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About Digital Art / Professional Devin ParkerMale/United States Group :iconearthdawn: Earthdawn
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Deviant for 9 Years
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Leaf Falling Cover by mysterycycle
Leaf Falling Cover
Cover illustration for my best friend's fantasy novel entry into Geek & Sundry's Inkshares Fantasy Novel Contest 2016. Please pre-order a copy, so he can win! (And it is good, I promise - I'm 246 pages in as of this posting and really enjoying it)…

Created with PaintTool SAI. The fonts are my own creation; for the author credit, I took inspiration from Cyrillic lettering. There is a layer of stained parchment paper on multiply overlaying the entire thing, giving it that lovely aged and weathered texture and helping to mute and unify the colors a bit more. The mask is that of the Fisher, a sinister character who shows up early on and who casts a shadow over the lives of Leaf, Rhyslowe the verhal, and Alcanor the swordsman. The musical instrument hanging in the tree is Rhyslowe's treasured kelthast, based on descriptions in the book and a sketch Michael made at my request. The tree is based on a California oak, which I thought was a suitable match for some of the lands described in the novel.

In making stylistic and compositional decisions, I was trying to follow the inspiration of the Rankin-Bass "The Hobbit" and "Return of the King" animated movies, which were themselves inspired by Arthur Rackham's fantasy illustrations. I've always been fond of their visual style and it's one I've been wanting to experiment with; I don't know to what degree I've managed to capture that feel, though, and it still feels to me far more of my own usual style than that. I also took inspiration from N.C. Wyeth's skies with the puffy clouds in this illustration. They've always spoken to me of the heartbreaking beauty of the natural world and the hope that can exist in our lives even when all around us seems hopeless; and a touch of golden depths that suggest fondly-remembered tales and old stories. I experimented with giving them thin outlines, as in the striking "Hobbit" background paintings, but in the end I thought the borderless white edges felt bolder and more visually enthralling.

Sorry to be waxing rhapsodic about my own drawing; this is all stuff I was reaching for when I made this, so of course you would need to decide whether I'd actually achieved any of that. I'm also pretty excited about it since, this being the cover for my childhood friend's first completed fantasy novel, it's literally been a lifelong dream of mine to make it. I'm glad to have finally gotten the opportunity to do so.
I suppose I should update this front page on the off-chance anyone comes here thanks to my BFF Michael Slusser. If you haven't pre-ordered a copy of his fantasy novel, Leaf Falling, from his Geek & Sundry Fantasy Novel Contest page on Inkshares, I beseech you: go you forth and acquire a copy for yourself!…

I would absolutely love it if he won this contest, and not only because he's been my friend since junior high, but also because he's a fantastic author and his work deserves a place on your bookshelf. Really, I'm not just saying this because he's my friend: I've been reading his novel and it's great, evocative stuff.

Anyhoo, I'm at work on the cover for Leaf Falling, and I'll post it here once it's done. I'm sure most of you can sympathize with the frustration of having to work a day job when all you want to do is get home and hit the proverbial drawing board. It means I only get to put in a few hours' work before I have to hit the sack. Progress never comes fast enough, especially when you work in bite-sized increments.
It's...been a while. To be honest, part of the reason I never posted any new blog entries here was because I was still trying to bask in the happy afterglow of that last entry. It's a bit silly, of course; it was almost a year ago, but my feelings are still similar.

Since becoming a Katawa Shoujo fanboy last year, I've rediscovered my love of anime and manga.

I've been reading Bakuman (currently in Vol. 11), which I really, really enjoy. It's a good book in that it inspires me to try harder with my artwork, and reminds me of how great it was to be around other artists when I was in art school, feeding on each others' creative energy and encouraging each other.

At some point I'll get back to reading Yotsuba &!, but I've held off on that just because the digital copies cost almost as much as the physical copies. I can buy Bakuman on my Nook for around $5 per volume. I'd also like to pick up where I left off in Genshiken, which is basically "The Big Bang Theory" in Japan... It's kind of funny to me that while I like writing fantasy and historical comics, the stuff I read most these days is modern day slice-of-life stuff.

Anyway, my wife has had to "encourage" me to restrict my comics buying habits for the first time I can remember, limiting myself to $20 a month. I don't remember ever reading as many comics regularly as I do now. And it's not all Japanese stuff. I'm reading Dark Horse's Conan the Barbarian, just finished Mouse Guard: The Black Axe, and might start regularly reading DC's Jonah Hex after picking up last month's issue. I'm also always on the lookout for something good to give to my nephew and nieces.

Today I finished watching "Samurai Champloo" on Netflix. I'm going to miss it now that it's over. Great series; a lot of fun visually and stylistically, and the bittersweet ending didn't fail to deliver on the show's opening premise. It made me want to run a feudal Japanese RPG every time I watched it. I gave "Fullmetal Alchemist" a try, since my friend and Netflix both seem to think that I'll like it a lot, but I kind of hit a wall with the generic-seeming fantasy setting that was presented immediately after the promising opening scene. Doubtless I'll try again at some point.

Finally, there's the games which I inevitably allow to suck up my time. A co-worker lent me Final Fantasy XII, which he thought I might enjoy since I don't really like the Final Fantasy games (primarily due to the gameplay mechanics), and he was right, though I've been slow to progress through that. Another friend has lent me Persona 3 and 4 after hearing me go on about VNs and dating sims, I think, and P3 has been interesting so far (with a similar premise or two to the tabletop RPG we've been playing lately, Don't Rest Your Head). My wife and I have been playing Fable 2 a lot (she's already finished the game and is now in the post-story freeform adventuring mode), and of course Silent Hill: Downpour is awaiting my return, once I want to take a break from Skyrim, Oblivion and Halo: Reach (though I finished that last one ages ago, some nights after work a guy just needs to shoot some aliens).

Oh, yeah, of course there's also tabletop gaming, which I've been doing with my semi-regular, face-to-face group, and online in Google+ Hangouts. Don't Rest Your Head, The One Ring, Alternity (Star*Drive), and the occasional D&D game eat up time. Since that's also social time, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing; the main problem is that I get hyper-focused on that stuff and end up spending hours writing up game stuff that I may or may not ever use. One of my New Year's resolutions was to cut down on the amount of time I spend prepping for games, and this is the main reason why. It's too easy to sink all of my creative energies and time in roleplaying stuff when I should be working on improving my artistic skills and creating comics stuff.

Amidst all of this entertainment, it's not really surprising to me that I haven't been drawing as often as I should. I take in a lot of inspiration, but I haven't given myself enough time to focus and grow as an artist from it. I'm always a little jealous and deflated when I look at the artwork of others and see how much better they are than I am in a lot of areas. I wonder how much of their time they devote to their artwork, and what they sacrifice in order to do that (or maybe they don't sacrifice, they just have fewer time-consuming hobbies than I do and feel more of a passion to work on artwork?).

As far as personal comics projects, the stuff I was working on before is still on hold because I really want to complete the Katawa Shoujo doujinshi I started. Manga Studio got an upgrade to 5, which I purchased, so in some ways I've gone back to square one in learning how it works, but some of the differences between that and the older version seem to be improvements. Still, that project has been frustrating me in that learning to use the program while I work on the comic makes it feel glacially slow (though the fact that I don't spend much time working on artwork each week is certainly contributing to that feeling). My focus needs some serious discipline, but I get distracted so very easily...

My wife has challenged me to work on my anatomy, since I often complain that I need to do so. Specifically, she wants me to draw some hands. So I'm going to start there. We'll see where I go from there.
  • Listening to: Torchlight II OST on loop
  • Reading: Bakuman
  • Watching: Geek & Sundry on YouTube
  • Playing: Any decent VN I can get my hands on
  • Eating: Still too much
  • Drinking: Dr. Pepper in little cans


mysterycycle's Profile Picture
Devin Parker
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States
Current Residence: Des Moines, IA
Favourite genre of music: Original film scores.
Favourite style of art: Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement.
MP3 player of choice: iPod (which needs a new battery)
Skin of choice: The one I'm in isn't too bad, and it fits.

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mr-redx Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2016  Student General Artist
:cake:Happy Birthday!!:cake:
mr-redx Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2015  Student General Artist
Hey! It's me Alex! I'm looking forward to working with you!

Also, here's the link to my gallery if you want to check out my characters:…
GypsySquid Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014   General Artist
Happy birthday again.
GypsySquid Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013   General Artist
Happy birthday.
duduliar Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Filmographer
Happy birthday :D
SaBeR2T Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
Happy Birthday!! :party:
christopherburdett Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks so much for the Watch! All the best!
Heist-pyt Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I didn't know that you were a Christian artist. You know any Christian artist in Seattle, WA? I'm just trying to network with Christians artist where I live.

Nice Work!
mysterycycle Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2010  Professional Digital Artist

Offhand, I can't think of any that I know up there. However, if you were to hook up with the Christian Comic Art Society ( [link] ), I would think either a member is up there or they might know someone who is. I've got a friend in Portland, Oregon, but that's about as far northwest as I have connections.
Marzipanapple Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2009  Professional General Artist
Your wife was right in pushing you off to school. You obviously have a great talent. :)
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