Zel’s portrait

zel

Well, I’m still plugging away at “Fabelwald Book II: Dandle & Lion”, which is why I’ve completely ignored this blog.  Actually, I’m reworking Book I as well a little bit. I have settled on a consistent cover layout for the series, so will reissue “Mythic Forest” with a new cover (the first design I had painted, but then not used) AND inserting a handful of character portraits AND adding a very short chapter at the end to allow for ‘loose ends’ to be picked up in future novels.

The portrait here is a 4×6 digital paint of the main character (Zel, aka Rapunzel) for Book I.  The following pics show the process… I sketched directly into the computer, then messed around until I came up with something that looks like stone for her window frame (on a separate layer).  On a third layer I underpainted the sketch with basic blobs of light and shadow.  I then duplicated the sketch layer (to save a clean copy) and merged it with the light/shadow layer… this allowed me to smudge and paint around the sketch, instead of having to essentially redo the sketch in a new layer of paint.  Finally came the long process of detailing and refining…. eventually getting down to adding individual strands of fly-away hair, freckles, birthmarks, etc.

I also tried adding a little bit of blur as you get towards the edges of the pic, and I kind of like the looseness of those areas.  The problem I keep running into is that I zoom in too much to smooth out the fine areas of color change on the face, which looks great zoomed in, but then when I zoom out to the “actual size” the paint looks strange… Its obvious there’s too much drawn in detail and there is a sort of harshness about the whole thing.  I need someone to stand behind me and slap me upside the head when I press the zoom button!

Sticking to a “rougher” paint will likely not only look nicer (more like oil paint) and save me hours of work no one can see.  Well, actually, the detail DOES allow me to print much larger sized work and even print out zoomed-in, individual areas… but really, unless by some miracle these drawings go viral and people start demanding poster versions, I’ll never use that option.

So, its back to having someone just slap me upside the head.

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Thorny Rose (Fabelwald)

thorny-rose

Free download !!!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/381528

 

Above you see a manga-styled cover for a free short story I have published on smashwords.com.  The story takes place in the Fabelwald world, approximately thirty years before the events in ‘The Mythic Forest’ (available in print/ebook at amazon/apple/createspace/etc… search by title or by my name!)

The story serves to introduce you to one of the major supporting characters we will see in Fabelwald Book II, as well as a couple of new races/creatures.  I have too many origin stories laying around, and as much as I’d like to get them into the main books, I’m afraid they would just distract from the main plot line.  I remember reading Lord of the Rings (Fellowship of the Ring) and thinking ‘what’s up with all this Tom Bombadill crap?’ …. And I am no Tolkien, lol!

Fabelwald: Fremde the Strange

fremde

Here is a paint of one of the characters in The Mythic Forest.

Fremde the Strange, a self-exiled hermit, was once called Rikard when he lived among other humans.  He is also called Stranseir by the Elves, and Prexnos by the Faeries… all names that translate as “the strange and curious one.”

He turned away from his own kind, fleeing what he saw as humanity’s ignorance and cruelty, and wound up living in the wild.  There, he met an Elf, a forward thinker who set out to prove men were just as capable and deserving of magic as his own race, and who bound magic to Fremde via tattoos of spells and runes.  These tattoos had the unintended effect of further ostracizing Fremde… the superstitious humans found him frightening, and the elitist Elves saw him as a fraud, a cheap parody of themselves.

It was the faery folk however, who knew his heart and chose him for an important task…

https://www.createspace.com/4461608

http://www.amazon.com/Mythic-Forest-Fabelwald-Saga-Volume/dp/1492849146

 

Book Proofreading

torches

I have nearly finished reading my novel in long sessions to get a feel for continuity and pace and all that fun stuff, and though I had reviewed it a million times for grammar, word choice, etc., I still find tiny things to change.  My biggest pet peeves are the occasional instances of “I used that word too much in the last few paragraphs!”.   So off we go to the online thesaurus!

Hmm… thesaurus.

Let me jump off track here.  I remember back before there was an internet, when I was in grade school I needed to buy one of those little “Roget’s (?) Pocket Thesaurus” for class.  I was in the local pharmacy buying an X-Men comic, and on the off chance they had such a thing I asked the cashier where I could find one.  That’s not so strange, is it?  I mean they always put in those racks at the beginning of the school year with packages of pens, pencils, erasers, notebooks, glue, compasses, etc…  So the lady who bore a strange resemblance to the mom of the family of thieves in “The Goonies” :

Says to me : “What’s a fasoris?”

***

Anyways, back to proofreading, I would like to share a little gem I discovered weeks ago when researching medieval life to make sure what I was writing was accurate.  I don’t recall what I was looking for, but somehow came across this Brit’s youtube videos.  He has a wonderful sense of humor, sort of a Hugh Laurie vibe.  He apparently does a lot of historical reenactments, cosplay and so on, so not only has a good historical knowledge but a practical one as well.  He found out (the hard way sometimes) about little details like uses of fire, weapon and armor details, etc.   He mocks the Hollywood versions of things, like sound and lighting effects, which are done simply cause they look or sound cool, but are completely wrong. Of course, the world has grown up seeing these things in movies, and we assume its real.

I had a scene in a castle, and described a scene where the flicker and sputtering of torches created all this tension and mood and yadda-yadda-yadda…. and then I saw the following video and went back and rewrote it all.

In my proof reading last night, I caught the mistake of mentioning “torches” instead of “lanterns” pages after my rewrite.

Which is what got me on this sidetrack.

Or was it a sidetrack?  I was talking about proof reading.

I think.

What the hell did I start this post for?  Ah, never mind.

Just enjoy the videos.

Book Proof is In!

Image

I finally got the physical proof of the fantasy novel I have been working on since the beginning of the year!

Being of grumpy nature, my first words upon opening the package were “God damn it!”  Ha ha ha.

I was of course referring to how dark the cover printed- most of my painting simply came out black.  As I have griped about in previous posts, what you see in you actual drawing file versus what gets saved when converted to a .jpeg or .pic or .png is a whole other animal.  Over the last year I have searched for clues online on how to get things to come out right, but have had no luck. 

I actually thought my prayers were answered when I had to submit the drawing file to the printer, cause they required a PDF file.  When I saved it as such, I was shocked to see that it looked identical to my drawing file version.  No way! I cried… finally I had found a format that looked like what I had intended.  Well, now I know it looks good, but prints terribly.  The other formats look worse, but print better.

Back to the drawing board (no pun intended, but what the hell, it works).