IMC 2013 - Day One

I'm back at the IMC! I loved it so much last year that I had to come again. (It's totally worth the money.) The first day was spent in critique groups. My sketches of Thor and Loki were critiqued by Julie Bell and Donato Giancola.


And the photo is blurry because they were moving so fast for my camera couldn't keep up.


EVERYONE, including my brother, his wife, other students, Donato, and Julie agreed that the sketch on the bottom right is the best. Thor and Loki are eye-to-eye, staring at each other. The moment before the hammer comes down and the dagger strikes. Old friendship vs. bitter hatred.


Julie's quick marker drawing of the basic shapes in the design. Ball of lightning in the upper left from Mjölnir. White column-shapes of the bodies. Dark mist around them.


I went back to Donato for more help with the pose. He did these sketches as suggestions. His paintings are so deeply emotional and epic, and I want to channel as much of that as I can.


More revised thumbnails. Tomorrow I'll shoot my reference photos. I've already cornered a model for Thor...

The Screenplay: Preparation

I have never had the slightest desire to write a screenplay.

That being said, why am I writing one?

While I was at the IMC, Iain McCaig recommended the book "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days" during one of his lectures.  Afterwards I was lucky enough to have a chance to talk with him about writing.  He said, "Have you ever thought about writing a screenplay?"

I said no.

"Why not?"

I couldn't think of a reason.  I said I wrote novels.  Short stories.  Fiction.

"Try writing a screenplay," he said.

So here I am.  I've got a copy of the book, though I'm dubious of anything with a title along the lines of "How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too."  But I'll give this screenplay a shot, and if all else fails, maybe I'll get some material I can turn into a novel.

One of the first things the book said to do was write down any ideas for scenes on 3x5 cards or scraps of paper.  Here they are: all jumbled up.  No order, rhyme or reason.  Some came from old stories I dragged out of my mental attic, others from interesting REM cycles (I have a lot of these).

Then the book told me to make a list of my main characters, with their greatest desires, personalities, ages, etc.  Since my plot revolves around three families, they count as characters, I suppose.

The setting: a place like Italy in a time that never happened, but is very similar to the 18th century.  (I know it's vague.  Work with me.)

  • Family Incenda.  The family of magic and fire.  Traditionally they protected the city from a mythical "beast."  However, the beast has degenerated into myth, and now the Incendas occupy themselves with spectacular displays of pyrotechnics  and political intrigue.
  • Family Fontani.  The crown family.  Now only figureheads, but the young king is growing resentful of playing the Incendas' puppet.
  • Family LapidasA family who has recently risen to power through the guile and financial skill of its head.

And the main people who are members of these families:

  • Nix.  A minor cousin of the Incendas.  Nobody very important.  She has a gnawing desire to master her family's art of fire.  Age 17.
  • Pasci.  The Incenda family fool.  Always smiling, always laughing.  Even when he wants to weep.  Unknown age.  Not sure what he wants.  Nix's best friend.
  • Quanzi. Formerly the heir to the Lapidas fortune.  A dreadful disappointment to his father.  He announced he wanted to marry a nobody.  His enraged father had his son publicly humiliated and then made his younger brother heir.  To crown it all, Quanzi’s squeamish bride then jilted him.  His main desire, at the moment, is to NOT murder anyone.  Because there are several people he'd like to kill.

Obviously I have Quanzi worked out better than anyone else, but he's a character I thought up years ago.  Only a few days ago I discovered he fitted into my half-formed plot like a missing puzzle piece.

Summer Ink

This is an illustration for Half-Past Summer, a trio of fantasy short-stories for children (and child-like grownups).  I haven't done much with ink before, but I really like it.  One of the things Dan Dos Santos hammered into my head during the IMC was the importance of value studies.  Working with ink and silhouettes forces me to think in nothing BUT values.

Half-Past Summer will be available on Kindle at the beginning of August.

IMC Day 6

I painted. I painted a lot. I grabbed any faculty member who walked by in an attempt to stuff my brain full of any wisdom they could give me. Winter vs Spring, in progress:

Doug Gregory from Blizzard Entertainment gave a lecture on cutting the essentials of an image down to basic shapes and silhouettes. So I did a few thumbnail sketches of Harry Potter sitting in his cupboard under the stairs and asked Doug to look at them:

Doug told me to first make a list of the essential elements of the image, which are:

  • Harry
  • Broken toy soldier
  • Dangling lightbulb
  • Slanted ceiling (underside of staircase)

And then he drew some basic silhouettes:

Poor Harry!