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Thursday, December 13, 2012

FINAL!!!

     Here we go, the final image, with Torvid's sparks and fun atmospheric mist and Orkyn's eyes watching eerily from the background!
     It is SO cool!  Wow.  Djamila Knopf did a truly AMAZING job.  Daniel and I are just thrilled.

   So, we're right in the middle of trying to move our family from Colorado to Illinois before Christmas (eeek!) and before the snow comes, but we have such fun things in the making!

  First, even though we didn't make our Kickstarter goal, when we first tried to raise funds for creating an audiobook of Tarnished, we have been slowly pursuing it anyway.  We just got a very practiced actor (Cougar Littlefield:  http://www.cougarlittlefield.com/ ) to be the voice of Orkyn, our main bad dude in the story.  We're still scouting for our other main characters (Garyn, Flint, the Scribe, for instance) and we will continue to keep our blog and facebook page updated on new additions.  Our facebook page for the book is http://www.facebook.com/tarnishedbook .  If you want to keep up on all things new with Tarnished, just hit the "like" button, and if you happen to live near us (which will now be in upstate Illinois) and want to be involved, hit us up.  We LOVE collaboration and will find SOMETHING for you to do or be a part of!
   Next, I'm busy working on Chapter 2 of the Tarnished sequel (or I will be, when we get resettled).  It's going to be another fun and exciting read with a battle or two, a new race (the Patrimar) and a bit of love interest thrown in for Garyn who has grown up a few years since the last book.  And yes, Chyra Vintari will be featured too, which is a hint for those of you who've read Tarnished. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Next Revision, As Promised

Here is the Djamila Knopf's next revision of her wonderful art piece.  We are jazzed !!  It looks like so much fun--I think it's going to create a great looking thumbprint image (very important when trying to market your book!) AND be compelling as a book to pick up and read.  Shila has been awesome to work with, by the way.  We consider ourselves very blessed to have found her.

Again, here's her page on deviant Art if you'd like to check out more of her stuff:  http://shilesque.deviantart.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Artist Shilesque

Ahhhh, man!  I am SO jazzed.  Daniel and I decided to pull in a professional who's stuff we loved to design our book cover.  I had found this brilliant artist who goes by the name of Shilesque on DeviantArt.  You can see her work here:  http://shilesque.deviantart.com/

We asked if she was interested in the commission and when she was, we gave her the basics of what we were looking for, showed her what we had worked up so far and explained why we were unhappy with what we had done.  Well, she's been GREAT to work with.   She has a brilliant concept sketch which I am going to upload here.


Awesome, isn't it?

The only change we have requested is to swap the positions of the gryphon and the dragon (since Garyn actually rides the dragon but he doesn't ever ride on Flint in the story.

I LOVE the wizard's eyes in the background.  

And the way Garyn is flying towards the reader.  

Shila is a brilliant artist.  Totally recommend her and her work!!  We're just thrilled that we found her.

I'll post the adjusted revision when we get it, too!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Queen Ammeryl of the Tarns


Queen Ammeryl.  Zantar's choice. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Promised Post

A while back I displayed (to my embarrassment) an old old chunk of graphic novel I did on Robin Hood.  It was when I was first learning Photoshop and was working with photo manipulation.  It's pretty funny in quality, but the photos are still cool.

I mentioned, that I was attempting to redo one of the pages...and draw and color rather than use the photos.  I am halfway through this attempt.  I can't promise I will actually ever finish it, though.  (Sorry).

  You can kinda see the steps I have taken in my process...the bottom right image shows how I pretty much drew over the photo and then colored it in with blocks of color.

   The top right image shows some of the detail work I was putting into the background and how I was coloring over my dark lines.

   Bottom left image, is mostly completed.  It needs its talk bubble added, of course.  And  bit more detail paint in the feather and the hand.

  Top left is the completed cell, with talk bubble and fun lighting.  I like how it turned out, especially the fun atmospheric look.  It actually looks to me like it could show morning in Sherwood Forest.

  Hope you like!  Anyway, at least I like it better than the original.  ;)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Introducing Garyn

So, here he is.  Yes, the main character in our book.  His name is Garyn Stelifar.  He is a boy like most boys--raring to go on an adventure, a little fool-hardy and untrained.  But he has some great traits...one being the resilience taught him by his mentor, Torvid Firestorm, the dragon he has known since childhood.

What's he doing here?  Well, we are getting ready to revamp the cover of our book.  It's a great looking cover, but it doesn't give you, the potential reader, enough clues to go on.  Basically, the shadow of a Tarn is compelling, but it doesn't tell enough about the story.  So we found our Garyn and here he is pictured above.
(Okay, okay, his real name is Dylan and he is a great kid to hang around with too.)

 And this is Chyra.  She's only half-way formed.  She's got the white hair of her Tarnish disguise (wait, did I just say "disguise?) but not the ram horns.  They'll be added later.  Yeah, yeah--so her real name is Celeste and she's a cheerleader and we finally got her to give us a hint of Chyra's attitude in her pose.

So these are two of my models.  I have two more as well.  Very fun.  But I will save them for later.  This is a sneak peek only.   But it's looking good, isn't it?  I mean, these kids totally have a look that says, "I belong on the cover of a good fantasy book".   Kudos to Daniel for taking the photos and handling the lighting.

He's great at lighting.  Heck, he's great at handling, too, but that's way more information then you need. 

Oh, and a few more details:  we are in our new place!!  Yes!  A sweet little 2 bedroom house with a yard for my son to run around in, and pretty hard-wood flooring.  Such a relief, too.  They were willing to let us do just a 6 month lease, which was very generous, since my husband's work has hinted that they may send us a few states away in the coming winter.  I've had my cry and now I am resolved.  The truth is, that God's a great planner of our individual stories, whether they surprise us or not and He promises that He knows the plans He has and that they are good.  So, I am resolved.  If we have to move, it will be good--just as simple as that.  :)

But in the meantime, I am enjoying my little place very much and am VERY grateful. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Speaking in Cat

The other day, I was sitting in front of my computer, doing important things like checking my Facebook, when I heard this little mew.

I looked down and saw this lovely fluffy black cat walking through my bedroom.  I had left the front door open since there was a nice cool breeze and both my children were taking naps, so apparently this neighborly kitty decided that my home was a "friendly" and she ventured in to investigate further.

She was right.  I love cats and since my husband doesn't care for them (yet!!  I have hope!), I miss them.  Any chance to befriend a member of the feline species is welcomed by me.  So Kitty made herself right at home, as witnessed by the photo.

And I had this idea:  I think God speaks to me in Cat.

No, I don't mean He meows or some such ridiculous idea.  I mean, I think He sends me love through cats.  You see, He knows me.  And it's one of the ways that He knows I like to be loved...so He sends me cats.   I know He does.  That's just so like Him.

So you're thinking, "That's a mildly weird to rather bizarre and absurd thought to come up with based on the visit of one smoky black cat."  Yeah.  Okay.  But there have been other visits.

Long ago I had a cat (named Glimmer) and I decided to walk very carefully through allowing her to have kittens.  I began looking for a mate, but in my small town, there were few non-fixed males wandering around.  I put the word out, albeit a little embarrassed to admit I was studiously shopping for a nice looking stud for my kitty.  One young friend offered the services of her young male cat but I went, I saw and I turned him down.  Tortoise-shells are all well and good, and smashed in faces are loved by some people, but my cat was a simple black cat and I wanted her kittens to be prized so that I could find really good homes for them all.  I figured black kittens might be a little plain to some.  A friend heard about my dilemma and suggested a Siamese mate.

"I've heard that Siamese and black cats make beautiful kittens," she said.

I thought that was a fine idea, but where in the heck would I ever find a Siamese cat, whose owner was willing to pair him up with an un-pedigreed girlfriend?  Well, I remember I prayed about it.  And a few weeks later, another friend called me up.  She said, "There's this male Siamese or Himalayan cat wandering around the trailer park.  I haven't seen him before, and I don't know where he came from, but I'd let you have him if you would find him a home afterwards."

A few months later, my cat had given birth to five pure white kittens that got all their Siamese points in time and I had found a home for all of them and the father.

Another time, after a really challenging day while visiting some people who didn't seem to want me or my husband there, we found kittens in their barn (pictured).
It was such a wonderful moment for me on a day that I would have liked to have cried on.

Then there was the day that my own cat, Glimmer, died.  Even though our friend Martin was visiting us, I couldn't contain my grief.  I cried myself to sleep, cuddled up in my husband's arms.
The next morning, Martin greeted us at breakfast with, "Hey, these kittens woke me up playing outside my window."

I spent the rest of the day cuddling with the two kittens.  Their mother, a neighbor's cat, had apparently given birth to them there, but finding them on the day I needed them was a serendipitous "chance" that only God could have planned.

The year before my son was born, I was trying to deal with the fact of my apparent infertility.  My husband and I had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for three years.  To assuage the pain, I began dreaming about my ideal cat.  I read carefully over the many breeds and became fascinated with Abyssinians.  But since we were unable to afford ourselves, I didn't see how I'd be able to experience an "Abby" for a very long time.  Enter Daniel's cousin whose husband was in the military and had just received word he was going to be transferred to Turkey.  She and their children would stay with her parents during her husband's stay but her dad was allergic to cats and she was looking for someone to take care of her husband's special cat if they paid for it's keep.  Did I know what an Abyssinian was?

So, back to the smoky black cat who entered our apartment the other day.  Yes, I needed her, too.  See, we just got word this last weekend.  A friend of ours, my husband's supervisor and friend was discovered to have committed a pretty significant moral failure.  It will affect his family, many of our other friends, and our own lives in big ways.  The company my husband works for was forced in sadness to expose the situation and depose the man from his position.  Likely, because of this, we will also be required to uproot our lives here in Colorado and move several states away where the company is based.  I've moved before, am in the process of moving now - to a lovely little rental, and I can handle this idea of moving to Illinois in about six months or so.  But it was very hard to be positive about all of this a few days ago.

So God sent me a kitty.  To remind me, I think, about His love and His promises, neither of which ever change.   So I felt comforted.  And reminded of His goodness in spite of the storms that might swirl around us.

And that, my friends, is how I know that God speaks to me in cat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Painterly Sample of Robin

Did I mention I thought it would be a good idea to give myself some practice in a more painterly style?  Well, after I dug out that old Robin Hood set of pages, I was thinking, "Huh.  All the cues are here...what if I tried to paint over it?  What would it look like?  Would that work for The Big One? (Meaning, the graphic novel we intend to do for real).  So, here is a sample of what I have been doing.  You can see my reference photo in the first page of the Robin Hood graphic novel that I posted before.  It's very time consuming, but I think I like the result.  Ha.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be posting a sample. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Robin Hood Graphic Novel?



So you're wondering, "What the heck is this?"  
Ha.  This has me written all over it!  Sure, it's about Robin Hood, a legend I've never tired of; full of "Ye Olde Britishness" and good old fashioned heroes and villains.  Have I mentioned I love happy endings? 

So, this is when I was in the process of learning Photoshop about 5 years ago.  I look at some of what I was doing (okay...most of what I was doing) and now, I cringe.  But you know, learning is usually like that.  I still think it's worth sharing.  Not because of my work, but because of the great photos we started with that do manage to convey a story.  



 I mean, check out the expressions of our actors!  Aren't they fun? 

Daniel played Robin, and we asked three of our friends to handle the bad guys.  We took them out to a park in San Jose one early Saturday morning.  It was winter, so there weren't a lot of folks around and I had them throw on the leggings and jerkins I had made for them, over their clothing.  Then we told them how to pose and clicked away.  Except for the deer--that was a purchased stock image.


Somewhere, I still have the storyboards for this.  I wanted to tell the whole story.  Unfortunately, though, we lost every last one of the photos we took that day when my computer suddenly crashed a few months later.  Aaaargh.  I hate it when that happens.

I wonder if we'll get the chance to tell it someday with a different cast.  Might be fun.  Who gets tired of the Robin Hood story, really?  Just reading this part over again makes me want to go back and reread it or hear a minstrel sing a lay about it.  Hmm.  Or at least re-watch the old Disney cartoon..."Oooo da lally, ooo da lally, golly, what a day..."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A WIP...a what?

I decided to post a "Work in Progress", a WIP.   This is our friend Christopher posing as a Tarn (tarns being prominent characters in our fantasy fiction book, Tarnished).

Christopher is a fan of the book and had offered to be turned into a tarn for a Facebook cover image, which is something we're offering through the month of July on our book's facebook page.  So, he had come over to take photos.  And he really got into it!  He was totally ready to lop something's head off with that sword!

Daniel ended up giving him the sword, Christopher seemed to like it so much.  And I felt compelled to do a big art piece for him that wasn't just a tarnished photo.   Sometimes God has me do that.  I think it's because He likes to give people messages sometimes in art.  So He'll give me a picture for someone inside my head.  Sometimes He gives a Bible verse to go with it, but not always.

So, here's Christopher's piece, partly done.  It does have some issues.  The horn on the left needs some definite tweakage.  And I got rid of the lens flare already.  I want Daniel to take a look at it with me.  He usually has very good ideas, even if I grouse at him about wanting to change things.  I'd like to add more fun things around the sword.  Not sure what yet, though.  Anyway, I'll post the finished product when we finish up with it. 

Oh, and what do you think of my "electronic signature"?  I made it this week and this is the first time I've gotten to use it.  "Glimmercat" has been my online name for years, so I decided to sign my stuff with it.  I think it's neat, anyway.   

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Of Unicorns and Innocence

So Daniel (my husband) and I are both creative.  He taught me what I know about Photoshop and I still learn from him (when I'm humble and willing to learn) because he is also a very talented artist.  Being married with two different artistic visions has its challenges and we both have had to learn to give a little.  But we are better together when all is said and done. 

So I wanted to enter a contest on deviantart and the requirements were to use the model in the picture.  There were lots of pictures to choose from but my favorites were the ones with the girl and her dog.  So it was Daniel who suggested adding a unicorn.  And he showed me how to blur the sparkles and blur the background just enough to give the whole picture an added focal direction.  So, it's not completely my work but it's better than what it would have been.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Mystery Fairy

It's taken me awhile.  But I figure that my sort of blog would be a kind of miscellaneous journal, art blog, whatever.  There's a lot going on in my life.  If folks are interested, that's cool.  Maybe this is more for me, though.  So here's my first post, with the latest image.  Maybe when I get better at Photoshop I'll revisit this.  I think it needs something more...I'm just not sure what.

Oh, forgot to mention--this is my daughter Mystery.  She just turned five months and she looks so sweet and has so much adorable baby pudge that she reminds me of a cute little fairy.  So I turned her into one.  :)