art accountability

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:19 pm
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
[personal profile] yhlee
Sunday's sketch of the Dragon while we were getting food:


(Dammit, I like life drawing, even if I'm too n00b to be good at it. Joe says I have been getting better since I started a few years back though.)

Pen: Pelikan M205 Aqumarine (F nib)
Ink: Diamine Eclipse

Moving on from heads to eyes and lips? )

I haven't gotten back to Ctrl+Paint because life has been busy, but yesterday my art accountability was working on a Thing in Photoshop, mainly blocking in values.
jemck: rune logo from The Thief's Gamble (Default)
[personal profile] jemck


As someone who’s been reading SF for over forty years now, I’m fascinated by the different ways life on Mars has been portrayed over the decades. My earliest encounters were through books like Robert Heinlein’s Red Planet, H.G Wells’s The War of the Worlds, and in my early teens, C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet. Alongside such fiction, I remember reading about Mariner 4 in my grandfather’s National Geographic magazines. So I already knew that real scientific discoveries meant these enthralling stories were impossible. That didn’t matter. Mars fascinated me.

That’s still true today, as books on my shelves by Alastair Reynolds, Andy Weir and James Corey attest. The film of The Martian and the TV adaptation of The Expanse series are merely the latest depictions of Mars that I’ve enjoyed on screen, from Flash Gordon through Doctor Who to Babylon 5. I’m still reading National Geographic, and any articles I see elsewhere discussing the real practicalities of sustaining human life on our near neighbour. Then there’s the ongoing exploration of Mars by the Opportunity rover. Go robots!

So now I want to write my own story set on Mars. It’s the ideal setting for me to explore a notion that’s been coming together in my imagination thanks to several recent popular-science articles that I’ve read. The last piece I needed was the invitation to write a new story featuring the Ur Bar, the eternal, time-travelling tavern from the ZNB anthology ‘After Hours’.

So now all I need is this year’s ZNB anthologies Kickstarter to fund. At the time of writing, we’ve got a week to go, and we’re just over two-thirds funded, so there’s $6333 still needed. Do take a look, if you haven’t done so already, and flag the project up to friends who might be interested. There are three anthologies to choose from, and to consider submitting something to, if you’re a writer yourself. You can get involved for as little as $7.

If you’re really keen, there’s a tuckerisation up for grabs. Do you fancy giving your own, or someone else’s, name to my story’s protagonist?

non-binding poll

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:53 pm
yhlee: heptagon and flame (mirrorweb) (hxx emblem Liozh)
[personal profile] yhlee
Because I realized there's no point in my writing prequel-to-hexarchate (or even prequel-to-heptarchate [1]) stories about all-new characters if nobody wants to read about all-new characters in the story collection. :]

[1] I had this great idea about the heptarchate's founding but.

NOTE: I make no guarantees.

Poll #18837 hexarchate story collection
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 34


What *existing* characters would you like to see more stories about?

View Answers

Shuos Jedao
23 (67.6%)

Kel Cheris
27 (79.4%)

Shuos Mikodez
18 (52.9%)

Kel Brezan
18 (52.9%)

Kel Khiruev
16 (47.1%)

Andan Niath
5 (14.7%)

Nirai Kujen
12 (35.3%)

mystery POV #1 from Revenant Gun that Yoon evilly refuses to divulge
12 (35.3%)

servitor POV #2 from Revenant Gun
17 (50.0%)

someone else that I will mention in comments
3 (8.8%)

ticky the tookie tocky
11 (32.4%)

!!!

Sep. 18th, 2017 05:16 pm
yhlee: Angel Investigations' card ("Hope lies to mortals": A.E. Housman). (AtS hope)
[personal profile] yhlee
Dear Generous Benefactor,

Thank you for the copy of All Systems Red, which I am really stoked about getting to read. (For the curious, my local bookstores didn't stock it.)

I have turned on anonymous comments for the moment, which are screened. If you'd like me to write you a thank-you flashfic, please feel free to leave a comment to this post. I'm probably going to turn off anonymous comments by week's end (sooner if I start having problems with spam comments).

Thank you!!!

Best,
YHL

Random Monday Writing Thinks

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:47 am
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
[personal profile] lagilman

One of the interesting joys of the current story-series is that I'm NOT writing a broken or restricted character - I'm writing a character who has gotten his shit together & is taking on a new, out-of-comfort-zone challenge because he chooses to.

Because the story doesn't end when the broken bits of a POV character are repaired/justified.  Interesting stuff happens after, too. And we don't have to break them a second or third time to make it interesting.

Kintsugi is about the repaired form as a whole, not just the golden seams.

This post possibly brought to you by reading too damn many "hero/ine is broken in order to BE the hero/ine" story.  Which are good and necessary stories, but not the only ones we should be telling.

how earning rewards works for me

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:14 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I have launched BEWITCHING BENEDICT

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I’ve got REDEEMER sorted

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I have this unexpected thing sent off

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when KISS OF ANGELS is written

Dear Me: when the fuck am I really going to be allowed to watch s5 Orphan Black?

Apparently Me: when the entire 22 book to-do list is done.

Sometimes I hate me.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

In the mist

Sep. 17th, 2017 06:06 pm
dolorosa_12: by ginnystar on lj (robin marian)
[personal profile] dolorosa_12
The weekend has been a good mix of social and hermity stuff, and I think I managed to strike exactly the right balance between the two. On Saturday we had four of our friends over -- [tumblr.com profile] ienthuse, her husband E, and our friends V and P. Last year, another friend had given Matthias and me a jeroboam of champagne as an engagement gift. Now, as much as we'd like to, the two of us are incapable of drinking three litres of champagne in one sitting, so the bottle had sat undrunk in our house for a year and a half. We finally decided that we'd have an afternoon party with champagne and snacks to celebrate various successes in our friendship group: Matthias has just started a new job, E recently got a new job (actually working as a library assistant in the library where Matthias is now working), as did [tumblr.com profile] ienthuse, V recently won a very prestigious translation award in Iceland (she translates Icelandic books into English), and I'd recently started a new and challenging secondment.

We had been intending to have the party outside in our courtyard, but it ended up pouring with rain, so instead we sat in the living room, eating, drinking the champagne, and generally having a good time. Given that most of my Cambridge friends are people I met while we were all MPhil/PhD students together, people tend to move on once they've finished their degrees, so I'm glad that at least these four are still around. Afternoon snacks turned into dinner, and we ended up getting really delicious takeaway from the south Indian restaurant down the road, which I hadn't eaten at for ages and really enjoyed.

Today I woke up good and early and made my usual trip to the markets in central Cambridge. It was a really beautiful misty morning, and everything looked gorgeous. I love this kind of weather, so cold and stark and still. Once I'd got back from the market, Matthias and I went out for brunch, and then stopped by the food fair (which happens about four times a year in one of the parks in the centre of town) to pick up stuff like olive oil, vinegar and other sauces.

I've spent the afternoon finishing off Ruin of Angels, the sixth book in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, which was absolutely wonderful, as all the books in the series are. I realised about midway through that about 95 per cent of the characters with speaking roles were female, whiich pleased me immmensely. The world of the series is just so clever and inventive, and has this unbelievably lived-in feel, and a sense of place that's stronger than pretty much any other fantasy series I've read.

I'm now just hanging around online while tonight's roast dinner bakes in the oven. It's proper autumn here in Cambridge now, which is my favourite time of the year. There's an icy undertone to the air, the trees are at their most beautiful, and my nesting tendencies go into complete overdrive. This weekend's been a good start!
yifu: (sakamoto maaya)
[personal profile] yifu

Light years after everyone else, I installed Spotify on my netbook and phone. The netbook version is easier to browse songs with c/f the Android one. My main purpose is to keep up with popular Western artists that are less talked about than e.g Taylor Swift or One Direction (whose members seem to have gone solo). But since Spotify also has Jpop and Kpop, watch me fall down the same holes, when not bingeing on Ariana Grande and Zedd.

The president inaugurated Indonesia's national library building [news], all 24 floors and three basements of it. I... can't wait to see everything it has to offer.

art accountability

Sep. 15th, 2017 10:57 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee


Yesterday's sketches are on the left, in Robert Oster Maroon 1789; today's are on the right, in Platinum Carbon Black. I would have liked to do more but it just wasn't happening today or yesterday.

I am maybe not having the best couple of days ever for reasons I can't yet get into (not health-related) so reassuring comments (not on the art, necessarily, just life in general) and links to cute things would be much appreciated.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
[personal profile] lagilman
Watching "Some Kind of Spark" on PBS, and it is having the multiple effect of a) making me homesick, b) making me thoughtful about the ideas of passion, practice and perfection, and c) wishing once again that I were capable of reading music.

Watching kids realize that what they want is going to be a lifetime of hard work, internalize that knowledge, and then go after it, is a lovely thing.



(before anyone offers advice on c, don't. Dyscalculia makes reading music an exercise in nothing but frustration for me)

photo of the day

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:07 pm
yhlee: sand dollar against a blue sky and seas (sand dollar)
[personal profile] yhlee
Went for a walk today and saw this:



There would be something beautiful and healing about this except...this is Louisiana. This entire lake is STANDING STAGNANT WATER. In other words, a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. I don't think it was an accident that the entire lake/park was deserted and I was the only one walking around during prime bugs-chow-down-on-humans hour...

Blackberries: from bramble to bread

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:24 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

I went blackberry picking this morning, which I’ve been feeling torn up about having had no time to do. (I genuinely feel better for having gone.) I’d found a good run of them a couple weeks ago and went to check it out, to great success:

That’s over a kilo of berries picked in about 45 minutes, which I felt was a pretty good haul. While I was picking, one woman walking by said, “Good day for picking!” and another one who had been out picking yesterday actually stopped to talk to me (Her: I always feel SO GUILTY when I drive by these berries! Me: YOU UNDERSTAND ME!!!!), and that was really nice because almost everybody who’s spoken to me about picking at all thinks I’m bonkers.

So I came home and washed the berries

and got them into the pot

and made jam



and three hours after I started picking blackberries, I had homemade blackberry jam on fresh homemade bread.


Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. :)

I then made PEAR JAM because we have STUPID NUMBERS of pears on our pear trees (there are by far more pears fallen to the ground than we have had at all, in previous years at this house), and it is wonderful. I had no idea if it’d be any good because I’ve never had it, much less made it, but it’s pretty splendid. It starts out sweet and kind of apple-y and then suddenly it’s like NO WAIT THIS IS *PEAR* JAM!!! and it’s really good! And Ted, who likes pears (or at least processed pears) thought it was wonderful, so I’m very pleased with myself.

Tomorrow I have ambitions of making pear jelly, because I have An Awful Lot Of Pears here, and I bet that’ll be really nice too. And I gotta start doing something with the crabapples and the appleapples and…*despair*

(I mean, I gather other people can just walk on by fruits of the trees and whatnot without even flinching, but me and that lady from this morning, WE JUST CAN’T DO IT.)

(We’re gonna get a pressure cooker. That way I can make applesauce and canned (or at least jarred) pears and…other stuff…that will last if pressure-cooked but won’t otherwise.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

jemck: rune logo from The Thief's Gamble (Default)
[personal profile] jemck
I’ve just included a bit of equipment which I saw in a museum in Malta, into the River Kingdom novel that I’m currently writing. It’s a library lamp from the 17/18th century. As you can see, it has four wicks to maximise the available light plus an adjustable reflector for positioning to direct as much light as possible into the page. Those chains attach a snuffer plus a pair of tweezers and a pair of scissors for trimming the wicks. This particular example could do with a bit of a polish, we saw others in museums where photography wasn’t allowed in highly polished silver and brass which would have reflected even more light. So no, there was no need to be squinting over a book by the light of a single candle, not for the wealthy and educated at least.





We need to remember this, when we’re creating non-industrial worlds. It’s all too easy to get suckered into a positively Victorian mindset that sees the modern age as the pinnacle of human achievement, in some pseudo-evolutionary fashion, which therefore demands that anything that came before us is by definition inferior. No, pre-modern and pre-industrial solutions to the same problems that we face may well be different but that doesn’t mean lesser.

Human ingenuity has been around for untold millennia and it’s worth doing the research to find examples of solutions to problems, because the history that ‘everyone knows’ is frequently at best only half the story, and at worst it’s downright misleading. ‘Everyone knows’ that Henry Ford invented the production line, right? Actually, he invented a particular mechanised version of an approach to manufacturing that’s been around since the Bronze Age. There’s an archaeological site in (if I recall correctly) Turkey that I read about some while ago, flourishing in the 8/9th century BCE where carved hollows and troughs in the rock have recently been rescued from that all-purpose archaeologist’s explanation of ‘ritual purposes’. Someone realised that these shapes looked familiar and went away to check. Yes, these troughs and hollows are the outlines of the component parts of a chariot; specifically those long pieces of wood and elements of wheels that experimental archaeologists have established could only have been shaped by steaming the wood, somehow clamping it and allowing the wood to cool into a new form. These chariot builders weren’t using clamps but the rock itself to make the components that were then assembled by specialists in mass-production.

I have a particular advantage here in that I’m married to a mechanical engineer. He spends his working life designing car assembly lines with dozens of robots now doing the work done by hundreds of men when he first started his apprenticeship, forty-plus years ago. So he’s very good at working out how things work, and at identifying how approaches to the same problem change over the years and centuries. He also has a solid appreciation of the issues around for instance, moving massive slabs of stone to build monuments from Stonehenge, to the pyramids, to the temples of Hagar Qim on Malta, dating back to 3600-3200 BCE. This would be an engineering challenge today. For people using stone rollers, wooden levers and some sort of rope? No one who could manage that deserves to be called primitive, as far as he’s concerned.

So from the small scale items for day to day use, to major building projects in our imagined worlds, we need to remember that non-industrial societies could get along perfectly well without all our modern conveniences. And we don’t only find such things in museums and archaeological sites. Fantasy world builders should take a look at the ingenuity and practical skills of our fellow humans currently living in what can all too often be patronisingly called ‘developing’ countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas.

I remember seeing a TV programme where a group of Andean women build a suspension bridge to cross a river gorge, only using grass and their bare hands. Yes, really. First they made string by twisting the long strands together, then they combined those strings into cords and then made those cords into ropes, and the ropes into cables, all twisted and counter-twisted at every stage to create strength through tension. The village women on the far side of the gorge were doing the same. When they had enough cables ready, someone fired an arrow to carry a string across the gorge. That string was tied to a cord which pulled a rope which pulled a cable to be secured across the gorge. Three cables gave them one to walk on and two hand rails on either side which were joined together with more grass-rope struts which formed a framework for weaving solid sides. By the end of the day, they had a new bridge.

So please don’t make the mistake of thinking that life in your pre-industrial fantasy land has to be nasty, brutish or short. Anymore than you underestimate people who don’t happen to be white and westernised in our own world today.

art accountability

Sep. 13th, 2017 10:48 pm
yhlee: ashhawk (black phoenix) in flames (hxx emblem Kel)
[personal profile] yhlee
- Worked on a Thing in Photoshop (mostly as a sketch/proof of concept before approaching a real artist to do it properly; I can't make this concept look good enough to pass for what I need it for). Experimented with using large Soft Eraser for transitions.
- Relearned how to do layer masks, which are a thing I have to look up every damn time.
- Did some sketching for a Thing.

oh. oh dear.

Sep. 13th, 2017 08:39 pm
yhlee: Jedao's motto: I'm your gun (hxx I'm your gun)
[personal profile] yhlee
When I innocently typed in "gun design software" into Google, I meant "tips on how to graphically design sci-fi guns to be used in illustration," NOT software used for designing actualfax guns!!!

Unrelatedly, in the department of flamewars waiting to happen, the Dragon is reading X-Men but can't tell whether they're DC or Marvel...

art accountability

Sep. 12th, 2017 09:06 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee


Waterman 52V wet noodle, Diamine Eclipse.

Continuing basic face and eye practice. Next up will be reading the two pages of pointers on drawing the eye (eyebrows, eyelashes).

ETA:
Ctrl+Paint du jour:
- Blending Paint (did worksheet)
- Temp Layers
- Faster Layer Shortcut Keys (now I know how to record Photoshop actions!)
- Brush Technique: Blending
- Blending Practice (worked on worksheet, not done with it)

art accountability

Sep. 11th, 2017 11:14 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee


Eh, I need to work on actualfax symmetry and this is something that will only come with practice and development of hand-eye. Also, I totally do not understand hair--I'm roughing things out based on eyeballing some of the example sketches in Jack Hamm's book but this book is also ©1963. Fortunately somewhere later in this book, if I make it that far, is a section on how to draw hair...

Drawn with a Waterman 52V wet noodle. Ink: Diamine Eclipse.

Today was mostly a loss not because it was a bad day but because my sleep was unavoidably wrecked. Such is life! On the bright side, my cat loves me. :3

This day, this day.

Sep. 11th, 2017 07:11 am
lagilman: (Seattle Wheel)
[personal profile] lagilman

Still I remember. Until I am no more, I will remember. 
Absent friends, and the friends we never got a chance to meet. The world that ended, and the world that became.

“Bear Witness”

Years pass, decades,
The revising measure of a lifetime
Entire; I stand here still,
Not stone not metal not fire but flesh
To bear the weight, to not fail nor fall some greater trust.
Rise into the skies and ne’er come down again.

© 2012, Laura Anne Gilman

(originally posted on http://www.lauraannegilman.net/this-day-this-day/)


and for those for whom it may help, I write about dealing with the emotional and psychological aftermath for #Holdontothelight: http://www.lauraannegilman.net/gaslighting-myself-a-holdontothelight-post/

A third of the way into September....

Sep. 10th, 2017 07:13 pm
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
[personal profile] lagilman
 The West is still burning.  Texas is wringing out, but Florida is underwater.  Mexico is rattled.  The Northeast, I am told, is bracing for locusts.

(Joking.  Mostly.  Kinda.  Maybe.)

I'm writing again, after a summer of seemingly endless interruptions, but not as quickly as I'd like.  On the plus side, the Patreon story-series is flowing like crazy.  I guess it's true: sometimes you have to walk away from people (characters) to want to come back to them...

and ...Pietr, you spent way too much time in NYC.

"Nobody needed that kind of tsurus, without they were working off a lot of bad karma."






on writing and being kind to yourself

Sep. 10th, 2017 08:50 pm
yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
[personal profile] yhlee
One of the hardest things I've had to learn about writing is that it is okay to be kind to yourself.

I have bipolar disorder, and when I'm depressed it's hard to get out of bed. It's very easy to beat myself up for the days when I don't get a lick of writing done. I can write when depressed. I can usually eke out even 250 words just to have something down, and I won't lie that getting something down makes me feel better in the way that doing the dishes makes me feel better: because I have this thing where I have to be doing something useful or I'm worthless. That's not exactly a mentally healthy place to be and I rather disrecommend it.

It is okay to have off days. To have days where there are things more important than getting the words down. To have days where you just have some tea (or beverage of choice) and be kind to yourself and pet the cat.

Writing can frequently be miserable and neurosis-inducing. Or anyway I often find it so, mainly because it's hard work and I'm already walking around with mental illness. It's hard not to feel that everything has to be brilliant or it's worthless, that I'll never catch up with people who write more than my plodding 2,000 words/day (which I don't even make some days).

But the truth is that writing shouldn't be punishment, and that it's healthy to do things that are not-writing because they make you happy. I can't remember what writer gave this advice but she said to schedule your social activities first, then your writing, because the social activities would keep you grounded and happy--modulo whatever level of introversion you have, I guess. I'm fairly introverted but I do like a certain minimum of getting out of the house and doing things that aren't writing, just because.

Seriously, be kind to yourself. You're the only yourself you have. Writing can happen after.

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aliettedb

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