If you're in the NYC area this coming week, you might like to come down to Books of Wonder
, in Manhattan on 18th between 5th and 6th Ave. There you can meet Brandon Sanderson as we release his newest novel, The Rithmatist
... and what the heck, you can meet me too, if you're into that sort of thing. We'll both be signing from 6-8PM, and who knows what happens after that? Nothing too crazy, I hope... I gotta catch a plane early Wednesday morning, and get back to Bento and The Awesomes
by lunchtime. The Rithmatist
is the first novel that I've worked on exclusively with Brandon, and in an generous move (not uncommon for him) he suggested that we share the cover credit. My name is written very small, beneath his name written large, but that's just fine with me. I'm definitely the sidekick in our partnerships. Inside you'll find that I've illustrated the map, the chapter ornaments, a variety of interior spot illustrations, and the diagrams that explain the magic of Rithmatics (based heavily on strategic attack/defense dueling, not unlike RTS and Tower Defense games). Everything is drawn in a different style than I'm usually called upon to provide, which was both challenging and exciting... I've never actually done a book map before this one, but I believe I did all right. It certainly looks good to me
, and I look forward to sharing some of this work with all of you
, but if you want to see it sooner rather than later (especially with my update history), I suggest you head out to the bookstore this week and pick it up. I'm pretty proud of it.
Actually, as a Young Adult novel, I'm expecting to see this one on the shelf more often than I do books like The Way of Kings
or The Alloy of Law
. Stores like Wal-Mart and Target and such have significant YA sections. I wonder if I can get away with Brandalizing these books, now that I can at least point to the cover and say, "that's me! No, not the big name, the little name! Awww, please don't make me buy all these copies..."
Don't let the YA label turn you away... the label "young adult" is more a factor of the protagonist's age, rather than an indicator of reading level. Much like Pratchett, Brandon doesn't dumb anything down just because he's writing about teenage characters. At worst, you can point out that he's following two or three people, rather than his usual two or three dozen, and that's possibly a relief for some of us.
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In other news, entering Month no. 2 as a Key Animator at Bento Box Atlanta, steadily gaining familiarity with ToonBoom and the ways in which this production process differs from the sort-of-traditional work I've done in the past. I like some things that TB does... compositing is pretty easy, so is ink & paint, but god do I hate drawing in vector software. Some of that is due to the usual gripes and grumps of working with unfamiliar tools, knowing that you CAN do something, but being balked by the toolset. But some of it, I fear, is inherent to the nature of the beast.
Mostly it bothers me that the damn lines keep twisting under your hands like a greased snake. I understand that you can adjust the correction settings, but that means creating more points as you draw, which make manipulating the vectors (which you WILL have to do) that much more messy and difficult. In the end, I find myself pulling a line, and then fixing the line, and then pulling the next line, and then fixing the line, and so forth. Maybe two or three lines, but then I have to go in and delete extraneous points, or adjust curves, or connect points. I'm told by some of my more experienced peers that all of this is not unusual, which isn't exactly encouraging... when I worked with raster lines, I nearly never had to correct like this... In raster, much like with paper, the line you draw is the line you drew
Not so with vector, these lines are alive and occasionally they need to be beaten with a hammer. It slows me down, and I find that irksome.
That being said, I do like using deformers to make subtle key changes, and I like the scalability, and the ease of things like Drawing Substitution (though it makes reusing repeated frames pretty much a standard action, rather than an occasional technique). And I enjoy working on this show, the episode I'm on now had me genuinely laughing as I watched the animatic. It's still a nice thing to work on material you enjoy watching.
This week was better than last week, which was better than the week before. Ask me again next week.
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Beyond that, I'm working on a lineup of characters for Crafty's sequel to The Mistborn Adventure Game
, which is (of course) all about The Alloy of Law
. Twinborn and Ferrings and Mistings, oh my. Some of you know what a sucker I am for Wild West mythology and steampunk trappings, combined with my usual affection for all things Cosmere... so you can imagine, I'm enjoying myself there. And you haven't seen the last of Allomancer Jak, either.
I've agreed to produce a short backup story for the collected edition of one of my favorite webcomics, written by one of my favorite comics writers, and so I'm incredibly excited about that. No specifics to discuss, can't comment until it's in the can, but I might have made a little *squee* noise when the offer came through. I am so going to rock the hell out of those pages. Look for that later this year.
Not much else going on, working the 50-hour week means that freelancing (not to mention free time) is in light-load mode. Reading steadily; I recently burned through Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven
(excellent story, and a good example of what makes some authors perfect for visual adaptation but not others), I'm about halfway into Larry Corriea's Monster Hunter: Legion
, and next I'll read either The Last Ditch
by Sandy Mitchell (part of the Warhammer 40K 'Ciaphas Cain' series) or Halting State
by Charles Stross (I enjoyed the hell out of Rule 34
). Maybe both at the same time, I'm a maniac like that. My new commute has me regaining a love for audio books, but with only a CD player in the car (no line) I'm basically picking them up used from The Book Nook (great used bookstore up in the N. Druid Hills neighborhood). Currently I'm listening to Hurricane Punch
by Tim Dorsey, read by Oliver Wyman. I already read it years ago, but not so recently that I can remember much of the plot, so it's good stuff while I drive.
What's up with you?