A treasure trove of art tutorials!

Art

Looking for a tutorial on how to digitally paint trees for my book cover, I stumbled upon a collection of excellent digital painting tutorials that cover things a little off the beaten path–like painting over photos to make backgrounds and color grading. They’re by Mclelun and you can see some of them here:

http://www.mclelun.com/p/tutorial.html

Click on the “Tutorial” tag link on that page to see all the helpful tuts!

 

Learn to draw environments and backgrounds easier with this fantastic exercise for beginners!

Art, Recommended Reading

I’ve been wanting to learn how to draw environments FOREVER but nothing’s ever quite stuck (looks at the various perspective drawing books on her shelf). But this! This video from Tyler Edlin (AKA BrushSauce) on YouTube has opened my eyes.

I started doing these…and then…just once…while watching something, maybe a shot of a hallway on TV? I SAW THE MATRIX!! I didn’t see the picture as hall, door, sconce, etc. I saw the big general shapes that made the depth. DING!!! I need to do this more often, but it’s really upped my confidence. So if you need help leaning backgrounds, try the exercise in this video first! It’s way fun to do with colored pens and markers (for values).

Goat Book Cover WIP 2

Art

Digitally painted image of a woman laughing

This is Will. She’s the Capramancer, a mage who speaks with the magical goats and coordinates with them so they can rescue mages lost in the aether.

There’s a lot of elements on this book cover, so it’s taking me some time…Slow and steady wins the race (and perhaps makes a cool poster to sell later).  I liked how this turned out (I think; it’s a massive improvement over the rough), but probably will make some corrections later. OTOH it reads well on the full cover, since it isn’t very big.

Off to take a break!

 

Writing Bundles Kickstarter – enriching and (possibly) career-changing writing book bundles!

Indie Publishing Friends, Recommended Reading, Writing

Please check out:

Writing Bundles

A Kickstarter Campaign Creating Five Writing and Publishing Bundles that Include 17 Writing Books.

Normally I’m not one to signal boost Kickstarters, but this one’s well worth a look. Veteran writers Dean Wesley Smith and his wife Kris Rusch have a Kickstarter going now where if you pledge $10, you can pick from one of five bundles of books on different writing topics. Pay a little more, you can get them in paper…get lectures…etc.

Here’s why this is exciting to me: Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing blog posts (two sets of which are compiled in two of the books in the “Industry” bundle) literally changed the course of my writing career. At the end of 2016, I’d just finished the manuscript for Steel City, Veiled Kingdom (SCVK) and was feeling pretty down. It was a ginormous novel and I knew novels that big rarely do well with literary agents. It’d take years to shop around, and after that, they’d probably want me to change it, if anybody accepted it at all (which was a long shot).

Then I stumbled upon those posts and realized…yeah, I had ALL the skills to self-publish it. And no need for an agent at all. Three-ish years later, SCVK is out in ebook, soon to be in paperback, and in the meantime, I’ve got, like, a dozen shorts and a few other novels available on Amazon, BN, and libraries (among other digital storefronts) and more fiction on the way.

NONE of that would have happened without Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing–and in this Kickstarter, you can get it plus three other ebooks in the “Industry” bundle for just $10. And there’s, like I said, five total bundles on different topics.

It’s good stuff, folks.

If they make it to $9,000 before April 30th, 2020, everyone who pledged $5 or more will get access to SIX workshops on topics like Writing Sci/Fi, Writing Thrillers, Writing Time Travel, etc. I’ve done some of their free courses and have LOVED them so this is a great goal to aim for. Even if that doesn’t come true, the info in these bundles is invaluable–it was career-changing for me!

So please, check out this Writing Bundles Kickstarter. They’re covering topics I bet you never even thought about. 🙂

Pay-What-You-Want Piano Sheet Music to help you while away the time in quarantine

Music Composition

Dunno ’bout you, but I’m finally going stir-crazy around here. Yesterday, though, I took the time to do something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time: put some sheet music on my Gumroad store.

The first is an easy piano solo inspired by a former student’s kitten, called Jade’s Garden. What’s new? I added a version primarily made with 8th notes. You get both versions when you download it.

Cover for JADE'S GARDEN, profile of a seal-point cat in a lush yard with yellow flowersJade’s Garden: Pay-what-you-want at Gumroad

Second: I compiled all those simplified hymns I adapted into one printable PDF book called Sacred Hymns for Five-Finger Piano: an Easy Piano Collection for All Ages:

Cover for SACRED HYMNS FOR FIVE-FINGER PIANO, a lamb in a green fieldSacred Hymns for Five-Finger Piano: Pay-What-You-Want at Gumroad

Finally, just wanted to remind you I wrote an intermediate piano solo in the ambient spirit of Brian Eno and Harold Budd. This one’s $2.99.

A stony mountain seen through a warm glowing haze. Text reads: Mountain Bells, Intermediate Piano Solo, by Danielle Williams Mountain Bells: Buy at Gumroad

Hopefully I’ll get off my keister and post some more drawings–I scanned plenty earlier this year, just haven’t gotten around to watermarking them yet.

New Dark Fantasy Short Story Release: HELLO, WIZARD

Art, New from Pixelvania Publishing, Writing

Hello, wizard.

You know what I need to hear.

I’m listening.

Cover for HELLO, WIZARD. Eerie glowing text pops off a wrinkled piece of paper against a stone background.

Deep in a sunless dungeon, a father struggles to hold onto hope.

Then the glowing notes arrive. They offer freedom—for a very simple price.

But some things should never be for sale, even in the darkest places…

HELLO, WIZARD is a tense dark fantasy of integrity and temptation.

Read an excerpt over at Pixelvania Publishing.


This story may be short, but it packs quite a punch!