Dec 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Bart Sears

My old buddy, Bart Sears, turns 50 today.
About 3 years ago, I started saving up to go visit him in Florida for this momentous occasion, but work and circumstances changed and that became an eventuality unattainable. I'm very disappointed that I can't be there, but I wish you, Bart, a very Happy Birthday.

Nov 24, 2013

Realms Roams

How do, folklings?
I'm back with another assortment of works found whilst wandering the Realms of Faerie. Let's have a look at what I have to show, shall we?

First up, here's a pen and ink piece I produced recently for Tim Shorts and his excellent gaming zine, The Manor.

You can see all of the details of the process over here and you can buy the zine here.
This was a really interesting piece to do. It doesn't look very difficult or overly complicated, but I found it deceptively so. For a change, I created most of the linework, especially the stone walls, door frame and door itself, using a cheap dipping quill. I wanted to do it this way because I felt that if I were to produce the whole piece with a brush, like I normally do, the thicker line weight the brush produces wouldn't look as good.
Don't get me wrong, I loooove working with a brush, but the fact remains that the thinnest brush stroke you can make is not going to be as fine or as uniform as a quill or even a fine pen. Well, it would be close, but to create a depth of field for this piece, I wanted to go super fine.
Another reason I used the quill is because I find it tough to create some textures with a brush. Most of the time, a brush is the best way to create organic matter, but stonework can be quite an unwieldy beast. The line between something that looks like stone and something way off the mark can be quite precarious. It's a balancing act of style, realism and representation.

On to the next piece, which is yet another Faerie Stone! Here's the obligatory video...


The video came out at a pretty low quality, so here's are a photo of it so that you can have a better look.

As you can see, I put a little bit more work into this one. I like to think of this one as being the first 'Faerie Stone 2.0.'
The grass at the base was made with modelling grass usually used for gaming miniatures, and the shield was made from scratch by me. This is the first in a series of sculptures I wish to produce that feature elements other than the actual stones. I'm thinking that one with a bird nest and a perched raven would look cool, another one with a sword driven into the stone like Excalibur would also be pretty neat. I think I can get together a series of 6-8 sculptures that would make a fun little sub-section for an exhibition.

Finally, I want to show off what a few folks have done with the 100 Heads pieces I sent to them.
You may recall that Tim Shorts did a post about the stuff he received.
Well, Boric G over at The Dwarven Stronghold did a matching titled post on his blog too!
And, finally, fellow Galway Pub Scrawler and thespian (who appeared as a Frey house member in Game of Thrones, I'll have you know!) Katie Creaven posted this photo on Facebook a few days ago-

 
It appears that everybody I sent work to have received their packages by this stage. I still need to get WA_side's address though. So if you see this WA, drop me a line at jaypennart at yahoo dot com.
 
So that's it from me today. I have some artwork on the drawing board that should get finished any day now. I also have some more books to review, so I'll be back before you know it. Laters!


Nov 6, 2013

Arthur Rackham's Ingoldsby Legends

I'm a big Arthur Rackham fan.
I've loved his work for the better part of twenty years now and I go through bouts of collecting old copies of his books every now and then. The first book I ever picked up was James Hamilton's illustrated biography on him, back in the mid-ish 90's.

Since then, I've gone on to pick up some great old editions such as a delicious two volume set of Wagner's Ring, the 'Arthur Rackham Book of Pictures' and many others. I tend to opt for the older editions over the new stuff, as the recent publications just don't have the charm of the old books and their musty smell, stained paper and dodgy printing. I'd love to get my hands on a nice early edition of 'Undine' or 'Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens,' that would be nice.

Another book I've wanted to find is an old copy of an Arthur Rackham illustrated 'Ingoldsby Legends.' Well, that particular search is over...

A few days ago, I was in Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, just looking around at the 'books just in' section, when I saw a book that had a spine that looked very much like a Rackham image. So I pulled it off the shelf and, wouldn't you know, this is what I found-

Obviously, it's not in great condition, the mouldy staining to the covers ain't pretty, but that is where the damage ends, the interior is in good nick for a book that was published in...

Yep, you're reading that right, 1930.

I've wanted to get a copy of The Ingoldsby Legends for a long time for several reasons. Firstly, the sheer volume of illustrations Rackham provided for it, both black & white and colour plates, makes it one of the most densely illustrated books he ever produced. Secondly, The first Ingoldsby Legends featuring Rackham's illustrations came out in 1898, with an edition following in 1907 with even more illustrations. These years mark a period of Rackham's career that were leading to true greatness. I believe that Rackham peaked at about 1909-1910. Past that point, he was producing so much work that the quality of it began to suffer (he famously did a sketch of himself in a letter where he is drawing four pictures at once, one with each hand and each foot).

But in those early days, he could put in that extra bit of effort with his illustrations. Here are some of my favourites from Ingoldsby Legends-
 Just look at that goat! Now that is a goat.

 This is one of the reasons I love Rackham. He was obviously a great illustrator, but he was also a great designer and font creator.




Even the endpapers are fantastic-

And it only cost me €15! Total woot, I'm sure you'll agree.

Oct 29, 2013

Around the Realms...

I'm back again with more stuff to show off from the Realms of Faerie.

First up, I have a new video of a Faerie Stone that I've put up on YouTube:


I couldn't resist adding a few lame and outdated effects to it, sorry about that.

I've since made another Faerie Stone, but I don't much like it, so I'll probably skip making a video for that one. But the fourth Faerie Stone is shaping up to be the best one yet! I've added some features to it to make it a bit more interesting, including- some grass, some creepers, some fungi, an old and weathered shield. I've painted the stone and the base of the grass, I'm waiting for the shield to fully dry up before I paint that, glue it to the sculpture and then add the grass. Amazingly, I had some modelling grass left from when I was working at Gamer's Realm, back in 2002. I don't think it is war-gaming grass, if memory serves, it's railway modelling grass. Anyway, whatever it is, it should do the job nicely. Look for a post on this piece next week.

I'm really enjoying all of this sculpting, it's fun and different and I'm picking up skills that are making it all the more interesting. As a bonus, I think it is going to help my drawing and painting too, as I start to visualize things in three dimensions to a greater degree. My buddy Bart Sears has been telling me for years to do sculpture to help me draw. Yet another reason why he is a great teacher.

Anywho, here's some recent sketch work, mostly just doodles, with a few future sculpting ideas thrown in for good measure.
A sad little elf girl
doodles & sculpting ideas
Hill Giant & Mountain Giant ideas
I'm definitely going to have a go at the Hill Giant sculpt, I think that could look cool.

And so another post is brought to a close. I have so much more to say and show, but time is against me this evening. The bookshop is starting to heat up for Christmas, and I'm finding myself more tired at the end of the day, even though the days seem to go by quicker. I have lots of drawing to do at the moment, so I'm trying to fight through the fatigue, with pretty varied success. But, as ever, whenever I have something to show, I'll post it up here.
Back in a bit!

Oct 25, 2013

Adventures Dark & Deep: The Bestiary

Regular readers will know that I have been producing artwork for Joseph Bloch's Adventures Dark & Deep. I've created illustrations for both the Players Manual and the Game Masters Toolkit.

Well, the last book in the set is the Bestiary and it is on sale now. I'll give all of the details at the end of this post, but here's where you can buy the book.

I produced a pretty paltry three pieces for this book. I had planned to produce a lot more, but I had a hefty plate at the time and it was a constant struggle to find the time to put into it.

Here's what I did manage to get done:
This is a Basidirond. I have absolutely no idea what it is... The description I was given was that it's a five-legged bowl with a dark liquid inside it.

This is a Bone Dragon (sometimes called an Undead Dragon) consuming bits of its latest victim. As part of the Kickstarter rewards ladder, backers could chip in extra to have their likeness depicted in an illustration. I was given a shot of the backer, a gentleman by the name of John Croddick, and was charged with placing him in the scene. John will also be receiving the original art of this illustration shortly.

This last piece is of a Pseudo-Dragon. Another backer reward option was to receive the original art of an illustration. This piece is on its way out to one Jeffrey Binder as I speak.


Now, here are the details of the book:





















TITLE: Adventures Dark & Deep Game Bestiary
FORMAT: Hardcover, Softcover & PDF
PUBLISHER: BRW Games
PAGES: 452!
PUBLICATION DATE: 11/10/2013
PRICE: US$44.95 - Hardcover
              US$34.95 - Softcover
              US$14.95 - PDF
              US$34.95 - Softcover & PDF
              US$44.95 - Hardcover & PDF

I'm not sure what Joseph has planned for the future, but I would definitely work with him again on any future projects he might have, he was a fantastic person to work with.

As for me, I still have a backlog of posts to put together. The next one will have another sculpture to show, then I might do a few book reviews and such, along with some art posts as the work gets done. I should be back in a couple of days.
See you then!

Oct 22, 2013

Tim Shorts: A Capital Fellow

Okay, the internet is finally back. And not a moment too soon, Steph was starting to She-Hulk out with the lack of it.

So I've got a lot of catching up to do! I have some things to show- sketches, sculptures, published artwork. But this first post is going to be about a rather nice fellow by the name of Tim Shorts. He's been following my stuff for a while now, he was introduced to it through Christian Walker's Loviatar zine (which I miss working on).

Tim put his name down for some of the prints I was giving away and managed to secure a bunch of the 100 Heads he liked.
Well, the package I sent him arrived last week and he kindly showed off the artwork on his fantastic gaming blog, Gothridge Manor.

I must confess to getting a kick out of seeing my artwork in other people's hands or on their blogs and such. It's an ego thing, I admit. But it's also because I like to be generous with this stuff; so seeing someone enjoying something given for the sake of giving is a nice feeling too. I've never asked for anything in return. Just because I like to give stuff away doesn't mean that the recipient should feel obliged to do anything in return. I'm not against it, mind, but it's not why I do it.

So this morning, I got these in the mail:

Tim very kindly posted some stuff back, namely the back issues of all of his zines! I must say, it put a smile on my dial. I love zines. I wish I were more proficient in gaming to put these guys to the use they deserve, but I'll be reading them closely and no doubt, enjoying them immensely.

Tim, my hat is doffed in your direction.

I highly recommend checking out Tim's blog and picking up his zines. He's obviously passionate about gaming and has a great writing voice. Give him a visit, won't you?

I'll be back in a day or so with another post or two, I have been a little lazy with the work the last month, but I can feel the drive starting to kick in again, so there'll be plenty of stuff to show in the coming weeks, I'm sure.

Oct 14, 2013

My internet has gone bunko

Greetings all, it's been over a week since I've posted something fresh, exciting, absorbing and enticing. That's because the internet connection at my home has gone somewhere far away, out of reach.
The wife is trying to get it fixed, she depends on it far more than I do, so hopefully the situation will change in the next few days. When it does, I'll have plenty to show you!

See you soon...

Oct 4, 2013

A Realms of Faerie round-up

The Realms are positively buzzing at the moment, I can tell you!
I'm churning out the Faerie Stones and applying a range of implements to paper for various effects. I'm working on stories and cooking up articles for this blog too. Here's a breakdown of what is going on.

Faerie Stones
I have one about 2 days off being dry. I'll paint that one up over the weekend and make another little video for it. This one is looking pretty good. I made another one today too. It's a tall and thin stone with a rather bulbous nose. It should dry a little quicker than the previous one, but I'm going to have to find a system of drying these things out faster, they're taking a solid week as it stands...

Realms of Faerie articles
I've got an idea for a pretty fun and detailed post dealing with Faeries and their use of organic objects for armour, clothing, ornaments and weapons. I've done up a little sketch page to play around with ideas:
More heads, I know!
I got the idea for this post from a certain seed pod, I believe from a eucalyptus, found in Australia. The fellow in the top left corner of the above drawing is wearing one. In fact, I have a whole bunch of various Australian seeding bodies that are perfect for this sort of thing.
Look for this post soon. I'll make lots of illustrations for it, I promise.

Short Stories
I'm still working away on the first story I wrote a few weeks ago. The title of that particular one is 'The Wizard's Granddaughter' and is the tale of a little girl in a dark and magical forest. Sound familiar? I assure you, this story ain't nothing like that one!

Jobs
I've just taken on a job for long-time follower, Jensan, who lives in Sweden. He wrote a really interesting set-up scene for an RPG setting and has commissioned a few artists to create images directly related to it. You can read the article over here. The idea I put to Jensan, which he liked, is this:

I'm still working up the rough, obviously...
It's basically a bunch of heroes running, petrified, away from the giant, Mr. Poppelmann, who has just turned one of their group to stone with his wand. It should be a blast to draw, there's lots of facial expressions and detail to play with.

Odds & Ends
A couple of days ago, I found about twenty sheets of this gorgeous green paper I have:
Paper in waiting...
I'd completely forgotten I had it. I'm currently coming up with some ideas for what to draw on it. I'm thinking black ink and white gouache highlighting for it, I think that look will suit the olive colour very nicely, almost in an Alphonse Mucha way.

Finally, I'm going to try and set myself a writing word count daily target of 500 words for Willow and the Otter. With everything else that is going on, it's easy for things like writing to fall through the cracks. I find it best to set targets to stop this from happening. I'll keep folks posted on how this is going. I'm hoping to have the first draft done by the end of the year or sometime in January. I don't want to kill myself doing it, so I've set a relatively soft target for it. The subsequent drafts will have more pushy deadlines.

So there you have it, that's what's going on around these parts. Busy times, as usual, really.

I'll be back with more soon!

Oct 2, 2013

Faerie Stone #1 for your viewing pleasure

Here I am again, only a couple of hours after the last post.
If you've read some of the recent things I've put up here, you'll know that I have been playing around with some clay lately. I came up with this idea to make these sculpted standing stones with faerie faces on them. I initially did up a couple of quick mock-ups to see what they would be like, but now I've finished a proper one. I made a short video of it to show him off a little:


I think he turned out pretty cool. Not super cool though. Just pretty cool. I still want to play around with the paint application and sculpting techniques, etc. But I like the stone colour, I think I have that right. I recently found three 75ml tubes of Daler Rowney Middle Grey Artist's Acrylic for a couple of Euros a pop, and it is the perfect colour. I did the base coat 100% in this colour, which is a factory mix of Titanium White, Carbon Black and Raw Umber. Then, I added some white to get a bit of layering. I like it, it's quick and simple and is the result I want.

This particular Faerie Stone is a pinch under 12cm tall. The previous mock-ups were considerably smaller, and the subsequent one (still drying) is taller than this one. But that is intentional, they'll all be different heights and thicknesses, just like real standing stones.

So, yeah, this one is for sale. I know I usually give stuff away, but this guy was a little more work than usual and I want to start making at least a little cash off of all of the work I'm doing.
I have no idea what to charge for him though. He IS one of a kind, but I don't want to charge the earth... how does €5/US$7 sound? There would have to be a shipping charge on top of that I'm afraid, but I don't think it would be much, he doesn't weigh a lot now that the moisture inside it has evaporated.

Any takers?

Anyway... I'll be back tomorrow with another post. I have some drawing work to show and a round-up of the goings on in the Realms of Faerie.
See you then.

It's raining posts!

I have today and tomorrow off, so I'm trying to catch up on blogging and a few other jobs. One of the things I simply must get done is sorting out all of the prints and 100 Heads for those people that asked for them. I have all of the envelopes and plastic sleeves I require, as well as money put aside for postage, all I need now is the addresses from people. I've contacted as many folks on the list as I could, requesting their addresses, so the parcels should start being fired off on Friday.
The only people I couldn't contact, and still require addresses from, are:
  • Tim Shorts
  • WA_Side
If you two could send me your postal addresses, I'll get you free art out to you, you can email me at jaypennart @ yahoo dot com.

For those interested parties, out of the 100 Heads I drew and offered for free, a mere 33 of them are going to a new home. All of the Troll Witch prints have been claimed, but there are still six Cthulhu prints available. I can't believe I am having so much trouble giving free art away to people!

Anywho, There'll be a deluge of posts over the coming days, sorry about that. I have a new video to reveal, some sketches and a new sculpture. Bring on the rain!

Sep 29, 2013

Jean-Baptiste Monge does it again!

This blog is rapidly turning into the Jean-Baptiste Monge Show, it seems. I've written about him numerous times, like here and here, but blast it if he hasn't gone and done it again: produced something that I have acquired that demands to be written about!

The object in question this time? This thing of immense beauty-


I saw this book a while ago, and was very tempted to but it then. But then JB started selling it in his Etsy store and I grabbed a copy very quickly. And I'm really glad I did. It is just one of the most gorgeous books I own. Here's why...

TITLE: Jean-Baptiste Monge - A World of Imagination
PUBLISHER: Trinquette Publishing
SIZE: 225mm x 218mm
PAGES: 48 pages plus front & back endpapers, a Special Thanks page and the indicia/colophon page with space for a sketch.

My particular copy had this on the indicia page-


I can't seem to figure out the precise translation of 'Trollement votre,' but I think it is something like 'Your Troll.' Whatever it is, the sketch is fantastic and I'm a very proud owner of my new Troll.

So what is the book about? Well, it's a pictorial review of some of the best artwork Mr. Monge has produced over the years. It has a great deal of work in the Faerie art realm, with plenty of sketches and watercolour pieces, as well as some rather exceptional digital work too. But it also has some more cartoony type of stuff, plus some of JB's fantasy work for books in the past, including some brilliant Dragon pieces. Here's some of the work to be found in the book-


 

I find myself loving JB's work more and more. He's so good at so many things. His colour usage is exceptional; just look at that pot in the above image, not to mention the reds in the skin and the electric blue highlighting. You can see the video of how he did that piece over here.
His basic structure is remarkably simple, but so effective. They're almost cartoon shapes, but he makes them work with his rendering. And he can do the realistic stuff incredibly well. His animals are lifelike and fit with the faeries he draws next to them so seamlessly that even the great Rien Poortvliet would admire how he handles them.

The book can be purchased over at JB's Etsy page. If you're a fan of Faerie illustration, or art in general, I really can't recommend this book enough. And hey, Christmas isn't far away, it'd make a fantastic present for that special somebody in your life. Go get it, you won't regret it!

I'll be back soon with some new sculptures and drawings of my own, probably in a few days.

Sep 19, 2013

The End is the Beginning is the End is the Beginning is the...

I have lots to show and tell today. But I want to mention for the final time that there are still plenty of free prints of the Cooking with Cthulhu piece I did a while back. You can see it, and all of the details, over here.
Also, there's still a stack of the 100 Heads in 100 Days pieces looking for a home, you can find all of the pictures that are still available on this page.

I'm going to wait another week, then I will be mailing all of this stuff, as well as the Troll Witch prints, off to the people that put their names down for them.
Once this week is over, the Cthulhu prints will still be available, but the 100 Heads pieces will be archived. I will be doing this because I want to close that chapter and start up the new one. So go get your prints and Heads now while you still can!

Okay, on to other things...

The Galway Pub Scrawl's 4th Anniversary party took place on Monday the 16th. It was a great night with a whole crowd of folks there, dining on delicious treats and creating some fantastic arts and crafts. Donal Fallon, the boss of the whole thing, put up some pictures over on the Scrawl's blog, go check it out!
You'll notice that there's a picture of me holding up a new piece I am working on, here's the pic again-


This is the main illustration from the short story I wrote last week. I will be doing a post on this image once it is completed, resplendent with progress shots to show how I go about producing such a picture, look for that soon.

One of the Scrawlers, a cool artist by the name of Mary Lillis, had a special present for me that night-


Mary works at a print and design company called Printthat at Galway University. A little while back, I asked her if she could print me up some of the business cards I designed. She came through like a champ. They look fantastic and it's great seeing my first ever business cards in the flesh. Thanks Mez, I owe you one!

In other news, the two Stonemen I sculpted last week have only just yesterday gotten dry enough for me to even think about applying some paint. Here they are-


I haven't applied the varnish to them yet, I wanted to show off the painting without having to deal with reflections and such, even if they are still quite reflective without the varnish... I think they look pretty sweet, but I need to experiment on how to achieve the desired result quicker and more effectively. I have another couple of Stonemen drying on the racks as we speak, they will be painted up some time next week. I'd like to do a couple of these fellows a week. They're so much fun to sculpt and paint! As I get a better handle on the techniques required, I'll be adding things like moss and ivy, and I'll probably have a base of grass for them too.

Now all I have to do is come up with a name for them. I'm not too keen on 'Stonemen,' especially because, in this context, stone in the language of the people that made many of the actual standing stones, is men. So, in a way, this could be translated as Men-men. Maybe something like 'Hengemen' or 'Faerie Stones' would be better.

In other news...

I'm back at work now after that blissful holiday, so the activity will slow down a pinch in these parts. I'm still hoping to put up at least one post a week though, most likely two. Regular readers will be aware that I am not above promoting other artists and writers I like. I've been picking up some fantastic books over the couple of months and I would definitely like to share some of them here. I just grabbed Wayne Reynold's new art book the other day, and there's a new Frank Frazetta book out next month, so don't be surprised if the odd book review appears here.

Other than that, all my efforts are going into the Realms of Faerie. Not all of the work I share will be the big stuff, there's still space in my crazy schedule for the odd sketch and quick colour piece too. These may not even be Faerie related at all, I STILL love Fantasy art, and I want to keep that side of my art fresh and alive.

So here's to closing one chapter, and opening another!
See you soon.

Sep 18, 2013

The Realms of Faerie roadmap

Okay, so maybe I'm not done with the path analogies...

This post is very much a companion to the previous one, and is sort of a continuation of it. Where the previous post dealt with why I want to be a Faerie craftsman, this post is going to go into more detail about how I intend to go about doing that. Let's get to it then...

First and foremost is my desire to write and illustrate Faerie books. The big one is Willow and the Otter, but that is only the first in a series of interweaving books I have in mind. These books and the stories they tell are hopefully going to be my life's work. Because of the nature of the way I have set them up, I don't envision ever running out of story ideas for them.
On top of these novel length stories, there are the shorter stories I want to continue doing. I figure I can pull off one of these, fully illustrated and edited, a month. I plan on collecting these into books at some point too, but for now they will serve the multipurpose of being portfolio builders, writing skill refiners and world populating devices.

Secondly, there will be the craft section of the Realms of Faerie. I will continue to dabble with clay, with things like the Stonemen; but I also want to create little Faerie figures once my skill level improves and I learn new tricks.
I would very much like to do some wooden sculptures too. These will be small and intricate and will vary based on the materials at hand. By that I mean, some will be carved out of blocks of wood and will be more figurative, while others may be sculpted out of unusual pieces of wood, using the existing shapes to create unique carvings. I have all of the equipment required to sculpt both in clay and wood, so hopefully there will be some work to show soon.

Thirdly, there will be the hired work. This may come in the form of commissions, or it may be proper book illustrations. This is still a little way off, I think, but it is certainly a direction I want to go in.

All of the art and crafts, be it sculptures, books and whatever else I can come up with that I think is marketable and unique, will be sold in an Etsy-type of store. My aim is to provide quality pieces at affordable prices that are original and of interest. I'm a firm believer in being generous to people that like your work. I never want to treat a fan as a source of money, I want to treat them as a person to share things with and make their attention worth their while. Earning a living is a part of it, but it's a small part for me; the love of the work and sharing it with people who like it is really what I am all about.

It is my aim to bring all of these far-reaching plans to fruition in 2014. I could go crazy and just do everything at once right now, but I believe that a slow-burning approach to the career I have planned is better suited and will be more sustainable. I don't want to be a flash in the pan, I want to be a presence of lasting quality and quantity.

It's a long road ahead. My caravan of readers is small now, and I cherish each and every companion I already have, but as we roll on down that road, I hope we can make room for more and more passengers. There will be those that wish to hop off at some point, but I'm hoping that I welcome more people than I bid farewell to.

Who's with me?

There'll be yet another post, probably tomorrow or the day after, that will have art, photos and a couple of other choice slices to reveal. See you then.

Sep 15, 2013

The state of the (my) art

It's another one of those 'pop your kettle on, it's a long one' kinda posts, I'm afraid. But the subject matter is quite important to me and is weighing on my mind. It's my art, you see, it's giving me some bother...

I want to say "I'm at a crossroads" with my artwork, but I don't think that is the term for it, as 'crossroads' can tend to have a negative connotation not too dissimilar to the saying, 'at the end of my tether.'
I think I'm actually at a T-junction. And, yes, I'm aware of my overuse of analogies involving paths and roads. But I detour...

Over the past few years, I've been getting a good amount of work in the fantasy gaming industry. I haven't yet cracked any of the big publishers, but I think I probably could if I continue on down that road. Let's call that the right-hand turn at the T-junction. Down that way, I could build a career as a fantasy artist and be pretty happy doing it. I'd still find time to do the Faerie stuff, and it is entirely possible that the Faerie stuff could take over the fantasy work.

The other option is to take this opportunity, when I have no jobs on the slate, to make my future intentions clear. This is the left-hand turn at the T-junction. I want, as I have ever wanted, to be a Faerie artist/writer and a children's book illustrator. But I also want to keep doing some fantasy stuff. I don't want to restrict my artistic horizon, but I don't want it to be too broad either. So, down this road is my artistic pursuit of choice, with some other work I like to do on the side.

This choice, left or right, has implications. If I go to the right, I will be using more paint like acrylics and oils, to the left is watercolours and pencil. To the right is heroic anatomy, armour, weaponry and settings. To the left is whimsy, trees, artistic licence and freedom.

I really want to turn left. It's calling to me more than the other road. I look at artists such as Larry MacDougall, Jean-Baptiste Monge, Brian Froud and a more recent discovery, Emma SanCartier and I want to live that life. This is not an envy thing, it's just that the lifestyle they have appeals to me. I want to be a Faerie craftsman, be it in picture form, written word, sculpture or whatever. I want it to take over my life. I want it to BE my life. I think it is what I am meant to do, I think it is what I will do.

This week's holiday has given me lots of time to be introspective. It has all timed out perfectly, actually. With the previous two holiday weeks I've had from the bookshop this year, I've had a pile of work to get done for jobs. But this week has been job free. The 100 Heads challenge also finished up just a few days before the holiday. So I've been able to give myself some time to think about the future, instead of just going from job to job.

The stuff I have been doing over the past week has helped to cement my desire to turn left, too. I've been doing some writing, a little bit of drawing, and I even pulled out some clay to see what I can come up with over the next couple of days. I've been enjoying it immensely, all of it. Why, just the other night, just before nodding off to sleep, I had one of those ideas that makes your brain burn with the intensity of it. Two of the images from the 100 Head challenge that folks seem to like more than most of the others, were the two Standing stones with faces on them that I did. Well, what if I were to make a series of little sculptures of those? I woke up yesterday morning with the desire to give that a go, so I drew some quick designs of possible options-

I was so smitten with this idea that I whipped up a couple of rough testers to get an idea of whether they could work too-

Once these are dry, I'll work up some paint on them and give them a coat of varnish too, I'll post pictures of the finished results once they're complete.

I've never really done any sculpting, I've done the odd thing here and there for family members and such, but it's not a medium I'm very familiar with. But, by goodness, it's fun. These two quick studies certainly impressed upon me the skill required to do it well, but it's something I'd definitely like to explore.

I'll be working in that self-drying clay stuff to begin with, but I'd like to branch out into wood and other materials too. If people like them, I might start making moulds and selling them, but we'll see. At this stage, it's all about being a versatile Faerie craftsman.

As far as the artistic work, it is my aim, with the aid of the short stories I am writing, to get together a portfolio of pieces that could be used as children's book illustrations. These will then be sent out to publishers with the goal of getting me some work in that field. My work in this field is more of a classical style, similar to the Golden Age of Illustration. This style hasn't necessarily fallen out of favour in the current market, but it is by no means the popular way to go. I'm cool with that. I think the work is there for that style still, it's just a case of approaching the right publishers and producing quality work.

I could, of course, simply approach a publisher with a completed book of my own and try and get it published. This is viable, but perhaps more risky. By having a couple of illustration credits under my belt, and thus, a name better known in the field, the chances of a book being accepted for publication increases. It's a safer way to go, with less likelihood of failure.

As you can see, I have far-reaching plans. I've set them up so that varying degrees of success will be sufficient; it's not a case of 'all or nothing.' I intend to make the Realms of Faerie a brand of sorts. It will be an umbrella for all of the work I put into it; be it books, art or crafts. Once I have some more things completed and to my satisfaction, I will be looking into places like Etsy to hawk my wares, some time next year, fingers crossed.

To sum all of that up:
  • It is my intention, from here on out, to focus the majority of my efforts in the pursuit of being a Faerie craftsman. There is room for other work, but the Faerie stuff is going to be my main focus.
  • I am going to be working on my Realms of Faerie stuff more than ever, mostly in the form of Willow and the Otter and the short stories.
  • I will be creating a portfolio for children's book publishers as I do this.
  • I will hopefully be branching out into other media, under the umbrella of Realms of Faerie.
  • I want to create a place for people to buy this stuff in 2014.
  • I am still available for commissions and small jobs, that won't change. But I can't be taking on big projects at this time.
  • This isn't necessarily a new chapter for me or anything like that, it is more like the setting in stone of the thing I have wanted to do since I was about 5 years old.
So, from here, things are going to get interesting. This is where it all starts, this is where my path to being a Faerie craftsman begins, officially.

Join me, won't you?

The next post, which will be up in a day or two, will go into detail a little more about what I will be working on in the coming months. Unable to resist the urge to do one more path analogy, this post will be a roadmap of what I'll be working on in the near future.
There, I'm done. I promise...

Sep 14, 2013

Spellbound!

A little while back, I mentioned that I was producing a piece for a quarterly online magazine called Spellbound. The company that produces the e-zine is called Eggplant Literary Production, you can find all of the details HERE. Buy a copy, won't you? It's a good price and great value.

Spellbound magazine is a sort of anthology of art and writing, in the form of short stories and poetry, that deals with a single topic. The topic for the issue I produced my piece for was Creatures of the Deep, Dark Woods. My kind of thing, I'm sure you'll agree.

Here's what I came up with-
Grandmother Hare
I reaalllly enjoyed working for these folks. They were an absolute delight to deal with and I sincerely hope to work with them again in the future; it was fun and a pleasure.

Believe it or not, I'll be back again in a day or two with yet another post, this one will deal with what I currently think of my art and what I want to do with it.

Sep 12, 2013

Autumn breeze, makes me feel fine...

I love Autumn, it may be my favourite time of the year.
The leaves are turning golden and brown, the undergrowth is receding, the nights begin to close in and the mornings have that pinch of crisp chill.
But not all is closing in for the coming winter. September is the time when many of those things that were blooming in the summer, now turn to fruiting bodies and seeds. The blackberries are out, the maple seeds fly far on the wind and fungi abounds.

Up in the wood, I eagerly await four things in particular this time of year, three of which have already started happening.

1. The Hazel (Corylus avellana) nut drop. Louie, our dog, loves the taste of hazel nuts (so do, I'm sure, the mice and shrews and other critters that live in the wood). I've set up nut cracking stations in a couple of spots in the wood to give Louie the odd hazel treat.

As you can see, they're not quite ripe yet, but I do find a handful a day that are.

2. The brief Wild Arum (Arum maculatum) display. Once the leaves and flower have withered away, the female plants leave these odd structures-

They're a really weak design, it has to be said. Most collapse before the berries have even ripened, as the stem is rather flimsy. They're just odd plants. These berries are poisonous and an irritant too.

3. The teeny-tiny purple fungi breakout.

I've not been able to identify exactly which species they are, but I think they are of the Entoloma family. As you can see, they have an attractive lilac colouring. They sprout in the same couple of spots every year. I love fungi, there's a green species that sometimes appears in the wood at this time of year, but I couldn't find them last year, but hopefully they'll make a return soon.

4. The Spindle Tree seed pod attack. They haven't arrived yet, but they shouldn't be too far away now. I'll take a picture when they do, they're fascinating looking.

As I was walking in the wood the other day, taking these photos, I also sighted a miniature Troll, standing on a moss covered rock:

This is a Troll figurine from the cartoon, David the Gnome, which is an adaptation of the Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet Gnomes books.
It's one of my favourite little nick-nacks. I have dozens of the Gnome figures from the series too. I'll no doubt be taking pics of them, on top of some other favourite figures.

On the work front, I finished a very short story/fable/faerie tale yesterday, and I'm in the process of working on some illustrations for it. Once they are done, hopefully in a couple of weeks, I'll post it all here. This is the first in a series of these I plan on doing, with the goal of bringing them together into a book (digital or print, I haven't decided yet) in the future.
I've also recently finished my contribution to the Adventures Dark & Deep Bestiary. I didn't contribute nearly as many pieces as I had hoped and planned, it's been a very busy summer, after all. This artwork will get its own post once the book is released, which I believe will be in October some time.

The next post will be up in a couple of days, and will actually have some artwork to show, I promise.

A reminder, too: there are still prints available for anybody that wants them. All of the details are here.

Sep 10, 2013

A writer's worst nightmare

I've been away from work for four days now and I'm feeling quite refreshed, I must say. With no deadlines or projects that need my attention, I've been able to relax for the first time this year. I've been catching up on some Skyrim (very important, especially as I'm coming up on the big 300 hours on it!) and I've even found some time to do some reading.
All of that is not to say that I haven't been working. I've started writing a little short story that I hope to have done and illustrated in a few weeks. I've also been working on my novel a little bit, which brings me back to last Friday when I had the biggest fright of my life...

I had just finished up for the evening and was officially on holiday as of that point. I packed up my things and cleaned out my drink bottle before putting it into the recycle bin. As I was placing the bottle in, I noticed a few publisher catalogues had been put in the bin too. I like publisher catalogues, especially the children's book ones. I try and keep them when I find them, as I figure they might come in handy when I go shopping for a publisher once the book is ready and I can see which publisher would be a good fit based on their existing output.
So I grabbed the catalogues and had a quick flick through them as I chatted to other staff members. Then, in one of the catalogues, I saw this:


I think I might have cussed at this point.
Here, in front of me, was a book about a Gnome and an otter. What are the chances? I'd certainly heard of the Gnome from Nome, what serious Gnome fan hasn't? But a book about a Gnome AND an otter? My heart skipped a beat, I'm sure.

On the bus back home, my mind was spinning. Did I see this book some time in the past and unconsciously regurgitated the theme? Was I an unwitting thief? Was I guilty of the very crime I so disliked in other writer's work: stealing ideas?

I've looked into the book and honestly have no recollection of ever seeing it. But that is irrelevant. The important thing is what I do now. I could, of course, change my story so that it doesn't resemble this existing one so much. I could make the otter a badger, or some other animal. But that would mean a complete rethink of the whole story. I'm not against doing that at all, but it would mean that the story simply wouldn't be as strong, it would be weakened, inevitably, by the process of altering such a core element.
Another option is to scrap the book altogether and get to work on something else. This is a scary thought and not something I want to do.
The third option, the one I'm favouring, is to keep on going with the story as it is and accept the consequences that come. Though the main characters ARE the same species, I doubt very much whether any other elements of the story are the same. The Gnome from Nome book takes place in the actual place called Nome, whereas mine is in Faerie. My book is populated by a whole array of Faerie beings that I am certain don't resemble anything in the other book; and the theme, while just as heart-warming, is very, very different.
The thought that is allowing my to sleep at night is that there are no new ideas, and there are multiples of every conceivable archetypal match-up already out there. So what if there is already a book featuring a Gnome and an otter! Does it matter if my book also has those two creatures too, done completely differently? I don't think so.
Look at it this way- I love J. R. R. Tolkien's work. I think that many of J. K. Rowling's characters are carbon copies of his ones. I used to say that Dumbledore is just Gandalf, but more colourful. But then I realised that Gandalf is just another version of Merlin, and so on.

The trick is what you do with the archetype to make it different and your own. As I'm a fan of analogies, let me put it this way- imagine you are baking some cookies. You have your baking book out and it tells you what to do and when. You pull out your cookie cutters and you see that you have one just like the shape used in the book. So you slice out a cookie in the shape of, say, a star, just like in the book. Now you have a choice, you can follow the decorating patterns the book shows, or you can do it your own way and make it yours. So instead of chocolate drops, you put almonds on, instead of a white chocolate topping, you use strawberry, etc. Once the cookie is baked, it looks nothing like the one in the book. It retains the same shape, but it tastes different and IS different.

That's what I am going to do. My book may look superficially like the Gnome from Nome one, but that's where the similarities end. In fact, as far as I can see, that is the only connection that can be made between the two. In all other aspects, from appearance of the characters, setting, book length, moral, audience, to packaging, these two books are worlds apart; quite literally, in some cases.

Thankfully, Willow and Berrie (yep, I settled on that spelling) are just two of many characters I have at my disposal. They are the lead characters in this first book, but others will step forward to fill that role in subsequent books.

I hope that Stephen Cosgrove, the writer of Gnome from Nome (as well as some 300 other books, props...), if he ever reads this, believes me when I say that I did not, in any way, intentionally use characters similar to his. I respect both the sanctity of other people's work, as well as my own ability to come up with my own characters. It's a horrible cliché to say, but it really is 'just one of those things.'

I'd be very interested to hear what other people think about this situation. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments box below.

My next post will be of a completely different nature, for those wanting to know. I'll be discussing the joys of Autumn, a Troll sighting and foragers rewards. It should be up in a couple of days...

Sep 7, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days - A postmortem

Note: There are still plenty of the 100 Heads looking for good homes, I've set up a page on this blog dedicated to listing the ones still available, go check it out right here.

My self-imposed 100 Heads in 100 Days Challenge is now over. It's done. Dusted. Finito.
It was a long road to get to here, and the road wasn't always smooth. But I kept to it; mostly to prove to myself that I could take on a longer project than I was used to and see it through.
I learned a great many things along that road to 100 Heads, here's the big stuff:
  • I CAN handle long assignments. I can juggle different assignments too.
  • I need to change the way I go about drawing (more on this at a later date)
  • Filling 100 posts with Me Facts was tough. I'm more dull than I initially imagined.
  • Experimentation with techniques and materials is fun, but it has to be treated with caution.
  • white gouache over watercolours is THE way to do flesh tones.
  • My imagination is stronger than my ability to depict what I imagine.
  • While I preach that correct structure is the foundation for a drawing, I must practice what I preach better.
  • Variety is the spice of life. Drawing 100 heads in a row was restrictive in many ways.
  • When using multiple layers of watercolour, a paper's quality is put to the test.
  • I will NEVER set such a challenge again! Not that it was bad, just that it was too constricted.
I think I progressed as an artist along the way to 100 heads. I picked up some new material techniques and stylistic progression, which made the challenge invaluable. This was definitely part of the reason that I started the whole thing to begin with: to gain more skill. I think I was successful with that, but I still have a long way to go.
That's the funny thing about progressing as an artist: Once you gain one skill or a better understanding of something, it sort of jumps ahead of you again. It's as if you were chasing a leaf that is blowing in the wind. You finally catch it and hold it in your hand, only to see another leaf go whizzing by that is even prettier and more enticing, so you start running after that one. And as an artist, there are many leaves to catch, often more than one at a time.
Personal style is very similar. I can see that the style I have now is okay, and I can apply it to anything I want to draw now (which is a great milestone in it itself), but I can easily picture the next step in my style, and I want it, bad. So that is where I want to head next.

Overall, I'm quite happy with the 100 Heads in 100 Days challenge. It WAS worthwhile, fun, exhausting, burdensome, interesting, challenging and unforgiving. I'm glad I did it. So much so that I made a little video of the whole thing:


As promised, there is another reason for this post... FREEBIES! Some of you may recall that I gave away 10 prints free to commemorate the 50th Head. Well, to celebrate to 100th Head and the completion of the challenge, I have another 10 prints to give away free. As with the previous print, all shipping, printing and packaging costs will be covered by me. All I require from you is the address you want it posted to. It won't cost you a single cent!

Here's the print in question-
As with the other print, there are only 10 copies available of it, so be quick to secure yours now! You can post a comment on this very blog post, or through my Facebook page (Jay Penn) or by email (jaypennart at yahoo dot com). So go to it. Once they're gone, they're gone for good. First in, best dressed rules apply.

So what happens now? Well, I have the week off from work and I have a couple of new posts in mind. I plan on being very active here as a general rule. I'm looking to post at least a couple of entries a week going ahead, so it certainly won't be all quiet on the Realms of Faerie front.
The next post will deal with an issue I have just, rather alarmingly, encountered: Discovering that the idea you had, that you though was so original and unique, in fact, isn't.

I'll see you then, and don't forget to put your name down for a print!

Sep 4, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #100 - Willow for the win!

Well, we've made it all the way to this, the final day of the 100 Heads in 100 Days challenge. It has been a long 100 days, and I am very glad it is over, but I'm also happy with the project and the work I did for it.
I'm going to keep this post in keeping with all of the other posts in the series, so I won't start blathering on here about what I think of the 100 Heads in 100 Days challenge. That will be covered in detail in a 100 Heads follow up post in the next couple of days. And, as promised, there will be another 10 copies of a new print up for grabs in that post as well. So do come back soon, won't you?

For now, though, I present to you, for the last time...

100 Heads in 100 Days #100
My old friend, Willow
Willow was created a looong time ago. He's the culmination of many factors; my love of Rien Poortvliet's Gnomes, the influence of J R R Tolkien on my way of thinking, my desire to do something new with an old type of creature, my love of books and my need for a particular kind of lead character. Willow fills all of those requirements. He's a Gnome, but by no means your typical garden Gnome, he has a personality close to Mr. Tolkien (or what I imagine that would be like), he's bookish and the type of character that can lead the type of story I like to come up with.
I'm going to keep any other information on Willow close to my chest for the time being, but he'll be making more appearances here in the future, no doubt.

Me Fact #100
I've made dumb decisions in my life. I've also missed opportunities through not making any decision at all. One thing I DID get right, though, was marrying my wife, Steph. She's the most important person in my life and always will be. Every early morning, every late night, every ounce of expelled energy, I do for Steph.

Sep 3, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #99 - Berrie or Berry?

Aaaaah, the penultimate head. Make sure you're here tomorrow for the moderately big finale!

100 Heads in 100 Days #99
Berrie... or maybe Berry. The purple stuff is jam, if you were wondering.
I've adored otters for many years now, they're my favourite species of animal and I've even adopted a couple of them over the years through the wonderful charity, the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) based on the Isle of Skye.
It's no wonder, then, that a major character in my book is an otter, is it? Now if only I could settle on its name. I'm torn between the spelling of it, Berrie or Berry...
I also don't think I've quite got its look down yet, the face isn't the right shape and the eyes are too close together; it's straying into bear territory a bit too much. I think I'll be doing a series of posts some time soon where I try and nail down each major character's appearance.

Me Fact #99
If I do manage to eventually get a publishing deal for the Realms of Faerie, I hope I get a say in the format and design of the books, though I know this is probably unlikely. I have pretty specific things in mind for them, though I am flexible and will defer to a better designer than myself. I think D. M. Cornish's 'Monster Blood Tattoo' books are gorgeous, and something similar would suit my Realms of Faerie books perfectly.
I want to make the books an experience to read. I want there to be lots of illustrations, naturally; but I want to do things like maps, character biographies, appendices and such. I also want to have little short stories at the end of the books dealing with specific characters. I figure that if Pixar can do it with their movies, I can do it with my books!

Sep 2, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #98 - Witchity

A mere two heads left to go after this one!

100 Heads in 100 Days #98
Witchity
This is the character I am having the most trouble with. I know how to write her; I know her personality, motivations, mannerisms and reason for being there in the first place. But I can't seem to nail down her look or her name. I think the above one is close, but she's still not quite right. I want her to look something like a typical wicked witch, but I also want to put my own slant on her and make her unique in some way. This may require a future post on the process of reaching that aim.

Me Fact #98
As it stands, I have about half of the first book of my Realms of Faerie series written, with the rest to be completed over the next year (including multiple drafts and such). I have the subsequent three books in the series roughly plotted out, with further ones very vague in my mind. I don't think I could actually run out of stories from the Realms of Faerie to write about. I honestly don't think there is an end to the possibilities.

Sep 1, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #97 - Thorntree

100 Heads in 100 Days #97
Thorntree
One of Willow's oldest and most trusted friends is a faerie by the name of Thorntree. They live quite close to each other and are often off visiting the other, sometimes they even meet in the middle unintentionally, both of them being on the way to see the other.
Thorntree runs a very successful small publishing company, called Thorntree Press, from his home. He owns a fairly precarious looking building that has three levels: his bookstore takes up the ground level, the publishing equipment takes up the next level, and there is a loft where his quarters are found. There is also a sizable garden out the back, with vegetable patches, flower beds and a few fruit trees. There is also a stable, where he keeps his trusty steeds, Foggle and Wentz.

Me Fact #97
There are so many places I'd love to travel to: Japan, Siberia, Lapland, Germany, Africa, Murrumbidgee, Nepal, Switzerland, Norway... The list of places I'm not fussed about visiting would actually be a lot smaller than the list of places I want to visit.

Aug 31, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #96 - Those pesky Piskies

100 Heads in 100 Days #96
A Piskie
The main baddy of my book is a nasty old witch, complete with warts, a big nose and a pointy hat; who I will be introducing here in a couple of days. Like any serious baddy, she has minions. In my book, these minions are in the form of dozens, if not hundreds, of Piskies.
My Piskies are winged little critters that are full of mischief and shenanigans. They aren't particularly dangerous, it's more about the purpose they serve. They have large noses and even larger ears, so they are great for guarding something. They're like a living and breathing alarm system.
Piskies feature in various places throughout the book. They're a fun storytelling tool and an easy source of humour.

Me Fact #96
I have big plans for my Realms of Faerie. But I don't want it to turn into something that doesn't fit in with the feel of it. As an example: Bookmarks = Good. Lunchboxes = Bad! 
It seems to me that so many writers and creative people want the full works for their project, they won't be satisfied until there is a deal for an awful movie and an even worse computer game lined up. I don't want that. All I want is to be able to find an audience for the Realms of Faerie that allows me to produce books and closely related items for the rest of my life. Is that too much to ask? Probably, but that isn't going to stop me from trying for it.

Aug 30, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #95 - Brairbriar

Oooh, I can taste that finish line now, it tastes yummy!

100 Heads in 100 Days #95
Brairbriar
The closest town to Willow's home holds a pub owned by a fellow who goes by the simple name, Brairbriar (pronounced to rhyme with rare-liar but with the b's in there too).
Brairbriar is an odd one, no mistaking. He's big and burly, with meaty hands and deep-set eyes. He also likes to make sculptures and invent things for the pub out of his favourite material: potatoes. He makes all sorts of things out of them, including the drinks he sells at his pub. He's quick to anger, but just as quick to laugh. Once you find yourself in his favour, there's nothing that is within his power to do that he won't do for you.

Me Fact #95
I have an I.Q. in the mid-130's. You'd think I'd be smart, then, but I'm always making stupid mistakes and all-too convincingly playing the fool. I'm really slow to catch on with things, so I'm gullible and often way behind in conversations. I'm yet to find a useful and practical application for that I.Q. score...

Aug 29, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #94 - Mossters

100 Heads in 100 Days #94
A Mosster
As Willow and Berry travel further north in search of their destination, they enter thickly fogged swamps that nearly claim them and drag them to their depths. They are nearly running out of food and fresh water and the endless slog through the difficult swamps drains their strength even further. Just as they are about to give up hope, they spy a massive, hulking creature coming toward them. They try to flee, but the monster is upon them before they know it...
The monster they encounter is a Mosster, a giant of a creature that is covered in moss. They are actually very gentle souls, as Willow and Berry will discover.

Me Fact #94
Continuing on from yesterday, here's a few more authors I like: D M Cornish, William Horwood, James Silke, Edgar Rice Burroughs, James Barclay, Terry Brooks, Dennis L. McKiernan and Gavin Maxwell.

Aug 28, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #93 - The River Dragon

100 Heads in 100 Days #93
A River Dragon
Just before they cross paths with Mother Wolf and her cubs, Willow and Berry have to cross a stone bridge to continue on their journey. As they are crossing the bridge, a River Dragon swims downstream and under the bridge. Willow has never seen one before, and it sends him dashing into the cover of a hedge on the other side of the bridge, nearly into the path of Mother Wolf.
A River Dragon is an immensely large creature, and by large, I mean long. It is said that if you can see a River Dragon's head, you can't possibly see its tail. The average River Dragon is about a mile long, with the older specimens extending to almost double that.
But they are not to be feared. The are herbivores that survive on plants that grow by a river.

Me Fact #93
My reading habits seem to be changing immensely these days. In the past, it was all fantasy or nothing at all. I had/have a preference for the old school fantasy such as Tolkien and David Gemmell with a bit of Modern Fantasy in the vein of Charles de Lint or Robert Holdstock mixed in. But these days, I'm reading a lot of books on writing and even some Non-Fiction. Gasp! I know...
Mind you, even the above mention of Mr. Charles de Lint is enough to make me want to pull down 'Moonheart,' 'Spiritwalk' or 'The Little Country' and give them a read, it's been a while.

Aug 27, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #92 - The Goblin Guard

100 Heads in 100 Days #92
A Goblin Guard
The Goblin Guard is something I came up with many years ago. They're a traveling group of Goblins that offer their 'services' as guards and protectors to customers who don't know what they really are: a marauding gang of thugs and thieves that will take their fees and run before the job has even started. This way, they always remain one step ahead of the reputation they leave in their wake.

The Goblins in the group come in all shapes, sizes, colours and degrees of wickedness and stupidity. They share one thing, though: they all wear the uniform of the Goblin Guard, which is essentially a black, tight-fitting hood. The rest of their clothing is up to them, and is usually the typical Goblin attire, scraps of clothes and metal beaten into armour.

In my book, the Goblin Guards appear fairly early on, but again, only in one scene. They have their own story to tell though, it interweaves with Ageric's story quite a lot, but their exploits are worthy of standing alone.

Me Fact #92
I'd like to find the time to do some sculpture pieces next year. I've always wanted to sculpt Faeries out of clay or carve them out of wood. I've done a few pieces for my mother and father over the years, but I'd like to create some figures to sell as one of a kind pieces. We'll see what the new year brings. 

Aug 26, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #91 - Orbus the Wizard

100 Heads in 100 Days #91
Orbus the Wizard
This is Orbus the Wizard, one of the greatest wizards to ever call the Realms of Faerie home. He is so great, in fact, that his skill has become an utter nightmare for him.
You see, Orbus has advanced his skill and knowledge in the magical arts to the point where he need only utter a word, such as 'lollipop,' and he will turn into that thing. As you can imagine, he has to be careful of every word he says. As a result, he doesn't talk much, nor leave his tower very often.

He's another character that appears very briefly in the book; but again, I'd like to give him his own story.

Me Fact #91
I don't believe in fate, providence, luck or fortune. The way I see it, everything is chance and timing. It's probably a good thing that I think this way, as Steph and I have never attracted much in the way of luck or fortune.