Mark Neumayer

author of the Valda & the Valkyries series

Tag: illustration (page 1 of 2)

Sale in my store.

There is a promotion running from now through Sunday April 9th. You get 20% off and free shipping on any of the items from my Society6 shop. There are a number of Norse influenced designs and some fun kawaii stuff.

Be sure to click the pictrue or the link up above so you don’t miss out on the savings!

Dwarf on the Wharf

I’ve been seeing entirely too much of those beardless, spying elves all over the place. It is high time we started celebrating the much cooler, less privacy invading hero that we all deserve – The Dwarf on the Wharf!

Digital Knotwork Coloring Page

free_weave1Here is another of what I call my “digital knotwork” pieces for you to print and color. I always find it very meditative to work on these pieces and I hope you enjoy them as well.

Vikings on Pinterest

Viking longship by Flickr user Jomme

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Pinterest. It is a social networking site that focuses on sharing cool images with other users. When you find an image or article that you like you can pin it – kind of like making a bookmark for it. The nice thing about Pinterest is you can then organize boards that collect together your pins based around a particular theme. Other people can then follow those boards and see what you’re up to.

As you can probably guess, I follow a lot of boards that feature Viking themes and Valkyrie artwork. There are some really stunning images out there that I would not have run across if I wasn’t on Pinterest. (Like the awesome picture I’m using for this post.)

My own boards feature my artwork or neat images I’ve found. I also like to start a board for whatever book project I am involved in (or just thinking about.) I pin stuff that I find inspirational or might want to use for reference at a later date.

Here are a few boards that I think you should check out:

Modern Viking Crafts – modern day interpretations of traditional Viking work

Norse – a nice mix of new and old Viking-related items from tools to posters and funny images

Viking – Anglo-Saxons – lots of great illustrations and really good photos of people in authentic dress from these two ancient cultures

Go on and check them out. If you have any favorite boards, show them some love by posting a link in the comments.

Designing Inspiration

I write but I was also a graphic designer for many years so I like to play around with visual images to help inspire me when I am working on a book. There are a number of authors who collect images to help them with locations and characters. I have a Pinterest account where I post images I have found that inspire me while writing and I even continue to add to those Pinterest boards after the book has come out.

It’s also nice to have a physical, tangible prompt to help you along. You might think of it as a talisman or lucky charm. For myself I like to create mockups of my book. These fake covers are then printed out and taped on top of real books. I then have something I can set out on my desk. When I see a “book” like this it reminds me of the goal I’m working towards (or the project I should be working on if I’m wasting time doing something else on the computer.) Yes, it is a bit of a mind game – but it works.

For my first Valda book, Valda & the Valkyries, I created the image to the left. valda wordsThis is nothing like the final book cover but it doesn’t need to be. I don’t stress over getting these mockups perfect. I have a book to write and I don’t have time for that. I just find a good, evocative image, tweak it in Photoshop, slap on some text and call it a day. (One of the giveaways that I rushed these is that they both say “by Mark Neumayer.” Pro designs don’t use the word “by.”)

The image I used for this mockup is a miniature from Reaper minis. If you write fantasy or scifi you can find tons of inspiring images of minis on company web pages and fan sites all over the net.

For the current WIP, Valda Goes Through Hel, I found an awesome image on DeviantArt. Since Hela, the Norse goddess of Death plays a huge part in the story I used the image to create a book cover featuring her. Again, this is kind of down and dirty. My goal with these mockups is not to get a perfect image. I want something that is going to inspire me. It definitely works for me. Give it a try and see if it works for you, too.


Valda Goes Through Hel cover in progress

VGTH_in_progressThis is what my screen looks like in Adobe Illustrator right now as I work on the cover for Valda Goes Through Hel. You can see the linework I have done so far in the center of the screen and her finished hammer is in the upper right. They are both surrounded by reference and inspirational images.
After all the line work is done I do flat colors and then bring everything into Photoshop to add lighting and other fun effects. The cover creation process is a source of joy and frustration to me but I am hoping I can get this one looking half as good as the image that is in my head.

Retro-Style Dwarf Warrior

UPAstyle_viking I got inspired to do a riff on the old UPA/Mary Blair style animation art this week. (If you’re not familiar with this stuff, check it out here.)There is something about that whole “no neck” school of character design that matches up with Dwarves so well.There was no cable TV when I was a little kid yet I still managed to watch and be influenced by a heck of a lot of cartoons. The other unusual thing about this piece for me is that it started on paper. Most of the stuff I do is born right on the computer, usually in a vector-based program, but I broke out the pencil, paper and marker for this one. After that it was scanned and went into Photoshop for texturing and coloring. I hope you like it.

Goddesses of the North

Idunn by Ansfhd on DeviantART

Idunn by Ansfhd on DeviantART

Hi folks, I am a little too busy working on my second book to provide you with any of my own Norse-themed art this week. As I have done before, I will provide you with some links to work other artists have done instead. To tell the truth, the stuff I am linking to this week is a few levels above the caliber of my own work so I am happy to share it and give the artist some well-deserved exposure.

Anhsfd on Deviant Art has a series of illustrations of Goddesses of the North that is really worth checking out. There are  7 of them so far and I hope we see more of them in the future. Pay some special attention to the picture of Idunn since today is the first day of Spring and the guardian of the golden apples is also ruler of that season.

Knotty Issues

Norse_circle_weave1I am still in the process of developing my knotwork skills. Mainly I feel that my stuff has been too mechanical up until now and I am trying to bring more of an organic feel to it. This isn’t the easiest thing to do considering that I create the art with a vector drawing program, but I can see some signs of it starting to loosen up finally. I just drew a simple framing device this week. My ultimate goal is to do more figurative stuff like people and dragons but for now I am focusing on building the basic skills.

The Dwarf King

Dwarf_KingI have been playing around with some ideas for a project I have on the back burner. While I have produced a whole lot of artwork that I hate, I did manage to put this piece together. While I think it still has some weaknesses and needs a lot more work on the knots, it feels like I’m at long last heading in a good direction. What do you all think?

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