I would like to share with you the big news, that my second child, a daughter named Zita, was born on Wednesday. She and her mother are doing well and hopefully I will soon bring them home to me and her older brother, who is thrilled to have a little sister.
I hope I will still have some free time for painting!
Based on a poll I recently conducted, the majority of visitors of my gallery (55%) prefer to have it organized by subject alone and do not care about the technique. So I set out to rebuild my gallery accordingly, using subfolders as well to have it better organized. Thus a new structure emerged:
🔸 subfolders First Age, Second Age, Third Age, Kings of Gondor, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Songs and Poems, Humour
(subfolders sorted in chronological order of the events (or approximate time a place could be depicted). This was inspired by the way peet organizes his gallery)
🔷 Other Fantasy Art
🔸 subfolder Centaurs
🔷 Real-world places
🔸 subfolders Czechia, Slovakia, elsewhere
🔷 Heraldry and maps
🔷 Design and Art for Summer Camps
🔷 Artisan Crafts
🔷 Work in Progress
I hope this new structure will make my gallery better organized. Though there are still some problems and things I consider and you could help me:
- What do you think about the names of the folders? Would you suggest any changes?
- Have I forgotten any area of my work that would deserve a separate folder?
- Some folders comprise old things and areas of creation which I have not updated for a long time (Photography and Artisan Crafts), but I couldn't bring myself to delete them outright
- Should all pictures from subfolders be also presented in the parent folder too? Conversely, should all that is currently in a folder be categorized into subfolders if there are some? (I'm thinking about the Other Fantasy Art, where Centaurs is an obvious subfolder, while other pieces are difficult to categorize)
What do you think?
I'll appreciate any suggestions!
I have an Instagram account at last.
Apart from the pictures you may already know from my deviantArt gallery, I am going to put there some other things like photos and work-in-progress shots etc., so it is definitely worth following even if you already watch me here on dA.
But to tell you the truth, I am really new to Instagram and I am still learning how to use it. So far I am pleasantly surprised by the amount of interaction, but I would greatly appreciate any advice and insight from those of you who already use Instagram to promote your art! Can you share your experience? Of course I would gladly follow you as well. Thanks in advance!
- Reading: The Hobbit
- Eating: peanuts
- Drinking: tea
After I finished my latest painting, the Message in a Bottle, I realized an interesting thing. As I mentioned in the description, it was painted for the December 2017 monthly challenge on the Czech illustrators' website Projekt ilustrace. And exactly two years ago, for the December 2015 challenge, I made the picture Lady of the Beech Wood. I can't help but see a striking resemblance between these two.
Both depict a female half-human being, strongly associated with certain natural environment, with a long and rich hair, shown in profile looking right, with her left hand reaching up towards something...
But when I showed this to my wife, she didn't find them that much similar – one being more of a spirit or personification of nature, while the other an actual (if mythological) creature, one painted more realistically with detailed background, while the other is more stylized Art-Nouveau-like with the decorative border.
So I don't know, is it just me, or do you see there an interesting similarity as well? What do you think?
This autumn I was working on a booklet about the church of saint Ludmila in Prague, as you may have already noticed if you watch my gallery. It was a commission for the municipal government of Praha 2 (the 2nd district of Prague) and part of an ongoing series about the churches in this part of Prague – I've already made eight of them and hopefully the series will continue (there are still several more churches to cover).
I designed all of these booklets and for some of them I am even the author of the text. I love art history, so It was a pleasure to study and read about the churches and their history, architecture and decoration. Compiling all the sources into the final text certainly isn't an easy task, but still it was quite interesting and I think a good practice in writing. Almost simultaneously with the St Ludmila booklet, I also worked on another special booklet about the destroyed (demolished in 1791) Corpus Christi Chapel on the Charles Square; the text for it was written by a famous Czech author Petr Stančík.
But most importantly (from the point of view of me as an artist), for three of the booklets including the latest one I also provided cover illustrations of the churches. To my pleasure it seems to be quite popular: Several people told me these booklets with a painting on the cover stand out from majority of other publications with only photos, so I hope I was successful in carrying out my idea.
The three churches which I painted for the booklets so far were these: Church of Saint John of Nepomuk on the Rock, Church of St Ignatius and finally the church of St Ludmila (For more information about the churches, click on the thumnails below):
As I already mentioned, I enjoyed working on this project, though this time I had to finish it in a bit of a hurry before the deadline, so it was quite hard work and I was not completely satisfied with it, as I didn't have as much time to fine-tune both the composition of the booklet and the cover painting itself.
But still I was looking forward to seeing the finished product. Now finally I have got my copies of the printed booklet, so I'd like to share some photos of them with you.
Here is the cover:
And some pages of it as an example (unfortunately the text is only it Czech):
So what do you think about it?
The booklet series can be also viewed in PDF format on Praha 2 official website.
I was really delighted and honoured by their praise of my illustration. I also gave them my permission to sell copies of it on their online store, so you can buy it there if you are interested (all revenues go to their worthy cause).
As I've been tagged by here, I'll do my best to answer her questions.
1. You must post these rules (and/or edit them to your liking)
2. Answer the 9 questions the tagger gave you and then invent 9 of your own
3. You must legitimately tag 9 people
4. Tagbacks are allowed!
5. You must make a journal entry
1. what is your favorite song right now and what was it in the past? (youtube links appreciated)
I don't know about right know, but these were among my favourites fairly recently:
2. what is the meaning of life?
42. But besides that, I suppose it is to live. Or, more precisely, to live well. (What does that mean? That's another question...)
3. what plants do you have at home? what do they think about you?
Mostly cacti and some devil's ivy (Scindapsus). Others starved to death. Which should also answer the question what they most likely think about me. (But I like plants and flowers, I just sometimes forget about them)
4. imagine you know nothing about earth and universe and you look up at night and see the stars, what would you think? what would you think about the moon and it's changes?
That these are the most beautiful jewels I've ever seen; perhaps I would desire to see one fallen down on earth. The moon would most likely seem very mysterious, with its phases, ever changing and returning. But maybe I would also find it useful for measuring time.
5. what is the most epic book you have ever read?
Lord of the Rings, definitely.
6. what are the three most meaningful pictures for you from your favorites?
That's so difficult to tell, there are so many of them. But if I choose just from among the most recent ones, then perhaps these:
(Apparently I like Tolkien and I like blondes )
7. imagine you have the skills you wish you had and you don't have to worry about money, what would you create?
A great, beautiful, richly decorated book (or more books) which would be some kind of cross between a medieval illuminated manuscript and a modern graphic novel. Either as an adaptation of Tolkien or as my own story.
8. what is your favorite idea/thought/problem/question?
That's a difficult one. Perhaps recently I think about the problem how to reconcile imagination, fantasy, artistic creativity, the desire to make beautiful art with the need to be "realistic" and "practical" about life, in other words how to create art that is at the same time beautiful, imaginative, meaningful and relevant.
9. what kind of person would you like to be?
The one I'm supposed to be. Which is quite a hard work most of the time...
1. Which artists (outside of dA) do you think have influenced you the most?
2. And which artists here on dA?
3. What is currently your favourite piece from your own gallery, or which one you are most proud of?
4. What is your favourite colour combination when creating your own art?
5. What is your favourite architectural style? And some particular example?
6. Which fictional character you have not yet depicted, but you would like to?
7. What real-life place and what fictional place would you like to visit?
8. If you could change one thing in history, what would it be?
9. What is your favourite mythological creature?
(I apologize in advance to anyone affected, but if you find it interesting, I'm looking forward to see your answers, and if not, it is Ffey's fault)
Some people recently have asked me about my creative process, so I made a piece explaining some of steps I take when composing a more complex illustration such as Tom and Goldberry's First Meeting. It doesn't focus so much on the drawing technique itself, but it is more about the way I collect reference pictures and use them for inspiration when I compose my own picture. Here it is:
And the finished piece:
Do you find it interesting? what is your creative process? And would you like to see more pieces like this, perhaps focusing more on my drawing process as well?
Also, I'm thinking about making some tutorials, but I'd like to know, whether you would be interested?
Or should I rather cease such rambling and focus rather on drawing?
- Listening to: The Witcher OST
- Reading: C. S. Lewis: Till We Have Faces
- Drinking: coffee
There are many artists here on DA, whose work I like and appreciate (some of them I can call my friends, which greatly delights me). And with most of these great artists I clearly see their own distinctive style. Often so much so, that I need only to see a thumbnail in my notifications to know exactly, who painted it.
But I wonder, do you have a similar experience with my work? While this seems quite obvious for me when I look at other artists' galleries, I realized it is much more difficult to judge with my own pictures. This is of course a question mainly for my long-time watchers, but anyone can look at my pictures and I'll be glad to hear their opinion.
There are obviously some intentionally recurring features in my pictures, but these are usually present only in a certain fraction of my work and I've been experimenting more especially in the last year or so with various techniques and motifs, so I really don't know whether there is any unifying attribute in my work.
To show some examples, many people have told me that the "trademark" of my art is the elaborate border design. That could be said about pictures like these:
But if you look at my gallery, most of my works do not have any such border (after all they are not easy to draw and it takes a lot of time).
Then there are some Tolkien-inspired illustrations of fantastic landscapes or cityscapes featuring consistent style of elven or Númenorean architecture:
These are obviously distinctive, with the clear lines and architecture. But then, many pictures and among them some of the most popular in my gallery are just landscapes, showing nature, trees, mountains, with no architecture, no clear lines, often in oil pastel:
Then of course, there is a distinctive group of real-life architectural pictures, especially (though not exclusively) churches from my country:
Some of you may have also noticed that I have certain fondness of centaurs and they too are (now and then) recurring in my gallery:
Some of my pictures are perhaps on an overlap between the above-shown groupings, but then there are many diverse pictures which apparently do not fit well anywhere. For example:
So what do you think? Is there a distinctive style in my art, connecting even those diverse groups of my pictures? Or only some of them? Do you recognize my works on sight? Do you consider some of my pictures more representative or typical than others? And if you see my style as distinctive, can you describe what are the significant features of it?
I would really, really appreciate your insight. It means very much for me to have this feedback and to see how other perceive my art. Thanks in advance for your comments!
- Listening to: Mike Oldfield: Hergest Ridge
- Reading: The Witcher: The Lady of the Lake
- Drinking: water
If I should take examples from my own gallery, I think these:
are clearly drawings (by pen or pencil), while these:
are obviously paintings (by oil paints or watercolours).
But what about the cases where those definitions can not be so clearly applied. What about watercolour pencils? I first draw and then use water and brushes in a similar way as when I paint with watercolour. What if a picture consists of both a line art by pen and some colouring – is it then a drawing or a painting? What about oil pastels? They are in a form of a drawing stick, so technically you draw with them, but when the result is quite similar to an oil painting, I think it sounds quite odd to call it a drawing. And what about other mediums like various pencils, crayons, even charcoals? There are certainly many pictures that are all about shapes and forms and not lines, so that would fit into the definition of painting rather than drawing.
Just some examples of the aforementioned:
Are these drawings or paintings? What do you think? Where exactly is the borderline between drawing and painting?
I'm genuinely curious because sometimes I really do not know how to call my own pictures or into which category to put them, so I would really appreciate your insight!
- Listening to: Mike Oldfield: Ommadawn
- Reading: The Witcher: The Swallow's Tower
- Drinking: coffee
Yes, we have a baby, a son named Jindřich (which is Czech for Henry), born on 1 December, as the fans of my Facebook page already know. It is really beautiful for the Advent and upcoming Christmas, so we decided to use this opportunity to arrange a little living nativity scene (in the tradition of St Francis of Assisi) so we could share the joy with our extended family and friends.
I wish you blessed and peaceful Christmas and everything good in the new year!
- Listening to: Rybova mše vánoční
- Reading: Zaklínač: Meč osudu
matejcadil at your service!
- Listening to: The Tolkien Ensemble
- Reading: The Unfinished Tales
Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,The full text can be found here. It was also put to music by the wonderful Tolkien Ensemble [link] – I recommend!
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Done by! Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by.
Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: 'Pray, what is yon?
For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim.
As should be a-lyin' in the graveyard.
This many a year has Tim been gone,
And I thought he were lyin' in the graveyard.'
I love this passage, which is a welcome relief during the otherwise gloomy flight to the ford. But I wonder about this song. Recently I read that the hero of the song is actually Tom Bombadil, which never before occured to me (perhaps because in the Czech translation the name in the song is changed to "Tomáš" for metric and rhyming reasons). I had always seen this Tom as simply a generic fictional adventurous lad, in a similar way as the "merry old inn" in another hobbit song is not the Prancing Pony, nor any other real inn, but just an invention by Bilbo, who made that song. I tried to make some research about the connection of this song with Tom Bombadil and I'm still not sure about it.
I see some reasons for it:
- The song was apparently put together by Sam and first sung several days after the hobbits' visit to the house of Tom Bombadil (who is sometimes reffered to as simply "Tom"). So it is conceivable it was made under this impression
- It was included in the collection of poems The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, which strongly suggests the connection (though in the same collection there are also many other hobbit songs and poems which have nothing to do with Bombadil).
- The carelessnes of Tom's challenging the troll, as well as the emphasis on his big boots – these things fit well with the description of Bombadil.
But there are also several arguments against:
- Obviously Tom Bombadil who was referred to as the eldest and was a wholly mysterious being most probably didn't have any uncle named Tim, lying in a graveyard (with or without his shinbone). On the other hand, this song is obviously an invention by Sam Gamgee, so even if it is about Tom Bombadil, we cannot expect it to be accurate description of any (in Tolkien's world) real events or connections.
- The Tom of the song does escape the troll, but his adventure is eventually a failure: He does not recover his uncle's bone and "his bootless foot is lasting lame". This doesn't look like Tom Bombadil: He bosses the Old Man Willow, he effortlessly vanquished the Barrow-wight – and now he isn't able to outwit an ordinary old troll?
- There is a different (perhaps older?) version of the song, which reads: "Up came John with his big boots on. (...) it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Jim". There is even a recording of JRRT himself singing this version of the song: [link]. Whatever the reason for the change in the published version was, at this stage it certainly wasn't intended to be about Tom Bombadil.
- After all, Tom is a common hobbit name, a shortened form of Tolman (such as Sam's future father-in-law and brother-in-law).
What do you think about it? Maybe there is a definitive answer somewhere in the History of Middle-earth or the Letters. Or is it open to speculation? I would like to now.
Edit: The reason why I was interested in this song in the first place was because I had an illustration in mind. Eventually it doesn't feature Tom but only the troll, nevertheless, you can look at it here.
- Listening to: The Tolkien Ensemble
- Reading: The Fellowship of the Ring
- Drinking: coffee
Why do I consider changing my username? Well, I do not find my current username "neral85" quite appropriate or suitable. First, I do not like that number in it. I had to include it when I first set up my account here ten years ago, because the name without it was already taken (BTW I checked out the profile of and it's someone who's been around for 13 years but has only one (13 years old) deviation and no recent activity. Nevermind...). Second, I do not like the lowercase first letter. And third, I do not in fact very much like even the name Neral itself. It is a very old nickname of mine (derived from some insignificant Star Trek character back in my Trekkie days) and I still routinely use it for one-off registrations on various websites or some discussion boards, but I've never got really used to go by that name in actual conversation or being referred to under that name.
So I think I could change it either to adapted version of my real-life name – something like "MatejCadil" – or else some other nickname more closely related to it. I do have my Etsy shop and Facebook page where I go by my real name so it seems only logical to use it here too. But I don't know, maybe I'm known to some people here under my current username and the change would confuse them. As I said, I've been pondering it for some time, but I didn't make up my mind yet.
What do you think? Do you have some experience in this field? Have you changed your deviantArt username? How did it go? And what do you recommend to me? Is it preferable to use real name on dA, or rather some other name or variant of name?
- Drinking: coffee
For the above-mentioned reasons, I've decided to take a step forward with some things I've been pondering for some time. And one of them is a brand new Facebook page:
Do you have an artist's Facebook page as well? If so, share the link in comments, I'll happily do some mutual promotion!
P. S. Sorry for not answering in the next several days, I'll be travelling a bit.
- Listening to: Ainur: From Ancient Times
- Drinking: coffee
DeviantArt certainly isn't dying in terms of numbers of deviations or technological innovations and upgrades. But here is what is worrying me: I've been active on dA for quite a long time (10 years already, with almost 300 Deviations submitted) and recently I took notice that feedback is becoming an increasingly rare resource. Where several years ago I ordinarily received up to ten comments to my artwork in the first day or two, nowadays there are often no more than two or three comments weeks after submission (and mostly by the same people).
I hope you don't misunderstand me: I don't want to sound ungrateful to the people who do comment on my pictures (I met so many wonderful people on dA and I enjoy debating with them on art and Tolkien's world and exchanging various comments).
I'm also ready to take the blame myself – perhaps it is only me doing a lousy job as an artist, so most people don't even find it worthy of commenting. Maybe that's the case, I'm ready to admit it. But I wonder, is my art really that much worse than, say, five years ago, as the amount of feedback would suggest? Or is there something different to it? I just wonder...
If I don't get any answer to it, that may count as an answer as well, but I would really like to hear from you. Have you noticed something similar, or is it just me? And if so, what do you think is the reason? And is there anything that could be done about it? What do you think?
- Reading: Peter Kreeft: The Philosophy of Tolkien
- Drinking: coffee
Pro ty, kdo mluví česky, chci upozornit na zajímavou výzvu na české stránce Projekt ilustrace. Ten web si mimochodem zaslouží pozornost i sám o sobě, a tak mu rád udělám trochu reklamu. Funguje tak, že každý měsíc je vypsáno téma, na základě něhož je možné během toho měsíce tvořit ilustrace a nahrávat je do galerie (zpracování je naprosto volné, témata jsou různě široká, konkrétní i abstraktní - posuďte sami). Následující měsíc se pak hlasuje o nejlepším díle z předcházejícího měsíce a vítězný obrázek je pak zařazen do výběrové galerie.
Inu, a aktuální výzva nespočívá v ničem jiném než v předsevzetí, během roku 2015 zkusit zpracovat všech 12 měsíčních témat. Zní to náročně? Myslím, že není důvod se toho bát; na kvalitě zas až tak nezáleží, nejde o to vyhrát, ale zúčastnit se, a podstatné je dokopat se k tomu, nějak to příslušné téma zpracovat. Já osobně třeba doufám, že když budu mít před sebou tuto výzvu, donutí mě to víc kreslit, a třeba i věci, které by mě jinak nenapadly.
Omlouvám se, že píšu skoro až na konci ledna, ale i tak na vložení prvního obrázku zbývá pět dní, takže to není tak hrozné. Tak co na to říkáte, půjdete do toho taky?
Jen tak pro zajímavost se můžete podívat na můj profil (no jo, moc obrázků tam zatím nemám, ale to se doufám změní Ovšem zase jsem dvakrát vyhrál ).
- Drinking: tea
Here's the list (unfortunately I can't insert thumbnails):
Church of Sts Peter and Paul in Chotevice
Chapel of Our Lady at Hotel Pod Zvicinou
Pilgrimage Church of the Visitation in Koclerov
Chapel of St Anne in Mostek
Church of St Bartholomew in Pecka
Church of the Sacred Heart in Borovnicka
Church of St James the Greater in Bila Tremesna
Cemetery Chapel of St Odilo in Zirec
Church of St Bartholomew in Lanzov
Chapel in Zabori
I've made several other pictures of churches, mostly in Prague, but I'd like to know your opinion on this particular series.
Edit: Thanks to your kind opinion, in the end I have chosen the Church of the Sacred Heart in Borovnička. And as a second piece for the exhibition another one of my pictures, Autumn at Vrani Hory. Thanks for sharing your attitudes!
Apart from prints you may also choose various other goods with the artwork printed on it, such as iPad and laptop skins, iPhone cases, T-shirts, bags and more. If you like certain picture which is not offered there and wish me to add it, surely let me know.
I hope you'll find it interesting.