Tonight is for our ghosts….

I guess I was feeling a bit maudlin today after finding some old photos from ten years ago, just in time for Mike Shinoda’s “Post Traumatic” to drop … long story short, I’ve been listening to melancholy music and sketching old friends all evening.

Hardly my most detailed or accurate work, and I skipped a score of small pets and some feline acquaintances, but it’s nice sometimes to think back on everyone I’ve known:

Cats: Spaz, JJ, Salem, Tigger, Mittens, Jack, Zorro, Redford, Pyewacket, Hootie, BB, Crystal, Hermie, Cici, Houdina, Fritz (plus a sweet little blue-cream tortie who lived in a shop window and whose name eludes me; and six shadows behind the hill, who represent cats I know only from anecdotes and their presence in baby pictures of me)

Birds: Moses, Kekoa

Horses: Sergeant, Jewel, Kodiak, Cinnamon

Dogs: Ben, Spooky, King, Duchess, Gussie, Sam (plus a gangly black farm dog)

Hamsters: Stormy, Dusty, Bianca

Mouse: Willow

+Assorted Humans

Ghosts

Some of these are from 20+ years ago, but I still remember Cici’s (seal-point Siamese) apartment that smelled like soup; Spaz’s (scruffy blue shorthair) pet tennis ball; Kekoa (blind Downy Woodpecker) feeling her way around the living room with her beak and her long pink tongue; and Duchess (Blue Heeler cross) bringing me hen’s eggs from heaven knows where on her farm. And as long as I keep drawing and writing about them, I always will….

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Back again….

Yeah, I’m still around. Been too busy to draw much of consequence recently, but I managed a couple doodles today after a more-exciting-than-expected horseback riding trip.

So, the excitement in question came from this laid-back surfer dude, a flaxen chestnut who never looks more than 53% awake at any given time (I think it’s partly because of his super long blond eyelashes)

Pete1

He wasn’t in the best mood due to the heat and the insane amount of flies, but he seemed fine until it came time to hose him down after the ride. Even though the other horses had no problem walking over to the area, this dude would NOT go over there no matter how much pushing and prodding and reassuring anyone could do. Nothing seemed scary or flappy or brightly colored or moved slightly to the left or whatever wacky things might spook a horse, so for a moment it seemed like another case of his trademark Lazy Boy attitude.

Then someone finally managed to budge him forward a little more and he FLIPPED OUT. Artist’s rendition:

Pete2

He bucked, he kicked, he screamed, he backed the heck out of there and beelined back to where the others were crosstied. And then he was fine again. They still have no idea what went on in there that had him so spooked to go back all of a sudden, but summer is shaping up to be wicked here, heat-wise, so hopefully he gets over it soon and can enjoy his showers again.

After everyone was calmed down (a good roll in the dust works wonders) and let out, I went collecting barn cats. If cat-petting were an Olympic sport I think I’d do pretty well. At one point I was scratching an old red tabby’s tummy on one side and a blue longhair’s on the other, and they were practically farther apart than my arms were. Neither was considerate enough to just scootch a little closer, and the red one was VERY vocal about his disappointment if I stopped for a minute to adjust my position, but the blue one was doing that cute thing where they’re upside-down and you can see all their little murdery vampire teeths at once like this

catteeth

so obviously I had to keep petting both.

And that’s all I have for today. Stay hydrated!

Boop-boop-a-doop…

Well, it’s not actually finished per se, but I promised I’d work on something and Snoots of North America was next in line. I’m debating how much color/detail I want to use, and how many rows to add (I definitely want to add at least one wild cat, and maybe an amphibian … I’m not sure about birds, they tend to be confoundingly pointy in the snoot region), and I may or may not give them cutesy names; but at least I have the existing ones lined up in a somewhat orderly fashion now.

Snoots

May starlight guide you home tonight…

A shabby start to Inktober — two days of nothing, and the third is aggressively ink-free. Nevertheless, there are musical dinosaurs, so I like to think it was worth it in the end.

“But there are ALWAYS musical dinosaurs in this blog,” you might lament — and you would be entirely justified in this complaint. But you see, this one is actually PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT.

What mad musical mash-up has caught my fancy today? It’s a doozy, so you might want to sit down: Graphic novel + song + Robin Hood (THE ANIMATED ONE, I.E. THE ONLY ONE) ¬†+ dinosaur action figures! + birds, sort of! Whaaaat?

Let’s break this down. Basically, it started with the book In Other Lands, which has nothing to do with this at all but got me in an anachronistic-old-timey-fantasy mood (yes, that is one of my many possible mood settings). I also had to read a very enthusiastic chapter about Chaucer for one of my classes. I also also found a graphic novel with an amazing title (Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli — plus there’s a skeleton in a hat on the cover?!) so I had to grab that. And about half that graphic novel (which is about a traveling skeleton minstrel?!?!) is a song about a wanderer and a sort of spooky haunted fog … and at the end there’s a link to a recording of the song. Which is over nine minutes long, but I digress.

Around the same time there was a fanart display being hosted by Creative Beast Studio, who makes aforementioned dinosaur action figures! with coloration based on living birds, and I was thinking how some (particularly the kestrel/dromaeosaur, my best friend), with their poofy little arm feathers, reminded me of that rooster minstrel from  Hamster Dance Whistle-Stop in Robin Hood. He was the best. Anyhow, in the winding caverns of my brain, rooster minstrel met skeleton minstrel and also dinosaurs, so obviously (?!) I had to make a traveling dromaeosaur trapped in the fog, maaaaaybe returning to skeleton form himself, on the Road to Epoli.

Epoli

One of these days I’m going to draw something that doesn’t require so much backstory.

Swingin’ With The Rhinos….

Once again, it takes a public competition of some sort to get me to draw anything. This one was fun though — there was a a “Weird and Wonderful Creatures” category, so naturally I had to take that one.

The inspiration was that crazy old-timey woodcut of a rhinoceros that clearly just took “well, it looks like it’s covered in armor…” and ran with it. At first I tried copying the actual shape and placement of the armor pieces so I could just change the position (and add the fun bridle, obviously), but that was a minor disaster I scrapped in the sketch phase:

RhinoDraft1

In the end I decided to just go with the impressions I got from the original image but use my own design for the actual pieces of armor and hide. I do kind of wish I’d remembered that wave pattern from the brow band in the old sketch, though; I could have used something like that for a tooled-leather kind of effect on the “saddle” portion in the finished piece.

RhinoDraft2

I used a slightly different graphite pencil for the pieces I considered “armor” and the ones I considered to be “skin.”

RhinoDraft3

That idea got harder to implement around the face because I kind of had no idea what was going on anymore, but I managed.

RhinoSig

Yes, I forgot the throatlatch until this part. I’m not sure whether I forgot the noseband or purposely left it out or if that little bit near the bit was supposed to be it and then I got too focused on drawing the horn … it was around midnight at that point so I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I could have been.

SIDE NOTE: thank you internet for allowing me to find “If I Didn’t Have You” from Quest for Camelot when literally all I could remember is that it had the words “the rhinos” in it and thus would be appropriate for this post. I’m not sure how I forgot that song (and that movie) existed, but it’s gonna be in my head for a whiiiiiile now.

Out with the old….

I did a picture way-back-when of a modern raptor (a Harris’ Hawk) perched on a fossil raptor’s skull for “Clever Girl”; it took forever and I was never quiiiite happy with the results, though it did teach me how to draw hawks (a skill I somehow lost again after a few weeks).

“Fallen Tyrant” is a variation on that older idea, but whipped up in one night after a rather depressing scroll through my Facebook feed. Instead of raptors I went with a tyrannosaur (“tyrant lizard”) and an avian rainbow of modern birds perched and nesting on its now-harmless fangs.

Size reference … well, mostly didn’t happen aside from roughly establishing the size of the dove and raven and eyeballing the others against that, then strategically placing the peacock so it’s not entirely clear how far away it is. The skull … ¬†tyrannosaurs come in lots of sizes, shush.

Obvious symbolism is obvious, but I feel most subtlety is wasted these days anyhow….

TyrantSmol

Stay low to the ground….

It’s one of those enforced lazy days where I don’t have any really pressing errands, but I’m not feeling well enough to go out and Do Stuff for the heck of it. Days like this I’m thankful for the radio, and for the fact that I enjoy low-activity pastimes like reading and drawing.

After all that screen-staring required for Counting Sheep, I decided to go low-tech and break out the graphite and Prisma pencils. I also didn’t feel like looking up any more reference images after Googling 25+ sheep breeds, so I went with an old familiar character, my owl/kitten Gryphling, in a slightly birdified version of a pose any cat lover (or even cat acquaintance, really) can pull up reasonably well from memory:

GryphlingMouse

 

As usual I had some issues with the wings and paws, but it nicely served its purposes of killing some time and justifying my purchase of that “artichoke” colored pencil. I’m … not really sure “Artichoke” is any more accurate for this shade of brown (the main pelt/feather color here) than that AI’s infamous choice of “Turdly” was, but I suppose it does sound a little better….