the notebook stories; they are quite a separate development). My sister has kindly accepted being my first reader and I expect she will be quite blunt about what she likes and doesn't like about it (or that needs improvement) -- she's my sister after all; it's lucky for me that we both enjoy some of the same genre reading. :)

My thought is to also include a few BW illustrations scattered throughout the book. They'll be some finished versions of the various thumbnails and sketches that I've done of specific elements, scenes and characters (and am still doing) as I've been writing my story. It's entirely possible, of course, that the only people that will ever see the finished product are my friends and family (or even just my sister and myself), but since this story was/is really written for my own enjoyment, I'm quite happy with that.

If, however, I do decide to take the next step once it's done and submit it to an agent for consideration and then, ideally, eventual publication...I'll let you all know. ;)


Fever Dreams and Rambles

Don't have a cold or fever any more (not for the past month actually) and the cough is nearly gone at last - yay! At this point, it's probably a touch of allergies anyway... However, some of those fever dreams did linger with me and kept inspiring me, so above is another quick sketch from that. The final color version is in progress...


It can be somewhat disheartening to hear of the recent successes of some of the concept artists over on CA when it seems like you're sending your art out again and again, and hearing little if anything back. Is it bad to have a variety of different creative experiences? Is it because you don't have specific experience in game development or animation or whatever field you're trying to get your foot into? Is it because you don't personally know someone who works in the industry? Is it because you're not uber passionate about playing video games every free hour of the day but would rather focus on practicing your art or writing, or watch a movie or read a book, and just play games the odd hour or two once or twice a week?

Could be any of that, could be that they don't have an opening at the moment, could even be that the various styles of art that you've done for other jobs or what they saw from what you sent in your portfolio submission just don't fit with their current needs...ah, well. Try, try again.

I've been thinking that with all the rapid concept art I develop for the day job (some days more than others) and for my own little projects, it may help explain my almost reluctance (with a dash of procrastination, if I'm really honest about it) to work on the Fairy Tale illustrations I have on my list of "things to do". While I can and do get immediate satisfaction from the rough sketches and quick coloring of the personal concept artwork I do some evenings and weekends after the day job, it takes so much longer when I'm doing a tight illustration piece to finally reach the same level of satisfaction and see some real progress. A piece of concept art or spot art I can finish in an hour or two, at most four; I basically have to schedule a month or two to simply get one 11x17 illustration completed (that meets my standards)...for what would take a week or less if I was focused and working on it at the full-time day job...if I want the final finished illustration artwork for my new portfolio to solicate freelance work among other opportunities.

But, if I'm serious about my creative goals, that's what I simply will have to do.

After discovering another rather excellent site that posted info on upcoming books in the sci-fi fantasy and paranormal romance genres, along with a few astute comments about some cover designs that I also thought were rather sadly illustrated and unfortunately art directed, I decided to include some alternative concepts and a couple of cover illustration redos much like a couple of assignments I had back at university when I was studying illustration. Plus, once again, these will be some nice pieces that will fit well in my updated portfolio with the "Myths, Fairy Tales, and Legends" theme.

These past few weeks have also included some good progress on my first dummy picture book where I'm both the author and illustrator. I'll finally be submitting to various publishers in late spring. And then likely several months of waiting. Argh. The other picture book I'll continue developing once I've sent off the first, although I'll probably switch to focusing on the GN for the change of pace. The YA graphic novel remains another "work-in-progress" at this point as does my fantasy novel although I do write a page or two on that one almost every night. Some thumbnail sketches, too, as I mentioned previously, to help me visualise where this story is taking me.