Leopard spots

I settled down to put spots all over my critters from the previous picture.

Leopard spots are hard to do, not only because the rosettes have to be uniform and yet randomly shaped, but because the spots go in an s-shape across the leopard’s body.

Look at the spots on his side, there. A very pronounced S-shape. Such a pleasing pattern, and yet so hard to duplicate! The spots also go in rings around his legs, possibly a spiral, but it’s hard to tell from the side.

My art teacher told me once that the S-shape is the most pleasing shape in nature, and it’s everywhere. And if you, as an artist, can capture that s-shape, then your art will please people and sell well. I’ve kept that in mind for years. I think I make things over-curvy, actually.

Also, my leopard sucks. I didn’t spend much time on him. Dinosaurs you can suck on and nobody cares, because nobody has a mental picture of what they really look like to compare them to.

More color sketches

It was really hot today, so I sat and sketched out this.

I keep coming back to the African Savannah as The Hot-Colored Place, and it’s such fun to stick dinosaurs in there. I guess because everything in Africa is so far removed from fauna in the US, and also some of the animals are so very large. Dinosaurs just seem to fit in naturally.

The dino there is a utahraptor, because those were pretty big and lying down would at least be the size of a leopard. I’m giving them both spots, which is why they’re hanging out there.

I tried and tried to find out if utahraptor had feathers, but apparently there’s only been one fossil of it discovered, and it was only bits and pieces. The general thinking is that since most of the other dromeosaurs had feathers of some sort, it probably did, too. So I’m giving it a hairdo and a pretty covering, but no feathers on the arms because you couldn’t see them anyway.

Somebody needs to dig up some more utahraptors.

Blizzard story contest

Blizzard is having a short story contest, and the deadline is August 23rd.

My husband is encouraging me to enter, so I’ve been working on my little werewolf/worgen story. The word limit is 7500, and I’m over 13000, so there will be quite a bit of trimming. But all I have left is the climax anyway, so once I finish that, I can go back and cut, cut, cut. Elements of Style is my friend during editing. 🙂

Anyway, here’s an excerpt from said worgen story. This sort of thing has probably been done to death, but I just haven’t read many werewolf books, because they all seem to be horror and I don’t enjoy blood and guts. If anybody knows of some good ones that didn’t come into being after Twilight, I’d be much obliged.

The band started up a spirited waltz, and Bernard watched as the dozens of pretty dresses and crisp suits swirled onto the dance floor. Charlotte was in the thick of it, dancing with a tall, handsome lawyer. She never danced with Bernard. He watched her, and felt a faint twinge of jealousy. Then he wondered why. Their marriage was all but name only. He had never messed with other women, though. He felt that he was married and needed to uphold that. He wondered if Charlotte felt the same, and watched her twirl and dance with the lawyer. He doubted it.

The dances went on, and Bernard browsed the buffet. It was excellent. He hobnobbed with the other men, as he was expected to, and flirted courteously with the ladies. But he kept thinking of that wobbling fence, and wishing that he could check his scrollstone for a return message from Kryn.

It was nearing midnight, and Bernard was feeling fatigued and resting in a chair, when he heard a strange sound from outside. An animal howling. Then the sound of breaking glass from the front of the mansion.

He rose to his feet and stared across the room at the ballroom entrance. The servents were peering out, then hurrying out in alarm. But people kept dancing and the music kept playing.

Bernard stood frozen, heart beginning to frantically pound. He had expected something like this, yet he had no idea what to do.

Then the screams began.

Terrible screams, screams of dying women mixed with a horrible roaring and growling. The music stuttered to a halt, and the roomful of handsomely dressed people turned to stare.

Bernard spotted Charlotte as she rose to her feet from a chair across the room, where she had been resting her feet in the lap of the young lawyer. Bernard hurried toward her, shouldering past other staring, frozen people. No one paid any attention to him, for the screams were growing louder.

“Charlotte,” he said, grabbing her arm.

She looked at him, her face white as chalk. “Bernard,” she gasped, “what’s happening?”

He pulled the elixirs out of his pocket and pressed one into her hand. “Drink this. It might save you.”

“What is it?” she whispered, looking at the shimmering blue liquid.

“Drink it!” he commanded, uncorking his own vial. He drank it in one gulp. Charlotte sipped hers, made a face, then finished it and laid the vial on the table.

That was when the worgen entered the ballroom.

Five of them bounded through the doors, some rearing up on their hind legs to peer over the crowd. They were much taller than a human, all shaggy gray fur, long canine faces with bared fangs, and long arms ending in dagger-like claws. Then they dropped to all fours and sprang into the crowd, wolves among sheep.

The ballroom erupted into pandemonium. Everyone tried to run away from the worgen, but only suceeded in tripping over others and themselves. Worst were the women in their choking skirts, getting tangled in them and falling, only to find their throats bared to the worgens’ fangs. People were opening windows and leaping out, but from the noise outside, there were worgen outside the mansion, too.

Bernard pulled Charlotte around the circumference of the room, making for the balcony door. Many people had fled already, and the crowd was thinning. The floor was splattered and smeared with blood.

Four of the worgen were mangling and killing every human in their paths, but the fifth worgen, with a human-like cunning, was only biting. He bit only arms or legs, only deep enough to draw blood. He saw Bernard and Charlotte, and sprang at them from across the ballroom.

Bernard leaped in front of Charlotte to shield her from the gray furred monster charging them, and yelled in pain as its teeth sank through his sleeve and into the flesh of his forearm. Then it flung him aside with astonishing strength and siezed Charlotte’s bare white arm. Its teeth flashed, then it turned and bounded away, leaving Bernard and Charlotte staring at the blood running down each other’s arms.

Another worgen ran toward them, but saw that they had been bitten, and it ran out its tongue and laughed instead. It leaped out a nearby window, and they heard screams as it mangled someone else.

“Why did it leave us alone?” whispered Charlotte.

“We’re bitten,” said Bernard grimly. “We’re now under the worgen curse, just like them.”

Charlotte looked at the blood running down her arm in horror. “We’re … going to turn into one of those things?”

Pondering content

Some nights, instead of drawing, I sit down and write a bit. I’d like to post that on my blog sometime, but I don’t know if that would go over as well as artwork does.

Artwork, you can take one glance and move on. But reading a piece of a story takes a little more commitment, like, spending a few minutes on a site rather than a few seconds. I don’t know, what do you think?

And I have been drawing. Working on this, mostly.

(Click to enlarge)

She has clothes now, and a hairdo. Her hair came out looking like Blaze the Cat’s from the Sonic universe. See?

Although why a cat has feathers coming out of her head, I never will know. I kind of want the griffin’s feathers to have red tips, though, like feathers in an Indian headband. (I said Indian! Not Native American! That makes me racially insensitive! HAHAHAHA)

Anyway, yeah. I’d like to post writing snippits on here on the nights that I write and don’t draw. I’m just not sure anybody would be interested.

Anthro griffin sketch

My commissioner who commissioned this pic also commissioned me for a second picture, one of the same griffin made anthro. Or furry. How about “humanoid”? Yeah, we’ll go with “humanoid”.

So here she is. I need to consult with my commissioner on clothes. So far I just have a loincloth sketched in, but she might want to go with a more modern look.

Navi self-portrait

I just saw Avatar on video. I still don’t know if I liked it or not. It felt like more of an art movie than anything–lots and lots of pretty art and weird stuff. Like looking at one of those books of concept art for Myst.

Anyway, I wondered what I might look like all CG-d up as a navi, like I’m sure half the internet has already done. So I figured, might as well give it a shot! It’ll be a fun exercise. 🙂

Here’s the photo I took of myself. Gah, I look so tired. That’s going away when the airbrush comes out.

And splash on 45 minute’s worth of airbrushing and liberal use of the Hue slider:

Yay, I’m a blue-skinned catgirl!

I haven’t painted in Photoshop in a long time, especially not ancient Photoshop 6. I miss the wonderful blend tools of Painter, but I managed to bend Photoshop to my will pretty well.

Here’s my reference pic:

Painting Venice/Solenna

I sat down to doodle, and this sketch came out.

I’m contemplating writing a story adaptation of the Sonic game that was on the xbox 360, since it had a totally rad story, more Final Fantasy than Sonic. The whole thing is set in a city called Solenna, which is based heavily on Venice.

So I went poking around, looking for neat pictures of Venice for the background. I found this one, which had the sort of lighting and mood that I wanted.

Started with a gradient …

Scrubbed in some sky …

Dropped in some building structure. I drew them as blocks and shaded them before I put in the windows.

So. Many. Windows.

A lot of those windows are off kilter or unfinished, because they fall behind a character’s head and there’s no point in adding all that detail.

Then I slathered in some light.

The light inside the buildings is essentially painted with a soft airbrush (I used a Gouache brush with opacity set to about 5%), and the water reflections are painted with Oils > Wet Brush. I love the wet brush.

And it’s late, and I’m tired, so I’m stopping here. 🙂