A leaf on the wind…

Easter bunnies are so next-holiday. For the first day of spring, I present you with: The Equinox Raccoon! I think she’s like the Easter Bunny except instead of giving you candy she steals it and watches it dissolve in the river….

Lotor

Okay okay, clearly my previous Zootopia post taught me nothing about perpetuating negative animal stereotypes. What can I say, bad childhood experience involving a campground and a May basket. They took the Sundaes, man. I LOVED Sundaes.

However, I also love the raccoon’s species name, lotor, which means “washer.” It’s the unofficial name of this piece (I’ll come up with something different when I put the design up for sale, because who the heck searches for “lotor” unless they’re looking for one of those somewhat dreadful lesser-read Jean Craighead George books where she apparently went “let’s just name all the animal characters after their actual exact Latin names and be done with it, even the ones that sound super weird”), and is what inspired me to go with a watery motif for the decoration.

It’s also what inspired my admittedly-lazy title quote, in a roundabout way … think about it for a sec … yep, there you go. Having forced you to dredge up the memory of that scene, however, I’ll also give you a moment to shake your fist at the heavens and curse Joss Whedon’s name or whatever.

….

Okay, that’s enough of that now. Also, I feel myself on the verge of a lengthy and unnecessary ramble about how raccoons don’t really “wash” their food but it’s interesting how their behavior of appearing to do so has been so influential in the names used for the species over the years… so to cut that short entirely, we’ll veer sharply into an unrelated tangent: Kickstarter! I actually got to write some stuff this time! But not too much, because if you let me write more than a sentence at a time you tend to wind up with things like that last blog post of mine. Oof. Yep, snarky one-liners making fun of other people’s writing are where it’s at.

Check out Out Of the Box, where I “work” as the “editor” at a “company” … well, you get the gist, the whole thing’s fictional. I will actually be editing the books though, should the project take off, which basically means I get to sit around correcting other people’s grammar. Who doesn’t love that?

 

The Mother Ship(per)

It Is Done. The Kickstarter is up and running, and I like to think that this means WE’RE GOOD FOR MOTHER’S DAY, RIGHT MOM?

The video is done, and in addition I’m contributing some of my Extra Fancy Artwork (i.e. prints of PSE drawings) to the cause. For the low, low price of fifteen dollars OR the high, high price of $120 (don’t worry, there’s a book and some other junk included in that one, plus those prints are ~signed limited editions~) you can have your very own Please Don’t Eat the Dashboard print by Drawn @ Random!

Full disclosure, some of these will be made on demand, more or less. They’re quick-ish to produce, but still pretty labor intensive, and since they feature animals from the book they’ll be used exclusively for the Kickstarter project. I don’t think it would be a wise time investment to make a ton of these without knowing people will actually want them.

But I do have a couple made up, and if anyone *does* ask for one then I’ll post updates to this blog whenever I finish a new set of pets. Starting us off is the book’s first pair of pet passengers, the Cattle Dogs. No, they didn’t have names — nor did the real-life dynamic duo that inspired them. Apparently, people who plan to sell or give away their animals are rather like farmers in that they try not to name things. Anyhow, you can probably (hopefully) guess how angelic these guys turned out to be…. (Ooh, I should include a little backstory about the Real Pets with each of these if I wind up making more)

1miniCattleDogsAn aside, here: You’ll notice (assuming you’ve gone and clicked on the Kickstarter link — if you haven’t, I’ll wait)…

Right. You’ll notice that words like “transporter” and “courier” are used to describe the protagonist’s job. The author (i.e. Dear Mother) wanted to use “shipper,” as it was her accustomed terminology and seemed to sum things up pretty succinctly.

I said that made them sound too much like cargo. I said it wasn’t what the job was actually called, I said it wasn’t classy enough. I said a variety of things, but mostly to support the one reason that would make sense only to me: Absent any extra context, “shipper” means a very different thing to my generation. Now, I don’t really think my age group is the target audience here, and even if we were we could probably figure it out after a couple seconds, but nevertheless. “Pet Shipper” just brings up weird mental images for me. Thanks, internet.

But of course, the internet allows me to share all the various imagery that spews out of my brain — plus commentary! — with the world every week, whether the world wants it or not. It also allows me to find reference images of Australian Cattle Dogs at 12:11 AM on a Sunday whilst listening to obscure Swedish alt-rock. Thanks, internet!

All the dog puns are taken…

…But hey, I work with what I have.

Anyhow, coming soon to a Kickstarter near you is: Please Don’t Eat the Dashboard. This is a VERY rough look at the temp cover, which hopefully will in turn bear some small resemblance to the final cover. Book covers are notoriously fickle things, which is perhaps why one oughtn’t judge by them, but blank cardboard looks pretty shabby. And so, a cover there must be!

DashboardMockThe promotional video took an unreasonable amount of time to make, but it had its fun moments, and it’s very nearly done now. Fingers crossed that the author doesn’t mind that my drawings of the main character are a somewhat hair-focused caricature of herself … ah well, it’s done now, no time left to complain!

In wildly unrelated news, I really love that libraries participate in Free Comic Book Day. Partly because, you know, offering free books is a very Library thing to do even if it’s not always people’s first thought of “where to get FCBD books” (especially here with two decent-sized comic stores in town). But in my case mostly because I am ALWAYS working on the first Saturday in May, and it’s nice to still have the option to grab some of the good stuff before it’s gone. Except for the Doctor Who comics, of course. The Doctor Who comics lasted about 15 minutes. I counted.

Out on the moor the foxes run….

This post is a two-parter, to be finished (with pictures) tomorrow, and even so I’m afraid it’s going to be a long read. It’s technically just the proper answer to a question asked by a friend who may or may not even read this blog; but no matter, this is where it belongs either way.

It was a simple enough question, about why I’m so interested in birds. As the environment at the time was not at all ideal for a rambling Midwestern storytelling session (with illustrations!) by an absent-minded artist-poet, my answer was similarly brief — basically, “birds are everywhere.” Which is the truth, in a way, but not exactly in the way it sounds. It’s not strictly about ubiquity; squirrels are everywhere, and yet for a good portion of my life I thought they had cheek pouches (that’s chipmunks, by the way).

No, the first thing to note about birds (and flying insects for that matter; but that’s an obsession for another day) is that they’re here, but they’re not quite of our world. To a degree I can run, jump, chatter, and (sort of) climb a tree. I cannot fly off on a whim under my own power. I’m not at all equipped to sing a duet with myself. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to see ultraviolet light. I’m not sure I even have birds beat in dancing skills. This all is what lead to my earlier-blogged-about book idea essentially equating them to aliens (but aliens that even aliens find amazing and bewildering). I don’t think that’s really where my story begins, though.

Being mysterious isn’t quite enough either, you see. I feel no affinity with lichens, widespread and enigmatic though they may be. After all, they don’t seem particularly interested in me … not even enough to play coy. The mysteries that fuel lasting wonder, desire, passion, obsession — they fail to attract in the first place unless they first offer you some tantalizing glimpse of what you could know, if you only knew how and what to ask. And all the better if you feel (rightly or not) that such a glimpse has been offered specially to you. Secrets aren’t shared with just anyone.

After such an encounter, it seems rude (if not impossible) to continue regarding the subject with the impassive eye of a stranger. You have a connection now, your half of a bargain to fulfill. An answer for the price of infinite questions. Don’t worry, this is where the birds come in again. Just as a magical childhood memory of discovering a meteorite might help spark a quest for knowledge of the stars, creatures of the heavens who fall to the earth tend to catch the attention of even us oblivious humans. And heavens, I’ve caught more than my share of fallen stars.

I never said the secrets had to be nice ones.

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.

Long nights, impossible odds….

The final countdown...

I originally went with a Final Countdown reference, but it really isn’t a countdown. The end is not nigh, it is *here.* Of course, this title better describes an actual NaNoWriMo attempt rather than a bunch of drawings, which are best drawn when one is fully awake anyhow. Fifty is also a significantly lower number than 50,000, old sayings aside. But either way, it has been a bit of a long night and I did just do a lot of counting to confirm that I finally had my 50. And I do! I decided to end the month with a fairly ornate drawing, one of two that were loosely based on/inspired by the mythical Qilin. Of course, something went amiss in the neck area and he ended up with very confusing forequarters, but I have come to expect such things.

In the end, I wound up with 12 birds, 11 invertebrates, 6 herps, 3 unicorns (real and imagined), 3 fish, 3 felines, 2 canines and 2 anteaters. A sheep, a goat, a pig, a hedgehog, a rabbit, a hamster, a little fuzzy Totoro-type dude, and a dinosaur round out the group. They just barely fit on the dining-room table, if you were wondering.

Refs50

This isn’t my most ambitious drawing endeavor, nor my nearest deadline (I drew more critters in less time for the sake of Christmas presents), but it’s definitely the only time in a long time that I’ve forced myself to draw from memory and imagination alone. I don’t know whether that’s helpful, harmful or entirely neutral, but either way I’m pretty sure I deserve a cookie now.

So do all of you brave NaNoWriMo folks, friends and family of mine among you, who finished or almost-finished or way-more-than-finished or just participated. Getting yourself to just *do* something every day, whether you meet a goal or not, is tougher than it sounds (especially for someone like me, who feels put-upon when the gecko insists on eating every few days). Happy November, happy belated Thanksgiving for those in the U.S., and happy December for those whose time zones decree it to be so. And most of all, goodnight! *zzzzzz*

Sick Day….

I know this looks suspicious, two weeks in a row, but this time it’s different — yes, this time I don’t have any picture at all for you, not even a lame attempt at filler. Whatever is “going around” this week is rather unpleasant; at least it’s not stomach-related, small mercy, but it does involve rendering pretty much the entire middle of the face (the area I seem to recall having contained a nose and some similar structures) completely useless, as well as making one’s voice — previously a reliable form of communication — a source of entertainment for others, at best.

One would think this would result in more drawing, not less, as the other senses have been rendered fairly useless, but that would bring me to the eyes, which function well enough on their own, but don’t feel entirely connected to the brain-part of the head that would normally tell me, oh, where to put lines and things rather than creating a giant black scribble of despair.

As you may have noticed by now, even my typing skills, relying though they may on non-face-related body parts such as the fingers, have fallen a bit into shambles this week. No worries, though; I’ve an entire week (well, rather less than that now that I’ve waited so long to type this) to drain the empty spots in my skull of unnecessary fluids and to patch my larynx back into something resembling a human vocal apparatus again. Until then, I’ve discovered instant cocoa with rainbow-colored mini marshmallows; while not strictly the best choice nutritionally, it is working wonders for morale.

Well, until then,

–The Artist