Friday, October 5, 2012

Fanart Friday: Dorothy of Oz

John R. Neill's Oz illustrations may be the reason I ever started drawing. I've long since lost the urge to imitate his style- it's gorgeous, but it's not mine-- but he's with Arthur Rackham as one of the greats in my heart.

The original Dorothy was so much cooler -- cool as in competent, confident, self-possessed-- than any of her later updates. And she was all of nine. I'm 33 and I still want to be as great Dorothy when I grow up.

I also want to ride a giant lion.

Both of these are equally likely. But at least I can paint a giant lion, and that's also fun.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monstergirls, day 1 and 2

Some sketches prompted by this list: Day 1:

I like the centaurs best, but everyone else has other opinions! Which is pretty ok, it's nice to be told that sketches I did not like have love somewhere. Snakegirls deserve affection too! Note that the one barely-worked sketch is 'slime'. What's a slimegirl look like?!? Isn't a definitive property of slime that it is amorphous? So many questions! Day 2:

Things that made me deeply uncomfortable about today's list: It called for a succubus. I don't wanna draw sexpot women! That is nothing I'm interested in! Also the idea of sexy women as monsters squicks me out!So I took the Castle Falkenstein notion of Succubi- that they're not actually attractive, but energy feeding fae that make people THINK they're attractive, and they themselves only have a warped idea of what features should be hot, so they're really pretty oogy. Oogy monsters are ok. And yeah, the idea of demon-as-businessperson is not new. When business stops hoggin' all the demontude it'll stop being a popular conceit. Mine has a crab leg! So there's that. No qualms at all about my octogals or my spiderling. I would happily draw variants on that theme all day. Mycota came out pretty well too I guess. I love you, non-sexualized creations! Wave your manyhued limbs in the air! or the water! Whatever!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dailyish Sketch: Mother Nature

...I'm a little confused that I drew this.But I said I'd post my sketches here! I didn't say "if they were nice"!
Uh...Wow, it's kind of grim, for me, isn't it? But I was working off the prompt "Mother Nature", so: beetle wings/shell, earth tones (specifically ochres) on the body, and of course red on the hands and mouth, because yes, she surely is red in tooth and paw.
That's a little wee vertebrate fetus thing, for those wondering.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Trying Out a New Tablet: The Yiynova DP10 Digitalizer Display

For various reasons, I don't always have my Cintiq, and I wanted a backup tablet. But a Cintiq is so far out of my price range*  On the advice of several other artists, I went for the Yiynova DP10. made me despair. I could not, for love nor money, get the thing working. Uploaded new drivers, nothin'. Checked my plugins, nothin'. Pray to the gods of technical endeavor, nothin'. I gave up and told the Yiynova support email that I was giving up and sending back the tablet.
And they CALLED ME, and actually walked me through the setup process. It's kind of weird! And it turns out that my favorite way of operating (Mirrored screens) just isn't an option. And, to be honest, tech support between someone as hopelessly monolingual as me and someone for whom English is a distant second language is tricky and frustrating for both parties. But! They were very polite and professional, and my tablet works! Bwahaha! It's aliiiive!

So here's the first quick sketch I did with it:

Using Painter. Quick review, based on admittedly little experience:
It's not as good at pressure sensitivity or color representation as the Cintiq. But it's not BAD, either. The Cintiq is industry pro for a reason, not being quite that good still leaves a lot room to be quite nice. There's a lot of play in the sensitivity of the pen, too; I don't doubt, as I play with the pen and settings, I'll get more sensitivity out of it.  The color, well...I think I can adapt, once I'm used to the Yiynova's particular representations.

The pen is awesomely light and easy to hold. I say this as an arthritic person with fingers prone to hyperextension. I could play with this thing all day. I may get a gel wrap for it or something, because it is just flat plastic, but still. Very nice.

The tablet is also very VERY light. Lighter than my travelin' sketchbook. Sweetness. if I were traveling (and had a laptop that could run Painter or Photoshop) I would actually be able to take the Yiynova, and the price range means I wouldn't be losing a second mortgage if it got broken or stolen. So that's nice. 

Not so sweetness: Can't quite prop the tablet up at a useful angle with the given support. But that's what my laptop tablet's for! I prop  up everything on pillows and stuff anyway. But not everyone does, so, be aware- at certain angles the tablet loses some visibility.

The double USB hub hookup means I can't be online and drawing, which is problematic, although perhaps also beneficial. You'd say 'just attach a USB hub, Cara!" but that's not workable for me for the technical reason of not having an extra USB hookup for the hub. >_> This won't be a problem for everyone! But it's my review, so there.

I'm not ready to forswear my Cintiq-- but I am embracing the Yiynova. I wouldn't quite want to rely on it for finished works yet, especially color ones.  And setup really was a counterintuitive bear. But despite its limitations, the Yiynova's pretty nice. The customer support is exceptionally active and dedicated. The tablet's quite pretty and the buttons are easy to use.  It's light, doesn't run hot, and I think the feel and design of it actually encourage sketching and studies in a way the Cintiq doesn't.
That's probably the best way to think of it, actually- a digital plein air sketchbook as opposed to a full painter's studio. Fewer colors to hand, not quite the control over lighting, but light, comfortable, and still offering a lot of options for someone who's ready to take them.

And cheaper. Oh my gosh. So much cheaper.

So yes, if you've been drooling over a Cintiq but aren't in a position to sell any vital organs, give Panda City and the Yiynova a try. Just be ready to use tech support!

*The existing Cintiq in our house was a gift. One HECK of a gift. Like, the next step up is a vehicle, and a new one at that.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summertime Triple Sketch Party!

My most devoted fan (hi, Mom!) recently asked me why my blog has not been updating, and honestly it's because I find myself wordless these days. That, and a  constant inability to feel like I've quiiiite finished any of my pieces, has pretty much caltropped  both this blog and my Etsy shop.

But I can still post sketches, I suppose! So here: have a small bug explaining the intricacies of my back yard, and a bunch of ferrets making hats.

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.