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.

People… art is fluid. It changes, and it changes you while it changes. When you sketch something, you become a slightly different person by the end of the doodle – whether or not it’s the passage of time, the accumulation of practice, or somehow the art has worked some miracle in your soul… well, I’ll leave that up to you.

It’s less noticeable when you’re just puttering along, maybe glancing behind you at the pieces in your wake, than it is when intently going over a series of works and analyzing them. Since that’s what I’m doing here, I’m going to tell you: this piece marks a turning point in the “Sketch” series for my brother.

When I look at this piece, I see the balance of my ability on the scale of suck vs. good fall heavier on the ‘good’ side. This trend continues for the rest of the series (all praise to the powers which bestow art on mortals). It took a few pieces to warm up, it took a lot of mistakes in photoshop, some of which are in the sketch below, but the progress begins to show here.

Do I see room for improvement? *guffaws* Uh… yeah. Take Ebrena, the dancing character, Her dress is beautifully shaded, but her skin tones need more variation, and her features should have more detail. She’s small enough that it isn’t one of those HORRIBLE-TERRIBLE-HOW-DARE-I-POST-SOMETHING-THIS-DREADFUL-flaw, but I notice it. Someday, I might go back over this and actually highlight ALL of the things that should be done in white, instead of just a speck here and there. Not to mention the fact that her hair isn’t very interesting.

Ebrena Dancing

But the composition is pretty good, Ebrena’s pose is lovely, the subtle shading below her aides in adding to the depth, the trees are pretty good, her dress does look pretty good, the grass is believable grass, the stream is subtle, and there could, in fact, be rocks on that little bank dividing the two.

*gives self a hesitant thumbs-up*

Further up and further in, people. We’re past the half-way point now.