Friday, January 27, 2012

The Crystal Method

From time to time, I've had people ask how I create some of my drawings and this week I had the presence of mind to save each stage of the progress of my latest drawing, The Rebel.

I start with a rough sketch. Really the past this stage took about five sketches/pieces of paper. Now I'm down to one. Go me!

Next, I do, what I like to call, a clean sketch. I choose my lines, I add detail (clothes and hair), and I fix her wonky left hand.

Now I get to ink! I love inking, it's calming somehow. Basically inking is just tracing my lines and refining them even more. Not a lot of thinking, just pulling and curving an art pen over clean, white paper. I use a light box to see my pencil lines on the paper beneath.

Now for the stressful fun. I have a serious love/hate thing going on with coloring. I love color, I hate the process. It takes me forever and I always second guess myself. Anyway, I scan my inked drawing into Photoshop and start blocking out my colors. Then I start adding highlights and shadows. I do this with a mouse. All of it. *grumble* I really want a tablet.

After a lot of grumbling I get to a point where I can add fun details, like blood and tears. Then I flatten my layers, save, and post it for the masses. ;)

Hope you enjoyed this and hope you have a great Friday!!!

<3 Crystal

Friday, January 20, 2012

Use your Words Wisely

I'm convinced that words have more power over us than we realize. 

I've always thought this but a recent conversation with a new writer friend of mine, the awesome M.C.V. Egan, made me start thinking about it in more depth. It all began when she informed me that my last name means "Word" in Swedish.  Unfortunately, it isn't my maiden name but it's still pretty darn cool for a writer. When M.C.V. asked me if I had started writing more once I got married and my name changed, I was surprised to realized that I didn't get really serious about writing until after my marriage. Coincidence? Probably...


I know a few other people who take their names very seriously. Who actually draw inspiration from them and who represent the meaning of their names more than they know. That is power. Word power.

I went to a writer's conference last summer and in one of the classes we talked extensively about words. C.C. Humphrey's was the speaker. He's awesome: hilarious, passionate about writing, pleasantly scattered. Anyway, he talked about words in a way that truly touched me. 

As if they are alive. 

Makes sense. To me anyway.  

  We don't control words. (No, hush, we don't.) We can woo them, coax them, lure them to behave. We can corral them together into sentences and, hopefully, create something meaningful, but, still, one single word can have so many different meanings that a sentence you designed to portray one thing comes across meaning something completely different to someone else.

 We may harness their power momentarily when we write them down but then they will do as they please, they will affect others however they want.

Like a reader raving about the brilliance of the double meaning in a certain passage of your book that you had no idea existed until that very moment. ("Why, yes, of course I meant to do that!")....But you didn't did you? It was those sneaky, brilliant, living words.
So, I guess this (pleasantly?) scattered post is my roundabout way of saying, be careful with words.  Use them wisely. They have power to influence our very natures, they have power to change they way others see things. They have power.

What is your take on the power of words? Are they just tools to write with or something more?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Good book or Fart bomb?

After reading Angela Scott’s blog post about mean reviewers (which is worth a read, and not only to see the words “freaking fart-bomb” in print) I started thinking about a discussion I had with my mother a couple days ago. We were driving home from Bellingham, a nearly three hour trip, and I asked my mom:

What makes a book good and how am I supposed to know when my book is good enough?

Revising feels a little like this.
A little back story here, I have been in revision mode for a while and have been struggling to figure out, “how much revising is too much revising”. Night. Mare....

So, what makes a good book?

Now, I’m not talking about writing; we should all try our best to ‘show not tell’ and rein in our adverbs and such, but what do we have to do to make readers leave their world and cling to ours even after the last page is turned? 

Is it lyrical prose, a good hook, unique voice, action packed page-turners, heavy mind-boggling philosophical doorstops that make you lie awake nights pondering your very existence and freaking out over how huge and endless the universe is?!


Or is it all purely subjective and there is no answer?

I’m going to leave this one to you guys. What do YOU think makes a good book? Go!