Friday, May 31, 2013

Daily Report

I’ve been doing a ton of book revisions this week. The Book I manuscript is definitely getting there…the final draft is now well under way. *yeah*

I just finished the latest book illustration this morning. That makes nine illustrations completed. Wow! Just a few more to go and then I’ll start on the book cover. It’s been quite a project but I’m really enjoying it. Hopefully, my future readers will too. :-)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Daily Report: Starting the next illustration today and…

My new drawing tool.

Martin Universal Design 23" x 31"
Pro-Draft Drawing Board
Tired of using a combination of T-squares and triangles, I decided to spring for a parallel straightedge drawing board the last time I was at the art supply store. True, it was a bit of an expensive impulse buy…but it’s going to be a tremendous help for the book illustrations. Why? Because good drafting counts!

My new drawing board in action
I started using it today as I began the next book illustration. Here it is in action. What a dream to be able to get my lines straight so easily! *phew* I am totally delighted with it. The right tool for the right job certainly makes everything easier…there’s no doubt about that.
Rough pencil drawing of the next book illustration
Finally, here’s my current drawing in progress. It’s still a pretty rough pencil drawing at this stage, but it’s coming along. One of the extra fun parts of this drawing will be the decorated border under the larger image which will show some of the action taking place elsewhere in the chapter at the same time as bigger picture. Fun! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Daily Report

"Pen Knight", copyright 2013, Sara Light-Waller

The manuscript revisions for Book I are going very well. I think I’m getting pretty close to a final version of the manuscript and this is a wonderful place to be after so much hard work.

The illustrations are also proceeding well although I ran into a snag with the latest one. The scene I’d originally planned to show ended needed to be scrapped for several reasons. First, it was horizontally-oriented and that isn’t the best thing for a book illustration. To be properly enjoyed book illustrations should really be vertically-oriented, especially if they’re to be viewed on a small Kindle screen.

The content of the illustration was another problem. Originally, I’d wanted to show the heroine in an action scene, highlighting her ability to do heroic things herself. Although I love this scene in the text, it wasn’t carrying the right resonance for me as a visual drawing.

As I started to make some new sketches for it, I hit upon another aspect of the same scene I thought might work better. This new illustration happens just before the high action starts. It’s a moment of thoughtful contemplation by the heroine. This new idea came together quickly and easily and the sketches and value studies for it look are looking great. 

So, I guess I’ll take the hint. This is how the heroine really wants to be seen. So be it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Daily Report: She’s done Jim!

For the past few days I have been taking a breather from the book illustrations (but not the editing) and have been copying a 1911 Edmund Dulac illustration from “The Little Mermaid.” I bit off a lot with this one, especially as my initial drawing wasn’t nearly as precise as it should have been. Yikes! I did learn a lot in the process though, although I do feel like something of a hack seeing mine next to the original.

Here’s the original watercolor painting:

Edmund Dulac, "The Little Mermaid"
Here’s my copy. Mine is watercolor and Neocolor II crayons in a Stillman and Birn Delta series 9” x 12” sketchbook.

Sara Light-Waller, after Dulac.
Doing this color painting was a good break from my inking but now I’m quite eager to get back to it. Onwards and upwards!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Daily Report: well not really

From "The Little Mermaid," painting by Dulac.
I’m taking a momentary break from my book illustrations for a little R&R, artistically speaking. I’ve just done ten full-page pen & ink book illustrations (two of them are for Book II) and I thought it might be wise to switch my focus for a few days. To that end, I’m painting a copy of an Edmund Dulac painting (see above) from “The Little Mermaid.” It’s a complex painting and perhaps not the best choice to try and get back my watercolor chops after some time away. All the same, it seems to be going all right. Dulac’s colors are so luminous that it may be hard to get them right but I’m trying. I’m pretty convinced he used white gauche to finish his paintings so I feel no compulsion in doing that too, even though I did my best to preserve some of the highlights before I started.

Some time ago I worked out a watercolor palette that I thought might be pretty close to the colors Dulac used in his palette. So far, so good with it. One difference in my painting is solely pilot error. I chose to use warm off-white watercolor paper for my painting while I’m certain Dulac used cool-white paper for his. Oops! I should have thought of that sooner. Oh well, next time. ;-)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Daily Report

This is one of the small manikins I use
as reference for my character drawing.
 That makes eight for this book! Now on to the next one…

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Daily Report and Theme Songs

The next book illustration is nearly done! Yeah! At this point I’m going to put it down for the evening. It’s so close to being done now that I need to let it sit for a few hours to be able to add the final shadows tomorrow. At this stage of the drawing the changes are so small that we’re talking about a line here, a line there. Nothing too much.

Editing is also going along swimmingly…I have a second opinion on that now.*smile*

On a different topic entirely…I wonder if anyone else does this? I frequently think of my stories as movies and if I can find the right ones, provide mental theme songs for the characters and soundtracks for the scenes. I’ve always done this. Not all characters or scenes have songs, but some have songs that really stick. Kind of silly I know, but the musical accompaniment really can add to the character’s definition at least in my own head.

Some of the songs I’ve “used” in these mental soundtracks are:

“A Long Time Ago” by Jim Croce
“Rapid Roy (The stock car boy)” also by Jim Croce
“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate
“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer
“Baby, Now That I Found You” by Alison Krauss
“Song of the Soul” by Chris Williamson
“Interplanet Janet” from Schoolhouse Rock

I would add “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John to that list but for a long time I misheard the lyrics and with the correct ones, it no longer works.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Daily Report

Just a quick note tonight. For the past few days I’ve been doing some heavy (but good) editing on Book I. Tonight, I finally got time to work on the next book illustration. It’s looking good at this point and I’ve just stopped for the night.

More inking is planned for tomorrow…

Friday, May 3, 2013

Daily Report

I've completed the initial inking for the next book illustration.
Initial ink drawing for the next book illustration,
Copyright, Sara Light-Waller, 2013
(Please do not Repin or share in any way.)

I’ll start the detail work later today using the value study in pencil (below) as a road map.
Value study for current illustration.Copyright, Sara Light-Waller, 2013
(Please do not Repin or share in any way.)
At the moment I'm working on some manuscript edits. I must admit that it is sometimes quite daunting being a “one woman show.” *sigh*

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thought of the day by Ernest W. Watson

“Occasionally, we hear novelists declare that characters in their stories frequently do and say unexpected things not consciously planned by the author. This seemingly mysterious collaboration of the ‘other mind’ offers us a glimpse into the secret of creativeness.

…At some stage in your drawing experience, you will discover your pencil doing things you have not consciously dictated. These spontaneous performances are indeed fundamental to creativity. Without them you may succeed in producing tolerably good technical results, but your drawings will not have emotion or verve. They will not thrill the observer.”

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Daily Report: And speaking of Retro-futurism

I’m listening the “Radio Ga Ga” by Queen as I finish up the contrast study in pencil for the next book illustration. 
It don’t get much better than this…

Tomorrow, I'll proceed on to the inking.

Daily Report: A few things including architectural descriptions

The next book illustration is well under way now. The final pencil drawing will be done tomorrow and then I’ll do my contrast study in soft pencil before starting on the final ink drawing.

This new drawing shows the interior of the heroine’s father’s mansion. It is very Gothic in design, lots of boxes and angles. The hero’s people favor more curves in their architectural designs, much more like Art Nouveau. I like the fact that I’m developing two distinct looks for the two different cultures. Of course, I’m much more a fan of Art Nouveau’s organic shapes then severe Gothic and am having a blast designing things of the hero’s culture. The other culture (the more Gothic one) has a more dour quality to me. But that fits in with their culture.

I’m also designing several alien cities on Earth and many of these have rather sinister retro-futuristic, post-modern looks to them. Of course, if you’re not an architectural scholar you won’t know what that means, leaving me to describe it for you in the book. I have to laugh here because, even the descriptions of “Modernism,” “Retro-futurism,” etc. you’ll find on the web are in terms that most people will have little connection with.

For example, Antoni Gaudí’s Retro-future - “Hotel Attraction,” designed in 1908, was a skyscraper he proposed for New York City (and interestingly enough, one of the new designs recently suggested to replace the Twin Towers.) The Hotel Attraction is described on the web as being full of “Gaudinian forms including a profusion of parabolic arches and conoidal cupolas.”

Without a picture you’ll probably have no idea what that means.

I might say, “this building has a central cone-shape surrounded by several lesser towers also shaped into torpedo-like cones. The overall effect is much like sand dropped from a height and built up into organic shapes, many ridged as if tortured by the wind. The central tower is encircled three-quarters of the way up by a metal ring and the very top is adorned with a radiating star.” Or, perhaps more simply, "Gaudi's design appears like a conical rocket tipped with a star and whose nose is delineated by an encircling ring. The main tower is surrounded by a ring of accompanying conical shapes, similar but smaller. These secondary towers look like they've been created by wet sand dripped from a height."

Gaudi's Hotel Attraction
Neither are easy descriptions but that’s how it looks to me. Here’s a picture of the Hotel Attraction. What do you think?