August 1st, 2011


It's a new week, and a new month, so I'll be re-launching my call for prompts (LJ link) after I post this. If you've enjoyed the Story Sketches project so far, please help it grow by passing the link around! As an added incentive, if I get prompts from two new participants before next Monday, I'll let you all vote on a sketch from the archives to get another round of work!

Our newest icon winner is rowyn! I'll be adding her icon to the remaining items from the project list I started last week, including a cleaned-up version of Molly and Hel from [personal profile] wonder_city, and one for Torn World. The gift art I'm working on should (I hope!) be finished this evening, so I'll have time to focus on those :)

Art from this week:
New icons!
Without Fail
Vampire-in-Chief (rough sketch)
Feather-Blessed (rough sketch)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments are welcome either here or there.

story sketches: call for prompts!

Welcome, writers and readers! Many of you will already know who I am, but for those of you who don't, hi! I'm Meeks. I'm an illustrator, and I need your ideas!

what's in it for us?
I love illustrating stories, and I recognize that most self-published authors have neither the budget nor the need for the usage rights that big publishers typically license. One of my goals is to make artwork more accessible to you. A good illustration can also capture readers' interest, and I've had more than one person comment that a sketch of mine drove them to check out the story. So, writers link their fans to my sketches, and my sketches attract new readers to their work. Readers (including me!) can find new stuff to read. Everybody wins!

first one is free!
You are all invited to request art based on scenes you have written (or have permission to use), and I will post a rough sketch for you right here, for free. The sketches are shared under a creative commons license, so if you're happy with the rough sketch, and want to use it as-is, please do! (Just be sure to give me credit and a link back to my site.)

and then what?
Story Sketches is a crowdfunded illustration project, which means that you, as my audience get to choose which sketches I continue to work on. If there's a picture you'd like to see refined, leave feedback, send me tips, and link to it to let me know!

There are several ways to prompt more work on a sketch. The tip button at the bottom of every sketch post can be used to fund specific revisions or overall refinements. I know that a lack of money is not equivalent to a lack of enthusiasm, and I do appreciate different types of involvement, so I will also work more on sketches in response to comments and linkbacks!

the perks

  • To save on bandwidth, the images I post are much smaller than my working files. That makes them easy to display comfortably on screen, but sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish fine details. Both sponsors and prompters can receive higher resolution versions upon request. Just message me with an e-mail address to send it to.

  • Rough sketches get cleaned up once they have received feedback from 6 or more people.

  • After that, for every $10 contributed to a picture, I'll post a detail view for everyone to see. These details will be updated as the sketch gets refined.

  • I will do another round of work for every $15 I receive for an image.

    The first five work sessions ($75 in tips) will be used to bring the drawing from sketch to full value study. This is basically a monochrome version of the final image, and can be considered a finished illustration in itself. Prints will be made available on Imagekind when a picture reaches this stage.

    At this point, I will begin either inking or colouring. The prompter will have a choice of

    • a finished ink drawing in one colour with stippling/crosshatch style shading, to be finished in 2-3 sessions (or about $100 in tips)
    • or
    • a full colour painting, to be finished in 5 sessions ($150 in tips)
    Prints of finished work will be available on Imagekind.

    Particularly complex or labour intensive scenes (eg. battles between armies of individual characters) may take longer to complete, and thus require additional rounds of work to be funded.

  • bonus! I will do a free round of work once per month on
    • the sketch that receives the highest amount in tips
    • and
    • the most linked sketch from the archives! LJ's pingback_bot does a pretty good job of telling me when other users link to my posts there, but if you're linking somewhere else, please let me know!

  • As an added incentive, if total donations within the next month reach $200, I will do a value study of any image with feedback from 12 or more people, regardless of the amount donated to it.

  • If total donations in that time reach $500, I will also do a full painting of every sketch with 25 or more commenters.

  • feedback is important! I really appreciate people taking the time to leave constructive comments on my art. To encourage participation, I will be choosing a random commenter each week to receive a custom icon. Every feedback post you make gives you another chance to win! (Not including one-liners like 'that's ugly', 'nice!', or emoticon-only type posts. These posts are welcome, they just won't count as entries in the draw - my goal here is to reward constructive and thoughtful feedback.)

    Want to join, but having trouble coming up with something to say? Consider what you like/dislike about the piece, and why. Where does the composition direct your eye? Are the characters body language and expressions convincing? Does it make you want to read the story? So far, I've been extremely fortunate in that my project seems to be attracting an audience of very talented people, many of whom have a good eye for art, so reading comments made by others can help you learn what to look for.

  • help spread the word! You can also request an icon, or equivalent amount of work on a sketch of your choice for every three new commenters who mention that you sent them!

guidelines for prompts:

  • Any chapter, scene, flash fiction, narrative poem, etc. that you have written, that is in the public domain, or for which you can show that the copyright holder has given explicit permission to create derivative works (eg. a creative commons attribution license or an author statement encouraging fan art.)
  • Nudity is okay, but I won't post anything explicitly erotic...I'd rather not get any complaints from scandalized parents whose kids found my work through a children's book.
  • If you plan to use your picture for anything that requires a specific aspect ratio (eg blog header, book cover) please let me know. The best way to avoid awkward cropping is for me to draw at the correct size to begin with.
  • Story text may be accompanied by additional description, photo reference, suggestions for composition - basically anything else you think I should know about the characters and settings you're asking me to draw.
This is an excellent example, taken from the notes I received from Michael Thedford, while we were working on Lorelei has a Dream:
Page 3 text: When a hedgehog's up, everyone else is in bed.

Description: (bright-eyed hedgehog peeking out from under a thick quilt on a bed so soft it resembles a giant pillow. Glasses lie on wooden nightstand along with old-fashioned round alarm clock with hands pointing to 10:30 [short hand straight down, long hand halfway between 9 and 12] Visible window somewhere in shot with view of starry night sky and crescent moon.)

Which resulted in this illustration:Lorelei Hedgehog, waking up at night

That's it!  Prompts can be left as comments on either LiveJournal or Dreamwidth, or sent to me by e-mail at meeks-at-mikaspace-dot-net. Thanks in advance to everyone who participates or helps spread the word!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments are welcome either here or there.