Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New outfits
So happy to be drawing at this again. Her unrestrained enthusiasm makes my day.

As you see, the boys have new outfits.

Stephen, as the grandson of the deceased, is ready to leave off the black and wear colors again. Allan, a son, should be wearing black for some months yet, but he wanted to show off his handsome new coat to his dear Sally. And how did that work out for him...?

Fashions have changed slightly. The skirts of the coats are less full, the cuffs less wide. Later in the decade, "big hair" will catch on, but that's a couple years off.

Looking at European portraits of the time, the gentlemen tended to wear bright jewel tones, the ladies pastels, and anyone in dull colors is working class. Men in American portraits tend toward more earthy tones of green, brown, and rust tones. Gainsborough is a good artist to refer to, since he worked both sides of the Atlantic.

There was never any question of what color Allan would wear: a blue that sets off his eyes. Stephen was more of a challenge. Purple is too royal a color, orange too modern. Perhaps I should have gone with yellow/gold, but he would be constantly upstaging Allan. Allan should be the more visible of the two. Green would have been a good color for Stephen, but it would fade into the greenery too well. Bright red was too attention-getting, so I went with a dull rust red, although he could afford better. He seems like a person who would be happy to fade into the background.

There should be an extraordinary amount of trim, embroidery, and buttons on this, but that takes too much time to draw for every page. I settled for adding more lace and ruffles.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Siloen's song

That last post was a bit sad. So hey, I was listening to this song today, and it's so beautiful I thought I would share. The theme is from a short-lived rather apocalyptic anime series called Arjuna. Arjuna's main flaw was that the soundtrack was several times better than its plot. This theme didn't even make it into the series, although it was the gem of the third soundtrack, which was mostly odds&ends. The lyrics are not in any known language, and my only complaint about it is that it is way too brief, because I could listen to it just about forever.

If there is one song that most evokes the character Siloen, this is it.

Darn, now I need to find themes for each of them. I'll take suggestions....

Also, I highly suggest the 1st Arjuna soundtrack, Into the Another World, for getting into a creative mindset. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever heard.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Parenting in the fantasy genre
So hey, maybe it's time for me to explain what this story is about, at least a little bit. Why I'm writing it.

-I enjoy reading fantasy. I have a creative mind and like to exercise my imagination. But the number of clich├ęs drive me to distraction. It's as though they pick from the same limited list of storylines, conflicts, and character types. It's like they all go to the same place, by the same route, when I want to go somewhere different. Somewhere new.

-Art is my therapy. This story says more about me than I like, probably. Hopefully I've obscured my hangups enough that they're not too obvious. If they are, well, keep it to yourself.

-It's the chance to question certain mainstays of the fantasy genre. Does love always have to be at first sight? Does fantasy always have to be epic and world-changing? Do characters have to be good or evil, or can they just be people, once in a while?

So, this post was triggered by this scene here. It begs some explanation. I got to say, these are two very dysfunctional families, and we've barely even met most of them.  Parents in fantasy are pretty static characters, usually:  a. conveniently dead b. evil as a plot device c. if they somehow get cast as main characters, probably on a quest to rescue their child. That's about it. (Bravo, Lois McMaster Bujold, your books are the exception).

I don't think I've ever seen a parent who was mentally ill, where mentally ill isn't equal to evil or abusive. Substitute overwhelmed, if you like. Depressive or unreliable would also do. I favor unreliable. Sometimes he's got it together, and other times he needs to be rescued from himself. Not going to say why, yet, that will come later.

I do know that not a word is said about it. Ever. Aille and Soreny share a look. That look says everything that needs to be said. As for why I know about that look, refer back to the Art is my therapy paragraph above.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Three very special old books (book geekery)

I sold one very special book today on Ebay, and listed two more. This is all for work, so it's not like I benefit outright, but I do take a certain pride in it.

The book that sold was an oversized Bible printed in Cincinnati in 1852, and it had an older family register sewn into it. Hand-penned records of the births and deaths of the Smith family covered 1756 to 1901.

That's pretty special.

The Memoir of Elder William Conrad was printed in 1884, and never reprinted. He was born in 1797 when we were barely a nation. But he wasn't too old to autograph and write an inscription in his memoir by the time it was published. This Baptist travelled all over the Midwest and what he called the Far West- the western territories before they attained statehood. He founded a church in Kentucky, and a lot of people trace their ancestry back to him. So I hope this book goes to someone with a personal interest in it.

The other book was a copy of Civic Biology by George William Hunter. At a glance, it's just an old high school textbook. However, it is the 1914 textbook that started the 1925 "Scopes Monkey Trial" by putting evolution in the curriculum. We were descended from monkeys?? No way! It was the media circus of its day, lots of celebrities involved, spawned a play I had to read for high school lit, etc. Wikipedia has the details.

Interestingly enough, the post-trial printings of the book removed all references to evolution (and included an expanded chapter on eugenics, which is a whole different nasty topic). But this is the 1st edition, just as John Scopes would have taught it. If you're a science geek, kind of cool.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Delayed, not defeated

Well, another couple weeks have gone by without a word from me. A great part of it is: I have tried for 3 months to write Chapter 8, and it is just not working. I mean, the adventures of two young men, going shopping, unsupervised- and this is Allan, so interesting things just occur, even if he didn't quite start them. I try to do a chapter a month, so to stall for 3 months on a single chapter and still have nothing is...disastrous.

So, I am skipping ahead to Chapter 9, back in the country, and will have to get back to Chapter 8 at a later date. I don't want to quit over something so stupid, and I don't want to post something I'm not satisfied with either. That's just how it's going to be.

My car was totaled by a deer. I couldn't find anything used that I felt good about buying. Flat tires, coolant lights on, and the asking prices were astronomical. Of course you never pay asking price, but they could count on selling anything under 10k to someone, so there wasn't much incentive to come down on price, and I was pressed for time. I bought a new Honda Fit, gritted my teeth and took out a 3 year loan, and kissed vacations goodbye for the next 3 years. My income and expenses are now exactly equal. Sometimes I'm not as smart as I mean to be.

So what else...?
I've learned a few new, fun tidbits of information:

That funky ledge inside some teacups is NOT there to hold the spoon....
It was to keep tea from ruining your carefully groomed mustache. A very Victorian fad.
The link goes to Wikipedia's blurb on mustache cups.

Victorian were quite serious about their nativities, or putz, putting as much time and effort into them as they did with Christmas trees. Too bad so many of the animals were made of lead! Incidentally, putz is derived from a German word which means "to clean or to decorate." However, in Yiddish it is slang for a penis.

It seems I didn't properly dry my acorns, and they developed mold. I didn't feel safe eating them, even boiled. But apparently some Korean grocers stock acorn flour, so if I want the actual taste sensation, I can buy some to experiment.