For anybody new to the blog, I've joined with the ongoing novel dare group "A Round of Words In Eighty Days." It's a quarterly dare, and for this quarter, I have arranged my day job schedule to be three days a week -- Wednesday to Friday. During that time I don't write, I only work on art and design for fun. From Saturday through Tuesday, I am supposed to be writing a lot. (Find a list of today's updates of all the writers in this Challenge here.)
Sunday updates, therefore, are mainly about the art end of the challenge.
I didn't like my earlier color version of the ROW80 logo, so I decided to do different ones for different genres. I decided to give this one a western feel. And since I'm working on dingbats, I decided to make it smaller. I hope the ROW80 folks don't mind. (Folks who like it should feel free to steal it.) I'd still like to do a little more work on the typography.
Wednesday Day 38 - 70 minutes. Actually I probably did more, but I forgot to keep track. I had fun, but I didn't get far. Because I was doing fun little dingbats, I relied too much on memory and imagination. Which is always a mistake when you are out of practice. Always use a reference -- something you can look at -- when you want to push your skills. At least half the skill of art is SEEING.
I have created a little template for these drawings -- six frames, with hand drawn boxes around them, in the background. I can do dozens of sketches by just creating new layers, and hiding old ones. I think I'm going to use it like a workbook. Get a reference, sketch it six times. If I'm satisfied with any of them, get a different reference. If I'm not, hide the layer and create a new one, and sketch it six more times.
Thursday Day 39 - 72 minutes. I did the new ROW80 logo, then I started filling in those templates. Still not happy with what I'm doing, but I think it's doing me good. I did come up with a couple that I liked well enough to show.
Friday Day 40 - 73 minutes. I'm still playing around with things that I don't want to show anybody. It takes a lot of sketching to get good at quick sketches. However, I find that if you spend more time on it, they tend to look better and better. (See the eye below.)
Saturday Day 41 - 88 minutes. I intended to have a good writing session early in the day, but I ended up writing a blog post -- an extra one, for Monday. I've been coming across signs of discouragement in a lot of indie authors lately. Not in their writing, but in their success.
I also had a really great idea for how I think I'll end The Man Who Stepped Up. (Well, not the mystery, but the personal arc of the characters. It might be better for the third book, however.) I worked on that a little, but I lost the thread of it by the time I was able to get to it -- I still got the dialog down, though, and that was the important part. Then I did the rudiments of a scene for the WIP. I hope to pick up and run on that tomorrow. I think I might have to leave that super rough and fragmentary and maybe jump ahead and continue to rough it all in.
I forget sometimes. I know I have to do a separate pass for Casey and her subtle reactions in a lot of scenes, but I can also do a separate pass for Mick. I don't have to have his voice and attitude and narrative reactions right while I rough in what happened. His narrative voice, after all, is what he says AFTER the fact, when he's telling the story to us. I can just let him react and the scene play for now.
UPDATE: I just found out I won this months eBook Cover Design Awards for Fiction! Check it out!
So this week on the blog, I'll be talking about this being the Times That Try Writer's Souls on Monday, and write a letter to Aunt Una, asking for a personal assistant on Tuesday. Friday I'll be writing about J.J. Murphy's "Murder Your Darlings," a mystery set around the Algonquin Round Table.
See you in the funny papers.