African Jacana & Hippos

chobehippos

I couldn’t resist one more. (Tomorrow, hamsters. Really!)

I decided to try to do something similar to the other two woodblock-homages, this time with animals instead of a landscape (or maybe with hippos, the trick is that animals ARE the landscape.) This is an African Jacana, which I really did see standing on top of the hippos at Chobe. (Hippos don’t care if things walk on them, apparently.)

So the trick to doing these is actually similar to the Art Deco travel posters I was doing earlier–instead of drawing the oulines, I block the whole shape out in flat colors, and use about ten thousand layers, putting thin black outlines around the big blocks of color and then drawing very thin weird lines on other multiply layers to shape the whole thing, and using gradients madly to make the flat colors work.

It is a seriously weirdass way to work. I am having to think much farther ahead than I usually do. Once everything is blocked out, fixing little dings requires sorting through dozens of layers to find out where something is.

But I really like how it all comes out. The thin lines are basically the same kind of black lines I draw on everything, only more useful.

Mad gratitude to Kevin–he took about a hundred photos of hippo piles which were invaluable for making it work. (Hippos have really messed up heads, incidentally. Their eye lumps do things no other mammal does.)

 

Prints available!

Thamalkane Lodge

riverlodge

While the rest of the crew was south of us and experiencing some brief technical difficulties, Kevin and I were hanging out at Thamalkane River Lodge admiring this view. (This is in Maun, Botswana.)

There were a lot of birds. Most of them were egrets.

The artist Yoshida Hiroshi and his son Yoshida Toshi traveled the world and did lots of shin-hanga prints of the various sites, which is why there are gorgeous Japanese wood-block prints of things like Uluru and Mt. Kilamanjaro. That would not be a bad way to spend one’s life, if you ask me. This is something of a homage (and something of a “Man, I should go find all my old vacation photos and use them for reference for stuff in this style, because I will actually LOOK at this painting in a few years and maybe remember it, instead of having it moulder on a memory card somewhere.”)

I am really only able to do this because I am procrastinating about drawing hamsters, though.

World Fantasy Nomination!

So I was at Anthrocon and was in fact at the after party run by the Dorsai Irregulars when an online friend, Ultragotha, congratulated me for my World Fantasy nomination.

Now, the ballot’s been out for awhile, and I wasn’t on it, so I thought it was just an awkward misunderstanding…and then Cassie, my most faithful of minions, called me and explained (three times–there had been rum) that the ballot had been revised and a short story was moved to novella and thus a slot opened and I was now on the ballot for “Jackalope Wives.”

So…uh…whoa.

I am still a little befuddled (there was rum! I’ve been at a con!) but it appears this is really happening.

Whoa.