Friday, 21 April 2017

The usual tools

So, a quick list (and sample) of the usual stuff I use for my usual sketching exercises.

I have a few more things, but these are the basic ones: all off them easy to get, relatively cheap and great to work with in my opinion.

The basic, cheap, yellow and black Staedtler Noris pencils are a staple of my school days. It is fair to say I have been using these all my life. They are very consistent, so I never get any surprises when I use them and come in handy packs of B, HB, H for about 2€. They are smooth writers and leave a good consistent line. I find the H just perfect for those initial lines and the HB is great for shading. I find the B nice for some deeper shadows and filling the iris'.
Overall I use these all the time - a lot more than I go for the Lumograph tin - so while not the best pencil you can get quality wise, they are the best thing I have when I just want to doodle and sketch without concern for the cost or if the result looks good or bad. If I think about it, that makes them the best!

As for the mechanical pencils:

The Parker 45 Flighter twist pencil is great. Heavy, with the 0.9 lead, it can do very fine lines or heavy shading with the AIN pentel leads.
Note that this is more of a writing tool than a sketching tool, so the lead has some play: it moves a bit up and down when you sketch with it.

The Kuro Toga 0.5 is light and easy to use. The whole "always sharp" feels like a gimmick, considering 0.5 is a very fine line, but it handles well and I think makes the little details really pop out: things like eyelashes and cross hatching look good. The Faber leads glide well and the lines have a nice texture to it.

The 788 is also an old companion. It was my father's clutch pencil and works like a plastic pencil. The Bic leads rival the Staedler B pencil in darkness, although they feel a little greasier than it.
I really feel like I should use it more, but I don't go immediately for it when doodling. I use it mostly for adding some line weight.

The Staedler fineliner... nice and cheap. Black enough, fine enough... I still prefer the Derwent or the Sakura (I'll go through my impressions of those later), but it's serviceable enough and at 4€ per 3 pens it is good value.

So, last, for a comparison of the progression with everyday practice:

In January

Not a great improvement, but I guess some is better than none.

Friday, 27 January 2017

New Hobbies - Sketching, drawing and comics.

I've been away from the blog for ages and, to be perfectly honest, I've been from most of the usual stuff I do: writing has been hard (to be honest I'm stuck at 21891 words and 37 pages on yet another attempted novel and stalled, can't seem to find a game that catches my attention, etc...), so I tried to find something which catches my interest and gets me going.

Now, let me be honest, I'm the kind of person who picks up hobbies, obsesses over them for a few months and then drops them, so nowadays I try to be careful about the upfront investment needed.

This time I picked up drawing, which is nice for the budget: most of the stuff I have laying around. All around all I bought was a set of Staedtler Lumographs ranging from 6B to 4H, some Sakura microns and Sakura Koi coloring pens on sale.

So, while I probably won't be sharing the sketches - I am REALLY bad at this and all I care is getting to the point where I can draw some passably nice comicbook faces - I'll leave the impressions on the stuff I got and whatever insight I get as I fumble around with this.

So, I'll start with the list of the stuff I'm using:
-Staedtler 788 clutch pencil (it was my dad's and I used it all through college;
-Bic HB 2mm leads;
-Parker 45 flighter 0.9mm mechanical pencil;
-Pentel HB 0.9mm leads;
-old and cracked Maped 2 hole pencil sharpener;
-Staedtler Noris pencils (H, HB, B);
-Sakura Microns Sepia (01, 05, 1, Brush pen);
-Sakura Koi pack of flesh tones;
-Staedtler Lumographs set of 12;
-Platinum #3776 M nib fountain pen - it works and I love it for some stuff;
-Mitsubishi E-Knock pencil rubber;
-a cheap something or other vinyl rubber I had on my desk;

Right now I'm looking around for all sorts of tutorials on the web, and I've caught some interesting things. And just the continuous practice gets improvements, that much is true.

I read somewhere on the web ( - no afilliation whatsoever) that copying work is a good way to improve. So far I'd say it has worked at least to give me ideas on how to draw some stuff. Mostly I've been looking over my comic book favorite artists: Michael Turner, Jim Lee, Joe Madureira, Adam warren, among others.
I also keep looking for any pencil sketches I can find on the web, blatantly stealing what I can.

The result?

Better now, but still awful!

Monday, 3 November 2014

OOC - NaNoWriMo 2014

"When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature." - Ernest Hemingway

Yet again I am going to try it: Write a first draft of a novel in 1 month. By first draft I mean a 50k word draft.

I think I learned some important lessons last year: preparation, dedication and creating a novelling friendly environment, but before I get to that, I'd like to say this upfront: I decided to do my 50k words on part II of what I wrote last year, so the preparation part I did last year is salvageable.

So, lets's start with preparation and what works for me:
1. Know your characters (read the Hemingway quote up there). If you have interesting and fleshed out characters it will be easier to understand how they react to your plot.
2. Know your plot. It can be as simple as "I want to start here and finish there" and figuring the rest as you go along, but have a clear guideline.
3. Pick some ambient music. It's a way to drown out the world and the right music gets the right juices flowing, at least in my case. Currently listenin to everything by Two Steps From Hell.

The dedication part should be self explanatory, but...
1. Write.
2. Find you time to rest, to get away and put things in perspective, or else you are going to get bogged down and frustrated and start losing hope and inspiration
3. About inspiration... Inspiration takes work so after step 2 is done, get back to step one and work, instead of waiting for inspiration to kick you in the butt. It will kick you while writing: for every 1 great page you will write 20 crappy ones. Write the 100 crappy ones, get the 5 great ones. Restart, revise (on December 15, that would be my advice).

The "Writing friendly environment" is the hardest part. It is up to you to create it. I prefer to write alone. I am currently abroad and lice with 4 other people, that makes it hard. It also makes it hard that the people you live with make fun of your endeavour. We all know people like that (and some aren't even doing it in a a mean spirited kind of way), but, my 2 cents, just tell people it's your hobby. It works for me and they leave me alone for the most part, even when they call me weird - has if you don't know I am weird already.

Good writing. Let me know of you tips if you have any.

Monday, 16 December 2013

OOC - NaNoWriMo aftermath

I tried to finish the nanowrimo - for those of you who don't know, it's an event in which you try to write a novel (50.000 words) during November.

I failed - finished with a measly 35.413 words - but I learned a few lessons.

1st - Preparation is key. This should be obvious, but realizing it is still amazing and you only realize it once you start writing something. I learned the kind of preparation I need and how it best works for me. Thanagherion in this blog was a fully formed character long before I ever started writing about her. I had a good notion what she was, where she came from and how she would behave. Writing something that big from scratch, I realized a "good notion" is not enough - at least for me. So, know your characters. Flesh them out, give them a voice, a face and a mind. Their behaviour will flow for that.

2nd - Realize that writing 50.000 in a month is not going to net you a perfect novel, ready for publishing (if it does kudos to you and you really should stop reading me and start publishing - no sarcasm here!). What it does give you is a very nice first draft. It will still be an accomplishment, but it will need polishing and honing. Once I realized I wasn't going to get the perfect novel in one go, it became liberating: I could just write down, get the words flowing even when I was sure it didn't sound good or perfect. But I was getting some writing done and that is the main thing.

3rd - Write! This should be obvious, but it sometimes isn't. If you are commited to writing a novel you really should get going. Researching is not writing (see first rule). It saves time, makes things better, but it doesn't get you closer to you goal. If you do your research it will save you time, true, but if you get stuck on the research you won't write. Reading your e-mail, watching TV, playing games... all those things aren't writing. They are nice distractions, they will retemper you strenght, but in the end, if you commited to get it done, you need to get you hands down and do it.

These are some of the lessons. They could be broken down into many pratical tips - I learned a few of those, but I won't bore you with those.

Me, I intend to go back and finish what I started, even if it takes another month or so to get that first draft finished.

Monday, 21 October 2013


I've cancelled my Eve account. Being away from home, in a place with a slow internet connection, I have not been able to play.
I've been away for a year and I was hoping to have a decent connection and some time to spare for the game. Unfortunately for my gaming life (and very fortunately for my professional life) time has been scarce.
This means Thanagherion will be retiring, or at least taking a long vacation. Probably so will this blog. Maybe I'll start running another blog for short stories. It will depend on the available time.
For those who read this, thank you! For all EVE players: good hunting. Gank some reds for me.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

OOC - Trying to get back

I have been away from this blog for too long.
I've been away from Eve for too long.
I'm currently overseas with not much time to spare for videogames, but I really need a hobby that takes my mind off work, so I'll be trying to update the blog with short stories every week... lets see if I can keep to that Schedule and if I manage to scrounge a few readers to give me some input on what I'm doing...

Catch all later.
Good hunting.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

R.I.P. Vile Rat

With my most sincere respect and condolences for family, loved ones and those who met him.
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