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Courtesy of the Onion: "Department of Evil: All of you must die."

In other news, got my new Wacom tablet! It is pure love. And I totally wussed out on Linux. Perhaps another time. Probably in a year or so, when the next upgrade for functional software requires me to install Vista.

Also, drew this for [ profile] sandchigger Friday afternoon. I needed something to ease the narcoleptic pain of work.

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Was a great weekend!

I spent Saturday with my dad, who I think I might've mentioned finally realized that he lives right by the river. A river with fish in it.

Guess who likes to fish? We do! We do!

I'm very excited. This might seem strange, to be excited about something that is, frankly, frequently so boring, but the thing is that fishing is how I've traditionally spent quality time with the men in my life. I fished with Grandpa all the time, I fish with friends. I haven't fished with Dad since I was about knee-high to a grasshopper (some might say I still am; to such individuals, I say "Nyah!"). So to me, this is significant.

Also, Dad is a spectacular cook, and the Susquehanna's got some damn good eating-fish. I will clean and cook what I kill, and it shall be tasty!

I already have one, but he got me another pole--lovely thing, open reel, nice and flexible, just the right size for me. He helped me restring my current rod, which definitely needed it. He taught me how to use a lathe, since he has one in his basement. Dad's a shop fanatic; love to tinker, especially when it comes to making things multipurpose. And then we hung out and jawed about computer software. Speaking of which, I have a couple of recommendations for you lot:

PDF xChange--the first downloadable on the page--is a PDF viewer a la Adobe Reader. What it is, however, is smaller and far more polite than Adobe. Remove that bloated, invasive monstrosity from your hard drive and use this instead. It's something like 7 MB, and delightfully fast. Reminiscent of Acrobat Reader back in the old days.

Cheetah is a bit of disc-burning sweetness. If you're familiar with Nero Burning Rom, it works a great deal like that--except that Cheetah is about 7 MB, doesn't get in its own way when burning, and costs $75 less.

On Sunday, I got to see my best friend, her mom, and her little boy. He's a sweet little baby. I like children, but I sometimes find them intimidating. What if I drop them? What if I upset them? What if they barf on me? Jonathan, however, takes much of the work out of it. Here, Friends, have a picture. )

In the last few days, I've also gotten several pictures done. I laid off the art for a couple of months, there. I suppose I needed to recharge or something, because I didn't feel like drawing anything. But now, aside from the kung-fu Eshu, which I exhibited in a previous post, we've got:

Sonya Berzin, Shadow Lord -- first time I've ever drawn a werewolf all wolfed-out. I'm pretty happy with it for a first try, but it doesn't seem very ferocious.

Sonya, sort of colored -- I envisioned her as a glaring-eyed, black-furred monster. That bit was easy, but then I had to do *something* with her human form because it looked pretty stupid just sitting there as lineart with the rest of the picture all dark and brooding. I got lazy, sue me. :) But I do like how the spirit-bird came out.

Dr. Ambrose Quintrell, Son of Eather -- I wanted to draw this guy because about half the time he looks like a dapper, well-mannered professor, and the other half he's a wild-eyed loon dressed like Indiana Jones if he'd been to visit the Matrix recently. I don't feel I gave him enough weird gear. Perhaps next time...

Doc the Warforged -- And that which I am, perhaps, most proud of: my first art commission! Just recently, I've begun feeling confident enough to start taking a couple of offers. I don't know Eberron, but I'm told Warforged are a sort of sentient golem. The pictures I've seen of them don't look much like this, but the commissioner wanted a fresh, uninfluenced take. I suppose that taken objectively, he's not all that impressive (he will be getting some color later on), but I'm getting paid for it!

Speaking of which: Glacialis, I have not forgotten. I've been working on designs and poses!
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First: yeee, snow! We got about four inches, and everything's gorgeous with it. No one was prepared, so when I walked to work, none of the streets or sidewalks had been plowed or shovelled. I could almost imagine sleighs coming trotting down the streets. I planned to take pictures, but forgot to take my camera along...which was just as well, seeing as I was late to work as it was.

Second: does anyone know how to browse through tagged entries when it's not your LJ and they don't have the tags conveniently offered in a sidebar or something? The only way I've found is to click on a tag and look at other entries under the same label, but what if I'd like to see what other tags a journal offers?

Third: art. Geeky comic book superhero art. Once I'm done hiding my face in embarrassment, I'll justify myself by saying it's damn good practice, and in the past month of being absorbed in comics art, I have improved my figure drawing by leaps and bounds. I've been doodling some of our *cough* superhero RPG characters *cough*what?theyneededcostumedesigns*cough* whom I'll scan at some point by way of illustration. Now I just need to break myself of the growing habit of drawing people in over-dramatic poses with over-dramatic muscles.

In news of my personal life...not much. Work amuses me in a vaguely frustrated but not-unexpected way, mainly due to the rampant disorganized half-assery of the librarian whose project we're working on. *ponders creating a 'stabbity death' icon*
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A great deal of eventfulness this weekend, which added up to little--my car is back in the shop, and my sister has the flu. On the other hand, there was a lovely turkey dinner and the exchange of presents among friends.

I'm still taking notes on that story idea, but when it's begun coalescing into anything involving actual sentences, I'll get that filter set up for those of you who want to be on it.

But most importantly, I've been working on this sucker for six months, on and off, and it's done! I've finished it! It is...a picture with an actual background! Iron Kingdoms: the Rigs
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1: Nalia Zhre'Shezleran, Drow rogue/wizard. D&D 3.0
2: Keith, Dragon fighter/wizard trapped in a human form. D&D 3.0
3: Gerald Davinport, Welsh Verbena. Mage: the Ascension
4: Mixue, Chu Jung (noble fire elemental) Shinma. Land of 8 Million Dreams
5: Jessyn, Elf druid. D&D 3.0
6: Kedrihm'Val, primitive Force Adept. Star Wars (d20)
7: Erik Carvell, Lasombra antitribu. Vampire: the Masquerade
8: Kit, street rat Orphan mage. Victorian WoD
9: Jeri, Elf Ranger. AD&D 2nd Edition
10: Braydon Grath, Human fighter/rogue pirate. Iron Kingdoms (d20)
11: Chi Chi, Human Ranger. D&D 3.0
12: Dancing Firefly, Thousand Whispers Kuei-jin. Kindred of the East

The burning answers to the burning questions. )

Er, hi.

Sep. 18th, 2006 02:05 pm
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Little of importance to say, but I just feel like making a post.

Our hawks are back--the ones from over the winter who were hunting squirrels outside our window at work. I'm glad; I missed those guys.

My computer is insane. I was up late Saturday night, putzing around on my computer. Granted I had a couple of resource-intensive programs open at once. So, my computer seizes. Completely. I grumble idly to myself and reboot. No big deal, figure I should know better. But when I try to reboot...nothing. I get a blank screen, and distressed beeping from my computer of the sort that indicates something integral to the system is no longer playing with its friends. Last time it did this, I'd forgotten to reinstall the RAM after putting in a new hard drive (the RAM is kind of in the way, so I take it out to avoid damage).

"Damn," I think. "My system's hosed." Well, I figure that whatever is wrong is too integral to be the hard drives (which would allow the computer to boot, but then it'd complain that "There's nothing to boot from, feed me a CD now"). So I just shut the thing down, go to bed, and figure I'll mess with it on Sunday.

Sunday morning, computer's fine.

Now I'm paranoid. I've backed up everything of major value, just in case (I was overdue for the ritual Backing Up Of The Files anyway), and for the next few weeks I'll linger in doubt over every minor twiddle and flit of the machine. Is it dying? Do I have some sort of unlikely godawful armageddon virus that'll kill chickens in Ethiopia? Or has it somehow learned that I'm considering replacing it? Maybe it put two and two together and realized what all the web-surfing of online computer parts shops was about.

Or, you know, maybe it just overheated or we had a power spike, or something. Nah. Way too reasonable.

Anyway, here's what I was actually working on at the time, which I had fortuitously just saved before the fateful seizure:

Colored version of that wrench-wielding mage I drew a couple of weeks ago.

By request, a picture for a friend, which I more than slightly suspect is actually based in Demon: the Fallen. This one's my first finished openCanvas piece.

Weird thing about monitors. My monitor at home is...odd. Among other things, it makes the angel picture look like it's drawn in blue-black. I used straight black, which nets you, on most monitors, that nice graphite color, just like it should. It also makes the mage picture look...well, less...contrasted. I've tried calibrating the thing, but frankly it doesn't help. Perhaps this is simply the consequence of having a flat screen monitor. I like it, but it does give graphics a slightly weird cast, especially compared to the exceedingly proper monitor I have at work.
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I'm considering leading a movement to change the designation of Pluto from 'dwarf planet' to 'circumferentially challenged.' My laziness and need to get useful things accomplished is getting in the way of this, but I'm virtually certain that we could actually get that designation changed due to political correctness if we put our minds to it. That's both amusing and pathetic.

Here's a new piece of art by Ursula Vernon, which I'm particularly taken with. Look at the little guy! His beady eyes, his shifty look. It's so cute.

Speaking of which, here's yet more art by me:

A traveller --character illustration for a friend's cleric.

Kasmira -- character illustration for a friend's Tzimisce. I posted this one before, actually, I think. I still intend to color her, but it's taking me a while to get around to that lately.

Paladin -- character illustration for my paladin (it's been more than 10 years since the last time I played a paladin). Okay, it's a bit funny-looking, but it'll look better once I've colored it. Eventually.

Young kuei-jin -- not a character illustration. I just felt like giving KoE some love.

In other news, I desperately need a new motherboard. Mine's not fried or anything, but it is ancient. I figure I've got about a year before I'm no longerable to lay hands on the kind of RAM it takes. So...any suggestions? I'm not interested in top-of-the-line stuff, just something sturdy, cost-effective, and reasonably contemporary, preferably under $100. Alternatively, you could give me some pointers on things to look for in a decent motherboard. I'm doing my own research (damn, but it's been a long time since I shopped for this stuff), but tips are always good.
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I just got an advertisement spam mail with the subject, "Tremendous Bogus."

Driving out to the mall, I passed what looked like a family of hawks. Two were obviously adult--a larger and a smaller (the female and the male). The other three had that kind of fuzzy-about-the-edges, drably colored look that you tend to see in young birds. I think the parents were helping the youngsters practice their flying.

I colored Julian, the guy I drew in the old-fashioned naval uniform.

From Neil Gaiman's blog I learned that you should hunt up a musician named Mitch Benn. He's boppy and hilarious. His new album is called "Everything Sounds like Coldplay Now." He has some mp3s on his MySpace account, including a song called "MySpace."


Aug. 10th, 2006 05:36 pm
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DeviantArt seems to have straightened itself out, so here are the new bits.

Bianca Carver

Julian Calladoria

Both RPG characters. The art pretty basic, really, except that I've been paying extra attention to improving my anatomy. I think they look a bit more lively and animated, but that could just be me. I do like the man's coat, though. Oh, yeah, and his right hand. I can't believe I pulled that off.
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Do Dark Ages Tzimisce use Vicissitude? Because so far, I've got this, and I wonder if it needs altering...

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I finished this on Friday, but have been distracted and kept forgetting to post it.

Bloodsoaked art here.

Ironically, considering the title I've given this post (which was honestly not meant to be clever), this is all about despair. Not mine; I'm really doing fairly well, all things considered. And since I mention it, humongous hugs to all of you and a thousand thanks for your well-wishes.

The character in the picture, on the other hand, is kind of an angst-bomb. :) In fact, if I got it right (please, please, because I know some of you read Japanese and I may have just thoroughly embarrassed myself here), the kanji there should read "despair."

If I didn't get it right, I will love you forever if you provide me with the right symbols.
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Now you don't need to read The Da Vinci Code to know all about the book!

Q&A from a Big-Time Internet Theologian.

Also, for those of you who like the art: Star Wars again. I'm sorry! I can't get it out of my head!
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ursulav: The Gospel of Judas: she's as funny in her LJ as she is in her art.

Speaking of art:

deviantART: Kedhrim'Val--a Star Wars character of mine.

deviantART: Cannibal Fairy Princess--drawn by request from my sister, who is thoroughly enjoying her 'recovering invalid' status. ;) Don't worry, I'm not spoiling her too much. I harass her frequently, to help her build strength and muscle. Heh.

deviantART: 18th Century Gentleman--Marc, this one is for you. Is it anything like what you were looking for? I screwed up on the coat a bit, I'm afraid, but if this looks like your Count, then I'll see if I can fix that and add in his waistcoat. If you want his hair (a wig, since you seemed to want period) or facial features changed, I can do that too, without too much trouble.  If you like this, then I think I may indeed color it.

I gave up on whatever he's fingering. I tried a few different things, and it just wasn't coming to me. )
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We have just been given a new project at work.  Some of you may be familiar with Highlights, the old childrens' literary magazine.  I'm not sure whether it's in print anymore, but when it ran, it was an adorable and very interesting magazine that really helped to promote creativity and interest in reading and the arts among kids.  I was subscribed to it, as were many kids I knew.

Well, that magazine was published not 100 miles from where I now sit, and the Education Library here at Penn State is now negotiating for the archives from it.  As part of the grant proposal, my department has been given seven folders of submissions archives to scan in and prepare as a sample of work.

This is so awesome.  And it's adorable!  Pages of cute stories and art from children hopeful of seeing their work in print.  Granted, they're a little older than I am in real life, but at the time they were just kids.  Heh, who knows?  Maybe I'll come across something I submitted, myself.

PS: artwork. What do you think: would the robe and halo look better in a different color?
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Day sucked. Whine whine whine. Too much to do. Too much procrastination. Etc.
The ranting )

The art )
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I think I'm out of things to pimp (lucky you), so I'm just going to post a few links.

Did you know WICCANS are responsible for N'Sync? It's true! This handy flow-chart will show you.
What Causes a WICCAN?

New art! (I told you I'd have some soon)
Islene--character illustration for a friend. She's a gunslinger.
Braydon--he's a pirate guy I've drawn a couple of times before. I like some things about this, and not so much others.
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I hate moving. I hate moving when it's household moving, and I really hate moving when it's work moving. We're getting this place renovated, starting Monday, so we have to move out seven computers, a laser printer, four three-foot flatbed scanners, and a four-foot-tall overhead book scanner that weighs like 500 pounds and can't be tipped on its side. Plus assorted office sundries such as file cabinets, chairs and so on.

And because our tech department doesn't feel like getting off its collective butt so we can use the storage room designed for such things, this (along with three employees, who are theoretically supposed to continue working on non-existent computers) all goes into an already-cramped space that barely has enough room in the aisles to walk in, two floors above this one, transported in an elevtor that barely has room for four people and was installed in the 1930s. Gahhh. I thought this was what Facilities was for.

Okay, I'm done.

And now, to soothe your abraded nerves, I have a picture. Yeah, okay, so it's not much. But I've had my head stuffed into other things lately, so the artistic inspiration has been a bit thin.

Anybody have anything they *want* me to draw? I'm in the mood, and I could use some suggestions. Character portraits, story illustrations, favorite porno scenes, whatever. Bad [ profile] alice_montrose; I know what you're thinking. ;)
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I know you sometimes struggle to come up with a good concept for a story or character. It can really suck when you blank on stuff like that. But never fear! Now, there's a Character Concept Generator to the rescue!

He's a benighted Amish inventor from a doomed world. She's an enchanted tempestuous politician from aristocratic European stock. They fight crime!


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