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More About Lennox

So in this post, Lana wanted to learn more about Lennox, my character from the steampunk story (which now has the working title of Empty Clockwork).  So here is the long-promised post, complete with artwork!

First of all, Lennox didn’t grow up in England.  He was born in Brittany, France, but his artist father had difficulty finding work there.  The family moved to Switzerland, but faced the same problem, and so finally removed to Italy where the father found employment painting for wealth British, French, and Italian families.  Lennox grew up in Italy, speaks Italian fluently, and even after moving to England, he retains a faint Italian accent which becomes more apparent on certain vowels and syllables.

When Lennox was 18, he and his mother moved to England so he could get a university education, and he attended Cambridge.  (His father had died in an influenza outbreak some years earlier; see here.)  But Lennox ended up teaching himself much of what he wanted to know, particularly about chemistry and general science.  Mainly because he was curious about things that the curriculum there didn’t cover.

Random facts:

For all he’s a caring and friendly guy, he has a horror of tears.  He never knows how to handle such a situation.

When Lennox is around, there is rarely an awkward silence.  Or at least, it doesn’t last for more than a few seconds; he always finds something to say, especially if the pause is uncomfortable.

He always makes a huge mess whenever he gets a project out, such as paints or research; and if the work space is his own, he leaves the mess until he’s finished or until he gets tired of the chaos.

His mother taught him to play the piano, a skill he fought tooth and nail as a child because he thought it was a sissy pastime.  But his mother persevered, and Lennox finally learned to play in spite of himself.

His father also taught him to paint; Lennox didn’t mind learning this, although he says he doesn’t paint very well, didn’t practice enough.

He cannot swim, and nearly drowned after falling off a bridge once.  Fortunately, someone went after him and pulled him out.

He’s 23 at the beginning of the story.

He adheres to social requirements to please his grandfather, but he doesn’t give a rip about convention in the privacy of his home.

Lennox is the sort of person to pull a book off the shelf and then stand there in the walkway reading the volume.

Feeling just a wee bit lost in London society…

He cannot resist exploring new things and places…he’s incredibly curious, and sometimes even explores places he shouldn’t…

He never means any harm, he just wants the answers to his questions.

Now I forgot to link up with Beautiful People last month; the time for the link-up has expired, but I’ll still post the questions!

What’s his favorite place he ever visited?  Hard to narrow down; Lennox likes seeing anything and anywhere new.  He definitely enjoyed different parts of the Italian countryside as a child, as his family moved from place to place, seeking employment.

What’s one mistake he made that he learned from?  Erm…if this means during the story, I can’t say, because spoilers.  Before the story, however, it was probably something around the lines of “don’t perform chemistry experiments an hour before dinner if there’s any chance of a stench or a mess.”

What was his favorite subject in school? Or favorite thing to learn about?  Scientific history, physics, and chemistry.  He taught himself all three.

What’s his favorite flower/growing thing?  He likes painting landscapes, but I don’t think he has a favorite plant.

Has he ever made someone cry? What happened?  Nope, and if this ever happens, it will be a complete accident.  Lennox is the sort to go out of his way to make sure a conversation partner or friend is comfortable in the situation.

Would you consider him a reliable or unreliable narrator?  Unreliable, only because Lennox is too trusting.  And sometimes misses details, especially if he was focused on something else or just not interested.

What does he dream about at night?  Lennox says this is really nobody’s business.

He’s gone out for a “special meal.” What would he eat?  Definitely cake (spice cake with currents or sponge cake with frosting).

Does he have any distinguishing or unique talents?  He find and exploit loopholes like a boss.  He’s generally cheerful, regardless of the circumstances (on the other hand, if Lennox isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy).  He can also see the potential in almost any idea.

What’s at least one thing he wants to do before he dies?  A lot…but one is definitely to figure out what to do with his life.

So, that’s a little more about Lennox!  Thanks for reading!

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Weekly Artwork Round-Up

No point in calling it Artwork Wednesday, because this post is (a) not featured on Wednesday, and (b) ridiculously late.

One art problem I’ve faced recently is how to deal with reference photos. Printing every photo I want to draw from uses a lot of paper and ink. Sketching with my laptop precariously balanced on my knees is not only bad for the laptop and my arms and legs, but eraser crumbs get between the computer keys. So…why don’t I just rest the laptop on a table? Because I hate, hate, hate people seeing the reference photo on the screen or seeing my drawing when I’m first sketching. It’s not so bad if the drawing looks like a human with clothes on, but before I get the sketch to that stage…

Anyway, I have  five pictures to show this week!

First up is Sanchia, a character from my semi-western story with a working title of Gentle Fire.  I picture Sanchia so vividly that it was great to capture that on paper more or less easily!  Also notice that the wool skeins drape over her wrists so that I don’t have to bother drawing hands like yarn skeins do in real life.  Especially since she’s paused her work to listen to someone talk.

This is the cabin that Durant and his family live when they first move to the western colonies.  The table is just slabs of wood set on sawn logs, and there are no proper shelves, cupboards, or even beds yet.  But it’s their own house on their own property, and that’s enough for them once they survive the journey.

Nonetheless, Wilson promised to build proper shelves and beds as soon as possible.

I drew this with charcoal–and there’s a funny story to go along with it.  Ever since I began drawing, Dad tried to get me interested in charcoal drawing, because we had a kit and tutorial series somewhere in our detached office.  I was too busy learning to use pencils, however, to turn my attention to charcoal.  Fast forward a couple of years to when I bought an art set only for the little art mannequin to use for drawing poses.  But charcoal pencils were included in the set–and out of random curiosity, I used them to draw this.  And–

I. Love. Charcoal.

I promptly informed Dad about this and thanked him for mentioning that medium and the art set out in the office.  And for the record, my parents are right 99% of the time.  🙂

My brother Chris suggested I draw concept art for my story to get an idea of the atmosphere and aesthetic–so I took his advice and started watercolor sketches in my leather sketchbook.  This is the rancho of another character: Barros (father of Maria, whom I mentioned here, and Teresita, whom I haven’t mentioned yet. 🙂 )

Another watercolor sketch, this one of the books Durant brought to the west.  The bottom one is a book of natural science; the next one up is a biography; the third is a small volume of poetry; the fourth is a novel of some sort; the fifth is  a brief history of the nation; the sixth (the long, grey one) is a primer; and the topmost book is Durant’s personal record book where he jots down financial information, a brief description of the day’s events, and sometimes his nephew’s antics.

Speaking of nephews, here’s Alex, Durant’s eldest nephew.  With his uncle’s hat on his head–Durant has a habit of dropping his hat on the head of whichever nephew is nearest!

Part of me wants to draw Lennox again, and get back to A Tale of Two Cities fanart–but I can’t stop drawing my Gentle Fire characters!  So who knows what artwork I’ll have to showcase next week!

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Artwork Thursday – New Art Supplies!

Late is better than never, right?  My internet connection kept breaking yesterday, and so I couldn’t log on here and get the post up.  *sighs*  But here we are now!

While at Hobby Lobby the other day, I saw a beautiful leather sketchbook with soft pages that might hold watercolor nicely.  I decided to take the risk and buy it…

Isn’t it gorgeous?  And when I’ve used up the pages, I think I know how to remove the leather cover and re-use it for another journal.

I also picked up a portable watercolor set…

…which was an impulse purchase, but a good one.  I’ve wanted for years to have a portable watercolor set so I could paint outside and use the scenery around me as reference.

Here I am painting outside!  After getting nearly blinded by sunlight reflecting off those white pages, I prudently relocated to a shady spot.  The journal pages did hold watercolor pretty well–not as perfectly as my professional watercolor paper, but well enough for sketching!

I also tried sketching with pencil in the leather journal…

…but it’s rather hard to erase without shredding the page.  This is my character Sanchia, from my semi-western story.

Same character with some shading and detail.  Not sure which version I like better!

This is myself caricatured as a walnut.  And before you all blink in disbelief and unsubscribe, let me explain: I was goofing off with a friend through text and making her laugh…and then got this hilarious image of myself as nut with a posh hat.  So I doodled the image!  Also, I shall make “sass with class” my personal motto.  🙂

I’ve kept up my crocheting…

…and made a cover for a chair cushion.  I even followed a crochet pattern–sort of.  I’m one of those crocheters who change the pattern as suits their needs.  🙂  No harm in being flexible!

Then at the last minute yesterday, I realized it was Flag Day…

…so I doodled this (and the leather journal holds colored pencil pretty well too–good to know!)

I also left off the stars because it would take until next Flag Day to draw them all!  🙂

And I finally finished a drawing I’d started weeks ago…

…this is Maria, another character from the semi-western.  She’s quiet, but fun-loving, and so she’s jumping off rocks or something like that here.

That’s all for now!

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Artwork Wednesday – Back to Watercolor!

Before my watercolor painting frenzy began, I drew a couple of pictures with dry media.

I drew this in the car.  The highway was a long smooth stretch, and so I was able to sketch without worrying about bumps in the road.  And without getting car-sick, which is the real miracle.  🙂

This is my character, Mary, (from the semi-western story) and half of a quote from Pinterest.  The full quote says:

“Typical MBTI Description: INTJs are the cool-headed geniuses of the 16 types.  With their love of objective reasoning and  uncanny intuition, no one can fool this intellectual mastermind.  Actual INTJs: Where are my socks?”

Which is definitely Mary, so here she is, a bit confused.  Although she does use objective reasoning and generally points out the principle or detail that everyone else missed.

I started this one weeks ago, got extremely close to finishing, and therefore, didn’t bother finishing until now.  *headdesk*  Yet another victim falls prey to the “Oh-there’s-plenty-of-time” mindset.  Anyway, I absolutely loved painting all that mist in watercolor–it was difficult keeping an eye on the paint to make sure it didn’t drift into an area where it shouldn’t–but the work paid off!

A tulip tree blossom.

Some daffodils that didn’t turn out quite as detailed as I’d hoped.

But while painting the daffodils, I watched The Fellowship of the Ring–and got a sudden urge to paint a Shire landscape.

So I did.  This is a very small painting, maybe 3″x5″, but that may have actually helped me not go overboard with detail.

That’s all for now!

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Artwork Wednesday — Finally Back!

Finally!  Yes!  It’s been way too long!

This week, I went back to pencil-and-paper artwork, and it was so good to draw again.  🙂  Before picking my pencils up again, I spent a good deal of time crocheting….

In my last Artwork Wednesday post, I showed the start of a new stitch I was learning.  Here’s what I made with that new stitch: another potholder!  It was good practice for my next project…

…a baby blanket!  This is for a friend at church, a mother that my sisters regularly babysit for.

Then I made another blanket…

…for my brother Emmet.  It’s a Lego blanket–can you tell?  🙂  I had so much fun making this!

Then I started another blanket…

…this time for myself.  🙂 It will be a Christmas afghan.  I actually made one years ago, but that was before  knew what I was doing!  So it was high time to re-do it!

Then I picked up my pencils again and embarked on a fun frenzy of drawing characters from one of my works-in-progress!  Not the steampunk story, but my semi-western.

Okay, I’m tired of calling it that.  The working title of this semi-western is Gentle Fire.  Working title, mind; I’ll probably change it later.  (I’m terrible at titles.)

This is Wilson and Mary, Durant’s brother-in-law and sister.  (More about Durant and his family here and here.)

And here’s Durant!  He’s doing secretarial work of some kind.  Or maybe writing a letter; he handles most of the family’s correspondence because neither Mary nor Wilson care much about that.  Nor do they have much literary talent (Mary is educated and articulate, but can’t be bothered to write anything down).

Have I mentioned desert sunsets are my new favorite subject to draw?

That’s all for now!

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Artwork Wednesday

Artwork Wednesday is finally back!  There isn’t much to show, I’m afraid, because I often have to choose between art and writing each week.  I’ll have to see if I can fix that and do a little drawing and a little writing each day.

In the meantime, here’s what I did over the last couple of weeks.

This picture was actually finished weeks ago, and I forgot to upload it.  I found some colored pencil tutorials online and used the technique in those tutorials for this picture.  In short, the technique requires many layers and washes of color.  It reduces the “sketchy” look that I complained about in my year-end art roundup, but it also whittles my pencils down really fast.  🙂

Then last week, I returned to watercolor painting…

With this painting, I didn’t worry to much about details and laid down the colors and shadows loosely.  Which was one of my New Year art goals–to quit refining artwork into oblivion.   And this turned out rather well, and I hope it marks the start of a journey out of perfectionism.  🙂

This was supposed to be a nice, sunny, warm painting, and ended up looking more like a summer gothic detail.  At least I figured out how to create really dark shadows in watercolor.

Another suggestion from Chris!  It was a good one–and he’s inadvertently helping improve my skill by suggesting varied subjects.  He also wanted me to draw another picture of Bucky (which is sketched and awaiting refinement) and another picture of Batman.  And then Gingersnap wants me to draw Poe Dameron.  I hope to have those completed before too long!

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Artwork Wednesday

Artwork Wednesday is back!–after a hiatus in which I spent more time writing than drawing.  Funnily enough, last week was just the reverse: more drawing than writing.

Anyway, one project I finished a couple of weeks ago isn’t pencil-and-paper art, but a second attempt at colcha embroidery.  The the result was much better than the first:

Colcha is fun, and the texture of short and long stitches is unique.  But synthetic yarn was really hard to use, so I looked up the price of 100% wool yarn and whether art stores in my area carried it.  And blinked at the screen in disbelief when the results were (a) ridiculously expensive and (b) largely unavailable to boot.  Synthetic wool is apparently cheaper to produce, and therefore more abundant in stores.  So I may just keep using the yarn I have for colcha, however inaccurate that might be.

Quick drawing of theatre curtains and a stage, artwork for my 10 Favorite Musicals link-up.  It only now occurs to me that I could have used stock pictures.  But I guess it’s good that I was willing to do the artwork myself.  🙂

Doodle of a gingerbread house.

I love drawing oranges.  Layering the colors is fun, and oranges are just so bright and perky.  Plus, they’re more interesting to draw than a plain sphere to practice light and shadow and so on.

For Christmas, I got the Alamo 2004 film guide (my preccioussssss!!!) and after reading almost the whole thing that same day, I decided to draw the characters using the photographs inside as reference.  This is Jason Patric as James Bowie.  As I finished up the sketch, Chris sent me a text from across the living room: “Dat drawing, tho.”  🙂

I made an interesting discovery with this project: I sketched this with a 2B pencil instead of H or HB–and not only did the 2B contribute to the rough appearance of the character, it helped me lay down really dark shadows.  With 2B as one of the lightest values, I used much darker leads to get the shadows to contrast properly.  Which was a nice discovery; previously, my drawings were pale, as if I was afraid of putting down bold shadows.  I wasn’t–and couldn’t figure out why my shadows weren’t dark enough.  It was because thelight values were too light and therefore didn’t require enough contrast to make the picture stand out.  *files information away for later*

Patrick Wilson as Travis.  I drew this using the same technique as with Bowie’s portrait: sketching with a 2B pencil.

The funny thing about these two characters is that a rough, dark, sketchy look works for Bowie because of his personality (and the actor’s face structure).  But that style doesn’t work for  Travis for those exact same reasons (personality/actor’s appearance) and I had to shade lightly and blend the graphite carefully to get this to look like Travis.

A new item on my list of Favorite Things to Draw is cacti silhouettes against a desert sunset.  (Oranges are also on that list, as well as Sydney Carton.  🙂 )

You know those drawings that are basically three blades of grass on a white background, yet the artist sells half a million prints of that on Etsy?  Well, I decided to draw my equivalent; it’s supposed to be a cherry blossom, but the petals don’t look quite right.  Cherry blossoms are beautiful, though, and so I’ll probably try this subject again later.

I also started weaving a little bag to carry around my art supplies so that they won’t end up piled on the bookshelf every night.  I’m using rug yarn (a thick, tough kind of yarn, if you don’t know) so that the bag will be durable enough to be carried around everywhere.  Once I’ve woven all the pieces, I’ll stitch them together and see how it works!

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Artwork Wednesday

Not a lot of artwork to show this week, but it’s because the pieces I worked on were difficult–and I even redid some.  Hopefully, there will be more artwork next week!

Sydney Carton?  Who’s that?  Not someone I mention often, is it?  🙂  Actually, I’m playing around with outfit ideas for  him.  I’ve always pictured him in green, for some reason, and decided to use symbolism in the color: green represents life, renewal, rebirth–but I put him in a muddy shade of green to represent his decayed hopes and ambition.  Brown is often associated with down-to-earth, wholesomeness, dependability–and that’s the color of his waistcoat, the hidden layer of both his personality and outfit.

The line art for this had been sitting in a folder for months, but I finally finished it.  And also discovered that my watercolor penmanship is sloppy.  🙂

Another pastel paper painting, this time blue paper with indigo watercolor and white gouache.  The scene is one I’ve had in my mind for a long time, though I don’t know where it came from.  Maybe I’ll work it into a story someday, like C. S. Lewis did with his image of a faun walking through a snowy wood.

Creative chaos, and a preview of another work-in-progress.  🙂

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Picture Wednesday – Art Block

The problem is not lack of ideas for what to draw–those come in abundance.  It’s that I can’t get my sketches to even resemble human beings, poses, landscapes, and so on.  The result of any attempt is pages of graphite scribbles with “this stinks” or “argh!” scrawled somewhere near the failed sketch.

I’ve heard this happens to other artists–they hit periods in which they try hard, but nothing comes out right.  It’s a comfort to know that I’m not alone.  But though I don’t have much art to show, I branched out a little to accomplish what I did get done: I sketched my sister Enkie’s character and took a semi-commission from my brother Chris.

This is Enkie’s character from her period fiction story.  I want to be able to sketch and illustrate other people’s scenes and characters, not just my own.  Enkie was kind enough to let me practice with one of her characters.  🙂

Chris wanted to see what Batman looked like in my toned paper/sketchy graphite style and suggested I draw the Dark Knight in this pose.  His suggestion was a good one.  🙂

Looky, Batman rubbed off on me.  Literally.  #artist problems

A work-in-progress shot (this was before I added and smoothed the darkest tones and the final highlights.)

So yeah, not much artwork this week.  Maybe next week, there will be more!

 

 

 

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Picture Saturday: Year-End Art Meme!

First off, a schedule change: I might move my Picture Saturday posts to another day of the week, as I often have a lot of time to draw on Saturday and Sunday.  It makes no sense to post before I have the most time to draw, but I haven’t yet decided which day to show the week’s artwork.

On a totally different note, I went through my folder and sketchbooks the other day and found a shamefully large number of unfinished sketches.  So I’m going to make an effort to finish those before taking on too many new drawings.

And leaving “too many” unspecified creates a handy loophole to exploit.  🙂

Until I get the old stuff finished, all I have to show this week are two paintings.  The first is a freehand…

…meaning, remember, that there’s no line art.  I adapted the landscape from a photograph on my “West, Pioneer!” Pinterest board, and I think the painting turned out pretty well.

The other painting is this…

…one that I rendered in colored pencil, but thought would also look good in watercolor.  And I like the watercolor version better than the pencil version.  Not bad for my first time painting a Mexican character!

But since that’s not much art, I decided to create a year-end art meme.  Feel free to fill it out yourself if you want, but I officially tag Julia, Bella, and Treskie!

Rules:

1.) Insert a picture of your artwork (or quote, if you’re a creative writer) from this year to answer each question.  If, however, you don’t have a picture or scan, or don’t have one of good quality, you can describe the piece.

2.) Drawings and paintings aren’t the only artwork to showcase–you can include pictures of sculptures, jewelry, sewing, knitting, set design, dance, quotes from your writing, anything that requires creative energy.

3.) Tag someone else!

First piece of artwork/writing/performance done in 2016

A colored pencil sketch of the yellow and green rings from The Magician’s Nephew.  I like the way the lighting on the green ring turned out.

Last piece of artwork/writing/performance done in 2016

This one.

Unless I sketch something else right before midnight.

A new medium/style/technique you tried this year

White pencil on toned paper!  I love this mixed media combination because it creates easy shadows and highlights, and it’s easy to sketch on because the colored paper hides accidental dark marks better than white paper would.

For those of you just joining us, those characters are Sydney Carton and little Lucie from A Tale of Two Cities.

A pose you’d never drawn before (or just something in your creative field you’ve never done before)

Actually, I drew several new poses this year:

This is Charles Darnay from A Tale of Two Cities.  I drew a lot of TTC fanart this year.

I discovered with this picture that colored pencil also works on toned paper.

The piece of artwork that others liked the most

Probably this one of Micheal Maguire that I drew for Gingersnap.

Your personal favorite piece from 2016! (Explain why!)

This one, hands down.  It’s my personal favorite because, come on, it’s cute!  (Can I say that even though I drew it?)  Also because I managed to draw a baby that actually looks like a smiling baby and not some weird, more-horrifiying-than-cute humanoid face.  And thirdly, because I drew two of my characters in a pose I’d never tried before, and it turned out “surprisingly okay,” in the words of Sherlock.  🙂

3 things to improve in your artwork in 2017

1.)  Well, I want to improve my colored pencil technique.  It often ends up sketchy when I wanted it smooth, and I often can’t get smoothly blended colors or really dark shadows.  Maybe I need to learn better control?  I dunno.

2.)  Learn sketch more quickly.  The jury’s still out on whether I can but just get caught up in drawing/perfecting details, or whether I truly need to learn this.

3.)  Further polish my watercolor technique.  Specifically, learn to layer color better and to paint a little more loosely without refining details into oblivion.

I’m a perfectionist, in case you couldn’t tell.

Other things to improve: more complex poses, more varied facial expressions on fanart and my character drawings, more figures in one drawing, and more complicated backgrounds.

3 new things to try in 2017 (such as styles, mediums, poses, backgrounds, character to draw, contests to enter)

1.)  More fluid and watery watercolor technique (without obsessing over depicting perfect details).

2.)  Draw and refine my characters’ appearances, facial expressions, and activities.

3.)  Drawing and painting bokah (out-of-focus backgrounds) with an in-focus foreground object.

What do you enjoy most about creating?

The moment when the messy sketch begins to look like the image or character I want!  And of course, the finished product!

 

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