Sunday, February 24, 2013

Planning a Novel

As I set my sights on completing my next writing project, I asked myself how I was going to map out a storyline based on a man who's lived for 250 years.  That's right, the main character of my next novel is immortal--and John has had enough experiences to fill more than one book, and make a writer crazy!  I decided to get the basic structure of the story together first, and then I'd know how to fully fill in John's timeline, which is a task nearly daunting enough for a whole other blog entry!

I've put so much time into planning out this story that I thought I'd share my efforts on my blog, and possibly give other writers some ideas for organization.  I have to first say that I'd never have been able to put all this together without reading another writer's blog, The Graceful Doe.  Be sure to visit her blog and check out all her great ideas!

Since I'm nowhere near as organized as I appear to be, the outline of the story was not actually the first graphic I designed, but it was much easier to do after I did the (much more fun) character pages.

Nina Boyd.  All rights reserved.

With the help of Adobe InDesign CS5 (Thank you, Ben), I spent a lot of time planning out my character pages, right down to what their bathrooms looked like.

As I completed these layouts, I constantly referred to what I've never been able to do without: a "To Do" list:

The timeline was the most important piece for keeping my sanity, and the storyline was much less overwhelming after I made it.

Nina Boyd.
All rights reserved.

Finally, after designing a cover, I was able to upload part of the novel onto my current favorite site for sharing my writing.

Needless to say, putting together this kind of detail can be time consuming, but after doing it I really felt that these characters and the story they told were real.  I also achieved the main goal I had in doing all of this, which was to plan, plan, plan, and then be free to write to my heart's content without worrying about inadvertently creating plot holes.

I hope this is useful to all you other writers!  

You can read the first two chapters of my novel here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Our Fellow Artists: Emma Uber

"Rosette" by Emma Uber
Artist Emma Uber is truly inspiring.  I came across one of her pieces by accident one day and was immediately struck by its vivid colors, but when I followed the image back to its source and began reading about Uber on her site, her encouraging story struck me even more.  It is one with which all artists can sympathize:

"Mere days before she was discovered, Emma Uber nearly gave up on her dream of being a professional artist... The 30-year old artist in Adelaide, Australia had a quiet Tumblr page, but few sales, and Emma had few expectations that her prospects would change....

'I was creating all these paintings that were just sitting in my house. I had friends saying ‘you know, you’ve got good paintings there.’ I thought ‘maybe if I just get rid of them all, it would somehow stir something up, and I’ll be able to look at it, and go ‘I feel better, all those paintings are gone, I can get on with whatever I’m supposed to do.'  

"Flowerbed" by Emma Uber
And yet, despite all the reasons telling her to start over, Emma decided to give her art career a little more time. 
It was good that she did. In early April of 2012, a blog called the Cool Hunter picked up her work and featured it. Within hours, Emma was inundated with hundreds of new followers to her Tumblr page, and an intimidating amount of new attention."  ~ 

Uber's work is always eye-catching, often breathtaking, and nothing short of fabulous.  As I explored her site that day, I found piece after piece to fall in love with.  I have always had a particular weakness for portraits, especially of women with flowing hair--there's just so much texture and line to celebrate!--and Uber's pieces never disappoint.  Each painting is a perfect blend of realism and the abstract, and each painting has a magical feel to it that whimsically blends foreground and background together.  Color and passion leap off the canvas as one, framing Uber's portraits with unforgettable character.

So, having completed my journey through Uber's colorful world, I invite other viewers to explore it too.  Take a few minutes, lose yourselves in her paintings, and experience the joy of her art.

See more of Emma Uber's work:


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Our Fellow Artists: Adriana Mekan

"Disambiguation" by Adriana Mekan

Adriana Mekan's style immediately caught my eye.  From luxuriant color pieces like "Tree of Souls" to iconic graphic works like "Transanencephaly," Mekan proves again and again that design could be her middle name.  Each composition I looked at was just begging to be displayed in a coffee shop, or tattooed on an arm, or featured in a book.  The versatility of her images was amazing.

It is easy for the viewer to get lost in the intricate, hypnotic patterns and the meticulous line work that characterize Mekan's pieces, but the feel of each piece is just as intriguing.  Every line, every color, each tiny movement, all contribute to a strong emotion that bursts from the page as vividly as the art itself.

When I first came across Mekan's gallery, I wanted to know, right away, about the artist behind the work.  Her style is incredibly distinctive, but there are still many nuances within it to be explored.  Mekan's beautifully created imagery is like an interesting conversation you'd overhear in a crowded room.  It invites you to listen for awhile, and then you have to jump in and participate.  

I asked Mekan about her work and creative process:

"Arena of the Wretched"

How do you promote your work?  

I promote my work through several different ways.  I try and keep up my appearance on the internet through social networks and art sites such as Imagekind and Deviantart.  I have a few Facebook pages to share and promote my work as well as a Tumblr.  Outside of the E-world I keep in touch with the local artist community.  (I live in Denver, CO)  I hang my art up in galleries when I get the chance and take part in events when they come up.

One of your galleries is called Art After Midnight.  Can we interpret that literally, and what inspires you in those late hours? 

Art After Midnight has a few meanings in addition to the fact that I feel it just has a nice ring to it.  I generally feel more motivated late at night when I cannot sleep and I think these late hours have had a bit of influence over my dark style.  My initials are also AM which could be seen as ante meridiem from the 24hour day. You know, am/pm. :)

Discuss the artists who have been most influential to you.

This is a slightly difficult question considering I find new artists almost every day that inspire me.  I have always been a huge fan or the Old Masters, DaVinci, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, etc.  I also really enjoy the subconscious approach of the surrealists.  My top favorites at the moment I would say are Zdzislaw Beksinski and Peter Gric.  I think those two have very unique styles completely different from anyone else.  I enjoy how Beksinski draws from his dreams and the rather opposing constructive work of Gric that comes from his architectural experience.

"Tree of Souls" by Adriana Mekan
When did you first feel successful as an artist?

Haha. :)  What is "success"?  I would say I still have moments where I don't feel like I have gotten as far as I would like to.  On the other hand I have moments where nothing matters and I am just painting for myself.  I think to let go of expectations completely and just enjoy the process of creation would be where any artist would find success.

"Transanencephaly" by Adriana Mekan

See more of Adriana Mekan:
prints site