Sunday 18 January 2015

New Year! Commissions and Fantasy Adventures

Happy New Year!

Hope you've all had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year! With the new year comes a new start, and at the moment I have an opening in my commission's spaces.

The booking period is currently open until the space(s) are filled.  If you'd like a unique commission, take a look at my work and pricing criteria, and drop me a PM!  I currently have more time to devote to art at the moment and I've recently been working on a lot of portrait work, as well as doodling the odd tattoo design.  My artwork styles include (but aren't limited to) black and white portraits, pin up, comic book style, fantasy and watercolour.

I'm also hoping to get back into Dungeons and Dragons at some point soon (what with the somewhat recent publication of 5th Edition), so there maybe some PC sketches done as well!

Speaking of Dungeons and Dragons, I have some writing in the works, and this I will be sharing with my blog.  Last year I had a go at playing the Dungeon Master and wrote my own campaign, titled "Gifts from the Grave", in which my friends played. Due to commitments and other issues the game sadly dwindled off before completion (and before my players could get to enjoy the climax I had planned out for them.

It seemed like a waste to leave it there, however, and I'm now working on writing the adventures of our sessions as serialised chapters (with permission from my friends to use their characters- have been granted permission by all but one so far, so just working on that before I go any further).  So if you like fantasy adventures with dark plots and humorous characters, keep your eyes open for the first instalment very soon :)

Have some new developments hopefully afoot in the next few weeks, but until then, there's a lot of room for writing, art, World of Warcraft and general fantasy shenanigans.  And reading! I've been catching up with my extensive (and seemingly never ending) reading list at the moment; need to keep busy, I find I get very depressed in January!  I'm currently reading Clive Barker's "Imajica II: The Reconciliation" as well as various gaming related tomes.

As for writing for publishing, I'm a little dry on ideas at the moment, but hopefully this will keep the mental inkwell from drying out.

Wishing you all well for 2015, and if you like high fantasy, stay tuned!


Picture 1- owned by myself 
Picture 2- created using Doll Divine:

Sunday 9 November 2014

Changes Afoot

Well, there certainly hasn't been much activity here in recent months (in fact, I logged in for the first time in a long time today and spent a good 15 minutes reminding myself how to use this blog...I think I got it...).

Much of the reason has that, without getting into too many...icky details, I've been quite ill.  In fact, although treatment is now under way to deal with said illness, its certainly not over yet.  However, I have some developments around the corner, and some fresh starts on the horizon.

It could well be that there isn't another update for some time, but things will be happening.  I've been working on writing for the last few weeks and I'm hoping to see some results from that.  I'm also about to undergo some big changes, some very daunting, but potentially very promising.

I can' t really get into the ins and outs, but I'm very hopeful that there will be some developments coming along very soon.  I now have my own (very good) laptop, so blogging, if I can get the other problems under control, shouldn't be an issue from now on.  But there's more to be dealt with yet.

I will finish with some happy highlights of the last few months; my boyfriend and I celebrated our first anniversary in London recently, I've recently found out that next spring I'm to be an auntie, and I've gotten addicted to World of Warcraft :P

Hope you're all well, and keep your eyes peeled- merry christmas and happy new year! (And belated Samhain!)

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Art Pricing Criteria for Blackavar Creates Now Up

During my last update, I spoke about my new Facebook page, Blackavar Creates, which publicises my writing and art works.  I now have a pricing criteria on the About section of the page, and although the booking period is not yet open (as I have a small group of bookings already committed), I hope to be moving through my booked projects relatively soon and the booking period will open again upon completion of those projects.

Here are the pricing details:


Payment will be discussed on a one-to-one basis via messaging, and will depend greatly on what type of design or artwork you request. Prices and ranges are a guideline only- prices will be discussed prior to a project's start. Factors that affect the price include the size of the piece, materials used, details required and complexity of the piece. Please refer to the following as a guide:

-Line drawing, pencil only- £8-£10
-Line drawing, pen- £10-£12
-Fully shaded pencil drawing- minimum price £15
-Fully coloured pencil drawing- minimum price £20

-Line drawing, pencil only- £10-£12
-Line drawing, pen- £12-£15
-Fully shaded pencil drawing- minimum price £20
-Fully coloured pencil drawing- minimum price £25

MIXED MEDIA (Including water colour)
-Full pieces will start from £22 for A4 and £27 for A3.
-Materials will be discussed beforehand
-Tattoo designs depending on their size maybe cheaper; please contact me to discuss prices for tattoo designs.

I will be working with artist grade sketch paper, not printer paper. 

Payment will cover the cost of the materials used, as well as the time and work put into the piece. I am currently working on some ball-park estimates to put here to give you an idea of what costs will be like, but ultimately it will depend entirely on what you request. Size, detail, colour, difficulty of the piece, will affect the cost.

Thursday 20 February 2014

February Update! New projects, writings, and commissions!

Hello February 2014! I was expecting you to be jolly awful, and with only 8 days left of you, you've been going great so far!

Well, although I am endeavouring to sort myself out and get back out there, blogging is low on the list of priorities, so to be writing this update is quite a good sign, I think! Last month's post proves just how hard everything was for me for the last seven months or so.  I'm sure some people are sick of hearing the "sorting myself out"/"getting my life back on track" story, and to be honest, I'm getting a bit sick of telling it.  But it is a slow process, with my goals changing, my future and my prospects changing drastically and so on.  One update a month is probably reasonable right now!

Well, the first bit of good news is that last month, I submitted my first short story since last summer.  Apart from the odd spot of poetry and a few dream journals, I haven't been up to much writing.  I didn't exactly ease myself in, and dived into a submission after a massive flash of inspiration, staying up late, typing furiously.  I haven't heard back yet, and it will be a while yet- and of course, there's no guarantee that what I've written is what they're looking for.  But I do feel confident about the piece.  It was satisfying and fun to write, I just hope that those who read it feel just as enthusiastic as I did.

Secondly, another helpful boost is the guest post of mine that was featured in my last publisher's blog recently:
Favourite Fictional Worlds
As the title reveals, the post was about our favourite fictional worlds, and if you're interested in my ze link!  Thanks to Hannah of Hic Dragones for having me; working with Hannah on Skin for the Impossible Spaces anthology has been one of the highlights of last year :)

Now, onto the really exciting and arty stuff!

This year so far, I've had a lot of interest in my artwork and receiving a lot more requests for the commissions.  Part of this is thanks to the fact my desk job is utterly boring at times, and I spend some of that time drawing X-Men characters <.< (such as Rogue, picture above) or my group of friends' Dungeons and Dragons characters.  Colleagues see them, and instead of being told off for being lazy, they love popping over to see what I'm drawing that day! I had a serious commission request at work (and a couple of non-serious ones) and then as I started popping my X-men doodles on Facebook to share with friends, a few more came about.  It wouldn't be the first time I've done a commission,. but for the first time, I'm seriously thinking about setting up something slightly more business-like instead of doing various one-offs.

So I've set up a new facebook page called "Blackavar Creates"; its purpose is to showcase my works (both as an artist and a writer), share updates and give potential clients a contact point so they can make commissions requests!

Now, at the moment, things are up and going as it were.  I have a bunch of likes already, very good start, have a few examples of relatively recent work, including sketches, doodles and previous commission work.  However, the price guide is not up yet (because prices are being worked on presently) and the booking period is not yet open also.  The way I am doing this is "opening" periods for bookings, in which I will take requests until I have a few and then the period closes again (I've heard of tattoo studios sometimes running a similar sort of system, waiting lists and so on, which they fill up and then reopen when spaces become available).  The reasons for this are that I have an active social life that I'm rather enjoying ;) and I still have a day job to consider (and still hunting for a new one).  So I can only take on so many commitments at a time, to ensure work actually gets done in a timely manner, and that I don't bite off more than I can chew :).

I have 3 commissions to work on at the moment, and once they are complete, the booking period will be open again! So please, do take a look, keep checking back for the open periods, and if you like what you see and feel like making this poor artist a tiny bit less poor, give me a buzz!

(Yeah I drew Storm as well.  Loved doing that one).

At the moment, I'm looking for a new job in the Chichester area, as later this year I want to move there.  I tell you, its hard work.  Of course, I was already aware of this; I've basically been job-hunting for the last 8 years, and of course I was made redundant from my previous job two years ago, so I do know how difficult job-hunting is.  At the moment, however, its a little more daunting.  I'm trying to keep my eyes open for anything suitable, but also trying to find myself somewhere with a little bit more of a career involved- basically, I'm happy with continuing with the world of retail as a means to an end, but I really want to start making my way towards a job where I'm going to something! Art or writing, I'm keeping my eyes open.  I'm also looking at flats and that's kinda daunting too.  But at the same time, there's an exciting taste in the air...opportunities just over the horizon.  Who knows what the spring will bring?

Until next time, take care!

Photos are mine! Rogue and Storm, however, belong to Marvel

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Endings and New Starts

2014 is here. And somehow so am I too.

Writing and art are slowly coming back to me, and I'm slowly becoming more reliable, organised and motivated as time passes. Anyone who has found me slow to reply to emails etc, I apologise. Social networking was never my strong point, and then throw in some world-shattering emotional's been difficult to keep it together.

My pet cat died at age 18 in March last year.  Ties were irreparably severed with people I had known for a decade, I've been ill and also suffered severe stresses at my job.  I was assaulted by a customer in the summer, and I started to spiral towards a mental breakdown. This led to me being put onto medication, which fortunately has had a very positive affect on my depression and anxiety disorder.  Then, the worst thing of all, in July, my fiancĂ© of 9 and a half years decided to part ways. The split was amicable and not from a lack of love, but because we both realised we wanted different things. However, the heartbreak was crippling, and I'm still recovering from the loss of that very special man in my life.

I have spent the last few months wondering what to do with myself, wondering where I go from here, all the while supported beautifully by my family and amazing friends. They have never failed to help me to my feet during this turbulent year, but have also shared in my good times as well as the bad. This year also saw my appearance in two more in-print anthologies and now I'm finally starting to feel the urge to write again. I've taken up Dungeons and Dragons and Dark Heresy, and dancing also. I'm focusing mostly on trying to make myself happy, carefree, busy and stress free where possible.

I have also been unbelievably lucky to find love again so shortly after having to part ways with my ex fiancé. A lovely young many from my group of friends and I were set up by one of our closest friends (who is very proud of herself!) and we're both enjoying embarking on new new experiences together.

I spent last night with said gentleman and friend, playing Ring of Fire, drinking copiously, and eating tasty treats. It was very important for me to see in the New Year with some of the people who essentially got me here today.

As I think New Years Resolutions are destined to fail once you designate them as such (last years was the first I'd made in several, and of course, due to my life basically exploding, this one was unfortunately abandoned).  However, I'm hoping to move into the Chichester area sometime later this year, but this also means finding a new job. I'm starting to get back into my creative pursuits, but I'm also concentrating on enjoying myself at this time, and continuing to recover from what 2013 has dealt me.

Just want to wish you all a happy New Year. Let's hope 2014 will be a corker!

Sunday 27 October 2013

Start Again- a poem

Start Again
A poem by Laura E Brown

The Castle
As I stared over the ramparts, I knew that the fall was a long way down.
The drop was dizzying, and every time I contemplated it, I wanted to be sick.
For the longest part of the climb up the marble staircase towards the castle
I'd simply refused to look down.
For the longest time, I climbed, only staring at the highest tower.
The light was blinding at times,
Blinding me to the unstable rock beneath us.
I knew it was there, just like the potential plummet.
One slip would send me to the earth,
And one tremor would send us both together.
But our climb was not one of naivety.
Our climb was together, hand in hand.
This was our castle
High in the clouds, our destiny.

The steps grew steeper, more cracked.
The far tower seemed further away still,
And yet we fought.
Holding each other up, helping each other through our exhaustion,
We broke through the pale clouds.
What I saw broke my heart.
The tower was not steady-
It was one lightening strike away from collapse.
We could not stay here.
This was not our castle after all.

I didn't allow the sun to blind me any longer- I just couldn't.
If we fell, it would destroy us both.
The castle couldn't hold us both.
But off in the distance, beaming in the lilac sunset, I sighted it-
A new hope, a new tower,
Climbing above golden tinged clouds
Struggling into life.

I pointed, and smiled, and said, there it is
That can be our castle.
We can't both stay here.
I tried to hold hope in my heart as I held his hand
I could feel the desperation in our pulses
He couldn't go.
I couldn't stay.

The bloody light of dusk made his tears shine gold
And then to red as they fell
We were both bleeding, as, after a long time,
I turned to walk away.
I tore open on the first step.
I didn't want to go
But I had to.

The Fall
Darkness fell, and it was a long way down,
And eyes blurred by tears and pain
Cannot see the broken steps of the staircase into the heavens.
It wouldn't be long before I would stumble and fall, crashing into stone as I fell
Ripped on jagged stone and battered on cliffs.
I fancied I could hear him cry as I dropped, powerless to help me

I lay on sharp stone, hanging over an unfathomable precipice
And I cried to my spirits, begged them not to leave me alone here.
Was this how my courage had rewarded me? With broken bones and a broken heart?

I was not alone.

I never had been.
They came from star and moonlight, and helped me down over the ledge, back onto the stairway.
They cared not that I bloodied or dirtied them on the way,
They supported my shell, and eased my hurts.
They took the shapes of a flock of birds, a pack of wolves, a swirl of autumn leaves
They were hope.

I could barely stand at times, but somehow we managed back onto the path.
They took a great amount of my burden
I feared their silvered feathers and plumes would taint at my touch.
We all walked arm in arm,
And little by little, the worst of the pain began to fade.

The Stand
I let myself down.
After dark days of rain and burning, I learned to walk again.
I was cracked and spider-webbed like glass, fragile, but in one piece.
I followed my silver friends- they were a rainbow in sunlight!-
But no longer needed them to hold me up, or so I thought.
I stumbled from time to time, but it wasn't too bad.  The fall didn't seem so bad from here.
Until I did the most foolish of things.

I looked back.

This time I fell too fast for them to catch me.

The precipice turned black and engulfed me as I slipped into it
I let out my silent scream and it tore across my skin in a howl of anguish
The cracks in my heart and soul reopened, and after what wasn't all that long of a fall
I hit the ground.
But it was not the end.

I awoke to a soft white mist, a gentle silence and a song of comfort,
My silver friends were there.
It was agony as I tried to move, and they stood about me in a circle.
They sang.
And I stood.

A long time has passed, since we walked into the mist.
I no longer know where the castle, atop its tower of treacherous stairs, lies,
I lost my bearings, and in its place found a strange sense of peace.
I didn't need to care where I was going or where I had been
For I no longer knew.
And I wasn't alone.
I walked with the silver ones, turning into spectrum when the light gently pierced the mist
This was not a time for direction.
But a time for healing.

My back is straight,
My legs are strong
Blood runs in the right place, and I can walk for days.
But a numbness still covers me...

The Beginning
I found feeling again.
It seared through me, like holy fire, burning the taint and awakening me
Sometimes pain is cleansing, even if it burns and brings tears to your tired eyes.
I clutch onto precious stones and hope they will fix me.

The mist thins, and an empty horizon begins to emerge.

I awake to a grey dawn, and no shroud over the sky, and I dare to look at my scars.
I am cracked like volcanic glass
White patterns etch my skin, marring the smoothness.
Snowflakes and wishes, and heartbreaks and dreams,
All traced upon my soul for anyone to see if they care to look hard enough.
In this special light, I see the light caress the silver ones with me, and see that they are the same.
They wear their marks and tattoos, as badges, as stories, as maps
As tapestries and guides.
They are all so beautiful.

I am broken, but I am not destroyed.
I see the marks and see they are where I knit back together
I touch them and they are strong.

I feel a swelling within me, and realise my heart beats again.
I still hurt, but I am not ended.

The first of my feathers are growing.
I am free.
I am scared.
But I am free.

We stand and turn to the pale light,
Full of promise and possibilities
More darkness lies ahead, but we are strong together
And more light lies in wait, if we can battle our way there first.
They take my hands, and for the first time I realise that I can feel their skin.
I can feel once more.
Before we set off, another crack peeks open,
As I think of him in his tower.
His shape remains in my heart, and there is an emptiness in his image there.
I hope he is safe and happy, for I cannot fly up there yet, like the others.

We walk to the moon,
And in the distance, I think I see a new tower.

27th October 2013

Image of Carina Nebula from Wikipedia
Image is not mine
"Start Again", poem written by myself, Laura E Brown

Impossible Spaces Blog Tour- Guest Post

Wow wasn't that a quick update? Wasn't the last one something hour and a half ago? Well, isn't this a good start?

Well, this was a guest post I did for Hic Dragones' blog tour for Impossible Spaces- in which my short story "Skin" (my third in-print publication) appears.  This actually went up in August, but as I was really struggling at that point, I failed to join in with the publicity properly.  Well, better late than never I suppose.  Hope you enjoy!