Life is good. Art in the works, cartoons on TV, and the latest book by Diane Duane is out. (I love her books. If you haven’t read any of her “Wizardry” series, or “Book of Night with Moon,” they’re wonderfully charming. They’re also in Young Adult, for some reason, which I find odd, since Redwall is over in straight fantasy, and they’re way more serious and less formulaic than Redwall, and I confess that I still feel a twinge embarassed when I thread my way into the brightly colored children’s section of Barnes & Noble, past spawn a third my age, to yank something off the shelf. Still, I suppose such mild mortifications are good for the soul. But I digress.)

I am not in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions–other than “This year, I will make art,” which is a perennial one, and which I never seem to have much trouble fulfilling. Maybe “This year, I will make good art,” but I don’t need a resolution to strive for that (and anyway, if I fail, I’ll be depressed enough without the added resolution baggage.) So. This year, I will make art!

And I will also try to drink less Coke. But that’s as far as I go.

And they call it Auld Lang Siiiiiiiiiiiigggn…

Random Sketchiness…

Playing around with more anime–might follow up the dragon girl with another anthro-mythical type, in this case, a manticore. I remember when I was a kid, I had this book, Encyclopedia of Legendary Creatures (mentioned in Irrational Fears) which had the most spectacular illustration of a manticore by Victor Ambrus. But like gorgons, basilisks and chimeras–the original kind, with the goat and the lion and the snake thingy, not the random combination of peculiar species, which, while chimerical, isn’t quite the same as the multi-headed classic–manticores are dreadfully obscure beasties. Back when I was writing some of the worst prose ever hammered out by a pre-teen, I had an entire saga featuring manticores, but believe me, we’re all glad it’s lost to mankind forever and that I graduated onto bigger and better things. Like…err…chupacabras. Um. Right.

Art!

Random Sketchiness…

Playing around with more anime–might follow up the dragon girl with another anthro-mythical type, in this case, a manticore. I remember when I was a kid, I had this book, Encyclopedia of Legendary Creatures (mentioned in Irrational Fears) which had the most spectacular illustration of a manticore by Victor Ambrus. But like gorgons, basilisks and chimeras–the original kind, with the goat and the lion and the snake thingy, not the random combination of peculiar species, which, while chimerical, isn’t quite the same as the multi-headed classic–manticores are dreadfully obscure beasties. Back when I was writing some of the worst prose ever hammered out by a pre-teen, I had an entire saga featuring manticores, but believe me, we’re all glad it’s lost to mankind forever and that I graduated onto bigger and better things. Like…err…chupacabras. Um. Right.

Art!

Dragon People

Ya know, if I were my namesake (a bear) I sometimes think I’d spend a lot of time poking hornet nests just for amusement. Take the dragon people.

The “dragon people” (sorry, Peganthryus!) is my term for those individuals who either think they’re dragons, or that dragons are real, or know dragons personally, or were a dragon in a past life and see fit to tell me about it in aggressive “Your dragons are wrong! Dragons aren’t like that!” terms.

Moo.

Fear of Anime Ratgirls as Threshold Drug

I figured it out at last. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to track down every cliche of fantasy art and poke it repeatedly with a pencil. (This probably explains why I revisit the “evil unicorn” theme about once a year. God, I hate unicorns.) I sneakingly suspect this has to do with my inherent rather perverse nature–whenever I see something done badly, I want to see if I can do it better, or failing that, drive a stake through its withered little heart and bury it under a crossroads at midnight with a clove of garlic shoved in its mouth.

As usual, my metaphor got away from me, and now I have no idea what I was saying.

Well, anyway, yesterday’s amusement had to do with “anime catgirls.” If you hang out on furry art boards with any regularity, you find people grumbling about anime catgirls, so being me, I decided to paint an anime ratgirl and see if that got a warmer reception. Judging by the response–and I uploaded that bloody thing at 1 AM, nobody shoulda seen it–either the anime ratgirl is a success, or people hate catgirls so much, they will take any opportunity to express their distaste, take your pick. The style is one that I’d been vaguely aware of, mostly through wallpaper at Deviantart, and which looked to me like Painter. (I still don’t know if it IS Painter, or who started it in the first place, but I can duplicate it in Painter with ease, so it very well could be.)

The scary thing is that it was fun. I mean, I haven’t painted anime in…well, I did something vaguely anime-like four years ago, and then there was some really regrettable concept art two years ago, but so far as my artistic skills are concerned, “painting anime” has always ranked a bit below “reading the future in sheep entrails” as one of my talents. But this came out well, and it was fun. Which makes me want to paint more. Which scares me. Is this a threshold drug? Will I casually paint an anime batgirl, and then an anime dragongirl and then suddenly one day I’ll wake up to discover my bedroom plastered with Dragonball Z posters and Sailor Moon t-shirts forming the better part of my wardrobe? Will I find myself sneaking extra highlights onto my chupacabra’s eyes until her irises appear to be covered in a multitude of shiny cataracts? Will the word “kawai” ooze into my vocabulary like a verbal remora, sapping the strength from more robust words? Is this the end of realism as I know it?!

Naaaah.

Anime Ratgirl. (Be warned. It’s pink.)

Unholy Hours

I got up today at 7:30. AM.

I did this because a friend whom I love like a brother needed a ride at the airport, and as I type, I’m waiting for him to call to say “Come get me.” I have already braved the post-dawn world for coffee (naturally I’m out here at home) and now I wait, as motive force slowly drains from my body, transforming me back into the gelatinous sludge of sleep.

Funny thing is, I used to have a job where I got up at 5 every morning. I used to remember that sort’ve crisp grey dawn feeling, when the air is all brittle and sharp and the grass crunches under your feet and you sit in an icy car while it shudders and mutters and decides whether or not it wants to run, while your breath steams up the inside windows and you silently wonder why the hell you went into anthropology and art, what were you thinking, why didn’t you go into mortuary science which at least always has job security and is about as un-urgent a profession as exists. Then the car grumbles into life, the heater makes that hot, burned-dust smell, and NPR tells you things about politics that would be really alarming if you were awake enough to care, while the sun slowly rises in the rear view mirror.

Yep, those were the days.

It’s a good morning. Got a new comic up, there’s a Samurai Jack marathon on (I love Samurai Jack…it’s so…so…charmingly bushido. And visually nifty, as well–even though it’s really simplified, it’s so well put together that it works very well.) Plus “Justice League” was on this morning, featuring a nifty female samurai villain, so it’s been a good cartoon morning all around. I think I’m just a sucker for samurai. My creative restlessness has settled into something a bit more potentially productive, my reading material is teaching me strange and thought-provoking things about caregiving in hanuman langurs (I would be a very bad langur) which will eventually explode, probably here, into a tirade about how the problem isn’t that teens are having sex, it’s that they’re so damn well fed. (I am not proposing that we starve teenagers, mind you, but–well, anyway, wait for it. The rant is percolating.)

Also had a dream last night where there was an alien in the house–one of those annoying take-over-your-body-and-make-slimy-tentacles-explode-from-your-mouth kind. That wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was that we’d also gotten this dreadfully eighties hero–sort’ve a scruffy Mad Max type, only with a guitar, who kept telling me that the key to defeating the alien was rock ‘n roll. Even in my dream I wasn’t buying this, and kept suggesting we try napalm. Sometimes I think my subconscious mind just likes toying with me.

Oh, and almost forgot–found this while wandering idily through the VCL recents. Go check out her work! Very cool stuff. (Just get used to random plugs of people’s art–I generally don’t know any of these people, but I feel it’s my public duty to point people in the direction of really nifty stuff I find.)

Vague and restless today. I have the urge to be painting but not to actually start a painting. I know this mood pretty well–anything I start will suck wombats, because I have no idea what I want to do, I have no vision, the Muse is on vacation, I’m just sort’ve creatively restless. Likewise, I’ve no desire to work on anything currently in progress, because I’ll wind up getting disatisfied and wrecking the thing by attempting to overhaul a mostly-done piece and redo it all in neon pink or something. It’s not quite artist’s block–it generally only lasts an evening, or at most, two or three days–but it’s annoying. Things that I work on in this mood are inevitably frustrating and consigned to the circular file.

Postcards from the circular file

Early morning episode of creative vision…

I have this thing for flavor-blasted goldfish crackers. I’m a junkie. They’re sooooo good. Anyway, they come in this carton that says, among other slogans in hyperactive fonts, “Blows other snacks away!”

While staggering around looking for coffee, I saw this slogan out of the corner of my eye, except that I thought it said simply “Blows other snacks.”

The mental image was brief and searing. That’s all I’ll say.

Books, Bladders, Biology, and the Flammability of the Undead

So today I finished “Watchmen” by Alan Moore, a graphic novel that has been previously mentioned to me as a paragon of good layout. All I can say is that it might well be good layout–I didn’t notice. I was too busy being captivated by the story. (Well, okay, the placement of captions and word balloons was really slick, I did notice that.) Superbly well done, I recommend it highly, particularly to those, like me, who have a passing interest in comics but did not break into the genre at a young age, and so have only a mild acquaintence with most of the titles out there. Being rooted very strongly in the Cold War fear of nuclear war with Russia, it doesn’t have quite the same relevance today–it’s set in 1985, and I am just barely old enough to remember the peculiarly resigned terror that most of us had of nuclear war then. However, it weathers well, and conjures up the atmosphere so well that even if you were fortunate enough to become a sentient being after the days of mutual assured destruction, I think it’d ring true.

Undead are considered flammable, and other musings from the day.