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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Drawing Lessons

Recently, I've had the good fortune of tutoring a drawing student. Breaking things down, into simple steps, that's what it's about.

The folllowing books are great introductory books for learning the basic figure. Now granted, it's comic book illustration but it's great at proportioning out the figure. You can always pick up more advanced books on shading and fine details later.

The following books are:

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way
By John Buscema & Stan Lee

Superheroes: Joe Kubert's Wonderful World of Comics
By Joe Kubert

They cover everything from body proportions to musculature, hair styles to poses.

The Marvel book is great if you like drawing comics, heck, even if you're a regular comic drawing veteran it's always a great refresher course.

This brings me to my point. Whenever I tutor anyone, especially in art, it's like a refresher course for myself too! It causes me to go over the basics of technique. Kind of like an athlete that continues to drill the basics of movement and coordination. You remember why you draw the way you do, what you've forgotten and what you've remembered.

It never hurts to relearn through someone else.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Update on Dark Carpentry

Update on Dark Carpentry, my horror dramedy is undergoing a deep re-write helped in part by my St.Clair Shores Writer's Group.

This third re-write has proven to be a lengthy one but my writing has improved immensely. It's noticeable. After I make a 'final' rewrite based on comments from the group, though I might approach a publisher first, I'll start to prep it for possible self-publishing.

As that starts I will have hopefully already self-published my Tutoring Handbook which will be my first how-to book. It will instruct new English & Math tutors that tutor grades 1-12

Along with prepping Dark Carpentry for publication I will be finalizing a draft of my first novella, the long awaited 4th Hour. Both Dark Carpentry & 4th Hour would make great graphic novels as well.

Up next, stay tuned for an exclusive short story for Griffin Tutoring. Been coming up with seeds for stories and it's a challenge for me to write simple stories as long as a one page post (however long that is). I promise to keep it very, very short.

Stay inspired, thanks for reading and keep reading and writing short stories!

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Rewriting, ugh. That's where the rubber hits the road.

I've been rewriting Dark Carpentry for about a year. Getting it ready so that my writer's group can read my chapters and give their thoughts. Though, their words and critiques have been priceless and helpful. Preparing them for reading has been time-consuming.

After all the well thought out comments I'll go through them all and do yet another rewrite. Writing can be a real pain sometimes. Is our writing ever perfect or good enough to finally publish?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Adding to Characters from Literature

Lately, I've been re-writing my short story Dark Carpentry. In it, I wrote a character who was Dracula's brother. I'm definitely taking a liberty by giving Dracula a brother. I thought about the pros and cons using Dracula himself in the story but decided against it since he's such a well known literary character. I didn't really want to carry the burdin of  responsibility getting his character right. Now, I've been discovering what a story goldmine this actually is! Maybe the brother (Drago) was always jealous of his older sibling? Maybe not? 
Since the events took place after Dracula maybe his little brother is mourning his death? Think of the story potential when both Dracula and his brother were both human. Did they dream of ruling the land together or did one brother secretly mean to kill the other one off given the chance?
     The more I think about the story where two major characters are brothers the more I think my subconcious did it for a reason. Family themes can run deep in stories and villainous family fueds are not exempt.
      I guess what I'm suggesting is that sometimes adding to a well known literary character for your own story can have its creative possibilities if you want to take the risk of scrutany.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Griffin on YouTube!

My new YouTube channel is up! One there I'll post vlogs quite often. Most of the time they'll be brief, I don't want to flap my gums for nothin'. I'll look at keeping these entertaining but also a bit educational too. This was my first vlog so it was a little awkward give me a chance and I'll ease up over time. Feel free to subscribe but not pressure at all :)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Double Cross by Ben Macintyre: Review

      This is a great audio book and excellently narrated by John Lee. I wasn't sure about the entertainment value at first thinking it was going to be a play by play history lesson of WW2, however the book quickly goes into the quirky and eccentric personalities of the British Secret Agents. Some of the agents come from several other countries too.
      It's amazing how much the one agent named Popov (Yes, like the Vodka brand) was able to almost effortlessly fool the Germans with fake Allied battle plans and connections. He was able to play them soo much AND demand a lot of money from them. It almost seemed like the more money he asked from them, the more they believed him. He also demanded a huge sum of money from the British as well, so much so that they started to get angry and limit the amount they gave him. Like in Yojimbo he played both sides. His living expenses were extravagant and excessive, from fine wines and whiskey to expensive cigars and cars. Popov was also known as an excessive ladies man as well, staying single and dating women much younger then him.
     There is also a female agent who unfortunately lost her dog at customs through more or less the fault of her British contact. She was promised to get the dog back but was unable to get it back due to quarantine regulations at the time. She ends up hold a huge grudge against the British and withholds information from them.
     You would think there would be close calls, such as some of the agents being found out and held at gunpoint but I assure you that is mostly the Hollywood stuff we think up in our heads. Most of the drama unfolds behind the scenes about what information travels from the agent to the British. There is a scene where a German officer tests the loyalty of one of the agents and order him to come back to Berlin after going into allied territory. There's a bit of suspense there but nothing too bad.
     It's mostly the back and forth between the information and dealing with the egos and eccentricity of the agents. The suspense is if one of their agents gets found out, the others would most assuredly be questioned and possibly killed. So its the information that the fake British give the Germans that has to seem real enough to them otherwise the whole thing falls through.
    The afterward is intriguing as well, you find out what happened to some of the agents after the war. One of them moved to my home state of Michigan to live a peaceful life. One the agents was awarded $5000 by the British government so as to not go into complete debt.
      The narrator, has a superb control over the French and Polish names and accents. He goes into the accented characters flawlessly while reading but keeps a fast paced excited flow. His own English voice sounds very interested in what he's saying, definitely not asleep at the wheel.
     I recommend listening or read this after reading fiction, it's a nice change of pace and very interesting.

     Double Cross
     by Ben Macintyre
     8.5 out of 10