Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Preview!

New coloring book preview! Progress has slowed down since I started doing the new patterns, but it continues! In fact, I should be finished with the 15th design by the end of the week, halfway finished! *bounces*

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Coloring Book Project

So, it occurred to me that... Well, I may not have really explained what I'm working on right now. I tend to do this sometimes, I tell a few people what I'm thinking and then act as if everyone knows. *rolls eyes at self* So, here's what I'm doing...

All these previews I've been posting are small snippets from larger designs that will appear in a coloring book I'm putting out entitled "Symmetricals: A Grown-Up Coloring Book." (Because it's the coloring book that's grown-up, of course. We color-ers haven't! *G*)  My plan, which is subject to change at this stage, is to have 30 unique designs, which fill up their pages, and then postcard sized versions that show off the designs themselves. Although, they can't be too small or they'll be impossible to color without a magnifying glass!

The images here are examples of what I'm talking about.  This is just one symmetrical, but it looks quite a bit different when you can see the full pattern.  The problem is that my symmetricals (by necessity) are square, but books are rectangular. Plus, they're detailed enough that I have to consider how small the shapes and lines will be if they don't fill the page. I'm hoping to strike a balance, where there are the larger images that let people get into and enjoy the details, and then the smaller ones that let them focus on the overall shape and effect of the pattern.  Am I over-thinking this? No, really, I would LOVE your opinions on this!

Anyway, each page will be one-sided, because marker bleed through sucks, right? So, I'm aiming for between 45 and 60 pages total, and to have it out in the next month or two. Certainly I'd like to have it out before the holidays. We'll see how that goes, though. I was doing a pattern a day when I was doing line work on my older designs (I've been drawing these for years), but now that I'm composing new ones, it takes longer. Some of the designs I've had for years--although sadly a whole slew of patterns were lost in Hurricane Katrina. I'm kicking myself for not scanning them all in when I had the chance because they're not something I can reproduce. But, luckily, I can draw more, so that's what I'm doing. *nods*

Thoughts? Comments? Raspberries? *G*

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

If You're Reading This, It Means I Couldn't Think of a Good Title

Yesterday there was no preview because a migraine knocked me down, but I'm back and today I have something for you!

So, I've started on the new designs, the ones I'm drawing from scratch rather than digitizing from patterns I've previously drawn, and it's so much harder. I'm glad I started on the older patterns because it meant I didn't have to compose (as much) and I could think about the actual techniques of creating them. The pen tool in Photoshop is not something you just pick up and start wielding competently. The line work I've been doing, and those first symmetricals, really helped me get a handle on some of the finer details of working with it, which means that now I can actually think about the composition.

Still, composing them takes longer and requires more thought and attention. I've been working about 10-12 hours a day for the last two weeks, since I decided to do the coloring book (excepting weekends, which I've so far managed to take off) and most of that is down and dirty 'arting', building them line by line.  It took me a day of work to do a pattern I'd already drawn, and now it's taking me about two to three times as long to do the new patterns.

What this means, in practical posting terms, is that I probably won't have a preview every day from here on out.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Today's Symmetrical Preview!

Today’s preview! Still working on this one, but it’s great to be doing the new designs. All the previous ones were based on symmetricals I’d drawn by hand over the years, but this one is completely new!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Today's Preview!

So, here's what I spent much of yesterday working on! The designs are coming along and the more of them I finish, the more I start thinking about everything else I need to do for the coloring book. There's still so much formatting to consider, so I've been snatching moments here and there to brush up on my InDesign skills. I'm also considering how I want to format the designs, whether they should take up a whole page each, or if I want the person coloring it to be able to see and color around the outer edge and the shape, or if there's a way to do both.

I'm trying not to get too caught up in all of that, though. I'm obsessing enough about my lines!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Brain No Work

This morning is not looking good for brain function.  But! I am still managing to get some work done.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

7 of 30!

Okay, so it may not seem like much, but I'm about a quarter of the way through the 30 designs I've planned for the coloring book! *bounces* This makes me so excited, and it feels like a huge milestone.

On today's preview!

Monday, June 13, 2016


So, I took the weekend off and you know what? The world didn't end! This is something of which I need to frequently remind myself. I tend to be a bulldog once I start a project, I have a very hard time putting it aside for anything at all, but after a weekend of not 'arting' I've already (this morning) finished one pattern and nearly finished a second!

And, now to today's preview!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Coloring Book Preview!

Today's bit of art is a preview of the symmetrical I'm working on.  It's a complicated one, but it's been fun.  Well, mostly fun. Yesterday I kept making little mistakes that snowballed and that wasn't my favorite thing ever.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

WIP Wednesday - Symmetricals!

Here's a brief look at how I create my symmetricals in photoshop! It used to take me days (sometimes weeks) to draw these by hand, but photoshop speeds up the process a lot! Don't get me wrong, each stage is several hours worth of work, but it's still faster. It's also harder in some ways. For instance, when working by hand, it was important to focus on the image as a whole so that one area didn't get so ahead of the rest that repeating the pattern was almost impossible. Digitally, I can work in section and then copy it and then manually detail each section.  But working in sections that way means that you can't directly see what you're doing. You have to wait until it's all been added. I think, really, both of these approaches has their benefits and challenges, and I'm still exploring what I can do with it all!

Daily Illustration

So, today, I bring you a flower! I wanted to take a break from the symmetricals this morning and do something a little different. Flowers are peaceful, and I needed a little peaceful before I jumped into my day. *nods*

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Wanna Patronize Me? Okay!

Illustration of a glass jar containing money in various denominations.
Actually, what I mean is, "Want to become my patron?" *G*  I've set up camp over at Patreon, and I'd love to have your support!

Patreon is an awesome crowdfunding site for artists and other creators which allows artists to gather a source of income from people who enjoy and want to encourage their work (i.e. patrons!).  This means that each patron doesn't have to give a lot for it to add up and help the artist out, and it means that artists can fund their work and make even more cool stuff, even faster. And, in addition to being an awesome person and helping an artist make a living in a world that consistently devalues art, you get awesome rewards, too!

Just for a start, with a $5/month subscription, you get ...
  • Access to Patreon-only feed-exclusive content and artwork.
  • The ability to vote on what fanart subjects I will do.
  • 10% discount on book art & commissions when I open them
And, at higher levels of support I offer things like book cover critiques and character design!

I plan on using my Patreon feed to discuss the how of my art, to post annotated images of works in progress, and hopefully some step-by-step tutorials for different kinds of work.  I want to discuss my symmetricals, and the way I've been doing them in Photoshop, and how they evolved. I eventually plan to give away free coloring pages, and maybe even coloring books, and there's a whole slew of projects I have just waiting for me to have the time to work on them.  I want to create an illustrated guide to worldbuilding for writers, and an expanded book cover design workbook, and ... So many things!

So, if any of this sounds like cool stuff to you and you find more artwork worthwhile, please consider becoming my patron!

Brain Filled with Coloring Book...

... Send caffeine.  *G*

So, I'm still working all out on my coloring book pages, especially since it takes up all of my brain, which is a totally good thing right now. We're still in Limbo, trying to get everything together so we can find an apartment of our own. It sucks, because it means we're be stuck in fucking Texarkana longer, but good in that we won't have to worry daily about physical violence. Although... Frankly, I'm not sure just getting out of this house will make me feel safe. After dealing with the cops here (who were terrible!) I don't know if I can feel safe in this fucking town.

Anyway, coloring pages, which are so much more fun to contemplate.  Here's a preview of the symmetrical I'm currently working on...

There's still a ton to do, since the final book with have 30 different designs.  I've finished two completely, started on three more, and I'll be finishing this one today, so it'll be the third completed design.  However, the three I've completed (and previewed!) will all be some of the simplest.  I've been drawing these by hand for ages, but doing them on the computer is really interesting.  It means I'm developing new techniques for them, and working on new ways of conceptualizing them.  I don't want to just copy the drawings I've done, but rather create new designs, but I can't do it the same old way. It's exciting and fun, and I so wish this was the only thing I had on my plate right now so that I could enjoy it all properly!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Print Research Poll

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Symmetrical Illuminations

So, for a very long time, I have been making these things I call symmetricals.  I think the first one I ever did was when I was... eleven, maybe? They were very geometrical to begin with, but they've evolved quite a bit.  I posted a rough one (Unfolding) here for WIP Wednesday and talked about how I wanted to pull them all together into a coloring book, and then a friend of mine directed me to a Facebook group of coloring book makers and... Now I'm going to do it!

This means I've been working all out on the symmetricals I want to include in the coloring book, though, so I don't have any of my usual line art for y'all today.  What I do have is a preview of the work I've done!

I really love the way they're coming out, although my technique for doing them in Photoshop needs some work.  I've always drawn them by hand, and doing it that way, there's only so symmetrical you can get.  However, there are ways to do them better and easier in Photoshop (especially when you already have a hand drawn guide to go by).  But I'm still figuring all of that out and I accidentally made tons more work for myself than I needed to.  Ah, well.  I'm almost finished with the first page, and the lessons I have learned will make the rest go much faster!  I hope.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Daily Line Art

I've got another bird for you today.  Enjoy.

Don't Forget!

Remember guys, I'm having a Summer Sale! 25% off all cover art and illustration! It's best to get in touch with me at least a month before you need the cover, and two is even better, so if you're going to need cover art before the end of the summer, now is absolutely the time to get in touch! or message me here!

Friday, June 3, 2016


Okay, so I was about halfway through a post on my anxiety and depression, when my fiance's stepfather decided to bully us.  He came in and told us we weren't 'earning our keep' (when we have done everything that they've asked! Including yard work, car washing, dishes, laundry and cooking) and then physically got in my way and pushed me when I went to talk to fiance's mom about the situation.

So, I went back and texted her from my computer and she was coming over to talk with us. Stepfather tried to come in as well, and I said, "I don't think so" (because I no longer feel safe around him) and went to shut the door.  He knocked the door in (hard) and it hit me in the head, and then he pressed it in and I was pinned to the fucking wall.  He proceeded to yell.  I don't remember all of it, but apparently, I'm nothing and I'm a snake.  Also, the words 'Pagan, get out!' were flung around quite a bit.

I'm yelling at Rene to call the police, Stepfather is yelling at me, and Ms. Nancy's yelling at him to calm down. She leaves, and he pushes Rene down and goes and gets A FUCKING SLEDGEHAMMER! He yelled threatening things and then smashed the lock off the fucking door.  I called the police, he continued to yell, the police arrived.  They were AWFUL, and visibly unfriendly and irritated at ME (specifically).  Basically, they said, 'It's better if we don't press charges' (*GRRRR*) and that he has to go through legal proceedings if he wants us out.  He said he was going to evict us, but I'm not going to believe it until I have the paperwork in my hand.

So, I guess we can stay here (we have no other options), but only under threat of our safety.  And Rene's mom?  Well, she's just too upset and humiliate at having the police called to talk to any of us right now.  WHAT?  So, it's okay if your bully of a husband ASSAULTS someone under your roof, but not okay that the POLICE CAME BECAUSE OF IT?  WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, WOMAN?!

I'm so scared and so tired, and I have no idea what to do now.  The police were supposed to HELP US, and instead the motherfucker is scott free and apparently completely allowed to do this to us and no one is going to stop him.  So, apparently, I get to live the next however long there is until we can save up enough money to move, living in fear.  That's if we're not evicted and given 30 days to get out.  So... Fuck today.

And, as much as I hate to, I'm going to drop this here...

It's a link to a Gofundme to help us get up enough money to get out of here, and it's particularly necessary after today, so if you can, please donate and if you can't, please signal boost.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Strategies for Arting

So, I went to bed extremely early last night, due to the sudden return of a sinus headache and because I didn't have any time to organize things before I went to sleep, I woke up feeling very overwhelmed. There were all these open browser tabs, and a couple books, and some half finished artwork, and so much stuff!

However, I have recently hit upon a strategy for that feeling. *nods* I call it the 'Winchester Strategy,' (yes, because of M*A*S*H). Paraphrasing Charles Winchester, "Do one thing, do it very well, and then move on to the next." So, I make a list and tackle everything one item at a time. The Winchester Strategy also dictates that I don't question the list. It's entirely possible that I forgot something important, but if it's important I'll remember it later. The important thing, I tell myself, is just to get working on something and eventually everything else will fall into place.

It works, too! I know because I have line art this morning, rather than having crazy hair and a raging case of anxiety. *nods*

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

WIP Wednesday

Okay, so I am not good at sharing WIPs (Works in Progress) because, well, they're not done yet.  And they look not done yet, and to my mind that means 'like crap.' A mean, other artists have these really pretty process photos, with stellar sketches, that somehow manage to look awesome even when they're a complete mess. Mine just look like a complete mess.

But, I've been thinking, maybe those other artists think that, too. And, you know, even if they don't who the hell cares, right? I mean, even if my process does mean my WIPs look like crap, it's the end result that really matters. How I get there is important only because it illustrates (*G*) my thought process, it shows how I begin and how I mean to go on, and that can be interesting.

Long story short (I know, too late), I'm going to post and talk about some of my WIPs, because why not. *nods*

Rough sketch for Perrault's version of Little Red Riding Hood.

This is an illustration I'm doing for my portfolio. It's for Charles Perrault's version of Little Red Riding Hood, which begins with a quick mention of Red's village and her and her mother and this is going to be her looking back at her village just before she ventures into the woods. Its' obviously very rough, my first 'sketch' in fact. I work better with shape than I do with line, which is one of the reasons for my daily line art. It helps me understand line better. So, for this I started by filling in some basic shapes and shading. Notice that the colors in the foreground are darker than than those which are meant to be in the middle or background, which is a common way artists create distance and depth in a painting.  This would be a two page layout, with the words in the white sections and the illustration along the bottom of the two pages.  Connecting the pages this way creates a sense of movement between them.

Rough of my symmetrical 'Unfolding.'

This is one of the designs that I call 'symmetricals.' I've been drawing and painting these for years and years, since I was a kid. They've evolved a lot since those days (they were more geometrical in the beginning) and I'm thinking of eventually pulling them all together into a coloring book. While this one actually looks pretty good at this size, at larger sizes the lines are uneven and very clearly hand-drawn. So, I'm slowly, but surely working on a process to even them out. I have dozens of them scanned into the computer, so it's going to take some time to finish them all. This is actually one of the simpler designs because it fills an entire page, where as others are bound into a more definite outer shape.

Wonder Woman fanart, beginning line art.

This last one is a bit of fanart. Wonder Woman, of course, but it's not meant to be line art, this is just the first stage for a full color illustration which may--or may not--be lined. I'm having trouble with it because she looks so static. Some of that will be helped when I add in lighting (especially to her eyes and hair), and I may have to crop out some of the image because when you cut off an image at or near the joints (as with her arms and waist) it can leave the image looking weird and static.  I'll have to work on it first, though, to figure out what to do to it.  We'll see how it goes.

So, that's it, the tour of some of my WIPS. I have a bunch of them at all times because I like to bounce around on projects. It's a bit like when you're writing, and your brain is stuck, so you go do some dishes or play a round (or a hundred) of Solitaire. Bouncing around keeps me working while my subconscious processes the issues and then when I come back to a given piece, I know where to go with it.

What do you do when you need to let your brain work in peace?

Line and Shape

Good morning everyone!  Today, I have a little something different for you, and then another post to come later. *G* First, today's line art!

Also, I finally finished my Behance portfolio, if you want to swing by and check it out. I had a lot of fun with it, with adding highlighting different close-ups and going through artwork I haven't engaged with much in a while. *nods*