Archive for March, 2007

Sketch Six: Leaping Man

Saturday, March 17th, 2007


An absolutely horrible tribute to the movie that just rocked my socks off — 300. I am being pressured into an inebriated game of scrabble. So this is what you get.

Sketch Five: Neon Girl

Friday, March 16th, 2007

My palette tends to be more blacks, browns, reds and purples, so I wanted to try something completely off the chart for me. I also wanted to draw a girl rockin’ a juicy ba-donka-donk. Mission accomplished!

I may draw some more of these… girls with curves are way fun to draw.

Sketch Four: Robo-Ape

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

I don’t know either.

Sketchblog Day Three: Fog Study

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

I had a loooong day at work, so this was appropriate to my mood when I finally got home — dull and gloomy. In general, atmosphere is a very weak point for me, so that’s what I’m trying to focus on improving.

These are also great for reaquainting me with my wacom tablet… which, despite the best intentions, is still relatively new three years after its purchase. I’m learning a lot very quickly, however, and once I’m more comfortable I think it could become a regular tool. I need to try it out in Illustrator, too. I can bust some pretty good moves in Illustrator with a mouse, so I can’t wait to see what I can with a pen and tablet.

Sketchblog: Day Two

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

This is going to be a long two weeks, I can already tell. It’s a good thing the deadline is midnight.

Here’s some clouds. Clouds are so hard. It’s difficult to get that wispy-but-still-mass-y look right. The main background for all my David painting and art has to do with the same grey, cloudy sky, which means I need to figure out how to make convincing clouds. I was lucky in the cover image for the mock-up, but I need to get a system down.

So here’s a study on clouds — some nice, simple, sunny, happy ones.

Also, I haven’t done those sweet simplified “V” birds since I was in probably sixth grade. Rock!

And it begins…

Monday, March 12th, 2007

I’ve been challenged to a two week (minimum) sketch blog. I will admit I agreed on a whim, and my first contribution is… less than impressive. I’ll probably begin a different blog for all this stuff tomorrow, but since it is technically related, we’ll put it here for now.

This is a rough sketch for a planned painting. I’m still figuring out the details, so even though this was done in 15 whole minutes, it’s still allowed me to work out some color details. I’d put more, but I have to have this baby live by midnight tonight or I have to listen to my fiance gloat.

And oh, how I hate that sound… cheers!

Chapter 10: The Red City

Monday, March 12th, 2007

Ooh, creepy-crawlies. The next few chapters started to seriously creep me out when I wrote them. Josh hasn’t made it past this part in the story yet because they freak him out so badly. I didn’t have a problem with centipedes before, but they sure do gross me out now. Especially after I took a day researching how they looked, moved, etc. “Too many legs” is right. yuck.

I’ve moved from Stephen King’s “On Writing” on to more exotic territory. I first heard about Sergei Lukyanenko’s “Night Watch” when I saw a preview for the first movie in the Russian trilogy being filmed overseas. The previews look RIGHTEOUS and so deliciously dark, it was love at first sight. So although I never got to see the first movie — sometimes it’s hard to round up people that don’t mind subtitles — I was thrilled to find a translated version at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland when I was visiting my folks.

English is my first, and really only, language. I took five years of french in high school, but nothing really stuck past some various verbs and phrases. However, one thing I do remember about the class was translating “Le Petit Prince”, or “The Little Prince”. I recall thinking it was really a very cute story, and that I enjoyed the different style of storytelling.

The same applies with “Night Watch”. I don’t know if it’s the translation or the actual core storytelling, but it’s… different. There’s a unique structure, a unique build and resolve.

With English stories, you get the notion when something’s important. I’m not an insanely avid reader, nor do I possess an incredible intellect — but when you mention the punkish man in the subway, I know he is probably going to talk to you, sell you something, or rob you. The mention of him alone insinuates his importance. In Lukyanenko’s “Night Watch”, that is not necessarily the case. And I like it.

The only two shows on television I watch are NBC’s Heroes and Fox’s 24. They both give you white rabbits to chase while you try and work out the plot, and make frequent gifts in the form of incomplete story arcs — and I love it. Give me something where the main characters aren’t safe, where good doesn’t always win, give me a twist I didn’t see coming.

“Night Watch” is dark and dangerous, with werewolves, vampires, Light and Dark Magicians, the general bending of reality… and a healthy dose of potential world doom hanging in the balance; but done in a way that is fresh when held against all the other fantasy I’ve read. It’s very much worth the read.

More J&M Trilogy Talk

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

More Trilogy Talk

Although this blog is actually about The Sum of David, I can’t help but be excited for the fate of one of my earlier stories. “The Cauldronborn” was the first in a series of three, and I started writing it in 2002 as a christmas present for my brother. I sent it off for the holiday and revised it several times. Since then, I feel I’ve outdone it several times over by those stories that came after.

Apparently, those other literary leaps and bounds don’t matter to everyone.

One of my friends from high school showed a lot of interest in the books, and I sent the first two his way when they were completed (the other two were finished after he started law school, and I can’t burden him with them while he’s got those massive textbooks). Regardless, the first story found it’s way into his gf’s daughter’s bedtime story rotation, and it seems Molly, the little girl, has not only started reading it on her own now… she’s doing a book report on it at school.

If nobody else likes anything I’ve done, if no one ever wants to publish it, if I die without anyone ever having described me as a ‘writer’… who cares?

A little girl in DC is doing a book report on it. And that more than makes it all worth it. :)

Chapter Nine: Murder Wind

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

This is an admittably slow chapter, but it’s necessary. You can’t go 50 mph all the time, and we’re only going to speed up shortly. I like stories with contrast in their plot, so here’s my best attempt at that. In the meantime…

An interesting word in critiques.

I’ve had friends and relatives read and critique anything of length I’ve ever written. That list of who has varied according to the piece, and usually to how decent I think it is. Of the trilogy I’ve mentioned, the core included my mom and my best friend for the first book; for the last, which I personally felt was my strongest one of the three, I also reached out to my fiancé for critique. For David, that list doubled.

Since coming up with the basic idea four years ago, The Sum of David as a completed work has been my main goal, my pinnacle – my intended masterpiece. The grand culmination of all my writing practice in the past (Oh-so-grandiose music goes here).

But let’s be serious. I’m only twenty-five years old. I’m a full-time graphic designer. And outside out of the full eight months I dedicated after my workday to writing the third and relatively final draft of David, I really just write whenever I feel like. I would love to see it in print, and let’s all hope for it good and hard, but let’s also be realistic. I’m not a professional.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t want the thing I’ve been poring my energy and effort (and free time and lack of social life) into to NOT be the best I can make it. Which meant that I got to the normal crew – Mom, Kelly, Josh – to read and give me feedback, but I also enlisted the help of three others for their critiques.

There’s a danger in that, of course. Even trusted friends won’t always give you the roughest news, even when you want to hear it. And you don’t want to turn it over to someone you don’t know very well, because there’s a good chance they’ll be under critical of it in fear of hurting your feelings.

I begged everyone who read this to be good and hard on David, and got some great responses. The person I knew the least about said he regretted agreeing to do it at first because of the time commitment; but he loved it by the time he finished it. Convincing a doubtful reader is a wonderful accomplishment, I promise, but I’m also sure it wasn’t flawless… and I didn’t get any sort of “well, it was slow here” or “was X really necessary?”. Maybe ending on a high note makes you forgive the sins enacted before that point, but I want the whole thing to be enjoyable.

What this whole thing means is that I’m open to criticism. There aren’t many of you out there reading, but I’d love to hear any comments on the individual chapters, the story up this point – whatever ‘this’ happens to be – characters, plot, pacing, whatever you got. Hate it, love it, let me have it. Whatever David is or will be, I still want it to be the best I can do.