CategoryArtwork

Character Boards

When I write, sometimes my mind wanders around. I don’t know if other authors have this problem, but I’ll be in the middle of a scene when suddenly I’ll wonder if the character who is speaking would prefer Coke or Pepsi; whether or not they would read a certain book, or if they would like cilantro. [Trust me–cilantro is a very polarizing topic.]

While doing preliminary edits on Atlantis: TVC volume #1, I started wondering if the Atlantians that Achine spends her time with were to visit her hometown–or even just the mainland in general–what would they enjoy of ours? What would they hate?

Then later I watched an episode of Backstrom [Brilliant show–shame it was canceled. Hulu or Netflix needs to pick that up and continue it, STAT!] that revolved around something called a dream board. [Also called a vision board] In high school I saw classmates use something similar to pick out clothes for important events, or to envision a dream home; cutting things they liked out of magazines and gluing them to cardboard, or a sheet of paper. Often they would end up inside of those binders with the clear sleeve on the front and back–you remember the kind, right? [I filled mine up with a mixture of self-drawn things and anime/manga images, ha ha.]

Anyway, that tangent aside, the idea popped into my head to make a board for each of my main cast members, showing things from our world that they would like or wear. I figured it could be a character defining exercise. Here are the results:

It was so much fun to go ‘visual shopping’ as each character! I was surprised at how easy it was to make the character board for some, and I was surprised by what others liked, such as Gialasa. Her bohemian/Etsy look is not what I would have expected at all, but it fits very well. In fact, the whole project inspired me to do a drawing of everyone in modern clothing! I haven’t finished it yet, and it’s been languishing a bit on my hard drive in the wake of trying to get volume #2 done, [since February?!] but it will be completed eventually.

This definitely helped me to get into my characters’ heads [in unexpected ways], and I would highly recommend it to other writers trying to define a character!

Where the [Not So] Wild Things Are…

Because the continent of Atlantis is technically in our timeline–and has magic–deciding on what the flora and fauna balance should be has been a struggle. On one hand, I want it to fit in with the rest of the world and have some of the normal things found natively in other biomes, such as squirrels, bears, turtles, etc. On the other hand, I want it to have its own indigenous species, because, well… in a land that still has magic–and races evolved from being near that magic–it only makes sense that it would be home to things you wouldn’t see anywhere else.

…you certainly don’t see this every day.

But since I want to keep things from becoming too ridiculous, there is a fine line I need to tread between fantastic and… absurd. That means I am overthinking things again. [Which is probably a good thing.] I had a small bestiary in my notes, but I discovered that I wanted to sketch out some of these creatures, to get a better feel for them. This led to the creation of the Bestiarum Vocabulum. I’m doing this mostly for me, but I thought I’d share the first entry with you guys as well, since it came out decently.

Click to enlarge

Two characters end up facing down a berserk one of these in volume #2. They look kind of cute, right? They’re supposed to be based off of a bear, with a bit of fox added in. [and yes, I realize that with the grey and black coloring it looks like a weird raccoon.] But being able to see other animals in it is what I wanted. I thought it would be jarring to see something completely alien when it’s supposed to be in our own current world.

It’s interesting too that there are no dogs or cats as pets on Atlantis, so I’m probably going to have to make up creatures that would be considered as domesticated in their place. I imagine birds are a popular pet, [in fact the new character has an avian companion] and some other kind of small mammal would probably fill in for the feline… maybe something similar to a ferret? And what kind of animal would be a shepherd’s companion if not a dog? It’s something for me to think about.

World building is a lot of work–but it’s satisfying work.

Rambling, Sinus Pressure, & Other Annoyances

Happy Friday!

Well, it’s not so much a “happy” Friday for me–the whole family is sick with a head cold, so we’re all cranky and stuffed up and generally miserable. Boo. I am dead tired but can’t sleep due to congestion. This means I finished a picture I’ve been working on for the past week or so.

[Seriously though, WHY can’t I post these side by side? I don’t get it.] I totally had to do it in the text editor. Arg!

[Characters from Atlantis: TVC–from bottom to top: Achine, Eruni, Idane, Gia]

heart

You guys are special; I posted the finished version on DeviantArt, but I only posted the sketch here.

I feel like I don’t draw like myself with the tablet, and it’s just weird. I enjoy my sketches–sketching with the tablet is amazing now that I am used to it. Very smooth and flowy. [Oh yeah; not-real-except-colloquially word. Bam. Shut up spellcheck. You know nothing.] Line art has been a bit of an uphill battle, but I’m tweaking some settings and improving it. Coloring is nice except for long stretches of things where you need a long runway to make a long line. Like hair. Like all the hair in that picture up there.

I still miss the mouse to a point, but the tablet has programmable buttons and I programmed them to undo/redo and zoom in/out. Oh. My. Gods. Suddenly I don’t miss my mouse as much. [Sorry mouse. I still think you’re tops for graphic design though!]

I’ve also been working on volume # 2 as well, so don’t think that I set it aside or anything! I ended up writing an unexpectedly good [well, I think so anyway!] scene, despite the fact that it may be a bit information heavy. [I like that kind of stuff, so it pops up occasionally. 99% of it was important information, so it’s not like it was rambling, right?]

It’s probably an info dump

Ok! I’m going to leave the kid with the husband and see if I can’t regain feeling in my face with a nice hot bath. [With a few drops of rosemary oil in it! So awesome for stuffy noses!] When I get out I may go to sleep, but if I can’t, then back to writing I’ll go!

Electronic Brain Pancake Fail

As soon as I wrote the last entry, I got over my block and finished a whole chapter.

Thanks for undermining me, brain pancake

Unfortunately when I became ‘unstuck’, I was supposed to be sleeping. You win some, and you lose some, I guess. [I’m used to not sleeping anyway.]

Continue Reading“Electronic Brain Pancake Fail”

Internalizing…

I’ve given myself writer’s block.

Well, maybe not an actual block. More of a… writer’s insecurity?

I’m already working on volume #2 of Atlantis: TVC, but all the research I did for editing volume #1 has done something to my brain. Everything I write looks wrong. I seriously re-wrote the same scene eight times, and deleted a whole scene outright–only to regret the decision and revert the chapter to get it back. I seem to be tripping over the same thing, and I can’t figure out why. I’ve never second guessed myself like this, and I can’t tell if it’s a good thing or not. All I know is that it is annoying. [I also haven’t been getting much sleep lately on account of having bronchitis, so there’s that. Yeah, that’s it. I’ll blame that.]

Instead of continuing to beat my head against this wall, I decided to beat it against a different one and practice using a tablet. I have always drawn on the computer with a mouse, and there has always been a disconnect between myself and tablets, no matter how hard I’ve tried to use one. But now I have one, and I’ve made it a personal goal to fiddle with it every so often in the hopes that through sheer force of will, I’ll someday be able to use it. Because I can’t leave well enough alone–even when I give up–I decided to draw the characters from the scene I couldn’t write.

Don’t ask me why the bald guy is larger than everyone else, because I have no clue…

It’s getting a bit easier, but I keep wanting to turn the damn thing like you would a real piece of paper, and half of my errors are from subconsciously tilting it about ten degrees.

The funny thing is that I have a Galaxy Note 3, and I can use the S Pen to draw just fine on it. Here’s a sketch I did last night of birds [and the tail of a species of Atlantian bird] based off my brother-in-law’s pet bird.

I don’t know what makes them so different for me. In a way, it feels like volume #1 was the S Pen, and volume #2 is now the tablet. I really want to work on #2, but I wonder if I’m simply not far enough removed from the editing process of #1. Maybe it’s the cough syrup clouding my brain. [Which is funny, because things that addle your mind are supposed to make you more creative, right?]

I’ve also been putting off working on the e-book conversion of volume #1, so maybe this ‘block’ isn’t even a block at all, and is guilt from me knowing there is something that I am leaving undone. I’ve been avoiding it for the past week because everyone has been sick with the plague, but now that we’re all feeling better [or in my case, not outright dying] I know there is no excuse and I’m stalling in the face of tediousness.

Of course, there is also the fact that I’m releasing some of the chapters here [leaning towards all of them, eventually. Trying to decide on a schedule…] so I know I have some extra time I didn’t have before that decision.

I work best putting things off until the last minute. Isn’t that ridiculous?