Finally, chapter 13 in the second part of No’va, Book IV is about to be complete. Here’s a snippet.
It was not the swift rise of muddy water white-capping from the corner of his eye, but the building sound of something rushing forward that exploited his inner fear. He could do little else but raise his arms in the act of defense as a gnash of teeth snapped shut inches from his body. A thud, followed by the crack of what sounded like bone snapping echoed within the confines of the mist. Ahead of him, his companions turned to look. In the few moments it took for Phine to realize he had never been touched, and at a shout from another, he lowered his arms to see why the pause.
Phine recoiled in shock at a long snout, filled with sharp teeth, seeming to grin up at him. The head was motionless, suspended from a body that appeared to be skewered into the mud from a mysterious pole. It was only when he sought where that pole came from that he understood the reason for the shout. The “pole”, or what he had assumed was one, slowly withdrew, lifting its dripping prey along with it like a spindly spider’s leg. The water’s tarnished surface reminded him of rust on dirty metal, only the rust was the blood of a large crocodile being pulled under.
In the next Mierna book, I had originally titled it “Mierna & the Fae of Chance” because it represented a second chance for those who did not survive in the modern world. I’m thinking of renaming it to “Mierna & the Keeper of Nightmares” because it’s all about Talia’s control of nightmares and how she becomes ensnared in the Nightmare Incubus’ plans to expand its growth and power.
Along the way, Mierna meets a curious little púca known as Wexel. She learns he was given a second chance after his science project exploded at school, disintegrating him in the moment.
In a crouched position, her eyes opened wide in both fear and awe at the largest bear she had ever witnessed. The sound she had heard was its claws digging into the bark of a tree where honeybees had made a nest. She could hear the buzzing of its angry keepers swarming around the animal. At last, after making a large enough opening, it dipped a paw inside and withdrew a chunk of honeycomb. A thick mesh of mossy colored fur made it hard to pick out a vulnerable place to strike. Still, she began to ready her crossbow when a hand suddenly stopped her.
In surprise, she looked up to find Thomas Gracie standing over her. He held a finger to his lips and just shook his head.
“Don’t,” he whispered harshly and crouched next to her.
“A coat like that would be useful during the winter months,” she defended.
“You’d make Nathan proud, but even if you did kill it, we’re still far from our destination.” He nodded toward the water. “And we didn’t bring anything to really wrap precious goods to keep from getting wet, either.”
The young Trapper sighed. “Supposing you’re right. I would still try it on the way back.”
They looked again toward the place of swarming bees and ripped tree bark only to find it empty. They never heard it move on until a pound of large footsteps and snarls came charging at them.
Thomas Gracie flung the female aside as the giant Rubark bear plowed through the foliage, briers clinging to its bedraggled fur in clumps. As the leader nearly fell over backwards in attempts to get away himself, it stood on its hind legs, opened a set of jaws filled with sharp teeth, and let out a spittle-flying roar.
I’m planning to have this top image toward the end of the first Mierna book. These were the different poses I created using Blender. I was able to rig the body so it’s now posable, which is great for action shots in future illustrations.
What does Mierna see when she peers in at the back of the large circus tent? Probably something like this, but with more activity and lights.
Created using Blender 2.83. It is a free program for anyone to download for both personal or business. Just go to Blender.org and download their latest version.
I have really enjoyed using this program. It has helped so much with art, mainly with faces and background images. I used to despise drawing buildings because perspective was always an issue and it was hard to create different angles without having a good reference. Now I can make my own reference material. The rendered results are just about as good as movie or game quality. Put those in your favorite editing programs and you’ve got yourself an original work of art!
Look at that sweet face! I finally get a decent looking portrait for Wisdom using a combination of Blender 2.8 for face sculpting and then repainting the features with Photoshop and ProCreate.
It’s definitely still very stylized looking, but I’m okay with that as a fictional character. This helps a lot for the comic and future illustrations where I need a good reference that can be rotated 360 degrees.