No dice….

No dice....

Well, my Random Object the other day was a single die from some now-abandoned board game, and somehow I had the misfortune of winding up with a barn owl. I don’t really know what a barn owl looks like aside from generalities, despite having seen nearly all of Legend of the Guardians (which, mind you, is not Rise of the Guardians, that being part of a completely different children’s-book-series-with-movie combo resulting in no end of fun for library staff).

I ended up with a barn owl who is either very focused on the monstrosity below it, or very shy, along with a fuzzy sort of shadow due to my new pencil’s eraser being good chiefly for scraping layers of paper off and smushing them around. I honestly can’t say just what is going on there. The aforementioned monstrosity, which for once is a creature I can more or less freestyle on, is the result of staring for a long time at a small metal tripod. But trust me, you’ll be far more perplexed by what I ended up with for the paintbrush … suffice to say I didn’t know how to draw that one, either.

I do remain more or less on-target numbers-wise, though, through no particular industriousness of my own. Of course, if it were NaNoWriMo this would be when I’d start packing on the extra words to last me through Thanksgiving prep, but pictures aren’t so easy to jump ahead on. Here’s hoping I manage to get through the month without having to draw a turkey!

Meeemmmmmmmory ….

Meeemmmmmmmory ....

That’s really the only way I could think of to indicate a single word out of context as a song lyric rather than, well, a single word out of context.
Although, quite honestly, it’s more appropriate to this post as a single word than as a song lyric, because — despite the feline — I’m actually bout to complain about how surprisingly frustrating it is to draw these little guys without being able to check what, say, a toad’s feet look like. Or how the heck a snow leopard’s face goes. It’s not as if I really have control over what random objects look like to me, so I can’t even choose imaginary animals or those whose conformation I’m most familiar with. The other day I cursed a paperclip for having the audacity to make me draw a cod. The two critters pictured above were inflicted on me by a round button and one half of a barrel clasp, respectively. Today I’m slaving away at a hopeless puffin and a wonky-looking hummingbird, and I can only wonder what new horrors will be devised for me tomorrow.

But on the bright side, I suppose I am more or less keeping up, at just over halfway through November and 26 of my 50 assigned drawings. It’s definitely ensuring I don’t forget what a perfectionist I am with things like this (even though I rarely achieve satisfactory levels of precision whether I have a “real” ref or not). It does give me a built-in excuse for when the pictures turn out particularly wacky, but after the first ten times or so it really starts sounding like I’m just making it up (disclaimer: I may be making some of it up. I don’t even know how bad/good I am at this stuff anymore). I’m hoping I’ll get something fun like a dragon or a unicorn soon, but it’s looking like I’m stuck with mundy critters for a while now. I’m not sure whether I had more trouble with a regular NaNoWriMo or this, though it definitely plays more to my strengths.

Ah well, it wouldn’t be very sporting if it were too simple. Wish me luck — and good luck with any other renditions of NaNoWriMo you might be working on!

Faux amis…

Faux amis...

So, I’ve come to think of this month’s endeavor as my “FauxNaNo,” which is also not a thing but at least it’s straightforward. Above you will see the 13 “refs” I’ve used since last week’s post; feel free to gaze in horror and wonder what sort of junk-heap my living quarters must be if these are all common household objects. Honestly, I’m not sure where the rusty can opener is from….

Anyhow. Below, you will see the resulting drawings, in no particular order, and with far too bright a flash. Clearly, some are a little more-directly inspired by the objects than are others; with some there is no way to figure out the connection without a lot of pointing, gesturing, and moving the object about in the correct lighting.


In my defense, I will again remind the reader/viewer that I am not “allowed” to use anything but the reference object to figure out how my drawing should look. This doesn’t mean, of course, that the drawings don’t draw from other sources — they are all depictions of, or heavily based upon, animals that are somewhat familiar to me (a dog, goat, sheep, emu, ladybug, grasshopper, bushpig, crested gecko and tamandua, to name … well, most of them). I just can’t go back and double-check my memory to see whether, say, a sheep’s head is actually that big compared to its body. Also, I have found that erasing does not work well with this paper whether I want to or not, so I’ve resigned myself to embracing the NaNoWriMo spirit of “write now, revise later.” Gotta keep those vaguely-unsettling critters a-comin’!

Oh, and here’s a better pic of the two most recent … masterpieces?


Happy NaNo-ing!



I know, I know, that’s not even sort of a thing. But I did my WriMo last year, when I didn’t have classes and papers and presentations and other distasteful write-y things. So this year I’m doing 50 pictures (with them being worth a thousand words and all that) . Except that’s really not impressive at all, because I draw lots of pictures; so I’m going with a theme. After a while, I got to thinking about reference images used for artwork. I know it takes a lot of skill to faithfully reproduce a source image without tracing, but I’m loath to use them myself; partly because most of my creatures are composites, and my reference pictures or objects sound more like descriptions from a Chinese folktale — the nostril of a caribou, the scales of a trout, the curve of a sea lion’s back, and so on. So, I decided, why not use household objects as entirely arbitrary “refs” this month?

And it was so. Thus far I’ve used a key, a perfume bottle, and one of those little squooshy earbud-covering thingies as my inspiration, and let my imagination go wild with the rest. Pretty much the only rule is that I can’t use any other references: If I realize halfway through that I don’t know what a ladybug’s wings look like under the elytra, I have to just do my best and hope that relatively few people go, “Oh, it has feathers!”

Today I present you with Key-Bird, whose face is shaped like a small key of indeterminate usage that was found in a disused desk drawer. Enjoy, if you so wish!