Hello again gang gang - it’s time for the November end of month update! Here’s what we’ll talk about:
- Starting up a Monthly Newsletter
- Organising drafts for the joint site
- Progress on VulgateCycle.com
- Travel to Batumi, Georgia!
Starting up a Monthly Newsletter
A newsletter is something that I've wanted to do for a while, but it just felt like yet another thing to try to keep on top of, when I'm frankly pretty shit at juggling what I already have. But I recently came across a content plan that made me realise that not only could I fit a newsletter into my monthly workload, but I could actually kill many birds with a single stone.
I have a big list of places I would like to post content regularly if I could: this Patreon, the SEA blog and newsletter, christophercant.com blog and newsletter, the upcoming joint website, medium, substack, Artstation, deviantArt, Tumblr, and more. But I can't post the SEA articles on them, as then I'd be cannibalizing my own websites traffic.
Instead, I'll write one article a month that isn't written for SEO purposes, and stick it on all the places I mentioned and send it out as a newsletter. It can go on SEA.com alongside the other places without fear, as it won't be designed to get Google traffic, but rather be written as more of a shareable thought-piece. This way, with a single article I can update all my platforms for the month. Well, not all my platforms. I've decided I'm going to do the same monthly routine with a character portrait and complementary article for VulgateCycle.com. This way I can update VulgateCycle every month and I'll have a piece of art I can share on social media. That workload of 2 articles and a character portrait per month is pretty small, so it'll allow me the flexibility to handle other things throughout the month without disrupting the posting schedule. I wrote a 3000 word piece on AI and The Great Simplification I was going to post everywhere this week; however, I got some feedback that has led me to believe I should split the article into multiple posts. I'm going to share the original piece here so you guys can read it, but then I'll split it up into a series of posts, in which I'll dive much deeper into ways digital artists can prepare for the future. You guys will get the monthly newsletter and the character portrait+article posted here too, so you can have everything in one place.
Drafts have been made for the joint site
The SEA OG's have been writing drafts for the upcoming educational site! I'm really proud of what they've made so far, and it gives me confidence that we'll be able to produce something really noteworthy. The plan is to launch the site around January with some initial content and a simple site design, and grew the thing from there. It's great to be working on a project with my friends. It's what I should have been doing all along, I just didn't realise it til recently. If this joint site goes well, and the Vulgate site too, I've been entertaining the idea of proposing to build a mythology site together. It's something to consider for the next few years
Progress on VulgateCycle.com
I've been thinking about my art for this project a fair bit. I want to go forward prioritising quality in my work. I really don't like the treadmill of trying to create more art, faster. It's not my strong suit and it leads to much more mediocrity and 'good enough', which I just don't want to be part of my legacy. That mindset is a product of the age we find ourselves in I guess, but I desperately want to let it go. I want to feel proud of the quality of my work, not the quantity. After the last few years of floundering around, trying to figure out how to turn the Nidean Legacy into a commercially viable project, mentally figuring out what it is I’m trying to build, I think I finally feel settled with my subject matter and the direction I'm going. Now that I feel comfortable, I really want to submerge myself in my pieces and let myself make art, not products. So here is progress on the art:
Work-in-progress of the Vulgate Cycle header image.
Currently, I plan on trying a desaturated colour scheme for the site; one that hopefully evokes the old illuminated books of the medieval era. I plan on painting mostly in greyscale first, to get the values and forms extremely polished, and then colourise it - I find desaturated pallets work much better with that process, so hopefully it’ll look hunky-dory. Something else I’ve been playing with is section transition art:
This guy would be a full-width image that would serve as a transition between a white backgrounded section and a red one on a webpage. I’m really fond of the idea, so I expect I’ll eventually make a bunch of them. Like this one:
They might also look badass as prints or on cards, so I’ll be playing more with the idea to see where I can take it. I also did some other sketches of course, one of which I liked enough to push quite far:
A corrupted knight. Those that opposed Arthur, and eventually slew him, only achieved their goals with the aid of the occult.
Of course, little did they understand the price they would come to pay. I wasn’t sure how far to push the appearance of the ‘bad’ knights in Arthurian legend, like the main villain Mordred, since in a lot of existing illustrations they dress much like the good guys. But I like painting spiky armour and demons so I decided that I would go all the way into my tastes - the bad guys are gonna look like really bad guys. For instance, Mordred is the fella at the top of this piece, gripping Sagramore’s helmet:
Mordred was definitely not a good guy (he decapitated poor Sagramore!) and his appearance will reflect that.
I want to take this piece much further than I have before. There are a few more elements that I want to integrate into the composition, so the painting can serve as an introduction into the entire VulgateCycle project - good knights and bad ones, demons and angels, undead and monsters, normal men stuck in the middle, and of course depicted with plenty of spiky metal and flowing drapery.
Finally, another piece that I want to take further than I have before is this one:
Sagramore defends a temple against the spawn of hell, days before the fall of Camelot
I want to polish this painting into something I can be really proud of. I’m imagining this painting as part of scrolling animation on the site, telling the story of the fall of Camelot. It’ll be a while before that comes to fruition because of the quality I would like to hit with each painting, but I really, really like where this is all going. I’ve also been working on the backend of the website creating a database and draft articles of all the different characters that’ll be featured there. Unfortunately there’s no evidence of it on the front-end of the site, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!
I’m in Batumi, Georgia!
Yerevan was freezing cold when we took an overnight train ride out of Armenia and to the western coast of Georgia, and the first impressions of Batumi couldn't have been more different; the beach is about 100m from our apartment, and on our first day there people were sunbathing!
We’ve been here a bit over a week so far, and I’m already into it. It’s an impressive city, with a beachfront that runs the length of the city, futuristic high rise skyscrapers, and older restored architecture in the centre that sort of feels like you’ve gone back in time. It only has a population of about 170k, so it doesn't feel overcrowded like some cities, even with all the russians currently hiding out here. It’s fairly inexpensive, and Georgian visas are incredibly easy to get for citizens of many countries.
I’ll probably write a little about Georgia again next month, as we’ll be staying til early January, but so far I think this place is great. I may visit here again one day.
Alrighty gang, that's me. Til next time,