Blog Archives

#FrankieWIP Editing and New Digital Illustration!

Frankie Av

Editing of Emergence is going well! Took a couple of days off writing to draw, and I’ve included it in this video! Tell me what you think of it! It’s also under the video 😉
It took me a couple of days and I created it on my Cintiq and Artrage 😀

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F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

Happy New Year!

Hope 2017 is a great year for you all! 😀

Doodled on my new art package XD

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#WeCreate My Little Pony Picture

Frankie Av

Just a quick doodle I drew while taking a break from writing. I asked a My Little Pony group I’m part of who they would like me to draw, and they chose Gingerbread and Minty. This is the result 🙂

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F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate Festive Katie!

Frankie Av

For the first time since I drew Robogirl, I decided to take a short break from writing and draw a new picture. I’d been a little poorly and was feeling sorry for myself, so drew this to cheer myself up!

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You might recognise the character in the picture if you have read my first book; The Scientist’s Daughter. Katie, the yellow-eyed doll from the story, has always tugged at my imagination. She’s become somewhat of a muse, prompting me to draw her quite frequently when I doodle. This year she wanted to be drawn in a festive setting, and I can’t ever say no to her little self. I actually have a full sized, hand-made version of her which I made a couple of years ago. Maybe I’ll buy her a little Santa costume and sit her under the tree this year 😉 If I do, I’ll post a photo 😀

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate Robogirl

Frankie Av

I finished this illustration last night and uploaded it during a period of low self esteem, therefore my imagination completely failed me when it came to giving it a name. There is more to the story of this digital illustration and perhaps I will go back one day and update her backstory. As it stands, she is merely Robogirl, tied to her own insecurities and perceptions, an echo of her creator.

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Created on Wacom Cintiq and Artrage.

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi  MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate My Wacom Cintiq!

Frankie Av

This week, I managed to get hold of something I’ve wanted for a very long time.

I’ve been using a Motion LE1700  tablet PC as a drawing slate, and have loved the art I’ve been able to produce on it. But the screen began to dull, getting progressively darker as the years went on. It got to the point that deciding colours was difficult as they came out much darker than intended. So I decided it was time to replace my poor old Motion tablet, and just keep it for sketching when I’m out and about.
I looked around the internet for a replacement, always gravitating back towards the top of the line Wacom Cintiq drawing slates. Highly expensive, I could never justify such a cost for the amount of hobbyist art I produce. Perhaps if I was a professional I might consider the cost, but then, it really didn’t have to be expensive, nor exactly brand new for that matter.

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Therefore I started looking for a second hand Wacom Cintiq, an older model which would suffice my needs. I did a lot of research and looked at recommendations from around the globe and came to the conclusion that the 2007 Cintiq 12wx would be the perfect tablet for me. It has the same size screen as the one I currently use. It is an older model highly praised as a continuing ball player in the display/pen graphics tablet field. Wacom continue to support the tablet with drivers and such, with drivers for Windows 7, 8 and 10.

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When I looked on Amazon, this particular tablet costs a fortune. It is still very much sought after and of course, sellers with this knowledge charge inordinate amounts of money for such a prized item. There were also some sites selling the slate brand new, for £1000… So I looked to Ebay, and found a few for sale. As I get too trigger happy when bidding on things, I left the bidding to my husband. He is a skilled bidder!
We were outbid on the first one by £60, but there were three more to bid on. One in particular caught my eye, finishing the following day with two pens. I contacted the seller, asked about the condition of the screen. The seller was good enough to send me a very clear photo of the screen and it appeared to be pristine. As I was working when the auction ended, I asked my husband to bid on it and let me know what happened. I received a text during my break; my husband managed to win the Cintiq, for less than half the price I expected!!

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My new Wacom Cintiq was delivered the day before yesterday. I followed its delivery on the courier map, literally bouncing in my seat the closer it came. I ran a running commentary with my friends on the Line app–I’m sure they were fed up with my excited squeals that morning! Then I began to doubt the transaction. What if I got it so cheap because there was something wrong? What if the photo I was sent had been cleaned up? What if I had squandered my money on a useless tablet which wouldn’t boot up when I finally got it?! These are the things you have to consider when buying from auction sites, and I always keep them at the back of my mind. But this was an expensive piece of kit, and one I had been wanting for years. If it didn’t work or wasn’t what I expected, I would be out of pocket and heartbroken.

I needn’t have worried.

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The Wacom Cintiq came fully protected in its original box and with all items required to run it. The two pens were included, both of which are worth £160 alone. After being in the courier van and warehouse for a night, the Cintiq was cold and had a sheen of damp from the cold temperatures, so I was forced to leave it alone until it heated up and dried off. My OCD made me clean every single part of it before leaving it to heat up for a couple of hours. It was a long couple of hours. I tried to write and failed, managing little more than 500 words. I kept thinking about the Cintiq and what I would draw!

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Finally I was able to set it up. It didn’t take too long, perhaps fifteen minutes by the time I set everything out and found the ports and sockets I needed. When I booted it up, I sat there, staring at this nice, bright and clear screen. It draws perfectly, with levels of brush sensitivity I’ve been unable to enjoy on the Motion due to the nature of its digitizer. The Cintiq is everything I expected, and everything I thought it should be. Intuitive, clear, bright, sharp and easy to use. I sat for an hour or two, just sketching and doodling and finally decided to make a proper first picture. This is it:

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It is worth having at look at the second hand market for things you want as, sometimes, you manage to snatch the deal of the century. 😉

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#FrankieWIP Emergence Cover Design Draft!

Frankie Av

Been a good week so far in terms of creative output. I managed to get a lot done, including a draft cover for Emergence!

Music by Kevin McLeod at Incompetech.com

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WhateverWednesday If It Wasn’t for Baaaad Luck….

Frankie Av

Today’s hashtag has never been more appropriate than it is for this week’s post. Not in a “Whatever Wednesday! Wooo!!!!” kind of way, but rather a “Whatever, Wednesday…” way. In fact, I’ve had a “Whatever, Monday…” a “Whatever, Tuesday…” and have the feeling it will continue to become a week of disasters which might end with me running naked down the road screaming and cursing while tearing out my hair–a thing of nightmares for anyone who might witness this.

I think it started a couple of weeks ago when a large wall-mounted mirrored jewellery box I ordered arrived in pieces. It wasn’t a build-your-own project, it had been mishandled by the gormless delivery man who appeared to be playing an old childhood game of Knock-the-Door-and-Run-Away.  He thought it would be fun to leave my parcel on the front step, knock the door, then guiltily jump in his van and drive off at top speed. Instead of a gorgeous large mirrored box to store my bits and bobs and aid me in fixing my hair in the morning, I was left with cleaning up the shards of sharp mirror which fell from the box when I lifted it into the house. Since then I’ve been riding a wave of bad luck on a chewed surfboard as sharks swim in the surf waiting on me whale-diving into the water like an eager feast.

My main laptop keeps breaking down with all the flashing lights of death and blank screens of doom. It would appear to be a memory problem–badly seated RAM which is easily fixed–but it could well be signs of imminent motherboard failure. If this is the case, I will need a new laptop. Which will suck immensely as I grow rather attached to my tech.

Yesterday my dog ran excitedly across the room, dragging my little netbook with her. As a result, the charging port is broken. Probably an easy fix as my husband has fixed it before. He sure was glad to hear it was broken again…

This morning I went to take a photograph of a doodle I did in my drawing pad, only to find that the camera in my phone is not working. It is a brand new phone, it was definitely working last night and has had no accidents since. Upon reading about it on the net, it appears to be a common issue with no real fix except sending it back to Sony. There could be an easy fix if it turns out to be conflicting software problem or dodgy update data. I will find out if this is the case after I’ve charged its perpetually drained battery.

Then there is the case of the brusque belittlement I received in the form of an email which burned through my inbox like a flaming torch. I didn’t take the contents well even though they are innocuous enough. Bad timing to receive such a thing. Perhaps if I had received it last week I would have laughed, but this week I just want to return a napalm-laced reply and burn down sender’s inbox.

To top all of this off, we are still decorating the living room. Six coats of paint ought to be enough to cover even the most awful of graffitied walls, but apparently our walls are a little more resistant to paint colour. Either that or there is a platoon of elves coming in at night trying to recreate a Jackson Pollock masterpiece for us to find in the morning. Except I’m not a shoemaker, and I don’t appreciate their interference…

These are all bad enough, but I’m not mentioning half the stuff which has happened in the past few days. It would seem that I have ran out of luck and good fortune. Maybe I walked under a ladder I failed to notice, or kicked an invisible black cat or something, but there is a definite shift in my karma and it’s all making for a rather cantankerous and furious Dragon. I’m not exactly a pleasantly peppy princess today, nor was I yesterday or Monday when I discovered the parts for my new shower had been delivered to and signed for by someone else.

I’m more like a walking death ray on full charge waiting for an excuse to lose my shit. And that moment is getting closer with every mishap and breakage which trundles my way. In the back of my mind there is a voice that keeps telling me, “This, too, shall pass,” yet I feel the worst is yet to come. I’m scared to think of what might happen the rest of the week. Terrified to look out of the window in case a damned UFO appears and destroys my house while little smiling martians scream “Ulla!!”

At this point, I could honestly believe this could happen. I’m half expecting one of the sheep in the field next to my house to mutate and evolve into some horrendous representation of Albert King and sing me a deafening altered rendition of “Born under a Bad Sign” every morning when I open the curtains, just to prepare me for the day.

“If it wasn’t for baaaaaaad luck, you wouldn’t have no luck at all….”

So, whatever, Wednesday, I’m done with you and done with this week. I need to go find me a magical creature and turn this karma around….

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate Creative Gifts for a Dragon

Frankie Av

Art come in many forms, and this week I was presented with two very special creative pieces which left me very happy.

The first one was actually started a few weeks ago when Sam began writing a fanfiction based on my book Malevolence. She based the story before the happenings in Malevolence, way back when Louise first developed the MA3 serum which caused so many problems for my characters. We got to see Louise and her marvelous mind at work, and witnessed the lengths she would take to successfully create Mentis. The final chapter went up a few days ago and reached a momentous climax which left me grinning like an idiot. Sam captured Louise’s ego-driven malevolent nature perfectly and provided a part of the story I had not contemplated writing. As I have said before, fan fiction is special and a valid writing form, as it allows fans a glimpse into the lives of characters from books, television shows and films that they wouldn’t normally get a chance to see. Sam provided such a story and I absolutely loved it!
You can find her story here.

The second piece of art I received was from Chaos. It was my birthday on Wednesday and she drew me a picture as a present. I did not expect the gift and when I opened it, I knew exactly what I was looking at!

It is a picture of Logan McKenzie from my book Malevolence! Chaos has read the first chapter of the sequel–Emergence–and was able to create a digital artwork from that one chapter alone. If you have read Malevolence, you will know what happened to Logan and should recognise the emotions behind the art. Logan’s posture, his pensive expression and the colours used completes a scene which perfectly captures the first chapter and Logan’s frame of mind. I absolutely love it! I love it so much I even have it set as my background image on my laptop!

So no matter what your creative outlet is, whatever you create is worth creating. It might make a rather miserably frustrated Dragon who can’t upload her PDF file,  smile 😉

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate The Art of Boris Vallejo

Frankie Av

Hello everyone! I’m filling in for Sam this weekend as she currently has no access to the internet.
I remember going to Edinburgh with my Aunt and sister when I was younger. We went into a shop which sold posters of all kinds. I remember seeing one which to this day is one of two pictures which are my favorites of all. Back then-in the mid eighties- I had no access to the internet to find out who this artist was and so had to rely on the good old library to search him out.
His name is Boris Vallejo. He is a long time, world renowned fantasy artist and the first artist I ever followed, and still do. The poster I saw and bought that day back in Edinburgh was called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It hung on my wall from when I bought it until I moved out when I got married years later. Unfortunately, during the move it was damaged and I never did source another.

But while it hung on my wall, I used to look at it and marvel at the details and colours that Vallejo used. It is a magnificent painting, perfectly detailed, balanced and executed. During my searches, I discovered that Vallejo had a book published, filled with his paintings.  A few years later I took the train into Glasgow and bought said book in Glasgow and still have it to this day. Vallejo’s paintings are gorgeous. The way he paints skin tones is just beautiful.

I’ve collected trading cards since my early teens and Vallejo’s art has been used in many over the years. I’m pretty sure I own more than a few X-Men Fleer trading cards with his art on them. Some of my most prized possessions is a set of 1995 Fleer X-Men ultra prints, one of which is signed by Boris Vallejo and another signed by his equally talented and famous wife, Julie Bell. Unfortunately mine are currently in storage, but they look like these, only signed 😉

One of the things I love about Vallejo’s art, is the way he portrays women. They are beautiful creatures of power, gorgeous and violent and strong. They might often be scantily clad, but their male counterparts are in similar undress and so equal. I love it! Anyway, enjoy the little video of some pictures from my book and have a look at Vallejo/Bell website for more up-to-date art 😀

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE