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Bebarce's Art Thread - You know nothing Drawn Crow

bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
edited February 2015 in Artist's Corner
I'm going to start off really simple and slow but try to do this every day.

Starting here. I'll try to do this for the rest of the month.



bebarce on


  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    Keep at it. Look more than you draw at first. It looks like you're drawing what you THINK more than what you see.
    Try to do a few a day.
    Keep at it.
    This is a great place to get feedback.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Surveyor of Things and Stuff Registered User regular
    edited April 2014
    It seems like you drew the outline first, then did the shading.

    I'd recommend not doing that--just try to build up the shape with shading. It'll be a bit more forgiving and accurate since eggs don't have outlines in real life :)

    Also, don't be afraid about getting some more darks on in the picture!

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    blarg, I actually re-outlined the dumb thing after the fact. I also realized I have a surprising lack of desk lamp.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    There's a lot of ambient light in your room. You did a pretty good job with this, good job catching the differences in the shade. Due to the odd lighting, you sort of drew in 2 core shadows, and it sort of ruins the volume of your egg. It's the light, bouncing back into your shadow side and giving your egg a false terminator. Your half tones are too light, but you probably don't have a super steady hand yet. Overall you did good. I'd disagree with nap, draw in a soft outline, then fill that in. if you don't know form, you'll struggle too much with the drawing to get much out of the exercise. You already know not to re-outline it after. Next time, do the opposite, and try to soften out some contour edges with an eraser where you see things blurred.

    If you can, darken the room up, get a desk lamp or a flash light, or a damn candle if you must. Light it with a single strong source of light, then draw it. Draw it again 5 times, and you'll walk away with more understanding of form than you would have thought.

  • DMACDMAC Come at me, bro! Moderator mod
    edited April 2014
    It might be worth doing some of those shading exercises where you practice changing pressure to create a gradient from dark to light. Like Napp said, you're sort of working with a range of 3-4 midtone shades plus white right now.

    Along these lines:


    DMAC on
  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    That second light source was a super bright flash light that I was having trouble rigging up. I ended up settling for using it since it was late anyway and I just wanted to grab hold of doing something. I thought maybe a complex shadow might be good.

    Im severely lacking in drawing technique as well. I dont know if I was holding the pencil correctly or whether I should have not been shading with the flat of the pencil tips cone or just using a duller pencil. Ill try out the range tonight.

    I kept drawing but then one bit would shade too dark, so I'd try to erase it but the shade would then look patchy. I ended up covering over the shade and it would then end up either a single uniform shade with no gradient.

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    Also if you guys are suggesting a better start point let me know. I thought I was starting out as basic as one could get.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Surveyor of Things and Stuff Registered User regular
    edited April 2014
    Basically, take that egg and put it on a table. Then use a lamp and an angle to provide a direct, single source of light.

    Making a gradient like DMAC said might be a good place to start too--that's usually exercise 1 just so you get used to manipulating your tools to get the shades you need.

    As far as holding the pencil "right," I'd wager that there is no "right" way to do it. But, the bigger the area, the better it is to draw with a flatter side of the pencil--it'll make your life easier lol. You do want to be drawing fairly big--like at least 2-3 times larger than the actual egg--and you want to draw from your shoulder. Moving your whole arm will get you to have much more smooth and controlled lines.

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    I am slightly more happy with the results of tonight's efforts. It's still shitty but I had fun. I'd tried a gradient yesterday, but that got trashed by the time I got home. I was having some problems with it because I couldn't get the darkest super dark. Can't tell if it's me or the pencil, or the paper. Most likely me. Any way. More still life shading practice today.



    The bubbles kinda popped and resettled by the time I got to them.

    Also I'm not seemingly to blend anything. There are different shades in different spots, and I made more use of the eraser this time, but you can still see the pencil stroke lines. I mixed some of the suggestions. I did a very light stroke for the rim, and trying to just use shading to create the areas of the side of the cup. Then I used an eraser to carve out the bottom curve of the glass. Once I had the top rim shaded, I erased it, reshaded, and the shaded the edge again darker. I don't know if that's just me seeing what I want to see again, but the rim definitely looked darker to me.

  • SpaceMooseSpaceMoose Registered User regular
    I don't have any specific comments on the value work since I'm still struggling with that myself but it seems like there are some perspective issues with the glass itself. It could be that the angle you drew it from didn't match up with the angle of the picture but the size of the ellipse on the opening looks a bit bigger than that in the photo and likewise the glass doesn't seem to taper enough in at the bottom. The drink liquid line does look about right to my eye though.

    Note that I only say this because I always notice this stuff at the end of my own drawings and the notice is usually followed by some cursing.

  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited April 2014
    My advice would be to stick with simple solid objects for a little while longer, just to keep things straightforward until you have a really good grasp of what's going on with the light.

    The egg is such a classic beginner's study because it makes it so easy to see all of the "anatomy" of a light and its shadow, stuff you will need to learn in order to accurately spot them in the future on more complex shapes. The smooth gradient of the egg also presents a great opportunity to practice handling of media and develop skills necessary to transition one value into another gracefully and with command.

    The glass study is not bad, but It's not one I would have necessarily recommended quite yet, because there are actually some fairly complex things happening with the light due to caustics and refraction.

    Doing some more eggs probably wouldn't hurt, especially playing around with the angle and distance of the light source to really examine how the reflected light and cast shadow change. You could graduate up to something like a bell pepper perhaps if doing more eggs sounds excruciating. The important thing is keeping the light setup simple and experimenting with how different kinds of surfaces catch the light, trying to understand how the light is bouncing around. If you learn nothing else about the physics of light then remember that light bounces off things.

    Scosglen on
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Yeah, light is a real pain, and I think Scosglen has the right idea.

    I am relearning how to draw in charcoal, which, while it is a different medium from graphite, might still be something to look at - - one of the books I'm working from looks like it might be useful with regard to learning about light and surfaces: Douglas Graves, Life Drawing in Charcoal

    (admittedly more useful for opaque things like eggs.)

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    edited May 2014
    So I bought a new pencil set, and I started playing with shading as recommended.


    So I learned that the H probably stands for hardness, because I was able to make much thinner defined lines. It's actually the first time I realized that "darker" pencils equated to a "softer" and thus "thicker" line. I also discovered that going from Harder pencils, even when applying a good deal of pressure, I could only go up, roughly 5 shades, where as going the reverse from Softer pencils I could go a a good number more yet still finite number of shades lighter.
    I started with a range using each pencil applying what I hoped was an equivalent amount of pressure. When working with the different pencils I tried to lighten and apply pressure to create the gradients seen. I am yet unsure how the grain of paper effects this as I've been using the same sketchbook, but I'm thinking about trying different weights of card stock, and photocopy paper to see if the shading differs with the same pressure.

    Outside of practice, and against better judgement (don't worry I will still focus on the fundamentals) I wanted to practice my ability of getting the shapes of images better. I also wanted more interesting things to work with so. Weirdo beak lady it is.



    I'm still not getting my brain to communicate with my hand for the ole "Draw what you see, not what you think you see" schtick. Plainly visible to me is that the head it too small, and the extended foot should dip lower than the planted one.

    bebarce on
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    That's lookin' pretty good, man. Keep at it!

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Surveyor of Things and Stuff Registered User regular
    Awesome observations about the way the penicles and lines work. You're on your way!

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited May 2014
    So personally, IMO, I'd suggest you try to stick with an HB pencil to start (or try to use it for 90% of your drawing, and only allow yourself to swap out for other pencils for the remaining 10%). HB is right in the middle and has a great range - it's the only thing I use. Staying with this one pencil will help you finesse your tactile skills and teach you how to better control the pressure you're using. Grabbing different lead'd pencils and testing them out is certainly not a wasted process, but I've often seen people new to drawing use it as a crutch (or because it's how they've been taught to use pencils), and I feel it can often be a hindrance to learning how to control your pencil pressure. If you can't make a mark light or dark enough, absolutely feel free to use them...but just be aware that you can accomplish virtually the entire drawing with just the HB, and maybe add an H or B if the need arises. I've often found anything beyond a 2H to be too light for my use, and anything beyond a 2B to be much too smudgy and rough...but I also tend to draw pieces small and detailed, and use shading rather than smudging, and if you're going for a different look or use a different process then you might find the other pencils more to your liking than I personally have. To each their own!

    Your drawing so far is looking really good (you got a lot of the proportions and volumes down very well, so feel good about that!) but I did a paintover to help you be aware of some areas that you might be able to improve upon. This is a sample of the lines that I use in my head when copying from a picture. The first point of the process is the most encompassing - trying to fit the figure in a containing "box". I do a really rough figure at first, just to have something to correct off of. That's what the green and blue lines are for. You got a lot of that pretty accurate, but the location of the feet and the knee need some work. Your figure is also leaning forward more, which is making the containing boxes wider, but beyond that there's a lot of sub-bits that you did really well.


    The orange and red lines are the negative spaces. This is a constant thing that I check, and I'm sure it's something you're already aware of. Of course, when you have things pre-contained for you (like the space between the arm and back, there) it's great and much easier to draw accurately. Often though you have to invent divisions - like how I did with the space between the knees. The spaces I choose to "link" to are always significant in some might be the apex of two curves, the bottom of a knee, the top of a knee, the point where the toe and ground touch, the imagined "end" of the triangle at the tip the beak, etc. The purpose is always to get the volume of the shape accurate, not the lines. You seem to already be doing that inherently with the volume of the figure - so just try to apply that same mentality to the negative spaces around the figure too. Drawing rough plumb lines and containing boxes is not against the rules at all and may help you to visualize these hidden shapes more easily - it's something I do sometimes really lightly across a figure to make sure I'm keeping things accurate.

    Overall you already seem to have a strong ability to see volume, and starting from that will make this process a lot easier for you, I think. Teaching yourself to see that can often be super difficult so you're already ahead of the game once you've nailed that down. Now it's just a matter of taking the large volume of the whole figure, and breaking it into smaller volumes and sub-volumes and negative space volumes. Hope that helps some! :)

    NightDragon on
  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    edited May 2014
    Thank you so much for that write up! It is way more than the art actually deserved! Also the first time In a long time that I got graded with a smiley face on something!

    So moving forward if I'm using a 2D object that I'm using as a reference, should I be marking up the original to help create guidelines, or trying to mentally mark them up so that I am applying a skill that is more inherent with drawing from life. Like I believe it would be much easier if I could literally draw guidelines on things, so that I could better replicate them, but I worried that if I did that I'm stepping even further away from practices one would use when drawing from life.

    Also I should mention you're the best.

    edit: Oh, and also thank you for the pencil advice. I'll definitely follow it. That'll probably save me on replacement too.

    bebarce on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I don't think drawing the guidelines out would be bad to do. Maybe if you used it as a crutch, forever, and never learn how to do it in your head...but I think doing it on paper first will help nail the process down for you without any long term issues. I still mark up the reference sometimes. Maybe do it until the process feels more comfortable to you, and then try it in your head and see how it goes? Either way I feel you'd learn the important stuff, and marking up the reference will naturally start to feel like something you don't have to do as often or as thoroughly.

    I think that's why lots of people, when first learning to draw, try the grid system. It teaches you to see those shapes by breaking down the "scary horrifyingly detailed giant image" into small, easy to manage pieces. I don't really know anybody who gets "stuck" using that system though, since it is pretty time consuming to set you're probably safe in that regard. :)

  • JohnTWMJohnTWM Registered User regular
    To add to what ND mentioned about how you drew her leaning forward more than in the ref, this might help. It looks to me like you were basically thinking of the torso as a single piece. I find it more helpful to imagine the upper chest area as 1 piece, and the pelvis area as another, and then the stomach/spiney bits in between as just sort of bridging the gap, conforming to the shape required. This is closer to how the body actually functions and helps to get your brain wrapped around what you are seeing a bit more without going too much into actual anatomy.

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    edited May 2014
    Sorry I didn't write earlier. Thank you too John. Fantastic.

    bebarce on
  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    edited June 2014
    Not a sketch. This is the first script for the new podcast I'm working on.

    The podcast will be a journal style story podcast based on an altered reality where the descendants of three explorers of the lost Continent of Mu. Thomas Church plays the decendent of James Churchward. The other two explorers are Nikola Tesla, and a young HP Lovecraft. The podcast will be a pulp adventure with cthulu flavorings.

    Let me know what you think of the first episode's script.

    Dawning Of Mu - Episode 1 Part 1

    Hello, Test.. Check...Hello…
    Hmm, well the bars seem to be moving up to the yellow, so I guess this is transmitting. I’ll have to wait for the upload to hear how this all sounds.

    Clear Throat

    Hello. My name is Thomas Church. This is a chronicle of our… no wait. Chronicle sounds too lofty. Although I don’t know. Maybe this is supposed to sound lofty? mmmmRecord. Yeah. Okay. That’s a better word.


    Man I hope I get better at this.

    Okay. From the top. Okay…


    Hello. My name is Thomas Church. This is a record of our journey in search of the Lost Continent of Mu. A catalogue of our experiences to date, and eventually, I hope that you will follow along with me as we continue our journey forward from here. I’d like you, the listener, to join me on this adventure.

    Intro to Music

    I should probably start off by introducing myself. My name, is Thomas Church, and up until very recently, that name did not mean much to me. I grew up in foster homes, until I grew old enough to fall out of the system. When I was younger some of the other kids in the group home suggested that my last name was Church because someone left me on a church doorstep, and simply had no better name for me. I believed them for a long time, since my earlier days were somewhat blurry. Still I can’t say that my life in foster care, was really all that bad. Surprising. I know. I did a lot of moving around, and I was one of the more rare cases where my stay in foster care lasted a seemingly indefinite period. But on the whole my caretakers were nice helpful people. I generally got along with my foster siblings and kids at school. I'd heard horror stories, but they fortunately seemed pass me by.

    In my teens I’d learned that my mother had died as a ward of a Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey. She wasn’t too obliging with details about who my father was, and so there was a blank spot on my birth certificate. At 18 I went to college on the support of a combination of small scholarships, emancipation stipends, financial aide and any work I could pick up. I’ve had a lot of small jobs since, and have been able to eek out my living so far moving from apartment to apartment. It actually felt… familiar. Comfortable. I’ve come to learn that I don’t feel comfortable staying in one place too long.

    I’d finally settled into a small basement apartment one year ago. It was the first time I’d ever lived alone. I’d picked up several hobbies over my travels and was able to supplement my meager income by writing short stories and submitting them to magazines. Even though I was living a relatively comfortable, if somewhat modest lifestyle, I steadily grew increasingly discomforted living there. The quiet felt too quiet, and so I left my tv on at all times to drown out all the terrible silence.

    Still the shadows grew longer in the corners, and I’d find that whenever I was walking in darker areas, I’d move faster to get to my destination. It was probably a pretty comical sight if it was viewed from the outside. A grown man power walking just to throw out the garbage. I’d never had a fear of the dark, but the longer I stayed there, the more it felt like….something…. was catching up to me.

    It was then, when I was contemplating the ramifications of leaving a steady job and lifestyle, to pick up and set off again, when I received the letter. It was addressed to Thomas J. Church. I didn’t know I had a middle initial. It was the weight of the paper that caught my attention. I’d typically gotten used to just tossing out 90% of my mail since it’s usually junk….sometimes bills I knew I’d not be able to get to that month. But the envelope was thick, and had a feel of hard graininess you knew came with only the more expensive cardstock.

    I’d opened it up, and scanned the contents, My first reaction was that I’d been duped. Cardstock or no, this was obviously another piece of junk mail. I looked over the enclosed airline ticket trying to find the fine print that said that it was a voucher available to one of ten thousand lucky winners, or some opportunity to invest…. but I couldn’t find it. I checked through the documents again, scanning headlines. A hotel reservation, directions, what looked like two ATM cards, and finally the letter.

    From the offices of Metraux and Associates

    Hold on… let me try this in a terrible British Accent.

    From the offices of Metraux and Associates

    Dear Mr. Church,

    Our firm, Metraux and Associates, having been retained to manage the estate of James Churchward, and in acknowledgement of his instructions, are hereby contacting you, Thomas J. Church, with regard to the inheritance you are entitled to. Information will be disclosed at the probate meeting set on the 15th of March. Details are enclosed. All accommodations have been provided for you in advance of the meeting. Prepaid debit cards have been provided to you in the amounts of $10,000 dollars, and $10,000 pounds respectively, with further accommodations to be furnished after the meetings terms. Please plan for at least a 2 month excursion.

    Callum Digby Esquire

    I sat stunned. Every fiber of my being screamed at me that this was just another hoax. A nigerian prince desperate to offload his riches to a random stranger. But still if this was a hoax, it was really really well done. And still something this well planned out seems like it should be targeted at someone that actually has money. I did what anyone in my position would do, faced with the weight of such significant news.

    I drank. Heavily.

    The next morning I called out of work, and brought all of the paperwork to a small law office in a strip mall down the street. After some sitting, and waiting, and a brief meeting that involved more internet searching than talking to me, the lawyer confirmed that Metraux and Associates was a legitimate firm. The ticket to Exeter, UK was valid. The address in Devon was listed to Metraux. And the 200 dollar charge for services rendered proved that, at the very least, the US debit card was valid.

    The meeting was set for 2 weeks.

    There in the parking lot of the strip mall, eating a 2 scoop sundae from the Baskin Robbins, I sat on a bench and considered what this all would mean to me. I considered how much this might impact my life, and what the possible consequences could mean to me. It didn’t take long…I still hadn’t finished off the first scoop of Jamoca Almond Fudge, before deciding that I was bound for England.

    I went home and scanned my small apartment. It was sparse. I never kept much from my childhood, and what I did, I kept in a medium sized hard shelled suitcase. A boxed up life, for someone who is always ready for his next destination. I swung by Larry, my landlords door on the first floor and knocked. I discussed the situation briefly with him, and too my surprise he seemed quite eager for me. We’d never gotten to be friends, but I appreciated the vicarious joy he felt for me, and decided that I’d do well for him. I went to an ATM, and pulled out 1800 dollars. Enough to cover 3 months rent. I told him that he could start looking to replace me after one month, but if didn’t return in three months he could throw out or keep whatever was left in my apartment. I only asked him to keep my suitcase. Larry agreed to the terms, we didn’t have a lease or anything greater than a verbal agreement.

    Finally he asked what my plans were now. My flight wasn’t leaving for another week. I figured I should probably try to keep some of the cash, just in case this all turned out to be a bust. Still 8000 was a good bit more than I’ve ever had in my life at any given time. My bank account itself had maybe 30 dollars in it, and I’d been planning on living on Ramen until my next check.

    The next day I went into work and told my boss that I would be leaving in a week. He definitely didn’t react as well as my landlord. I apologized and let him rant, until his vitriol died down to disappointed mutterings. Outside of that, things kind of fell into place. I had fortunately already gotten my passport squared away a few years back thanks to a weekend trip to Niagara. I spent the rest of the week buying a new wardrobe, suitcases, and eating like a king. I contacted the few friends I’d collected, and let them know of my plans. They congratulated me, and wished me well, but there was no real fanfair. Everyone was busy living their lives. The second to last day I panicked a bit, realizing I’d not figured out what to do with my car, but Larry told me that it was no problem, and that I could keep it in his garage for as long as I needed. And with that I was ready to go. I’d packed, and set out. I spent the night in NYC, enjoying the luxury of a hotel room, and the next day a taxi took me to JFK.

    I’d never sat...well any class on a plane before. I felt like I was supposed to be nervous about the flight but it didn’t really bother me. There was one thing though…

    Soft intro to creepy music

    When I was still sitting in the terminal waiting for my flight to board, I noticed a man sitting 4 aisles across from me. He was well dressed, tall, fine white facial hair and bald head. He stared straight forward off into the distance, but whenever I look away, I could see him staring at me in the periphery of my vision. Maybe we were just both eyeballing each other. Feeding off the creep vibe that maybe I was giving off myself.

    Still though….something about him bothered me. I didn’t realize it the time, but thinking back I realized, it was his stillness. He sat there staring off into the nether. Never shifting in his seat. Never checking his phone, or the changing flight monitors. And yet when I turned away from him, I felt like his entire focus was on me. And what’s worse. He was glaring malevolently. When I turned to look at him I never even caught the hint of him shifting back. And I tried. I tried to turn back quickly to spot him, but always he just stared off into that unknowable distance.

    Fade out from creepy music

    On the plane I got up and walked to the back. The stewardess recommended the larger, well-appointed bathroom in the front for my use, but I complained that I needed to move my legs. I walked down the aisles to the back of the plane and back up, scanning faces as best I could, but I didn’t see him. I sat back down, and still not feeling comfortable got up and repeated my circuit. Nothing. I’d assumed that once you had gotten through enough security to get to that gate terminal that you were destined to be on the plane, but I guess I was wrong.

    6 hours into the flight, a steady storm was raging, occasionally lighting the portal windows. The lights in the cabin were dim now, and everyone was either asleep or absorbed in the channel they were watching on the rear of the seat in front of them. I got up and decided to take another walk, this time with the actual purpose of stretching my legs.

    I walked to toward the center of the plane and saw that both restrooms bore the red Occupied flag. I stood there and idly looked out the exit hatch window, gazing out into darkness. Lightning flashed, and there…. on the wing… I thought I’d seen the shape of a man. Standing still amidst the chaotic werling of rain and wind, and in the stuttering of light from the storm in the next instant he was gone.

    A small chime dinged and the sound of a lock slid back revealing a green Vacant flag now, as a portly man wearing pastels stepped out. I snapped out of my revery just at about the same time that the smell coming from the open door hit my senses, and decided to turn back and walk to the more luxuriously appointed bathrooms in the front.

    I attributed the vision to tiredness, or darkness, or any number of things that would be more probable than a man standing stalk still on the wing of plane staring back at its inhabitants. Two more free jack and cokes, supplied by a smiling stewardess wearing a mischievous smile definitely helped unburden me of my concerns.

    The rest of my trip went without incident. We landed to the sound of gentle applause from the passengers. I traveled to my hotel, checked in, and spent the remainder of the week acting like any typical siteseer. The food was surprisingly good. I guess I was living with preconceived expectations, or maybe the money I had available to me landed me in finer cuisine, but I probably made up for quite a bit of luxury that i’d never had the chance to fully experience until that point.

    On the 15th a car was sent to pick me up. As we pulled up to the building of Metraux and Associates I finally got to experience the look and feel of what I thought England would be. Stepping into the foyer I looked in on a large study with walls lined on all sides with old books. Elderly men sat in comfortable looking high backed sofas, each sporting a tiny table and tea cup accompaniment. A large fireplace provided light some light, but dull glowing flickering chandeliers hung in in rows of two provided most of the ambiance. This is what I thought England would be. Its like they rented old men to make the image fit perfectly to my perception.

    I walked up a set of gently spiraling stone stairs eagerly awaiting to be received by Lord Grantham himself, but upon being ushered into a sitting room I was surprised to be introduced to Mr. Digby himself, a well groomed honey brown man of possibly Indian descent. He greeted me warmly, offered to get me a beverage and asked me to take a seat. Sitting down, Mr. Digby with a startled realization turned to look behind me and apologetically asked a “Mr. Kania” if he would like something to drink as well. I was startled myself, and hadn’t noticed the man quietly sitting in the corner of the room.

    He sat quietly smiling, with his hand placed lightly on his chest before moving into a wave that universally said “Thank you, but no, I’m good.” I could tell immediately that the man was accustomed to the opulence that surrounded us. He was decadently manicured, with hair combed to the left with a razor straight part. It reminded me of how the foster parents used to always comb my hair as kid, only to have it curl back up into a tangled mess as within minutes. His smile didn’t touch his eyes.


    bebarce on
  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    Dawning of Mu - Episode 1 Part 2

    I turned back to Mr. Digby who looked somewhat equally disturbed as he arranged paperwork into neat piles on his desk. After some throat clearing he started up and after much legal speak and some signing of paperwork he started to describe the assets that had been left to me.

    I sat in stunned silence barely breathing. I tried to break away from the spiraling torrent of thoughts that assaulted me and only realized after a short time that Mr. Digby has stopped speaking. The fog cleared and I asked him if he wouldn’t mind repeating himself.

    There were 5 estates all told, one here in Devon, and 4 others in California, Mexico, India, and Australia, a small private airport, several fishing and nautical vessels, holdings in multiple companies, and other assets that amounted to a net worth of 42 million dollars. My throat and mouth had gone dry but hearing it a second time allowed me absorb the information without becoming scatterbrained again once more.

    He provided me with more documents. A company was being kept on retainer to manage my estate and finances.

    Digby pulled out a final sheet of paper, and listed the final item that I was to inherit. I signed the last document, and Digby stood up and lead me through a door to another room. I looked back at Kania to see him still sitting there smiling. Why was he even there?

    I entered a circular room devoid of furniture with the exception of a single stone table at its center. On the table sat a trunk roughly the size of large microwave. The trunk looked like it would be comfortable in the hold of a pirate ship. It had a rich dark burgundy stain with thick brass straps and appointments. What looked like the image of a tree sat on a metallic plate on the edge of the trunks lip, and in its center there was a keyhole. Digby furnished me with an old key. The key itself looked like a miniature whaling spear, with the edges of the bladed curve notched as a key might. Inserting the key into the lock I spun it discovering that the plate turned with the key. Now right side up I realized that the tarnished image was not of a tree, but some many tentacled squid. An inner mechanism clicked, and I was able to smoothly lift the lid. Delicate chains on the inside kept the lid from falling back too far.

    Within the trunk I found stacks of old leather bound journals, all having the squid emblem debossed in it’s center. There were several other metallic objects whose purpose I had not ascertained. There was a heavy metallic compass with exposed gearwork on its back end. Another object looked somewhat like a sextant, not that I knew how to work a sextant, but whereas the sextents I’d seen in movies looked like they were designed around a quarter circle, this sextant (if it was one) was three quarters of a circle ‘round. There was a rolled up leather satchel that contained several black metallic rods of varying length, and only a few inches in diameter. Each rod seemed extremely heavy. More so than the size should have allowed. And finally there was what looked like some kind of ancient rubik's cube, or actually more like that evil demon cube from the hellraiser movies. I tried delicately prying at it a bit, but nothing shifted or spun or move or opened. Probably for the better, as I wasn’t eager to open up any gaping hell mouths. Still I looked closely trying to follow the lines of delicate patterns for far too long to let Mr. Digby feel comfortable before putting it down. Blinking I looked once more at the inside of the lid and found an exposed letter folded into a pocket attached to the lids center.

    As I removed the envelope, Mr. Digby cleared his throat and informed me that someone would come and carry the box to the waiting vehicle and would deliver me to my new residence. I stuffed the letter into my jacket pocket and followed him back to his office. Our friend, Mr. Kania had cleared out, and Mr. Digby appeared relieved at his lack of presence. He had arranged for my accounts manager to meet with me the following morning and had me sign off on one last document that indicated my agreement that all services had been rendered by Metraux and Associates to satisfactory completion..

    Two men arrived and transported the chest, and I followed Mr. Digby downstairs to the awaiting car. Digby looked concerned, and as he shook my hand, I could tell that he felt conflicted about telling me something. “What is it?” I asked him. And after a continued shake of my hand he sputtered a quick “Nothing, Mr. Church. Nothing at all. Just….be careful.”

    “Careful of what?” I asked, but he had released my hand and walked back inside. The doorman closed the door shut after him.

    I got in the back seat and the driver started off, when I remembered the letter. I pulled it out and looked at the wax seal that fastened it shut. I didn’t really want to snap it as I thought it looked pretty cool, and tried to separate it from the paper in while keeping it intact. After spending a few minutes delicately prying at it’s corners, I realized I was being foolish and just snapped the damn thing. I quickly scanned the bottom of the page and saw in a calligraphic script, I saw the signature of James Churchward. I returned my attention back to the top of the page and read the letter.

    To whom it may concerned,

    If you are reading, this by now you are most likely the beneficiary of my lifes explorations and investments. Congratulations. I hope these meager funds translate into a solid returns by the time you have adopted them. I’ve left my estate in good hands, with instructions on what company types should be invested in. You’ll need these funds.

    Additionally I should mention to you that if you are reading this, you are the sole inheritor of my fortunes. As the youngest available inheritor that still is within the age of adulthood, as specified, the entirety of my fortune is left to you. I will have, as you may have come to learn, been deceased for some time now.

    Finally I would like to provide you with a warning, for since you are reading this, that means the terms of the agreement have at last expired. The seals are broken. You will need to be prepared for what is to come. Through my journeys I have discovered a secret that will have change the world as we know it. The very ideas of creation itself are at jeopardy, and with that risk, there will be those that seek to protect the power they have gained. I have found the lost continent of Mu. And although I have released this knowledge to the public there is a much greater story that I fear I have not been able to tell. Of all the inheritance you have received, the journals and artifacts in this chest are of the most valuable. For they will guide you back to Mu. Back to your destiny. And back to the task which needs resolution for the sake of humanity, and all the worlds therein. I wish you good luck. I encourage you to find the descendants of my fellow explorers to aide you in your journey. And I caution you above all else to be weary of who you place in your confidence.


    James Churchward

    I wasn’t sure what to make of the letter. I wasn’t planning on going on any journey’s, and all this nonsense smacked of conspiracy theory and hokey pokey pseudoscience. And what was The continent of Mu? Is it pronounced Moo? Like a cow?

    A million questions flew through my mind, but the bedrock of my surety was that regardless of the ramblings in this letter, I had a lot ahead of me. The shock of my newfound wealth hadn’t yet worn off. As I mused, the car slowed to a stop in front of a beautiful ivy covered estate. The driver got out and I followed him to the trunk but he waved me off politely. He hefted the chest out of the cars trunk and lead me up the stairs to the front entry. As he placed the chest down in front of him he reached into his vest pocket and retrieved a key, informing me that he had several others to provide me.

    I realized that I’d left the letter in the back seat of the cab and let the man know to bring the trunk in and that I would be right up. I jogged back down the stairs, and made my way across the drive to the car, hearing the creak of the door opening up behind me.

    Just then a force blew me forward knocking me violently onto my face. A muted silence enveloped me but was quickly consumed by thunderous roaring. I felt pain all over my back and reached up to the side of my ear to find blood trickling. I couldn’t tell if it was coming from my ear, or somewhere on my head. I looked back to find the entryway of the estate on fire. A large hole where the door once stood showed that the fire was spreading inward toward the belly of the house. I tried to stagger to my feet but fell back down to my knees. A keening whine filled my right ear, and I looked through the haze of smoke to discover that the driver was sprawled over the chest. He had fallen back onto it, and I unfortunately I bore no hope that he had somehow lived, for he and the chest itself were being consumed by fire.

    The chest! I realized and shuffled forward. I realize in the aftermath that I was truly selfish in my consideration for the life of the man who had died just before me, but I would like to try and blame the shock of the situation for my actions. I know that it is an excuse. But it’s a comfortable one. I grabbed the edge of the chest that was not lit, and pulled at it. Slowly it moved back toward me, increasing in speed as I reached the edge of the landing and the weight of the man relieved as the chest slid out from underneath him. With a final pull, the trunk fell forward tumbling end of end, fluttering with flames as it crashed into the cobblestone walk spilling all it’s contents. I took off my jacket and smothered the flames kicking journals away so that they wouldn’t light the next. The manor was now fully ablaze and I could hear the sound of sirens in the distance.

    I sat down there next to the smouldering ruin of my newly inherited house, and watched the flames carry up to the second story.

    I realized now that the words in the letter were not the ramblings of a dying confused old man. Or maybe they still were, but they definitely had a truth to them. Something was going on. Something was at work here. I was going to find out what.

    Whatever I had left in the trunk would have to be my guide. One line of the letter repeated over and over again in my head. Find the descendants of my journey.

    I would. I’d find them. And I would bind them to my cause, even if it meant giving up some of this newfound wealth in doing so. I’d get answers, and maybe… I’d discover this continent. Mu.

  • MetalbourneMetalbourne Inside a cluster b personalityRegistered User regular
    Get back to drawing

  • sampangolinsampangolin Registered User regular
    I would avoid using the word mused so soon after he thinks about the continent of mu.

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    I have been drawing. I came up with some elements to describe to Alyce for designing the album art.

    Get back to drawing

    Is that akin to "Don't give up your day job?"
    I would avoid using the word mused so soon after he thinks about the continent of mu.

    Thanks. I'll avoid that.

    I recorded my voice reading this whole thing

    I learned that
    1. I need to do a rewrite to make sure the words I've written flow better when spoken out loud.
    2. (and from advice) I need to cut back drastically on the exposition.
    3. Fortunately I recorded for 31 minutes and I'd hoped to average only 20. It means there is a lot I can cut out which is much easier than fluffing something up.
    4. My voice doesn't sound as horrible as I thought it would. I mean it's not great. And I may still think that my voice is just not cut out for this, but it's not terrible either.
    5. The audio equipment I borrowed works fantastically.

    So Alyce has offered to do the Album Art, and I got another guy Zach Zerby who is working on composing music.

    Right now i'm working on rewriting this first script.

    I plan on it being 12 episodes for the first season.

  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    I like what I've read so far.

    What time period does it take place in. It sounds somewhat modern to me so far.

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    It's modern, but alternate Earth so I have the leverage of allowing some of the old, and some of the new in there. I think the world will become more and more bizarre as the story progresses, with perhaps a pause during an episode to let the listener question whether the Thomas has not actually just snapped from reality and is now living in a make believe fantasy land of his own devices.

    So I'd meant to update this thread. I recorded my first Episode!

    Please give it a listen and tell me what you think. The feedback I've gotten so far is that they'd like a bit more in the way of ambient sounds in there so that they don't feel so sparsely laden, but i'm not exactly sure what to play in the background during the non public environment scenes, like in his apartment, or in Mr. Digby's office. I'm experimenting with some musical tracks, but nothing quite seems to fit.

  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    Hey man. About halfway thorough so far.

    Good job!

    You've def got the voice to pull off reading a story like this. You fit the character that you're reading as. A lot of funny parts like when you read as an english gentleman or questioning your spanish heritage. Also production wise, really good.

    For the part when you're explaining the man on the wing of the plane, you might want to add the faint noise of a storm, because before that part, I was just thinking it was a regular sunny day outside, and it might give the scene a little more foreboding.

  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    OK done.

    I like, so far. Also the music works well!

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    Thanks! and thanks for the suggestion of the storm! That will work well. I'm doing the best I can plundering from and for Free Use resources, but I may need to invest in more.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2014
    The section around 18:00 about the estate repeats twice.

    I think the sound effects are nice. Nightvale gets away with a lot more music, but it has a good context (its radio!) and the voice to match that setting. Here, you kinda get that speaking into a recorder vibe, but its pretty much just a narrator. The sound effects do a lot to break up things into sections, but you may also think about more ambient things like the star track ship noise

    Short of having a composer who can really lay some non-intrusive background music, you may not find an ideal solution. I think you have a really good proof of concept here, which is a good place to be when looking for contributors. I think that the intro music is a little crazy chiptune/upbeat, it doesn't feel appropriate for whats to follow.

    Iruka on
  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    For now it's been serving as a place holder/as good as I could find on as I could get until the guy who said he'd work on a musical track actually finishes up, but i've actually kind of grown a bit attached to it.

    I think i want to get 4 episodes in before I start reaching out to the world at large. I'm thinking about breaking down a bit and adding more dialogue. It goes away from the original intent of making this a radio journal, but I've already started that anyway with the sound affects, and from feedback I'm getting the impression that listening to me drone on for 30 minutes straight isn't going to Marty McFly.

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    With a bit of understanding that I
    1. Would like to submit this before the 18th.
    2. That I can only improve something so much in a limited amount of time and ability.
    3. I am alright with the notion that my "art" is not necessarily up to caliber for a contest submission, and I know full well that I'm not going to win it, but would like to submit it anyway.

    I was wondering if some of you could tell me what you think of this cover contest submission. I'll do my best to alter it to your recommendations, so believe me I will value any critique, and will make a best effort to improve the piece.


  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    Pretty striking design! Perhaps putting a warp on your text that matched the arc in the colors gradient in the background would help? As it is now it looks a bit rigid.

    Better yet, I think just doing the text by hand to really meld with the arc would be best...

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    Thanks Adam! I forgot the damn PSD at my job, so now I have to wait till Monday to make any edits! Blarg!

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular

    I'm trying to draw from picture references. This was probably not the best reference to choose from, but then again I'm probably not picking up on many subtleties yet anyway.

    Still a work in progress.


  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    So far self criticism suggest it's a lot less "Crowy" and a lot more "Pidgeony"

    Gotta broaden the neck, and edge up the beak. Make it a bit broader too.

    bebarce on
  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    I think im done penciling this. Should i try to ink it with black marker?

    bebarce on
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    I wouldn't say it's necessary, but if you want to practise inking you definitely could.
    But before leaping in, I'd have a good think first about what you want the marker to convey, eg







    a combo?


    If you go in without a plan it can be easy to create a mess, and with ink there isn't really any going back. That said, creating messes is ok! Realistically, it's the only way to learn, and as an artist you'll almost always ruin way more pieces than you'll ever be happy with. But I think a thoughtful mess might be more valuable.

  • bebarcebebarce Registered User regular
    I was an idiot anf inked before reading.
    Im actually ok with it for now but I will need to try harder for the next time.


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