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whoosh is the sound of summer being over [Sep. 25th, 2009|01:07 am]
[Current Location |the couch]
[Oh, God, I feel so |sleepysleepy]
[soothing sounds |"Some Other Time" - Yoko Kanno]

I finally bought a "new" bike! I got tired of trawling through Craigslist trying to get lucky, so I hit the bike shops, which were pricey, but one awesome bike store owner (whose store is conveniently right next door to a local comic book shop) advised me to check the pawn shops in the area.

Finally I found a bike I could afford for a bit over $200, looking at it as a long-term investment both in fitness and transportation. This is it, only mine is silver. So I took it from the pawn shop today and dropped it off at the same bike shop to get some minor tuning work done, and a bit of brake adjusting, and got some fenders ordered for it. It should all be ready Monday, and I should have some pics for you all then. Squeee! I'm all excited about it.

This weekend we get to go up to Chicago and see college friends! At some point I will hopefully find a copy of Peter S. Beagle's "The Last Unicorn," since none of the bookstores around Lafayette have a copy on hand. I'm overdue for a re-read, and my copy of it is sitting in a basement somewhere. My first thought was actually to check it out from the library, since I'd rather read an old-well-used copy than a new one. Does anyone else feel that way? The older paper, the folds and creases in the cover, the smell... it makes the book more real somehow, and engages the other senses of smell and touch, instead of just sight and imagination. It makes the book a friend, and makes reading it almost like rekindling an old relationship.

Well... I suppose all old books were new once.
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Glee! [Sep. 9th, 2009|04:45 am]

Happy Birthday quirkybird!!!!!

I'm proud ta know ya! Hope your day is fab, and I'm sorry me and Steph won't make the party. I'll be there in spirit the first time someone says something lame that kills the conversation for a few seconds.
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Friday Sketchpost, now with more PAWNCH! [Aug. 8th, 2009|01:21 am]
[Tags|, , ]

Originally published at James Ratcliffe. You can comment here or there.

[singlepic id=45 w=650 h=756 float=left]

Because sometimes you just gotta draw Jessica Drew laying the smackdown on a Hydra goon (even if it does mean two more will take his place).  And no, if anyone was worried, she’s not attacking Bob Agent of Hydra.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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(no subject) [Aug. 4th, 2009|10:47 pm]
[Oh, God, I feel so |irritatedirritated]

So this morning I traded in a game or two and bought Wii Resort, and spent the rest of the morning playing it with Steph, who had just finished her last final from summer classes. It's pretty awesome, though a few of the games fall into the "just realistic enough to be a bit annoying" category. Neither of us understands the appeal of using the Wii remote and the nunchuck to simulate pedaling a bicycle with our arms. But just about everything else is either cute, awesome, or both.

Ironically, it was coming back from my counseling session that I had someone stop in front of me on rain-slick downhill road, and I could literally do nothing but skid right into the back of him. Front left headlight assembly destroyed, minor damage to the body, but mercifully that was about the extent of it. I'm sore as hell now, I'm hoping tomorrow won't be too brutal. The other guy was pretty understanding, as well as unhurt, so that's probably the most important thing.

This officially breaks my 15-year perfect record of not ever having been the driver in an auto accident, and it's taken all day for the adrenaline-jitters to wear off completely.
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weekend art update! [Aug. 3rd, 2009|01:38 am]
[Oh, God, I feel so |sleepysleepy]

Due to the fact that Thursdays and Fridays are usually irritatingly full of work that is more bank-related than art-related, I'm going to stop calling it my "friday sketchblog" though I'm still going to shoot for Friday.

But I finally finished my Barsoomian Chibis! There were going to be more, but I wanted them done.

They can be seen on my deviantart page HERE..
I'll upload it to my website tomorrow when I do not have to get to bed and hopefully don't have a bad headache.

I hope everyone had a pleasant weekend. Lots of folks are on vacation this week, and for those of you who are, I wish you a very relaxing and fulfilling time. :D
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"Or if wet, in the library." [Aug. 2nd, 2009|02:51 pm]
[Tags|, ]
[soothing sounds |"Take it with me" - Tom Waits]

Author Terry Pratchett wrote a very moving article about 'assisted suicide' (a term he objects to) procedures in the UK, in light of his own condition. It's not terribly long, and like most of his writing, worth your time:

"Life is easy and cheap to make. But the things we add to it, such as pride, self-respect and human dignity, are worthy of preservation, too, and these can be lost in a fetish for life at any cost."
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Meeting new people [Jul. 29th, 2009|12:34 am]
[Oh, God, I feel so |tiredtired]
[soothing sounds |"Eyeball Kid" - Tom Waits]

I finally did it... I played 4th Edition D&D for the first time (at least, not as part of a play-by-post online thingamijig).

I met the DM at a local game store. His party had grown too large to manage, and so he'd just split it into 2 games, the second needing another player; which turned out to be me. So I got in for the 1st session and everything. It felt really good to roll my dice again, even though I rolled for crap. I need new dice, evidently. And a new mini.

I like the 4E system so far. Combat certainly did seem to flow more smoothly, esp. considering the number of new powers we were tossing around. My DM is generous in the right ways, and sadistic in the good ways as well. Our group has all the usual suspects: the powergamer, the chronic late guy, the guy who's way older than everyone and played 1st Ed Back In The Day, and the young kid who I kinda feel bad for when we're all tossing around references that he doesn't get, but laughs anyway. He seems a good kid at heart, and I remind myself that I was once that kid among mostly older gamers back in my Call of Cthulhu and Shadowrun days (which actually really WAS before this kid was born... God it hurts to say things like that.)

Anyway, the group only meets every other Monday, so that shouldn't be too much of a strain on my time. It's odd playing with a group of people who are closer to the usual stereotypes of D&D players. I'm used to my art school/ art studio crowd. I felt kind of self-conscious being the only person doodling my character in-between my turns in combat. Oh, I promise to have something OTHER than my character sketch for my sketchblog this week. ^_^

Hopefully this week I'll get my health insurance (and possibly my 401K) straightened out at the bank this week. I could use the health insurance right about now, but that's a post for another night. It grows night to my bedtime.
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So I didn't go to San Diego this weekend... [Jul. 26th, 2009|12:42 am]
[Tags|, ]
[soothing sounds |"Black Butterfly" - Laura Veirs]

...but I thought, I could still kind of pretend. Keep up with my friends who were, reading tweets, reading news, looking at con pics, not bathing so I smelled my own reek for a few days, etc.

Seriously, though, I thought I should maybe do my own Not-Con Sketches as my exercise for the week. So I dusted off my markers, cut some bristol down to half-letter size, and went nuts. Some ideas are mine, some I got from friends. I tried to keep myself to under an hour per sketch (I was successful on some, not so much with others), and allowed myself no digital work except the scanning, and a bit of level adjustment because my scanner sucks. Oh, and I also promised myself I would post them no matter how much I hated the way they turned out. I like some more than others.

So here they are, in no particular order, under the cut.

sketches of stuffCollapse )
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Always nice to know it's not just you [Jul. 21st, 2009|09:59 pm]
[Current Location |at the desk]
[Oh, God, I feel so |listlesslistless]
[soothing sounds |"Spark" - Tori Amos]

One of my friends tweeted an "Oh, God, why is this me?!?" link to this article from EYE WEEKLY.

I found the whole thing like listening to a really good tarot card reader describe my life to me. Some things were more spot-on than others, but I definitely found this this amusing in light of recent events:
"Twentysomethings are also inundated with constant but mostly empty communication, as the increasingly primary social sphere exists online instead of real life. Nothing could be more alienating to someone in the midst of a crisis than a tool like Facebook. Says James, 'All sorts of half-forgotten acquaintances and abandoned friendships reappear in this spreadsheet of potential reasons to feel terrible about yourself. If you’re as petty as I am, you spend a lot of Facebook time gauging your own feelings of inadequacy in direct relation to other people’s success. All these people you couldn’t give a shit about a couple of years ago are now these omnipresent benchmarks and counterpoints to measure against whatever you have or haven’t got going on in your life.' "

Noooo, never done that at allllll....

I suppose that while I tweet and blog and draw, there is always some carrion comfort to draw from realizing that part of your malaise is shared by a generation of similarly struggling people.

As the article says in the end: "'There is life on the other side of this, and it’s actually a pretty good one. Growing up may be hard to do, but in the end, the gains outweigh the losses.' In other words: it might just be time to grow the fuck up."

Not quite Jerry's Final Thoughts, but food for thought.
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Exclusive LJ Sketchblog update! [Jul. 17th, 2009|09:05 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , ]
[Current Location |606]
[Oh, God, I feel so |artisticartistic]
[soothing sounds |Shpongle - "A New Way to Say Hooray"]

Today I am killing your friends page with no apologies. You can skip down to the drawings if you want.

It's Friday once more, and I don't have to work at the bank this Saturday! We've hired someone new, but I haven't seen this alleged new-hire yet, so I'm still working 30 hour weeks instead of the 20 hours a week I requested. The extra dough isn't really worth the time away from drawing, and it's taking a lot more of my energy than I want it to, but that's work for ya.

This week was a more productive one, as there was a noted lack of 8 solid days of non-stop family activity this week. I have more Barsoom Chibis nearing completion, but Ulysses Paxton is giving me trouble; I can't decide if he needs to be working with Ras Thavas (the Martian answer to Dr. Frankenstein; he swaps rich ugly people's brains into the bodies of younger beautiful slaves), or recoiling in horror, or angry, or what. I'll get a decent pose soon, and this week we should have a good pic, and hopefully color. Finally managed a cute banth (the Martian 10-legged lion), too. Ten legs is a lot to fit onto one torso.

For those of you who may be curious about my protracted absence online; most of it stems from fairly serious depression. Again. I almost preferred the anxiety, to be honest. At least the GERD kept me from weight gain due to comfort-eating. I haven't found a doctor, I'm not on medication, I'm not even seeing anyone professionally, but I'm trying to get hooked up with some of the professionals from my parent's church. I'm a bit leery about that last bit, but we'll see how it goes. If it doesn't work, I'll try something else. As the saying goes, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Indiana was supposed to be a place where I could try and rediscover and reinvent myself, not a place to crawl under a rock and feel sorry for myself, emerging occasionally to work as a bank teller.

So trust me, you all wouldn't want to read any entries I would have written over the past 6 months. I've learned a few things though, and let go of a lot of pride I didn't realize I was holding onto. There's a few people I feel I need to apologize to, but that's an entry for another time.

I read an blog post of an interview with David Chelsea last week. He quoted Chesterton's famous saying "anything worth doing is worth doing badly." While this may seem "spluh" to most of you, I still haven't really found a way to keep my inner perfectionist at bay. I have a lot of trouble continuing to press on at something I'm having a repeated and lengthy hard time with; especially when it comes to improving at drawing. I know full well that I simply cannot improve if I don't keep drawing, yet I often find myself sitting paralyzed in front of my sketchbook. I'm trying to repeat this phrase to keep my inner "it's not good enough" voice in my head quiet. Something else Mr. Chelsea mentioned was that "creativity precedes inspiration. You have to develop the ability to produce competent work efficiently, so that when that great idea finally does strike, you can make it happen with the execution it deserves." (The blog post quoted can be read here.

I have a few projects I haven't started on because I just don't have the chops to pull them off yet. However, I'm trying to change my perspective so that this fact is a source of inspiration and encouragement, rather than a source of shame that adds to the things in my head keeping me from working.

At the end of the day, I'm still here in front of my drawing table, refusing to give up despite my inner voices screaming at me that I'll never make anything of myself with this. I may have fucked up everything else, but I really don't want my art to go the same way.

Thanks for reading all that. Now on to the Friday sketch stuff.

I've been told that my head construction sucks balls. Well, my friend said it more nicely than that, but she also suggested I start by learning to draw skulls, and build from there. So this past little bit I've been drawing me some skulls, using construction methods from both Andy Loomis and Jeff Markowsky. They're both awesome, so if you hate my skulls, blame me, not them. I still need practice, but here's a good start, I think:

And as an apology for my absence, here's the drawing I did for my dad for Father's Day. He has this drab, stark office at his community college where he teaches microbiology, and I really wanted something to give him something cool for it. So I drew this. Yes, I got the idea from xkcd (and also from Jhonen Vasquez' "Squee")

I see only the mistakes I made, but my dad really liked it. Done is beautiful.
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