Tag Archives: pencil

Laughing Deer

laughing deer_edited-1

I don’t know if that deer is laughing at me or with me.

You know you’ve spent too much time on the Wacom tablet when you try to control-Z a piece of paper.

This is just a quick sketch I did before I went to Florida (I’m back now) based on a selfie I took the week before. Although I still have some Dragon Comics to finish, I’m also working more in pencil lately, trying to be less dependent on the tablet and Photoshop. Been working on a big project that might take the rest of the year, but still trying to update this blog semi-regularly. Seriously, I drew this picture just to remind myself that I could draw.

The original photo was taken at a place called Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch, about 45 minutes north of Tucson. It’s a tourist attraction petting zoo where you can feed little deer, miniature donkeys, goats, sheep, bunnies, parakeets, lorikeets, ducks, and sting rays. I might be missing some creatures. Oh, yeah, the stupid ostriches, which I ignore, because the rest of the attraction is much more fun. You get a lot of joy for $10. The deer are my favorite, but the sting rays are pretty cool. And the bunnies are bunnies.


Work in Progress

words + images

words + images (don’t bother clicking on this image; I deliberately uploaded a low-res version because I’m not ready to share that much of it.)

I started a webcomic but for some reason–probably terrible sleep patterns combined with weird eating patterns combined with stress–I got light-headed and dizzy and cross-eyed and exhausted and had to lie down for an hour and now it’s late and I can’t even imagine staring at Photoshop for a couple hours; I also seem to be nursing a low-grade migraine. The Man told me to take it easy and skip a night if I didn’t feel well, but somehow that seems like a copout. Like, if I made this commitment I should be able to honor this commitment, or what’s the point? One piece of original art a day is really not that much.

So instead here’s a little peek at something else I’ve been working on when I have some time. This project doesn’t have a name yet. I’m thinking it might ultimately just be named after the characters, but they aren’t named yet either. Possibly, writing about it will jinx the project, which I think is about 25% sketched out. Who knows?

I’m still working on the Prince of Darkest Agola project but that’s a really big and complex one; this one is more medium sized. I foresee it as coming out in blocks of 4 panels, so that each line of panels is one webpage. Could also be a printed book. Already there seems to be a fair amount of nudity, as my characters are apparently opposed to wearing clothes at home, so I’m not sure if I even want to put it up on this blog. Not ready to say too much about the story, but it is a genre bit. I suppose you’d call it paranormal romance, in the sense that it’s about a relationship between 2 supernatural creatures, but it’s not about the beginning part of the romance; it’s a story about a crisis in a longterm relationship. Even without names, the characters are really unfolding themselves, and there is some interesting backstory coming out, too.

These are just thumbnails, of course. I want to start working on character design. It will be black and white, and I want it to look kind of simple and rough, like a woodcut. Lots of long lines, really making the most use of the black and white spaces: chunks of darkness, slabs of light.

In case you missed it, here’s the article I wrote this week for Panels, which is about comics and refugees.

Insomnia Comics Ah Ha HA ha ha ha

Heeeelllllpppp mmmeeeeeee....

Heeeelllllpppp mmmeeeeeee….

This is all I’ve got right now. Normally, I’m person who really requires 8 hours of sleep a night. Last night I got 0, with maybe a 2 hour nap in the mid-afternoon. It hurts to word. Eyeball my comic. Pencil erasers don’t really work in Tucson. Something about the dryness of the air, maybe. Like, upvote, whatever.

Long Hair Kitties for the Fluff!

Soft kitty, crazy kitty, tangled ball of fur...

Soft kitty, crazy kitty, tangled ball of fur…

The problem with painting from live models when you want to paint a cat is that cats make terrible models. They have no trouble posing themselves; effortlessly, they assume all manner of provocative positions, seemingly begging to be capture for posterity. And then, just as you start to get the outline of a decent sketch, basically the moment they notice that you are looking at them, they move.

So I don’t know about this little painting. I did it about a month or so ago and of course it’s not quite right because the cat was done long before I was. You can sort of tell what it’s supposed to be…but it’s not great. Can’t recall my original motivation in using so much red in this painting. The cat in question, my current cat Lupin, is a real Halloween cat, almost completely black except for a few white hairs and a little charm on her throat. She does spend a lot of time lying splayed out in the sun, so her belly is bleached brown, but she’s generally hard to capture visually because she basically sucks light into herself like a black hole.

While I was working on my original painting and trying to make it into the one I published (and also covering up a lot of the red and some of the silver) the cat just randomly sat down in front of me in almost this exact post, but I decided to just ignore her, knowing that if I tried to make any serious study, she would immediately move.

Suna was a princess, or possibly a queen.

Suna was a princess, or possibly a queen.

Even though they look similar, this is a totally different cat, Suna, who passed away a couple years back. She was actually a tortoiseshell, even though here she looks entirely black. I knew Suna as a kitten, when the Bear and I went to school in Ohio, and then many years later as a mature cat when I came out to the Sonoran Desert. I can’t remember which moment in time this sketch is from, but it’s either 1997 or 2005. I suspect the former.

I was looking everywhere for this picture when I first started the blog; I wanted it for another post on cats last year, but it was just nowhere to be found. Friday night I ditched all my friends who wanted to go to a bar and randomly started cleaning some of the clutter in my office. This sketch was stuck in a transparent plastic report cover along with the design for my second tattoo and a bunch of Winsor McCay reproductions. Makes perfect sense.

Dragon Comics 17

dragon comics 17_edited-2

Some monsters have a lot of chutzpah.

Maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but in general, I don’t think I’m the only artist who deals with bizarre distractions coupled with an attrition of art supplies. If I had a dollar for every time I had to stop what I was doing to figure out what happened to the stylus for the Wacom tablet, I could buy a new stylus every single day, and while I own literally hundreds of pens and pencils, laying my hands on one when it’s needed can become a bit of an ordeal. Poor Dragon has so much more to contend with.

Ode to the World’s Most Horrible Cat

This is actually a sketch of Algernon, who passed away a few weeks ago. If Lupin noticed I was drawing her portrait she would deliberately move every 15 seconds.

This is actually a sketch of Algernon, who passed away a few weeks ago. If Lupin noticed I was drawing her portrait she would deliberately move every 15 seconds and probably try to take the pencil out of my hand. Just imagine a fluffy black ball of evil with poisonous yellow eyes.

I’m not much of a poet. But Lupin is not much of a cat.

Lupin, a Long-Hair

I am a kitty with fur so fine
I sit on your things to prove that they’re mine
I know that you love me because I’m divine
I love you too but won’t give you a sign

You scream at dead mousies? I’ll bring you some more
You don’t need these books, right? I’ll knock them to the floor
You’re trying to sleep now? I’ll scratch on this door
You cleaned up my fur dread? I’ll just shed four

When your stepkids pet me I’ll scratch at their faces
When your husband gets dressed I’ll eat his bootlaces
When you drop your elastics I’ll hide them in places
When you invite friends in I’ll lick without graces

Because I’m the queen I must always be free
Because there’s a window I must climb up to see
Because I’m the kitty I’ll tell you the key
Because you’re my person you must always love me

(This sketch is from an exercise in the Trickster’s Hat that I did not do properly. But it’s a nice sketch of a cat much more lovable than the one in whose honor I dashed these verses.)

I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

If your car has to break down in the middle of the desert on a summer’s day someplace you don’t get any cell reception, a national park is a good place for it to happen. Instead of dying of dehydration or getting stranded for the weekend, you can get federal employees to make phone calls and bring you ice water. If you’re lucky, a kindly family of Dutch tourists will invite you to share their picnic lunch under the ramada.

A fast sketch of the Eldon Ruins

A fast sketch of the Eldon Ruins

After a productive week on retreat (15,000 words, 47 layout thumbnails, 5 blog posts, and 3 book reviews, and 1 workshop plus the side trip to the Grand Canyon), my husband instructed me not to come home too fast, so he could have a chance to clean up the evidence of his bachelor lifestyle before I arrived. I decided to check out the Eldon Pueblo before I left Flagstaff. It’s an extremely accessible site compared to a lot of Sinagua ruins, and fairly extensive, and also more pleasant to visit than many, since it’s in a grassy and wooded area rather than on a barren, treeless hill.

From there, I drove 50 miles to one of my favorite places on earth, Montezuma Well, which houses another lovely set of ruins. This is where my car stopped working. Eventually my car and I were towed to a garage, where I spent a cheerful 4 1/2 hours sitting outside (they didn’t have any AC!). Staying true to the spirit of retreat, the first thing I did was sketch my sad, broken down car, sitting in the parking lot, next to some agaves. You can also see the back end of a horse up on the hill.


The view from the Beaver Creek Auto Service Center

The view from the Beaver Creek Auto Service Center

Mainly, I just tried to stay hydrated and calm and trust that everything would be OK as I drew, read, and wrote. I was lucky to find a decent mechanic willing to put in the overtime to make sure I got home on a Friday afternoon! I was lucky to get an extra 5 1/2 hour adventure in the American southwest. It could have easily been much longer, and much more expensive.