Hello, sunshine…

Happy Easter! Don’t mind me, just listening to the Tale of the Bunny Picnic soundtrack while trying out a new theme that doesn’t have any awkward squishing problems with my occasionally-giant images. Carry on.

P.S. — this time of year I often find myself on the verge of addressing a message to Dennis Lee himself asking what on earth the background lyrics to those bunny songs are. It maddens, it does.

A tree grows….

A tree grows....

…and it’s a very slow-growing tree. But as I’ve mentioned in some detail, I’m never really sure where to start or stop with trees. They don’t just “end” unambiguously like an animal does, and that causes me no end of trouble.

Anyhow, the tree grows on, but I think it’s pretty much finished now. I’ll cap it off one way or another and then call it a day/month/half a year/however long this ends up taking. On the plus side: Someone who accidentally saw this (well, accidentally on my part — I try not to show my unfinished drawings to avoid the “oh, it’s such a nice … rocketship?” syndrome that, contrary to popular belief, persists well after your age hits double digits) took a look and said, “I don’t know what they are but it’s a boy and a girl of something!” Which doesn’t sound like grand praise, exactly, but it is basically what I was going for here. Not a specific animal or even order of animals, but a sort of archetypal male and female creature pair. Sure, the horns alone probably could have made that obvious enough — but smaller horns could signify a juvenile, as well. Mrs. Beastie is a bit drab but solidly-built and has what I like to think of as a confident pose. As archetypes go, she’s more Mother than Maiden; I’ll admit that I thought of Sarabi from The Lion King when working on her pose and build. She’s one of my favorite Disney royals, Sarabi is — sure, she’s a cartoon lion, but you have to have respect for that stroll down the hyena gauntlet. Now there’s a queen you don’t mess with.

I seem to have strayed off-topic via an animated movie again. At least I managed to wait until after the title line this time. Anyhow, this is what I’ve got so far. Wish me luck on ever deciding it’s finished!

Down with this sort of thing….

Down with this sort of thing....

Well, this is what I have to show for my laziness. A slightly more tree-y Kindergarten Tree than I had three weeks ago. Yay…? I did realize that I’m rather sentimental about my individual colored pencils. I didn’t always draw in the best lighting back in the day, and colors like Peach and Canary Yellow or Poppy Red and Neon Pink could be tough to tell apart at a glance. Until, that is, I’d used them for a couple months. After a little while, the most popular pencils developed their own distinct characters through a variety of accidents, blemishes and general use. Poppy Red is quite short — I like red — but nothing like Dark Green, which is little more than a stub with a strip of beige on the other end where I started sharpening it the wrong direction. Goldenrod is the Pushmi-Pullyu of the bunch, fully sharpened on both ends for some reason, and Bleu Paon got sharpened backwards so it’s a good thing “peacock blue” isn’t too tough to figure out.

I have three stages of Black; unused, well-loved, and ignored because the lead kept cracking. The current Copper is a replacement for a pencil whose lead simply slipped out from the center, and this one is still a bit loose since the lead is so tough and the wood so tender. True Blue is nearly the opposite, chalky-soft lead in a tough shell (really annoying when you’re trying to fingernail-sharpen it in a pinch). Parma Violet’s pencil is weirdly dark and reddish, to the point that it nearly matches the lead; Canary Yellow is all covered in black and red bits because it’s so pale that its neighbors inevitably rub off.

It’s a grown-up (ish) version of The Day the Crayons Quit, basically, and I probably should just replace pencils as they wear out so some of the shadier characters can retire. But the reason they live long enough to develop personalities in the first place is that, honestly, Prismas are *expensive* little monsters. I got them for birthdays and as childhood bribes, not for replacing older ones on a whim. Otherwise I’d have run them into the ground long ago.

Well. Hopefully that distracted you from how little I’ve drawn this week. Here’s hoping it’s done before the next one!

Too late for Mustache March….?

Beardie1 Beardie2 Beardie3

Tonight’s post will either be short or take a very long time to type, for the same reason that tonight’s “picture” is three ink scribbles of a bearded dragon with a mustache.

The short version is that I very slightly injured my hand and am in a self-pitying, hunt-and-pecking sort of mood.

The long version is that I have never been adept at jar-opening, and today I met one that defeated me entirely. Normally my response to this would be to verbally abuse the jar and find something else to eat. But today I had specifically made a pizza for the sake of using some of the fancy pickled Beaver Dam peppers I’d purchased earlier, and those peppers resided in the aforementioned jar.

I tried one of those jar grips, I tried hot water, I tried assorted slapping and thwacking, I tried using a butterknife, and finally I just got fed up and stabbed the thing a few times with a pair of scissors to break the seal. (Seriously, don’t get between me and my pizza, okay?) Even with the seal broken, it would. not. budge. Not for want of trying, though, and since my hands were covered in rapidly-crispifying pizza dough I didn’t realize for a time that I skinned my hands up in several places on the unnecessarily-sharp jar edge.

This made the actual construction of the pizza, as well as removing it from the oven and slicing it up, a less-than-lovely endeavor. I made a valiant effort to scrub pizza dough off the mixing bowl and utensils, but given the discomfort involved in removing the pizza dough from my *hands*, dishes are going to be a job for tomorrow.

Anyhow, I decided I might as well try a variety of mustaches when giving Mr. Bearded Dragon the full facial-hair experience. I don’t really know what beardies’ legs and feet look like from different angles, and I’m feeling too mopey to do proper research, so they run between human and turtle limbs — Teenage Mutant Ninja Dragons, maybe? Still not as unsettling as Rango. Argh, the spacebar is going to be the death or at least the displeasure of me, so I’ll be taking leave of you now.

With many years ahead to fall in line….

Sketch

In honor of my birthday this week, I have decided to … do nothing at all, really, other than watch movies and eat assorted unhealthy goodies. It worked out quite nicely for me, though it doesn’t make for very riveting blog material. Instead, I have another picture of the sketch paper posted earlier, with some extra scribblings added while working on the “real” drawing. There’s not much that can be said about that; so I guess I’ll have to regale you with my birthday festivities just for the sake of filling up the empty space.

Well, I watched two movies, Frozen and The Lego Movie, and found to my mild surprise that I preferred the latter over the former. While enjoyable, Frozen just didn’t come together for me, and the big musical number seemed overly grand and “epic” for the scope of the movie. Some of the other instances of bursting-into-song seemed like they would have preferred to be plain dialogue. The Lego movie, on the other hand, pretty much had one song repeated OVER AND OVER AND OVER, which is far from a work of lyrical genius but just managed to be more catchy than it was potentially-obnoxious. Plus it had Liam Neeson and Batman. So. There. (Though I’ll admit, Kristen Bell being chased by “marshmallows” certainly had its ironic charm.)

Whew. Okay. That’s all the opinion I can muster for this month. The rest of my birthday was all tried-and-true fabulous things like cheese crackers, fruit juice, pink yogurt, brightly-colored cake, and Rocko’s Modern Life. I even got Friday off for the first time in … just about three years. And I didn’t draw anything. But never fear, tomorrow I officially return to the Real World and catch up on all the work, dishes, assignments, reading, and book-vacuuming (seriously, I need to move my books to an area that doesn’t constantly collect all the small detritus in the room) that I put off this week.

Everyone knows apples are red….

Everyone knows apples are red....

Well, I don’t have much to show for another week, except a child’s drawing of a tree with some pomegranates on it. See, here’s the thing — I draw animals. Or beasties. Or animal-beasties. Meat-things, with heat and heft and tooth and claw and few, if any, easily-detachable body parts.

Then we come to the trees.

Your basic carnivorous mammal looks a certain way — four proper legs and two proper eyes and the head on the front and the tail on the back, covered in furry earth tones that get lighter toward the tummy. Your basic primate or songbird will look nothing like this, but there are always some basic analogues. If you’re trying to figure out which part of the dog is the knee, you can stand on your toes and work backward from there. Spread out your fingers to draw bat wings, press them together for birds’. Wings go on top, legs on the bottom, horns at the front and tails at the end.

Trees seem to laugh at such boundaries by refusing to have a set size, shape, or number of limbs. If anything from an anole to an antelope were wandering around with its innards scooped out, missing half its face, and/or with offspring in various stages of development budding awkwardly out from its ankles, you would probably assume you were on the set of one of the many delightful post-apocalyptic nightmare programs that have become increasingly popular as of late. Sure, there are animals out there that can grow back missing bits or duplicate themselves or both, but few so dramatically and not-grotesquely as your average plant. Birds molt and mammals hibernate, but to do both simultaneously would seem a little excessive outside kingdom Plantae. A deciduous tree that doesn’t have at least four different seasonal outfits is bound to be laughed out of town by its neighbors. Raising a puppy in a small flowerpot will not result in a healthy but attractively gnarled, miniature dog.

Basically, what I’m saying here is, trees are confusing and weird and while I like them alright as a concept, I cannot understand how to draw them so I’m just going to have to stick with “brown log with single picturesque knot, assorted oval-shaped leaves, and levitating red fruits” in the long-standing childhood tradition. There’s an underlying rhythm to them, I’m sure, but I’m just not feeling it. As you can see, I couldn’t even get the basic “swoop” of the trunk right in the first go, so now there’s an odd little ghost-trunk sneaking out from behind it. With animals I can just play it by ear until the thing looks right (speaking of which, Mr. Beastie’s feet need some remedial attention), but I wash my hands of trees.

Hm. I actually intended to say something about my colored pencils this week, but apparently my arboreal nervous breakdown took precedence. Ah well, maybe next time.

It actually does sit on a Hellmouth….

It actually does sit on a Hellmouth....

Since the hibiscus tree is not any different from the last two times you saw it, I decided to crop a little more closely to get some detail on the things I actually am adding to. Of course, more detail means it’s easier to see flaws — but if actors soldier on despite the presence of HDTV, I suppose I can handle a little scrutiny of a pencil drawing.

From a distance, on the other hand (e.g. the thumbnail preview) I realize that Mrs. Beastie is starting to look something like a thylacine, pattern-wise at least. Which is a bit odd; but since I’ve never had much luck intentionally drawing one of those, I suppose I’ll take what I can get. Mr. Beastie kind of looks like every third Buffy demon — or the beast from The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. Or Beast himself, come to think of it, the Disney one, although he doesn’t quite have ram’s horns. Why do the humanoid ones always have ram’s horns? Isn’t it goats that traditionally have the scary supernatural associations? Then again, I chose sheep-style horns in part because they’re compact and elegant-looking even on the “wrong” body type; the same doesn’t necessarily hold true for the dramatic up-and-out sweeps or dizzy corkscrews one sees in the goat tribe.

(Antlers also look rather weird on a human form; just ask anyone who’s watched Hannibal recently. Although that may only be when they’re stuck on something that looks like an evil version of Gumby.)

Finally, I just need to remind everyone how happy it makes me when television shows acknowledge their similar contemporaries. Well, Veronica Mars and Buffy may not really be contemporaries in the sense that they were or are airing at the same time, but come on. A spunky little blonde, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter playing a former cheerleader (and somehow always managing to have a character name that maintains roughly the same alliterative sounds as her real one)? I tell people who have a passing acquaintance with the show that Joss Whedon was in an episode, and what they’re surprised by is the fact that he didn’t write the thing.

Anyhow, let’s cut the fangirling short tonight (which is difficult since I pulled my title quote tonight from my PERSONALIZED SHOOTING SCRIPT *insert mystifyingly excessive enthusiasm about the not-movie part of a movie here*), I’m still entertaining a vague hope that I might actually get something constructive done tomorrow that doesn’t involve finishing a TV series or finding a new favorite picture book….