Monday, August 25, 2014

[Sketch Story] Tranquility

I told myself that by the end of this month, I’d finish a piece of art that was laying around unfinished, and in this case I chose a piece I’d started way back in 2003 and then revisited once in 2011 and again this month in 2014! Originally, I was trying to combine three things I loved: tigers, hawks, and the woods.

Some things never change!

I tried to stay true to the spirit of the original and push it forward. I honestly never intended to do the tiger, forest setting, and all those feathers without any solid references.  As such, it was a very, very messy process, which you can check out below. But on the whole, I’m really pleased with how it all came together, and I've written a tiny Sketch Story to go along with it.

This piece is dedicated to the late Caroline Muchmore, who continues to inspire me, even now.

I hope you enjoy it!

"Tranquility" - Completed on August 25th, 2014

"Tranquility" - by K. LeCrone

Tranquility's home was among the far-off bluffs and canyons that cradled the edge of wide western sea. Her great feathered wings took her high above the stony outcrops and towering precipices, but they also carried her inland to the lush forests that grew along their many winding tributaries.

Here, it was green as far as her eyes could see. From the wide throngs of moss and finger-like ferns that nestled themselves among the cool grass, through to the endless expanses of trees that held hands and whispered among themselves, this was a foreign place to her familiar rocky views and wide open skies. This was a sacred place. And as Tranquility laid down on a bright patch of sunlight, she let the warmth of the moment flow through her. She cast away her cares and worries, and bid the forest into her heart.

There, in the shimmering dappled light, the towering woods offered up their many secrets to she with the gentle grace.


One could say I went a bit overboard with painting this piece. I never really intended to render individual feathers, but, well, sometimes it just happens.

Above: I also hid my little mechanical hummingbird in the background. I wonder what he's up to?

I played around with my palette a lot for the front part of the tiger. I really wanted to contrast a lot of saturated colors against one another to create the illusion of fur catching the light. 


This piece has evolved quite a bit since its early inception, and I thought you might enjoy seeing how it progressed.




(Above) On the left was where I left off in 2003, and on the right is where I first revisited the piece in 2011. At the time, I was only intending to tighten it up a bit and block in the hint of a background, but that quickly evolved from there... ;)



(Above) This was my progress I made in 2011 before I retired the piece again, and picked it up earlier this month (below). Initially I thought its main pain-points were the tiger's posture and the ways I had been rendering the lighting, but soon enough, I ended up enlarging the composition multiple times to help give the piece a better sense of setting and mood. 





I hope you enjoyed this piece! It's a weight off my shoulders to know that over 11 years later, it's finally done!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

[Short Story] That Twisted Sickness - 2007

For this #ThrowbackThursday, I thought it would be fun to share an older piece of writing I did way back in 2007 that pertained to some of what was going on off-camera from the primary events of my novel.

This short story was originally written to Peter Gabriel's haunting track "Passion" from his soundtrack to "Passion: the Last Temptation of Christ," which you can find below:

"That Twisted Sickness" - By K. LeCrone 
Short Story Written on August 24, 2007

The sickness came.

Like a rolling wave in the shadows, it crept. Churning, turning, thick and heavy. The darkness concealed it, certainly, but all the same it moved, as if reaching out to slip its tendrilous fingers along soft, warm skin.

It moved in silent waves, stroking man, woman, and child with its sweet allure. Calming, calming beast.

Childlike, it played. Songs of old, merriment and splendor did it entrust and glorify.

Maidenlike, it whispered in the night. Sweet comforts, lingering promises that flickered and faded only to spark and tease once again. Colorful dancer, entrancing temptress.

It played in its game, pleasant rhythm of the unseen. It danced and lept, rose and fell, tide of memory and snare entwined, it moved. Beautiful, beautiful beast.

Oh, black fire in the night, the sickness came, and when the light crept in again to check on his children, he found them as they once were: safe and cradled where they slept.

Safe, for the twisted sickness had already whispered its way into them. And there it rested with bright, concealed eyes.

There, it danced. Oh, how it danced.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#WIPWednesday and Revised Personal Goals and Upcoming Milestones:


For this #WIP Wednesday, I've been trying not to start any new art projects lately (with the intent that it will enable me to help finish up outstanding personal art projects), but while watching a zBrush demo, this... dragon humanoid thing... started to take shape and I just went with it. He/she isn't done, but I'll likely try and finish sculpting her in the coming week or two so I can mark him/her off as "complete" as well. I'll likely stick to a bust. You can watch me work on him/her during a recent Livestream here.

Revised Personal Goals and Upcoming Milestones

Over the last few weeks I've been working hard behind the scenes on carving out time for my art and writing. On the whole, it's been an incredibly successful exercise, and one that I intend to keep up in the coming months.

I've been tracking my daily and weekly progress in spreadsheet form. This is my current week's progress so far!

I've been working on my writing regularly (which feels utterly awesome). Having a spreadsheet to help me along and regular routines has really helped me make a lot of headway on projects and given me an unexpected peace of mind.

But along with the solidarity of feeling that I'm moving towards a goal of releasing a short story on October 1st also came the unexpected realization that the story I was in the process of writing had grown quite a bit larger in scope and anticipated word count. Where initially I saw it coming in at around 15k words (which seemed quite reasonable to complete in two months on the side while working a demanding full-time job), it has grown significantly in scope, and is now looking like it will land closer to 40-50k words, and that's just an estimate. At present, the outline for it is complete, and I feel like I'm about a quarter of a way through its first draft.

With multiple conventions and travel on the horizon, its forced me to realize that I would do well to adjust my milestones so that I can better complete "Secrets of an Accord" and not feel like I"m trying to meet an artificial deadline I've set for myself based on an story with a significantly smaller word count. In addition, in an ideal world I'd love to come up with a little art to go along with the story when I post it, because this story is a pretty big milestone for me.

Why These Milestones Mean So Much to Me

It's not that I think this writing is perfect (it's not), or that the story is utterly polished to a shine (I could spend years on it and it still wouldn't be "finished" to me). I do not count myself among the sincerely great writers or artists out there, but unlike my art, I've held so much of my writing close to my heart for so long now that it feels bottled-up inside and threatening to burst. This story is one of my first big steps in a public setting, and the prospect of sharing it and my other stories it is at once terrifying and exhilarating for me, and I want to ensure that I'm putting my (reasonably) best foot forward. While I have numerous other stories available that I've completed in past years, it somehow feels more genuine to me to test myself and my current writing chops with new content rather than simply editing older writing I've done previously.

Like I said in this blog post, thorough this plan of attack I'm hoping to accomplish two main things:
  1. Get my work “out there” and improve it. Writing in a vacuum only goes so far, and the more eyes that see my work and can give me honest feedback, the better I can make it.
  2. Share my work with a wider audience. I have had these stories to tell for a over a dozen years now, and I’m eager to share the characters and their world with more people.

Revised Personal Goals and Upcoming Milestones:

  • I will have a full rough draft of my next short story, "Secrets of an Accord" complete by October 1st, 2014
  • I will publish my next short story, "Secrets of an Accord" online on November 1st, 2014.

In addition I will:
  • Complete at least one unfinished art piece by September 1st, 2014.
    • I worked on and completed a bunch of new art, but I still have to try to finish up a piece that's been lying around prior to the start of this month.
DONE! - Complete reading at least one unfinished book by September 1st 2014.

I hope your own personal projects are going well!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My 5-Year Blizzard Sword

I don’t usually post much about work, but just recently, at last, I received my Blizzard Sword! Thanks for five awesome years, and here’s to many more! :D

You can read more about Blizzard Entertainment’s snazzy Service Awards here.

If you're curious what working at Blizzard is all about, make sure to check out our new Career Site! There's also a neat video that just went up this week that shows a great look behind the scenes and glimpses into the many faces behind our games as well as our core values and culture. You can check it out below!

If you have any general questions about what life is like at Blizzard, don't hesitate to let me know!

Monday, August 4, 2014

[Sketch Story] Jack

A lunchtime sketch gone awry.

"Jack" - Completed on August 2nd, 2014

"Jack" - by K. LeCrone

Jack had bright eyes, silken fur, and a button nose. He also had a quite unusual pair of large, crested horns that arched majestically over his fluffy head.

While his mother insisted there had never been anything remotely strange about Jack's father, over the years Jack had concluded that there must have been something more to their mysterious sunset courtship than his mother let on.




Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Dragon Koi and a Mechanical Hummingbird Papercraft Concept

The last week or so has been rather text heavy, but there have been a few standout sketches that I wanted to take the time to share.

Dragon Koi Sketch

"Dragon Koi Sketches" - Completed on July 25th, 2014

Probably around twenty years ago or so, I recall writing about a dragon koi in one of the stories I was working on at the time. The idea and anatomy was never really fleshed out beyond the concept that it was equally at home in both water and air, and could somehow breathe in both environments.  I recall sketching it once or twice, but nothing really came of it until 2005 when I sculpted an extremely small dragon koi for a 1/4 Scale Model/Miniature Wizard Retreat. This project was a labor of love that created from scratch as part of an Art Direction project for college. I.... may have gone a bit overboard with that project...


I'm hoping one day to collect some of the better photos I have of the model, but in the meantime, you can see the dragon koi in the water on the left photo, and you can see more photos of this project here on my very old and outdated website. In 2005 through 2006 I even worked on a walkthrough on my LiveJournal days, but it appears as though I never posted the final shots! I'll have to see about fixing that...

As a side note: it was from this project that I learned the value of knowing what you plan to do with a project once you're done with it. ;)

 Papercraft Mechanical Hummingbird Concept

 "Papercraft Mechanical Hummingbird Concept" - Completed during December of 2013

Around the holiday season last year, I toyed with the idea of sending out cards that included a papercraft mechanical hummingbird that the recipient could assemble themselves. The project never made it past this postage stamp-sized thumbnail, but perhaps one day... 

I had actually planned to have areas in the winds and belly that could be cut out and lined with colored acetate in order to create a stained glass-like effect, but after some consideration, it seemed that I might be overambitious in my design, and it seemed unlikely to me that many of my family members would be interested in a project that required so much detailed cutting assembly. That said, I still hope to do a papercraft like this one day, and I think it would be a fun challenge to sculpt a mechanical hummingbird as well!
Have you been up to any fun projects lately?