Archive | December, 2012

Happy Holidays!

31 Dec
© Kimberley Crawford

© Kimberley Crawford

So the holiday season is finally winding down here, and it’s been a fun year! I hope everyone else is enjoying their holidays, as well, be it Christmas or otherwise. I realize I haven’t been updating much, but it’s just been a really busy couple of weeks for me with all the family dinners and visits with friends I haven’t seen in ages.

I will be back to posting once or twice a week very soon, though! Until then, enjoy what’s left of 2012, and I’ll see you back here in 2013 with lots of fun new stuff, including tutorials, art, and maybe even some short stories.

Happy New Year!

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“James” Process – Drawing Steps

21 Dec

Alright, so I’m a couple of days late with my post for this week, but I promise you it was worth the wait. This project took me over 8 hours to complete, and is the best drawing I have ever done in my life (which is funny when I consider how many times I’ve spent more than 20 hours on a painting/drawing and it didn’t look nearly as good…).

Today I decided to not only show you the finished drawing, but to show you the process that I used to do it, from start to finish. This isn’t so much a tutorial as a “making of” post since I’m really inexperienced using pencil crayons for realism. There are other artists out there who can explain how to do this way better than I can.

The first thing I did was draw an outline. I don’t have a photo for this, though, seeing as you can see the outline in some of the photos already. It’s basically just to get the idea and basic shapes down on paper before diving in head first. After that, no matter what style I’m drawing or painting, I do the skin tone. I’ve always done it this way.

Step 1

This tends to take a while…

Step 1.5

Next I do hair. It didn’t take as long in this drawing as the skin did, but only because there’s not much there.

Step 2

When the skin and hair were both done, the only thing left to do was his wing. I did each individual feather separately, so it took a while to finish.

Step 3So after a couple of hours colouring and detailing feathers, I finally finished it. I’m actually really happy that it only took 8 hours. I expected to be working on this for most of the weekend, so it went a lot faster than expected.

And here is the finished product:

Done!

In case you’re wondering, it’s my character Jamie from my book (Guardians). It was all done using Prismacolor pencils on a 14×22 inch sheet of posterboard. There will be another one of these featuring my character Julian, although it may not be done for a little while.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my creative process! I’ll get back to some tutorials very soon – I’m working on a couple right now.

5 Things I Learned While Writing My First Novel

14 Dec

So today I’ve decided to talk about writing instead of doing a tutorial (don’t worry, there will be plenty of tutorials in the future). I’m not, by any means, a professional writer, and my novel hasn’t been published yet as it’s still in the editing process. On that note, it’s totally up to you whether you want to take any of what I have to say into account. This is just my experience, and chances are I’ll post about my novels fairly regularly, anyway.

Timelines are Key

Okay, so the first thing I learned while writing my debut novel was that you have to keep a timeline of events for the story. I primarily write fiction, so the dates or time period were obviously up to me, but when I started writing scenes I didn’t really have a clear idea of how long the story would be. I had some ideas in my head and just began writing from the beginning without a plan for how it would all end. This is not a good idea unless you’re writing a really short story. My novel was never supposed to become a published book, so I wrote it the way I used to write all of my stories – I’d write the parts that were in my head and needed to be on the paper, and I’d move on to something else.

I found that after writing 100 pages, I was lost in the story, and when it came time to talk about the season (as it plays a big role in setting the scene for certain parts of the story), I couldn’t remember what time of year it was. That’s when I pulled out one of my trusty notebooks and read what I had written, start to finish, taking lots of notes. Trust me, this is not something you want to do. I highly recommend keeping even just a loose timeline of events on hand at all times while working on your own stories so you can keep track of when everything is happening.

What are you writing about?

And while we’re on the topic of planning: before you start writing, know what you’re going to write about. If you have several stories inside of you waiting to burst out, take a separate piece of paper for each and start brainstorming. Write down whatever comes to mind, and I’m sure you will decide which one to continue writing. When you do decide, take some time to work out your plot. This will help you to no end, and yet a lot of people begin writing without a clear sense of where they’re going. The most important things to know before writing: beginning and end. And middle, but the middle tends to change a lot as you’re writing and you think of better scenarios. It’s even better if you have some scenes in your head already. Because I never actually planned on finishing my novel, it began as a jumbled mess of random scenes on lined paper and in random notebooks.

Bonus tip: If you have a million things you’d like to write, maybe it’s best to split those things between stories instead of trying to write all of your awesome ideas in one epic novel. Keep it simple whenever possible so you don’t fry the reader’s brain with dozens of concepts all at once.

Who are they?

My third piece of advice for you is this: Know your characters. I cannot stress this enough! You don’t need a full biography of every single person who makes an appearance in your story, but you should have a good sense of who your main and supporting characters are. There’s nothing worse than writing a scene and not knowing what a certain person would be doing or how that person would react to a certain situation. I always sit down and write a full page (or more) about each of the characters who will be key to the story’s plot. I write full descriptions of how they look, where they are from, how old they are, what type of personality they have, etc. Usually I’ll even draw a full character sketch so I can look at the drawing and see who I’m writing about or for, but this is probably a little overkill for some people. I just like to see a physical representation of the people so I don’t have to constantly imagine them in my head (I know, I know, that’s what descriptions are for, but it’s easier to look at a picture than to re-read your notes).

Just to give you an example of how I work, below is a character sketch of someone who appears in that first book. It’s recent and was done to finally get a decent look at him in a form other than my usual anime.

Julian from Guardians

The main thing is that you know your character well enough to make the narrative convincing. The whole point of story-telling is to make the reader feel like they are a part of it, and if you don’t know who your protagonists are as people, neither will your audience, which will make it harder for them to become immersed in the drama.

Why are you writing about them, anyway?

Okay, this one ties in with the second tip, but I think it deserves more than a quick sentence. You have to know why you are writing your story. Are you just trying to get something published? Does it have some deeper meaning, or is it just a superficial spewing of words? This is something I didn’t have planned from the beginning. Not at all, actually. Again, this is because I never planned on publishing this book. The deeper meaning of my story came to me when I was half way through the first draft, and knowing what that meaning was, I could finally include some details to help make the narrative more interesting.

You don’t have to know the moral behind it before starting your story, but it’s a good idea to figure it out as soon as possible. It will help you from floundering about when you’re trying to add the finer details. (I deleted countless pages of nonsense when I finally realized why I was writing. Hours and hours of wasted work because I couldn’t decide what I was doing.)

Write the way that’s best for you

Okay, so this may not be everyone’s style. In fact, I don’t know anyone else who does this, but maybe that’s just me. I have always written my stories out of sequence. Sometimes I’ll start at the beginning when I know how I want the book to start, but generally I just start writing scenes. I could be in the middle of doing dishes, a shift at one of my jobs, making a dress for a customer, or whatever, and when the scene for a new story pops into my head, I pretty much drop everything and just write it down in short form to get it on paper. (This is mostly for my own sanity so I can get back to what I was distracted from in the first place.) When I get some time to sit and write it out properly, I could end up typing thousands of words in one sitting, and it’s almost never in order.

For my first full novel, I wrote scenes on random pieces of paper and in notebooks scattered all over my house, and this went on for about two years before I decided to put them all together in one story. Many of the scenes never made it into the book because they didn’t work, but for the most part, it worked out perfectly, and all I needed was some filler and to tie it all together into one grand scheme. Not to say that it didn’t need a lot of editing, but this was the easiest way for me to write the story. And so far, it’s working really well for the second installment for the series as well.

It may not work for you, and that’s fine. The moral of this story being that you have to do what’s best for you. If you would rather start at the beginning and end at the end, then do that. If you want to know the details of your ending before starting the rest of the story, then do that. Writing everything out of sequence in small chunks just works best for me.

Alright, so these are just a few things I learned in the process of writing Guardians, but there was plenty more. Maybe I’ll write another post about the rest of what I learned in the future, but I think for now, 1500 words is long enough. I’d love to hear how you do things and if any of the above tips helped at all, so leave a comment if you feel obliged to do so and let me know!

*PS, if you’re curious, I’m planning on releasing my first novel (Guardians) in summer 2013. Don’t expect anything perfect, I’m far from a professional writer, but I’ll do my best to impress.

Lazy Days

7 Dec

Today I decided to share some of the other projects I’ve been working on over the last year or so. These don’t have tutorials because they were done before this blog was conceived, but it should give you a little insight into the types of things you can expect in the future.

The painting below was done a while ago, but it’s one of my favourites. I realize I’m not amazing at painting, and I actually don’t really like working with acrylics, anyway, but I’m rather pleased with this one.

TemptationAnother thing I do, and I do this semi-professionally, is design and make clothing. I specialize in latex, and I’ve even been lucky enough to show my new collection during Boston Fashion Week at the Emerging Trends show back in September. Random clothing and accessories are one thing I tend to do quite often, and I will be more than happy to post some tutorials about making latex clothing.kimberley_crawford9Okay, just one more thing to share. This is something else that I do semi-professionally in my city. I absolutely love taking photos. It’s my escape from the real world. I spend countless hours planning and setting up a lot of my creative shoots, and aside from posting the results, I’ll also post some tutorials about how to make some of the things that I make for each shoot. This photo is from a shoot I did with local model Tara Lee back in October.
IMG_9426awmsmallThis is just a taste of what is to come as this blog progresses. It’s quite a mix of mediums and styles, I know, but that’s just how my mind works.

If you want to see more of my photography you can check out Fake Believe Photography’s Facebook page.

For more information about my fashion, check out the Kimberley Crawford fan page.

To see more artwork (and a random mix of photos, crafts and clothing I’ve made over the last few years), check out my deviantART account.

DON’T feel pressured to go check out these sites if you don’t want to. The links are just there for if you are interested in seeing more.

Painted Feather Christmas Decorations

5 Dec

Painted feather

So for Christmas this year I decided to make some ornaments for my tree. Not your typical decorations, though. I wanted to use feathers. I have a slight obsession with feathers (as you may come to see as this blog continues), and I wanted something that’s both unique and pretty to adorn my tree.

That’s where these came in. They were super simple to make, and can (obviously) be done with any design on them and in any colour to match your already existing holiday decor. My colour scheme is black, blue, white, and silver, so I stuck to these colours for all of mine.

What you’ll need:

  • feathers (colour depends only on your preference)
  • acrylic paint (again, colours depend on you)
  • small paintbrush
  • rhinestones
  • glue (I used Aleene’s Jewel-It Embellishing Glue from Wal-Mart’s craft section)
  • thread/string
  • scissors

sup

Time from start to finish: A single feather took me about 30 minutes, including time for everything to dry between steps. (It will go a lot faster for multiples if you set up a sort of assembly line and do all painting, etc at the same time.)

Step 1:

The first thing I did was paint on the snowflakes. I used a pretty small brush to do this, and free-handed them. Of course, you can always use a template or reference if you want fancier snowflakes or have trouble drawing them from memory. It’s best to use a colour that stands out from the feather, but still complements the colour. Let your paint dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 2:

After the paint dried, I put small dabs of glue where I wanted the rhinestones to go. I used 3mm gems in clear (white) and light blue. I carefully placed the rhinestones on the glue using my fingers (although it may be better to use tweezers or some other precision tool as it’s not as messy), and let them set in place before moving on.

Step 3:

Last step! Now all you have to do is tie a string (or ribbon, or even wrap a small wire) around the end of the feather with a loop so that it is ready to hang wherever you please. Now you’re done!

So this project was really easy, and I hope it helped inspire you to do some cute and unique feather decorations for your own home. I have a firm rule against putting up my tree until two weeks before Christmas, so when I do put it up, I’ll add some more photos of the other feathers and how they look in action.