Here is a little surprise for you guys, a layout test of the elements of the Carrie Fisher Tribute. Let me know what you think.
Tonight I find myself contemplating stars, Star Wars stars to be more specific. Each Science Fiction movie and television show has found their own way to depict the star filled expanse of outer space through which their iconic vehicles wander. From Star Trek’s orbs of light streaming by to Babylon 5’s enveloping nebulae, views of outer space have been varied and beautiful. For my Carrie Fisher tribute I decided to try to capture the kind of starry backdrop seen in the movies. I re-watched my favorite, “The Empire Strikes Back”, yesterday to study the star fields.
Unlike the skies I have done so far, there are no obvious depictions of galaxies or nebula mixed into the star fields, yet there are areas of soft fuzzy light such as you see from a mass of stars together. As I looked closer, I could see a layer of very diffuse stars in clumps behind much sharper stars, which created the glow. In addition, I noticed relatively dark areas creating splotches of darkness throughout the pattern. Now, the trick is to try to recreate this effect decently in the painting. You will have to let me know how I do.
For this week’s $5 reward I uploaded a copy of some fox kits I started working on in watercolor but did not finish. I keep using the wrong paper for working watercolor because I do not like the feel of the paper that should be used. Sigh. Anyway, the image is not too bad and shows some potential. In addition, I uploaded a copy of the Y-Wing image above. For the most part it is the finished version of the ones I will use in the Carrie Fisher tribute I have been working on. I may tweak it a little more but not a lot.
The reason I did not post yesterday was because I have not been working on my art much lately and chose to paint instead. I let life get in the way. I had hoped to have this on the final background before I posted it again, but I did not get that far. However, I can say that I am ready to set up the final canvas and to begin placing the separate components (Carrie Fisher, Y-Wings, Planet). Hopefully soon I will be sharing the complete picture.
Today’s post is not about my writing or artwork, but the material I have fed into my brain over the years, which influences my imagination and creativity. So, today, I give you a book review of a very quirky yet deep book call “The City of Dreaming Books” by Walter Moers. I found this book on Amazon by accident and the title alone drew me in.
The story is about a Dinosaur searching for the author of a manuscript that he feels is the best example of writing he has ever read. Yes, I said dinosaur. The book is populated by all kinds of creatures including sentient, intellectual dinosaurs that read and critic books. Humans also make an appearance; however, that does not come until later in the story. At this point you may be thinking that this is a children’s book or at best young adult but I would like to mention that it is 456 pages long. While the setting and characters may lead you to believe that you are about to read such a book, the story itself is very adult and the ending is deeply profound and emotional. The main characters search will take him to the title city where his innocence will be removed through manipulation and betrayal, as well as, the learning of a profound evil.
Walter Moer’s writing is elegant, rich, and visual. There may even be some metaphor involved about the publishing industry as the main character uncovers the truth about the writer he is seeking. In addition, the book is illustrates throughout. So, do not let the blurb or the cover trick you into missing out on a unique and engaging read.
Well, it is time to start teasing next month’s story, which is appropriate given that it will be April Fools. The story will be a challenge for my readers since it is actually based on a historical event, but not in a straight forward manner. I entered an earlier version of this story in one of the monthly flash fiction contests at SFFWorld.com and stumped most of the readers as to the event I was describing. So by signing up for $1 a month at my Patreon page, you can see if you are quicker to figure out the event depicted in “Trinity”. Two hints I will give you are that it is not about religion and the title is part of the story.
If you haven’t noticed yet, most of the titles for my stories are one word. “Sensu Learns a Lesson” is actually an aberration for me. Why do I chose such simple titles? Well, in most cases you will find that the titles are far more complex than the single word expresses and has a profound connection to the underlying theme of the story.
For example, “Sanity” is a story about creatures that can manipulate people’s minds. In fact, they can reach into their minds and bring forth their deepest fears, pushing them until the person hits the point of breaking into insanity. Thus, “Sanity” is used as a counterpoint to what actually happens in the story. Also, one of the creatures says “We have returned your sanity”. The whole story is based on the choices made that lead us down dark roads that can end in insanity borne from sanity.
“Lepidoptera” on the other hand is a symbolic title. Lepidoptera is the class name for butterflies and moths. Yes, butterflies actually appear in the story but they are representations of art, beauty, and peace. War is represented by crows killing butterflies, while peace is represented by being embraced by butterflies. Artists are marked by butterflies.
Basically, I like to use very simple titles that seem un-complex until after you have read the story. Then the title turns out to be much deeper than the simple word suggests and cuts to the root of the entire story. Please consider reading one of my stories to see how their titles resonate throughout them. For only $1 a month you will get a every month at my Patreon page.
I just uploaded some new color pencil images I did some time ago. Two were planning images I used to paint an image onto a friends drag bike. The bike was done in acrylics and not professional since I did not know how to use an airbrush; thus, it was actually hand painted onto the body. In addition, the body was only primed, which meant that it was very porous fiberglass with primer on it. Basically, I had to paint tons of layers because the surface would suck up the paint and make the image transparent. Would have been great if that was what I was going for.
The last image was a picture done for a friend of my ex-fiance’s who had asked her to paint him something for his fantasy football program. She had recently taken up painting because of me and thought she could do it but when she asked me for help, instead of trying to teach her, I just did it. Yes, I can be a bit callous. Anyway, the image was a play on Fantasy and football. Enjoy.