Listed below are some of the websites and books that have helped and inspired me as a visual storyteller…
A short note: I visit and subscribe to the websites listed on this page. I have read the books and used the software listed on this page as well. Each of these has been useful to me or inspired me to be a better writer and creator. I DO NOT receive any compensation for recommending them to you.
This list will be growing as time goes by. Updates will be posted on the blog when new listings or sections have been added
Writing and Indie-Publishing
Advanced Fiction Writing: Randy Ingermanson is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He is also a lecturer who actively speaks about writing and publishing. Randy is best known for his Snowflake Method of designing and publishing a novel. Check out his blog and monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine for a wealth of information on writing, publishing and marketing.
Steve Scott Website: Steve Scott has written many books on blogging, publishing and marketing e-books for sale on the internet. His blog covers everything from writing and marketing strategies to changes in the digital publishing world.
The Creative Penn: Joanna Penn is a writer and speaker who was voted as one of the Guardian UK top 100 creative professionals in 2013. She writes thrillers and books on writing and creative marketing for the internet. Her blog is a great collection of articles covering every aspect of creativity, marketing and promotion for independent writers.
Social Triggers: David Halpern’s blog covers the psychology of buying, selling and marketing. The articles here are fascinating and it’s well worth your time to visit this site.
Jeff Goins: Jeff is probably the most positive and inspirational writer I’ve encountered on the internet. His articles cover all aspects of writing and creativity with a passion I’ve not encountered before. His e-books The Writer’s Manifesto and Wrecked Manifesto are true motivators for struggling creators (both are free for download if you subscribe to his blog).
On Writing by Stephen King: A must read for all writers. Stephen King shares his philosophy and technique in a personal and engaging way. A truly inspiring work that offers practical advice on all aspects of the creative process. This is a true masterpiece.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield: What is it that blocks us from achieving our goals? What keeps us from finishing the projects that we’ve started or from starting them at all? The War of Art examines how we can overcome the resistance within ourselves that blocks our creative drive. In this book, Steven Pressfield demonstrates how we can direst our creative energy to push aside the barriers that prevent us from reaching our goals. The War of Art was an eye-opener for me and helped kick-start my creative drive when I was at my lowest ebb.
Write, Publish, Repeat by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant: The sub-title for this book is “The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success” and that’s exactly what it is. There are no marketing gimmicks, no get rich quick schemes here. What is offered instead is common sense methods to write, publish and market your e-books in an ever-changing self-publishing landscape to build a successful publishing career…if you’re willing to do the work to achieve it.
The Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine: I know I listed this under Randy Ingermanson’s Advanced Fiction Writing website but it bears a second listing under books. I strongly recommend this e-zine as a resource for writing, publishing and marketing. Each issue is filled with informative articles, interviews and resources that can’t be found anywhere else. There is also a listing for all back issues of the e-zine so no matter where you’ve come in you can always have access to pervious issues.
Illustration and Concept Art
One1more2time3: Hans Bacher’s blog is an excellent resource for artists and animators of all kinds. His posts cover all aspects of art history, design, animation, storyboarding, sketching and just about anything else related to the visual arts. I can spend hours at a time here. If you’re interested in visual storytelling, this is the site to visit.
Aurelien Predal: Aurelien Predal is a freelance animator and designer. I am always amazed and delighted by his elegant designs and storyboard presentations.
Sparth: The home of concept artist Nicolas Bouvier. Mr Bouvier’s designs have graced book covers and he has been active as a designer in the gaming industry. His style conveys an elegant simplicity combined with a sense of mass to the structures and machinery that grace his works. You’ll find links to his various websites here and I encourage you to visit them all. Each site has a different theme presenting works that are not included in his other sites.
Samuel Michlap: Samuel Michlap is a production designer and concept artist for the film industry. His environment and set designs are the highlight of this blog site. His sketches and personal portfolio can be found at his website samuelmichlap.com.
Paul Lasaine: Paul Lasaine has worked as a production designer, art director and concept artist for the film industry. What impresses me the most about his work are his exotic landscapes and character designs.
Ashley Wood: Book covers, comic books and concept design are just a few of the venues that have highlighted the work of Ashley Wood. His impressionistic style is refreshing and a true inspiration to me.
Armand Serrano: Production designer, concept artist and lecturer Armand Serrano is a master of his craft. His website offers a comprehensive portfolio of his professional and personal work. His blog shares his thoughts on concept art and environment design.
John Nevarez: What I like most about this site is Navarez’s character designs. The sketches here jump from the screen with a life all their own.
Fractal Art Software
Mandelbulber: (freeware) This fabulous program renders fractals as 3D objects that can be explored on the surface and from within. It is a powerful program packed with a wide array of features. You can control lighting, reflection, field of view, fog and haze effects, details and color parameters. WARNING: Mandelbulber requires a powerful computer to operate properly. Be sure to visit the gallery on this site to see what can be accomplished with this program. If you decide to try Mandelbulber be sure to read the documentation on the site for a clear understanding of its features and how they interact to create stunning renders.
Apophysis 7x: (freeware) Apophysis renders a specific kind of fractal called a fractal flame. These types of fractals glow as if they are on fire or are iridescent. The effects that can be achieved are quite beautiful and can create very intricate designs. There are also many plug-in formulas and scripts that can be used within Apophysis. Apophysis 7x also has some 3D capabilities which produce amazing result. The learning curve for Apophysis is a bit high but with a little patience and some practice you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Note #1 : To download this program move your mouse cursor to the right side of the Apophysis homepage to see the menu with the download link. NOTE#2: There are several earlier versions of Apophysis available and each offers different features and are worth exploring. Just Google “Apophysis” and you’ll find them. The nice thing about Apophysis is that there are hundreds of sites with tutorials and resources for this program.
Fractal Explorer: (freeware) ***UPDATE 10/27/2014-The Fractal Explorer website appears to have been taken down. The only place I can find a reliable download of the program is here.*** Fractal Explorer is a powerful 2D fractal generator that renders a wide variety of fractal formulas. It hasn’t been updated since 2005 but runs without problems on my Windows 8 computer under Windows Vista compatibility. Fractal Explorer is so packed with features that the only way to fully appreciate it is to download it and start playing around with the features. There aren’t a lot of tutorial sites for this program anymore but with a little practice you can produce some amazing renders.
Have I Missed Anything?
Your input is important to me!!
Feel free to post a comment if you have a website, book or any other writing resource that you feel should be included in this list.
I’ll check it out and include it if it’s appropriate.