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Posts published in “Fiction”

Things I make up for a living.

Day 119

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vincent sketch Vincent van Gogh from "Vincent and the Doctor". Roughed in non-repro blue on Strathmore 9x12, outlined in Sakura Pigma Graphic 1 and rendered in that and Sakura Micron 08, 03, and 005, plus Sakura Pigma Brush. I erased part of the non-repro blue to try to clean it up, which ended up being a mistake as it destroyed some lines, leaving white marks through the drawing; however, using Photoshop's Black and White feature with cyans almost taken to black and blue taken to white, it dropped out the blue while adding a nice warm shading to it. Overall, not bad, though I am still squashing heads even when I am explicitly trying not to squash heads, and ending up with slight asymmetries, particularly in the left side of the beard, when I am explicitly trying to avoid that. But at least the eyes are not totally oversized this time. vincent headshot Drawing every day. -the Centaur And just ~600 words too, though much of today was cats, taxes and work. Taxes are submitted to the accountant, the cat is home from the vet after a nasty gastrointestinal scare, work is progressing (RL is hard!), and Dakota Frost is having a great time doing SPOILERS with SPOILER, so, no excerpt for you.

Day 118

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lovecraft sketch Quick sketch of H.P. Lovecraft. Not ... terrible ... per se, but I squashed his head, and there's something about the face that's wrong that also bothers me about the faces drawn by Steve Dillon in Preacher. Don't get me wrong - I love Preacher and Steve Dillon's art, but something has always struck me as slightly off about the faces in Preacher, and the same thing is going on here. If I knew what it was, I could probably fix it. But I don't, so I guess I just have to keep practicing. lovecraft headshot Drawing every day. -the Centaur P.S. 1800 words. Getting back on track on Nano.

Day 114

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serling sketch Imagine a man, who comes up tangentially during a writing session, and ends up having his mug featured in a quick Sharpie sketch on 9x12 Strathmore with no roughs whatsoever, capturing his likeness forever ... in the Twilight Zone. Meh, something's off, but I can't figure out what, with my drawing of Mr. Serling. serling headshot Drawing every day. -the Centaur P.S. Wrote 3600 words too.

Day 113

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zeit poster v2 Technically not a drawing, but the outcome of some Photoshop experimentation to see if I could turn the Tangerine Dream Zeit album cover into an image suitable for a wall poster. I think it came out well, but the above version #2 - combining the original cover, back cover, and part of an alternate cover - seems a little more jumbled than my next try, version #3, just expanding the original cover a bit: zeit poster v3 I like this simple version better, but I'm not committing to either right now; it was just an experimental idea to see if it was feasible, and also to practice some Photoshop. A final version would need a little more work on the blend of the cover, which is a quick hack right now. Drawing, designing, Photoshopping every day. -the Centaur P.S. 1800 words. Starting to get a little more rhythm in the story. Rough draftiness:
Nyissa stood in the doorway, thin as a ghost, pale as paper, blood raining down her chin and spilling over her hospital gown like something out of a horror movie. A nurse stood behind her in fear, and for the briefest instant, I thought she’d awakened in the surgery and slain her doctors in a blood rage. But she held a dripping transfusion bag clenched in one hand, no doubt ripped from the IV stand she held for support.
Actually, the Zeit album inspired this scene, as the moody first track matched Dakota's mood, and Nyissa awakens from her injuries when she hears Dakota distraught in the next room.

Day 112

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dita sketch Quick Sharpie sketch of Dita von Teese. Not bad overall, but I ended up badly screwing up the proportions and made her face so tall I had to shrink it vertically about 10%, which ... actually, wasn't so bad, compared to the original: dita headshot Ran across a more fetish-themed image of her as I was trying to design a waitress for a scene in SPIRAL NEEDLE; I judged said picture was too steamy for this drawing series, and the waitress ended up in a different outfit anyway, so you get a sketch of a glamour shot instead. Drawing every day. -the Centaur P.S. 1700+ words on SPIRAL NEEDLE. Ahead of the wordcount, behind on how much I need to do to catch up, but at least, catching up is happening now.    

Day 111

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troughton sketch Super quick sketch of Patrick Troughton. Drawing every day. And wrote 1100 words. -the Centaur

Day 110

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nielsen sketch Sharpie sketch of Leslie Nielsen, another actor who has played a vampire (came up with Dakota mocking (in her head) a vampire she met). Roughed in non-repro blue, which was surprisingly easy to remove in Photoshop, but actually made it a little bit hard to tweak the roughs to get the landscape right (hence the tilted smile) and Sharpies, while forcing me to work quickly and helping me learn the role of blacks and whites in composition, are still doing no favors on the rendering. nielsen headshot Drawing every day. -the Centaur P.S. 1900+ words on SPIRAL NEEDLE. Onward.

Day 108 and Camp Nano 12

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moore sketch Quick Sharpie sketch of Roger Moore. Head's a bit squashed, but it's not too bad. I admit, I threw my first drawing away and made myself start over, rather than deal with one messed up line in his right jawline. It's interesting to me how much of the character of even a very young Roger Moore is made up not just by that whale of a jaw, but by the subtle lines all over his face. He was strangely old even when young. moore picture Drawing every day. -the Centaur P.S. Only ~800 words today, which was quite a struggle. Roger Moore came up very tangentially when Dakota was snarking about a vampire looking like a cross between Roger Moore and Leslie Nielsen.

Day 107 and Camp Nano 11

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apsara sketch Quick Sharpie sketch of an Apsara dancer, a mythical spirit appearing in Southeast Asian cultures. Came up in some tangential research for a scene in Dakota Frost #7, SPIRAL NEEDLE, but decided this was too rich a mine of mythology for a throwaway line, so I ended up using something else. apsara dance Drawing every day. -the Centaur Oh, and on Camp Nano: just got ~1000 words so far. Not sure why I got fewer words when I had more to do yesterday than today. Perhaps I need to break more paintings?

Day 106 and Camp Nano 10

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mongkut sketch Quick Sharpie sketch of King Mongkut of Thailand, the famous king from The King and I, and also, not a bad mathematician and astronomer. Tangentially came up in today's Dakota Frost Camp Nano adventure (2300+ words today, still behind, but catching up). The real guy's head is more egg-shaped, and the left eye has an iris placement mistake: we are near the limit of what I can do with a Sharpie, but it's still the best tool I have to keep myself drawing when it's super late and I'm tired. mongkut headshot Drawing. Every. Day. -the Centaur

Day 105 (and Camp Nano Day 9)

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capaldi sketch Sharpie sketch of Peter Capaldi from the Doctor Who episode "The Pilot," which is lightweight in tone and stakes but stands up surprisingly well to repeated viewings, especially Capaldi's knockout speech about time in the beginning, the Doctor's amazing office, and the introduction of the TARDIS. The sketch is ... OK. Slightly squashed, and I'm still doing eyes too big (likely a function of the Sharpie sketches, which put a minimum size on the features I can draw). But it ... kinda looks like him? His head's not turned the right way, and I still have trouble getting the "landscape" of the face right. capaldi drawing Still, drawing every day. -the Centaur P. S. Only got ~50 words on Camp Nano, but I feel good about those words, as they're stitching parts of a scene together so I can really roll with it tomorrow. 11K words behind, but I've been behind worse.

Day 104 (and Camp Nano Day 8)

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chipman, pruitt, bolton Quick sketch - much of it, just a dry erase marker, not even a Sharpie - on Strathmore 9x12. Not completely terrible for the first two, but I sure did squeeze Bolton's head. Sorry, man. chipman-pruitt-bolton reference Drawing every day. -the Centaur P.S. Only 250 words with Camp Nano, but then, I still feel that maybe-vaccine headache, so, ugh.

Day 102

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mohawk drawing Character study for a Dakota Frost picture, inks on vellum over a roughs with inks and blue on Strathmore 11x14. Required some Photoshop surgery as I didn't anticipate how the shading would riff off the hair and make it look like the model had a beard. Compared to the original, the forehead is too high and the nose too large. Back to practicing, sigh. I think the below is from the Peles Salon Instagram, though I actually found this picture from like 1,000 different Pinterest boards. mohawk photo Drawing every day. -the Centaur P.S. Got 600+ words on Camp Nano. Picking up speed, more in a bit.

Day 100

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dakota rough sketch Quick Sharpie sketch of Dakota Frost, based on the model from the BLOOD ROCK / LIQUID FIRE covers. I tried to do this upside down at first, to "see" it better, and OH BOY it did not turn out well - the landscape was all off. So this is an even quicker sketch, because I need to get to bed early. dakota skull small Also, Camp Nano only got ~150 added words, but again, I need sleep. Rough draftiness:
“Your voice,” the priest said, taking another step back. “If not a vampire, surely … surely not a werewolf … but your voice … why do I know your voice?” I spun, rolling my neck, unfurling more vines into a soft green halo that lit my face. “Do you know me now?” I asked. “Oh … God,” the priest said. “You were on the news, the mother of that weretiger—” “That I am, and if she is here,” I said, “you should point the way … then run.” “She … here?” The priest blinked, then his eyes flicked at the coffin. “But it’s not—” My heart fell. The prisoner in the coffin was not Cinnamon—but as the priest’ eyes went wide in terror, I realized that in his shock he’d given away there was a prisoner in that coffin. I drew a breath, my face flushing, feeling my blood pounding in my ears.
Hopefully I'll pick up speed now that I'm out of the Lenten "Jesus and Godel" series. I wrote 45,000 words of nonfiction in Lent, which is nowhere near the needed Nano rate, but I think is probably the fastest rate and largest single body of nonfiction writing I've done since perhaps my thesis. But what I really did today was move boxes into the room that's going to become my wife's art studio. Drawing, writing, moving every day. -the Centaur

Camp Nano April 2021, Day 3

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dakota skull small Day 3, just under 600 words, still behind. A lot of today was spent on planning the scene. Rough draftiness, with Dakota infiltrating a church using her magic tattoos:
My eyelids flickered as the orchid petals infiltrated the lock, a jumble of images and feelings flooding back to me as the interlocking parts of the stamen column felt the tumblers. It was hard to see and “see” at the same time, much less guide the— Click. I drew a careful breath, then turned my hand. The petals and sepals closed on the knob and turned it, softly, and I gingerly opened the doors. My vines and their floating leaves shifted as the heavy wood parted, but did not otherwise react: no security system had been triggered. The church was spacious, almost cavernous … but not wholly dark. An eerie blue glow filtered in from the twin rows of stained glass, but the white light glinting off the rows of pews came from a pool of spotlights, pinioning before the altar a gleaming silver coffin. “My friend,” came a quiet Asian voice. “You should not have come here.” Instantly I whirled 270, twisting mana up in my body, murmuring shield just as I came face to face with … a priest? A typical, nay, stereotypical long-cassocked priest, stepping from a confessional, bearing an ornate pectoral cross and carrying a gun … no … a water pistol? “Let this be a warning to you,” he said, and fired. “Begone!”
Writing every day. -the Centaur  

Camp Nano April 2021, Day 2

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Just added roughly 250 words today. An excerpt, all first-drafty stuff:
I strode up to the silver coffin, the parallel blades of the Salt Chamber Sword singing hungry in my hand. The closer I got, the more it vibrated, testing my grip and rattling my teeth. The coils of my Dragon looped out around me in a spiral, pushing the guards back; her wings covered me protectively, but none of them were fool enough to try shooting again. “Alright, alright,” I murmured to my sword. “I’ll give you what you want.” I drew the Salzkammergutschwert down the length of the silver coffin. The black tuning-fork blade squealed through the thick metal case as easily as drawing a pen across paper, except the line left by this writing instrument was a hot metal gash. The ancient faerie blade jerked and popped in my hand, and I struggled to control it so I didn’t harm the occupant—oh, that precious occupant!—as the screeching Salt Chamber Sword popped clamps and cut hinges alike, bits of hardware clattering to the floor in glowing showers of sparks. My arm completed its motion. The Salzkammergutschwert quit singing. Something thudded against the lid, which shuddered, jumped, then flipped aside, the thin hands of the occupant clawing for the air. A slender child rose from the prison, screaming, fanged, eyes glowing, and for the briefest snap-second I imagined it might have been Cinnamon. Then the starved vampire child’s gaze fell on me—and he lunged.
Onward. -the Centaur

Camp Nano, April 2021: SPIRAL NEEDLE

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camp nano april 2021, day 1 Taking on Dakota Frost, Book 7. Added 305 words. A raw unedited excerpt (including some prior text from Tuesday for context):
Agent Grant, commander of the MIRTH unit—if I remember my DEI alphabet soup, that stands for something twee like Magical Incident Response Transportable Headquarters—turned towards us, turned off his earpiece, and turned completely serious. “She’s right, this is an operation,” he said evenly but firmly, his full beard making him look grimmer and sterner than he already sounded. “It doesn’t matter if you two are the only ones on deck. If you’re not ready, I am not sending you in.” “I fought in the Great War, you ridiculous pup!” But Nyissa’s voice quavered. I knew she was not particularly brave; but what was up? More than just anger at being awakened before the crack of sunset, I think. “But I’ll not be going in at all, I think—” My hand fell on her knee. “And no-one thinks less of you for it,” I said. Nyissa sagged a bit. Grant raised his eyebrows at me. “So we have one operative,” he said. “We have one operative,” Philip said. “And it’s Red Sonja here,” Grant said. “Hey!” I said. “Just because I have a metal bikini and a sword—” “Outclassed by my own supposed sub,” Nyissa said. “Some bodyguard I am.” “Different kind of discipline,” Grant said, looking between us. “Frost, you ready?” “As much as I ever am,” I grumbled, squinting at the church. “What can you tell me?”
That is all. Zzzzz... -the Centaur

Day 039

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More Space Hair Another attempt at space hair. I did a better job at creating dimension in the hair, I think, but fell for two classic blunders: first, the face is too large compared to the size of the head, causing the top of the head to appear cut off, and second, this first error was caused by me leaping too quickly from roughs to inks, which may not be a classic error for everyone, but is classic for me. Also the eyes are off angle: According to Google Image Search, this is also Zendaya. Apparently she would also make a good model for Porsche in addition to Cinnamon, up to heritage (while Zendaya has German, Scottish, and African ancestors - a good match for Cinnamon's mixed-race heritage - Porsche in contrast is Sino-Anglic, a Chinese/English derived centaur ethnicity which won't exist for another 500 years). Still, the exercise helped me expose a couple new art errors that I can now start to work on. Drawing every day. -the Centaur  

Day 038

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Porsche Face Redux Now that's more like it. Another exercise in making a face look like a face, except this time I was not using a real person as a reference, but older drawings of one of my own characters, centauress explorer Porsche Kirkpatrick-Saint George, from yesterday's entry. Here's a couple zoomed in shots: Porsche Reference Far Porsche Reference Near Differences in the new version: slightly narrower face to better fit what I currently understand about human proportions; slightly wider nose, because she's a frigging centaur and needs to breathe; slightly thicker neck, because even at 22-23 here she's supposed to be an exceptional martial artist (and lives in 1.7 gravities). Otherwise, I tried to abstract the older proportions and recreate the same person. I think I got close, but my faces are still not yet stable. I see I still have the same problem with the "errant pen" occasionally jerking and messing up my lines; I also see I could be making her giant mass of hair more dimensional and less flattened to two planes (though I note my time-traveling action archaeologist and her space hair predates River Song by quite a bit, even if Stephen Moffat beat me to the screen). Lots of work to do, clearly. Took me two hours. Need to do that in half or a third the time. Still ... ... drawing every day. -the Centaur

Day 037

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Cinnamon Sketch As it says on the tin. Fell down a rabbithole trying to clean up my files prior to doing my art, decided to cheat by posting a sketch I did earlier today, then fell down more rabbitholes since I apparently can't not experiment with coloring a sketch. For reference, here's the sketch from earlier, the first entry in a notebook that I hadn't written in in over 18 years: Original Cinnamon Sketch I came across this notebook just trying to find an appropriate notebook for a science idea (my sketchbook is at hand, but the science notebooks are ... buried in boxes?? Not sure) and found this one, a "commonplace book" filled with various ideas, including a life review from almost 20 years ago. I'm ... actually pretty happy with how things turned out over the last 20 years, between my wife, my novels, my comics and Google, but there's so much more to do. Finally, for reference, here's a piece of art I found while I was re-organize my files. This is from 24 Hour Comic Day, mind you ... a bit ambitious, I think, but this pre-break art I think shows the kind of work that I'm intimidated by when I try to get back into drawing: Porsche from the first 24hcd Yes, there's a lot to be improved with this art, but (a) my inking was a lot better, and (b) wow, I had forgotten how much the Porsche St. George character was supposed to be a "knockout". So much of what I've written / drawn about her since then has been the workmanlike space warrior stuff, not so much the original romance between the twentieth-century time traveller and the thirtieth-century centaur. Ah well. Lots of work to do before I can get back to that level of quality, even though I see a lot of work I need to do to improve upon that once I get there. Drawing every day. -the Centaur