Thursday, February 24, 2011

Commission Drawing 2

Current word count: 99,000 (100,000 needed for level up!)
Listening to: the Last Samurai soundtrack



I've decided that the prospect of a romantic relationship with a woman is detrimental to the creative process. If I ever want to finish this novel, I'm going to have to take an actual tonsure.

That doesn't really have anything to do with the topic of this blog.



I mentioned in my last entry that I had commissioned a second artist to do a drawing of two characters. Well, after a month of wrestling with the language barrier (the artist is Brazillian) the drawing is in. Is it perfect? By no means. Am I much more satisifed with it than with the previous? You'd better believe it.

I figure this is a good opportunity to talk a little more about the process by which the Linus character came about, as, if you haven't guessed, he is one of the subjects. The other is Tru. For those of you who have been following the story, this should come as no surprise.

The Linus character has been fun to interact with for a number of reasons. First, he provides, on occasion, an opportunity for some comic relief in a story that is otherwise quite serious. Second, his moral integrity stands in stark contrast to the vendetta-driven quest of Tru or the political spiderweb on which the Citadel rests. Third, some of his bantering with Tru may or may not be heavily influenced by my relationships with certain girls, and, perhaps, if you want to get snarky about it, one in particular.

I digress.

I like Linus, and I've been quite happy to see that readers do, too. One of the darlings in my life recently summed him this way: "He's [Tru's] anchor." Which I think is a good way to describe him. To a point, every story needs static characters. To say how much of one Linus is would be spoiling things. He is kind of an "anchor" amidst tumultuous circumstances. To a point, his role in the story is very much defined by his relationship with Tru; this is intentional. However, I also recognize the importance of not having a character be so defined by his or her relationship to other characters that he or she can't stand on his or her own. I don't want Linus to be someone who has no substance without Tru, and even if he is always shown with her, I want readers to feel that he himself could carry a story.

I realized early-on that Tru needed a friend who would function as a filter for her aggression and would call her back to temperance. Because of Tru's strong personality and the nature of the relationship between her and this friend, it always seemed apparant to me that this "anchor" character would be male--not a dominant, pushy or aggressive male, but, rather, one whose strength lied in his civility and wisdom.

Even with that knowledge, Linus came about as I wrote, his character defined by his interactions with Tru. I can't claim that too much conscious thought went into him. His character has progressed alongside the story, and, happily, he fits very well.

Likewise, Linus' physical appearance was not something I put nearly as much thought into as I did with Tru. The things I knew for sure were: he would be younger than Tru, he would be a character with calm demeanor, he would have red hair. Thus, the first description of his physical appearance reads,
He scratched the back of his head, looking a little embarrassed. His unkempt orange hair hung down to the tip of his nose, covering his mauve irises and the boyish features of his face. It was wrapped in a short ponytail that pushed out from the back of his head like a stiff, bristly paintbrush. Although he looked like he still needed a few years to grow into his frame, there was a tilt of wisdom to his voice.
Linus' physical appearance is thus defined:

1. Red hair.
2. Young.

Though, as I began working on him in The Sims 2, I decided that I wanted him to look sort of Irish. That would explain the busy eyebrows, shown below.

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There were a lot of problems with this initial draft, and I was very displeased with his look. His face is too gaunt, thus making him look old, not young, and his eyes are too big and dog-like, thus making him look not very wise. As with the process of creating Tru, a lot of the issue lied in my lack of custom content for the Sims 2. Thus, after two straight days of downloading (again, feel free to consult my room mate about this, I was able to find some content that helped Linus look a little bit more like Linus:

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He looks a lot more like my vision, however, his hair is way too high-maintenance, and his face is still sort of gaunt. His eyes are also not as calm as I would like.

I thus returned to the drawing board, and came up with this final version of the character, with which I am well-pleased:

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His skin is smoother, the curves in his face are more alike to youth, his eyes are definitely more chill, and the hair is more what I have envisioned. It's not perfect, but there's only so much that can be done with limited resources! I've kind of grown accustomed to it, though. I would say to any reader: imagine it in the style shown, but more disheveled. That's Linus.

The images, of course, were important for the work of my Brazillian concept artist, to whom I also provided the uniform of a male Magister:

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So, when all of that is put together, you get one of my favorite people ever:

Linus Closeup

Yeah!

And, since you're probably wondering, here is the picture of Linus and Tru together:

Tru & Linus

Yeah okay, Tru looks like she has to pee. But overall I think the drawing is an improvement, it's more consistent with my vision, and Linus looks pretty darn good.

More drawings to come? We'll see. At the moment, I'm focusing on finishing the 20th chapter and bringing the first act of the novel to a well-deserved CLOSE.



If you've stuck with me this long, you, as usual, have my gratitude.