Even back then, the main story I wanted to tell involved the R-Force, a team of anthropomorphic people gifted with Auras that gave them amazing powers, right when they were pulled into an interplanetary war. I think the most recognizable of these folks is also the one who's been there since the current iteration's beginning, Lana:
Back then you could see that while I had a passable skill, I was nowhere near what I'd consider "great". Time went on and I continued refining my style, trying to come up with something that a person could recognize me with. I think a bit of studying how different artists drew eyes was a major factor in how my art developed. A later update to Lana shows this:
Getting better as I learned more of the intricacies of Photoshop. You can tell I was at the "Lens flares make everything look awesome!" stage Practice continued, and then one day while taking a break from studying in the college library, I decided to sketch out a character inspired by Brett Booth's work in the book Freaks!. I'd always wanted to create my own fantasy world, complete with daring characters, exotic outfits and weapons, intrigue in every unique locale, and a sense of both awe and majesty. After drawing that piece, I had my answer - connect it with the R-Force. Suddenly, I was envisioning how the world was thousands of years ago, when the ancient Auran Sages that the R-Force descended from where at the peak of their reign. I had my world, and now knew how to develop both it and the present-day world of the R-Force. I had to color it. At that stage in my skill, I knew the basics of shading and highlighting, and was also experimenting with a free version of the virtual terrain editor, Terragen. I wanted to do something better than before. In order to make this world and its characters come alive, I had to try new techniques to define new materials. I began my first attempt at reflective metal, and figured out a two-layer glow effect that made the piece come alive in a way I did not expect:
I like to think this was a turning point for me. It was the first time I was so amazed at what I'd been doing that I wanted to do more. So much more! And lo, with this new world came a plethora of new characters, new stories, and more practice on what I had learned so far. With two inter-connected worlds, I also had to pay careful attention to how everything developed in order to prevent continuity errors. I was up for the challenge, and was glad that I was taking it on so early, as I could use the first story, the R-Force story, to set some things up and allude to the one taking place millennia in the past. I wanted to have thousands of years of history already prepared before I'd even typed the first word on the first tale. As I continued to develop the setting, I also continued my artwork, refining my style further and fleshing out the R-Force a bit more. I also purchased a tablet, as I'd been doing digital art with a mouse and it was getting unwieldy. All of a sudden, I could adjust pen pressure and make pen strokes far more naturally than ever before. After more practice, I began making the R-Force uniforms more simplified, and further improved. Here's Lana's next iteration:
Here I also put together bios to flesh them out and introduce the readers to them. The time would be drawing near for their story to begin, but even after so many redesigns I still wasn't satisfied with how Lana came out. I would come much closer after progressing further with my art skill, as seen here:
Around that time I needed to show that I could write stories and draw them. One of the main reasons I chose to do artwork was because I wanted to show things exactly as they were in my head, or as close to them as my limited art skill would allow. It also helped make more accurate reference material on the occasion that I'd commission an artist. However, for my R-Force story I had my sights set on getting published, so I could not post the story online. However, I had a plethora of other stories that I could post instead, and one of those happened to involve my deer girl, Archer:
A Night with Archer
A Night with Archer
written by Aelius
I didn't know what to expect for my first "shadowing" of a superhero. I'd prepared myself for three days, mostly with physical training and a bit of quick writing sessions while still tired from working out. Even so, it didn't calm my nerves. I'd be tailing a super heroine! Even with her permission, it was nerve-wracking to think about.
Before I continue, I guess I should introduce myself since this is my first article. For my own protection, my name will remain a secret. Everyone calls me 'the Runner,' due to my fondness for parkour which also allows me to keep up with the supers I'm likely to join for my articles. I have no powers; I'm merely an athlete pursuing a journalism degree in college. Luckily, the Valkyries magazine had need for gifted writers with enough physical prowess to keep
With that story came interest in seeing her "in person," so to speak, and that opportunity came when a fan commissioned me to draw her. It gave me a chance to further show how far I'd come since I began. This piece is worthy of note as it's the first time I actually tried dual highlighting, and that really helped it pop out in a way I really liked.
Around that time, I'd also pulled off an even more impressive accomplishment: the completion of the first draft of Auran Connection, the story of the R-Force.
I just wrote my first novel!! :D518 pages, 272,024 words, and it feels wonderful. ^_^ This is something I've wanted to do for decades, and even at age 26 (almost 27), I'm not exaggerating; I've had an idea in mind since I was a little kid that eventually grew and matured into the R-Force you've seen in my gallery. I've often dreamed about "someday" when I'd finally finish the story and be able to show it to the world. Today is that day. Well, the day I prepare to show it, I mean (still have to do edits and stuff). Auran Connection is, for the first draft, complete.
So, what is Auran Connection? I'm sure you've seen all these characters and bios in my galleries, but I don't think I've been too clear on the story itself. To sum it up...
Millennia ago, civilization was guarded by beings known as the Auran Sages, mystical warriors who acted as mediators between the natural and the mystical. They were granted talents and abilities deem
It was incredibly long and lacked polish, but that's how first drafts usually are. The point however, was that I'd completed it. I would continue on to refine it for publication, even gaining help from an editor, while also working on the first of my ancient Auran Sage story, Auran Legend. This one was a prequel spanning thousands of years, the "Knights of the Old Republic" treatment as I'd call it, and the realization of the wondrous fantasy world I had longed to create. Interestingly enough, upon completing it I realized it was too short, so with the same editor's help I would go back to polish it up, preparing it to follow Connection. In the midst of all this, I continued to experiment with new techniques in my artwork, challenging myself to try new materials, new poses and perspectives, and render things that I had never considered. This helped me give lineless art a try, as I wanted to add a more realistic flair to my art. One of my favorite examples came when I finally gathered the courage to try a beautiful young zebra girl named Carmen:
It was a tremendous undertaking, but I loved the result. It was also proof that the tablet was a worthwhile investment. There's no way I could've pulled off those designs with a mouse. I got a neat thrill out of trying new things like this, and I like to think this culminated in another commission, where I was asked to draw my superheroine FantastaGirl and the commissioner's villain, Dr. Cyberclaw, after a horrifying battle. The result was thus:
There's still so much more for me to learn, but looking back, I've learned so much not only as an artist but also as a writer (though I need to post more stories here XD ). Ten years, ten pages of work. Thank you everyone for following me as I develop my talents. Here's to many many more years of art and stories!