rowyn: (Me 2012)
Sunday's poll was overwhelmingly in favor of the silhouette-style cover, on both LJ and Twitter. I got some good suggestions on the theme of "make it more fantasy"*, however, so I poked at a couple of new versions. Which means it's time for POLL PART 2.

I will probably tweak whichever one I go with.

I am doing both best/worst questions because I can easily see a three-way tie for "which do you find most compelling" and still have a clear "this one is least compelling".

Moon Etherium Cover Art Comparison

Lettering is still a placeholder! Final layout will be different.
[Poll #2054202]

* Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] terrycloth and [livejournal.com profile] archangelbeth for suggestions!
rowyn: (Me 2012)
I set a release date for The Moon Etherium, my magic-rich fantasy romance: September 26!

That means it's time to freak out about the cover some more!

So I spent like 20 hours working on a painting for the cover several weeks ago. I have become increasingly less happy with it.  I tweaked a few things about it  that particularly bothered me, and I'm okay with it now. But I'm not sure it's the best possible choice.

I fiddled with some alternates a couple of weeks ago, and while my quick Twitter poll favored one of them, I kind of hated it. I decided to do some more variants on the same general theme. I actually did five total, but I'm only showing the one I like best here. And a poll, of course.  Because poll.

The lettering is a placeholder, so don't worry about that part. [livejournal.com profile] alinsa will be doing the actual text layout. I just threw some words on so it would look cover-ish.

The Moon Etherium comparison
[Poll #2054073]
rowyn: (Me 2012)
[livejournal.com profile] gnibbles did a cover for me!




The aspect ratio is off, so not quite appropriate for the final book, alas. }:) Although in complete seriousness, I like a number of things about it. She's using the skyline of the Sun Etherium at the top and the Moon Etherium at the bottom to frame the figures, which I had not thought of and which looks cool. And her rendering of Ardent (the satyress on the left) is charming. ♥

I am ambivalent about my skillz as an artist, particularly when it comes to realistic illustration. Silhouettes I can handle. Full color ... eh.

But I have, once or twice, done full-color portraits that approach the general vicinity of the skill level I want for The Moon Etherium cover. Moreover, the final image is going to be mainly seen at 150x250 or 300x500 or so. So I was thinking, maybe if I start with a really big file and then shrink it down a lot, it could be mistaken for professional?

I am unconvinced by this reasoning.

Still, I kinda felt like drawing this morning, and I really did not feel like writing, so I took some reference photos of myself, did a sketch, and started to color it. Not in the slapdash fashion of my quick doodles, but a serious attempt to make it look good, no matter how long it takes.



I didn't really keep track of time, but this is probably 2-3 hours in. I am abandoning it here.

Interestingly, I'm quitting not because I feel like I've proved to myself that I'm not good enough: the jury is still out on that one. From the technical "does this look like a picture of a person?" perspective, it's not that bad.

From the "does this look like an appealing character?" perspective, though, it's not working. I think Gnibbles's painting has more heart and spirit. Mine looks ... off. Not just "I need to futz more with it" (which I do), but it just looks fundamentally not-very-attractive. Possibly I could fix it without restarting entirely, but I think re-doing the underlying sketch and coloring anew will be less frustrating.

EDIT:

Revised version-in-progress! Got to about the same place as the earlier one, after 2.5 hours, and am much happier with it. Not wild about how it looks at thumbnail size, though. I may need to do the headband in a different color so it doesn't blend with the horns at mini-size. Or change the horn color.

Painting

Oct. 4th, 2015 10:40 pm
rowyn: (Me 2012)
I finished the first draft of "A Regular Hero" today. (It came out to 19 scenes, so [livejournal.com profile] tuftears wins the contest. :D )

So I spent the evening painting to celebrate. Or something like that. @_@

My thought process when painting is something like this:

This sketch is okay. It'll look better when it's colored.
... no, that made it much worse.
I have no idea what I'm doing. Why do I keep using the marker and airbrush tool for everything?
*zen-like state where I have no thoughts*
This part is a disaster.
*zen*
Now it's just bad.
*zen*
Let's just do a different part.
ZOMG painting with a reference is wonderful why do I not always use a reference?
*zen*
Why do I ever paint anything but naked torsos this is the best ever. Except maybe horses.
*zen*
actually this robe is kind of fun too.
*zen*
ohh this looks pretty good I might even like this picture when I'm done
*zen*
Why are hands so hard to draw?
Hands STAHP
no hands please just look like hands
just look a little like hands
please
I even have a reference why can't I do this?
and hands are so beautiful too whyyyyyyyy
*cries forever*
that's it I give up YOU ARE CRUEL, HANDS, CRUEL and I'm leaving you for hair.
*zen*
*more zen*
*wonders why my hand hurts*
*goes back to ignoring pain because zen*
That's about done ...
... oh wait that one part is still bad. NO NOT THE HANDS I HATE YOU HANDS and you're just going to stay bad. That other part.
*tries to fix*
How did I not notice until now that the proportions are completely messed up here?
*tries to fix the proportions at way too late a stage*
uh okay.
I should do a simple background thing.
*plays with every tool in artRage*
*zen*
Huh. Is that how it looks at the end? I thought it was gonna be better.
Oh well. Done now!
What how did it get be so late? @_@

I'll put the picture behind a cut-tag. It's a beefcake picture of Frost, because I decided if I'm mainly drawing him 'cause he's pretty I might as well go full objectification with it.
Cut for bare-chested male elf! )
rowyn: (artistic)
Earth Era

The dominant figure is supposed to be Era, the main protagonist from [livejournal.com profile] terrycloth's latest story, Familiar. She looks more-or-less like an otter with the coloration of a grey squirrel.

Instead of putting the picture under the cut tag, I am putting my artistic whinging under it instead. )
rowyn: (artistic)
"What," Lut began, "are you doing?"

"Trying to make this picture look less crappy." I waved the pointer around on the screen, lightening not-very-carefully-selected portions of the background.

"You mean there's a setting on the program 'Make Picture Less Crappy' that you can just wave around to fix it? Wow."

"I wish."

Meme-y

Apr. 28th, 2009 10:15 am
rowyn: (artistic)
Because apparently I think I haven't had enough to post about lately, I did an art meme. My answers are for drawing/painting, because they'd be quite different for writing.

1. What do YOU think of your art as a whole?

It's okay. I'm not particularly good at drawing or painting, but I'm good enough to get the general look I have in mind across, which is sometimes handy. Some of my art I enjoy looking at. Often I'm disappointed by one aspect or another of what I've created; at least as often, I am blind to its faults.

2. What do you think others think of it?

Pretty much the same as above, except that I think I like my favorite pieces more than anyone else does.

3. How would you describe your inking methods?

Appalling. I don't love inking nearly enough to get any good at it.

4. What body type/anatomy do you draw the most, and why?

Women and furries. Out of habit, mostly. I like how women look, and I have a ready model for a woman at hand, so I have more practice with that than anything else. Twenty years ago I was infected with a delusion that furry art was a good way to make money, and I like drawing furries and animals too, so I wound up with some practice at that as well. When I doodle, I doodle what I'm good at: thus, women and furries. Oh, and on whitespace and alone, because backgrounds and groups are hard.

5. How has your muse changed over the years?

The classic pinup -- single figure with no background -- kinda bores me now. My muse wants to do compositions. I have no skill at composing. So mostly I (a) do pinups I'm kinda bored with or (b) do compositions that I don't think are very good or (c) don't do art at all. It'd probably be more accurate to say "my muse mostly wants to tell stories, and my consciousness has decided that drawing is not an effective way for me to tell stories."

6. What inspires you most, currently?

Drawing for someone else. I like it when someone else will enjoy what I've made.

7. What do you think you should work on to improve your art?

Study composition and anatomy, and use references.

8. Have you received any kind of negativity towards your art? If so, what?

Not to speak of. I'm sure someone somewhere has said bad things about it when I could hear, but not enough to make an impression on me.

9. If you work for commission or sell your art, what is the most you've ever made on one piece?

Selling art doesn't make economic sense for me, as a rule: at a price where I'd be adequately compensated for the time it takes me to draw a picture, it'd make more sense for the buyer to hire someone with more talent. So the few times I've done commissions or sold art, it was mostly for friends and because I wanted to do the picture anyway. The most I've been paid was $100, for an 18x24" commission done in pastels. I like working large.

10. What big art projects and/or ideas do you have going right now?

Um. None. What creativity I have is directed at writing lately.
rowyn: (artistic)
When I was a sophmore in college, I decided to take a figure drawing class. "Artist" has always been on my list of things I'd like to be good at, though it's never ranked high enough for me to be very ambitious about it. But I took classes in all kinds of things in college, because my major and minor combined took up less than half of my required credits for graduation.

In the first or second class, we had our first live model. I knew the class was going to have live models, because there was a modelling fee to take the class. When the students walked in, she was talking to the teacher and wearing a bathrobe. I thought, "is she going to ...?"

Then class started, and she disrobed to pose.

No one had told me the class was going to have nude models. Which made sense, because the class had no prerequisites and I'm sure no one in the art department wanted students to enroll just so they could spend three hours a week ogling naked women and getting course credit for it. ("College really is awesome!")

The thought that we might have nude models had crossed my mind, but not very seriously. The actuality floored me.

We were all very mature about it. No one tittered, or joked, or ogled, or indeed made any acknowledgement whatsoever that there was anything remotely unusual about this at all. We sat and we drew and when we stared, it was in the same way that we stared at still life subjects.

But in my mind, it did not feel at all like drawing a still life subject.

It wasn't erotic. In fact, back then I thought I was straight -- there were only four people I'd ever been sexually attracted to and all of them were male.

Yet it was intimate. I felt humbled, honored, priveleged, amazed. Aware that this wasn't normal, but that a specific set of circumstances had arisen that allowed us to say that it was acceptable and appropriate.

I thought she was beautiful.

She was beautiful, with coffee-and-cream skin and supple muscles that showed in the subtle shadows and highlights on her body. I remember watching the teacher draw her face and thinking "you're doing a terrible job of it, she's so much more beautiful than that."

Yet she wasn't that beautiful. But she was my first model and I wanted to repay that trust by drawing her well, by capturing that sense of wonder and amazement and beauty in my simple charcoal renderings. I tried very hard to capture what I saw, which was light and shadow and curve and line and awe.

The awe was not the least important part.

She wasn't the only model we had over the course of the semester, but she came for several more classes. We had seven or eight different models. Four or five were lovely young women, two athletic and fit, the others merely slim. The ones with muscle were more interesting to draw, more complex. Two were young men who only came once each: reasonably attractive but not strikingly handsome. One was a sixty-ish man; I remember cringing inwardly when he disrobed. I wonder now if it would still bother me, or if I am old enough now not to care that his body was not young and slim like all the others.

We did not discuss in class that the models were nude, but I talked about it with my friends. One of the things that amazed me about drawing from models was that I could do so much better with a live reference. A photograph is better than nothing, but a photo doesn't capture all the nuances that you can get from a live model.

A funny thing happened then: my friends started volunteering to pose for me. Nude.

I only asked one of them, a female friend I'd known for a year or two. She was happy to model, first clothed and later nude.

After that, I didn't have to ask anyone: they all offered. And because then as now almost all of my friends were male, everyone who offered was male. Over the course of a couple of years, I had five different male friends who posed live for me at one time or another. A couple of them were artists themselves.

I never posed in return. I can't, now, remember why -- whether I never offered, or whether I offered but no one took me up on it.

But I remember a magic to it that I can't describe. It was neat. To be trusted. To be breaking this taboo that wasn't really a taboo, not in this circumstance.

But that was still what made it special: that the taboo existed. If I lived in a country of nudists, drawing nudes would still be just as artistically challenging and interesting. But it would no longer be an act of the same intimacy, not with the same intensity.

Sometimes I think that is half the point to certain taboos. Not because violating the taboo is bad, in itself. But because breaking it ought to have weight, ought to be made special and magical.

Not to make sure that the taboo is always maintained, but to make sure that when it is, the wonder and awe of it is appreciated. Is making it taboo in the first place the only way to be sure of that? I don't know.
rowyn: (artistic)
About, I dunno, three months ago, I spent some time working on a picture. After two drafts and several thumbnails, I got the pencils to the point where I was more or-less happy with it. And then I thought, "I'll finish it up by coloring it."

This decision brought to my attention one of my many shortcomings as an artist. Namely, that I have no grasp of design.

If you do, please help me! If you don't, feel free to click anyway. Pictures and whining behind cut )
rowyn: (artistic)
On Monday, I ordered the Tria marker set I'd been planning to get. I'd decided on the 144 version, figuring too many would be better than not enough, and that I'd be unlikely to want to buy them piecemeal.

On Friday, the box arrived. Yay! I opened it up. Inside were two boxes, heavily taped together, each labeled "72 Marker Set". Hmm, I thought. This is not promising. Maybe they're two different sets of 72 markers each? I examined the exteriors of the boxes. They were identical.

I took the boxes, still taped up, to Lut. "Y'know, when I asked for a 144 marker set, I didn't mean 'send me two of the 72 marker ones because I love redundancy'."

"Maybe you should open them up; perhaps they're just packed into the same boxes but are different markers?"

This thought had crossed my mind, although it seemed unlikely. Still, I had the boxes already so I might as well. I hacked away at the large quantities of clear packing tape sealing them shut, then pried one box open. Inside it were six racks of twelve markers each, neatly sectioned by type: two of greys, one of pastels, one of neutral colors, etc.

I opened the other.

It contained six racks, with twelve markers stuffed haphazardly into each rack, with no apparent order or thought given to it. I pulled out a few from the second box and compared them to ones in the first, and a spot check demonstrated that, yes, these were different markers. Oooookay. Pretty peculiar, but I guess it works.

Yesterday, I sat down to play with them. The first thing I did was put the haphazardly organized box into some semblance of order, grouping them by color.

The next thing I did was gaze in awe upon my collection of markers.

144 markers is a lot of markers. And I mean ... a lot. I have thirty-six markers in shades of grey. Thirty six. The mind boggles.

I didn't have anything particular in mind that I wanted to color, but this morning I did some art anyway. Because I have markers! and they must be used!
Pictures! )
rowyn: (content)
Our mission to 7-11 was once again successful, and on our return to the hotel we hit the room once again, to drop off a 2-liter of Diet Coke, grab the backpack, and for me to get changed once again.*

From there, we went to the Chill Out Lounge just as it was getting started.
Chillin' )
rowyn: (Default)
I refined the picture that I linked to several days ago--mostly trying to smooth out his features, and adding a little detail on his clothng, and a background.

Click here to see the pretty picture, and me blathering on about it )

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