Anyway. On to the actual post.
I've been drawing on and off since springing for a good tablet two years back. Most of this consisted of Leeroy Jenkins'ing my way through projects far too ambitious for my skill level, redrawing them at various points in the process as I began to see all my various forms of failure at anatomy, perspective, and non-fugly line art. Yet through this process, I've vastly improved. I cringe at my first versions and old progress sketches, but that only means I've learned a lot since then. And I haven't gotten around to sharing what I learned.
This is my current project car of a drawing, redone more damned times than I care to count. It's been sitting dormant for a while as I focused on writing and other interests. The bug bit me again, so here's a recent progress snapshot. Cao Ren is mostly positioned via theory. Lu Meng is some theory (arms) and a stock photo of a naked guy on the phone (for those casually extended legs which I could never BS myself). This was all drawn by hand with the brush tool - no pen tool vector lines or tracing of source material.
Cao Ren got done first because I worked out his anatomy and perspective wonkiness while Lu Meng's arms and hands continued to baffle me. I also used him to experiment with a style of line art for the piece, which is way the hell more fun than trying to puzzle out why an arm is tilting forward despite your best efforts to make it go straight down. You can see that I've learned more about fabric since then, so he's subject to tweaking. Still, this has come so far since the early drafts. Damn it I'm proud.
I've also been doing studies from time to time, which are great for figuring out how to render tricky things (like hands and fabric, my Achilles heels), giving you a sense of accomplishment, and encouraging you to loosen up and quit fussing for perfection.
Writing-wise, I've been tapped to contribute to a collection of Three Kingdoms tales based on true events. The organizer has good taste in writing and a dream of getting published, so this is an exciting thought. I had been prodding at thoughts of a novel on the 219 conquest of Jing, which has never been dramatized in the detail and focus I would do myself, but I'm not sure I want to spend several years giving that the justice it deserves. I like having the freedom to jump between a variety of projects that strike my fancy - from my in-progress historical short stories to more fannish Dynasty Warriors-inspired stuff to my original horror. And I do want to pick up that revision of my 2006 NaNoWriMo draft, as I still like the main character and the premise of the story.
Site updates have fallen behind because I have a lot to say and little inspiration on how to organize it. My writing and drawing thoughts are a pile of disjointed advice that I'm not sure how to put into article form. I guess there's no harm in starting somewhere. I do have some specific collections of tips - like how to get started making line art if you're about where I was two years ago, with an intermediate base of drawing experience and utter bafflement at illustrators' magic. Perhaps I should just start there.