16-Ezra Bridger

Star Wars Art & Gift Art

January 2018 was an odd month for my art.  I started a bunch of drawings soon after New Year, and then forsook them in favor of other projects (which I will post about later, probably.)  Then, in the last week of the month, my sketchbook exploded with ideas.  And all I could do was scribble frantically to keep up, and also render my drawings at least a little, so they would look halfway presentable on the wilds of The Internetz.

(I don’t know why that spelling amuses me.  It always has.)

You know how artists draw spheres to practice depicting light and shadow?  I much prefer yarn balls.  (Or pumpkins, but I think I’ve mentioned that.)  And you get to sneak some color and texture in the practice subject as well.

Then I wanted to try my hand at drawing Kanan from the front like I’ve been drawing Ezra.  And once again, I got carried away with the shading and details.

On the flip side, I got lazy with his armor and sweater and didn’t bother to render them much.  You can’t tell from my Rebels art, but in the show, Kanan wears this ugly green sweater.  All. The. Time.  Seriously, it has the oddest pattern, and is the oddest two-tone shade of green.  His armor is also green, which fact eventually created my personal headcanons that (a) green in his favorite color, (b) the sweater is just comfortable, and (c) that he wears it all the time because the ship stays colder than he would prefer.

See what I mean?  Ugly sweater.  Also, I cannot draw his armor properly.    And one day, I will work harder at drawing hands properly.  But it is not this day.  🙂

Kanan has a unique face structure that’s kinda hard to draw, and so I’m working on perfecting my style here.  And I drew him smiling because he goes through so much in the series (and before) that he needs some time to chill and be happy.  Kanan deserves a happy ending.  Please have mercy on us, Dave Filoni.

(All these drawings of Kanan were referenced from screencaps from my favorite website, cap-that.com.)

In other news, Rebels has a return date (finally!): February 19th.  So maybe I will shut up about this show once it comes back…

Eh, who are we kidding.  I’m never shutting up about Rebels.  *evil grin*

Joe and Frank Hardy, from the old 70s TV show.  The Hardy Boys is one of four TV shows that I actually like (the others being The Big Valley, Star Trek, and–you guessed it–Rebels.)  My sister Enkie particularly likes The Hardy Boys, and she’s been watching it a lot recently.  So I drew this for her as a birthday gift.

After one long stretch of drawing, I assessed it, and thought to myself, “Joe’s face still looks weird.”  And, no joke, I instantly imagined Frank’s voice in my head, “Oh, he always looks that way.”  Which is the kind of banter the brothers have in the show.  🙂

While I was drawing the picture of Frank and Joe–as a surprise present, remember–like an idiot, I left my bedroom door open, my sketchbook open on my desk, and my reference photo pulled up on my computer screen.  Meaning, that anyone, including Enkie, could walk by and see what I was working on.  So I simultaneously started this picture of Luke Skywalker, so that if asked, I could honestly say, “Yes, I started a sketch of the Hardys, but then switched to Luke for now.”  (Referenced from a screencap from cap-that.com.)

Only I finished Luke’s portrait in a matter of hours, so I had to start a new “decoy project”…

…which turned out to be Qui-Gon.  I stuck with a looser, less polished sketching style–okay, maybe it’s not that loose and sketchy, but it’s not as detailed and some of my previous drawings.  (See Kanan, above.)  And I actually like this style better.

This one was also referenced from a screencap from cap-that.com; although funny thing: whenever I draw someone from the front or near-front, the eyes always end up looking in a different direction than in the reference photo .  It’s happened with every portrait of Ezra; it’s happened with those portraits of Kanan; and Qui-Gon is the newest victim.  It’s weird.  I can’t figure it out.  (The reference photo also didn’t have that small smile; I added it because I wanted to.)

And here’s the thing about Qui-Gon, guys.  If we can buy that Darth Maul survived literally being sliced in half (he shows up in The Clone Wars and Rebels), why on earth couldn’t Qui-Gon survive a lightsaber that didn’t even go through his heart (technically)?  I mean, unless he had, like, heart problems or something that he hid from everyone, and the result was instead stress + lighsaber impaling + some chronic condition that actually killed him…and now I made myself sad.

But if Qui-Gon did survive, the Jedi Council would probably refuse to tell Obi-Wan about this, reasoning that if he absolutely had to train Anakin (a questionable enterprise at best), then the last thing Obi-Wan needed was distraction.

Logic was never the Jedi Council’s strong suit.

So they would try to keep Qui-Gon hidden and keep him from contacting Obi-Wan.  Qui-Gon being Qui-Gon, however, would have none of this.

The stuff I think about while preparing dinner or doing dishes gets strange…  🙂

So the story behind this is that I wanted to draw Hera in a dress.  Only I couldn’t think why she would wear one–not that she would be opposed to dressing up, but there would have to be (a) a good reason, and (b) no responsibilities in the way.

I also couldn’t think up what style of dress she might like.  I’ve seen fan art that depicts her in some rather revealing clothing, but I really don’t see that happening.  Hera is practical and clearly values function and room to move in her outfits–so the tight, backless stuff would probably go off the list very quickly.  Plus, given that Twi’lek females are valued for appearance more than anything else, I could see Hera not wanting to contribute to that stereotype and/or compromise her dignity.

After racking my brains to figure out what she would like, I gave up and just drew whatever came to mind.  That’s how this sketch turned into an accompaniment to a mental fanfic I created, in which Hera needs to infiltrate some swanky upper-crust gathering, and also needs a disguise.  Trouble is, the only dress she could find in the markets was a very revealing monstrosity of a gown; and so she had to figure out a way to cover the gaps, and make the thing look halfway decent and respectable.

Apparently, the answer is lots of scarves.  🙂

Ezra, conked out at the table in the common room. (I drew this while watching The Hardy Boys, interestingly enough.)

Ezra again, only this drawing was referenced from a screencap from Prince of Egypt.  I found a shot of Moses in almost this exact pose with dramatic clouds in the distance, and the whole thing reminded me of Ezra.  (Though he turned out looking a little too old, and I may redo this one at some point.)  I’m still figuring out why Prince of Egypt fits the Rebels characters so well…

So that’s what my sketchbook has looked like for the past few weeks.  And with Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m considering what fictional couples to draw for the occasion, so stay tuned for that!  🙂

16-Ezra Bridger

A Collection of Art Experiments

Although most of them came out of a whim, or because I was sick and had some down time, or else on a road trip and seeking to redeem the time.  🙂

So it turns out that I’ve drawn Ezra more than any other Rebels character (as of now), with drawings of Kanan taking second place.  Which is a bit odd, considering Kanan is my favorite character which may or may not be obvious, but I have a lot scenes, both from the show and from my imagination, that I want to draw.  So the ratios will probably balance out soon.

What’s really interesting is that before Rebels fan art, I never used to draw faces from the front.  It was too hard to get the proportions lined up and looking accurate to the character.  But front-view and almost-front-view angles account for about half of the portraits of Ezra I’ve drawn–and it’s actually not too hard!  And I’m learning tips and tricks about drawing from this angle, which I hope will carry over into my drawings of other fictional characters!  (I really need to get back to A Tale of Two Cities artwork…)

(Referenced from a screencap from cap-that.com.)

This is one of the drawings I started in the car (and finished once we got to my grandparents’ house).  Doing anything in the car, except listening to music and staring out the window, used to make me carsick–but oddly enough, drawing doesn’t.  Maybe it’s because I’m paying too much attention to my work to notice the scenery whizzing by.

I have a headcanon that Sabine draws while eating her meals (like I do sometimes.  Okay, a lot.)  I also have a headcanon that when she isn’t wearing her armor, she puts a brightly colored shirt over her black jumpsuit.  Which never happens in the show, but probably only because it would be too complicated to animate a variety of costume changes.

Ezra, grumpy because he is sick, and therefore not allowed to join the others on their mission.  Also, Kanan may or may not have confiscated his lightsaber so he would be less tempted to sneak after the crew…

(This is a scene out of my head, and not from the show.  🙂  )

A sketch to practice drawing Hera.  (Referenced from a screen cap from cap-that.com.)  I started this one in the car as well, but then we hit some winding mountain roads, and I did get carsick and had to quit until we got home.

Drawing of Poe that I did for Gingersnap’s birthday present–because once again, I was too sick to decorate an elaborate cake the way I usually do.

So this is the first artwork of 2018, and I drew it kinda on a whim.  I was playing Scrabble with my parents and brother Chris, and they were taking a long time to finish up their turns.  So I grabbed my sketchbook and started work on this.  And then finished it at 5:00 am the next morning, to do something slightly more productive than staring into space and bemoaning a second round of sickness.  🙂

It’s Kanan from Season 3, soon after A Plot Twist That Completely Wrecked The Fandom and shortly before Some Very Important Character Development.  Desperately trying to avoid spoilers here, though the picture itself is kind of a spoiler.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kanan deserves so much better than he gets.

(Also referenced from cap-that.com‘s fantastic collection, and no, they’re not sponsoring me.  I’m just raiding their gallery.  🙂 )

Sabine from Season 3.  I initially just wanted to color her hair, but Chris suggested I add touches of color to the rest of the drawing, rather than coloring one element and leave the rest monochromatic.  This was the result.  I’m still trying to decide whether I’m pleased with it; kinda, yes, but I definitely need to improve my colored pencil rendering.  🙂

(Guess where the reference photo came from.  Yay, you got it!–cap-that.com!)

One of my 2018 art goals is to learn to paint portraits in watercolor.  So here’s a portrait of Durant, although I painted it the other day because I was sick, and bored, and just wanted to paint something.

I suddenly realize that most of my depictions of Durant have him looking down at something.  Hmm, I’ll have to fix that….

Aaaaaand I finally finished my portrait of Thrawn!  Eh, sorta.  The humanoid species* are actually hard to draw–they’re close enough to human proportions that you think, “Oh, this’ll be easy”….but they’reactually just different enough that no, it’s not easy.  *headdesk*  It’s why I struggled to draw first Hera and now Thrawn (though I had no problems with Asohka.  Go figure.)

Anyway, this was kind of a commission from Chris, who really, really wanted me to draw Thrawn, and still really, really wants me to depict him in color.  And I really, really want to draw Thrawn in colored pencil particularly, but I have to improve my portraits of him first, and then improve my colored pencil technique.

*Thrawn is a Chiss

Testing out my colored pencils on the new drawing paper I got recently.

Painting various Star Wars species counts as  portraits in watercolor, right?  Of course right.  🙂

This was also done kinda on a whim, and for the same reasons as Durant’s portrait (sick/bored/wanted to paint).  The camera actually messed up the background; the colors are less blue and more red-violet/purple.  Other than that, I’m pleased with this one!  I actually think it turned out better than my pencil drawing…

And I definitely want to paint the rest of the Rebels characters now!

16-Ezra Bridger

Year-End Art Meme!

(Meant to post this closer to New Year’s; then the new year got off to a crummy start.  Still, better late than never!  🙂 )

Time to thumb back through the portfolio and either celebrate or cringe!  Or both.  Or get inspired to create better art.  Or get annoyed that the brand-new portfolio you bought yesterday is almost full thanks to the slough of Rebels fan art months from the last two months and I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to bring my personal problems into this.

Ahem.  I created and posted this meme last year, but I’ve updated and expanded it a bit since then.  It’s a good way to keep track of progress.  🙂  If you’re an artist, feel free to snag the tag and fill it out yourself!  Or, if you’re a writer, feel free to grab it and adapt it to the art of creative writing.  Go nuts, and have fun!


First piece of artwork finished in 2017

This was my attempt to draw more smoothly with colored pencils rather than the”sketchy” look with visible lines going everywhere.  Didn’t quite succeed…

Last piece of artwork finished in 2017

This quick drawing of Poe Dameron for Gingersnap’s birthday–because once again, I was sick and couldn’t decorate her birthday cake the way I usually do.  We’re very generous people, but we draw the line at sharing germs.  🙂

A new medium/style/technique you tried this year

I actually tried two new media this year!  Of the two, my favorite was…

…watercolor and gouache on toned pastel paper.  An odd combination, but it worked far better than I’d anticipated.  And it recreates the look of an old sepia photograph, which is cool.  I’d like to try other watercolor/pastel paper color combinations soon: indigo watercolor on blue paper,  green watercolor on green pastel paper, and see how those turn out!

Then I tried my hand at charcoal drawing…

…and I liked it well enough, though improving my charcoal technique isn’t my top art priority at the moment.  (This character is Lennox, from Empty Clockwork.)

A subject/medium/technique that took you out of your comfort zone

Drawing faces from the front was always a challenge–to the point that I was too nervous to try,  especially with characters I liked.  Because there was no way I would risk making Sydney Carton, or someone other literary hero, look like a humanoid-goblin-thing thanks to inexperience.  (#perfectionistproblems)  But drawing Rebels fan art forced me to try, and succeed, and even improve.  🙂  And oddly enough, about half my portraits of Ezra have been from  front or near-front angles.

The piece of artwork that others liked the most

Um…I’m not really sure!  I guess this one?

It’s a setting from Christine Smith’s The Nether Isle.

3 ways your artwork improved through 2017

I finally learned how to draw smoothly with colored pencils!  (Thanks to a book I picked up from Hobby Lobby.)  The technique requires a lot of layering and blending, but the results are definitely worth it:

I also improved the light and shadow in my pencil drawings–many of my earlier pictures didn’t have enough contrast and looked too pale.

(This character is Durant, from my story Gentle Fire.)

And, as mentioned before, drawing faces from the front.  🙂

Your personal favorite piece from 2017! (Explain why!)

This portrait of Ezra Bridger.  Not only did I capture an angle I’m not used to drawing, the picture turned out to look (a) very much like the Rebels  character and (b) in the realistic style I was shooting for just ignore the unfinished hands, please.  So yeah, definitely my favorite piece!

3 things to improve in your artwork in 2018

  1.   Um…probably more realistic-looking hands.  🙂  Along with more varied poses and facial expressions.
  2. My colored pencil technique and also my watercolor technique…the values in my paintings lately have been unbalanced and with poor contrast.
  3. And drawing more out of my imagination and not relying quite so much on reference photos.

3 new things to try in 2018 (such as styles, mediums, poses, backgrounds, characters to draw, contests to enter)

  1. Keep working with the watercolor/gouache/pastel paper combination (not exactly new, but still…)
  2. Painting watercolor on wood.  I found some pictures of that style the other day, and it looks really interesting.
  3. And I want to learn to paint people in watercolor…a daunting thought, but we’ll see how the process turns out!

What do you enjoy most about creating?

Both the process and the finished product (usually).  I also love being able to capture the characters and scenes from my imagination!

16-Ezra Bridger

More Rebels Fanart, Multiple Mishaps, & Concept Art

I’m still at it, and I still want my show back and may or may not still be mad at The Last Jedi for booting it off the TV schedule.  Also, I will not be seeing The Last Jedi, because when Chris returned from the theater today, he told me the movie wasn’t something I’d like.  If he’d thought that I would like it, I would have gone to see it, probably, but my initial misgivings were justified and I hate being right sometimes.  So that’s that.

Back to Rebels.  I am very scared that someone is going to be killed off before/during the Season 4 finale.  Most of the fandom is betting that the victim will be Kanan.  If that is the case, I will probably cry.  On the other hand, that seems like such an obvious plot device, that I wonder if the filmmakers will actually go with it–and due to Kanan being a mentor character (though he’s also a protagonist in his own right), the fandom predicted that he would be killed off in every new season.  Which didn’t happen.  Kanan was put through a physical and emotional shredder each season, definitely, but he’s still with us.

And yet there’s just enough uncertainty that I’m very scared.  And going into a nervous breakdown over the hiatus.  I may also be taking this way too seriously.  🙂

To balance out all this nail-biting panic, I like to draw funny stuff–because, let’s face it, the SpaceFam is just as quirky and realistic as any family here on earth.  So Hera discovers, with some annoyance, that the rest of the crew hijacked her grocery list.  And kudos to anyone who can figure out which handwriting belongs to each character!  Answers at the bottom of the page.  🙂

Mama Hera comforting her Space Baby (i.e. Ezra).  For some reason, the Prince of Egypt soundtrack perfectly fits the Rebels show–at least in my mind. I’m not sure why–the animation styles are totally different; the stories are different (parallels exist here and there, but you have to stretch both situations to get them to match up), they were produced by different studios, have different voice actors, etc.  However, after listening to the Prince of Egypt soundtrack 383 times, and watching Rebels 135 times, I gave up wrestling with the logic and just ran with the idea.  🙂  These particular lyrics are from the number “Deliver Us” (and if you listen to nothing else from the soundtrack, listen to that song!), and they sound like the kind of thing Hera would say.

Also, have I mentioned Twi’leks are hard to draw?  Hera still looks a little disproportionate to me…

Ezra is such a cutie.  🙂

Another Rebels/Prince of Egypt crossover.  I almost gave up on this piece because after Attempt #224 to draw Hera correctly, I was almost literally blowing steam out of my ears (did I mention Twi’leks are hard to draw?!?!?!?!).  But then I looked up some Rebels screencaps (from cap-that.com), and studied the reference photos closely–and tried again.  Had to erase and redraw Hera’s face a few more times, but it wasn’t too long after that she looked semi-correct.  And so I’m content.  🙂  Actually, I’m glad I didn’t give up on this piece because it turned out beautifully!  The lyrics are from the number “When You Believe”–and quite frankly, that song fits Hera perfectly.

Somebody stop me from doing these crossovers.  Actually, don’t, because they’re too much fun!  Kanan vs. Inquisitor #1, a minion of the Empire trained to hunt down the remaining Jedi.  The lyrics are from the Prince of Egypt number “Playing with the Big Boys”, and that song actually does fit most of Kanan’s interactions/fights with this guy.  (So maybe the soundtrack doesn’t fit the whole Rebels story, and does match individual situations…)

Buuuut I don’t want to draw the Inquisitor again, ever.  He’s freaky to look at and even freakier to draw.  Emmet was incredibly helpful, however, as I muscled my way through this, critiquing how I depicted our dear Sith employee, and how well I’d drawn the lightsabers, and the overall look of the piece.  (I used a screencap from cap-that.com as reference.  And I may or may not have looked at nearly all the Rebels galleries or checked 2,385 screencaps for other art references.)

Kanan’s messy hair was oddly satisfying to draw.  Maybe because it never falls out of place in the cartoon, a break from reality that drives me a bit nuts?  (Actually, it’s because individual strands of hair would be too hard to animate, but whatever.)

So um…what can I say about this?  A scene from the Season 2 finale “Twilight of the Apprentice.”  I can’t decide if I love this or hate it because KANAN DESERVED SO MUCH BETTER HE’S BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH AND DESERVES THE HAPPIEST OF ENDINGS ahem, was that out loud?   But on the other hand, the artwork turned out really well, though I added or removed aspects from the scenery for dramatic effect (e.g. Kanan’s lightsaber is actually not in the frame during this shot of the episode).

(Referenced from a screencap from cap-that.com.)

I randomly wanted to draw Sabine with her Season 2 hair–she gets a new hairstyle/color each season, though I noticed there’s always blue/purple in the mix somewhere…

(Referenced from another screencap from cap-that.com., and I may or may not spend too much time browsing their Rebels gallery for reference/inspiration…)

Emmet pointed out that I need to draw Captain Rex, to add to my collection of profile portraits.  So I did.  🙂  I now draw these portraits facing the opposite direction as the characters appear in the reference photo–that is, Rex was facing the other direction in the screen cap.  It’s a good exercise to train my eye to assess the proportions and shapes of the face rather than just copying directly from the picture.

(Referenced from another screencap from–you guessed it–cap-that.com.)

And then Chris said I needed to draw Asohka Tano, so here she is!  And I am beyond thrilled with how this turned out–I was honestly scared to attempt Asohka because of the complexity of her head and the patterns/stripes on her face and head.  And they’re not even 100% accurate, but her features (a) look like Asohka, and (b) I didn’t want to spend half the night erasing and refining stripes.  So Clone Wars fans, please don’t murder me.  🙂

(Referenced from a screencap from cap-that.com.)

On a totally different note, I mentioned in this post that Christine Smith gave me permission to draw art inspired by her story’s aesthetic, and I have now finished a couple pieces of concept art!  You can read about her story here, and read snippets from the draft here!

This is graphite and white pencil on toned pastel paper.  It was also my plan B, because I had finished a gorgeous drawing of this exact same scene in one of my small sketchbooks.  I was pleased with it, so the next step was to pull out the page and scan a copy into the computer.

So then this happened:

I was less astounded by the rip and more by the fact that I’ve literally never torn my paper taking it out of the sketchbook.  In 6 years of drawing, this was the first accident of that sort.  (Priorities, no?)  Taping the paper proved impossible–the rip was too visible, and so I finally traced the old picture to create new line art and rendered the scene on pastel paper.

Ruins in a forest.  There was a mishap with this one too; I started painting the scene, but didn’t lay down my values correctly.  To get the lights and darks to stand out as they should, I added layers and layers of paint…which eventually turned the layers “chalky” and not transparent the way watercolor should be.  Hoo boy.  Though I’d been painting for hours, and it was 4:00 p.m., I prepared new line art as soon as I realized my first picture couldn’t be saved.  And started painting Version #2 with some trepidation–but it turned out much better!  At least until the scanner ruined the quality of the colors.

So, have any of you readers seen Rebels?  Do you have a favorite picture from this batch?

…..

Okay, the answers for the handwriting mystery: the items “waffles” and “caf” (coffee, basically) are in Hera’s handwriting.  Then the others take over; the explosives and paint requests are Sabine’s handwriting; the droid restraining bolts request is in Zeb’s handwriting; and the earmuffs and meilooruns request was Ezra’s (though that last item was also a prank).  And Kanan’s handwriting is at the bottom of the page–not requesting a grocery item, but a little peace and quiet aboard the Ghost.  🙂

16-Ezra Bridger

Artwork Post – Star Wars: Rebels Edition

Also known as Brace Yourselves Because Christine Is Going All-Out Fangirl Now (you have been warned! 🙂 )

So, in my last artwork post, I mentioned I’d been sucked into two different fandoms; the second is Star Wars: Rebels, and that is the one I’m passionate about at the moment.  Actually, I’ve been a fan of Rebels for some time,  but what sent my passion into overdrive was the news that Season 4–the final season, moreover, and the one no doubt most heartbreaking–is on hold until after the release of The Last Jedi.

I’ll be upfront: I do not care about The Last Jedi, because Mark Hamill hinted he did not like how Luke Skywalker was written, and now because it preempted my show.  We’re not pleased, oh no Precious, not pleased at all. In fact, I meant to boycott the film, but then changed my mind and told Chris I’d go see it if he thought I would like it.  Though I’m betting Chris will come back from the theater and say, “Well, you’ll like this aspect, but you’ll definitely not like this one.”

In the meantime, Rebels is on hiatus, and I’m going nuts.  I’ve tried filling the void by looking up screen caps, head canons, and fan art.  And by creating head canons and fan art of my own.  And creating a Pinterest board for the show.  And binge-watching the available seasons.  And noticing new things about the characters and themes.  And talking enthusiastically about the show to anyone who listens.  Did I mention I want my show back?

Oh, and did I mention fan art?  *drops folder; sheets of drawings spill out*

Kanan Jarrus is my favorite character.  Also, he has a unique face structure that I wanted to capture in a realistic art style.  #artistproblems  Anyway, Kanan never finished his Jedi training (he was still a Padawan when Order 66 happened) and now lives in hiding from the Empire.  Well, sorta, given that his crew and motley space family causes trouble for the Empire wherever they go.  Way to keep a low profile; then again, nobody except his crew knows his true identity, and he apparently hasn’t used his lightsaber in years. So, way to hide in plain sight.

Kanan is cool because he maintains an odd combination of being relaxed and tightly wound (the latter more so when he doubts his abilities or he’s worried for someone).  He also has a protective instinct for the younger characters, yet trusts them to do their jobs (provided they’re not being reckless).  When they’re are being reckless, expect a hilarious yet-totally-relatable facepalm.  And then expect him to jump into the thick of things to pull the kids out of trouble.  While being a Deadpan Snarker to the nth degree.

Internally, however, he struggles with a lot of insecurity and scars from his past.  His master sacrificed herself so that he could escape during Order 66, and he was still a teenager when that happened.  13 years later, he still struggles with survivor’s guilt, believing himself a coward for running, even though his master ordered him to when the clones turned on them.  He also has massive self-confidence issues when it comes to training Ezra, is clearly stressed about the job, and repeats sayings/advice from the Jedi masters without fully comprehending their meanings.

Despite all that, Kanan is Team Dad and a father-figure for the younger characters, and though he gets stern or cranky when he’s worried for them, he is also very understanding.  His nickname in the fandom is Space Dad.  And I love it.  🙂

This is Ezra Bridger, street rat-turned-Rebel-fighter, youngest member of the crew, brave but reckless, determined but afraid of losing who he loves.  He’s tough and resourceful, but on the other hand, doesn’t always think things through.  Totally thinks he can handle business himself, but totally needs Space Dad Kanan to help him out a good deal.  Ezra’s fan nickname is Blueberry, because his hair often looks blue in the light, but I’ve dubbed him Space Baby.  🙂  (Even though he’s about 14 when the show starts.)

Just get used to Rebels fan art until I get my show back.  🙂  This is Hera Syndulla, pilot of the small Rebel crew, Team Mom to the younger characters, one of the most determined and resilient characters, and devoted to the idea of resisting the Empire.  On the other hand, she is definitely a mom-figure to the younger characters, sympathetic but firm, supportive of Kanan but also steps up to the plate herself to get stuff done.  She also pushes her crew to step up to the plate, and usually has a lot of faith in their abilities.  Unless they’re acting stupid.  Then expect her “mom voice” and a well-deserved rebuke.  On the other hand, don’t mess with her crew, especially the kids, or it will be the last thing you regret.  Hera’s fan nickname is Space Mom, and my sister Enkie dubbed her “Mama Hera” when we were first watching the show.

This character is Sabine Wren, and though I accidentally drew her looking vulnerable here, she’s really tough, both a demolitions expert and an artist.  Which is an interesting combination.  Actually, Sabine is vulnerable beneath her tough exterior; though still a teenager, she made a lot of mistakes that resulted in her family’s disowning her.  And Sabine is an odd combination of cautious and reckless because of it, and she does have trust issues.

I still need to draw Zeb and the droid Chopper, the last two members of the crew, but I can’t find a picture of Zeb that I like enough to use as reference.  Once I do, the last two members of the crew will get their portraits done.  🙂  In the meantime…

…have a happy Kanan.  Happy Kanan is good.  🙂

I tried to add Hera in the picture, but her features weren’t turning out right.  Twi’leks are hard to draw.   Maybe I’ll go back and try again later, but for now, this picture goes in the folder of shame unfinished pictures folder.

Kanan warming up with his light saber before starting to train Ezra.  But he’s not too sure of himself, hence the stiff pose.  As I re-watch the show, I noticed that Kanan is good at using his light saber to deflect blaster bolts and cut through stuff–but he’s not so good at sword-to-sword combat with various ex-Jedi/sSith characters.  Which is good continuity, given his backstory.

On a totally different note, I am thankful for my brothers’ help with this drawing: Chris critiqued my depiction of the light saber and patiently put up with my thrusting my sketchbook in his face every few minutes to get feedback.  And Emmet posed for me so I could sketch Kanan’s left hand (and also pointed out that Kanan’s light saber comes in two pieces that have to be connected before he can use it, so I filed away the information for future reference.  🙂 )

Ezra in a pensive mood.  I can’t believe how well this one turned out; faces from the front are hard (though I’ll get better with practice), and on top of that, I used a screencap from show–which is animated–for reference.  Long story short, this is my new favorite drawing.  🙂

Strike that; maybe this one is my favorite.  🙂  I wanted to draw Sabine’s brightly colored hair from the moment I started these portraits…but I also wanted her to be recognizable in my initial drawing by her face structure, not her iconic dyed hair.  But here, I let myself go all out–and her colored armor was also fun to draw!  I love that Sabine paints/decorates nearly everything she encounters.

One thing I love about Rebels is the protectiveness Kanan has toward others…particularly his Padawan.  And the Les Mis lyrics fit the dynamic, so here’s Kanan, thinking over the difficulties the kid will face in joining the Rebel crew, and wishing a better world for him.  Meanwhile, Ezra is conked out because he actually feels safe now, as opposed to be constantly being on alert while living on the streets.

FEEEEEELSSSS.

This was supposed to be a doodle and ended up being a detailed drawing.  Ezra is so cute and adorable.  Even when he’s being fierce.  I just want to give him a hug.

So now I’m curious: have any of you readers seen Star Wars: Rebels?  If so, what do you think?  Favorite character?  Favorite episode? (Twilight of the Apprentice is mine, hands, down, from Season 2, even though it also breaks my heart.)  Any predictions on where Season 4 will go?

16-Ezra Bridger

Artwork Post – Randomness + New Fandoms

And there will be rambling and fangirling ahead.  🙂

So the weekly schedule of posting my artwork on Wednesday has become null and void. For one thing, I haven’t been drawing much until recently. For another I attempted National Novel Writing Month, and ended up with a checkered experience. I’ll probably post about that later. For now, I have plunged headlong into new fandoms and never looked back. And immortalized my obsessions with artwork.

First, I revisited the Christopher Nolan Batman universe with a quick drawing; I found a picture of Bruce giving a quirky look, and knew I had to draw it…

And I painted this scene of Christmas treats that turned out well…

So, the new fandoms?  One is an interest I never, repeat never, thought I would have.  Remember the doodle of Igor in my last artwork post?  It’s from the 2015 film Victor Frankenstein.  I was mildly interested in the film when it came out, but I read enough reviews to conclude that it wouldn’t be worth my time.  Then one final review changed my mind.  It called the film a genre mash-up, but claimed that the story didn’t examine how the genres influenced each other once combined.  Huh.  Since I also write genre mash-ups, I finally decided to watch the film, see if I agreed with that conclusion, and take note of what the story did right or wrong to learn for my own novels.

As it turned out, I do agree with the assessment in the review–but the main problem with the film is that it doesn’t ultimately know what it wants to be or what it wants to say.  Is this an origin story for Frankenstein or Igor?  Is Victor the true monster of the story, or a misunderstood genius, or both?  Is he sympathetic or a psychopath?  The film also included an ethical debate for and against creating life, but ended up a mixed bag of statements–sympathy is obviously with Victor’s argument, but on the other hand, the guy goes full-out psycho-obsessed with his creation before the end and contradicts his own initial motives.  To the point that you kinda have to side with Inspector Turpin…until he also becomes single-mindedly obsessed with stopping Victor…  Yeah, the story is a mess.  I want to review it, in-depth, but since I have the DVD on my wish list, I’ll wait to see if I get it for Christmas first.

Despite its problems, the story captured my imagination somehow, and won’t let go.  Hence, my drawing fan art.  🙂

Igor is absolutely precious and must be defended at all costs.  He is the kindhearted, sensitive, but loyal and resilient sort, and has already inspired a character of my own.  🙂

Quick sketch of Victor Frankenstein himself, though I have a better portrait in the works.

Quick sketch of Lorelei (Igor’s fellow performer at the circus and love interest and confidante).  (I usually start with a simple portrait/profile to practice drawing the characters proportions and features before moving onto a more difficult post or angle.)

Also in the works are drawings/paintings for Christine Smith’s work-in-progress The Nether Isle–her aesthetic for the story inspired me to draw/paint it, and Christine very kindly gave me permission to do so!  I have sketches or line art finished for four scenery drawings, and I hope to render them in watercolor very soon.  So stay tuned for that!

Also stay tuned for Part 2 of this artwork post, because to include the 8+ pieces of fan art for Star Wars: Rebels in this post, plus my incoherent fangirling opinions about the show, would make it ridiculously long.  🙂

16-Ezra Bridger

Artwork Whatever-Day-I-Get-To-It Post

Seriously, I’ve fallen behind in my Artwork Wednesday posts.  Sorry about that.  On the plus side, I have a lot of art to showcase since it’s been so long!

Only now that I’m uploading this do I notice the terrible photography quality  Sorry, guys.  Ahem.  This is a watercolor doodle/sketch, and I did this freehand (meaning with no line art), and it’s not too bad.  🙂  I particularly liked how the wall and the shadows turned out.

A colored pencil drawing of Easter lilies!  Which subject makes perfect sense, given that it’s almost November.  🙂  Anyway, I had the line art for this sitting in my sketchbook for weeks before I finally finished it, using the techniques I mentioned in this post.

Quick colored pencil sketch (and this drawing is little bitty in my sketchbook, maybe 2″x3″).  Adobe buildings have joined my List of Favorite Things to Draw, along with oranges, pumpkins, sunset cactus silhouettes, and Sydney  Carton.

When my friend HeatherJoy LaHaye (you can read her guest post here) visited New Mexico recently, she snapped a lot of pictures, sent them to me, and gave me permission to use them as painting reference!  (Thanks again, Heather!)  So here are some adobe ruins, rendered in watercolor and copied from one of her photographs.

This is my favorite recent piece, guys: a watercolor portrait of my character Sanchia from Gentle Fire.  It was so thrilling to get her complexion and hair color the right shades, and her expression just right as well!

Also, I meant to paint sewing supplies in the basket and first forgot to sketch them, then quit caring and just made the basket empty.  #lazyartist

And then here are some doodles, sketches, and works-in-progress…

The corner of the cabin that Durant shares with his nephews.  (Soon after snapping this picture, I realized I’d messed up the proportions, so I’ll probably trace it onto a fresh sheet of paper and redo it at some point.)

Durant and soon-to-be Alex.  (Also starring: the shadow of my arm across the paper!)

Sketches for the components of another southwestern painting (that I haven’t actually painted yet).

Sketch of a tropical scene that I will eventually paint.

Doodle of Igor from the 2015 film Victor Frankenstein.  I plan to (a) draw better doodles in the future, and (b) probably review the film, in-depth, after I finish my Christine posts.

That’s all for now, but I’m working on more drawings and paintings–and so I might get another art post up sooner than later!

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16-Ezra Bridger

Beautiful Books 2017

This month, instead of Beautiful People (where you talk about your characters), Sky’s link-up is Beautiful Books, where you talk about your work-in-progress!

I’ve mentioned several stories/story ideas here, but my true WIP is a semi- western Gentle Fire.  “Semi”–because the setting is based off early 1800s Anglo and Mexican cultures, but the story world is an imaginary one.  Whoop, wait, I guess I should be talking about this in the questions!  So off we go.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

The 2004 film The Alamo inspired this story…and what particularly grabbed my imagination was the idea of a very young man thrust into a leadership position that would be hard to fulfill with success.  I wondered how I might handle such a situation…how someone else might handle that situation..and Durant’s character and motives and flaws appeared almost instantly (though he’s also grown and changed since I got the initial idea).

A contributing inspiration was one of my pet peeves.  I’ll explain.  🙂  Through 2016, I got sick and tired of the “you can succeed if you work hard enough” message that appears in a lot of Hollywood stories (just about every sports film I’ve seen and several artist/writer/performance arts films.  Plus a lot of the personal stories on American Ninja Warrior).  Now sometimes, work and perseverance do pay off, and they’re inherently good qualities. But they don’t absolutely guarantee success, and I remember the night my annoyance with this message solidified.  My family and I were watching The Martian (with liberal editing and TV Guardian, mind you), and after astronaut Mark Watney is stranded–alone–on Mars with no chance of rescue, he declares to himself, “I’m not gonna die.”  Dad pointed out, “See, that’s his determination.”  And I remember thinking, “You know he could still die, right?  No matter how hard he works?”  Yes, it was good initiative that Watney didn’t mope about his predicament or give up.  But that scene nonetheless struck me as hollow, because there was a distinct possibility of failure.

Okay, this is sounding cynical.  But here’s what I would rather see: stories like the The Alamo and The Lord of the Rings, where the characters fight for their values.  Principles and people they “are willing to fight, and possibly die, for,” whether or not they succeed.  I am definitely encouraged by those examples.  And I’ve worked all that into Gentle Fire.

I got the initial story concept in April, 2016 (and commemorated the event by making April 24th Durant’s birthday.  🙂 ).

Describe what your novel is about!

Durant wants to live in peace with his family in their frontier home, but the west is too far from the mother country to receive consistent help, and it has no organized government.  As the family struggles against wilderness and the lawlessness, Durant fights to help establish a government to safeguard his new home and make it prosperous.  And he is keenly aware of the consequences of failure.

Well, lookee there, I managed to write a short synopsis!  🙂

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

The landscapes are modeled after places in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, with some south Texas-inspired landscapes here and there.  The northern most parts of my imaginary world are mostly mountains; the midlands have slopes and woods dominating, and the southern most portions are desert-ish areas.  As such, the southern towns and homes are built from adobe (with a few lumber houses for those who could afford the material), while the northern towns and homes are often log cabins.  However, these varied landscapes all belong to one colony of one nation, and Mexicans and Anglos live together in several areas, and those towns/communities are often a blend of the two cultures.

Music has also inspired lots of plot points, story twists, and general settings.  These songs in particular:

“West, Pioneer!” (Annie Moses Band, American Rhapsody)

“Homeland” (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron)

“In The New World” (Annie Moses Band, American Rhapsody)

“Listen to the Mockingbird” (The Alamo)

“Sell Our Lives Dearly” (The Alamo)

“Where You’ve Always Been” (Annie Moses Band, American Rhapsody)

“Home Away from Home” (James Galway & Phil Coulter, Winter’s Crossing)

“Flares” (The Script, No Sound Without Silence)

“Hard Times” (Annie Moses Band, American Rhapsody)

“Hymn for the Heartland” (James Galway & Phil Coulter, Winter’s Crossing)

“El Bexareno” (The Alamo [note: my keyboard won’t make Spanish accent marks; hope the meaning is clear enough!])

“Clancy’s Theme” (The Man From Snowy River)

“La Zandunga” (The Alamo)

Introduce us to each of your characters!

*looks at list of17+ characters*  Or…maybe just the most prominent ones?  But rather than narrating personalities, I’ll list the tropes from tvtropes.org that apply to my characters.

Durant

Beware the Nice Ones – Threaten Durant’s values or family, and he will not go quietly.  His reactions range from calling you out to insubordination (though he always tries the peaceable solution first).

Cannot Spit It Out – He’s definitely better with written communication.

Deadpan Snarker –  In some instances (the flip side of the trope above!)

Friend to All Children – He loves kids, adores his niece and nephews, and he likes teaching (and prefers the vocation of schoolmaster to anything else).

Knight in Sour Armor – He turns into this.

Not A Morning Person – And often wakened by nephews bouncing on him in the morning.

Alex huffed.  “Why are you always sleeping?”

Durant turned over.  “I beg your pardon, you rascal.”

The Quiet One – Initially, but he opens up once get he gets to know someone.  And he’s laid back and more cheerful around his family.

Why Did It Have to Be Snakes? – He hates public attention.

Mary

Deadpan Snarker – Definitely.

Determined Homesteader – She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty working with Wilson to establish their homestead.

Gentle Touch vs. Firm Hand – Mary manages to uphold a combination of the two.

Good Parents – To Alex, Luke, and later, Sophie.  She and Wilson want to have more children once they get settled in their new home (even though pregnancies are often difficult for her).

Happily Married – To Wilson.

Honest Advisor – Mary can see through smoke screens, recognize when both sides have a point–and she tells it like it is.

Humble Goal – She wants to build a comfortable home for herself and her family.

Mama Bear – Don’t mess with her kids, or you’ll be looking down the wrong end of her musket.

Team Chef – She absolutely loves to cook and to keep hearty meals on the table for her family.

Wilson

(I really need to draw a proper portrait of Wilson!)

Determinator – He has a type-A streak that can make him stubborn.

Determined Homesteader – Wilson is a farmer through and through and honestly prefers to get his living from the soil.

Does Not Know His Own Strength – While Wilson is incredibly gentle with his wife and kids, he sometimes falls prey to this. He once gave Durant a friendly back slap–that was so strong, Durant stumbled forward a step or two. And then refused to quit teasing Wilson about it.

Good Parents – To Alex, Luke, and later, Sophie.

Happily Married – To Mary.

Humble Goal – He wants land of his own and a working farm to pass down to his sons someday.

Mellow Fellow – He’s laid-back and cheerful–usually.

Papa Wolf – Mess with his family, and you’re going to wish you hadn’t.

(Don’t have a drawing of Barros yet.  Sorry.)

Barros

Papa Wolf – To daughters Teresita and Maria.

Reluctant Hero – Subverted; Barros defends his family and values without a second thought, he but he would rather lead on a social level than go into politics.  Guess how well that preference works out.

Reasonable Authority Figure – He generally listens to all parties, and never acts without thinking carefully. On the other hand, he can also make up his mind quickly when needed.

(I’m still developing his character, which is why there aren’t as many tropes for his personality yet.)

Sanchia

Friend to All Children – Possibly because she has several younger brothers and sisters (and a couple of older ones; I think she’s the third child of nine kids).

Humble Goal – To help support her family.  She loves them dearly.

Nice Girl – She’s warm and enthusiastic (without being overly effusive) and friendly.

Plucky Girl – She tries to cheer others up and isn’t easily discouraged.

Proper Lady – As per the social and cultural standards of the time (though in a twist on this trope, she’s not an upper-class lady).

Silk Hiding Steel – She moved to a foreign colony–alone–to work as a seamstress and earn money for her family .  At age 17.

Spicy Latina – Actually subverted to averted, depending on your perspective.  Sanchia is passionate for her values and tends to push others to fulfill their talents and callings, but she’s also down-to-earth and patient and cheerful.

The Social Expert – She’s outgoing, observant, and a good conversationalist!

(Characters not featured here: Alex, Luke, Sophie, Teresita, Maria, Jacobs, Harrison, Williams, Jackson, Dennis, Eduardo and Dolores, various others who haven’t been named yet.)

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Lots and lots of planning.  I need to know my characters thoroughly before starting the book, and I need to know what the story is ultimately saying, and where the major plot points are, as well as where everything ends up.  As such, I’ve been planning this novel for over a year, and only just beginning to write it.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Writing Durant’s character and journey and growth (and he does grow a lot).  And I look forward to writing the world and how the characters react to it and influence it.  I also think the story and its settings and problems are fresh twists on the western genre, and so it’ll be fun to play with all those ideas!

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

  1. Most characters refer to the frontier as “the western colonies” or just “the colonies”–since the new land was founded by the eastern government for economic benefit.
  2. Anglos and Mexicans live together in the colonies and eventually created a blend of cultures.   The land being harsh and rugged, the colonies of the two nations engaged in trade and came to depend upon one another a good deal.
  3. The story is set during the dawn of the west, during the 820s–30s.  As such, the fashions are 30s style (both Anglo and Mexican) and the weapons are muskets and flintlock rifles.

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

See the synopsis above.  🙂  Durant really just wants to be left alone and live in peace with his family.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Spoilers!  This is actually a key point, so I’ll keep it under wraps for now.  (And maybe intrigue people by doing so…mwa-ha-ha!  🙂 )

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Again, spoilers!  I’d rather let readers figure this out for themselves!  As for the readers’ feelings…I’ve noticed a trend of bittersweet endings in my stories.  Think The Return of the King bittersweet.  So there’s that–but I would want the readers to feel quietly inspired.  I say “quietly” because sometimes it’s the subtle things that influence you the most.

Now, I considered whether to participate in National Novel Writing Month (in November)–and ultimately decided against it.  The reason is that I’ve switched writing methods.  Rather than typing at my laptop, I’ve gone back to scribbling with pen and paper and this actually works better for me.  Typing is handy, but it’s so fast that I often finish a scene or a line before I’ve planned the next–so I have to stop and think what comes next–and there goes all momentum.  But because handwriting is slower, I don’t come to the end of my imagination as quickly, and the momentum doesn’t slow down either.  And there’s no “backspace” key on a pen, meaning less incentive to edit during the draft.  🙂  HOWEVER it would be incredibly difficult to reach a handwritten 50k word count in one month.  I may twist the rules a bit to suit my methods, or follow along as well as possible for the first week or so, but nothing official.  And perhaps, I’m not doing NaNo–I might be able to write humorous blog posts for the rest of you writers to enjoy!

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16-Ezra Bridger

Artwork Post – Long Overdue

I’m so sorry, guys.  I didn’t mean to wait this long!  Initially, I had very little artwork to post; then I got busy; then I got sick.  But when sick, I always get the urge to draw (putting the down time to good use, I guess), so behold an avalanche of artwork!

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a colored pencil tutorial book at Hobby Lobby and studied it thoroughly.  One technique looked interesting: laying down the values of the drawing with a black (or brown) pencil before adding color.  So I gave it a try…

The black-and-white values as the first layer…

…and here’s the finished product!  I like this technique!  Though it’s not the only one in the book; I’ll try some of the others later.

Another pencil drawing with the same technique (called “grisaille”), except this time, I used a black pencil to draw the values of the trees and a brown pencil for the values everywhere else, since the rest of the picture wasn’t supposed to be as dark.

The book also explained how to get rid of that white-ish waxy buildup that happens after several layers of color: rub the picture, lightest parts first, with a cloth or paper towel until the colors are uniformly smooth.  It’s one way to get rid of the sketchy pencil look that I complained about in my New Year’s artwork post.

Sloppy doodle of Charles Darnay on computer paper, done while listening to A Tale of Two Cities musical soundtrack.

Sketch of James Barbour as Sydney Carton, done while watching A Tale of Two Cities concert (and simultaneously dying inside of feels).

Slightly crooked drawing of Lennox, my character from Empty Clockwork, laughing at something.  He’s a generally cheerful fellow.  🙂

Drawing that I intended to be Mary, from my western story, but it didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted.  So it’s just a random girl putting her hair up.

It’s a head canon of mine that Susan Pevensie reads her mother’s old Good Housekeeping magazines, so here Susan is, curled up and studying household economy.  Also, I drew that pose entirely from my head with no reference!

Although I chickened out at drawing feet and so covered them with the blanket.  🙂

Once the children grew up in Narnia, Lewis describes Susan as “a tall and gracious woman”, so here she is, welcoming visiting dignitaries or ambassadors, or people like that (and hey, at least I tried to draw hands!).  I don’t see Susan being a flashy dresser or weighed down with elegance and jewelry; she’s sensible and practical, and would probably favor a sensible and practical style, though also one that befits her rank.  The place she would splurge with ornaments, however, would be her hair; you have all that gorgeous hair, and you’re going to want to do something special with it.

The Pevensies and Caspian discover fanfiction of their stories.  From left to right: Caspian, Edmund (standing), Peter, Susan (also standing), and Lucy.  Behold also my awesome back-of-the-computer-screen drawing skills (haha), though I am inordinately proud of that mouse and mouse pad, for some reason.

Drawing may or may not have been inspired from a real life pet peeve.  🙂

That’s all for now!

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16-Ezra Bridger

Artwork Wednesday – Fandom Crossover Edits!

Once upon a time, I was chatting with Bella  about A Tale of Two Cities.  At some point during the conversation, we realized that lyrics from other musicals like Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera fit the characters from AToTC.  Cue massive feels and fangirling and ideas shooting back and forth–and then a Photoshopping frenzy!  🙂  I began making picture/lyric edits, and Bella has already featured some of them on her Tumblr fan blog, which is here.

Warning: Serious feels and heartbreak ahead for Phantom and A Tale of Two Cities fans.  What do you mean, I’m taking this too seriously?

 

See what I mean?

That crack you heard was the sound of my heart breaking…

SYDNEY

*gross hysterical sobbing*

As much as I love Sydney, Charles and Lucie are an absolutely precious couple, and they also need some love!

How about some Tale of Two Cities + Phantom?

I recently introduced another friend of mine to The Phantom of the Opera musical (the 25th Anniversary Concert, of course.  🙂 )  And she loved it–so much that she made some edits of her own!

#TeamRaoul!!!

*applauds*

Aw, yeessss!!

But it isn’t just musical crossovers I make, oh no.  Here’s Captain America + Bandstand:

I’m sorry.

And then The Alamo:

Now I’ve got to run, ’cause Chris is going to kill me.

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