Thursday, October 27, 2011

Masked Mouse

It's been awhile since I've posted any pictures here.  I thought it would be fun to show a before/after of shading.  Here's a sketch of a masked mouse that I made to get an idea down.  (What can I say?  Sometimes drawing is quicker than outlining.)

And here is the same picture after I decided that shading was a great way to pass the time while I waited for my computer to load a bunch of updates.

Yeah, not quite what I was supposed to be doing this morning, but at least I got my nice drawing finished.  So how about you guys?  Any favorite distractions you indulge in?

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Obsessions

Anyone who knows me well knows my tendency toward obsessions.  When I find an author or TV show I like I'll read or watch everything I can get my hands by that person- at least until I figure out exactly what it is I'm trying to figure out. 

When I was maybe fourteen or so, I was crazy about the Redwall series.  I had whole sections of Mossflower practically memorized.  The Redwall books taught me that just because your characters are fuzzy little rodents doesn't mean you have to play down things like death or injury.

With Dickens I learned two things.  One: if you try to strike up a conversation about Dickens you'll get weird, panicky looks followed by some mumbling about A Christmas Carol.  Two: when you mix comedy with suspense, you get some really powerful writing.  

I've never had an obsession that I haven't learned from.  Some of my obsessions (like Dickens and Shakespeare) turned out to be pretty handy when I started college.  I've also never had an obsession that didn't get me some weird looks, and `can we change the subject please?'  Maybe you can't win them all.  Or maybe my next obsession should be learning to be a better conversationalist.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


When I was a kid, a couple friends and I got together to write a circle story.  It was a lot of fun.  One of the characters had a bowler hat that he always wore.  There was a really suspenseful moment in the story where he lost it.  One of the other writers in our circle quickly made sure the hat was found.

Its funny how an object can help define a character.  Fflewder Fflan's harp, from the Prydain Chronicles, comes to mind.  The strings always break when he tells a lie, but since most of his lies are to hide how soft hearted he is, the reader loves him every time he's caught out.  In Ella Enchanted, Ella is given a cup shaped like a howling wolf.  The cup only appears briefly, but it's presence drives home how trapped Ella feels by her obedience curse.  

Imagining objects for a character is a bit like Christmas shopping in the real world.  When you really know the person you're shopping for, the perfect gift jumps out at you.  It's so them that you can't resist buying it.