Photoshop Painting #23: Mouse Druid

  • Name: Damian
  • Occupation: Druid, leader of the forest animals.
  • Notable Features: Grey fur, brown eyes.
  • Character's Race: He's a mouse.
  • Character's Equipment: He has a twig he uses as a walking stick/quarterstaff.

As I've shown before, I have a soft spot for mice. Maybe it was just too much Brian Jacques as a child. 

Photoshop Painting Catchup #18: Punk


  • This character is Asian. She's got a light-weight frame, standing at what I'd imagine is close to 5'0.
  • Her hair looks something like this, jet black with a silver highlight. No piercings or gauges. Her eyes are a standard brown. She's got a bruise on one of her cheeks and a band-aid on her nose. On her face is a light scowl.
  • She's wearing a black blazer with the sleeves torn off so it's like a vest, but you can see the ripped cloth down to the upper bicep. Underneath is a t-shirt with a picture of a shark on it. She's got a studded belt on her tight fitting jeans dark blue jeans, and some aged looking High-top Converse-esque sneakers. On one of her wrists is a studded leather bracelet.

I'll be honest. I chose this one to draw because of the sneakers.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a sucker for a female fantasy character in a zero-drop shoe. So often female characters are put in tall heels for no reason, and it makes me mad because it's lazy and a disservice to the character. Some would wear heels, some wouldn't. It depends on the character. Don't do it just because 'that's what women wear, right?' or even worse, 'But flat shoes are haaaard.' Suck it up buttercup.

Not much to talk about here artistically, this one is well within my comfort-zone. But the shadow came out particularly well (blurred edges seem to matter) and the shark shirt was pure fun. 

Photoshop Painting Catchup #17: Theva Nemmonis


  • I just created a new character to play D&D with some friends for the first time in 25 years and am quite excited. I will be playing a female dragonborn paladin. She is 6'5" and about 265lbs with white/silver scales. She was a soldier for about 8 years before her clan got wiped out and now she is looking for payback...I looked for images on the web but most are of male dragonborn and higher level with fancy armor and weapons. And while I will eventually want something like that I figured I should have something that is appropriate for her current state at level 1.
  • She wears chain mail armor that while well worn, is kept in meticulous condition. She has a greataxe that she uses as her primary weapon and a warhammer for fighting from horseback (she also owns a horse)....She also carries with her a dagger that her first kill had on him as well as a war banner from her clan that is old, worn, and torn. Of course she also has the usual equipment (backpack, bedroll, saddle, saddle bags, etc).

This drawing was pure fun. Part of that was of course that I enjoy the hell out of drawing Dragonborn, and part of it was the challenge of figuring out how to put a Dragonborn on a horse.

A big difficulty with drawing mounted figures is getting the legs to plausibly wrap around the ribs of the horse without looking too long, too short, or extremely stiff. Make that figure Dragonborn, and suddenly you can add digitigrade legs and big toe claws to your list of difficulties!

Reference material pro-tip: Need to draw a mounted figure brandishing a weapon? Polo.

This also earns its place among my favorites because of the brilliant conversation I had with the Prompter about the final image. She liked it, but was the tiniest bit disappointed....

Prompter: 'That's pretty awesome! I think you captured pretty much exactly how she would react to an attack, charge in with weapon drawn. I love the look on her face too, even the look on the horses face matches. The only thing that conflicts with my mental image is that since she has a 20 STR and is 6'5" I just envisioned that her weapons would be a bit oversized and look more menacing looking, though the warhammer you drew is exactly what your typical one would look like. But that is just a minor thing. I love it and thank you!!! 

Me: 'I imagine she's a bit disappointed about the size of her hammer too! :D But this one works, which is all level 1's get most of the time. After she adventures a bit, she'll get a shinier hammer. :) She'd also like a bigger horse while she's at it. This one is tall enough, but tires too quickly. (Theva's not a featherweight.) She'll get a proper warhorse eventually.'

Prompter: 'Perfect response. :) Thanks again! And yeah, I was gonna badger the DM for a warhorse instead of a regular one, but then I saw how much they cost and figured it would be a lost cause. Only problem I have now is waiting until we play again...'


My first NaNoWriMo isn't going well exactly, but my story is absolutely progressing.

One of the most encouraging developments has been the fleshing-out of my villains. When I started I had some idea of what they wanted, but very little of the why, and even less of what they looked like. As my eventual plan is probably to draw this story up into a graphic novel, the visual vagueness of these two very important characters was a serious problem. 

Interestingly, I found that as I gave these characters a history and a setting their appearance developed quite naturally. (This is a bit of an inversion for me- historically I'd come up with a cool looking character, and then have to make up reasons that they looked that way. Which maybe had something to do with why, historically, my plots were underdeveloped.)

Her name (at least until I decide to change it) is Ethelinda. He is Ofure. This is a picture of them in younger, happier days. At this point they are the heroes of their own story, not the villains in someone else's.


Battle Dragon

Battle-Critter This prompt is from a subreddit called Artbattle, which I admit I haven't quite gotten the hang of yet. There are... fights? Except kind of more like a rap-battle, because there's this one-upsmanship turn taking thing. But with drawings.

I didn't win this round. Despite deciding that there was no way I could make it in color before the deadline, I still didn't get it done in time.

On the bright side, I finally figured out how to armor a dragon. It just bugs me when fantasy armor doesn't make sense, and a dragon is a particularly tough case- the armoring needs are kind of like those of a horse, but the critter is flexible like a cat, plus it has some of it's own naturally grown plates and spikey bits that have to poke through.

This scene came out of this old story, but I've made a few changes: There are only two sizes of dragon (the ones shown here) and the difference isn't species. It's gender. Humans have only legends of the big ones and consider them mythical, but are quite familiar with the small ones and think of them as clever animals, so tame them much like hunting hawks. Although they are confused as to why the critters won't breed in captivity...




Military Mech Sketch


A proper sketch for once. When I saw that the prod from sketchdaily was mechanical in nature ('chicks dig giant robots') I knew I had to do it. Machinery and I have historically not been friends, but it seems that things are getting better. I think this one turned out so well because I could mimic muscular structure (which I understand very well) to make up pistons and armor plates (which I'm not so familiar with.)

The person in the capsule is a chick BTW, I just didn't go far enough in the drawing to make that clear. Other conceptual details that didn't come through- this is a multi-grav general use 'workhorse' unit. It has a compressed gas pack which is good for low G maneuvering/jumping. It can work in a variety of gravity environments, with a range of about .1 to 2 Gs. It has one 'working' arm, and one 'protection' arm- because these environments are not lifeless.

The Wild Hunt Begins

Damn Sketchdaily. You keep coming up with awesome shit for me to draw. In this case, the prompt was pretty broad: Norse Mythology. Being at least passingly familliar with Norse mythology, I thought I'd draw Sleipnir. But since Sleipnir is Odin's horse, I thought he should be ridden by Odin. And one of the best ways to make it clear that you're drawing Odin is to include Geri, Freki, Huginn, and Muninn. And by that point I realized I'd drawn the beginning of the Wild Hunt.



This turned out much more awesome than expected. It will definitely be worth returning to at some point to do a full-color rendition.

And yes, that is actually the sort of thing horses do with their legs over high jumps. It's just that it's only very, very athletic horses that can clear jumps like that, so it turns out looking more deer-like.

Fractured Crow

Totems This is a revamp of a very old drawing, curtsey of SketchDaily. (Prompt: Totems.)

The 'fractured' style was something I was very into for about a year in highschool. Of course I was making this sort of thing entirely with Sharpies, so can only assume I was high on marker fumes a lot of the time.



Sketchdaily Roundup: I lost count

Prompt: Scary Story One of my favorite scary story classics (although really it tends to be more sad than scary) is the ghost with her head held on with a ribbon. Unfortunately my drawing turned out a bit more on the 'governess' side of things rather than 'winsome dead lass'.



Prompt: Storybook Characters.

A bit late to the party on this one, but no one had thought of the Gruffs! Apparently, this blog is developing a bit of a 'goat' theme.gruff


If anyone wants to follow along, (or participate!) the prompts can be found on r/SketchDaily. Just be warned- if you get sucked into the reddit vortex, I take no responsibility.


Sketchdaily Roundup 4

Prompt: Scene from a Book. Watership Down is sort of a major book for me. It was one of the first books I can remember being read to me, and when I came back to it as an adult I was pleasantly surprised to find that it holds up. It's actually sort of two classically structured myths in sequence: The Journey, and then The War.

This is a scene from the Journey portion, and I won't tell you any more because it's dear to my heart and SPOILIES.


Prompt: Self Portrait.

I will explain... no, is too much, I will sum up. I am in the process of doing a moderate personal overhaul, both of physicality and personality. I'm hoping these will be my before and after pics.

Prompt: Insects

I think mantises are cute.

Prompt: Illustrate a Recipe.

I didn't finish it, but I do think it has potential so I may at some point finish it. It's also one of the least intuitive and most difficult prompts I've done to date, so I may not finish it. I may just eat the damn cookies.

Sketchdaily Roundup 3

Prompt: A Trip to the Playground. All that sprang to mind was this.

Prompt: Deities.

I was late to the party on this one, so first thoughts like Artemis and Thoth had already been done. So I went with Miyazaki style Kodama.

Prompt: Personification of Subatomic Particles.

Quarks. All I have to say is that particle physicists must have very interesting dinner parties.

I would have liked to develop this in a watercolor style, but I just didn't have time this week.

Prompt: Goats.

Since I did quite a workup on goats not too long ago, I kept it simple this time.


A memorial drawing for one of the first dogs I was privileged to have as a daily dogwalking client, Miss Princess Polly-wog Molly Dog. She always did love the snow.

Not sure it's my best work, but I couldn't seem to do any better. (And I tried.) Sorry 'bout that Miss Molly.


Sketch Daily Roundup 2

Prompt: Gunfight. Having just done a western sketch last week, I wanted to take this a totally different direction. Since I find buckles, snaps, guns, and anything mechanical to be very difficult I decided to push in that direction, but promised myself I'd stop while it could still reasonably be called a sketch.

Prompt: Pareidolia. Shortly, it's the human tendency to perceive randomness as significant. Things like seeing a simplified face in a light socket, or hearing words in Beatles songs played in reverse.

Prompt: Freeday. And also this song on youtube, and the sad fact that I did absolutely nothing for Halloween. This is Baron Samedi, a loa of Haitian Vodou.

Sketch Daily Roundup 1

As part of my attempt to get back to myself, I'm listening to the sage advice of Ira Glass. Which mainly means producing more work, more regularly, and not dwelling on how it falls short of what I had in mind. To that end I've starting trying to keep up with the SketchDaily subreddit. Life being the way it is I'm not really keeping to an every day schedule, but having an ongoing prompt-engine certainly helps with actually doing it and with pushing me on subject matter.

Prompt: Western

Apparently, the high plains don't look like much of anything without color.

Prompt: Eastern

Her reaction isn't totally unreasonable- Nara deer can be pushy!

Prompt: Southern

I didn't want to do something too stereotypical... and also I had just watched a Dirty Jobs episode featuring Alligator Snapping Turtles. Oh Mike Rowe, I'd watch you read the phone book. (Actually I kind of did. The dictionary anyway.)

Prompt: Northern

I grew up in a place that had a yearly dogsled race. They started at night, and it was tradition to have outdoor parties/gatherings at trail forkings near town to help the non-local mushers not get lost. In my memory, this is what the teams look like coming towards you.

Working Title: Snowball

Sketches (in no particular order) from a sci-fi story I'm working on. Like many of my best ideas, this one came from three unrelated ideas that turned out to have quite a bit in common. First was the realization that what a galactic surveyor would consider to be 'earth like' might not look much like our current, temperate world. At one point in earth's history ice sheets covered most of the planet (this is hyperbolically referred to as 'snowball earth') and so a planet identical to ours in all the major quantities could, in fact, be a snowball. With proper 'marketing' I'd bet dollars to donuts they could get colonists out there.

Second was the impact that living in a colony has on an emotional and economic level. Our modern world doesn't have colonies in the old sense- it may be expensive to quickly get to or communicate instantly with Timbuktu, but if you've got the money, it can be done. Formerly, people living in colonies were truly cut off- it wasn't a matter of money. The supply ship came once a year, and sometimes if the storms were bad, or if it wouldn't be profitable, they didn't come at all.

Third was a definition that I'd never heard before. (I like words, so it's unusual for me to run across one in my daily life where I can't even hazard an educated guess at the meaning.) The word was subnivean: a zone that is in or under the snow layer. I was familiar with the concept from watching videos of foxes hunting mice in winter, but the word itself was new.

This is the first time where the environment that my story took place in came to me before the characters or plot. Here, the world defines everything. So welcome to Snowball.


InDesign Practice: Flyer redo

I've been doing some reading on basic graphic design principles lately, so I thought a re-vamp might be a good excuse to practice a them a bit in InDesign. Here is my spectacularly unsuccessful flyer from two years ago.

In order to make the redo, I needed to make two short lists based on the original poster: one of the necessary elements, and one of what's wrong with the original poster.

Requirements: Header/Teaser, three informational statements, tear-off contact info, and what is hopefully a good graphic.

Fixes: Too low contrast. Everything has approximately the same visual emphasis, which defeats the whole 'eyecatching' requirement. In an effort to show as many drawings as possible, I've pretty much eliminated true white space, which doesn't help with the contrast issue. Also, alignment? What alignment?

Much better. Still, there are a few things I think I could improve if I wanted to spend more time on it. The graphic is not my best work, I'd prefer to replace it with something a little more recent. And I'm not sure how to resolve the header. The zapfino font 'd' makes horizontally centering the header problematic. Also I'm pretty sure the alignment between the header and the three statements should be consistent, but that leaves the header looking like I meant it to be properly centered and didn't succeed. Foo.

The original flyer is old, but the special is current! Valentine's day is approaching rapidly, and now would be a good time to begin to panic... that is if someone weren't to hypothetically offer you a totally affordable and unique gift option. Just sayin'.