Friday Roundup: Vacation edition

I'm on vacation this week, off gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest, getting back to my roots while drinking excellent cappuccinos and craft beers and Columbia Valley wines. Hence, this is going to be a quick one.

First up: Glitter Princes. Here's Smitty, the rattiest and meanest of this glamorous gaggle of spies. His cover is an auto mechanic. He doesn't get along with his fellow Glitter Princes (well, except for Rob--everyone gets along with Rob), largely because he assumes none of the others are taking their life-and-death missions seriously enough. He's probably right.

I have trouble with Smitty's hair. Apart from being a glamorous redhead, he needs to have some clean, clear way to differentiate him from the others, especially Etienne and Marcel (Sebastian and Rob sorta have their own visual thing going). I've more or less decided he should always have a shaggy mullet, which he often yanks back into an unkempt ponytail.

This is a page from my sketchbook with doodles of Sebastian, Etienne and Marcel. Sebastian sums up my feelings about late summer in general:

Book news: Luft Books is closing in on its three-year anniversary, which means it's been three years since the release of Bias Cut. Bias Cut has done well for me, but sales have slowed, and I figure it's time for a minor makeover. I love, love, love the cover that the wonderful and talented Morgan Dodge originally designed for me, but in the interest of keeping things fresh, I'm switching it up. Over the next few weeks, I'll be rolling out a brand-new cover for Bias Cut, one that plays up the whole murder-mystery aspect more. Sneak peek at my new cover art, which is still a work in progress:

(For a very long time, I was resistant to the idea that Bias Cut is a mystery--I wrote it intending it to be general fiction dealing with the emerging bond between two unlikely soulmates, Laurie and Nicola; that their bond developed whilst they were busy dodging murderers and unraveling a mystery seemed somewhat incidental to me. And then my Publishers Weekly review came out, and the very first sentence started out with, "In this fresh and dark mystery...", and it sort of dawned on me that, hey, I think I wrote a mystery novel.)

Sadly, there's no time to make it over to Spokane on this vacation. We're starting off in Seattle, then heading over to Tacoma for a friend's wedding, then dipping down into Portland to visit with relatives, and all of this is stretching us pretty thin as it is. I'm going to close this out with a weird but awesome bit of Spokane memorabilia: Here are some pages from the menu of Cyrus O'Leary's, a much-loved Spokane landmark (it closed back in 2011). In a fit of nostalgia, my sister purchased the menu on eBay. It's pretty cool--I love the cover, inspired by Alphonse Mucha's Bieres de la Meuse, and the clever marginalia on the menu pages is great. And the food sounds damn good, too.

Clever, clever! The cover artwork is credited to Tim Lord; Randy Clare provided the interior graphic. Nicely done, guys.

That's all I've got. More next week when I'm back in New York.


DKoren said…
I've been meaning to comment on several posts, and time keeps slipping sideways on me. Anyway, I am loving the Glitter Prince glimpses. And as much as I love the first Bias Cut cover, this one is shaping up to be really nifty. And that is an amazing menu. Really cool. Hope your trip was fun!
utenanon again! said…
I feel like height is going to best differentiate those three, in the end. Height, build, and taste in clothing, since they're all slightly different in those respects.

Speaking of that, while I'm here, another piece of advice: While How to Draw Comics is great for learning dynamic posing, it's not going to explain to you why things are working the way they are in your humans' bodies. (At least, I don't think it does, it's been a long time since I last read it.) For that, I recommend Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy. Artistic Anatomy is supposed to be ~the classic, and it does have nice diagrams of the muscles and bones in the back of it, but it's pretty dry and I've always struggled to get through it.

(Of course, you're never going to draw, like, the tendons in the knee or something else super-tiny, which a dedicated anatomy book will throw at you. But even a simplified cartoon style benefits from knowing where the major muscle groups should be!)

And one last thing! All of these art books are going to talk about heads in the context of making ideal proportions. Ideal proportions definitely do not apply to the short Durans - er, Princes. Even the tall ones aren't eight heads high or whatever the book you're reading tells you to draw! Know how things relate to one another, not just the ideals. Use your head, not their heads!

...And that's everything I can think of to offer. (I don't know how much of that you already knew, though... ^^;) Good luck! (or since this is sort of anime-esque, がんばって!)
Morgan Richter said…
DKoren -- got back from vacation late last night (fantastic but exhausting), getting caught up on comments now. Glad you approve of the new Bias Cut cover! I liked the old cover a lot, but I figure after three years, it's time to keep things fresh and do some tweaking. We'll see how it goes.

utanenon again! -- どうもありがとう! Yeah, I have anatomical drawing books for reference, and while a lot of it doesn't apply to what I'm trying to do (like you say, tendons and such), it's all good to know, or at least to have the info readily available. I figure the important thing is just to keep sketching as much as possible.

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