Book Status, January Giveaway Portrait

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Although it doesn’t feel quite so long, it’s been over a month since I’ve written a post. I have actually been furiously writing away elsewhere though – as I mentioned last month, I am writing a book. It’s primarily about my experiences getting back into art after being away from it for over a decade. My hope is that the tips and techniques I have learned over the last year or two might help another amateur artist. In other words, pay forward the last two years’ trial and error (and advice from other WordPress folks). I’m still not entirely sure when I’ll be ready to publish, but it’s actually complete aside from editing. It feels sort of weird to write those words…publish…but that is almost a reality!

The book project has consumed most of my free time over the last couple of months, and I expect it will continue to in the near term. That has its good and bad points. While it’s been a completely new and fascinating learning experience, the flip side is that it’s almost completely taken me away from actually drawing and sharing on this site. Unfortunately, all of this means I had been procrastinating finishing the prize for the winner of the January portrait giveaway! I had to express my apologies to the winner, because typically once I notify them, I prefer to get it completed and shipped within a couple weeks. So, I finally got to this portrait, which was of the winner’s very cool dog.

Here’s the final version of the prize from January’s portrait giveaway:

I was a bit worried about this one. It had been well over a month since I’d drawn anything, and my experience is somewhat limited when it comes to animals. Would my skills have atrophied at all? And would a dog be too outside of my comfort zone to get back on track easily? As it turned out, my anxiety was probably overblown. I had a similar experience on another brief vacation from art. I may not be able to stop myself from being neurotic about it, but realistically it’s probably going to take longer than a month long break to get too rusty.

Once I got into it, everything was just fine. I even think writing about my drawing and color blending processes in the book has helped me in some respects. Trying to describe the drawing process seemed to clarify some good and bad habits. The portrait subject here is a black dog, and because of light effects, portions of his fur looked blue. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to capture the correct hues, but the blue-gray-black mixture blended nicely I think. It doesn’t look as shiny as the real subject should have, but at least the colors look fine.

I sent an almost-complete version to the giveaway winner, and she seemed quite happy with it. As I’ve mentioned before, I always consider that to be a huge victory when the winner is satisfied. I’m going to ship the real one soon, because I think this one is ready for it’s new home. I did take some of my usual progression shots during the process, so here is a .gif:

Black dog progression

As I mentioned, I will probably continue to be somewhat neglectful of this site for a bit as I try to wrap the book up. Although the writing is complete and I’ve got all the releases/licensing squared away now, there are still a few things left. I mentioned editing – that’s a tough one, because it seems you get what you pay for. But how much am I willing to pay? Sadly, I think the answer is almost nothing…so I’ll need to try some friends and a few online tools (like Grammarly, Hemingway, and ProWritingAid).

Also, although it might be sort of weird for an image-heavy book like mine, I still want to put together an eBook/Kindle version. It will take some time to reformat everything in Amazon’s program. But I’ve read that publishing an eBook is pretty important now, because even if your book isn’t really made for it, eBooks are cheaper and people are more likely to impulse-buy them. Then of course I have to psych myself up enough to actually make the final leap! It’s sort of intimidating to hit that final button.

I really wonder how soon “soon to be published” actually is, though. I mean, ultimately that really is up to me. Originally, my goal was to have it ready by the summer, but I seem to have jumped significantly ahead of my own timeline. Once the writing bug bit me, it pretty much took over all of my recreational time. Amazon KDP is free, so there’s really nothing holding me back from that side of it. I’d also like to use IngramSpark to connect with Barnes and Noble and other non-Amazon retailers, but that one isn’t free so it’ll have to wait for now.

Will my next post actually be an announcement that the book is out? I certainly will share that here when it happens, but that soon might be a little optimistic on my part. Regardless, I’m a big ball of excitement and nervousness rolling forward into the next month.


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