Old Art to New Art
An Evolution in Imagery
I'm much more of a writer than an artist, but I've long enjoyed
drawing. The purpose of this page is to show you where I began as an
artist when writing became a serious undertaking, and how far I've come
since then. I started with pencil drawings and continued to develop my
skills until, one fateful day in 1998, I brought my computer in to a
Langley computer store for service and a program called Poser 3 caught
my eye. I asked about buying it, thinking that it would help with the
anatomical problems that plagued my drawing, but the store manager told
me that it was his wife's copy and wasn't for sale. The following year,
I picked up Poser 4, and since then, I haven't done very much drawing at
Garrick and Brenna
The image, badly faded, is my original drawing of the couple from 1983.
There were many things I found difficult about composing this, but the
part I spent the most time completing involved the foreshortening of
Garrick's left shoulder. I don't draw using models, so there are some
anatomical flaws glaringly evident, particularly with placement of
eyes. My sweetheart thinks that Brenna has too much of a tummy, but
given the two dimensional curvature of her spine (she's leaning back and
turning toward the viewer) I think she's fine. I have a lot of
difficulty drawing expressions, so my drawings tended to depict people
looking rather serious. This expressionless kind of style characterized
most of my early art.
Original Edge of Justice Cover Concept
This is my feeble attempt to create a "younger" Garrick. He's supposed
to be in his teens, but I think this makes him look more like he's 12,
and Brenna, who is supposed to appear very similar in age when they
meet, looks like she's in her mid '20s. I wanted to clothe the
characters like they were dressed for cold weather, which was--at that
time--a lot easier to do with pencil than with Poser. I've always liked
Brenna's sweater in this picture. She's wearing a collared shirt
underneath, with a high-collared flannel shirt under that. It didn't
scan very well, so that detail makes her under shirt look more like a
necklace or choker. This image comes from 1995.
The Evolution of a Cover Image
First Edition Cover
It's awful, I know! But this represents the state of my skill back when
I was using Poser 4. I created the background for this image in a free
program called Terragen, then imported it as a background image into
Poser, placed and posed the figures I used for Garrick and Brenna,
rendered the image, then did a lot of post production work in Photosuite
III to clean it up, including "virtual watercolor painting" of the
grasses in the background. Poser's male hair of that era was simply
awful, so I painted over it by hand. Brenna's fingers around the dagger
took forever to pose. (I can do it quickly now, but at the time, the
learning curve was very steep!) Her right arm looks funny because I
didn't pose her correctly. (Her collar is down, while her shoulder is
up, which is anatomically impossible.) I thought the image looked a
little wonky, but when I submitted this idea to the artistic staff at
AuthorHouse--the company who published the first edition of The
Edge of Justice
--they said my render was simply
wonderful. I don't know what they were smoking . . .
Cover Image Redux
I didn't get Poser 5 because other
artists were complaining that it was full of problems. I waited
until Poser 6 came out before I bothered upgrading. Moving to the
newer program meant that I had to create newer figures, based on the
P6 people, Jessica and James. (Jessica is much maligned in the
Poser community. She's got HUGE shoulders, a bulging forehead, and
the world's UGLIEST hands, but she was the best I could do at the
time.) Much of what makes this image an improvement over the
previous version has to do with using higher- resolution characters,
the use of dynamic clothing (I love the way Brenna's sweater fits!),
more skillful application of texture maps, an improved rendering
engine in the program, and a better understanding of how light works
in Poser. This is my November of 2006 version of The Edge of Justice
cover. The only post rendering work for this image involved adding
the glow to Brenna's blade and a lens flare in Adobe Photoshop.
Second Edition Cover
One of the biggest problems I've
experienced using Poser over the years has been that whenever the
program is updated, older figures are no longer supported. That
makes it hard to find clothing props and keep up with advancements
in materials. I stayed with Poser 6 for a very long time, but
eventually, my image quality began lagging so far behind I felt
pressure to upgrade. I bought Poser Pro, then upgraded that to
Poser Pro 2010. Additionally, I stopped using the older P6 Jessica
and James and switched to the DAZ Millenium 4 people, Victoria and
Michael. The Mil 4 figures aren't perfect, especially at the
joints, but they're a lot better than the P6 people! Laura Haskell,
a talented artist who is also a kindly and patient woman, created
the new Garrick and Brenna skins, body and facial morphs for me.
You will also notice that I've learned a thing or two about posing
since 1999, when I first began working with 3D figures.
Garrick and Brenna
Everyone loves a handsome hero and beautiful heroine. Whether or not
you think my characters fit that description is a subjective judgment.
There's a certain "look" that I like, and these two fit my personal
ideal of what human beauty looks like. Everyone else I've created and
rendered represents either a variation on that theme, or an effort to
create a character who looks different.
Original Garrick Drawing
I don't remember exactly when I drew this picture. Judging from the
style, it's probably from 1982 or 1983. Prior to this era, I'd been
writing a science fiction story that I dropped in favor of developing
fantasy ideas. Garrick, Brenna and Algernon all started out in a milieu
without guns, and because I'd practiced with swords in order to
effectively write about them, I drew Garrick using this "underhand"
technique that European swordsmen developed for wielding very large
weapons. Every link in his mail shirt is an oval, drawn by hand. It's
a little hard to tell the difference in the scan between body hair and
shading, but I think most people are intelligent enough to figure out
which is which. Most of these early drawings were done while working
graveyard shift at a telephone answering service, and since I had to
stay awake, I had a lot of time to draw.
Garrick, the Dork
This is my P4 Garrick. He's based on the male figure those in the Poser
community call "The Dork." I painted his hair by hand because P4 hair,
especially male hair, is so awful that it's disgraceful. (Although,
many of the self-checkout machines in retail stores that feature 3D
figures use the P4 woman and her pasty hair for their demonstrations.)
However, the facial structure and features of this figure are remarkably
similar to what I'd been drawing for several years.
When I started using Poser 6, I had to
develop new characters. This is the P6 James version of Garrick, who
bears little resemblance to my original drawing of the character. I
tried to duplicate the P4 face I'd developed using P6 James in the
Poser Face Room, but didn't have the skill and patience to effectively
pull it off. So, I settled for what you see here and used this
version of Garrick in my artwork for several years. In this image, I
was trying to work with light. In my view, lighting is the most
difficult aspect of using the program, as it's not an intuitive
process to get good results. The rather extreme highlighting of
Garrick's hair shows that I still had a long way to go at this point.
Garrick and Brenna Redux
It's embarrassing to look at this image now, but at the time, this was
the best I could do. It's a render based on my original drawing of the
two characters. The scale isn't quite right, as Brenna is a much
smaller woman than is pictured here, and the lighting is all wrong. The
date stamp on this image is 24 November 2005.
The New Man
After developing an update for Brenna on my behalf, Laura Haskell agreed
to create a DAZ M4 figure to replace my P6 Garrick. This was the first
completed image she sent to me. I've been using this character in all
my Garrick renders since March of 2009.
Original Brenna Drawing
This drawing is dated 7 April 1982, so it's probably the oldest drawing
in this collection. She looks very Asian in this picture, quite a bit
broader in the shoulders and neck, and smaller in the bosom than I drew
her later on. Observant readers may notice the scar on her neck, which
she received at the Casa del Matados
That should indicate how long I've been thinking about these characters
and what happens to them.
Brenna and Pony
This image, from 1987, frustrated me
to the extent that I never finished it. Although her face and upper
body are pretty complete, I was never happy with the shape of Brenna's
face, particularly the jaw angle, nose and lips. I couldn't make her
hands look realistic holding the rope, and became so discouraged about
the drawing that I abandoned the image before finishing the horse.
This is my Poser 4 Brenna. There's something very special about her,
even though she's been displaced twice, first by the higher-resolution
P6 Jessica, and then by the DAZ Victoria 4. I've always liked the
proportions of Posette, as she's affectionately known in the Poser
community. Working with Posette is a little bit like remembering an old
girlfriend. I think of her with wistful remonstrance until I remember
what a pain it was to get her to do what I wanted . . .
This is probably my favorite P6 image. It was created in September of
2006, by which time I'd been using dynamic clothing for awhile and knew
enough about light to avoid complete embarrassment. I created the
outfit Brenna is wearing in a vexing program called Virtual Fashion
Basic, but that program gave me so much trouble, I abandoned it within a
year or so. The background of this image is a photograph I took at the
Othello Tunnels, just outside of Hope, BC.
This image shows how far I've come as a 3D artist since I first
starting using Poser 4. (Oooh! Depth of field!) Here, I'm depicting
the happy couple after they'd married, standing on the balcony of their
home in Marvic. (I've been rendering Brenna with short hair after her
wedding.) The DAZ V4 and M4 figures that Laura Haskell made for me have
come to represent what the characters actually look like to most of my
Garrick and Brenna were not the only characters I was drawing back in
the mid 1980's. This is an unfinished Jhiran Vell, from 8 June 1986,
showing rather fashionable hair for someone who doesn't own a brush . .
. In the books she uses a sling, not a bow, and is dressed in ratty
clothes. I didn't draw her wings because I didn't know how to make them
look good. I don't often render her with wings for the same reason,
except for the cover image of The
and the image with the
glacier gull you can see by scrolling further down this page.
Aiko 3 as Jhiran
This used to be the image on Jhiran's character bio, but I've since
stopped using her. The picture dates from September 2006, which means
this is a P6 render. Aiko 3 was the DAZ figure many artists used for
anime. There are two things I didn't like about her. The first is that
most of the clothing for Aiko 3 was fetish-oriented, which didn't suit
my purposes. Secondly, I didn't care for the way her limbs bent. I've
since changed Jhiran to a diminutive V4 based figure who may not be as
cute, but renders better!
V4 Jhiran Portrait
Because she's a minor character, I don't render Jhiran very often.
When I do, it's typically from a distance. I think she's kind of
adorable. This render is Poser Pro 2012 that features subsurface
skin scattering. I've not put this image up in my Renderosity gallery
because I don't like the lighting. It
was just an exercise in getting her facial features to look similar
to the way I'd described them in the novels.
A Brief History of Algernon
This is a 1982 pencil drawing of Algernon that didn't scan very well.
He's wielding a weapon called the Dakkah (emphasis on the second
syllable), that was supposed to be the characteristic weapon of the
Temple Elsbireth monks. I abandoned that idea long ago.
The background for this render is courtesy of my friend, Julian Gray.
I've always thought that the P6 version of this character looked very
lean and mean. Anyone familiar with Okinawa
will recognize that two-knuckled punch.
Algernon's unkempt hair creates many problems. The hair prop in this
image is from Kozaburo, but it's intended for P6 James, not Michael 4,
so it never really fit properly . . .
render comes from August of 2015, featuring Algernon and Bronwyn. I've
begun using a hair prop for him called "Cuffed Tail" which isn't
perfect, but better matches the description I've created in the books.
The romance between these two is fraught with complications that make
for interesting material.
Devera is a world very much like our
own, with functioning ecosystems and non-human creatures that
populate the landscape. But, like many other science fiction /
fantasy milieus, it also has some pretty fantastic creatures. Here
are a few of them:
The Glacier Gull
One early permutation of my story involved fantastically large birds who
lived on the cliffs overlooking Broken Wing Lake. These flight-capable
birds were large enough to be ridden by a petite human, so their riders
were often small boned females. (Of which there are very few in
Tamaria!) I wrote an exciting encounter between a Tamarian scout riding
one of these creatures who battles an Azgar dragon in midair during the
early story sequences, but later cut that entire section out.
In Dreams and Missions,
is a clumsy flier because she's heavy--becomes the quarry of one of a
glacier gull and engages in mid-air combat with the predatory bird. This
is the only render I've done using a modified 3D model of a stork as the
glacier gull. It's also one of the few that features Jhiran with her
wings unfurled. These birds are supposed to be about 9 feet tall, with a
30 foot wingspan.
Deathwolves feature prominently in The
Edge of Justice
and make another appearance in Ceremonies
, as depicted in this image. I've
described these creatures as being selectively bred, but they're
actually based on extinct bear-dogs that lived on earth long ago.
The deathwolves are huge, standing over five feet at the withers
(nearly as tall as Brenna!), with teeth as long as human fingers.
When I first saw the DAZ Troll,
I felt stunned by its resemblance to the giants I'd described in
my novels. I bought the model, along with armor and weapons
props to use in illustration renders. Here, in a scene from Crisis
Algernon takes on a full-grown male giant with nothing more than
his feet, fists and wits, earning respect from their clan leader
because he "fights like a man."
From Pencil to Graphics Tablet
This is a scan of the original map of my created world, drawn in March
of 1982. Like much of my artwork from that era, it took far longer to
draw with a pencil than is typical for most of my renders. This is a
freehand drawing showing the outline of the continent, the computerized,
colored version of which appears on the "World of Devera" page. I drew
every single mountain as a tiny triangle, which may give you an idea of
how many hours of work went into this image. For you Rush fans, the
archipelago on the top of the map is named "Pegasus", and a tiny island
at the very top, left hand side of the map is named "Lyra," from Cygnus X-1
, the epic finale of, A Farewell to Kings,
an album that
was the soundtrack of my life at the time.
I felt rather proud of this drawing
when it was completed. The date on the image is 10 October 1982, and
it was probably the most anatomically perfect female figure I've ever
drawn by hand. The blade seems ridiculously big now, but I drew this
in the era of the Conan films, and large swords were in vogue back
then. This girl has no name, she was just a study in anatomy and
The Truth Hurts
One of the things I'd intended to do with my Poser images involved using
them to illustrate excerpts from chapters in the novels. This is very
difficult to do because what I'm capable of imagining and what I can
actually pull off as an artist are often quite different. This is a
September 2006 render of Kira (on the left) and Astrid (on the right)
having a difficult discussion about their relationship. Though it's
compressed and a little jagged (something that doesn't appear in the
original image), this render is pretty faithful to my original concept
of the scene. By the time I posed the two figures, worked on their
expressions, simulated their clothing and worked on the lights, I'd
invested about 30 hours into its completion. Now, I can create renders
in less than half that time.
These two have an interesting
relationship and do a lot of talking in the novels. This image is
based on a scene in Dreams and Missions,
where Kira feels very discouraged about the direction her life is
taking, and Astrid offers some good advice. Contrasting this image
with the one above shows the difference in render quality between
the earlier P6 Jessica versions of these two and the later, V4
the Deveran Conflict Series has evolved, new characters and
relationships have become integral to the story. This render features
Tembe, the grandson of Tegene, as a potential love interest for Kira.I created this in January of 2016, which makes it one of my earliest efforts using Poser Pro 11.
wonder what characters do when I'm not writing about them? This is an
image I created using Poser Pro 11 in August 2016. It features the new
Superfly rendering engine, which handles light much better than the
older, Firefly renderer.
I hope you've enjoyed this historical foray into the art behind the
World of Devera.