Art supplies and tech tools

Thursday, January 4, 2018

I was sitting one day in the midst of writer’s block and thinking about how I wanted to describe certain scenes or characters in my fantasy novel. I remembered that when the original Star Wars film was first being made, George Lucas hired a concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie, to complete several paintings depicting various scenes and characters. These ultimately contributed a lot to the series, and the appearances of characters like Darth Vader and C-3PO were kept almost exactly the same as they had been painted. It got me thinking, what if I utilized my long-underused artistic talent in order to do something similar?
A drawing I did back in 2007, which I recently found again.
I used to do sketches all the time (drawings, not comedy sketches), and unlike writing, which I had to learn, I have a natural-born talent for the art of the pencil. When I was a kid I used to draw my own little comic books, and in my teens I began to draw frequently in the anime/manga style. I even tried my hand at still life drawings and other realistic sketchings. But then, somewhere along the line, my artwork took a backseat to my writing. That’s to be expected - after all, my primary goal is to become a fantasy author - but due to a variety of factors, I haven’t picked drawing back up for several years. Since then, I’ve ordered art supplies from Amazon, and I’m expecting them before the end of the week. I purchased a nice set of shading pencils, some No. 2 pencils, and a couple of sketchbooks. So what is it that I’m going to draw, and how does it relate to my writing?

Like McQuarrie’s now famous Star Wars paintings, I too want to develop a series of artistic pieces that represent scenes and characters from my work. Not only will they help me visualize what I’m putting in my book, they will also link my art with my writing, wrapping both skill sets around the same overall subject matter. So it is that I’ve been sitting in contemplation of the kind of scenes I’d like to depict. I already have a few in mind.

A spider-legged, human-armed creature, wearing a dark orange shroud, with a clear globe for a head, crouches in a rainforest with a hand outstretched, offering to reveal the past to an amnesiac female character. The red-armored villain of the series, like an evil pharaoh crossed with a Polish hussar, leads a procession through the desert, sitting astride a camel as his army plays trumpets in his honor. A warrior of another race walks in a forest beside the main character, garbed in green fatigues, with a bow on his back and a winged horse at his side, handing the main character a small, gold key.
An attempted drawing of myself, made Jan. 2, 2018. Colored on Photoshop.

These are just some of my ideas, which I plan to draw in the coming weeks, and the three pieces mentioned above represent vital moments in the book I’m writing. I intend to upload my work and digitally color it on Photoshop. Already I’ve tried my hand at that, with a drawing I did of myself (right). Bear in mind, of course, that when I added the color, I was using only a mouse, as I don’t have a Microsoft Surface or an iPad or anything with a touchscreen. I do intend to remedy this by purchasing a Wacom tablet (which essentially replaces the mouse with a pen and writing surface, allowing you to color in images on Photoshop, among so many other things), but it’s not cheap and everything takes time (and money). It’s very possible that no one will see my finished drawings until I’ve made that purchase, and even then, I want to make the art itself look as professional as I can for my personal skill level.

Aside from the tablet, I also need to purchase a new laptop. Something more portable, with more memory; something a bit newer than the Windows 7 PC I have now. I’ve set my sights on a dark blue Asus Zenbook 3. It’s as near to paper-thin as you can get, and an excellent challenger to the Macbook, if you’re like me and prefer PCs over Apple products. It has a 12.5-inch screen (just like the laptop I currently use), 16GB RAM (!), 512GB of space, 1 USB port/power port (but you can use a dongle with more ports to expand your options), and it runs Windows 10 Pro. I’m not a super tech person or anything, so there may be other specs people mention about laptops, but those are the ones that registered with me and which I find appealing about the Zenbook 3. I hope I can afford to get the new laptop soonish, and that it can help me with making and editing videos for my YouTube channel, digital painting on Photoshop, writing my book, and work-related projects, as well.

In a way, both the Wacom tablet and the Zenbook 3 are art supplies, as far as I’m concerned. They’re key, really, in helping me realize the pieces I have planned. Though I haven’t bought either of these things yet, I’m trying to save up the money for them. I’ve already ordered my more basic art materials, however, so at the very least, I can get started on those sketches - maybe do a few rough drafts. Both in terms of my artistic endeavors and my writing, it seems that 2018 is off to a pretty good start.

1 comment:

  1. Being able to have visual representations of your scenes and characters is great. So is having endeavors which challenge different areas of your skills. Looking forward to your finished work, whenever that may be.