Gnome Art Update

Lately I am searching the web to find project ideas, as well as coming up with some original plans to bring my Gnome garden to life. I have taken some creative licence with my version of gnomes. I decided that they are more like an american version of leprechauns, and are the size of fairies. This means that the little gnomes I create will be approximately 5-6 inches tall. Part of this decision was made because I like the idea of humans seeming gargantuan compared to them, and because this conveniently puts them at a scale to use dollhouse items. It also makes the idea of them riding on rabbits seem more plausible- a foot tall fairy would be to heavy for a rabbit, I would think.

On this note, I have fallen in love with Pintrest. I have found a wealth of ideas for my pictures by searching for fairy gardens. I am endlessly impressed with people’s DIY ideas.  Here is a picture of some of the supplies I have already purchased for my project. It is in no way a complete inventory, but it gives you an idea of where I am going with it. (and why I am so distracted lately by all the possibilities)

supply pic
A sampling of my Gnome garden making supplies.

 

In addition to what is pictured here, I have tons of polymer clay, felt fabric to make the gnome clothes, a flurry of Popsicle sticks, and various other  mediums to make items I didn’t buy (such as plates and tiny gnome doors).

There are a few things I need that I lack the funds for, which is partially where my Kickstarter project comes in (the other part is the actual publication). For example, I need realistic looking stuffed rabbits- which I have found online, but tend to be a tad expensive. If I knew how to make them myself I would be all over it; however, I am well aware of my limitations, and that is where my skills are lacking.

In the interest of showing you what I can do with these pictures once they are completed, I have a few samples below. Keep in mind I have not come to a firm decision on how the final project will look, but I promised you updates, and I shall not disappoint.

bird at garden party
I went for a bit of a watercolor effect, then added edges.
garden party
Another angle, also with watercolor effect.
great illistration sample
In this picture I created the drawing effect, and also changed the color a bit to make it look like a cold day.
presented as is
This picture is unedited. I used an angle that looks like we are spying on the gnomes.
special effects
This keeps the picture realistic, however I added a little special effect magic to give the lantern light.
working garden 2
In this picture I used a cutout effect, making the image much more simplistic and cartoon-like.
working garden
This is a 2nd sample of the cutout effect, also with an adjusted color balance.

As always, I would love to know your opinions. Please let me know what you think in the comments section below.

 

*Please note that these images are my intellectual property. I do not give anyone the right to use or copy them without written permission from me.

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Tiny Voices

I heard the whispering again last night. Tiny voices, giggling and calling to one another. I can hear them echo down the hallway into my bedroom. When I first heard them I would wake my wife. She would elbow me and tell me to go back to sleep, and so I would.

My wife has told me more than once that the voices are a dream. Just silly made-up things that my busy mind creates while I’m sleeping. I have tried to tell her I can hear them when I am awake, but she shushes me every time I bring it up. She is a practical woman. Things are what they are and nothing else. Voices do not whisper at night, and that’s that. In the light of day it is hard to argue with her, and so I let it go. I hardly bring it up anymore.

That doesn’t stop me from hearing the voices at night when everyone else is sleeping. I listen silently, and try to go back to sleep. I repeat my wife’s practical explanation to myself; they are a result of my tired imagination.

But last night was different. Last night I saw a tiny light pass by through the crack under my bedroom door. It looked just like the light of a lantern. With my wife asleep, and the sun gone, it didn’t seem so farfetched that I might not be dreaming. My first thought was to elbow her, and tell her about the light. But it had already passed by, and she would probably be grouchy and tell me to go back to sleep. So instead, I did what I had never done. I got out of bed, and followed the light.

I had to hurry, the light was already at the end of the hallway.  It led me into the kitchen, where candles lit a scene I never imagined I would see.

My wife’s meticulously cleaned kitchen was covered in flour, dirty bowls and tiny footprints.  A cracked egg was on the floor. On the center of our table sat a loaf of angel cake with strawberries, next to the cheese wheel that usually sat there. But the mess and the food was not what had me standing in the doorway with my mouth agape. All around the kitchen were tiny human-like creatures, no more than five inches tall. They were all varying shades of green, with tiny pointed ears. All of them stood frozen in place, staring at me. The one with the little lantern stood closest to me, his eyes wide and his hand trembling so hard it shook his curly beard. I felt bad for startling the little people, and searched my mind for something to say that might calm them.

One of the taller women (maybe five and a half inches tall) came to the edge of the table and cleared her throat. I looked at her, still unable to form coherent words.

“Please do not be alarmed, Giant. We will clean up our mess. We always do.” She folded her hands behind her back, awaiting my response. Her demeanor was very regal. I decided at once she must be in charge.

“Always? Do you come here often?” I asked softly, taking care not to startle any of them with my deep voice.

“We use this place for our feast days. It is the only place large enough to fit all of us.”

“How many of you are there?”

“One hundred and seven.”

“Oh. And you all meet here in my kitchen?”

“With all due respect Giant, before it was your kitchen, it was our forest.”

A smile crept over my face. “Oh, well that makes sense. But I’m not a Giant, I’m a human.”

A hint of a smile touched her lips. “You are a giant to me.”

“I suppose that’s true. You know, I have been telling my wife that I hear voices at night for years. She always tells me I am imagining things. She doesn’t think you exist.”

The tiny woman looked confused. “She always eats the cake we leave.”

“Do you mean the cake we eat for breakfast every morning?”

The woman shrugged, “It was part of our bargain with the Giantess when she caught us using up her flour. If we clean up our mess and leave her a cake, then she won’t lock up her stores or sic the dog on us.”

I huffed indignantly. My wife had insisted we start putting the dogs out at night several years ago.

“Well I suppose if the cake is payment, then you won’t mind if I eat it now?”

The graceful woman waved her arm as in invitation for me to sit. It was odd to be invited to sit at my own table. I sat, and watched as one tiny person after another filed into my kitchen. They set up tables and laid out plate after plate of elaborate food for a feast. They laughed and played music. More than a few shied away from my enormous feet, but mostly I went unnoticed. I watched them talk to each other, their tiny voices little more than a whisper, all the while eating the delicious cake that they made for us.

When my plate was empty, I left the little gathering and went back to bed. The tiny people waved and said goodbye before starting to clean up their mess.

This morning I woke up after my wife as usual. I went into the kitchen, desperately hoping there was still evidence of the night before. My wife stood by the table, hand on her hip, staring down at the empty plate I had left behind. All of the tiny tables, food, and messes were gone as promised.

“Good morning, wife. What’s for breakfast?” I could hardly contain my laugh as she frowned down again at the empty plate.

Without saying a word, my wife pulled a skillet out of the cupboard and started frying eggs.

Who is imagining things now?

Short fairy tale pic

Decision Making for My Characters

I hit a pause button on my novel while I was finishing up my summer poetry project (a collection of poems by myself and several other poets from my writing group, publication pending.) And my children’s novel took center stage while I was trying to figure out what to do with the artwork. I knew that while these other projects were going on, my novel would suffer if I attempted to write while so distracted. As I’m sure you noticed, I had to put a pause on my blog as well.

But now my poetry project is all but done, and the fall session of my two writing groups will be recommencing this week, so I am un-pausing on both my blog and my novel.

As I re-read what I was working on with my novel, I remembered why it was so easy to pause in the first place.

I have a choice to make for my characters, and for the content of my story. I’m struggling with what feels like a natural development between two of my main characters. My story revolved around a male character named Jeremy. There are two other characters who tell parts of the story that Jeremy is not present for, both female. One is entirely too noble and old to be a love interest. The other works very closely with Jeremy, and is young and interesting enough to develop a romance with. The recipe for love, or at the very least lust, is already there, but honestly the story does not need it. It might be interesting to explore, but it would not impact the story one bit if the two characters never envisioned one another naked. It would be complete if they were simply friends.

But it still begs the question. Would it be a benefit to the story to add a love interest for Jeremy? Does it really expand the story? Is it too cliché?  It would certainly add another layer of conflict to the story being that she is human and he is not.

I hesitate to add romance because it seems very commercial. There is a boy and a girl, and they are in love. YAY! I want to be taken seriously as a writer, and I don’t want the love story element to overpower the storyline I originally came up with. But as a serious writer, and on the advice of many other writers I know, I want to let the characters take their own course. So I suppose the real dilemma I am faced with is how I want my characters perceived by the reader. Will making my leading lady a love interest make her feel ditzy and frivolous? Will it take away from her independent personality? Will it take my story from being in the sci-fi/Fantasy genre and place it firmly in the romance section?

Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments section below.

Children’s Story Update

I spoke with a representative of Archway publishing in order to understand how to proceed with my children’s storybook. I made a firm decision about doing my own artwork, and have been stockpiling supplies to create the scenes for each page.

Originally I thought to aim for a Christmas publication, but the publishers deadline for this is September first. I could probably finish by then, but I don’t want to rush the project. It is my first attempt at this style of artwork, and I don’t want to add the stress of a short deadline; so I am instead aiming at an Easter publication. This will work out just fine, since there are rabbits in my story, and I will be sure the quality of the work is the best it can be.

This leads me into my next dilemma; I like the idea of going through a major publisher with a package that includes marketing, an ISBN number, and taking care of the copyright,  not to mention publishing on 12 different platforms. But the package that suits my needs best is about $5,000. That is a lot of money to me. I don’t exactly have that lying around in my couch cushions. My husband suggested a program called Kickstarter- I’m sure you’ve heard of the potato salad guy. If that guy can get funding, who wouldn’t an adorable children’s book get funding? The publishing representative said that about half of the authors who try to get funded this way are successful. I figure I don’t have anything to lose in trying, so I will keep you posted on that. I’m working on getting a profile together to launch my Kickstarter project, as well as working on proof of my concept. I assume people won’t invest in something if they don’t know I can do it. As soon as that goes live I will provide a link.

Wish me luck, and let me know what projects you have going on. I’m always excited to encourage fellow writers/artists.