My brother spent ten years writing an epic fantasy novel. I loved it. I did quite a bit of art for it over the years, and when he asked me for a series of sketches which could become a calendar, I was delighted to oblige.

Okay people, I’m going to lay out a hard truth about my art: *sigh* I’m not that good at architecture, and I don’t particularly enjoy it. Which is weird, because I love sketching, drawing, painting, or otherwise capturing ships. Ships are a form of architecture, so…

Where I’m going with this is… when posed with the prospect of doing a cityscape for one of these “Sketches”, I caved and traced.

Terk of Manrech

I just needed a few of the right vertical and horizontal lines in the right place, and I happened to have a screen grab with them. That’s why this looks suspiciously like something certain people may have seen before *cough*.

Nevertheless, this piece was a riot to do. I did something completely different with the stars and sky to imply night. I highlighted the hills in white, which I thought was a genius move, I used textures to fill in a few different parts of the near building to great effect, and I got to draw Terk, the fellow on the roof. He is a much-beloved character in the book.

People, I’m here to tell you that tracing can be your best friend. Just admit when you do it and keep on grooving. ‘Kay? You’ll learn lots, produce some sweet stuff, and boost your confidence. Is it cheating? Not if you admit it. Is it kinda cheating? Maybe. But using reference images and training your eye with it can be utterly invaluable to your artistry later on. Keep on learning, folks.

Troglodyte out!