Monday, October 24, 2011

Casting call

Before getting to the main part of this post, which is an awesome blog hop hosted by the lovely Carrie Butler, here are a few reasons for celebration...

Today is our seventh anniversary in Canada. Hooray!

Today is also this blog's second anniversary. I started it off here to mark our fifth year in Canada.

This is my 200th post. Wow! What a lot of nonsense!

So...on to the blog hop...

The idea is to feature a few characters from your book or WIP, using some kind of visual aid. Please click on the sticker above to see the list of other participants.

Now, although I liked the idea of this I tried searching for suitable images to capture my characters but nothing seemed right. Some people seem always able to lay their hands on the right graphic or clip art when they need it. I envy them. Ferreting out nuggets from the ocean of information out there is not my forte.

So in the end I gritted my teeth and got out paper and pencil. Let's be clear about this. I draw. I paint. But I don't do people or faces, so this is way outside my comfort zone.

Anyway, here are some of the main characters from Ghosts of Innocence.

First up, meet Shayla Carver, my protagonist. Badass assassin on the outside, inside she's just a messed-up little girl trying to find meaning in an ugly world. Having her home world fried by Imperial warships when she was just eleven didn't help matters.

Shayla's nemesis, Imperial Chief of Security, Chalwen ap Gwynodd. Not someone you want to meet down a dark alley. In fact, even in a brightly-lit room it's not a happy encounter. People prefer to avoid being the focus of her attention. Even a "Good morning" from Chalwen feels like a full-on interrogation.

Chalwen's right-hand man, Henri Chargon, Chief of Internal Affairs. Dark alley or not, chances are you'll never even see him coming. If Chalwen could be likened to a bear with a bad hangover, Henri is more like a snake. Sly, patient, and deadly.

There are many more characters in the story, but I want to give special mention to the overall setting. I see the worlds themselves, the palaces and deserts, the forests and mountains, as characters in their own right. So here is Jemiyal, a mining colony where the climax of the story takes place.

Thank you, Carrie, and co-conspirators Melodie and Lisa, for an exciting blog hop.


  1. Very cool and very well done! I enjoyed this!

  2. cool drawings, really interesting sounding characters =)

  3. I love it, Botanist! Despite the fact that you’re uncomfortable drawing people, it’s clear that you're artistically inclined. You did a fantastic job, and your descriptions are great. I love how you used the dark alley scenario!

    Thank you for participating! :)

  4. It sounds like your protagonist is up against some formidable characters! Great post.

  5. Nice job for someone who doesn't do people. You went the extra mile!

  6. Congratulations on all your anniversaries! I bow to anyone who can draw more than stick figures. :)

  7. Thanks for your kind words everyone. I think this exercise has told me that I need to face my fears and learn how to do people.

    Now, on to see the other posts in this blog hop...

  8. I love your characters, Ian! I told you before that you capture them all so realistically in the various drafts I've read.

    As for the drawings . . . Chalwen is almost EXACTLY as I pictured her. Wow! Great job there.

  9. Well, there's praise indeed David! I reckon Chalwen is probably my favourite character in the story, so it heartens me to hear I've shown her right.

  10. Wow, good job. I wish I could draw... :( I did draw my characters when I was younger, but they were little kiddy drawings. Now, I know what you mean about finding the right clipart and stuff. I kinda had anime style ones made up. I pretty much redrew them from scratch and it was kinda fun.

    And congrats on your anniversaries! Tomorrow, my parents step into their 26th year of marriage, so it's celebration all around ;)

  11. I am interested to see how this develops, there are the makings of a good story here. happy anniversary

  12. Congrats on all your anniversaries!

    I've tried drawing my characters over the years but they never quite capture all I want them too. It's great to see that you can get them on paper. :)

  13. Nicely done, Bot, and congratulations on all your milestones!

  14. Wow - love your visualizations. Your story sounds great, too. I hope you had some fun doing this! I'm a new follower.

  15. Jennifer, Paul, JeffO - thanks!

    Steph - that's a big milestone. I am soon coming up to 20 years...scary!

    Jean - it's tricky to capture exactly what you want, and I'm certainly not there yet myself. This is a whole new venture for me.

    Melodie - welcome, and it was fun. Thanks for the idea.

  16. This was great. I love how you included your world as one of the characters. Our worlds are so important they really do take on a life of their own.

  17. Very exciting, Botanist. Even in the quick sketches I can tell who they are by their eyes. I had no idea that cool painting you recently completed was all about setting. Great job! :)

  18. You put a lot of hard work into your post and characters. Well done! It's a lot easier sticking a photo than drawing each one by hand.

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog yesterday. I'm now following you. And I just celebrated my 7th anniversary (October 14th) here in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm in Seattle. Came here from the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

  19. Dude, two things.

    One: I really like that top'o'the page graphic, pretty cool image that.

    Two: Hand drawing your characters is even cooler. I tried to do mine by hand for the casting call, but they all came out looking like and XKCD comic strip.

  20. Great job!! Much better than what I could do, for sure. :)

  21. Charity, that's one of the attractions of fantasy and far-future sci-fi. The worlds take on a life of their own.

    Laila, that painting is unique in that it's the only one I've ever done with an external "meaning" in mind. Everything else is "what you see is what you get."

    Hey, Nancy, we're practically neighbours then. It's just a ferry hop from Victoria to Seattle.Pleased to meet you!

    Basil, glad you like the pics. That image is a detail from a larger painting - you can see more of them on the "Words and pictures" tab at the top.

  22. Hi Mysti, I'm pleased with how the pencil sketches turned out, but I think you can see I'm way more comfortable with planets, plants, and machinery.

  23. Very cool! Love the pencil sketches, and the addition of the mining colony was a fantastic idea. I always feel like in speculative fiction, the location is a character all its own.

  24. Nice job! The Imperial Chief of Security looks scary... you're right, I would not want to meet her down a dark alley :P

  25. I love the descriptions of your characters - they were awesome! I also loved the expressions of your characters in your pictures - great job!

  26. Riley, regarding thoughts exactly!

    Morgan, you wouldn't believe it but she's actually one of the "good guys" in the end :)

    Thanks Tyrean. As I've said in earlier comments, I think I'm going to have to develop this skill.


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