Another piece of my long standing zodiac project. This one means a lot to me. One of my best friends fell thirty feet in a climbing accident and hit his head on a rock. It took the doctors three days to determine he was brain dead. They took him off support last Saturday. He was a Gemini and my friend Kendra and I created a unique version of the image for his birthday, which was a week before the accident. He never got to see it finished, but I think he would’ve liked it. He was always supportive of my art. He was probably my only fan when I first started. He was just a good friend, always there for me, even when I wasn’t there for me, and even when I wasn’t there for him.
Having recently completed the general and rough manuscript for Butterfly Gate and passing it off to a trusted editor, I suddenly have time to work on my other stories and art projects. Re-reading and editing the same 460 page story three times within a week is hard work, but also really engaging and fun for me.
So this week (Spring Break!) has been all about planning new art for my other work-in-progress Saving Hadley and tackling a new arc. I also had time on the side to start writing my third project, Wall-Spider in a more serious capacity. As soon as I finished the rough short story (now chapter one of Wall-Spider) I knew I wanted to take it farther, but I already had a few engulfing projects. It was great to really delve into developing a new book, and infinitely less stressful than the first two times.
It’s a little mind-blowing and encouraging how visible the improvement has been. I started by re-working the short story. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to my current standards or style, so I improved the flow and counter-play between the first and third person narration. Then, having a good six months of ideas and notes about where I wanted to take it, barfed out a cool sixty pages, which was a new record for me.
But there’s other clerical work I do when I approach a novel. Part of that was taking the art I’ve already done for Wall-Spider and reworking it.
The main challenge was retroactively fixing the perspective issues with the first sketch. Then I drew as realistic of a padded cell backing as I could in Photoshop. The rest was simple lighting.
Obviously there are still some lighting and perspective issues, but I felt good about it for a simple three-hour session. One of the main takeaways from this for me is to really spend more time planning perspective. Messing up the two-point as badly as I did on a drawing that was otherwise very solid and emotionally personal/important to who I am was a little silly. I could have avoided the issue by spending two minutes with a compass to measure the two-point, but I free-handed the lines and rolled with it.