Birthday NPC

A friend of mine (who is also my DM) recently had his birthday, and when I told him to name me a character and I'd sketch it for him (quite selfish on my part: I still have a looooong way to go on this 365 Project) he did me one better and told me to roll up an NPC and illustrate that, and then he'd put it in our Game somewhere.  I then accused him of being a Hobbit, and giving out gifts on his own birthday.

Well apparently the Universe liked the whole "Hobbit" idea, because here's what came out:
Yes, a bald halfling.  The dice deities, they have senses of humor.
Here are the traits I rolled for her, as well as the commentary I went back and added to each trait as she became a Whole (Half?) Person in my brain:

Distinctive Physical Feature: Bald (she got tired of her hair catching fire)
High Ability: Wisdom (notices details, even if she then trips over them)
Low Ability: Dex (hence hair catching fire and perforated eardrum and lots of little knife and burn scars)
Talent: Expert Cook (chef, really, because CREATIVITY)
Mannerism: Speaks Loudly (perforated eardrum from childhood)
Interaction Trait: Curious (about people in general but with a special interest in food they've encountered)
Chaotic Ideal: Creativity (specifically with food)
Bond: Protection of Valuable Possession (workbook)
Flaw: Arrogance (about her cooking but also it's merited?)

So that was an extremely fun exercise that satisfied my Project on the 19th-21st.  In case you're wondering, her outfit is dragon-hide, because when you're that clumsy of a cook you need some seriously fire-proof clothing.  And steel-toed boots, for that matter.  Those pink speckles you see all over her hands and face are burn and knife scars.  She's a mess!  But her food is awesome, so there you go.


Bold Persephone

I've spent the last three days on this lovely lady:
Still trying to master skin-tones darker than "vaguely Mediterranean".  ::sigh::  Practice, practice, practice.
This piece is inspired by Russian Iconography (hence the goooooolllllld), a particularly lovely Instagram update by Black Girl in a Big Dress (the eponymous web series is one of my Very Favorite Things), and Halloween 2000 (I personally was a Maenad that year, but one of my friends dressed as Persephone, and wore a very similar flower crown).  (I should try to find photos from that year- I was appropriately scary with all my blood smears, and made a lot of drunken frat guys feel more than a little freaked out.)

I'm thinking I may actually go into that gold background with some ink and do some intricate patterning (perhaps pomegranates seeds?), but I wanted to get it preserved for posterity in all it's pristine-ness, before I screw it all up.

Plus, you know, the novelty of updating more than one time in a week...

But on to not-art-related things!  I bought myself a new suit the other week (since the old suit- purchased about 15 years ago- was cut for the old body, which TLG has rendered permanently curvier) and today I took it to a tailor like a real-live grownup!  Because, you see, when you have a shoulder(-and-bust)-girth like mine, you have to buy jackets that are way too large for any of the rest of you.  Which is why I've never been much of a blazer person in the past.  Sleeveless/stretchy fabric all the way, baby.  But anyway, the tailor poked and prodded and pinned and finally informed me that next time I should be shopping in the petite section for my tops, so that she wouldn't have to shorten the sleeves so much.  The more you know!

I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out; I expect to look far more professional than I did in the dressing room, where the sleeves were hitting my knuckles and I didn't appear to have much of a waist (but at least I could move my arms without splitting the seams!  Something I have literally done to jackets in the past!  So yes I am always extremely paranoid every time I try on a "fitted" jacket!)  I'll post photos so you can be excited, too.  You're welcome!



You guys, I'm so excited about what I finished up today that I'm not even going to bury this lead:
That's the angle that lets you see the shiny gold embellishment, but here's what the whole thing looks like:
Inara Serra, ladies and gentlemen.
(Fun Fact: I sent a shot of this to my brother earlier today, and he demanded I put a banana in the photo so he'd have a size comparison.  I did, but since bananas come in all sizes, I'll just tell you the page is like 9"x12" or so)

I've actually been working on this piece since the last time I updated (before, even) in addition to my daily stuff, so I'm pretty glad to be done with it.  And like I said: so pleased with how it came out.  It was my first Big Experimentation with using masking fluid, and doing iridescent accents.  I learned a lot from it (namely that if I'm going to do larger pieces, I need to suck it up and get REAL watercolor paper from The Internet and stop pretending like Strathmore will ever fulfill my needs), which I will surely put to use in future pieces.  Woo!

Now let's look back at Other Stuff, including me adding color to the Ladies of Firefly (which I can now tell you started off as a thumbnail for the above piece):
I spent probably four nights adding color.  They could use more noodling, but (having reminded myself of the SKETCHBOOK NATURE OF A SKETCHBOOK) I've decided to move on.
Oh speaking of sketches, here's one I didn't finish because I lost interest!
Characters from ElfQuest.
And the reason I lost interest in finishing is because I got this super sweet metallic paint to play with!
But I made up for it by spending a few days working on fan art for other fandoms, ie for Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness!
Yes, yes, I know the freckles are too stark.  OH WELL.

This was mostly about seeing what it took to get a nice, even appearance from the gold.  Minimum two coats, is the answer.
So, yes.  Feeling good about Art at the moment.  Also feeling good about having passed the Series 66, and my upcoming Insurance Licensing Exam.  Also feeling good about my awesome family.  Yes, goodness all around.


To the Nines

First of all, Happy Anniversary to Me!  And Nathan too, I guess... nine years, and still kicking.  Woo, go team!  That being said, let us jump into the many days of doodling since last we met.

First off, I got into a serious Salt Experimentation Phase from March 23rd-26th.  Behold:
What's going on here, white balance?  Who knows...

Thaaaaat's better.

Black and White!  Black and White!
It was fun, just to play around again, let whatever wanted to happen, happen, rather than being concerned with representation.  And you can see up there in upper right-had corner where I took the playing back to sketching, which in turn brought us the offering for March 27th:
But who is this mysterious lady?  The world may never know...
A conversation with my mom, combined with missing a certain friend, and my hair being ridiculous, led to this little sketch of Anne Shirley on the 28th:
The wind must be up- look at those chapped cheeks!
And then missing my brother and his boys took tangible form in my sketchbook on the 29th.
The trouble with trying to draw the people you love is that it never, ever looks right, because you know their faces too well...
We're going to skip ahead a few days to April 1st, and Easter, where I had another bit of "fun experiment times", but this time with wax resistance:
Super Fun Bright Colors Time!
And now we back up (but also go forward) to a bunch of line drawings of the Ladies of Firefly.  None of them are colored yet, because I need to run a copy of them so that my nephew has a chance to color them the way he wants to.  So you can fully expect to see them again someday in the not-too-distant future, only with color.
I know, I know... River's face is too narrow... oh well...
Speaking of color!  TLG has been super obsessed with letters and numbers lately, so I thought I'd make him a little treat in my sketchbook:
Phoning it in?  Maybe.  But it's my sketch book, and I'll phone if I want to...
He liked it so much that he wanted to keep it, which of course he could not do, so I promised him I'd make him one of his very own, which I managed to get put together before he came home today:
Plus a few words of Especial Interest to him right now.
So that's where I stand with all of that.

As for my studies, they're also going well!  I managed to bump up my timeline again, so I'll be taking the Series 66 on Monday (yes, this coming Monday- eep!) which I'm pretty excited about.  After that I should be halfway through the process!  Woo!  As much as I've enjoyed this time of learning (and getting to be around Nathan for most of the day) I'm read to get out in the field and start doing, you know?  You know.  Yeah you do.


Some Real Characters (and Some So-Called Flowers)

Since the last time I popped my head up, I've passed the Series 7, and begun studying for the Series 66.   I am definitely understanding why some people feel the former is more difficult, and some find the latter more difficult.  I haven't decided yet which camp I fall in to... all I know is I'm quite tired and it's showing in my artistic efforts (or lack thereof).
Nia Sonome
Ah yes, another Consult-the-Grid evening.  It came up "original character", so here it is, a little illustration of Gwen's best friend, who is three-quarters Japanese, one quarter British, and 100% Californian.  Aaaaand then when I go looking for entries about Gwen to link to, I realize that there... is exactly one, and it doesn't really tell you much about the actual story.  Hoo boy.  Okay, long story short: the year is 1996, Gwen is a scientifically-minded teenage werewolf, and Nia is her fantasy-minded best friend, and of these two people only one of them is excited about werewolves being A Real Thing.  Their story has been in my brain for over two decades.  Good gods I need to finish it...

Moving on to what I did over the 16th, 17th, and 18th!
Head too squashy.  Oh well.
Recently in our campaign Severan got herself a wolf cloak back from the tanner.  I'd been waiting for this damn thing for over a year in real time (but less than a month in Game Time, apparently) so I was suuuuuuper jazzed about it finally materializing, and of course I wanted to draw it!  Which, to be honest, meant a lot of time staring at Jon Snow.

I was feeling pretty grumpy on the 19th, for no good reason whatsoever, so in an attempt to cheer myself up I decided to create a new D&D character entirely via rolling, and then challenge myself to give them a backstory that forced everything to make sense.

It was actually super fun, and the gods of chaos were obviously smiling down on me, because they gave me things I actually could work with.  When I immediately rolled a Drow cleric, I was a bit concerned, but then I rolled her as Chaotic Neutral, and like I said- it worked out.  And what it worked out to was Tytias Advyn:
I rolled for her features, too: round eyes, straight nose, small mouth.  And her hair (hip length: topknot).  And her coloring.
In fact I  had so much fun putting together Tytias (and her patron goddess, Skiffring) that I drew her mace last night (and a little sketch of her outfit, which, yes, I also rolled for):
I left off the scale mail... maybe tomorrow...
If you're interested in hearing how I made it all work, drop me a line in the comments and I'll post the backstory one of these days... maybe even tomorrow...  I'll probably just keep Tytias in my back pocket in case I ever play a one-shot that I can't appropriately bring my Level 5 Paladin to.

Today was a better day in terms of Grump, in no small part because of a lovely bouquet of daffodils.  So naturally, after a long hard day of eye-crossing studying, I decided I'd try my hand at painting said happy daffodils, really letting myself enjoy the bright yellow and the looseness of the medium...  I won't share the worst of my failures, but I will share the best of them:
Yep.  Those are yellow flowers.  Probably.
Turns out I have sort of regressed in terms of my ability to be patient, which isn't super surprising, given how little time I've been spending on these sketches, lately.  But I have to cut myself some slack- the time will come back, and then I'll be doing more complex/interesting/experimental things again.  And also: they're sketches.  They're not supposed to be perfect.  It's okay Owens OMG.  ::eye roll::

Also also, I'm really jonesing for some solid Writing Time.  ::sigh::  Too many interests, not enough time...


Death, and Other Beautiful Things

It's been an interesting couple of weeks.  I've been thinking a lot about death and acceptance of the inevitable, and it definitely shows in what I've been doodling.  Which is not to say that I'm in a particularly dark or depressing place (insofar as death goes, anyway)- just... contemplative.  I've also been listening to Hayden Calnin's Cut Love Pt 1 on repeat.  Soooo...

I'm going to put these up slightly out of order, for the sole purpose of making sure the preview photo is a decent one.  Ah, vanity.  One of my many, many flaws.
Why Do You Hide
Although this is, to me, kind of a sad piece (the sketch sprang from sad- although not death-related- musings), it was also fun to work on.  Because hair.  And rainbows.  And getting highly pigmented lines with my watercolor.  I kept meaning to go back in and add shadows with gray, and maybe  I still will, but at the time I needed to let go and move on.
To a super cute baby!
...and by move on, I mean I was hanging out at Boozeday and there was a super cute baby there that needed to be sketched.  Now let's back up a bit to the second:
We had a date night!  I wore a swanky dress!
Aaaaand back (to the future!) again to the seventh:
I was feeling particularly uninspired, so I checked my table and saw that it was monochrome British Isles Landscape day!  Which I started, and then forgot I was doing monochrome so the sky is blue but that's okay.  I like the sky.

Purely Ridiculous
You may be asking yourself, "What the bloody hell is happening here?" and frankly, Dear Reader, I don't blame you.  Because there is a narrow segment of the population to whom this bit of nonsense might appeal/even make sense to, and that is the place in the Venn Diagram of Fandom wherein Fans of Elfquest intersect with Fans of Watership Down.  I doodled and painted this (over the eighth, ninth, and tenth) in response to a conversation with said people (ie my people).  It's two of the protagonists of Elfquest, Cutter and Skywise, done up as rabbits.  I regret nothing.

Speaking of Watership Down (aka my favorite prose novel)...
"What is, is what must be."
I've been dwelling a lot on death, and when one thinks about Death when one is also thinking about Watership Down, one naturally thinks of the rabbits' manifestation of Death- the Black Rabbit of Inle.  And knowing that black is meant to be a scary color, an absence-of-light sort of color, just as death is mean to be scary, an absence-of-life, but knowing also that black can be the presence of all-color... well, that lead down the rabbit hole (sorry not sorry) of making a Black Rabbit with rainbows glinting through his fur.  Which lead to the three days worth of experimentation you see on this page.

Which, in turn, leads us to today, wherein I was doing more Thinking About Death, but this time in terms of an entirely different Fandom: Harry Potter.
Gentle Creature

I love the whole concept of thestrals: creatures that can only be seen by those who have witnessed and gained an emotional understanding of death.  Poor, scary-looking things: I would pet one, if I could.

Which brings me, once again, up to date with my endeavor.  For now.

Things are getting pretty intense with my studies: I've done well enough that they've allowed me to bump up the date of my test, so now it's less than a week away.  Eek!  I'm definitely ready to be done with this portion, however: this entire process has really been laying some of my uglier flaws (arrogance, impatience, ease of distraction, temper) bare to the fire, only to crack a hammer down on them, repeatedly.  Here's hoping I can allow myself to be shaped appropriately.


Battle Steed

Look you guys, I've wanted a rhinoceros as a Battle Steed for literally 15 years.  I have a character I used to draw, creatively named Barbarian Princess, and her battle steed is a rhino, and I'm just saying that this has been on my Wish List since college, ya'll.

Needless to say, there was a certain scene in Black Panther that had me shrieking with giddy fangirl joy.
Lines last night, color tonight.

In the past I've drawn Battle Rhinos with war paint, but never with any sort of armor, so that was kind of fun to do.  Also, I could not find reference photos for that scene, so I worked with the impressions I could glean from a very short clip on YouTube, and a whole lot of Artistic License.  I like it!