The Portfolio Regeneration Project

The main character from
Kushiel’s Dart.

Since Dragon*Con, it’s been a week of cleaning, catching up on work, and riding the tide of inspiration that always comes after taking part of such a large art show full of inspiring people.  The portfolio reviews I received there have my brain in overdrive when it comes to thinking of ways I can get my portfolio up to snuff.  I needed newer work and more of it.  I needed more examples of illustration, book covers, and the kind of work I’d like to do for CCG.

While I have CCG covered by using my own in-progress fantasy novel for inspiration, generating art for the rest didn’t seem as straightforward.  That’s when it hit me.  If I am seeking to do art for fantasy novels, why don’t I do what I’m doing with the fake Magic the Gathering cards and do the same with a novel?  Since my own novel is largely incomplete, I’ve decided to take one of my favorite novels on instead – Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey.

With fallen angels, a rich tapestry of unique mythology, masquerade balls, and intricate tattoos, there’re plenty of visuals for me to play with in this novel that are right up my alley!  The plan to generate more portfolio pieces is to re-read this wonderful book and create my own versions of illustrations of my favorite scenes, as well as any character art that comes to mind.  This may include my tries at creating concept art sheets for that career wish of mine to get into concept art for games later on in life once my work is ready.

Finally, after I’ve absorbed the whole book and its themes, I plan to do my own version of the cover art for it.  If all goes well, I will be doing this art generation project with more than one from the Kushiel’s Legacy series, or perhaps other fantasy favorites of mine!

Working from a book which, to date, has no movie adaptation makes it far easier for me to create my own raw original versions without a visual influence.  It also gives me the freedom without the copyright worries, since copyrights for books only cover the text, and not any visual representations.  Even so, I don’t plan to sell whatever art comes from this project without Jacqueline’s blessing first.  It’s main purpose is to freshen up my portfolio and not my own pockets.

The plan is to post sketch collections from this project on this blog, but for those of you who want to keep up with every step and sketch of the Kushiel’s Legacy themed work from this project, you can follow the Kushiel art blog here or its Tumblr counterpart here, which will echo the posts on the Blogger version.  The Kushiel art blog is empty right now, but it won’t be for long!

The old iPad I inherited from my dad has proven an invaluable tool for this ambitious project, as I can add searchable notes to my ebook version of the novel and highlight pages which have physical description for illustration purposes.  The pages are marked, the blank sketchbooks have been acquired, and my drawing fingers are itching!  Let the regeneration of my portfolio begin!

What is your dream illustration project?  What novel would you love to do work for?  Finally, what novel would you love to see me illustrate?  Discuss in comments!

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