pentacles, magic

A nice cup of rabies

Rantings with occasional art.

Some story fragments. Mostly Batman.
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I was going through the pile of sketchbooks on the coffee table, deciding which ones to keep out and which ones to put into the closet. As part of this process, I looked through them and photographed some stuff to get it into Evernote. Here’s some of it.

A few ideas on where that Batman story I started a while back might go. I think Nick came up with this DUMB-ASS JOKER PLOT? I’m not sure. Looking at it now I think, yeah, it’s at pretty much the right level of MALIGN STUPIDITY for a Joker plot. And I really like Harley’s line about “…and I think there were like twenty-three more HAs?” when she’s describing it.Evernote Snapshot 20140723 104820Evernote Snapshot 20140723 104820Evernote Snapshot 20140723 104820

 

Also here is something I will probably never do anything with. I like the idea but I’m not sure it’s the right one for me; if it sings to you then feel free to swipe it.

Evernote Snapshot 20140723 104821There were also a bunch of roughs for a story about Oscar and Dana, some bits for that demon sex story I’ve been slowly working on, and some bits of Rita. Some of which are for my eyes only, some of which I’ll be throwing into a process post on the comic’s blog…

 

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.

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Twenty years of poking at an idea
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I was writing a post on a comics-making board about how Some Ideas Take Time when I realized something.

I usually tag 1995 as when I started coming up with “The Drowning City”.
I’m planning to finally start drawing it next year, after finishing Rita. Which will be in 2015.

Twenty years. It took me twenty fucking years for that thing to gestate. For me to take all the tragedies of my life and use them as raw material for this fucking story that bubbled out of my homesickness and just wouldn’t go away. Ever.

All I can say is that I hope it turns out to be worth it.

And if it isn’t? If it turns out to be a bunch of overwrought, maudlin crap that I abandon halfway through? Well, at least I’ll have finally got it out of my system.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


social day
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Stuff I did today:

0. Turned off ads on Rita because the Patreon campaign passed $55/page!

1. Handed off my Genesis to Fluffy. I’d bought one along with a copy of Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles to use as photo-ref for a Further Confusion ad last year, and finally got sick of having it kicking around the living room floor yesterday. I offered it on Twitter and they were the taker; we hung out chatting for a while too.

2. Visited with Liz Meinert, an old friend from New Orleans. She’d been stuck half-dead for the past twenty years due to Mysterious Unspecified Problems, that finally turned out to be heart issues. She had surgery recently, and is bouncing back with a vengeance – something I can really sympathize with, given how I kinda completely shut down for most of twenty years after my father died, and am now running wild doing things like pole dancing! It was pretty great to hang out and talk about nerdy nerdy stuff.

3. Tweaked the Javascript scrolling for Rita. Or rather for Bayeux, the theme I abstracted out of Rita’s style. I improved that a little more in a few other ways; I may try to package it up for submitting to the WordPress theme archive before I go to bed tonight. It works fine for me on Safari and Firefox; I should probably test on Chrome but whatever, and IE? Whatevs. Also I switched Rita over to using Bayeux.

edit. submitted it, here’s the ticket for it. I r open source.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


Woo! A Patreon goal!
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Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 10.11.28AM

I knew I was getting close, but I wasn’t expecting to have it happen for another month or so. Big thanks to the donor who pledged twelve bucks per page and pushed it over!

The next goal is “move to a better-insuated apartment” at $750/page. I… I ain’t gonna hold my breath on that one. *grin*

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.

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This is the best video I have ever seen on the Internet.
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<iframe src=”//player.vimeo.com/video/95684075″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

Seriously. We can turn the net off, people. This will never be surpassed. It is perfection.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


Dracula Party, first draft.
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dracula party 0

I’m getting to the point of doing outlines of short stories about that lying vampire lady. All my major projects for the next few years are pretty much plotted out, so it’s nice to spend some time fooling around in stories with more freedom to play around!

If you’re supporting me on Patreon, you can have a look at the entire first draft.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


snoo
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I just tweaked the logo I did for the Seattle subreddit so it’s in the average colors of all of the town’s professional sports teams.

seattle-reddit

T-shirts available on redbubble.

Illustrator source file is here.

Also if you’re here from reddit, feel free to check out my ongoing graphic novel.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


stats check
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I found a link to this article on Ultima IV and found a sudden desire to use it as a personality test – when you start a game, it asks you a series of questions pitting one of the games Virtues against each other, and chooses your class and stats based on them. It turns out that the game is free on gog.com, complete with a Mac package. I tried to answer as, well, basically me, translating the situations posed in a manner most medieval into modern terms. Some of them were really hard. Interestingly enough I really wanted to choose ‘male’ as the gender at first; I think a screen full of lo-res 8-bit art was temporarily tossing me back to who I was when this was cutting-edge tech. I think when I played Ultima 3 it was with a party of indeterminate-gender “fuzzies”; I have no clue what, if anything, I played in U4.

Screen Shot 2014 07 11 at 11 59 08AM

Gnome (I think that’s what the G means?) bard, high dex. So basically a thief, right?

Or if I take it straight, well hey, guess what I do iRL: I tell stories. So well done, Mr. Garriott.

I don’t think I’m going to actually play the game. I don’t have that kind of attention span any more. Given that I never finished any of the Ultimas back in the 8-bit days, I’m not sure I ever did. Maybe I’ll just read through the first part of this here Ultima IV, V, and VI Let’s Play.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


hacking the tool
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Woo. I finally got around to hacking up some keyboard shortcuts to change stroke weights in Illustrator. It is a horrible mess involving having Quicksilver trigger an Applescript when I hit command-option-control-[/] but it works – I mash the modifiers and hit [, and the size of my stroke decreases by 25%; modifier-mash plus ] increases it by a third. Which is close enough to the inverse of the decreasing to make me happy.

For further ugly hackery, I have bound the touch strip on my tablet to trigger those keys when I’m in Illustrator.

At some point in the future I might want to prettify the stroke weights it ends up with – a weight of 1.0002 points is not pretty – but for now I’m just going to enjoy actually being able to control this at small values without typing a number into the stroke palette. Which is a thing I find myself doing a hell of a lot when using art brushes.

Anyway, if you want ‘em, download them here and have fun: Illustrator stroke width scripts

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


vampire doodlin’
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vampire-lady-noir-maybe

I’ve been thinking about that vampire lady who lies a lot, and thinking about the look for her world. Basically it’d be doing the same trick Frank Miller does in the Sin City books – stark B&W noir, plus a key color for one character – except each vampire would have a key color of their own. I’d put more effort into it than this but maybe not necessarily too much more.

It’s got something like three years to simmer, I can afford to dabble for a while.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


(no subject)
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I’m sorry, sir. Saying “hey, hey wassup red hair” while grabbing your crotch is not the proper way to greet a lady such as myself. Thank you for trying, though.

Stay classy, Pioneer Square.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


Khasubinox
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Khasubinox

Back in the muck days, Peganthyrus had a cute little niece named Khasubinox, or Subi for short. I guess she’s not so little any more.

I felt like being ultra-precise with this one; a lot more of it is done with the pen tool than normal. I think I spent about three hours being super anal about a lot of the figure, which is why I didn’t bother with a background here – I’ve spent enough time on a drawing that exists solely to fulfill the urge to draw a dragon that is Not Me for a change.

I felt lazy and worked off of something from my ‘pornspiration’ directory; if you’re curious it’s here. I had that open on one desktop, with Illustrator on another, and flipped back and forth while working out the pose, so I got something that was kind of a caricature of the reference image instead of tracing it, slapping a dragon head and tail on it, and calling it a day.

Also yes it is completely intentional that her tailtip points right at her boob.

Also I have this brief desire to pay some of my artist friends to draw her doing various things of various ratings…

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.

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Camouflage
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Camoflage

I felt weird drawing my animal-person self for my birthday and not drawing my ex-with-benefits for his birthday, which is two days before mine.

He came over yesterday, and we went out to dinner at Liam’s, partially on my mom – she’d sent me some money and said “go have a nice dinner with Nick”. After that we sat around listening to music, falling into the visualizer, and generally Having Benefits with each other. It was a pretty damn good birthday.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.

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43
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43

Self-portrait as dragon, on the occasion of turning forty-three tomorrow. About two hours of work.

The background is a bunch of ‘abstract techy-looking junk’ brushes, with varying amounts of blur applied. I like how it turned out; I may have to do more of that.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


A REMINDER
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All the fireworks today are in celebration of the impending anniversary of MY ARRIVAL ON THIS PLANET. Plan accordingly.

Tomorrow you will have shared this planet with my Magnificence for FORTY THREE YEARS.

(Historically I have not celebrated my birthday, or made much noise about it, what with my present for my twelfth one being “a dead father”. But I’ve now lived longer than he did and let go of most of that pain. Maybe it’s time to consider actually doing something for it.)

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


emerging themes
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A recent comment of a page of Rita got me thinking about how that whole story has become a constant dance between telling enough of the story to make sense, while simultaneously fragmenting and disconnecting it to create just enough discombobulation in the reader to sympathize with the way Rita is constantly struggling to make sense of her broken reality.

And to be honest it also makes me realize that this is a constant theme in much of my work: Five Glasses of Absinthe has a (not well-telegraphed yet) metanarrative of being told by its self-aggrandizing title character. The main character of Drowning City suffers from blackouts, and the reader will not know for sure what happens during them until she remembers. I’m currently semi-obsessed with a few ideas for stories of a vampire who cheerfully reminds her interviewer that she is not to be trusted, because why on earth would an obligate predator of something as smart as humans want to expose all their secrets?*

I’m beginning to wonder why the hell I find this fascinating. Is it merely that I like constructing puzzles for the sufficiently engaged reader? Or am I trying to tell myself something?

I mean, there’s a huge gap in my life called “the black hole of depression I fell into for many years after my father died”. And there’s a few strange fragments floating around that I really cannot remember how they were connected with anything else. Maybe I’m just trying to get people to understand a little bit of what it’s like to be me.

(I do have other ideas lying around that aren’t full of memory holes. Arguably I’m cherry-picking my output to support this thesis…)

* which gives me the idea that possibly her motivation for telling these stories is to gauge the sophistication of her audience, and to keep her dissembling in shape – any audience who can see through her maze of lies ay well be too dangerous to live…

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


the dream of trafficking in dragons
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I dreamed I came into the possession of several very large crates full of unhappy, enslaved dragons. I had to keep up the pretense while trying to find a way to free them. I did not manage to do this before waking up.

(I don't know when, I just found this in the iPad blog client when I opened it up to do something else.)

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.

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Witchin’ Pole
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Witchin Pole

This is what happens when someone who occasionally thinks of herself as a witch takes pole dance.

 

About an hour of Illustratoring over a messy pen rough.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.

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It Was Inevitable
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It Was Inevitable
Really. It was.

For a contest on DA: draw yourself turning into a thing over three panels.

Click for the full image.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.


Dispatches from pole dance class
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I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this on the blog, but I’ve been attending pole dance class pretty regularly for the past few months. I’m building strength and flexibility, as well as toughening up my skin – your body is not normally ready to support it’s entire weight by the friction of about thirty square inches of arm or leg flesh clenched around a slim metal pole!

Today my teacher praised the way I go at it: most people tend to stick to the moves they know, and avoid the ones they haven’t perfected yet. But I’m repeatedly making myself try the ones I can’t do yet, and asking for crit.

I suspect this is because I’ve learnt two things in my many years learning art: how to learn, and how to not wrap my ego up in my skills.

I mean, I have learnt from master cartoonists, I HAD to learn how to detach my ego from my drawing skills. I’ve assimilated the idea that “people who have done a thing longer than you can probably kick your ass at it without blinking”. Plus I know that while I may be a pole noob, I can draw rings around anyone in class; my ego can afford to suck here. And that probably helps a lot.

The other big thing: How to learn. I’m taking the same tack I tell kids on DA’s forums again and again. Keep doing the stuff you love to do, but also push yourself to the parts of the craft you hate. It’s perfectly okay to hate to draw a subject once you’ve mastered it enough to do an okay job when you have to, but saying “I hate drawing this” to cover up “I can’t draw this” is not okay when you claim to be An Artist. Turns out that this applies to anything. Know what parts of a craft you’re good at, and either push at the ones you’re not good at yet, or accept that you simply aren’t that interested in mastery right now. You don’t have to be great at everything you do – but know that you can be if you’re willing to dedicate the time to it. (Modulo things like “I want to be a great marathon runner but I am paralyzed”.)

Anyway. Now I think it’s time to learn what I’m going to dream about tonight. Going to pole dance class and walking home takes a lot of energy – though not as much as it did when I first started doing it.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.