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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The White City in Gold

Well, this update was a little longer coming than it could have been. I guess I got all caught up in the holiday festivities with the fam. 'Twas a lot of fun, but now it is back to work. I've yet to mess with the angel's face or body again. Yesterday I worked on the "first pass" of painting/blending on the background, for everywhere but the city. Today I attempted the city, which for a small area is a big pain.




Thursday, December 21, 2006

More on the Angel

Today was rather blah out, even though it wasn't particularly cold it felt like it was because of the color of the light and lack of sun.

The good news: I actually got a chance to work on art. For the first time in a few days I didn't spend the day baking cookies or wrapping. I worked mainly on "smoothing" out the angel's outfit, skin, etc, and on defining form. Tomorrow I hope to do the first pass of blending on the background.



Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Color of Heaven

The biggest challenge this past week has been finding any time to do art. Christmas shopping, wrapping, cards, baking, decorating, etc, are a real time drain. Not that I don't enjoy those things. ;)

So the client decided he wanted a background, which turned out to be a greater challenge than I first thought (and, I still don't know if I've got it "right"). At least I kind of got the colors to a likable state. It's harder than you think, trying to find the right colors for Heaven.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rain and Angels

When it rains, it pours. What an interesting day.

I spent most of the morning working on the first angel character concept sketch for a fellow in California. I got a lot more done on it than I anticipated, which is great.

This evening I received a little reminder of why I enjoy doing freelance illustration. You see, one of the coolest aspects of this job is the element of surprise. There is nothing like getting an e-mail out of the blue from totally neat company that likes my art enough to hire me for a project. At the moment the possibility of working with the Texas film company (that just e-mailed me) to create concept art is pretty darn exciting.

Step one on the first angel:

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Numerous Happenings

Good stuff happening today, despite my feeling terrible (I think I'm still getting over the flu). Got a great e-mail on a possible series of angel illustrations from a guy in California, which I'm pretty excited about.

I spent the morning re-writing my Concept Artist cover letter. I think the new version is much better (less recent grad-ish) than it was 6 months ago. I hope to get my job application off in the mail for that open BioWare Concept Artist position (in Edmonton, Canada) soon. Man, would that be a cool place to work -literally.

I also re-organized my website yesterday. I decided that it would be nice to separate the digital illustrations by type a bit more. So I put the "Children's Fantasy Illustrations" and "Science-Fiction and Fantasy Illustrations" (read: the "grown up" book covers) in their own groupings. I also added a number of composite step-by-step images, that go from sketch to final image here:

step-by-steps

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Sweet Progress

My next cover commission is still in progress (being edited) so I've had a bit more down time than I expected. So I decided to use my time "wisely" and work on my picture book idea.

I now have a (roughly) 2,000 word story (hopefully, I can further tighten and shorten in the next revision).

On the illustration side. I made a series of tiny thumbnails so sloppy that only I could decipher them in my sketchbook (with a real pen, no less!)

For the past week I've been working to make these into more readable roughs, and also to work out a potential layout. I really like the idea of using mostly spreads, with the first and last images being single-side images.

Here is what I've come up with so-far:



The BIG version (with the actually legable text is here, warning 2.5 MB):

http://www.ldiehl.com/wip/bookdummy_wip.jpg

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Lair

I was posted these photos for the "Show us your rig" thread at CG Talk and figured I might as well post them here too. This is my bedroom "office."







Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Secret About Stories

I am now in the process of paring down my just written children's book manuscript, which is about 1,000 words "too long." Must... lose... description.... Or something like that.

I went to my local books-a-million today looking for Writing With Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books by Uri Shulevitz and, of course, they didn't have it. Looks like I'll be ordering that one from Amazon. I hate buying books that I can't flip through first.

So what is this secret? It's not my secret, but a fine jewel of advice from an experienced Author/Illustrator Barbara Helen Berger. She is best know for her book Grandfather Twilight, which I really want to get my hands on.

The site uses frames so it is a little hard to link to. But here is the frameless page:


http://bhberger.com/children/features/secret_stories.htm?ok


And here is the link to her main site: (The "secret" I'm talking about is under features> secrets>

http://bhberger.com

At any rate, I'm very happy I discovered it. The idea of working from the pictures to tell the story seems the easiest way for me. A big thank-you to Barbara!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The River of Dreams

I'm pretty excited. You see, I've been scheming and dreaming for the past week, trying to come up with a good story for my first picture book. Last night I had a terrible time trying to get to sleep. Ever had your brain turned on so high you can't shut it down?

So as I lay in bed willing myself to sleep, the idea hit me. I was even able to come up with how to do it in 14 picture (spreads). I typically think in images not in words, anyway.

I was even able to finally convinced myself that writing it all down was more important than sleep. The funny thing is that my handwriting at 12:31 AM, with my glasses off, by the meager light of my alarm clock, when I'm half asleep, doesn't look much different from "normal."

This story is inspired by this image of mine, though it is mostly the setting and not these exact characters:



It's sort of a fairy tale. I do think it is going to make a good book though. Heck, all I want to do is get back to roughing it out at the moment.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Beginning of Hereafter

The purpose of this journal to to chronicle my journey from this uncertain point in my life (to put it mildly) to whatever I end up doing hereafter. At present I am roughly 6 months out of college, which incidentally is the length of the so-called "grace period" for student loans. In fact, I've already made the first payment on said loans, which was about as much fun as giving blood (I hate needles).

So what have I been up to since graduation? Illustration work, but not really the kind I want to do forever. In the past 6 months I've done 7 book covers. Most of these for small press publishers or individual authors. And while I don't mind doing this (as coming up with covers is rather interesting) I also don't love it. Part of the problem I think (and no offense is intended to the authors of these books) is that it takes a really special book to touch me in a way that the mere act of creating a cover for it is a passionate art. The problem with most fantasy books, and here I'm referring to wildly successful books published by big names too, is that they don't have this connection with me.

I hope that this journal can help me find my calling in the illustration world. I plan to update at least weekly, but hopefully a bit more than that. We shall see.

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