Thursday, February 9, 2017

Artwork: Intensity

It is time that I put my life's intensity into my artwork. The last period of focus I had toward art was in early 2012, and the last time I took writing seriously is when I started talking to my fiancé, which is around three years ago. In the downtime, I jotted down a lot of lore ideas, sketched a lot of world maps, and drew concepts that were not worth sharing or were pornographic anatomy practice that shouldn't be posted publicly. Regardless, I have come a long way during my hiatus in the realm of overall competence, and I am getting ready to throw as much of my time into my preferred trade as possible. Too much preoccupation with brainstorming and world building... It means nothing if it never gets published.

My goal this year is to get my actual self on track mentally, physically, and monetarily so that I am enabled to take on the goals that matter and knock out any obstacles. It's going to mean a lot of studying, a lot of mistakes, and a lot of practice. I am pretty content with the studying part--it's most of what I do--but my life experience is low due to terrible social anxiety. I've jus got to stay trained on what matters to me and remind myself of that in the dire hours of depression or deviation.

For the visual arts, that means learning to draw a lot of mundane things in a beautiful way. The theme of my fictional world is "ancient." It's tribal, Neolithic, chalcolithic, classical, philosophical, natural, and down to earth. Shamanism plays an important role in the cultures. What that'll mean for my art:

1: I need to teach myself how to draw the things Neolithic and classical man would see on a daily basis:
     - Foods cultivated by ancient humans: Millet, wheat, barley, beans, peas, various seeds, rye, rice, squash, an assortment of fruits and nuts, etc.
     - Domesticated animals, livestock, and fish: Dogs, cats, horses, pigs, boars, yaks, llamas, camels, sheep, goats, cattle, chickens and other keepable birds, fish, and shellfish such as clams.
     - The people themselves, of course. There are a lot of different ethnicities between the two dominant races of mortalkind.
     - Common art and technology you would see around an "old world" civilization: various pottery, baskets, mud brick housing, dry stone walls, wattle-and-daub, pottery wheels, textile stands, querns, hunting traps, ploughs, irrigation, sluices, stone tablets, beads and like ornaments, anvils, plaster, old roads, dirt paths, ground stone tools, small boats, scrolls, pillars, weaponry and armor, bone tools, mortar and pestles, ovens, kilns, hearths, cooking pits, potsherds, ropes, clay figurines, lost wax castings, and more.
     - Fabrics and clothing that is period accurate, materials including linen, burlap, cotton, wool felt, leather, and hide. 
     - Instruments and shaman drums.

Relevant things I've drawn so far:

2: I need to teach myself how to draw the raw beauty of nature in a comic format (minimal lines, real coloring, lighting, and shading) such as:
     - All manner of trees and plants.
     - A wide variety of wild animals.
     - How to draw convincing water in varying sizes and shapes, as well as waterfalls.
     - How to convey seasons, including the positioning of the sun per hemisphere.
     - An emphasis on dynamic weather and skies, realistic clouds and coloring, and amazing weather, including tornados, which occur in the main series and will mean something to Mehega.

Relevant things I've drawn so far:

3: I must figure out what my style is. This has given me the most trouble.
     - Where do I use lines and where do I use a more painterly effect?
     - What type of eyes will they have? I avoid anime. Will they be realistic, or a bit more toony?
     - How can I make my trolls look adequately brutish and bestial?

Relevant drawings so far:

I sketched this Egyptian tomb carving to see what she might look like as 'a proportion style.' Could be interesting. Real enough, but also toon.

* I have a few rules already established style-wise. 
     - The world is the main character and is supposed to reflect the majesty of Earth. I want panel structure that dwarfs the main characters implemented, to showcase how small their problems and feats are in the scheme of the natural world. I also want random panels in between-scene segues to feature local vegetation or wildlife, or the sky or the current state of the weather, because it's a vacation from the eyes and supports my first point.
     - I want colors to appear exactly as they would be, not filtered through the lens of color theory. I want lighting and color choice to be as close to Earthlike as possible.
     - Weather is not to be used as a tool to control the mood of the reader. That is predictable and unrealistic. A pleasant scene can happen in the rain, and a tragic one can happen in the sun.

4: As for the written arts:
     - I need to start keeping word lists again with vocabulary I'd like to implement.
     - I need to write more, obviously.
     - I certainly need to read more.
     - I'd like to start documenting ways that people use to describe things when they intrigue me, like the way an author describes someone's laugh.

Honestly, I should add "straighten out your blog" to that list. It's so disorganized from when I ported them all into one blog.

5: As far as World Building goes:
     - I need to settle on a world map build.
     - I need to establish watersheds so I can plot city origination, collapse, and reformation.
     - I have a lot of city-states to name and design. (Exciting!)
     - I need to figure out how to pull off grand architecture in classic times.
     - I need to keep developing Golboren and make an effort to flesh one of the other languages.
     - A lot of cultures need repositioning on the map.
     - Resources need distributed once the map is settled.
     - What fantasy elements set the world apart from Earth? There are Gods (or are there) and there is alchemy, at the moment. There are one or two characters that rely on magic, and the system is so uncertain right now that I cannot write about them yet.

That's the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot more to study for the sake of realism, and a lot more to design before the realm is established enough to be published. (I do not like the idea of retconning because I didn't get it right to begin with.)

I do have some projects on queue, though. Right now, my drawing is focused on general "art student" practices using picture references. I'm getting a feel for a new art program, FireAlpaca, and learning how to make textures with its brushes, which is fun and promises (albeit frustrating when I can't pull something off.) Picking out things to draw is the tricky part right now, although I'm trying to follow my guidelines under #1 up there.

I have two series started short story-wise, but I'm rewriting one with better technique and I'd like to see the other as a comic instead. The bigger project, separate from those two, isn't a linear series, but a collection of journals penned by the holy roaming scholars of the Vaults of Akran, who travel and document studies of the world and its people. There will be some very mysterious and surprising entries along the way that will raise questions that won't be answered until the actual series are written.

I have an entirely different project, too, that I've been bouncing around in my mind. I'd like to revive a set of stories I'd penned in 4th and 5th grades about a bunch of cats that have a variety of elemental powers in a hidden magical world. It was called "Element Cats" (lol right?) This would be a comic series for fun, and it would definitely be on the cartoon side of the spectrum, bright toony colors and big eyes and whatnot.

Anyway, I'd better get to work on something, no matter how small. I still haven't figured out what I'm drawing next.