Rogue Nipples

While kicking around the VCL, reading the current tempest in a teapot about altering the archive (in this case to de-nipplize, which is at least a nice change from the normal quality control argument) it occurred to me that I actually have opinions on how art archives are run. Actual opinions! How and why did that happen?

And then I realized that freelance artist that I be, I’ve gotten maybe ONE job from aggressive self-promotion (and I do mailings and the like, too)–virtually all of my work comes through people finding my art on the Net, on Elfwood or VCL or Yerf or DeviantART or wherever. So these guys–Ch’marr and Thomas and Dingo and all those associated admins and so forth, god love ’em, who do this job that I would never in ten million years want to do, are actually in large part responsible for my financial success, limited though it currently is. Presumably once I’m wildly successful (I can dream!) and I can send mailings to major publishers without getting immediately filed and forgotten, this may change somewhat, but at the moment, on-line art archives are a large part of what keeps the wolf from the door. So of course I have opinions about this–nothing develops an opinion half so rapidly as cold hard cash.

But I find it a little funny, all in all, because when attempting to keep silliness in perspective, I usually tell myself “It’s about talking animals, for god’s sake. Let’s not lose our tiny little minds.” Except that for probably more than a few of us, talking animal art has actual cash backing it, and this absurd, delightful, whimsical little genre shows up as an entry on our 1040’s.

Do I have a point? Other than re-iterating my heartfelt “THANK YOU!” to the people running all those art archives, not really. I think that maybe, even after a couple of years, I just still find it funny that I have a job where I can actually spend hours discussing with an employer the way a dragon’s wings are going to work, or how much gore can tastefully come from a bullet entry wound, or how a wolfman’s ankles should properly articulate–and that’s what I do. Every now and then the sheer bemusement of it all hits me, and ya know, ya gotta laugh.

Damn De Game!

About a year and a half ago, I bought “Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor” which at the time was hyped as an astounding amazing game, and turned out to be a hideously buggy dungeon crawl. But the combat system was cool, in that it was exactly like an Amiga game called “Realms of Arkania” which I had loved with a deep and undying passion, and I didn’t hit any bugs. I bought it early, played it for awhile, then put it away, tired of a mindless dungeon crawl, managing thereby to miss the six-hundred odd reviews that hailed it as the most worthlessly buggy pile ‘o crap to ever hit the shelf and advising consumers to spend their $40 on skewers to shove in their eyes rather than play this game. Pity, might’ve saved me some angst.

Angst, a year too late.

Played Shadowrun for most of the afternoon. Today was the day of Weird Noncombatant NPCs. It’s a sad state of affairs that my samurai, who can butcher her way through an army with a smile on her face and a song in her heart, can be utterly derailed by a cook who refuses to take her seriously and tells her that dinner won’t be ready for an hour, so quit waving that sword around. And, on the bright side, I got all the sketches done for the rest of the Underbed story arc of “Irrational Fears.” Three more pages to go, all of which are drawn. The end is in sight! Meanwhile, I’m watching Steve Irwin, the Croc Hunter guy, enthusiastically fling himself onto a gigantic crocodile that obviously wants nothing more than to eat him. I gotta say, the guy’s grown on me. I used to just think he was a lunatic, but after watching a half dozen shows, (primarily in hopes of seeing something take a chunk out of him) there’s a certain charm. I think it’s the sheer enthusiasm. You gotta admire anyone who so obviously passionately loves all these animals that equally obviously would like to kill/maim/trample/bite/maul him. Not to mention the running commentary. Who else, attempting to determine the sex of an angry tree kangaroo, would say “Oh! She doesn’t like us looking at her little girly bits, I guess.” At the moment, there appears to be a crocodile at the bottom of a dog-pile of about twenty guys in khaki. I get the impression that the crocodile is winning. God, I love Animal Planet.

Got a lot done today, despite continued sore throat. And my buddy Slash sent me these big clawed tiger-paw slippers for Christmas, so I get to wander around the house traumatizing the cats and yelling “Fear my slippers!” Put up a new comic too. So life’s not bad, although I had a mild irritation occur last night, which I will now bitch about.

I could go into an elaborate backstory, but there’s absolutely no point, and you’d be bored stiff. Hell, I’d be bored stiff. So suffice it to say that a small and idiotic internet drama was briefly kicked up, which I won’t dignify with details and am resolutely ignoring, but in which I was a long-absent but still central dramatis personae.

It’s not that I am particularly upset about it, (although I do feel badly for the very nice people who unwittingly took the brunt of such silliness) but I am bemused at the sheer lameness of such little dramas. I just don’t get into these internet soap operas. It’s like the whole You-stole-my-art! thing, or the You-copied-my-style! things that galvanize people, whom I must assume are not normally complete loons, to engage in shockingly juvenile behavior in such ridiculous forums as…well…forums, I suppose. Or comments. And not once, usually, but time and again! But I mean, sheesh, if I wanted that kind of complicated he-said-she-said-he-copied-me-she’s-mean stress, I’d go pick up one of those indecipherably complicated serial romance mangas or watch Springer or something. I want to yell “I am exempt from this sort of thing!” I have opted out! I don’t think anything useful will ever be resolved by internet sniping! If I can’t play nicely with someone, I avoid them, because I am long past the teenage days when I got high on drama! I have hobbies with which to amuse myself! I AM EXEMPT!

Or at least I oughta be, damnit.

Except, of course, that nobody’s ever really exempt–even if you refuse to take part, the drama goes on around you, like a bit character in a Tennessee Williams play, and about all you can do is say your lines and flee into the wings thinking “Why did I go into acting? Why didn’t I stay home and become a plumber like Mom wanted?” (Warning: Runaway simile Alert.) It’s all so wretchedly banal. If I’m gonna have a crisis, I want a cool crisis. I want a plague of intelligent raccoons building a missile silo in the basement and holding my cats hostage. I want to buy a knick-knack at a garage sale that turns out to hold the map to the Secret Lost Treasure of Spungo Madre, and y’know, dramatic car chases in my elderly Honda and so forth. I’d settle for some obscure disease that had me rising from the grave at night to feast on the spleens on the living. Something that would make a really cool anecdote. Something swashbuckling. Not “lameass internet sniping” without a swash in sight. How’m I supposed to get a good story outta that?

Omens

To my intense and unutterable disgust, I wrote this once already, and it got eaten when I attempted to update. Sigh.

However, other than that minor annoyance, 2003 is off to a great start. (Year of the sheep? Has it started yet? When’s Chinese New Year?) Commission auction’s going well, other work going well, and I’m bartering art for art supplies with a friend of mine, which is always nice to do. Finally got paid for some covers I did a few months back, which is always a “Woohoo!” moment, and shoves the wolf a few more feet from the door. Put up a few more print auctions. (I feel vaguely embarassed plugging work here–don’t feel obligated to check it out! I’ll still love you all!–but I figure that since this sort of thing is pretty much what I spend my day doing, it’s as valid as anything else.)

Speaking of vaguely embarassed–I was delighted and flattered to be asked to be the art guest of honor at Trinoc Con this August. I’m stoked, of course, but I never know quite how to respond to these things, other than “Good lord, are you sure?” Then I think “Lord, will people think I’m being falsely modest? Should I just say “Damn straight! I rock!” (There are lots of classes offered on “taking critique well” but I occasionally think that we should also have a few on “taking praise without turning bright red and mumbling and worrying that you sound conceited.”) Then I give up worrying about it–my attention span’s really not that long–or I get distracted by a shiny object, thereby short-circuiting yet another opportunity for personal growth. Oh, well. But hey, if anybody’s in North Carolina in August, I’m hoping to get a dealer’s table, and I’m always happy to see people!

In other news, and perhaps proof that no omens for 2003 are unmixed, I’m coming down with something–sore throat, mucus membranes feel drier than the Dead Sea Scrolls, headache–and I had a really bizarre nightmare involving my cats beating up a monkey. The monkey developed horrible abcesses. When I attempted to check these, the damn thing peed on me, and in thorough disgust, I went into the bathroom (which, in the standard dream fashion, was the pink bathroom from my grandmother’s house) and threw up. I’ve never vomited in a dream before. This was an oversight that I wish hadn’t been rectified. Perhaps as a sign of both the vividity of my subconcious and its total lack of taste, I could even identify my stomach contents (egg noodles), which oddly enough did not match my meals of the day. I woke up going “YNNNGUGUGHHH!”

And that’s my nasty monkey dream for the day.

Oh, and I finished the manticore chick. As usual, it lacks some of the energy of the sketch, but I still was pleased.

Generally uneventful…fiddled with some sketches this morning (I’m trying to sketch more, even just quick little warm-up doodles in Painter, but have not made this a resolution, on the principle that I know I will eventually stop doing it.) Fixed up website for James’s Mom. Watching this show on Animal Planet on future evolution–I think it’s based on Dougal Dixon’s fantastic “After Man” stuff, a book I discovered in high school, and which I wish to god I’d thought of first. Working on manticore chick.

Frightened by article as child. Fear them since.

Put a commission auction up on Furbid, as I have a feeling money will be getting tight in the next few months–I’m not yet in the Valley of the Shadow of Broke, but I’m coming up on the turnoff–and I’ve somehow acquired a brief breathing space on work (by which I mean there’s only like three things slated this month that Absolutely Positively Must Be Done Right Now, which for me is practically free and clear.) Check it out, if you’re so inclined. On the bright side, since my entire commercially successful career as an artist has occurred in the last two years (i.e. since we entered an economic recession) I guess that bodes well if we ever come out it. And hey, sure as hell beats Burger King.

These digging quail are too bizarre.

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.