Well, almost a year to the day here since my last update. I know, I know… excuses are like peanuts – abundant and poisonous to 5% of the population. Sue me.
I wish I could blame this on some horrid tragedy or something but the truth is as I continued work on several projects – Mildthing being one of primary ones, it became clear that I had a lot of work ahead of me.
I could, just start slapping it up for everyone and see what happened. Or I could take my time and actually put in the work of plotting out the course of the stories and how they arc together into a central theme. (Which took almost 3 months…)
And I could have just gone with my horrid sketch work… or I could slowly but surely improve my skills and hone them so that… Flipper here, actually has some facial expressions and a personality when you encounter him (and you will… encounter him).
The same is true for the rest of the creatures – and there are a lot of them. Human, and non-human, some who are just walk ons, others who actually play an important part. I’m not an artist. I’m a scrawl something on a napkin guy. So for me, getting the concept art down has been a learning experience. And I’m a slow learner.
As a digital artist I’ve always relied on images as starters – this lovely old gentleman for example. He’s one of six old men I found as an inspiration for Sylas Rafferty. But I can’t actually use that image – even though I did draw it – because he’s a real person. Died most likely 40 years or more ago. But the image is someones. I didn’t create it when I drew it. It visually belongs to someone else. I can use it as inspiration – but Sylas has to be original. So he is. He’s an amalgam of many people. I learned from studying the crags in this mans face how I would want them to be in the actual Sylas face. So there is the dual need of not just becoming technically skilled – but proficient enough so as to create the Sylas in my head with that level of detail convincingly.
The art end of it – is something I’m enjoying the heck out of. Even if I most likely get an actual artist to take the concepts and bring them to life – just doing the concepts for it has been a really rewarding experience.
Other things going on as I work this through …
Every single part of the book is being plotted and remapped. All of the characters will have at least a concept sketch to them – and yes, I will be checking out all the major ties to the real world. There are Paguks which are these incredibly scary but somewhat amusing creatures that … essentially they steal your kidneys and leave you in a bathtub with a note pinned to your chest saying “Call 911”.
Okay… not really – but kind of. What they really do is paralyze you, then steal your liver and sew you back up with a stone or twigs or leaves as stuffing to replace what they ate, so you don’t know it until you die several days later. So if you’re wondering where I’m going with these stories… yeah… we’re goin there. The weird place. What’s even more weird is… there are real accounts of Paguk existing even today.
And that’s one of about 30 different creatures in the books. If I find some reason I can’t use them I toss them on the pile to use at a later date. But I am researching things pretty carefully. If something is out of place in the book – it’s meant to be. But to do that, takes some time – or rather timelines, and character lines, and overlaying these with historical events of the 70’s, 80’s and today… well, that’s been more fun and more difficult than I realized. And I’m having to go back and relearn how to write again.
Its odd, it is a bit like riding a bike. You don’t forget… unless it’s anything to do with ego. Which is to day, I had forgotten why I gave it up – I was never that good unless I actually applied myself. So, once again… it takes time.
So, if this is taking forever… my apologies. I am working on this as quickly as I can.