Inkdump, pt. 1

Let’s face it: I’m not great at keeping to schedules and deadlines if there aren’t grave [inadvertent festive pun!] consequences. But I do like drawing, so it was inevitable I’d get in the Inktober spirit in the end. I’m about 14 days behind at this point, so we’re activating the Sketchdump Protocol to get things caught up.

This year’s gimmick is that for each day I listen to a song from my Halloween playlist while drawing. Nothing new there, since I almost always listen to music while drawing unless I’m in class, but here’s the catch: I have to stop drawing once the song is over. One picture per song, ideally inspired by some of the lyrics. This doesn’t always work out so well, aesthetically, but at least having a challenge keeps me drawing. Here are the first five in all their varying degrees of glory:

Inktober17.1.1

“Run Baby Run,” The Rigs

Inktober17.1

“Heffalumps and Woozles,” Powerglove

Inktober17.2

“This is Halloween,” Citizens of Halloween

Inktober17.3

“Vampires,” Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes

Inktober17.4

“Poor Unfortunate Souls/I Put a Spell on You,” Voctave/Rachel Potter

One of these days I think I’ll devote an actual finished drawing to that last song, Ursula is the best (even if I cannot draw her with any kind of speed).

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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

The Runty Pigeon returns

Alright, I guess I should get back to this. No pictures today; for what it’s worth, it’s a wonder I managed to stop procrastinating and/or napping long enough to write at all!

THE HUMAN

Olivia wanted so badly to fly; she would feel safe in the air, where no human could hope to reach her. But the door was latched, and her wing would not take her far either way. Sol’s would not take him anywhere at all, and after all his help she couldn’t imagine leaving him behind.

“Don’t fear,” cooed Paloma, “it’s only the healer.”

Still, she fluttered her wings nervously, and Olivia was hardly reassured. Paloma had spoken kindly of Mar and the other humans, and yet the humans would not let them leave. Were the cages to protect them, like a hatchling’s nest? Why, then, would Sol need one, lively and clever as he was? And humans were lumbering ground-dwellers who knew nothing of flight; what help could a human healer possibly offer an injured bird? Olivia feared that Sol and Paloma had gotten it wrong somehow. She thought back to a day, not so long ago, when Columbo and Granny Columba had called her over to see something outside the nest. A huge, glossy wasp was lumbering by, carrying an even larger insect in her claws. Her prey was one of the plump, long-winged, noisy creatures that clung to the trees and joined the cricket-chorus on summer nights. Olivia had never seen a wasp fly around with its food before eating it, and she said as much to the other birds.

“It is not for her,” cooed Granny, “and it is not dead yet.”

Surprised, Olivia and Columbo watched the wasp disappear as Granny continued. “She poisons them,” Granny went on quietly, “and traps them in her nest for the young ones to eat when they hatch.”

Olivia shrunk down, horrified at the thought. Seeing that she had the squabs’ attention, Granny had flapped her wings with a dramatic flourish as she finished her tale.

“Never trust the humans, little ones, even if they offer food and make kind sounds. They are like the wasp! They will cage you in their nests, and then one day–“

“Granny!”

Father Pigeon had interrupted here, puffed-up and furious-looking.

“Are you frightening the squabs again with your stories?”

The two had argued, then; Granny insisted that the tales were true, while Father tried frantically to assure Olivia and her brother that they wouldn’t be captured and eaten alive by humans. In the end, Olivia had not been sure who to believe. Columbo was certain that Granny was only teasing, but was it possible that she and Father had both been partly right? Before Granny’s story, Olivia had certainly never heard of humans gathering pigeons to eat them alive; but everyone Under the Bridge had heard of cages, and no one seemed entirely sure why humans used them. Did some humans eat pigeons? Perhaps she could ask one of the other old birds. Granny Columba had never spoken of it again, though, and so at the time young Olivia had forgotten about her question. It looked like she would not be able to ask it now, either: The whistling had stopped, and two huge black-and-white eyes peered down at her through the door of her cage.

Stopping by woods on a summer evening…

Okay, so on the one hand, don’t go out for a walk in the woods in the middle of the night. It’s dumb, because you will probably be ax murdered/fall in a hole/get eaten by bears or whatever, and there will be mosquitoes everywhere, and weird birds that sound like angry old ladies yelling, and you will forget there’s a bridge and almost trip over it; and you will definitely forget about that stadium that means even in the relative middle of nowhere it will still be too bright to have any hope of seeing the Northern lights no matter how long you hang out there.
 
HOWEVER, on the other hand, definitely go for a walk in the woods in the middle of the night, because no one else will be out there (not even ax murderers really, because someone who camps out in the middle of a low-traffic path in the middle of the woods on a Sunday night is going about axe-murdering all wrong), and all that light pollution will actually make it just bright enough to keep to the white gravel path, and to see the wings of low-flying bats or glimpse the fur of a young raccoon scooting up a tree; but also there will be places where the cottonwoods and the creeper and the wild grape all meet overhead and in those moments it will be friggin’ Miyazaki-level magical because there will be nothing but dark trees, pale stones, frog song, and more than enough fireflies to make up for the stars you can’t quite see.
Woods
Also your phone has a flashlight, so what are you even worried about.

Right round….

Me, meeting a yellow fidget spinner for the first time:

“Oh hahaha it looks like those things that go in the middle of records

IN FACT….”

FidgetSmall

Alternate song lyrics I could have used for this post:

“Too much time on my hands….”
“I think I need help….”

Happy weekend!