Hippity-hoppity….

WesterBunnySaturdays are crazy busy for me these days, so I fear this blog may not get sent out in a particularly timely fashion for a while. I do try (mostly for the sake of keeping it a habit, as things that aren’t habits don’t get done at all), and I almost managed it this past Saturday … but then halfway through painting this rabbit in PSE I looked at the clock and realized it just wasn’t happening.

So, the rabbit. It’s a Wester Bunny. Y’know, because they have jackrabbits out west? You know? Right?

Okay, did I mention how late it was when I decided to draw this?

Anyhow, he’s basically just your average Southwestern Easter bunny, with fancy rust-and-ochre eggs for all the good boys and girls. Or all the boys and girls. I don’t actually remember how Easter Bunnies are supposed to work. I feel like they’re a lot less straightforward than some of the other magical gift fairies. Do they care if you behave for the rest of the year? Do they deal strictly in eggs and egg-themed loot, or is there an option for real presents? If you ask for the real present, do you forfeit the candy? Can you actually ASK the Easter Bunny for anything, or is it a kind of Chef’s Special thing where you just take what you get? I mean, all I know is I got a Fighting Action Simba toy from The Lion King for the last Easter I remember. Which not only wasn’t candy, it WASN’T EVEN SCAR. Why bother getting a toy with Real Fighting Action (this includes biting AND clawing, if you wondered) if it’s going to be the chunky grub-eating redhead with no claws? Insane Rockstar Scar would’ve been so much cooler. Darth Mufasa would’ve been cooler. “Haha first black Disney princess, that’s cute” Sarabi would’ve been cooler. This guy, he might be tied with Pumbaa.

Of course I didn’t say any of this at the time, because of course one must humbly accept gifts even when they are as massive an affront to childhood good taste as this. He was purchased by a Grown-Up, and Grown-Ups assume that children are rooting for the Good Guy in every story, rather than for whichever character seems most likely to be able to beat up all the other characters in the most theatrical way. What can I say, for all their imaginative powers kids are pretty solid realists when it comes to these things. They know what they want and who can deliver it, and silly things like morals and feelings aren’t going to change that.

Anyhow, what I’m getting at here is that for my birthday this year (which is very close to Easter again), I decided I was finally going to get myself a proper Fighting Action Scar. He’s in a box (and his original packaging, no less) right now, and I don’t get to open him for weeks, but when the day comes I am tearing through all that cardboard and plastic without a moment’s hesitation. A mint-condition Scar you can’t play with is even worse than a Simba, I think.

Sheep’s clothing…

SheepdogWell, this is what happens when I decide to draw a sheepdog.

I mean, sure, a Bedlington Terrier would have worked just as well, but this was way more fun (and just slightly more unsettling). I think if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this blog so far, it’s that I can’t be trusted with compound words. In fact, fair warning here, there’s a good chance we’re due for another sheepy mixture sometime in March, what with the whole “out like a lamb” thing. What can I say, I was born in a Ram month and a Sheep year, and next month they’ll double up again. Might as well embrace it, eh? After all, I certainly have the hair for it.

Something Old, Something New…

CoatlC

This one is a “traditional” ink drawing that seemed a little boring in blue-and-white, so I decided to do a little digital coloring for once. I generally leave that to my plain line drawings, since otherwise there’s a lot of shading and detail that gets in the way, but I think this one turned out well enough considering. It’s actually been sitting around a while, but due to various Reasons it worked out better to give some other pictures priority. I got tired of waiting for this one, so here it is in the middle of the week as a sparkly little bonus.

It’s kind of your generic theropod/lizard thingie (no, I could not help adding the “raptor claw,” which is apparently not as subtle as I’d assumed), but with some of the colors and feather patterns making it a bit of a tribute to Quetzalcoatl and various mythical dragons/reptiles. Frankly, I gave it the least-detailed wing feathers I felt I could get away with, what I think of as “sparrow wings” though there’s a little more heft to them than that. The obscuring property of the color layer was actually a bonus for that part, since it helps downplay the wobbly edges on some of the less-defined feathers.

I don’t think this drawing really came from the recent Jurassic World hype, since it was actually finished before the Super Bowl trailer and all that came out, but it definitely gets me thinking about how all of us (I think you will pretty quickly recognize if you are an “us” ) are kind of excited and kind of horrified about this movie — it can’t possibly be as good as we want, but no way are we lowering our expectations to spare them the inevitable squashing. Even if it is truly awful and cringey overall (I’m potentially looking at you, Raptor Squad), parts of it are going to be awesome by nostalgic default and may very well redeem it against all objective movie logic. We know that’s exactly what they’re fishing for. WE DO NOT CARE. WE WILL GIVE THEM ALL OUR MONEY. It doesn’t work for every audience with every remake/sequel, but there’s usually that core group that will happily fall for the same thing again and again, no matter the track record (*cough*Godzilla reboots*cough*).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a hankering to listen to my playlist of “iconic movie scores that can make any new trailer seem epic if you introduce a slowed-down version in the correct place.”

It’s been a while…

…so I might be making a couple blog posts in a row this time (or at least more than one in a seven-day period — let’s not get too ambitious here).

For once I practically have a backlog of drawings, but for Valentine’s Day (and for no particular reason) I give you Vaguely Pensive Bear.

BearHe’s not reeeeallly a bear, strictly speaking, since I cobbled him together from dog, fox, human and teddy-bear pieces. That doesn’t sound like something you can actually do with a pencil drawing, but believe me, if you haven’t drawn a lot of actual bears (and are unwilling to go to the trouble of looking up an image) it is something of a necessity. I know what a dog’s muzzle, a hamster’s paws, a fox’s ears, and so on look like, and have a decent amount of experience drawing these things. Stretch/shrink/tweak/round off the edges as needed,¬† and you have a slightly uncanny-looking bear that is both somewhat realistic and somewhat “off” in a way that’s difficult to put your finger on if you’re not looking for it. Like one of those monkey-fish mermaids. And of course he has clearly human/cartoon eyes, but that’s where the teddy bear part comes in (that and too many Jan Brett books).

I did not bother sharpening the pencil while drawing this, so things were getting pretty rough by the time I got to the body and upper arms. It was one of those long-term spur-of-the-moment things where you go on for quite a bit but can’t stop or the spell is broken. I just felt like actually drawing a full-page animal for once, and Vaguely Pensive Bear was completed roughly one hour and 16 songs later (64 minutes, I suppose, if you average them all out to 4 minutes in length — it would be far less accurate to average the length of the titles, which ranged from the straightforward “Riptide” to the rather magnificent¬† “For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti”).

Anyhow, that thar is a bahr. I kind of forgot halfway through whether I was drawing a grizzly or a black bear, so the lucky fellow gets qualities of both. Perhaps that’s what he’s Vaguely Pensive about. We may never know.

Happy Day-Before-Another-Massive-Candy-Sale!

Betcha on land they understand…

Because I had some paper and found a much nicer fine-tipped pen, I present for your viewing pleasure a Catfish (i.e. a Mackerel Tabby):

CatFishHonestly, I don’t have that much more to say about this one — the Catfish idea isn’t new, as I made several full-color ones (including a Maine Coon fairly similar to this one) when I was younger. The pearl necklace was an afterthought, since I figured she ought to get some fancy mermaid jewelry in lieu of a cat collar. As usual, I am far better at drawing the cat half than the fish half; I’m fairly certain a mackerel is significantly more sharky-looking around the tail, but in all honesty I didn’t actually think of the tabby pun until I had started filling in the stripes.

My only other comment is that I am typing entirely in the dark, and so far I’m actually doing okay except for those pesky hyphens. My mother would take this opportunity to insist that that Mavis Beacon software payed off in the end, but I clearly remember bluffing and lying my way through that program so it looked like I could type (shhhh). I think it was probably the years of posting on message boards, where there’s often enough time to type a lengthy paragraph but rarely enough to hunt-and-peck your way through every sentence, that compelled me to learn my way around a keyboard. I would still totally drop all of it for one of those keyboards where the letters aren’t arranged to slow down your typing, though. No one could stop me then!

(it would probably be a better superpower if I were a writer rather than an artist/library clerk, but who am I to sneeze at potential superpowers?)

Hello, birds on the wing….

Anteylope

I decided I should probably actually *draw* something for once — it’s been a while since I just sat down and made a proper ink drawing. Of course, scribbling things out on-the-fly never results in actual animals. The best you can hope for is some sort of semi-realistic lion-antelope, and that’s basically what I wound up with this time. Heavy on the antelope, though, to the point where you could almost mistake it for an actual animal (albeit one with pretty disappointing shoulders, now that I look it over).

Problem is, I don’t tend to draw large-scale. In fact, I tend to draw itty-bitty miniature things en masse when given the choice. This drawing was done in ink (a Tonka Equipment Company promotional pen, to be specific — I’m going to go ahead and give them that much free publicity, assuming they still exist, because it’s kind of awesome that there is an actual grown-up company called Tonka) on a piece of paper whose longest dimension is under 5 inches. That’s all well and good if you want to squint at it in person, but when I’m drawing actual things-to-sell they typically need to take up just a bit more space than that.

Sometimes I’m just out of luck — I slap it on a postcard or magnet and call it a day. But if it’s all one color or shades of gray, sometimes I dare to set aside a day to try and wrangle it into a vector file with Inkscape. It’s not that Inkscape is particularly complicated to use (though it has the inevitable freeware glitches once in a while), but it’s not a big fan of tracing complicated drawings. If you try to rush things, more often than not you end up with a perfect, sleek-edged, fully scalable blob of mashed-together smaller blobs. And just don’t even try orange. It doesn’t like orange.

Drawing in Inkscape is one story; you can make some impressively detailed images working entirely from the vector side (if you’re dedicated, which I’m mostly not). But in translation, well, something is inevitably lost. So after waiting countless minutes for my final amateur attempt at vectorizing to appear, I was pleasantly surprised to discover it actually looked pretty close to my actual drawing. So pleasantly surprised that I thought, “oh, this is easy, maybe I should try some other modifications while I’m here!”

Well, it’s the next day, and I’ve decided it looks juuuust fine the way it is. Moral: If something’s going well, don’t push it. You may end up wasting a lot of time waiting for unresponsive programs to shut down.

Tinker, Tailor…

Armeon

*imagine meme here*

I don’t often draw fakemon… but when I do, I can’t stand calling them fakemon.

Except now I have twice, and I didn’t even word my imaginary meme correctly. C’EST LA VIE.

Anyhow, everyone knows it would be cool if there were a Steel-type Eeveelution. It wouldn’t necessarily be useful, but it would be cool. So, thinking back on a recent discussion to that effect, I decided to sketch one out in my free time (instead of learning Spanish like I should be doing … but I can practice my pronunciation while drawing! sort of!).

Since everyone knows it would be cool, everyone has also made hypothetical designs for said Eeveelution. I decided not to look at them beforehand so as not to influence my design (read: so as not to see designs from people who had the same idea but made it look cooler). For my part, I decided to use those old-timey armored war mastiffs as inspiration. I know Eevee and co. are just basic elemental (in more than one way) quadrupeds, but I can’t help but see them as dogs with little snubby noses.

That looked kind of boring and kind of like Rhyhorn-meets-Houndour (which is not a pretty combination), so I decided to give it a little tuft of red fur like it’s wearing a helmet, and a Tauros-style scourge tail just because it seemed somewhat appropriate and I couldn’t decide what to do with the tail. The mail armor and the helmet became a sort of flowy amorphous furblob because, let’s face it, “pretty” is usually the direction these guys lean (except for poor butch Jolteon, who doesn’t get so much as a tail whether it wants one or not).

The result is … not quite as “metal” (in any sense of the word) as I’d hoped, but maybe workable as the basis for an armored non-Eeveelution that doesn’t have to stick within the strict name limits of the Eevee family (Armeon? Gladeon? \m/eon?) or keep the visual consistency. Of course, I’m not *that* dedicated, so the safest bet is that it isn’t gonna happen. THIS IS ALL YOU GET.

I realize I got through this entire post without actually using the word “Pokemon.” This isn’t exactly an exciting achievement, since search engines are all about actually using the words when someone is looking up material on a given subject, but … let’s face it, if you found this post it probably wasn’t because you were specifically interested in the backstory of a nonexistent Pokemon that I decided to sort of give up on.

(but just in case … now I’ve said “Pokemon” three times. So there.)