Work in Progress #2

So here's my progress for the book. 

I had to talk to the writer about the type of (the amazing) tractor in this shot. He told me it's red, and it's 1950-60's Ferguson tractor. 

Rough position of the tractor - that looks so out of place right now

Rough position of the tractor - that looks so out of place right now

You can cal it the field of gold, you can call it the wreath of gold. I call it wow - when can I sleep today?

my hand hurts from the amount of dotting I've done for the wheat. It's not even half way done!! 

Luckily I had a brush with lots of spots - so I think I'll be spared from drawing so many dots in the middle. 

The tractor needs to change - it just doesn't look that great. 

The book itself is very grim, gothic style, so I thought instead of having the glittering gold field, to have the dark, overcast field. 


Work in Progress

Life and work never really goes as planned.

I was set on working on my next children's book with Mike Johnson, and another one with Rory Rackham, but we had a surprise contender who took away the match, the ring and even the bell. 

So, I'm in for a long haul, it's a huge project and I'll be devoting 2016 to it. (It's another children's book)

I'm midst of finishing the work I've promised to do, which is book covers!

Here's my WIP. 

Yes. Isn't this the most gorgeous book cover you've ever laid your eyes on?

Yes. Isn't this the most gorgeous book cover you've ever laid your eyes on?


Let's see what happens to this after couple of hours...

Children's Book #2

So this is my second try at making a Children's book. 

The first was Taniwha (It's going through a second print due to Bi-lingual additions and us working with a distributor)

the second is this one I'm working on! I know when games and movies are in the making and they don't want media leaking it (oh how I wish people would want to leak my stuff), they make a nickname for it...

this one will be... Noir is asleep. (Noir is the name of my cat)

Anyway so Noir is asleep is in progress. I've received the text from my partner in crime, Mike Johnson, and it's taken weeks for me to imagine up the pictures to fit the text.

We've run into some problems though... that... it's too long. Now there is nothing wrong with the length of the book. It's just... it's just too much work for me. Taniwha was 23 pages long and that took 2 months. So how long will this one take? 

With children's book, I believe there is a fine balance of pictures vs words. 

The younger your audience is, the more the pictures should be. And not just tiny pictures all crammed into one page either; you need big, open pictures. 

And if I'm going to add space for two languages, this means I have to make enough white space to fit that all in. 

So there's been a bit of delay talking to my writer about this problem. 

But for now, I hate waiting, so decided to get cracking on the page 2 and 3. 

Here's the work in progress. 

Yuuuup, It looks like two chickens about to slam into one another. 

I'm going to leave this to your imagination. 

Anyway first step in making children's books is: 

1: Plan how many pages you will have. 

Think about what kind of printing system you will use. The one we use only allows even pages. So you need to know how many pages you can have.

You will also need to think about pages you want to stretch out to two pages. Like the page above, I knew these two pages will be facing one another, so I have drawn with a mirror image effect in mind.


Lastly you will need to think of the pacing of the story. If you have four pages that has two sentences, then succession of one pages with lots of texts, it can be jarring to children. Keep a rhythm.  It's easy to put lots of texts in one page when you're tired, or you're at the end. 

Now if you have done this, draw a stick figure storyboard. Once you're happy with it, start drawing! :D Don't be afraid to change them as you see fit. 

My super story-boarding techniques.

My super story-boarding techniques.

For this project, there were quite a lot of texts. I wasn't sure how to fit them all in without making tons and tons of pages, so I went to the local library and got bunch of them out! 

I was lucky we had very beautiful collection of Children's books! 

I had really good ideas of how to save space, what font sizes looked good and even the texture! 

Sure I can look at it online, but having it there in my hands really made a difference.

Anyway, gotta go draw now. Until next time! 

Book Cover!

So for my first book cover which includes a real live model, I had asked my good friend to pose for me. 

I had an idea in my head and I figured I only needed her legs. 

So off I went to our location

Piha beach!

Piha beach!

and midst beach goers and their dogs, we got a lot of weird looks. 

Why? I had my model wear a super old but gorgeous wedding dress without any bridal make up or any props. 

I could almost hear people's whisper

"Where is her husband?" 
"Is this a 'I've been jilted' photo shoot?"

but my model stood firm as I kept telling her to stand in a certain way. 

Lesson learnt: Take photos of everything. 
regret not taking more photos of her entire body. I was so caught up in taking the photo of her legs, I only had few of her actual body. 

Look at those gorgeous dress. 

Look at those gorgeous dress. 

Luckily there were few I managed to snap. 

Only if I had money. I could have actually afforded a photographer who knew what they were doing.

So step 1 is done! 

Now to choose the photo to rule them all... I will find the right one based on:

* Lighting (I will be enhancing the photo with Photoshop, so I will need certain lights)
* Flow of the page (I need to really thing where the eyes will travel to.)
* Colors (I had the pleasure of reading her entire novel, so I know what atmosphere I want to create and yes, colors... oh how important they are)

Then I will have a panel of my most trusted advisors (friends and family) who will give me their opinions! But they won't sit in the same room, I will give them few choices and they will vote!

While this is happening, off I go to the wonderful world of fonts! My rule is that if the font is perfect for the story, BUY IT! BUY IT ALL Ahahahahaha!
I've come across few favorite fontsmiths... I'll make a list and put it up here later :)

Book Covers

If anyone asked me, a politics/Japanese language student, how I felt about designing book covers after I graduated, I'd probably say they were crazy.

It appears we live in a crazy world.

I can't wait to show you guys the new book cover I'm doing for Mike Johnson! I'm so happy with it! My next project is using actual models.

I know I should use professional Cameraman and those... light... umbrellas... but you're asking a amateur book cover designer here! What I can't cover with money I shall cover with pure energy! Huzzah! (If all else fails I am saving up to get a professional cameraman)



Strong Female Characters

Now - what makes a strong female character? 

If someone asked me to name top 3 female characters who was the epitome of strong woman characters, I would name:

1. Balailaika - from Black Lagoon  - the "kneel!" scene gets me every time. 
2. Liza Hawkeye - from Full Metal Alchemist - That scene when she attacks Envy.
3. Caterina Sforza - from Trinity Blood - when she learns how much time she has left. 

Now, they are actually all from Japanese Manga. Maybe because their expressions and their speech was so memorable? Maybe novels I've read had strong female characters, but it was more subtle? 

Granted - a lot of 'strong' images I have of woman in stories involve fighting. From my list there, save for Liza and Balalaika are veteran war soldiers. Balalaika and Caterina both command an army of dedicated soldiers loyal to them. They both have power and money - (Balalaika is leader of the mafia cartel, whereas Caterina is the Cardinal of the Catholic Church and sister of the Pope.) 

Someone once told me the problem with women in media was that most scenes involving two women - they always talked about men, their appearance or shopping. 
Of course it really doesn't help that most games and media portray women in bikinis with huge boobs. 

- is it their ability to fight? 
- is it the amount of wealth? power? fame?
- is it strong mental health where they won't break under any sort of torture or pressure? 
(I once wrote a story where a female character withstood vicious bullying from her peers and refused the opportunity to get payback multiple times - but she was criticized for "not doing anything")
- is it standing in face of horrors? 

What do you think?

Creating a Website...

Yes! Creation complete! 

It's strange to think that I had so many illustrations just sitting in my computer, never being used!

The next steps for this website would be to put a pricing on the commissions. I've always hated looking at things I want and not being able to see how much it was. 

That will be for another day - Taiko camp tomorrow. That reminds me I need to pack a lot of tape and plasters. 

On note of games - Rory has started to play Shadows of Mordor. I guess it's quite inappropriate for me to yell "For the HORDE" whenever the orc kills his character. 

Orcs - they be so misunderstood.