Sketchbook Saturday

Here’s a new Sketchbook Saturday! I haven’t really drawn a lot lately – this is mostly the product of last week or the week before – but have focused on my writing. I am officially one week ahead of my revision plan, as I finished writing down every scene in the current draft yesterday (my deadline is the 14th). There are some scenes or info I had planned that are missing from the draft, so I’ll find the timeline file today and start tweaking it. The start of the book is supposed to be in early spring, but I’m thinking of changing it to late autumn. It will explain some things better and make other things a bit more logical. I also need to figure out how the rather sudden plot changes I made during the previous draft affect the timeline.

IMG_20160207_125340But enough of that, I have sketches for you! This time my project was to practice shoulders and anatomy. As you can see I started out diligently, but veered quickly off track. In the end I just sketched some random portraits because, well, I couldn’t just leave the page half-empty.

I’ve also reached the conclusion that even if slightly rough paper is supposed to be good for drawing (texture and whatnot), I really don’t like it. Perhaps it’s because I naturally draw very small pictures – possibly a heritage from my days of doodling in the margins of my schoolboks. You can’t get really small and intricate details right on rough paper. At least I can’t, so I prefer really smooth and fine paper. Which means that all those “proper” sketchbooks are out the window… Not that I can afford to spend money on those anyway.

Have you sketched this week? Share a link!

Shameless Self-Promotion Saturday!

Today I met up with Cicilie at Starbucks for a write-in of sorts – it’s becoming quite the tradition – and I got absolutely nothing useful done. Well, I got some work-related business done (some e-mails that needed to be dealt with), but apart from that… I’ve had problems sleeping for the past week, so I wasn’t exactly focused or able to do anything that involved much thinking. But the coffee was good, at least 😉

The Saturday Snippet will start again in two weeks (next weekend is the Sketchbook Saturday, and yes, I do like alliteration, how did you guess?), but I wanted to post here anyway. I am redoing the galleries on the site (my photoblog is officially dead, long ago, and so I’m adding the photo galleries here), but I’ve talked about redesign and organisation and such so many times that I don’t want to inflict that on you guys again. And yet I found a way to talk about it…!

Instead, I decided that a little self-promotion is in order. I am normally hilariously bad at it, since I feel I’d be putting myself far too much forward. On the other hand, if you want to sell something, you can’t exactly hide it, so I thought I’d just mention that you can actually buy my art and services. I will freely admit that my art has certain room for improvement, but that improvement is happening (I hope), and I’ve seen far worse for sale.

Free at last - new

Fiverr services

Fiverr is a website where people offer their services for 5 dollars. That is, 5 dollars is the base price, and then you can select add-ons or get custom offers. I have two gigs currently active:

Translation between Norwegian and English: This is my most-selling gig, where I translate between the two languages. It has somehow also become what people order when (by agreement in advance, of course) they need something else done that is too specific to make a gig for. In other words, you may not need translation, but there is a whole lot of other things you may need done.

Portrait of your character: This is a newer gig, where you can request a portrait of your character. If you can write but cannot paint, this is your solution! The header was a bit rushed, but I haven’t had the time to redo it.

Green

The deviantart prints shop

 

I may have talked about my account at deviantART (or I may not), but I also have a print account there. Yes, that’s right, you can buy my art! People have actually bought my art, as a matter of fact, and I only know one of them. No threats or bribery here, in other words 😉

You can find the shop here.

I have not put all my deviations (art uploaded to dA) up for sale, but that’s merely a matter of coincidence. If it isn’t already too full of awesomeness, you can also take a look at my regular deviantART gallery. You can request a print to be made of any picture not already available as a print (it will be stated underneath the thumbnail). I thought there was an actual button for that, but it seems as if they removed it in the last redesign. But just send me a note, comment or e-mail and I will fix it.

I also have a separate account for my photography on dA, but it’s mostly old stuff now. I will update it as soon as I’m finished redoing the galleries here on my own site.

Commissions

If you cannot find anything you like in my shop, I am open for commissions! You can request one through my Fiverr gig above, for example, through e-mail or via deviantArt. I do require that you contact me first, however, just in case I have my hands full with other work at the moment. In addition to portraits I also do things like custom fantasy maps and similar.

Well, that’s it! Go and check it out!

 

 

 

Art Comparison: Winter’s Child

When inspiration runs low and I cannot think about a single thing to paint, I often redo old pictures. The “right” thing to do would be to start from scratch, but I simply continue working on the original picture. Still the two versions often end up being very different.

This is a comparison of two pictures you’ll find over at my dA account (I haven’t added any of my new pictures to my gallery here yet) of the main character of Rogue Sorcery, Shanni. At the time the first picture was painted, she was still called Shanouna (though Shanni sort of was the short form), and I had wanted to paint her in the snow. In danger of sounding pretentious, many of my stories have oppositions that relate to the seasons or elements. Shanni has always been winter. One of the story beginnings, which I wrote about in this post, starts in an unnamed valley in the winter, and has sort of become the picture I always have in my head of her. But also personality-wise – she is not really cold, but she often seems like it. She’s both dark as the night and yet bright as the snow at the same time. Both beautiful and dangerous, mysterious and scary. At times.

Anyway, I’ve written far too much. Here’s the picture – there’s around ten years between the two pictures, so there of course should be quite a bit of a difference, but I am always glad to see it… 😉

Winter's child comparison

What do you think?

Sketchbook Challenge, part 1

A new year is always a golden opportunity to compare your writing or your art to previous years. I always like doing that, but when it comes to my art, I like it less and less for every year. From 2005-2007 I improved immensely, while I can hardly see any improvement whatsoever these past three years. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist, of course.

 

The lack of progress is extremely easy to explain. In 2005-2007 I had a pretty severe depression, and painting was the only thing I really managed to do. Naturally I painted a lot. I was active on art websites, got a lot of feedback, worked with new pictures almost as soon as I finished one. I had some large projects that I spent hours upon hours on. I tried new things. I tried different subjects. But most importantly, I painted really often.

However, as my ability to function grew, my time and motivation for painting decreased. Perhaps it reminded me too much of the days when I couldn’t do anything else, who knows. Moreover, I have always just… drawn. I’ve never sat down and studied anatomy, how things really look beyond looking at a few tutorials when stuck. While I own several art books, I’ve never really practiced. And drawing without actually practicing can only take you so far.

Sooner or later you will have to sit down and say to yourself: hey, I’m going to learn how to draw hands properly. Or I’m going to learn to draw feet. And how does a nose really look from this angle, or that? Sooner or later you will have to not only rely on drawing from imagination, but learn to use reference or draw from life. Train your observational skills.

I could say that I had focused so much on my dream to become a published author that I forgot that my original – my real – dream is to be a published author and artist. One who can paint their own covers. Illustrate the books, paint scenes from them… But really, I’m just slacking. I’ve never sat down and consciously practiced writing either. I’ve just written. Just as I’ve always just drawn, just painted.

Mindlessly doing a thing that you like will get you a certain distance, but it won’t make you really good. Well, I want to become really good. I want to be able to see whether the proportions of my drawings are correct or not. Whether my composition is good or not. If my use of light and colour is optimal. Of course you never finish learning these things, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to try (far from it!).

So I’ve made myself a sketchbook challenge. If any of my readers are artistically inclined, feel free to join. The basic premise is extremely simple. Fill a sketchbook with exercises as soon as you can. Today I practiced hands, and this was the result:

IMG_20160109_175247

Sorry for the bad picture, I didn’t take it through Photoshop first. Also some if it is smudged, because I drew the hand on the left last. Not as bad as I feared, though there’s certainly room for improvement. Can you tell which ones I drew first and last?

The challenge

As I was writing this post, which as usual became far, far longer than I had intended (it was really only a “hey, look, I’ve practiced!” post – but the good thing about long, rambling posts is that they give you time to think), I realised that there was no point in keeping the project to myself. Wouldn’t it be nice to give each other feedback and encouragement? Therefore I challenge YOU. Find a sketchbook, or buy one, and start taking it everywhere. Try to fill it up as soon as possible. Practice all those things you cannot really do, whether it is anatomy-related, a specific angle, a specific thing… Whatever you need to practice.

Every two weeks I will write a new Sketchbook Challenge post here. Since I have the Saturday Snippet posts every other Saturday, I figured it would be nice to alternate with the Sketchbook Challenge. I will post whatever I have worked on, whether it’s good or hilariously bad, and encourage you to do the same on your blog or dA journal or whatever you’re using. Or you can just comment how your drawing went the last two weeks. Anyone up for it?

Today I focused on hands, but the next two weeks I will focus on necks and shoulders, perhaps some facial anatomy. Those are my major stumbling blocks nowadays…

I had intended to post some of my new pictures, but this post is already pretty long. I’ll probably update it again very soon!

2015 wrap-up

2015 isn’t quite over yet, but since there’s only two days left, I figured I might as well do the 2015 summary post now. 2015 has been an intense year. I had some health-related breakthroughs, I started a new part-time teaching job in addition to my regular job, I started studying again (only part-time, but still), and dance class and working on Rogue Sorcery were still top priority. Apart from that there was very little time for other creative pursuits in the autumn, though I’ve tried to make up for it now during Christmas break.

Writing and NaNoWriMo

It’s been a productive year when it comes to writing, and this year’s NaNoWriMo was record-breaking. I wrote 211k (my personal best was 175k) and finished three stories. One of them is my old shopkeeper story which keeps evolving, but which finally has a completed first draft. Hopefully it will end up on Wattpad very soon. I also wrote a brand new story (only based on an old beginning, but still) which I really like.

Rogue Sorcery has been my main project, and I revised and refined the plot. There’s still a lot to do. I also wrote a second first draft (with all the changes), which has now been handed over to Cicilie as per our agreement (she reads my manuscript and I read hers, and then we will give each other feedback). Just giving the manuscript over to someone else is a major mountain that has been crossed.

 

Painting and drawing

While 2014 was an utterly miserable year, drawing-related (I didn’t upload a single thing to my deviantART gallery that year), 2015 ended up being a little better. Well, actually, when I look through my gallery there are quite a few new pieces there. I think I uploaded some of them here, but here is a list of all of them:

Nell Black-haired girlPencil portraitWinter’s child remadePurple portraitWitch queen remake WIP

 

The first two are from earlier in the year, while the rest are from the Christmas holidays. One pencil drawing (plus a lot of random sketches and doodles, mostly ball-point pen though) and the rest digital, most of them remakes of older pictures (wonderful when I don’t know what to paint). I finally re-installed some custom brushes on my laptop, which made everything a LOT easier.

 

Summary

All in all it’s been a good year, everything considered. I would have liked to have been a bit more active on various websites, other blogs and deviantART (not to mention this blog), but it is what it is. After NaNoWriMo began, the Saturday Snippets apparently and unfortunately went on an unplanned hiatus, but they will resume after New Year’s. I also started a character drawing gig at Fiverr (here), but it’s very recent and it’s too early to say anything about it yet.

As usual I have some New Year’s resolutions, but I will write a separate post about that in a few days. Suffice it to say that I have plans, but I will try to be realistic this year. Try.

How has your year been?

New sketches

In the midst of some rather exciting changes in my life, which I will tell more about in a later post, I’ve completely forgotten to post my new sketches. It’s months since I last drew anything, and it felt SO GOOD to finally be doing it again.

The first picture, which you can also see in my gallery at deviantART, is a semi-finished picture of a character in Forgotten Sorcery. She is called Nell and is the daughter of an innkeeper in a village they travel through. So far she doesn’t really have any important part to play in the story, but it kind of… bothers me a bit. I like her. Maybe things will change…

Nell

 

The second picture is a lot more sketchy, and is a hastily coloured version of an old pencil sketch. Even if it’s just a brief sketch I like it – I feel like there’s a character in there just waiting to get out. So far I’m stuck at “what Tiaden (in Rogue Sorcery) would look like if he was female” – but he is and will continue to be male. So who is she? Time will tell! I had intended to refine it a lot more, but… I don’t know.

Coloured small

 

 

Yet a redesign (sort of) + new sketches

Hi all!

It’s a long time since I’ve written here last. I am on day four of my big Editing Month, which so far is going… eeeh. Let’s not talk about it. (I haven’t even edited a single chapter yet)

Of other news, I redesigned the blog again, sort of. It’s the same header and background, only with a light theme this time. I’ve never really been fond of dark themes, and while it looks good in the galleries, I find it quite tiresome on the eyes when I read a lot of text. Besides, I thought it would be a good thing to get it closer to my Norwegian blog, since they’re about much the same thing. Besides, I like the design, and I think it looks neater. I wish you could adjust the fonts a bit more – I have Easy Google Fonts installed, but no matter what I do, I cannot change the blog entry titles on the front page. I do like the intricate font that I use in the header and the widget titles…

Slightly more importantly, I have begun drawing again. I had intended to draw a new header for the Norwegian blog, but of course that didn’t happen. Instead I finished two sketches – the first one based on an old, old picture, and the other just a sketch.

The first one is of a character named Itheluna. I used a lot of soft brushes for this piece, so it looks a bit vague and dreamy. The original sketch was intended to look dreamy because the character was dead, but alas, she is not. She might wish she was – but in any case, she is not anywhere near the main character at the moment, and thus she merely remains in his dreams. While painting I suddenly realised that this is the same character as the also-absent lover of another character of mine. It seems like that has happened quite a lot lately. I had the idea of a military man whose wife was kidnapped, and he spent years longing after her. And then I realised… that’s exactly what happened here, too, except that the character in the sketch is an elf. When I realised that, suddenly important parts of her backstory clicked into place. Why was there such opposition towards him marrying her? Well, because she (perhaps) belonged to a different tribe, and she wasn’t the pretty little wife his family wanted for him, but a stubborn, independent woman who had happened to be on the wrong side in a war.

Possibly.

Itheluna3

sketch3