Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Critique call- watercolor witches!

Hey there, ye few and proud who actually still comment on blogs.

A few nights ago I got all hopped up on cocoa and went on a serious watercolor bender and made a  donkeycart of paintings. Well. I sort of half-made a donkeycart of paintings. One of the unfortunate effects of paint is that it takes time to draw and by the time it's ready for the next step that fickle jerk Inspiration is partying with someone else (or possibly in a coma, Inspiration never explains its own absconsion) and I end up staring at half-finished pieces that I almost, but don't quite, know how to finish.

So hey, all comments and suggestions welcome! And if nothing else, perhaps shaming myself by posting this horribly unfinished stuff will get me back in the studio on this fine sunny day.

Oh man, I need to fix that hand. A LOT. Fortunately watercolor will let me do that. Aside from that, though-ideas?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fire and Smoke

Well, I was all raring to get home from Animefest in Dallas and get to work last week.

Yeah, that didn't happen. Not the work; the getting home. Instead I spent last week in various familial and friend-based emergency accommodations, frantically refreshing the local Weather Underground map and looking to see if my home had burned down.

For those who aren't in Texas and may not have been following the news, or known where to look for it: This is why I had to evacuate. My home is downwind of this:

and of several smaller fires.

My home now is safe, thanks again and always to the incredible work of volunteers fire workers and-frankly- some decent land management from old-timers around here who still know the right way to firebreak their property. I'm settling back in and bustling around tidying up and cringing every time I smell that sweet hit of woodsmoke that usually means barbecue and winter and good times. Right now, it means someone's life is burning.

Meanwhile, I'm ok. I'm unspeakably and undeservedly ok, and my house is ok, and I'm even beginning to think it may stay that way. I may be delayed in my studio work, because I have some housework to catch up on, and that is more than ok; that is fantastic. I have never loved dishes so much.

I'd like to offer some spine-strengthening fire safety tips or something,so people can take action and feel empowered. But in fact there's very little that laughs in the face of human preparedness like a raging wildfire. Always have a go-bag ready, support your local fire department, and if the day comes that news says go, just GO. There's not much else to be done, unless you're a firefighter yourself; and if you are, my most sincere thanks.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Animefest: WIP and Whoosh Away

Hello, blogworld! Did you miss me? I've missed you. Alas and alack, health issues have kept me pretty well sidelined this summer. I'm not quite out of the world yet, though! I'm heading out the door to a convention tonight, and when I get back, we'll have a nice big postfeast, all right?

Meantime, look! Stuff I've been working on! I'm not quite satisfied with where these pictures are now, but maybe seeing them on screen, or even getting some feedback, will help?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Art Practice: Foxy

I've been in a weird spot, artwise, for the last year or so. I'm working constantly, because I keep seeing these fantastic techniques I want to try, and I feel like I'm thiiiiis close to understanding the first thing about color theory, and of course I'm still trying to train my right hand up with animal sketches (though I haven't posted those in a while, the work continues!)

But all this attempted improvement is seriously slowing down production! So one of the new things I'm trying is a faster coloring method taking blatant advantage of the fact that, hey, I have a new computer and it can do things!

My idea of "quick" turns out to suddenly be "four hours of work", but that's because I felt the inexplicable need to make a fancy new drawing instead of something basic. You see my production problem!


I like the look; I'm gonna mess around a little more with basic line art and fix the obvious spilled colors, but I think this one might actually grow into a real piece one day!

What do you think, blogcomments? How often do you change up your work technique? Do you thing it's worth the hassle? Is there even a choice?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Return of Son of Sketches of the Week!

Does anyone still come to this thing?

I have been horribly negligent in my blog maintenance. I know this. I regret to say I will probably continue to be pretty awful about it. The craziness of the summer season plus the need to, y'know, actually MAKE SOME ART to share has kind of commandeered my time. If anyone wants to chat, I'm generally over on Twitter!

But if people want to look at my pictures, they can still come here! Check it out:

I've found a lovely group that provides really fun sketch prompts, so at least I should be back in the swing of that for a while. And some of those might become real pictures! You never know.

Also! I am working on a Super Secret Project. Don't want to jinx it, but maybe Monday there will be some hint.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kinkajou and A Kangaroo (rat)

Out of all the beasties I've drawn, this couplet really shows the least distinction between my left and right side. Like, eerily little distinction. If only every pic I set out to draw was like that, I'd no longer have to fear my constantly self-destructing left shoulder.

I must say I am seriously disappointed in The Book of Mammals for giving so little time or attention to the Kangaroo Rat. I'm generally not a fan of verminbeasts, but Kangaroo Rats are pretty awesome. Look at those tails! Or rather, look at THAT tail, since the book only gave me one lousy KR picture. Feh and weeping.

But I'll forgive it for all the awesome Kinkajou action. You can't say Kinkajou and be unhappy, that's a Science Fact. Try it.
Also an (actual) Science Fact: Kinkajous can turn their feet backward to climb down trees! If you could read my notes, you'd know that already! But since I have artistic handwriting (it's not bad, it's an interpretive rendition!), you probably did not.

Share a weird fact with me in the comments!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Koalas Make the Derpiest Faces

Seriously. Every koala pic in the book has an expression that can only be described as "derp".

Except for one, who appears to be laughing boorishly at an awful joke.

An unfortunate fact about koalas: they are very hard to draw without making them turn into Fozzie Bear.There's a certain inherent puppety felt nature to those padded cheeks and floofy ears. I would try to overcome it, and express the true savage beastial nature of the dropbear, but..nah. That pretty much IS their nature, really.

One thing I find interesting as I go on this project: my right hand, while clearly weaker and less practiced than my left, is also clearly still MY hand. My essential style doesn't seem to change much. But the way I look at my references changes a lot from hand to hand; I have very little urge to cartoon or compose, working right handed, but I do have a more conscious awareness of light and basic shape. Not expected, but interesting...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sketcherie: Lemurs!

At first I thought, hey, I'll post up my mammalian sketches every day! Then I realized that (a)that would get really tedious, and (b) that would end up with all you poor following folk seeing things like The Day of the Lemmings. To summarize what I learned from drawing lemmings:

Lemmings are really, really boring to draw.

Seriously they're just little circles with dots for eyes. I was bored like a softwood pine under a devastating beetle onslaught. Did I mention I make myself draw every creature for thirty minutes apiece with either hand? Because I do! A solid hour of fuzzballs, ugh.

But see, you don't have to see or hear about that (the above rant was only a sample of my boredom-induced ravings. Trust me, I COULD GO ON.) thanks to the power of procrastination planning! Planning and saving material! Yes!

Instead, here are several pages of lemurs, some of the most fantastically fun and drawable creatures on Earth.

One thing that's really baffling me so far is how to draw the distinction between fur-texture and shading in a grayscale media. One of these lemurs especially had some serious fur ruffles on its limbs- but trying to draw that in, it looks like he's just striped. Fur-portraying advice, anyone?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hiatus? What Hiatus?

I haven't been slacking! I've been sketching! Look, some kangaroos. Drawn right AND left handed.  Because I WILL get the full benefit of my ambidexterity, consarn it.

Why kangaroos? Why two pages of kangaroos, not to mention the painting drying in my studio? Well...

I have never drawn a really good tiger.

This may not seem like a terribly important fact. Rarely does the fate of the world depend on an immediate skillful rendition of tigerhood. But I really WANT to draw a good tiger. Tigers haunt my migraine auras. They chase me in dreams (where they like lollipops and where vests) and are unspeakably gorgeous in real life, and I routinely get ideas for tiger-based pictures.

That I don't draw. Nor do I draw the random ideas for pictures based on llamas, elephants, harp seals, koati or zebu cattle. I don't draw these things because I can't draw them, and I can't draw them because I don't draw them. Not only am I a Hack*, I am A Hack of Very Little Experience. And this is not entirely my fault- I've had other things to occupy my time in this particular go 'round on the Life board-- but of all the things that interfere with my Arting Fun Times, a lack of drawing experience is the only one I can definitely alter.

At least with the help of good photo reference.

Hence my great glee at finding the National Geographic Book of Mammals in the clearance bin at the local Cheapo Bookstore. As far as I can tell, it exists for no other purpose than to give Hacks a great slab o' photo reference. So I'm planning to spend the year drawing my way from kangaroos to zebras, a new beastie every day. Maybe I'll get some finished pieces out of the deal, maybe not. But at least, when I next want to draw a Koatimundi, I'll have a basic idea of where to begin.


And if it takes the rest of the year, I will draw a really GOOD tiger.

* I am a hack, oh yes I am, never doubt it or challenge me on that. But the Talent Rant is for another day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary To Meeee!

I've made my Monday art post, because it's been a while. But the important thing today is not, for once, how brilliant and creative and dramatic I am (nod, people. I need affirmation).

The important thing about today is that it is, against remarkable odds, my thirteenth wedding anniversary! Holy Cats!

Cats are the right thing to swear by, actually- I was never the little girl who played wedding or dreamed about Prince Charming. I had extensive plans to go to art school, become a neurochemistsurgeongineer  with superpowers (comics say it's possible, kids!) and then eventually retire from my life of brilliant crime fighting to make immortal works of art in a house with like 85 cats, which I would deploy as my feline deputies around the city when old age made me too limited to fight anymore.

You can see how I thought I'd  be too busy for romance.

But then some lunatic jumped in front of my car, and there went all my careful plans.

In retrospect, the superhuman crimefighter plan would have been a lot easier, but I'm glad I stuck with the fella. I hate cleaning litterboxes, I look lousy in spandex...and after thirteen years he still makes me grin when I think about him.

So. I'm going to be stepping away from the computer now. See everyone later this week!

Monday Sketchplosion: I Only Rant At What I Love

Well, it's been a while- and since I never did get enough votes to break the last tie, I went for the ladies of fate, who've  somehow decided they wanted to be all mid-20th C popart at me. Not what I was expecting, so it's taking longer than I wanted.I don't know what prompted that at all.

I DO know what prompted this week's sketchplosion. Much as I love fantasy art, there is a distressing prevalence therein of Skinny Pretty People. Sometimes they have wings, or pointed ears. But overwhelmingly, they are skinny, they are mostly generically European, (or sometimes Irish), clearly intended to be attractive, and they are usually wearing some sort of Renfaire clothing.

And none of these things is bad in of itself- I like Renfaire clothing! I am people! Some of my best friends are skinny! And I have drawn my share of  pretty skinny engarbed  pics. But altogether at a lump it makes fantasy art seem ironically unimaginative.

Well, I'm taking a stand- or rather a sit, I don't stand- against this invasion of standard forms! Down with the Pretty People! Back to the Faire Folk! I want fantasy art that makes me jump at shadows and study treebark faces and wonder about the artist's ability to conduct their own affairs in public! And if I have to make it myself, then that's just how it's gotta be. Though it probably won't help my credit score.

So, here's what's eating my brain right now:

No need to vote on these, I'm making them all in time, though I will be making some changes.That basking frogthing needs to different colors, just to name one obvious problem. None of those changes will involve fancy costumes though. I have quite enough of that happening on another project, one which I'm hoping to wrap up...soon. Maybe this month! How exciting!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tyrsday: Happy Bat and Presumptuous Frog

Some animals this time! And color!

This happy freetail bat is from the cover of Texas Co-Op Magazine, a great local mag for, well, customers of Texas electrical Co-ops. That's a cooperatively owned utility (or business, or what have you) if you don't know-- like owning stock in a company, we all own a part of our electric company! And if they do well during the year, we get money back from our utility bill. Wooo! We love our Co-op company!

Also, pictures of happy bats!

The Mexican freetail bat is kind of a ginormous Thing here,but apparently some people don't like bats! All I can figure is those people are poops. Look at that smiley face! That's not even artistic license, it's totally grooving! Freetails eat their weight in bugs, serve as major crop pollinators, and make adorable chirpy sounds at night. I like to watch them doing acrobatics out around our security light in the summer, picking off the bugs that would otherwise be noshing me to the bone. Go, bats!

Also, a rather smug frog. Frogs always look either smug or panicked.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tyrsday 2: Thoughts and performers

Most of the sketches I've been doing right-handed have been from photos. I have a collection of wonderful magazines like National Geographic, Smithsonian, Scientific American- all with excellent and inspiring photos. And while it would of course be utterly tack to try and steal use of the photos for gain, I don't think something like this:

is going to be taking food out of a photographer's mouth any time soon.

These two were taken from an article on Mexico; photos of a luchador wrapping his muscles and a musician waiting to play. I don't think either of these proud performers would care that a weak-wrist artist in Texas was inspired by their angles, but: Thanks, guys! You've been a big help!

It's been a long time since I did this much sketching-from-reference, actually, and that's a failing on my part. There's a danger in the sort of illustrative/stylized work I do of forgetting the basics. It's like spending so much time on a trampoline that you can't stand on solid ground. So it's good to reconnect. More than that, though, I feel like all this right-handed practice (believe me, I'm only showing a tiny sliver of it here) is teaching my brain forms in a way I haven't grasped before. I can feel the way I think about drawing changing.

Mind you, all of this awesome new learning is actually making my work in the moment kind of horrible. But that's a topic for another day...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Sketchsplosion

IIIII'm Back! Whoo!

Sorry to be so long on this-especially as I've really wanted everyone's advice! But as I explained in my last post, sometimes it's unavoidable. You still love me, right, internet?

Being flattened by my own brainpan does tend to decrease my productivity-- but I still finished the most requested sketch from the last sketchplosion! Unfortunately, she sort of turned into this very military chic lass along the way, and, well...

Fonts happened. I really like the idea of her being part of a recruitment poster- but now (a) I'm fighting the urge to make a whole series of God Brigades and (b)I am probably going to be mucking with the fonts for approximately eleventy billion years. They are a weakness of mine.

But I think I can keep wordage out of this week's sketchity choices! A couple are a little more complicated compositionally, but nothing I can't handle. Have a look:

And tell me what I should spend my head-fixed time on!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Comic: Amazing Blow Up Hedz

Sometimes I disappear, regardless of weather. When I do, I'm very sorry, folks, but this is the reason why:

It takes just forever to sweep up the headbits, get my neck to stop smoking, and get back to work.

Also, the experience of having seizures while holding a 1200 dollar piece of equipment is much to be avoided.

So what's keeping you from getting everything done? Kids? Pets? Marching bears with shark planes?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weekly Hooray: Banded Goddess

Well, February continues grey and weird and unpleasant. In the calendar family, February is totally the grey damp sheep of the family. Blech.

But there are still color-worthy things happening, at least to me, and since this is my blog, I expect everyone to be celebratory along with me. So all together now: Yaaaay!

Why? Well, this week, it's this:

That's Terry Spier-Kalmar's Banded Goddess necklace, given to me out of the crazy awesome generosity of her heart and the wild blogride that was One World One Heart this year.

I'm sure you can see just looking how lovely that is-- but what amazes me is that  this is a necklace I would commission if I were able to commission a necklace right now! Wow! Look! Fluorite, my favorite rock(It phosphoresces! It serves as an energy shield! It is used in cookware enamel!Best gemstone ever!) ! A wonderful smooth-nubbly glass goddess for my twitchy fingers to hold when I'm thinking! A magnetic clasp so my same stupid fingers can actually get the piece on and off! And it sits right at the point where I like my pendants. I am, in short, never takin' this thing off.  Sorry to anyone else here through OWOH who might have wanted it themselves, but clearly, this Goddess was made for me.

But I bet you can find something just perfect for you at Terry's site, she's got all sorts of pretty rocks up for ogling!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Happy Necklace Dance to get back to.  Strike up the band!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Friday! I don't have a theme for Friday!

Well, not yet. I have joined Illustration Fridays, so soon I shall inspiration delivered unto me on a weekly basis, but this week it was "sweater" and I am not thinking about that even a little. Farewell, winter! May the door break yer backside on the way out! I am frolicking even now in my thinnest yoga pants! Frolicking, I tell you!

Still wearing my corset though, because a woman's got to have standards.


I may not have a theme, but Life is offering me one, in the form of Ladybug Army. Seriously. The lovelies are swarming my laptop screen, crawling on my glasses, getting under the stylus when I try to draw on my tablet. I'm thinking I need to invent a goddess of Ladybugs, so I can appeal to her to make them lay off, 'cause this wench does not do collaborative art very well.

Back later today, I hope! And if not...well, thereby shall hang a tale!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Technically, Difficulties: In Which I Rant A Lot

For those who don't know: My part of Texas got slammed with a major coldfront over the last couple of weeks. I know those of you who live in Lands of Ice And Snow are laughing, thinking "Oho, that silly Texan, I bet she's talking about like 50F" and that's justified, because I will in fact bawl like a toffler who's dropped her ice cream when it hits 50, but: no. I'm talking about 20, 15, 12F.

TWELVE! That is unacceptable, folks.

In a forty year old trailer with no coldproofing. Because, seriously, we're in South Central Texas! Who needs coldproofing! HEAT, that's the problem! Yes! We are so ready for that! Cold? Feh.

...Until all the pipes explode and my paints freeze in their tubes. My paints! Froze right up! Ungroovy, friends. Not that it matters too much, since I probably shouldn't indulge my watercolor lust until we have running water again.

I also froze right up- apparently, being desperately cold is hard on the human body! Who knew, right? So while I've managed to avoid actually getting ill (Living isolated in the woods does wonders for vector elimination) my chronic...well, everything, swung back into high gear. I've spent most of the last couple of weeks half blind and twitchy, which does not allow for great art. But does make for some hilarious housekeeping! Did you know you can boil chopsticks to softness? Well now you do! And so do I!*

Point being, I'm gonna be a leeetle behind on my blog duties for this week, as I fight to compensate for Weather Happening. But then I'll have sketches! And stories! And maybe..uh..other kinds of sketches and stories! It's a blog, I'm sort of limited. But I hope you'll be there!

*Chopstick Drop Soup: Not that good. It has a nice solid flavor, but the wood is full of splinters, fancy that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Sketchplosion 2: The Projecting Continues!

Hurrah huzzah, I'm back! Back in the world of the warm and the living! ...And the burst pipes and a waterless house and a few other minor inconveniences. But what does that matter when I've got an internet connection and a quiet house to keep me company, right? Right!

Still, last week's technical troubles did interfere with my artness--but not prevent it! Behold, the Flying Fish!

What do you all think? Especially those of you who voted for the Fish?

I would have liked to spend a little more time with it, but as agreed in the solemn confines of my own skull, it's been a week, however hectic, and the fish, it is done!

This week's selections may seem less varied than last- but that's why I need the advice of my blogworld! When I get two or three basic ideas for a piece, I'll usually get hung up choosing between them-- somehow I feel making both would be cheating as though I could plagiarize myself-- and the end result is that I make neither. It's in these close confines that an outside nudge is really liberating! So, once again, tell me which of these pieces I should focus on this week:

And, by the way-- if anyone's got a decent name for this weekly project, I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deep Freeze Radio Silence

For those who don't follow my Twitter, or the news-- Texas has been experiencing rolling blackouts the last couple days, as our power system tries unsuccessfully to cope with the horrible terrifying unexpected development of the weather being cold in winter.
Joking aside, and it's hard not to laugh at our extremophile cultural adaption,* this is bad news. There are Canadian cities warmer than us right now. I think it's a sign of the Apocalypse, or at least Ragnarok.

So the rolling blackouts are bad, but you know what's worse? Having no power at all for 12 hours on the coldest day of the eternity! Woooo!And that's what happened to me yesterday, thanks to- no, not cold-- a FIRE at my local power station. The elements have my number.

Anyway. Twelve hours of blanket- wrapped huddling and a pipe-bursted house combined with erratic internet have rather impeded my ability to deliver the hefty blog and shop updates I was hoping for this week. I'll be putting for a few days to come, I suspect. But I'll be back next week, hopefully in warmer weather and with a full power supply at my back!

*As Joel Watson at Hijinks Ensue pointed out, our power grid apparently has no trouble cooling the entire state for five months of 100F + heat, but cries and breaks down like a five year old meeting Santa after ONE DAY of real cold.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tyrsday: I Am Not Left Handed

No, it's true! Yes, I draw and write left-handed. But that's not my default state! I was born ambidextrous, and trained away from it by years of school teachers and parental types insisting I just choose one, already, and stop changing hands in the middle of the page all the time.

That I chose to focus on the hand that would guarantee tool failure 90 percent of the time illustrates why even smart children should not be allowed to make life altering decisions. But I digress.

I never did narrow my handedness down on anything besides school-related work, and given my various health issues that's saved my bacon more than once. But even if I didn't regularly have body parts drop out of commicsion,  it seems a horrible waste to have one hand that never gets to do fine work- and also it seems like begging fate to come along and disarm me so that I have to spend my remaining days lamenting my lost dexterity (sinisterity?). So this year my resolution is to get my right hand back up to snuff! I've been writing longhand, and if the handwriting isn't perfect yet I can't say it's really worse than my usual lefty doctor-prescription scrawl. But the art, now....

That's gonna take a while.
So come around Tuesdays to share the hilarity of my attempt at self improvement, won't you?

(Tyr, of course, was a Norse God of Getting His Hand Bitten Off By A Giant Wolf Who Was Also Sort of His Stepbrother. And you think your family reunions are awkward.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Monday Marching Orders! Also: Sketchsplosion!

ETA: The votes are in, and Flying Fish takes the prize! So now I know what I'm doing for the rest of the week! Especially you voters, be sure to show up Monday so you can tell me how I did!

If you voted for one of the other sketches, don't despair! They aren't scuttled, they're just not getting my attention this week. They may return...!

If you've been following this blog for, oh, five minutes or so, you may have noticed that I have a serious case of Attention Deficit Creator Disorder*. Symptoms manifest as a worrying surfeit of ideas and terrifying lack of finished product.

I don't know what causes it in other carriers, but for me it's like being in love with love-- I love getting new ideas! They're so perfect in my head! The first few revisions are fantastic! The layouts start getting serious. Maybe we start talking about how many colors we'll have someday.

And then, well, it starts turning into work. We end up having the same argument over whether the background should be more detailed five times a day, and their brother idea is so much more charming and never asks me to adjust the angle of his arm five degrees, and pretty soon I've abandoned my old idea for a new one.

And this would be fine, since of course ideas can't chuck all your possessions out the window or ruin your reputation in your social circle. But there's always some things that can't be learned outside a serious commitment. Finishing techniques, larger motives, the sheer satisfaction of calling a thing done, not perfectly but finally.

It's time to admit I have a problem. If I could control it myself, I would...but clearly I can't. So I turn to you, Blog Readers of Misty Myth! Every week I'll share a few sketchy ideas with you, like so:

And you tell me which one needs to be made into a finished piece! The final piece will post on Mondays, along with the next week's sketches.

Need incentive? Once a month, a blog-voter will get a postcard, from me, of one of the winning designs! Frankly I adore getting real mail, and I hope you do too. Because I really need some advice! So tell me: what am I drawing this week?

Who Let The New Year In ?!?

What? I'm late to the New Year Resolutions and random January-based productivity binges? Surely not! I mean, looking at the calendar, it's not for another week and--

Oh, that's Chinese New Year.

Oh well, I like Chinese New Year, it's fun. Twice the fireworks, and also dragons! Plus this is the Year of the Rabbit! Rabbits are good. Rabbits are...well, terrifying, actually. I'm with Anya on that one. But let's all pretend that I'm celebrating Chinese New Year nonetheless, and I'm actually a jump ahead on 2011, all right? It would be a big relief for me.

Late or early, though, this blog isn't being neglected! I've been planning all sorts of plans, and I hope you'll be with me in the new year-- however you celebrate it- to help them happen! See you Monday!