Do you have certain resource books that you always come back to? I have some basic drawing/painting books that are really helpful, and I wondered if you might have something similar for writing, or even for painting?
I have lots and lots of art books that I keep on hand for inspiration. The Art of Kung Fu Panda
is amazing. Ditto the concept art work for Okami
. I also frequent the website Creative Uncut, which reveals a lot of concept art work for a lot of video games. I have all of the Dinotopia
books by James Gurney and and the Katturan Odyssey
by Terryl Witlach. I always seem to find something new in terms of composition whenever I flip through those books.
As far is actual drawing books that have helped me, Ken Hultgren's The Art of Animal Drawing
is endlessly helpful. I also learned at the feet of Jack Hamm. That guy can draw anything. Andrew Loomis, Muybridge, and Bogart are also great. For painting: James Gurney. I just can't say that enough. James Gurney's Color and Light
and Imaginative Realism
, my god. Also study Rembrandt and NC Wyeth.
For writing, The Elements of Style
by Strunk and White. That's my Bible. I also like Stephen King's On Writing.
It's probably one of the best books about what the process is like that I can think of. Anytime I need inspiration or motivation, I tend to read On Writing
. Also highly recommended are The Writer's Journey
by Vogler, and Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages
and The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life,
and last but never least, anything by Joseph Campbell. Hero With A Thousand Faces
and The Power of Myth
are mind-blowing. It's just kind of impossible to absorb everything that they say through the first read through. So the reread of these books I find to be extremely high.
Hope that helps. I'd love some insight into how you achieved the rendering here.
Oh, wow. I was flying by the seat of my pants for this. Most of it was just that I colored in the inked parts with flat colors and then put paper textures over each color. And then I would airbrush or paint beneath the texture layer to kind of modify things a little bit more. Overlay setting won most of the time, but seriously, I would just cycle through the Layer settings and see what looks best. Different colors affect different layer settings, which is how I got kind of got the paper cutout look.Biggest guilty pleasure, bookwise?
Oh my god, The Unicorns of Balinor
by Mary Stanton. Hands down, it is the worst, stupidest series I've ever loved to read. It has no redeeming factors whatsoever other than its subject matter. And it turns out I am willing to tolerate a lot in order to read about unicorns. The characterization is stupid, the writing is bad, the plot is amazingly boring and inconsistent, and its just terrible. I can't think of any other word to describe it. It's just so terrible!
I also like The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance
. I hate romance as a genre, but this book manages to point out that despite all of the amazingly stupid crap in romance, it is the only genre that dedicates the majority of its time to acknowledging that love is the greatest part of the human condition.I have been told that my drawing isn't good enough for people pay for it. What exercises, or activities, (or whatever) can someone do to improve it's drawing?
Your whole life you will be told that your art is not good enough to pay for. The first and foremost things you absolutely have to learn is that you never, ever do art for free. Ever. Art is a skill that's rarer than brain surgery, and anybody that tells you otherwise is full of shit.
Having said that, draw everything. Draw from life. And especially, draw what scares you. I have found the most useful thing to be, if I don't know anything about my subject matter, doing a hundred drawings of it vastly improves my abilities. There is no substitute for drawing what you see. Drawing from life cannot replace anything else. You can study anime, you can study cartoons, you can study anything, but if you're not drawing from life you will never be a good draftsman.On average how much time do you take on one basic image? Ie: Sketch (optional) Lineart, base color, lighting/shadow. background (optional) other (optional)
I often find myself wanting to dish out these amazing detailed images like you and various other artists, but I lack the drive to sit around for hours and often become art-blocked half way or decide its a terrible piece of art and become depressed.
Whats the process?
It's very rare that I will go beyond 10 hours on something. I'm a very impatient artist. And it always surprises me when people tell me that my stuff is detailed. I'm very, very lazy and very, very sloppy. Having said that, 2-3 hours on my line work its about right. I am far more likely to spend more time on a drawing than I am painting digitally. Most of the time I paint for about 3 or 4 hours at the most. And that is not in one sitting.
My average is usually 4-6 hours for most of my pieces. Anything longer is usually because I'm trying to figure out a technique. Once I know my technique I just do the same thing over and over, and naturally get faster at it.
My process starts with my sketchbook. I do a whole bunch of tiny drawings, thumbnails, of creatures and people in various poses and compositions. This is also where I do my study work, my drawings from life. What I like I turn into a full on art piece.
I usually blow things up in Photoshop, or put the sketch under my light projector and put it onto a piece of tracing paper. Then I block out my structure, taking the sketch from gesture lines to something that has volume in weight and perspective. I work on tracing paper so that I can get messy, and I can flip. Flipping your drawings is very useful to make sure that you doing your structure correctly.
Then I take things to the light box. Most the time I work on bristol board. Once I've done the final transfer, that it's time for more detailed work. All of my structure and pose has been figured out, so now I can focus on rendering.
And I still pretty much use this tutorial technique: droemar.deviantart.com/art/Col…When and where did you come up with the concept for Mark of the Conifer? What inspired you? And just out of curiosity, why'd you choose an Acrocanthosaurus for your villain?
Oh, boy. That's a long question. I will try and be succinct about it. I had a story idea a long, long time ago, mostly just the idea that I wanted to do a story about dinosaurs. I didn't have a plot or anything. I chose all of my favorite dinosaurs to be in the cast, and then realized that all of the dinosaurs that I chosen had lived the different eras of the Mesozoic or different continents. One of my biggest gripes about dinosaur media that no one ever does the research for it, and when I realized I was making the exact same mistake that I hated, that completely tanked the story for a very long time.
Then, in 2007 I visited a friend of mine in Utah, and went to a dinosaur museum for the first time ever. It was without a doubt one of the greatest experiences of my life. I came back inspired, and actually started doing much more research. </i>Raptor Red</i> by Robert T. Bakker was a huge influence, mostly because I could count on its scientific accuracy (and I'd loved the book for ages). That's where the Acrocanthosaurusus as villains came from. They dominated the Early Cretaceous; there was just no other theropod as big as them during the time Utahraptor was around. I'll confess I wish they could have been T. Rexes or Giganotosauruses, but it was one of sacrifices I made in order to have the story be about a Utahraptor and retain scientific accuracy.
I was also heavily inspired by the manga and anime series Ginga Densetsu Weed
. I like the way the dogs were ruled by this kind of brutal and fierce sense of honor, and I wanted that to appear in my own story. Naturally, I drew from other animal stories like Watership Down
, Ratha's Creature
, and Firebringer
as well. When I really sat down to start planning the story, I tried to think of it in terms of high fantasy archetypes, because Ginga Weed
had basically been "What if samurai were dogs?" And that was really when the story started to take off.
A lot of validation for the story came when I posted the short 10-page comic "The Pact" to Deviantart. Because my biggest concern was that nobody was going to care about a bunch of dinosaurs. I needed something human within the story to resonate, which was a challenge considering I was writing about things that existed long, long before humanity. "The Pact" was an experiment to see if I could get an emotional reaction from one of the story's biggest core elements. If it mattered to the readers, it would matter to the story. There's something that kind of confuses me when it comes to writing. When I was taking script writing classes in school, they would talk about writers who would attempt to manipulate their readers' emotions. They always told us not to do it and it was a sign of bad writing. I think you may have mentioned manipulation in writing too, but I can't remember. What exactly does it mean? How do you avoid it?
I think the best example of what you're talking about is a Jack Handey quote that I love:"Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he's carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he's carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you're drunk."
A lot of this falls under the "show, don't tell" rules of writing. Jack Handey is telling you things are beautiful, but he's not showing you that they are. Manipulating a reader's emotions happens when an author basically says "No, reader, this is how you're supposed to feel about this thing!" They show you a sad, sad thing, a sad dying kitten in a dying man's lap and both of them are dying because a rupture in a nuclear power plant killed them. Therefore, you, reader, are supposed to feel bad about nuclear power. Regardless of how you might really
feel about nuclear power as an energy source with its pros and cons, the author is telling you you need to feel bad about it. That is manipulating emotions. Most of the time it's very obvious and very ham-handed.
The way to avoid it is to understand that part of the story belongs to the reader. The job of an author is to present a story and allow a reader to draw their own conclusions. The value of the best kind of stories anyway are those that we can draw our own opinions from.I think some writers are afraid of the idea that they can't control the reader's emotions, so they try too hard. It happens all the the time: people don't cry at a scene that's suppose to be sad, or laugh when something is supposed to be funny. It all just depends on the reader's experiences. The best way to handle this is study how other have done it successfully and attempt to do it successfully yourself. And eventually get to the point where you trust yourself to make the best decisions for your creation.I have been working on a story for a long while (working out major plot points and hiccups, building characters, creating settings, religions, themes, not to mention the actual story) and I recently lost all of my files (I should have backed them up, I know). Now I'm having a hard time starting again, even though I know that it will (probably) be better than before. I've lost my motivation; I just feel devastated. Has that ever happened to you? Do you have any tips on regaining lost motivation?
Do something else. When I have to recharge, I completely shift the content of my days. I'm sitting in front of the TV with a controller my hands, or a popping in a DVD. I'm going to see movies and reading new books. Whereas when I'm working, most of the time I'm in my studio sketching or typing. Everybody needs down time. And one of the most important thing to realize is that the downtime is just as vital as production time.
It sucks that you lost your files. Next time, upload to Google Drive or get yourself an external hard drive for $20. I have both. Backup software might also be a worthwhile investment. Depending on what happened to your computer, it may be possible to get file retrieval. I remember that happening for about $200 dollars when I lost a computer and nearly had a heart attack over the writing I stood to lose forever.
But if you really are starting completely over from scratch, you are probably going to do yourself a disservice by forcing yourself to start over again. You suffered a loss. You need some time to heal and regain your energy.
Years ago, I had a cat that I based a major character off of. The cat died suddenly and unexpectedly, and I was devastated. I did not work on that story for probably two years because of it. But eventually I got to the point where I was ready again. Persistence really is more important. Give yourself a break and get excited about it again. That's your first step.I'm writing a story and I can literally feel the beginning dragging on. How can I make the story interesting right away and keep that going even through the introduction of characters and places?
This is more advice, I don't want you to tell me exactly how (doubt that's possible)
I recently read a manuscript for one of my writing group's newest members. She was writing fantasy, and her first chapter was about twenty pages long. By the time I got to page five I was drowning in exposition. By the time I got to page fifteen I couldn't take it anymore. I was writing in all caps in the margins telling her that I didn't need to know all of this information yet. She was telling half her story in twenty pages.
My advice to her was "Three things. You have three things you are allowed to tell me about in this chapter. That's it." She looked shocked. She had probably twenty or thirty things that had been in her writing, and I was telling her that she was only allowed to tell me about three. But God bless her, she did it. She cut it down to seven pages. And it read so much better.
I use the rule of three when I feel like I'm lacking in focus. Its one I've come to appreciate very recently, but that's because I just got a better understanding of focus as an element. Another useful bit of advice is "Group things together". If your main character is a dragon rider with special magic that will drive the plot, don't put him in a ballroom and tell us he's a dragon rider with special magic. I want to find out he's a a dragon rider with special magic when he's saddling up his dragon and casting spells, because I want to be shown that he's a dragon rider with special magic, not told about it. And if you do put him in a ballroom, just let us see his character and wait to tell us that he has a dragon and special magic. What you don't tell us becomes a hook that will make us want to read further.
Murder your darlings. In writing, less really is more.African or European?
Listen. Strange questions regarding the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical avian ceremony.