Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Possibly Finished

All in all, I'm reasonably happy with how it turned out.

Monday, May 28, 2007

More Noodling

It's scary, actually, to try and do a picture that someone asked for, especially someone I don't know directly. I can't help wondering how the end recepient will feel (if they receive it). What if they don't like it? Argh!

At this point I'm having too much fun to stop though.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Yeah, that was a pretty pleasant way to pass a couple of hours.

I'm not trying to exactly match the reference, especially in color. I may have to apologize in the end for making something that doesn't look like the intended subject. But it is fun. It seems to me I might be succeeding in getting some 'pop' out of this one.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Continuing on with that portrait I started working on about a month ago. Today I imported the sketch into Corel Painter Essentials and started mucking around (for about twenty minutes). I hope I can find the time to work on it some more over the weekend.

Bad! Bad Scribble!

I was really just trying to work out the pose and the angles.

Excuses, excuses.

What do you do...

If your protagonist character gets into a conversation with the "bad guys", and they end up being pretty convincing and reasonable? Time to reconsider where your plot is going, maybe.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shuffling Forward

21006 words. That makes pretty good progress, for me. I also scribbled away a little at the current Ran's Daughter illustration, finally getting something which isn't too horrible to contemplate posting. Now I just need to color it.

So, all in all, things are going well on the creative front.

I can't post an excerpt from last night's work, though, because it would either make no sense or be too revealing. I also can't post any artwork, because I'm embarrassed how slow my progress has been, and I want to have a sequence complete before I let others see it again.

What was nice about last night was the way, on the way to one scene, I found something else happening that I hadn't anticipated. I love it when the characters start taking control.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Twenty Thousand

Last night I finally broke twenty thousand words on the first draft of that novella I'm working on. I say it's a novella, because I expect to get about thirty-five to forty thousand words out of it. So, 20k is about half way.

It has been a month since I regained my enthusiasm for writing this thing. The past month I have, by my standards, been racing ahead. In that month, I have gotten down roughly eighty-five hundred words.

Eighty-five hundred words. Of first draft. In a month. At this rate, finishing the first draft will take nearly three months more, and then I have to let it sit for a month or two, and then revise it, so, let's say five months. It's going to be October before I can even show this to anyone else.

Of course, right now it's not even in a state where I want to show it to anyone. I'm worried that there's not enough meat. It seems to be rushing, and I'm not sure the set-pieces are working. Right now I'm coming up on writing a scene I've wanted to write for months, but now I'm scared. I'm scared that I'm driving the story to this scene just because I like the scene. I'm scared that what I see in my mind's eye doesn't actually translate to words. I'm scared that the scene isn't going to work.

Mid-novella crisis. I should buy a sports car or something.

Linda ran off the edge of the building, carrying us, out into the hollow air. I looked down at the street four stories down, and felt every inch of that distance slap me in the face. We seemed to hang there for eternity. I heard somebody whimper. I think maybe it was me.

Monday, May 21, 2007


In response to Tim's comment on the last post: OK, here's a new post. I assume that's what the cryptic single word meant, anyway.

There are a few reasons I haven't been posty lately. First, I'm trying to put together stuff to post on the Dead Channel, and I'm trying not to reveal too much ahead of time. Second, I'm trying the method that Stephen King outlines in On Writing of doing the first draft "with the door closed." That is, I'm writing quickly (by my standards) and for myself, and with the intent to do a rewrite before showing it to anyone else.

The third reason, though, is the main one: most of the work I have done over the past week has been crap. I've been struggling mainly with Ran's Daughter illustrations that are taking literally forever, plus afore-mentioned novella, and from time to time doing sketches of Gunnar. Nothing I've done has made me want to post it, even as an example of when things go wrong.

Luck will change again, soon enough. I've just got to keep working on it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stupid Excel™ Tricks

Why does Excel make it impossible to know what cell is selected when the window is not active? I can understand feedback so that users don't get confused about where input is going, but I'd like to be able to select a cell in a sheet and then do something in another window, using the selected cell as a convenient place holder. Convenient, that is, if it wasn't invisible.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Always You Need

A bit more relaxation.

Finally filled in the rest of the basic areas. Now on to smaller details and fixing things (like the little girl's face).

Funny how this picture doesn't frustrate me the way a lot of others do.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Stupid Windows™ Tricks

This is a bit of a departure, but here my programmer side comes out...

On my Windows XP laptop there is a neat feature where you can use two monitors (the laptop display and an external monitor) as an extended desktop. Neat. To enable this functionality, there is a tab in the display properties dialog box which features an area where you can move around a couple of boxes so it matches your actual physical monitor arrangement, which you can see below. Great.

So, there is also a check box "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor." Note that if you don't extend the desktop, there is absolutely no point in arranging the monitor icons to match your setup. The only reason to do this is so your mouse pointer will move properly between the screens, and your windows will look right if they overlap both screens.

Well what do you think happens if you move the secondary monitor icon around without this box checked? Well, a pop up dialog of course, asking you if you want to check the check box. Of course I want to check the damn check box! There is no point doing what I'm doing if I'm not, eventually, going to check the check box! If the designer had been thinking, or if they had ever tried to use this feature, they should have noticed this.

The proper behavior, I propose, is that the check box should just be checked. It should flash or something, just to make sure I notice, but it should just come on, not ask me to move the mouse to a different part of the screen and press OK (or remember to check the check box before I move the monitor icon). That would minimize user annoyance if they have to use this feature more than, say, twice.

I have a sneaking suspicion that on a Mac, this would work right (or maybe in a more magical way with sparkling lights and a hand job from the nubile Mac fairy). Feh.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

And Another Project

A little competition to draw a portrait has started, so tonight I made a first attempt.

It's very sketchy, but some of it worked out OK. Now I'm wondering if any of the other pictures I do on this subject will be as good as the first one...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Still No Time

Still not much time to do anything useful, so I just noodled around for a few minutes last night and finally started working on parts of the picture other than the girl.

I also have to start working on other pictures that I've left in a dreadfully unfinished state. I thought this one would be a quick fling!