Well, I never did get around to posting something in here yesterday. Alas, alas. However, I’ve been pretty productive with my writing, so I say that makes up for it. I finished the chapter that was bogging me down, and am a good ways into the next one. I find myself making Raphel much nicer this time around, in the way he says things..which is interesting, because I’ve apparently also been making him meaner, too. There is a definite disconnect between his words and his actions, and the gulf is growing as the story goes on. He will do something awful to Saeli, but then he will list all his reasonable, unavoidable reasons for doing so, and show himself to be as worried and frustrated and human as she are, and he doesn’t like doing stuff like that, but…and Saeli finds herself nodding her head in agreement without a clear idea of how she got there. It’s all very underhanded. He knows if he’s outright mean, he’ll scare her off for good.
I’ve also been working on a book cover idea. It’s a scene that doesn’t actually appear anywhere in the story, but is rather a nod to the initial dream I had that inspired the story in the first place. I was with some dark-clad people, and we were hiding in a big city from a group of cold, white-robed people marching down the street, chanting like monks. I wasn’t one of the dark people, though, and I had the impression that I was actually supposed to be with the white-robed ones. But I wasn’t really one of them, either, though I was more like them than I was like the dark ones. But the dark ones weren’t really so bad, I found. (Thus, Saeli’s unique position in the world was born). Originally I had called the two groups the Blacks and the Whites, but it was suggested to me that those names were much too un-politically correct, and I agreed.
This is the scan of the original drawing I did. It’s cobbled together from a bunch of different sources, which I put together in Photoshop and printed out. I then did what many might consider cheating, and traced straight from that composition using a lightbox. I would torn my hair out trying to get that architecture right otherwise. I’ve had to tweak the image sufficiently that I no longer feel guilty about it. (Wait…no. I never felt guilty about it. Oh well.) It looks weird at the bottom because the drawing is bigger than the scanner, and so I had to scan it in two pieces. The drawing isn’t going to show up on the finished piece; it’s only a guide for my Photoshopping. The figures in the foreground are Raphel and Saeli (if that wasn’t obvious). That is the High Priestess leading the line of professors; I haven’t decided who the others are (if anyone). That’s supposed to be the city Temple in the background.
I learned about the concept of an underpainting in one of my Stetson classes, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever actually *needed* to do one. The purpose of the underpainting is to figure out where all the lights and darks will be. Because my source images came from so many places, my source composition had no consistant value scale whatsoever. (Plus, they were all daytime images, and this is a nighttime picture). The final image won’t be sepia-toned.
Where I’m at now:
Here’s where I’m at in the coloring process. I made the scene take place in the purple hour, Saeli’s favorite time of day. Right now I’m just filling in the flat colors; I will go back in different layers to put in the shadows and highlights. White buildings at night are interesting, to say the least. Black and white clothing isn’t much better. I’m trying to make it so that the grays on the left side of the image are made from purples, and the grays on the right are made from yellows, so that I have a warm gray/cool gray contrast. Saeli is pretty dead neutral.
The amount of work I can get done when I’m not at home is astronomical compared to what I do at my desk. I wish Books-a-Million opened earlier than 10AM. Places like Panera Bread and various coffee shops open early, but you really aren’t supposed to just sit in there without buying something (some places have a policy), and that could very quickly get expensive. I suppose I could sit outside and work (maybe when it gets a little warmer, heh). I got a lot of writing done Monday…if I can do that on all the days when Eli is at school, I can have the first book of Shades done by the end of March, which is my goal.