Friday, 14 October 2011

Decisions, decisions

Horns 1 or 2?

And yes, I've been using my windstone dragons as references... They're too perfect not to!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

WIP- Work in Progress

Blue Dragon work in progress... Not fantastic blue just yet and not super shaded either. I think I'll do all the scales first then play with them later. So many to do!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Still messing around but this time I'm doing a fleshed out blue dragon. So far so good. :)

Rawr I'm a Paper Dragon!

I'm so excited I got my wacom today and I've been messing around with it in Photoshop. I didn't find the controls as counter intuitive as I thought. In fact everything flowed very natural. I spent a lot of time customizing the buttons on the sides to better suit where my hand was going to be positioned. I don't think I'm quite done yet, since I seem to spend a lot of time using the color picker tool I may just use that as one of the two buttons directly on the pen. I do tend to agree with others though that the tablet itself has room for and should come with more buttons :)

I find myself still relying on the laptop's trackpad and a few keystrokes here and there but overall I'm extremely happy with the design. I'm not quite sure how to set up the pressure sensitivity for the brushes in photoshop yet. The program still relies a lot on the flow/opacity settings.

There's just so much I have yet to learn so I spent today sketching a dragon in flat colors just to get the feel of the tablet.

Not exactly the photorealistic dragon I'm aiming to be able to do but it's a start however shamefully noobish it might be!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Wings and Things

Alright, I made myself sit down and sketch something decent. I really need a name for these mecha things with wings since most of my characters seem to be just that. Thanks Wing Zero Custom for setting me for life on the idea that mecha can have wings. Oh and that they should be real avian wings because although that doesn't make sense, neither do mecha so :p

Here's Ace looking very much like Caelum with Peaches' head, lol.

Actually I have an entire idea on them being bio-mecha. Remember Guyver? YES. Yet again thanks for setting me for life on organic mecha things in such a twisted way that the common american description of cyborg just doesn't do it justice. Although General Grievous in Star Wars comes pretty close but is still very robotic.

Avian Mecha... maybe that's what I should call them! (or bird bots which seems entirely more amusing.)

Past and Present

I can't get over how much my terrible sketches upset me. I played around with Ace's scene in my head last night before falling asleep trying to improve it while snuggled with my two favorite men (hubby and my loving pup). As pup's head was against my chest I had the wonders of snoring in stereo to keep me awake. I didn't mind though, I kept rolling with my idea, fleshing it and painting it in my head as if I already had my tablet :)

I've been taking into account making the viewer's eye move around the painting and I contemplated how I was going to show that Ace was running low on ammo as the title suggests. The title either being "One last Bullet" with him cradling his rifle or "Out of Ammo". Being that I'm not creative in making up fictional weaponry I came up with the idea of him holding onto a combat knife to convey one of those desperate 'this is it, make it count' moments.

I also reminded myself that Ace has wings! Black barred owl shaped wings to be precise. But if he had them, why doesn't he just use them to fly away? Well, I thought to myself, maybe they need to be ratty to show that they are non functional, or maybe I should twist one or show that it is injured?

I woke this morning with happy intentions of improving the below sketch with something a little more updated. I dug around and lifted out my VERY OLD sketch of Ace to use as a reference. Gaze upon the horrible first try at a photoshop background!

It's terrible but it works (it's so OLD there is so much improvement to be had!). Some things you may notice about that picture... Ace or Acear (his full name) is very gundam like, which is intentional. It was a gundam rpg his character was written for. Oh and that other dude in there is Resh. Ace is training him to hunt in this picture and is just taking a break. Ace's wings are not remotely owl-like and aren't even big enough for him to use them to fly.

Conclusions? A new character update is in order! As Ace is kind of a solitary soldier he reminds me a lot of master chief from Halo. Please note though that Ace was invented long before Halo ever came out! His sole purpose is to hunt down the rogue Caius creatures. These hell hound things didn't really have names, it's just that the most intelligent one happened to be named Caius.

I really wanted to get into his character so I went back and started reading over some of my posts in the old rpg trying to get a feel for him. Unfortunately when I first make a character they aren't fleshed out at all. I may have a basic outline but how they think or feel or act doesn't actually come out until much later. In fact, in the first posts, he wasn't a likeable character at all! He was abusive, angry, hellbent on success, didn't care for others at all, a lone wolf if you will. You could liken it to the situation he was in, having to train all the new experiments that came out of the processing labs trying to get that perfect soldier (sounds kinda halo-like with the spartans huh?). I don't really know why I favor Ace after all these years. In fact I like Caelum much more.

And yet, Caelum (Kale-lum) is merely a culmination of all my characters mashed into one single original entity. Oh well. More on Cael another day.

So with all my digging around I found an excerpt that highlights Ace's appearance in a long forgotten world that existed solely for the pleasure of about 4-5 other people. A treat I share with you now in it's original state :) (apologies in advance for the sloppiness, this was written while in highschool many years ago! I have to pull myself away before I edit out the silly bits!) :p

Acear landed in the swampy area he was familiar with. Situated
to the far south of the Overlord's base he knew that this was the
weakest point in their security. Checking over his heavy beam
rifle's condition Acear spent a few minutes reloading it from its
last use against the enemies that had swamped the clan's

The clan.

The word echoed through his mind and threatened to shake his
confidence. Was he really a part of the clan? Perhaps he was
since Kida had declared it but Acear refused to accept this idea.
He was not a true Living Gundam like the Free Ones. Not even
Fleia was real. Resh was just a poor copy and the rest of the
Overlord's creations were all faulty in some way. Damn them all
for putting him through this.

Acear snapped the magazine in place and cocked his rifle. All
was set. The hunt began.

Sticking low to the ground, Acear coiled his wings behind him
and stalked silently through the swamp. The sharp thrill of
danger seized his mind and sent his heart racing. This is what
he lived for: an unending chase that would lead him through the
high of combat regardless of the outcome.

Acear reached the edge of the swamp without any trouble. He
checked his internal map where he had last stored the last
reserves if the chemical his body needed. The stronghold was a
few miles away but it was those miles that seemed the most
dangerous. The hiding place could have been discovered.

Once again the slow trek was without peril and Acear
approached the stronghold with caution. Scanners revealed it to
be unguarded. Creeping forward, Acear approached the grand
doors. He placed his claws between the seem and forced them
open with sheer strength. To his surprise the stronghold was
completely empty.

Acear cursed under his breath.

He would have to venture further into enemy territory.
As Acear was standing there he felt a pang of unease rise from
within. Listening to rustling of the trees he tried to confirm his
fears by matching any noise to an enemy mecha or creature he
knew the Overlords had prowling around. As it turned out there
was something following him and it's exact location bleeped up
on his internal radar.

Acear whipped around and fired off two shots in the enemy's
direction. Expecting to hear a scream of sorts he was extremely
surprised when nothing happened save for the falling of a few

Puzzled by this predicament Acear pressed his back up against
the stronghold wall and listened for the steps to come again.
Minutes passed as birds sang happily, grating on Acear's

The attack came from above. Caius descended from the
stronghold's roof and landed on Acear's shoulders. The sheer
weight of the beast knocked Acear face forward into the dirt.
Recovering from the sudden shock he raised his head to see
the familiar beast beginning to circle.

"You again? I should have known you'd come back to plague
me. I should have killed you when I had the chance."

Caius growled, seeing Acear readying for an attack. A familiar
dance was about to begin and Caius knew Acear well enough to
predict some of his attacks. As long as Caius kept close, Acear's
weapon wasn't going to be trouble. Sinking claws into soft dirt,
Caius readied himself for his first move…

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Ground Zero

I'm super excited to get my tablet next week and start playing with digital painting. As such I've chosen a few scenes in my head that have been there for so long now they need to come out!

Unfortunately ground zero is where I am. After 6 years of not doing any sketches what so ever it feels like I my fingers are slow and sluggish and when I try to translate the wonderful shapes in my head to paper they come out like this (again apologies for the crappy photos, I promise to get the scanner hooked up sometime soon!):

The first guy here is one of my mecha characters "Ace" who is badly wounded and using a tree and brush for cover. It's the scene where he is being chased by the Caius creatures (essentially hell hounds). I pondered at having a dead one right beside him.. like just a severed head being visible in the bottom right corner. This sketch is just a basic 'let's put things down on paper to see where they might go'. As you can see it didn't turn out nearly as well as the lavishly colored picturesque Avatar-like scene in my head. Nevermind that Ace looks nothing like what is pictured here... and I was trying so very hard to not make him look like a Halo spartan. I guess the mecha shapes are still in my head, so it's nice to see I haven't lost those... although this loose doodle completely murders what I was capable 6 years ago. With a truck. And then the truck backed up to run it over again... and again for good measure.

Here's the third installment of my white dragon flying by a misty cliff side. I like the flow in this sketch but that's about it : / It's better than the first 2... and no you are not privy to see the chicken scratches :p

It seems more practice is in order. Or perhaps a dose of patience. Or maybe a more comfy chair. Something!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Not So Chinese Brush Painting

My unglamorous attempts at the technique. Much improvement needed. Here are some excerpts from my many doodles. Many apologies for the poor lighting! I have no idea how to play with white balance on my digital camera. :(

My first try at bamboo.

A pair of bug eyed goldfish.

A not so good bonsai... the pot is amazing but the tree itself leaves something to be desired!

Monday, 3 October 2011

A new beginning!

Not fully satisfied with the blog's look but it's a work in progress. I've been relishing the idea of jumping back into art but it is a hard seed to nurture! Where oh where do I start?

On the weekend I was able to visit the tiny gift shop / art store in town but they didn't have any of the chinese brush painting supplies I was looking for. Not even rice paper! Never fear though, the helpful lady equated chinese brush painting to watercolors and was ripe to supply me with all things watercolors to which I had need to interrupt her to say that I had all those things already!

I merely parted with a small bottle of india ink just to get me started.

Today I dug out my paints and located my paper and set them all out. I even dusted the wonderful art table my hubby got me last x-mas, sitting, waiting, sadly in the corner unused. Unfortunately the horse shied at the gate and I ended up taking out my lineolated parakeets instead to work on Finnegan's hand shyness rather than finishing what I started.

I was rewarded with a bit of bravery today when he experimentally nibbled on my ear as if to figure out what it might be (luckily no bite but definitely not a grooming nibble). He had fun grooming my hair when suddenly decided my shoulder wasn't a good enough perch and flapped up to my knee, to which my other linnie, Chickpea, wondered what trouble he might be up to and moved to my chest to get a better vantage point over my book. Finnegan decided he wanted to be closer to Chickpea and flapped over to my shoulder again.

Slowly but surely I think he may be coming around. I hope one day gentleness will cure his panic attacks.

I read for the rest of the afternoon and left my art table alone in the corner, brushes out, ink at the ready, chair inviting me to sit down. But one thing was left staring me in the face: that terrifying blank sheet of paper. It sits there full of potential, beckoning the artist closer, inviting... perhaps begging for a sense of completion.

All of which I shy away from with the procrastinational equivalent of writer's block... something all artists are all to familiar with.

Perhaps tomorrow will be more productive!