31 August 2010

Satyrs, Again

I decided to tackle the colouring of my steampunk satyrs digitally (though I may also do a pen/ink and watercolour version later. Here's the cleaned-up scan of the pencils.

I have to decide now if I want to add the background elements first, then colour, or colour, do a background separately, and then drop the one on the other.

30 August 2010

Work in Progress: Steampunk Satyrs

On the drawing board (or, rather, in the sketchbook):

Now I have to decide if I'll scan it and attempt digital colouring, or transfer it to watercolour paper and do pen and ink with watercolour. Or both.

Also, I need a background. I'm thinking a vague futuristic cityscape with neo-Victorian and Atomic Age elements. Too bad I'm worse at cityscapes than I am at clothes.

28 August 2010

A Few New Books: Fans and Rayguns

I added a couple of things to the Etsy shops today, items I've been working on over the last little bit.

One is the first of a series of little raygun journals. You may recognize them as the monochrome spectrum books I posted a while back, only with monochrome paper rayguns on the covers.

The black one (way above) is now listed in my anagramforink Etsy shop, and the white one (above) will probably go up tomorrow. The actual spectrum of colours will follow soon after.

I've also got a handful of little greeting cards with the same motif, only in more colourful versions. I'll post more about those in a few days, once I get organized and get them posted for sale.

Second, I finished and posted a transforming book. Well, not really, but it works as both a blank journal and a fan. It arose from me complaining about the heat and BillyZ saying, in jest, that I should make myself a book-fan (or fan-book). So I did. The blue one (above) is now listed in my WhiteRavenArts Etsy shop. The red/gold one (below) will remain unlisted until I order some brass screw posts which I plan to do soon, as soon as I decide what else I can't live with from the same supplier.

24 August 2010

[BFG] Recent Reading: Mostly Manga

You know, for some reason I thought I had a lot more books I started ages ago and finally finished to put on the list this time, but actually there are none. Well, one novel that took me a while to get through, I guess. But I see I've mostly bee reading comics lately, and most of those comics are manga. There is a reason for that, and for some of my other reading, that I'm not quite ready to reveal, but more on that later, maybe.
  1. Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi (fiction) buy from amazon
    Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 1
    I like anime, as you may have figured out, and sometimes I like to find the original sources of favourite films and series. Often it's manga, but almost as often, it's a novel. Vampire Hunter D was one of the first anime movies I saw (though not the first anime--that would be G-Force), and while it's actually not very good, it has those gorgeous designs by Yoshitaka Amano. Well, the novel isn't very good, either. In fact, it may be worse. Sure, it evokes some delicious weird futuristic horror, but that's in spite of the terrible prose. Which may be an indication that the original Japanese novel is quite good and it's the translation that's lacking. I don't know, but it's well enough liked that the novel got 20 sequel novels. I haven't decided if the weird atmosphere and Amano's drawings are enough to get me to pick up another one. 

  2. Once by James Herbert (fiction) buy from amazon
    Once, I probably would have liked this novel, but now it just feels like something other writers have done before, and better. I think it's because it seems like Herbert thought fairies would be a cool thing to use in horror novel, but doesn't have much invested in it. What I mean is, fairies are cool, but they're a decoration. Er, not that's not quite right. And I may very well be totally wrong. Anyway, it was an OK book, but not one I'll ever read again.
  3. White Cat by Holly Black (fiction) buy from amazon
    White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1)
    Now here's one I'll treasure and read over and over. I loved Black's faerie urban fantasies, but this time she goes for magic, curses and conmen. Very cool, and I'm so looking forward to the next book.
  4. Spice and Wolf Volume 1 by Isuna Hasekura, art by Keito Koume (comics) buy from amazon
    Spice and Wolf, Vol. 1 (manga) (Spice and Wolf (manga))
    In this case, I haven't actually watched the anime yet (it's in the to-watch pile, though). I started with volume 1 of the manga, but I've also got the first two novels waiting on the shelf. The art is lovely, the story is engaging, and the worldbuilding is pretty well-done. This is a series I'll add to my regular books (or, at least, the ones I keep trying to catch up on, since "regular" is not a term applicable to my comic-shop trips seeing as I live in the sticks).
  5. Shaman Warrior Volume 4 by Park Joong-ki (comics) buy from amazon
    Shaman Warrior Volume 4 (v. 4)
    And this is one of those "regular books" I keep trying to catch up on. I haven't found very many Korean comics I like, and I'm not sure why. Possibly because the ones that get published in English are usually the ones that most closely imitate Japanese comics instead of going their own way (I may be wrong about that, and it might just be the comics I happen to have looked at). But Dark Horse seems to be really good at choosing books to translate. Shaman Warrior has a similar combination of gorgeous art, intense action and gripping storytelling that made me love Blade of the Immortal (not Korean, but also published by Dark Horse). Plus the beautiful covers are irresistible.
  6. Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith (comics) buy from amazon
    The Great Cow Race: 2 (Bone Series)
    I couldn't remember how far I'd got in this sweet, funny fantasy comic, so I started with volume 2 again. Plus, it was what I found at the library in Truro (checked out with my shiny new Colchester County library card). This is a great all-ages book with plenty to delight kids, and intelligent writing for grown-ups.
  7. How to Spot a Fox by J. David Henry (non-fiction) buy on amazon
    I love foxes, and this slender book is full of very cool info (including advice for wannabe fox biologists) and fantastic photos. This was also a Truro library find.
  8. American, Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (comics) buy from amazon
    American Born Chinese
    Love this book. Simple, cartoony, but skillful drawings and quiet storytelling. I wish I didn't have to take it back to the library, because I will definitely want to read it again.
  9. Anime Explosion by Patrick Drazen (non-fiction) buy from amazon
    Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation
    Ignore the terrible cover and read this book if you're interested in anime. It's one of those rare scholarly-level books that are also completely accessible to the casual reader. It's got thematic chapters, like sex, religion, war, mothers, death and the like, and chapters on specific series and/or creators. This is the second time I've read it, and I only wish there was an updated version.
  10. xxxHolic Volume 9 by CLAMP (comics) buy from amazon
    xxxHOLiC, Volume 9
    Here's another series I'm slowly trying to catch up on. Though I can't say I've loved everything CLAMP has ever done, they do tend to make interesting stories with super-stlyish character designs. Plus, this one crosses over occasionally with the next item on the list. Oh, and there are oden-selling foxes and a creature called a pipe fox that I really, really wish was real because I want one!
  11. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Volume 9 by CLAMP (comics) buy from amazon
    Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Volume 9
    Another stylish book from CLAMP that I'm hopelessly behind on. This series is (sort of) connected to Cardcaptor Sakura. I've actually read this volume once before, but there's no "previously . . ." blurb, so I went back to refresh my memory a bit before continuing the series.
  12. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Volume 10 by CLAMP (comics) buy from amazon

    Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Volume 10
    And after volume 9, I kept on reading . . .
  13. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Volume 11 by CLAMP (comics) buy from amazon
    Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Volume 11
    . . . and reading
And about those "buy from amazon" links, it's the usual affiliate deal. Buy something via those links and I get a little bit of money from the sale. I solemnly swear that any money I get will go towards more books and geeky things to write about here. Total amount made from amazon so far = $0. Yay! Also, I use the image ones primarily to have pretty pictures on the blog.

BEST Collaborative Book, Finally Complete

It was supposed to have been finished a couple of weeks ago, but due to teaching and various other time-sucking events recently, I only just finished and photographed my book for the BEST (Bookbinding Etsy Street Team) collaborative book project. You can see the pages I made for this project in progress here, here, here, here and here.

Because time was short, I opted for a simple Coptic binding, decorated with ceramic beads and luscious marbled paper. In the end, I think the binding worked perfectly. The brown leather and green thread and green lining paper and flower motif on the beads were chosen to fit the garden theme of the poem.

I especially love how the blue in the marbled paper reflects the blue on the opening page of the poem.

For more BEST books, go to Etsy and search handmade items for the keyword "bookbindingteam."