(soon to be) looking to commission artists

I’ve had a crazy idea for a bit now, to hire commissions from a bunch of different artists for some characters for a young adult steampunk adventure novel I’m writing. (Yes, it’s The Artificer’s Angels.)

Here are the details.

  • There are seven major characters in all– five men, two women. They range from the ages of fifteen-ish to mid-fifties. Here’s a quick preview of the lot.
    • The farm girl. Merrily Soarin is cheerful, upright, and has a mean left hook. She’s nineteen years old, black, and her nappy hair’s getting clumpy.
    • The engineer. Paul Soarin is serious, often uncomfortable, and desperate to prove himself to the upper circles. He’s thirty-two, Merrily’s brother, also black, head nearly shaved, thin. He also becomes a bit wild by the end of the book.
    • The hacker. Polly Owens was a promising inventor before she was kicked out of the university. Now she smokes a lot of opium, she wears shocking clothes, gears and tools sewn to her skirts (in case she ever needs one), and does mechanical under-the-table deals. Mid-twenties, brown eyes, straight brown hair, and she dresses in ways specifically designed to make her victorian-esc neighbors uncomfortable (classic steampunk).
    • The mad scientist. Maxwell Gallows is in his mid-fifties, wears lots of black, and would probably have taken over the world had he cared for anything in it. He’s stick-thin, gaunt in the face, and his black hair stands out. Usually accompanied by a black hat and a heavy cane.
    • The boy. Leo Gallows is sweet, gentle, desperately shy, and part machine, though the only real indicator of this on the outside are his glowing, artificial teal eyes. His hair is platinum blond, but it’s the style to dye hair wild colors and saturate it with gel, and his ends are blue-green and stand up in spikes. Every so often, though, he does show signs of his father’s inventor-traits running through him.
    • The intellectual thief. Abraham Gennyson has the nasty habit of stealing invention ideas that don’t belong to him. Getting near sixty– he’s not horribly fat, but he has a gut, his hair is long and brown and silver, he wears nice clothes and looks the part of the overweight Victorian business man.
    • The trickster. Uriel is also a reworked dead man, and he very much intends to keep his life and his freedom, both of which are at risk. He will kill, steal, lie, and con his way out of his bad situation– anything to get himself free. And he’s pretty good at it. Six-five (two full meters) tall, broad shouldered, strong featured, tan, with artificial red eyes and a wild red-and-black haircut. He appears to be in his late-twenties.
  • I would write a more detailed description of each character, then two or three scenes with them in it, to give a better idea of what they’re like. I’ll also write a bit about the novel.
  • The commissions would go to a variety of artists– one character per commission. I’d love to see a range of skills, styles, and takes.
  • When I have a good collection of characters by a variety of people, I’ll make a collage for each character.

That’s the preliminary details. Anyone interested, and if so, in anyone in particular? And does anyone want to point to artists seeking commissions?

my first 3d skit

I just found my very first 3d video, made back in ’06. I’d forgotten about this.

There are a ton of things I’d do differently now, some errors here and there, but the idea is cute. Maybe I’ll make another just like it to see how my skills have improved.

in which i attain an illustrator

That was easy.

Have I ever mentioned that my mother is a professional artist?

I mentioned that I wanted Victorian-style pen and ink illustrations for my novel to my mother; she mostly does a lot of still life and landscape. She got very excited when I described the sort of things I wanted– cloth bows, still life with wine, a top hat and gloves, birds’ nests between the junction of steel beams. She’s not a fantasy fan, but then, I’m not much interested in fantasy illustrations.

(Though the giant mechanical crab might be nice.)

silly children– pictures are for grown-ups!

You know what novels ought to have?

Pictures.

Not just illustrated children’s books. Novels. Adult novels. Preferably excellent old fashioned black and white penmanship in fine crosshatching. Illustrate a lantern, a snowy countryside, a lady’s dress, a tapestry. Something related to the story, but not the scenes itself, which might intrude into a reader’s sense of visualization. Scatter where appropriate.

Why isn’t this done in the publishing industry?

old art, from ‘the artificer’s angels’

Sortof like the scrap I found not long ago, I came some of my old ‘Artificer’s Angels’ art in a packed notebook. Some of these were neat enough to share. 🙂

Who doesn’t love airships?

Air ships and gliders!

My heroine’s family is mostly dark skinned; her second-eldest brother has a polished version of this tattooed over his heart in white ink.

Matthew's Tattoo

Violetta (pencil)

A color image of the last one:

Violetta

And finally… that old digital painting of my villain. Or, one of the stories’ three villains. I think Uriel has the purest motivation of the lot, yet he’s still somehow the most evil.

Uriel (recolored)

art, writing, and a 3d update

I had, when I started this journal, decided to share this space with some of my interests other than writing– namely my interests in various forms of art, music, out-of-date weaponry, and the other hundred hobbies I turn to periodically. One of Orson Scott Card’s books on writing contained a passage that said that it is the duty of a writer to know everything about everything, which could justify this deviance of topic… but I think it goes beyond that.

Studying music gives a sense of rhythm and pacing, tension and mood. Learning to draw teaches a person to really look at people and places, to understand color, proportion, and shadow. Animation, martial arts, dance all focus what the body can and can’t do, the physical limits of a person and how far they can realistically be pushed. 3d and the study of film that accompanies it enforces what my media teachers called ‘the fine art of faking it’, to focus on what’s in the camera view and use scenery for maximum effect.

Expect me to start branching out and writing articles on random topics on occasion. Perhaps I’ll also share a few short non-fiction stories. This weekend I took a break from Blue Crystal altogether.

I did this instead (Click here for a large view). It’s not quite finished yet, and I want to draw two more versions of her on the sheet with different outfits and finish the head side view.

For those of you not familiar with 3d modeling, this is a character reference sheet. After I’m finished with this, I’m going to crop out pieces of the character and import them into a 3d program, paste them onto flat planes, and so when I model the girl I’ll have a visual guide to go by. They’ll line up in the front and side viewports. This is standard practice in modeling; any complicated figure that needs some amount of accuracy will get a reference sheet, including people, cars, planes, and sometimes even buildings. The more accurate the reference, the better equipped the 3d artist is to add realistic detail.

Once the reference is finished, I’ll model the girl, skin her (adding materials). I’ll then be ready to insert a biped skeleton into her and bind her to it, allowing her to be posed and animated.