It is difficult to understate the importance of storytelling as a visual medium. As a reader, it can sometimes be difficult to envision characters or settings in someone else's writing where there is no visual reference to work from. Since my drawing skills matured, I have wanted to illustrate scenes from the books I am currently reading, in an effort to share what I envisioned with other readers of the same material. Writing my own stories gives me an opportunity to create visual references - though other people's interpretations of what my characters and environments might look like are still valid. Your own imagination is, of course, a fundamental part of reading and digesting stories.
Below are stages of a digital illustration that features a Planetary and Lunar Military (PALM) soldier traversing a Martian valley from The Stars of Aspiria. As well as it being a cool action-oriented image, it also gave me a chance to solidify the design details for the armour these soldiers wear in the story. By incorporating the background of a dust-covered valley along with harsh lighting, I was able to replicate the conditions of being trapped in a dark and (potentially) dangerous place. This scene was an important one for me to realise for many reasons and I am proud of the finished piece - taking me a day's work in total.
This year I have returned my focus to querying my first novella, and worldbuilding for the sequel. It has already been a productive week in both regards and I am excited to start writing the first draft of book two later this month. I have had to traverse a few valleys of my own in the past few months, but I found a light that brought me home. I hope you'll join me again for a brighter year.