Progress – 04/17/17

April 17, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 6,362 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  572 words

Writing month to date total: 12,737 words

Writing year to date total: 89,826 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent 8 hours on recording and editing  audio.

Week’s happenings:  I got the 4th book in the Sacred Knight series finished! Prince of the Ruined Land is off to a first reader. I finished drafting (I think — it’s a strange story) a story about a crazy novihomidrak. That makes two characters that haven’t gone through a dragon birthing very well. I sense a theme. I did also finish drafting another story about a new kind of dragon and I’m halfway through another story that is a companion story to that one. It felt like this was a week of finishing things up.  I also keep having this idea to rebrand the Sacred Knight series. I was trying to work on cover ideas for Prince of the Ruined Land and then I had a fight with myself (thank you to my children for listening once again while I ranted to them just so I could have a sounding board) about whether to go with photos and rebrand or if I should just paint the covers as I have been. I finally decided I would attempt a rebrand with the ebooks. I’ve already posted the cover to Amazon, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll fix the other distributors later, but I wanted to see if it would have any impact on Amazon now.

Here’s a look at the cover:

The Three Books cover new 041617 72 dpi

I’d love to know what you think about the new cover. If you want to see what the previous cover looked like, you can see it here. I’m not sure this is a final, but I thought it might be a starting place. It’s the cover for To Birth a Destiny which I’m very excited about. That’s the one that made me decide to try a rebrand. In the meanwhile, I’m learning I can do a lot of things with Photoshop. On the other hand, it doesn’t drive me to improve my traditional art skills any. What a conundrum. But, we shall see what happens and maybe I’ll have my answer.

Until next week!

 

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Progress – 02/13/17

February 13, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 6,216 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  1,687 words

Writing month to date total: 10,446 words.

Writing year to date total: 32,603 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent almost 3 hours on editing audio.

Week’s happenings: I accomplished much last week. I finished reading through The Doorway Prince. I just kept having to add scenes to it. Adding, adding, adding until it clicked and announced that it was done. After that, it seemed like a flurry of activity to get it uploaded for pre-order. Watch for Wednesday of this week when I have an excerpt from the book here on this blog. I also got History of a Dead Man up as a print book. At this moment, it hasn’t been released and while not a new book, I hadn’t planned on it being in print version until I released the 4th Sacred Knight book. Surprise! Well, more on that in a couple weeks. I updated my Zibbet store to add items. I also updated my book website. I got my February newsletter out. What, you didn’t get yours? Well, be sure you’ve signed up. Click the “Sign up for Dawn’s email newletter” button off to your right to make sure you don’t miss out on more sneak peeks and fun stuff.

I’m surprised I didn’t get any painting done yesterday. I woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday with this piece of advise someone in a dream was telling me. I couldn’t completely shake off the dream to write it down, but I remember waking up several more times during the night with it repeating in my head. The advise: “An artist who believes his canvas is white remains invisible.” This probably doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t paint, but I remember the context of the dream right before this line was said to me. I was talking to this unknown someone about the gesso (a preliminary paint used on canvas) being white already so why did I need another layer of white? I know that probably has no meaning for anyone, but let’s see if I can explain and maybe even I will glean some additional value out of it. In the dream, I was complaining that the canvas already had paint on it, white. How could I do anything when it had already been painted on? I was obviously having blank canvas syndrome.

After I woke up and began to write down the quote, I had to expand it. “An artist who believes his canvas is white remains invisible. A writer who believes his page is blank remains untold.”

That was when this really started to come together for me.

Many writers I have both known and heard about have faced the blank page, whether it be a literal piece of paper or a blank computer screen. They sit there and do not write. They fear that they won’t be perfect. They can’t get out of their head to tell their story. I thank my lucky stars that I have never been afraid of the blank page, even when I had writer’s block and spent many years not writing. Even then, I could always find the hole on the page and slip through it to another world; I just felt all my words were crap. Hint: that’s usually a sign that you’re leveling up. I know that now. The blank page never remains that way for me for long. I write. I tell stories. I don’t even care if anyone else reads them or not. I’ve shared if people want to access them. I’m moving onto the next story. No blank pages. I see through to another time and place; I take the next adventure. My page is never blank and so my stories get told.

My illustration on the other hand, is a whole different creature. My canvases are blank. I am remaining invisible. I don’t know who I am as an illustrator. That’s what this dream was telling me. I have to find that same hole and slip through to see the artwork that is already created. I don’t know how to do that.

Okay, so there are some people who would say to just start throwing paint at the canvas and see what develops. I’ve done that, and I’ve had success (which in itself can be scary because it’s a power one has no control over and yet needs to respect). When I have a story idea, I usually start with a character who begins just talking to me and won’t shut up. I don’t know what to listen for with the painting. I don’t know what to look for. I feel blind. It’s invisible.

And yet I really wanted to paint on Sunday. Badly. I’d written early in the morning and by the afternoon, I wanted to switch to painting, but I didn’t know what to paint. I didn’t even pull out my paints because I didn’t want to face the blank canvas. Or, blank Bristol Board as the case probably would have been. Do I believe that my painting surface is white? I must for my work remains invisible.

I remember thinking at one point last night as I woke again with the quote circling my head that I could paint all my canvases with a light coat of burnt sienna. But all that would be doing is changing the color of the canvas, not solving the problem.

I know the answer, for it is the same thing answer for the blank page syndrome for writers: Just start. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. Just do something.  Give yourself forward movement. The block points to leveling up.

If I let my canvases remain white, the magic I want to share with the world will never been seen.


Progress – 02/06/17

February 6, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 2,543 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  642 words

Writing month to date total: 2,543 words.

Writing year to date total: 27,400 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.

Audio: I spent almost 1.5 hours on editing audio.

Week’s happenings: I thought last week was a low week for writing, but I was wrong. Overall though, that’s okay — I survived January. I wish I could say it was a victory, but I just feel tired. But that’s what two really late nights will do. I haven’t been able to recover yet. It has left me with a lot of writing undone. But January is behind me. I took this last weekend “off.” Yes, quotes intended. My son came back from college for the weekend and my other son wanted to go to Boise to see Sailor Moon R, so we took a trip. The good part is that I did get a little time to spend in the hotel’s pool and hot tub. I also took some time to record what I’ve done over the last quarter as well as plan out what I need to be doing over the next quarter. Focus. I might not have been very much in control of that during the last weeks, but I knew that was going to happen every now and then, especially at the end of January. That’s why February makes a good time to get refocused. Getting away, even on a simple trip like one to Boise, was a great way to do it. Now I can get back in the game. Okay, so some of the game right now consists of getting The Doorway Prince for release. I’ve spent a lot of time also this week getting that done. I still have some work to do on that project, but I’m close. More to come on that. After I get a little more sleep! (grin)


Freehand Friday – 12/23/16

December 23, 2016

A drawing from my sketchbook:

sentinels-and-ruins

Idea for a painting
pencil and paper
©2016 Dawn Blair

This started out as architecture practice and grew. Of course, I had to add trees. I wonder what stories these trees would tell about the ruins?


Putting forth the work

March 14, 2012

I’ve been working with Manga Studios (or I was before I got taken down with this awful cold that’s been going around). I’ve said in prior posts that a person can make great strides in accomplishing whatever they want to do even if they only work on it in 15 minutes a day.

Well, as proof I put forth some *beginning* examples of some of my coloring attempts from Manga Studios. I say *beginning* because I feel like I teach myself how to color and then I “forget” and have to teach myself again. I keep feeling like I’m not leaving the starting block.

So, this first example, I was going to start with a circle, but then I remembered that I’ve done the circle, square, and triangle before when I was “learning” so I wanted to branch out. I picked on my next favorite circular thing, the pumpkin. Mind you, this was after watching one of the coloring videos and thinking about it in conjunction with some other coloring videos I’ve seen. I really wanted to try out some of the tools. This took me about 15 minutes to color after doing the initial sketch.

Okay, not great. Hey! Are you laughing? You are! Right, so much for “great” art — how about just creating something decent! Ha, ha. <>

But that’s not the point here. Improvement is the purpose. That was 15 minutes of work put in. Now I wanted to see how far I’d come, which meant I needed a comparison piece. So, what to draw now? To decide, I started drawing and just let the shapes guide me into my drawing. As soon as the puzzle came together and I knew what I was drawing, I also knew how I was going to color it. Here’s the second piece — which took me about 20 minutes:

Yes, better than the first. I did actually feel like I’d accomplished something, like I’d put in my first steps on the path to coloring my digital work. Still, I couldn’t help pushing it just a little further:

Aw! Isn’t he just the cutest?

Well, it’s a start. I have so much more to learn. Someday I do hope to have something worthy to post to Manga Studios’ website, but for now with my first attempts, I’ll just show them here. When I started drawing these pictures, I didn’t intend on them to be for anyone but me and my own practice. However, after seeing the growth I (believe I) achieved in less than an hour, I thought it would be worthy to share. What do you think? Do you have a favorite?

What do you think you could do or learn in 15 minutes?


More Manga Studios

March 2, 2012

I’ve been working again in Manga Studios 4 (teaching myself how to color again). I came across something that Smith Micro is putting out to support Manga Studios and thought you’d like to see it. There are now webinars for Manga Studios on their website. Yea!

When I was working in MS3 I kept hoping there would be more content available. I got really disappointed when there wasn’t. But they seem to be doing more to support this product now. I really do feel there is a need and a market for it. So many artists right now have tutorials for Photoshop or Painter, but I always felt there should be something better. That’s why I was originally so happy to find Manga Studios. I knew that it would make my life easier as I got started in comics. Version 4 with the ability to color is an absolute godsend!

I recently sat down to read Ghostopolis, but I learned through the webinars that it was done on Manga Studios. Now I need to go back and reread it. It just shows how far Manga Studios has come. I can’t wait for the day I feel worthy to show some of my MS4 art on their site.


More about Manga Studio

February 10, 2010

If you’ve looked at my blog post about Manga Studio, you might want to check out their blog as well. They’ve got lots of fun stuff out there featuring Smith Micro’s software. In addition to Manga Studio, I’ve used Poser and Anime Studio and I have to say they’re all great programs. Go check it out for yourself.