lookingland: (reconstruction)
( Oct. 18th, 2009 12:47 pm)

i dream in black and white. sometimes i can perceive color (i know a truck is red, for example), but usually that's just a perception ~ the dream itself usually has no color. occasionally it will have spot color (i dreamt of being a photojournalist trying to break some story in Iraq and being chased inside a huge scientific military complex. there was an escalator and as i descended, a giant koi was swimming in the air before me. the koi was every color of the rainbow ~ stuff like that). i know other people dream this way too. i wonder if is has anything to do with my inability to learn color theory....

but i digress. the point of this post was to make an announcement.

it's official: my long violent war with color and color theory and coloring is at an end.

in case you are wondering, nobody won.

meanwhile, we have to bury the dead ~ which amounts to six pages of art that i will be posting in installments starting tomorrow and running daily through November 7th. these are very much tweener pages in which the coloring style is going to do some mutating. at the end, the new style will hopefully not be too much of a sudden shock but it will possibly be somewhat more monochromatic (which is about all the color i can handle). Fortunately this is not an art style change in terms of the drawing ~ just the coloring, i promise.

also, the good news is: if all goes well, Reconstruction will continue to post daily instead of just M-Th from here on out.

please remember ~ in spite of my cartoony art style, this series is intended for mature readers and even though it's been pretty pg-rated tame since i began in august, it won't always be SFW (ooo, i used a blogging acronym. i feel so hip). if you need warnings for weeks in which stuff is NSFW, let me know and i will post cautions in advance. if you need to know all the ways in which this story is going to turn down dark paths, please read this.

questions? qualms? wondering where that newly named pony is? i'm so far ahead in the drawing, you won't see the pony until november (sorry!).

hope everyone is having a happy weekend!

: D
i went ahead and spent some money and got a handful of markers to give 'em a go. i have mixed feelings of joy and trepidation.

things i like:
  1. consistency of color.
  2. no streaks/ease of blending.
  3. no buckling on the paper.
  4. it gives my work polish that i just can't seem to get with paint because of my tentativeness.
things that concern me:
  1. Learning to use them. they color pretty no matter what you do with them, which is great, but i don't want to get too sloppy. also, while i like the brush nibs very much, somehow i can't control them as well as an actual brush with paint. i keep wandering out of the lines.
  2. cost (?). i bought more colors than I probably really need, though ~ over time i will figure out a palette.
  3. colors! zooks, i'm bad at choosing colors. i chose out of the "sepia" family, figuring i'd trust it to be, well, sepia (as i know it), but it's awfully bright. it's not that big of a deal because i can adjust the saturation on the computer (as i did above), but i'd like to figure out a truer color match eventually.
this is all so bizarre. i could color for (technically) free if i just did it on the computer, where i have bajillions of colors at my disposal and can erase my mistakes. but...

it's all about the artifact.

if i don't have something i can hold in my hand, i don't love it.

at any rate, i colored four pages this morning before noon ~ fastest coloring job ever. that alone is worth a lot. now i can spend the rest of the weekend working on totally new stuff! yay!

hope everyone is having a great weekend!

: D

p.s. the panel above is from a page you won't see until october 12th, i think. please note the dreaded corn field!

the above picture is about the size of a business card (tiny), and when reproduced, it will prolly be even smaller, and yet i put entirely too much time and detail into it (ridiculously so ~ the faces were excruciating).

i'm not exactly sorry that i did because it's an all right picture and i like detail (like the ribbing on Lester Dunne's socks), but if I've got to produce 2-3 pages a week, i can't really afford to spent three days painting only a handful of panels. granted, it's been hot and i've not been feeling like working, but that no excuse for spending what little work time i've had on a single panel!

so yeah. i feel like i need to be cautious of setting a dangerous precedent for expectations that i doubt i can meet consistently. and of course there's another part of me looking at this and thinking: oh wait, i forgot to add the embroidery to Morse's vest. doh!

launch is in three days. i have a ton of work to do still.

hope everyone out there is well!

: D
home sick today. this is unfortunate because i have a bazillion things to do and am hacking and sighing too much to do any of them. the house is a horrendous disaster and i desperately need to do laundry. the good news is that i managed to dress, put a hat on my greasy head, and wander out to the farmer's market up the street so that i could buy fresh veggies with which to make a cauldron of leek soup.

in case you didn't know it, leek soup is the 9th wonder of the world.

despite the mung, i am going to try to get a good pile of work done. july is at long last over and i can throw myself headlong into working on Reconstruction. i have the first twenty pages (more or less) completed, which is quite the buffer, but i don't want to let the line go slack because i'm going to be posting 4 days a week (monday through thursday) and that buffer is going to get eaten up quick!

yes, you read that right: i'm posting updates monday through thursday with extras on the weekends (perhaps). it's only a slightly brutal schedule, but i decided on it because if i force myself to draw every day i'm hoping i will let go of some of the inhibitions that have kept me from being faithful to this project over the years.

this also means you will be seeing some wildly inconsistent artwork and i am trying to be okay with that. this isn't "real" artwork, after all, right? it's just a storyboard. so i hope you will be forgiving at least. and know that things will even off once i get into a rhythm with it all.

meanwhile, i will share with you this teaser. some of you had seen the digital version of this image. this is the "redo" in watercolor.

i'm really looking forward to the August 16th launch date.

now i must eat my soup and try to shake off the pall of mung so that i can be productive this weekend. if i have to be sick and it means i get a three-day weekend, then i had better make the best of it. later, there will pomegranate ice cream. naturally.

happy friday all!

: D
lookingland: (reconstruction)
( Apr. 25th, 2009 09:48 am)

Mostly for my own amusement (and because I have a ton of stuff to do so I need to break up my day), I thought, after posting the draft of my next installment yesterday, I would sort of follow the process through to the finished deal (see if I can't kick this thing in the right direction).

So while I'm typing and futzing with the text (and this is a very short piece to boot), I'm also working on the picture. Above is the pencil sketch for it. My pencil sketches are usually much dirtier than this. I really managed some relatively clean lines here and less erasing.

Now I'm going to make breakfast and tea and finish up the text so I can move on to the next stage.

Hope everyone is having a happy Saturday!

: D

edit: rather than spam with a buncha little posts, I've added the followup on the above image! (apologies if it's a tad wide).

I will probably use this set of images (along with some narrative) for a "process" section in the FAQs on the website. It's a little bit atypical in terms of how I generally work, but I think it covers all the bases. And it looks cool, which, as we know, is what's really important ~ !
lookingland: (angel)
( Apr. 24th, 2009 07:05 pm)

one of the things that i really needed to fix with regard the Reconstruction site and its contents was the curious absence of Razi-el in all but the pale introduction. i think part of me has always been just a little chicken to fully integrate Razi-el into the story in an overt way, fearful of wrecking the sense of realism (clearly my sense of realism is a little off if that's the case). but considering that the whole story is driven by Razi-el's presence in Lewis Fletcher's life (irregardless of whether he's aware of it), i really need to make sure his presence is felt by the reader.

so, enter Razi-el.

furthermore, i thought it would be amusing to share a rough draft of some small something with you. i often read about the process of other writers on my flist and enjoy (in the best sense of the word) their struggles and wonder, sometimes, at the piles of papers and edits and other detritus that may litter their desktops. editing is a violent thing (leastways i think some part of it should be!).

this is something i wrote last night (from Razi-el's pov to get him into the game). you'll notice it's accompanied by a wee little scribble (thinking forward to what picture to draw to accompany it). you'll prolly get to see the finished product of this by sunday. for the terminally curious, this is written with a plain ol' black Pilot pen on the back of a draft of some boring work thing (you can faintly see the ink bleed from the printing on the other side). sometimes i throw a color wash on the scribbles if the paints are handy.

hope everyone is off to a great friday! i have beta stuff to read and much to write, so i expect it will be a productive weekend in this corner of the world.

In reorganizing my website for Reconstruction, i decided to put some texture on the page (it's always been too flat for me). i'm also cramming the glug of "information" onto an information page to free up the homepage for the latest updates. not quite sure how this will work, but it's getting closer to what i want (is that even possible?)

i think the only thing i'm fretting about is having a link somewhere to make the "recent updates" more readily available rather than having to paw through the archives (which are still cumbersome, but i'm leaving them alone for now). the "recent updates" menu on the left just feels sort of lost. i feel like i need something a little flashier. what i think i will do is just have a "posting order" update page so it's easy to see what's new. it's one more page to maintain, but that's all right. it's not a big deal to just have piles of links somewhere.

anyway, so there it is. all of the changes aren't "live" yet and i have a lot of work to do still ~ including some slash and burn on the scenes that have already been posted (bad, i know ~ but it has to be done). this weekend, i hope, everything will be more in order. i'll definitely be very glad when all of these technical issues are resolved and i can just focus on the content for a change.

i've just spent the last three hours over-processing pictures for Reconstruction. didn't i have some very simple rules for this challenge? i especially seem to recall that these rules very specifically meant to cut out the post-painting digital processing (shading, lettering, etc.)

why am i having such a problem following my own rules?

...so annoyed with myself.

edit: okay, i undid the mess. all is well in the world again.

: D
lookingland: (ghost rider)
( Nov. 3rd, 2008 06:56 am)
i haven't made the major decisions about the project, but i sat down and looked at the heap that is my desk and decided on which tools i use the most frequently (and which are the most useful).

i get hung up on things like paper, which i love, but fret about too much (it's a long story of which i will spare you), so picking tools that are simple and disposable is critical. most artists i know get away with a gel pen and typing paper (now called printer paper, i guess). because i like to paint, i need a few more frills.

read about the lot )
i'm going to paw through my outlines today and see what, if anything, jumps out at me. stay tuned!

: D
i have decided to quit all of my creative pursuits and just write a blog about the ever-evolving state of my desk. er, as opposed to what i seem to be currently engaged in.

i had to reconfigure the desk. the books were walling me in. they're very clingy, needy things sometimes. they make it hard to concentrate. so i turned my tv into a dictionary stand (you've probably not seen my 1893 Funk & Wagnall's dictionary ~ it's kind of immense), and moved all the books over to the table it used to occupy. this had made the dictionary crabby, but i will find it a place of honor elsewhere (just not right now).

anyway, this has alleviated the crush and made the source material easier to get a hold of (that teetering pile was just ridiculous after a week). i also put Hartranft's Letterbook into a binder (dunno what took me so long!). of course this meant punching it full of holes (that's okay, it's a lousy copy), but worse, i wound up whiling away an hour trying to read Hancock's letters. i'm getting better at it. it only takes me a few minutes to remember how to follow the stroke of the pen. bad as his handwriting is, it's consistently the same kind of bad throughout, so once you know how he writes "to the" as a one-word one blobby mess with no crossed t's, you can pretty much identify it across the board.

so yeah, that's been my morning. and just to share, i have this photo, which sold on eBay last year and which i never even bothered bidding for (as i knew it would sell for way more than i could ever hope to afford). from looking at his pictures (pretty much all of them), it's easy to see why people were scared of this guy. if all accounts didn't say what a marshmallowy underside he had, i prolly wouldn't believe it.

Hartranft in uniform seems a pretty
rare commodity. this one and another from the
same photographer of him sitting,
sold for $550 each.

all right, i'm going back to work as soon as read my flist. hope everyone is having a happy weekend!

: D

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well, it's a mess now. i've been home from work feeding a cold with popcorn and green tea (because that's healthy, right?). and between trying to get my little dog to eat something and blowing my sore and drippy nose, i have been attempting to get some creative work done. the good news is, i am making some progress. the bad news is, my desk is messier than ever (and completely non-conducive to actually working).

i tend to work best while standing, so it's fine if i throw stuff all over the chair, but the fact that i barely have any space to actually work in is making me feel buggy. i need a rolling trolley thingie to put my books in so that they will be right on hand, but not consuming the lion's share of my work area. then i could just pull 'em up when i need 'em and shove them off when i don't.

and all of this just to say: really, i am working. inking the Morse house on grace street may kill me, but i'm going to finish it (and a number of other goals) this weekend.

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lookingland: (hood)
( Mar. 7th, 2008 09:31 pm)
i was made much jealous by the exciting project notebook of friend moo (which has since been upgraded to a binder!), and despairing over the state of my desk, i did, as promised, undertake to clean it off and get something like organized.

my efforts proved slightly successful. at least the piles are vertical and straight at the moment. the dali cup in the middle (i forgot to point out on the picture annotation), is actually the water cup for the paints. scandalously, i might add, the total worth of the library books on my desktop exceeds $1,000. i have never really assessed my own collection, though i am sure it is equally obnoxious. i really could blow my tax refund on books (and, in fact, am eyeing something delicious on eBay even now ~ i know, i know! i need an intervention).

aren't you impressed?
do you think it will last like this
at least through the weekend?

currently, Reconstruction doesn't require much space, so it's dwarfed by In Pursuance of Said Conspiracy (i have better committed to memory the 1,001 details of Reconstruction than the intricacies of the other, which always seems to me a terrible tiger tail every time i try to get it in some kind of order).

so yeah, i am daunted, but not yet defeated. it doesn't help, however, that my own notebook (binder, actually), contains an outline that seems to have been all out of control from the start. i seem to like the idea of organization a lot more than actually being organized.

i don't know what's worse about this:
the fact that i've scribbled so many arrows all over this
thing i hardly know what order anything goes in anymore
or the fact that it's mostly encoded with acronyms and
page numbers, which i now have to decipher all over again.

i've saved the first page of each of the drafts i began of this work (and there have been many!). i've thrown the rest of it away entirely.

my goal for the weekend is to finish a handful of pages for Reconstruction, and to try to get reacquainted with this other mess. i've already re-read the last chapter of Lincoln and Episodes of the Civil War just to put myself in the mood. it's interesting, but every time i read it, i find Poppet's slant against the King Drunk more peculiar and suspicious. he makes no accusations outright, but at least twice in close quarters makes an overt note as to the King Drunk's actions seeming to scream a little too loudly: i had nothing to do with it!

but then, that's how conspiracy theories get started. the imagination is a powerful thing.

: D
did some random experimenting today. i had an "event" in mind, but the two pictures were very randomly chosen (clearly i was in a mood to draw Morse with his crazy long hair, though i think when this scene actually happens, he ought to have it tied back...and he ought to be wearing a hat ~ my great sin against 19th century historicality is forever going to be people wandering around without hats. i can't help it. Lewis looks stupid in hats and always has ~ but i don't know why i always forget to put a hat on Morse. i'll try harder).

pardon the discursion: back to the image.

there's not a whole lot about this that's different from what i was doing before except that it's got a bit more white space between panels and i'm thinking about it strip-style instead of page-style. i was also goofing with the layers and throwing some texture on it (a wee bit of shadow on the boom ~ i like the boom).

it's also a lot "tighter". i tend to plan my "shots" poorly so that there's too much background and i'd like to avoid that. one of the things that SPQR Blues does that i really like is focus on the characters and their expressions. it doesn't do a whole lot of wide or complicated angles. since i am very poor at perspective drawing, that appeals to me. it's also not too tiny for details, but tiny enough that i feel confident.

i kinda like it. in theory.

i'm also painfully aware of the fact that i really do need to work from a more cohesive script. my thumbnails are mostly a mess. and notice how they are laid out in a strip-style? so i don't know why i changed my tactics on that. i'm dum.

none of this solves the "grit" problem, of course ~ but right now, the bigger fish to fry is story-wise. i promised myself i wasn't going to get roped into some linear chronology, but i did just that. by eliminating the narrative voice, i locked the story into a logical progression of scenes. foo! as a result i have been sorta stuck on figuring out what arc i'm after here, when there was never supposed to be an arc. so i need to either bring back the narrative voice or rethink this in some other way yet again.

geh. i need something with balloons on it to throw darts at.

mebbe then i could win a prize.

: o p
the sun sets on another sunday ~

i have worked on a lot of odds and ends this weekend (prolly more odd than end, but that's about par for the course). it took me most of the evening to draw the "rembrandt" picture i mentioned the other day. it was a lot more complicated than i anticipated and i'm mostly pleased with the results, though i am not sure if it "reads" well. i posted a preview under the cut if you want to take a gander at it and tell me what you think. it ain't finished, but the shape is basically in place.

the lettering will be larger and legible on the final, but in case you can't read it, it's Mark 4:37-40ish. i'm sort of torn as to whether the image conveys well enough what i want it to, and don't know whether the quote helps or just confuses the matter. again, mebbe you swell flisters can give me your impressions. other than dead andy lying in state, this is the "opening" image of the story, so i feel like it has to carry all sorts of important tonal/metaphorical junk (you know, all that writerly crap).

okay, enough of me blithering again.

click me if you want to see the pencils )

hope everyone had some bright moments this weekend! i saw 3:10 to Yuma on sattidy. review is in the works.

: D
it took me most of the morning to draw dead andy, which is unfortunate (that's pretty slow even for me, and the picture is still not finished). but then, it's a complicated picture and i had to fuss with it a lot.

this is the opening image in whatever it is i'm currently working on (this is technically Remember, Linwood Brown, but i don't know if that will actually be the title in the long run). i had wanted to open with rembrandt's painting, but it occurred to me that i could work in even more layers of schtuff if i opened with dead andy instead. so here's dead andy and rembrandt will be next.

andy is one of those characters who i created knowing he was going to die, but he was necessary for so many reasons, and, in all fairness, he lived a lot longer than anyone expected he might. it also mitigates my own guilt that since he's dead in the opening scene, we can hope he's got a life of flashbacks to count on.

i didn't feel like drawing this morning, but i forced myself to do it anyway (discipline, discipline, discipline). the picture's not astonishingly good in any way, but i like it well enough (and will tweak some more when i ink it. i'm still thinking of changing that candlestick to a votive instead, for example). i altered it a bit from my initial thumbnail sketch (enlarged somwhat in this scan ~ my thumbnails are usually about an inch high):

i wanted Morse kneeling, but it seemed like that would dictate one extra step to get him on his feet to touch andy's face and i didn't feel like that was warranted. i haven't figured out certain kinds of progressions well enough to know how to pull something like that off without it feeling like bad film editing. but i am nonetheless determined to make this mostly a learning experience.

and i also sort of randomly feel like i might delete much of the front half of this journal (just as a necessary purgative), and that i need new lj tags. but it's hard to know where to start.

something to mull.

look alive everybody, tomorrow's friday!

: D
lookingland: (penguins)
( Apr. 1st, 2006 02:11 pm)
john debney's tracks from The Passion that are an absolute rip off of james horner's Glory score (and yet still inferior).

if you listen to them back to back it becomes more and more obvious: same cadence, tempo, shifts, and swells. debney's score just has (literally) fewer notes and no trumpets.

it's kind of perverse, i think. like listening to hans zimmer's score on Carnivale (shudder) ~ the humanity!

~ * ~

i've been trying to organize the mess that has become my hard drive over the last few years. i've been especially horrid about squirreling away drafts of things. the James scene i posted earlier is actually written in a "review" file with film notes. hardly where it belongs!

this is compounded by the fact that i not only squirrel, but hoarde. so i have folders within folders of things i've lost track of. recently i posted about losing a critical scene. today, whilst cleansing the beastly folders, i not only found it, but a lot of other miscellany which i had forgotten about.

the most perplexing to wit:
The Day John Wilkes Booth Robbed C & R and/or Beautiful Snow (variously called)

a weird time-travel novel about John Wilkes Booth. C & R was a men's clothier back in the day and the impetus for the story was a dream i had while under the influence of paint fumes. i had fallen asleep face down on a book about the assassination of lincoln (broke the spine even) and dreamt that j.w. booth and lewis paine were robbing C & R (the manager being the character actor who used to come out on the irish spring commercials) ~ i think i posted here in lj a million years ago, an illustration that i made of this dream.

anyway this novel was lost in an infamous hard drive crash in 1991. only bits and pieces were recovered. probably a good thing since it's really wretched, but i feel a little nostalgic for things about it that are gone that i remember. all that remains is a couple of scenes, a couple of unreadable chapter files (now in the trash), and a prologue of the hanging of the assassination conspirators.

the basic premise: the lincoln conspirators (not entirely on good terms with one another) are resurrected in 1984 to save a gubernatorial (and future presidential) candidate from being assasinated. but they're squabbling over loyalties from the outcome of the last mess, and trying to cope with the modern world at the same time (insert ample time-travel-style hilarity).

the end scene was brilliant ~ they're at an antebellum cotillion fund raising banquet when the deed goes down and the candidate, whose name was something Abrahams (can't remember) is dressed, of course, like lincoln ~ and i think he's a black man (and booth, of course, is dressed like booth). it's so so silly.

this has to be the weirdest story i've ever conceived. i honestly dunno what i was thinking at the time.

it's strange that i saved these bits and pieces from a book that i lost (no hard copy exists). i was tempted to just chuck the files, but i'll save one for posterity. if nothing else it has what i think is a nice flashback from j.w.'s childhood with his brother edwin.

when i look at this lost project i realize: you know what? i did write fanfiction when i was a teenager.

anway, i also found half a dozen other drafts of things (mostly unfinished). i corralled them, and stuffed them in a folder labeled "Dead Ends". one day i'll likely purge them completely.

two finished novels ( The Dissolute Heir ~ my 700-page jack the ripper novel and Stain the Earth Red ~ my 900-page dances with wolves epic) were reformatted and likewise stored away. i tossed all the extra drafts and notes. i still may one day rewrite Stain the Earth Red, but it sure feels good to clear the hundred documents that were drafts and bits and pieces of it.

no novel ever needs to be 900 pages long. i must have been on crack when i wrote that.

i was certainly amibitous back then. i churned out a lot of words. those books were written more than fifteen years ago. if i didn't value them for what they taught me, i'd find that (and the fact of them being pretty much "garbage" that should never see the light of day) depressing.

it's all good. cleaning house is good. now if i can get my Razi-el folder under control, i'll be a very happy camper and better prepared to start doing some more writing.

it's like when i was a child and didn't want to clean my room: i crammed everything under my bed time and time again. finally one day my sister took a broom and dragged all that stuff out and it was such a huge pile of junk to clean up that i have since vowed never to put anything under my bed (and to this day haven't). maybe from here on out i'll stop squirreling and hoarding and i'll keep my files better organized.

one can hope ~ !

: D