Sunday, June 2, 2013

Werewolves, Gryphons, and Loirins (Oh My!)

So it’s been a heck of a busy week, but somewhere amid all my full-time work and my ambitious nature to take classes while doing said full-time work, I actually managed to do quite a lot of personal work this last week!

Faux Stained Glass Piece

First up, while this piece has been up on my wall for nearly a year, I still haven’t gotten decent photos of it, but I wanted to make sure to post it up here since this piece means a lot to me.
Photo taken on May 26, 2013. Project completed on June 12, 2012.

This is a collaboration and labor of love between Cynthia Reep and myself. She supplied the amazing art, which features two of my story's main characters: Oberon (the Friesian stallion) and Sashah (the werewolf enchantress). You can see Cindy's gorgeous art below:

"Sky Magic" Gift Art by Cynthia Reep - Completed on December 7, 2011

I then worked for a few months to create a faux stained glass piece out of it. It's extremely heavy and a massive 48"x24".

The piece features two of my story's characters, and pretty much any time I sit down to write about my world or do art, I turn it on. It's incredibly inspiring and comforting to me, and I love it to bits. Also based on the total cost of it and the sheer effort it took to bring it to life, it’s quite unlikely I’ll ever be subjecting myself to trying to make another. ;) It was a lesson to me that saving up and spending the $600 on a premade lightbox would have actually been a bargain in hindsight. Ah hindsight, you are a cruel, cruel mistress.

New Short Story Begun!

This week I also began work in earnest on an entirely new short story which will be the first one I aim to publish up online in the coming months. I’ve figured out the tone, arc, and notes I’m aiming to hit, and it’s been really weird but fun working with side characters rather than my usual crew of main characters. That said, I feel the story should make for a really recent public introduction into one of the vibrant cities of my “world.”

When all was said and done this week, I got over 12 pages (6,000+ words) into my new short story, which is roughly halfway through this first (extremely rough) preliminary pass. I’m hoping to get the final draft to somewhere around 15,000 words or less, but I’ll just have to see how that goes as I move things around and heavily edit future drafts.

It's certainly rough at this point, but I feel like it will be a solid entry-point for readers unfamiliar with the world of my story, and it's fun fleshing-out side characters. Since it is a bit of a flashback with side characters, I'm also enjoying trying to see how I can fit in little references and subtle hints to larger adventures, characters, and arcs that play into future books. It really is a ton fun revisiting some characters I haven't written for in years and years, as well as dipping my toes into writing for entirely new ones. It's so much fun!  It's even better realizing that once I'm done, I'll be able to share it with everyone!

It also is likely to afford me the opportunity for another illustration of one of my mechanical critters. >_>

"Mechanical Hummingbird Color" - Completed on February 16, 2011

Sunning Gryphon Work in Progress

This week I also continued work on my Sunning Gryphon piece. I didn’t get terribly far along with him in the hour I had and I'm still not happy with the wings or composition, but it's getting closer with each iteration. I'm trying to do some forced perspective on the nearest wing as well. Additionally I enlarged the tail area since the previous version didn't make it look as if it would contribute much to lift.

Sunning Gryphon - WIP - May 31, 2013

He's still a ways to go, but I want to keep prodding the composition before I go head-first into detail. Still: progress is progress, and if I'm not doing writing, I best keep busy with some art!

The Loirin and the Loirin Plate

This weekend I also spent some time with my mom painting pottery and continuing work on the Loirin plate I started last month.

The image is actually based off an incredibly tiny inked “sketch” that was the size of a postage stamp (one inch by one inch) that I made in 2010. At the time, I scanned it and then toned it in Photoshop to tighten it up a bit more. I wanted to make something sweet for my grandmother that was cuddly and fantasy-ish, and I liked the idea of there being a touch of a story (that the Liorin and the bunny are watching the first blossom of Spring). Sadly, my grandmother is no longer with us, but this piece was one of her favorite pieces of art I ever created for her.

"Loirin and Bunny First Blossom" - Completed on September 9, 2010

The Loirin is a very old character of mine who is sort of a cross between a lion and a kirin (oriental unicorn). I have rendered this fella many times over the years, and one of the first ones I really liked was done way back in 2006 (although I have sketches of him as early as 2001, I believe). The character's been roaming around in my head, but aside from a few short lines of text, I really haven't written him into the world of my story yet. I figure when the right moment arises, he'll make himself known and slip into the midst of things. He's very calm and collected, and I view his race as a true and elusive rarity.

"Loirin Sketch in Copic Marker" - Completed on April 15 ,2006

Years later I wanted to commission him to be made into a plush by the ever-talented Kim Rhodes, so I put some quick color over top my original image so she had a guide of his coloration. She did a fantastic job on him!

"Loirin Color Reference Guide" - Completed on May 1, 2012

"Loirin" Commission by Kim Rhodes - Completed on May 5, 2012 

In any case, this weekend I was able to finish-up painting my Loirin plate which I free-handed based on the original 2010 image. I’m really excited to see how the colors turn out after it’s fired, since even during the painting process I had to try to use my imagination to try and figure out how it will all come together after firing. Here’s to hoping it turns out close to how I envisioned it! His colors should be fairly bold against a background of fallen snow.

"Loirin and Bunny First Blossom Plate" - Sketch - May 12, 2013 

"Loirin and Bunny First Blossom Plate" - First Day of Painting - May 12, 2013

"Loirin and Bunny First Blossom Plate" - WIP Paint - June 5, 2013

"Loirin and Bunny First Blossom Plate" - Ready for Firing - June 5, 2013
"Loirin and Bunny First Blossom Plate" - Ready for Firing - June 5, 2013

In any case, I'm hoping next week is similarly productive. I'll admit I feel like I'm juggling quite a few different projects, but it's awesome feeling like I'm making headway with so many of them. I'm really excited to see how that plate fires-up next weekend, and I'm hoping to make a fair bit more writing progress this coming week.

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