Spreadsheets for 2014

There was supposed to be a whole thing where I write about Eirtakon and all the wonderful people who came by and recognised me and my art and actually bought quite a lot of it, but… here’s the thing. I came home from Eirtakon, and immediately got sick. And then I had to scramble to catch up on all the commissions and other work I’d neglected in favour of preparing for a con, attending a con, and coughing my lungs out. So I never got around to it. But it was a really great experience, I had a brilliant time, and everyone was amazingly wonderful.

That was in November. Exactly a month ago, actually. Wow, I’m slow. I also didn’t win NaNoWriMo, by the way. It turns out that convention prep and sickness don’t mix very well with NaNo. But on the plus side, November is over and we’re even past the whole solstice nonsense so now the days will get longer again. Whew.

Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate!

An alternate version of the SPN Christmas card I made.

(If you don’t celebrate Christmas or anything else, just enjoy the picture, or ignore that part.)

And here are my presents for you – spreadsheets. I made some for 2014. Not quite as many designs as for NaNo, though, because formatting 12 sheets for every file takes ages and I just don’t have the time. I might post up more if I get them finished, but yeah, it’s time-consuming to make all the graphics and change all the colours and so on. Here are the ones I made:

Word-Tracker-2013---Forest-Fairy-preview Word-Tracker-2013---Pirate-preview Word Tracker 2013 - Huntsman - preview Word Tracker 2013 - Steampunk - preview

Download links are here – again, I uploaded them all to Dropbox, if you have any problems with downloading them just let me know. Instructions are included, and I think they’re pretty straightforward to use anyway.

I might end up making more designs if I get the time, and if I do I’ll do a follow-up post. If you want a specific one of the NaNo designs adapted, I’ll do it, but I’ll give priority to requests from people who’ve made a donation. If you want a custom design using a different picture or theme, I’ll only do that in exchange for a donation. Sorry, but with the amount of stuff already on my plate and the amount of time this takes, I just can’t do it any other way.

Edit: There are now more spreadsheet designs featuring Supernatural and Once Upon A Time themes, see and download them here!

In the meantime, I hope you like this lot, and happy writing!

NaNo, bandwidth, and assorted weirdness

My webhosting provider sent me an email telling me I’m running out of bandwidth. I looked into it and wow, my spreadsheets have been seeing a lot of downloads. You people are crazy. And I’m crazy for uploading the damn things to my website instead of using a free filesharing service.

So I’ve changed the links. They’re still the same spreadsheets, they’re just hosted on Dropbox now because I’ve already upgraded for more bandwidth once now and it still went over the limit. They want more money from me now. Eep.

I got an offer for a sponsored blog post the other day, but I turned it down. The company, which shall remain nameless, wanted me to tell my readers that I’m using its service. I’m not using its service, though. And I’m not about to start lying to people for money.

I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo at the moment, in between working on art stuff. Some of it is commissions, some of it new personal work and prints for Eirtakon. Have an example!

Closeups from my WIP featuring, well, you know who.

Sammy, Cas and Dean from that one show I can’t stop watching.

I don’t know if I mentioned Eirtakon before, but I will be there, in the Artist Alley, showing off and selling my stuff! I’ll have new pendants, curse boxes, bookmarks, and of course prints. So if you happen to be around Dublin at the end of November, come see me and all the other lovely talented folks who will be there!

And speaking of art, here’s my recent stuff!

Is she fleeing from something, or confronting it? Is she venturing somewhere new? Who is she, anyway? The story is up to you. Digital work | 2013.  A young Hermione Granger reading "Matilda", a book about a smart little girl who loves books and can move things with her mind, and deciding to try moving the nearest object at hand. Digital work | 2013.  Pencil portrait of Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor, aka The Huntsman, and so on. Graphite and coloured pencils | A3 | 2013

Aaaand even more stuff because I have a behind the scenes photo from when I worked on the Chris Portrait.

Here's where and how I work! Monitor with the reference, paper pad with the work in progress, and lots of pencils.

Hell yeah behind-the-scenes stuff. And hell yeah I work on the floor like a little kid, because that’s the most comfortable place, and unlike sitting at my desk it doesn’t hurt my arm. And this way I can spread my pencils and other materials out as far as I want without having to worry about anything falling off my tiny desk, too. (It’s not that tiny. But as far as I’m concerned, every desk is too small.)

I think maybe NaNo has me a bit frazzled already. I don’t have an outline yet, although at least I know how it starts and ends and how most of it works out. Which is more than I’ve had for some years in the past, and less than I’ve had for others. I’m just going to call it a happy compromise and go with that, I think.

So yeah, I have more art now. And no bandwidth left, but tomorrow’s a new month and we can start over. Anyone for more spreadsheets?

Misha Collins portrait – process outline

It seems that people are actually interested in process outlines and work-in-progress shots and stuff like that, which surprises me even though I’m interested in other people’s process and WIPs. But my own? I know my own process. I’m the one doing it. It’s not interesting to me.

Sometimes, when trying to understand the world and its demands and preferences, it really helps to imagine you’re someone else.

I remembered to scan my Misha Collins drawing intermittently, so here’s a thing telling you how I did it. You might learn something! You might not! It’s all up in the air. You don’t even have to read it. It’s okay to just look at the pictures.

A run-down of my process drawing Misha Collins.

If you do want to read it, it’d be a good idea to click on the image to see it in full size.

I used Polychromos and Caran D’Ache Pablo colouring pencils, and it’s drawn on a smooth paper with vellum texture print. I think it’s technically calligraphy paper, and it doesn’t take pencil very well, but you get some cool effects.

That’s it. The rest is all explained in the actual thing, so… if you want to know more, read it!

ArcadeCon and other things

Once again, I’m overdue writing this, but that’s just life, and me, because I take a while to process things. Especially if they involve lots of people, which this did. Two weekends ago I took myself and my work to ArcadeCon‘s Artists Alley, not knowing what to expect but hoping for the best. It was my first proper convention as an artist – I did go to OctoCon last year, but as far as the Artists Alley was concerned it was pretty crap.

ArcadeCon was the exact opposite. Read more »

Awards and more word tracker themes

I’ve been very remiss in updating this site with all my news – and I do have some! Written Acts of Kindness BadgeThe lovely Cate gave me a “Written Acts of Kindness” award for my word meter and trackers, which put a big smile on my face. Look at it, it’s so pretty! Thanks a million, Cate.

Cate’s blog is called “CommuniCATE – Resources for Writers”, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s full of advice, writing tips, inspirational quotes, and all things wonderful. If you’re a writer, check it out!

I’m really amazed and impressed by all the positive responses I’ve been getting for my stuff. When I started making spreadsheets for NaNo, they were for my own use, and I only put them online as an afterthought. Fast-forward two years, and I’m making lots of different themes and getting requests and donations and all kinds of lovely comments. It’s pretty cool. A big thanks to everyone who’s commented and downloaded and donated.

Speaking of spreadsheets - yes, I have more. More themes for the 2013 word tracker, that is. I got requests for the huntsman and the steampunk themes, so I went with those. Read more »

Out with the old…

As you may have noticed – brand new site! Well, almost new. I just haven’t managed to update this blog very quickly. But then, I haven’t updated it at all for months, so it probably doesn’t matter. NaNoWriMo is fast approaching again, so expect some updated spreadsheets for 2012 soon! There may even be a few brand new designs among them. You never know. I might even make some wallpapers.

In the meantime, here’s some new art I posted recently:

Colour pencils on Ingres paper | A4 | 2012  

I also started making symbol pendants with all kinds of symbols from different movies and shows. I made one for myself and just kept going, because it’s really fun. A few people have asked about buying one so – yes, they’re available to buy now, and you can commission a custom pendant at no extra charge if you want a symbol I haven’t done! You can check them out here.

More NaNo-related stuff to come soon, like I said!

NaNo characters

I fell into a bit of a slump two days ago, only managing 400 words for the entire day. My plot had gotten away from me, and I had to get it back. The idea that may well have saved the whole book came to me while drying my hair, of all things. Just goes to show you what these things are good for.

35,008 / 50,000

The trouble – or at least my trouble – with something like NaNo is that when I sit down to do one creative thing, other ideas start clamouring for attention. The worst is when I had essays or other school work to do. Just before exams is a brilliant time for ideas. It’s like inspiration lies in ambush, waiting to jump out at you the minute you’re too busy to do anything with it.

I’ve had lots of ideas for art lately. I tricked my artistic muse, though, and drew my NaNo characters. You can see the big versions of the pictures if you click on the thumbnails. I’m fairly new to digital painting, but I’m getting the hang of it. It’s so great to be able to erase all your mistakes without messing up the page…

So yeah, here are my two main characters. He’s a werewolf, she’s his ex-girlfriend, and they’re both heading for a lot of trouble right now. If only I could stop with the exposition and set-up and actually throw them into the plot, that would be brilliant. As it stands, I have 35k words of mostly setting the scene. I think a lot of them will be cut, without tears or regret, come the 1st of December. In the meantime, though, that very detailed account of the random Halloween party and the walk in the botanical gardens are entirely necessary. Absolutely.

I’m pushing my characters onwards now, though. Enough of this hanging around. I want them to get at least as far as the actual plot before the end of November… preferably a good bit of the way through.

But that’s what NaNo is about: tangents, stream of consciousness, and a total lack of editing. Onwards and upwards, week three awaits!

The Mercenary, and more NaNo progress

Still on-track, and having more and more fun with my story. I have a feeling that a lot of this stuff will be cut during editing; I doubt that an in-depth description of the party that my characters are currently attending is very vital to the plot. Or relevant at all. But it’s being written anyway because relevance is for December.

27,791 / 50,000

I don’t spend all my time writing, though. Oh, no. Daylight is scarce these days, so the way it’s been working out is that I’d draw while it’s still bright outside, then write in the evenings. The past few weeks I’ve been working on a drawing of a character from a different story, my NaNo novel of 2008. I just finished it today, so here it is:

(click for full view)
He’s a mercenary, that’s why he’s got so many weapons and stuff. I’m really happy with how he turned out. I love having visual representations of characters, and this is the best I’ve ever managed as far as my own characters go.