Normal Life?

(Originally posted today at Patreon. There are a TON of posts that I’ve not gotten around to posting over to this site – please feel free to go check them out, if you’re into that! I’ll be better about updating the free-to-read posts here as well!)

My life has been topsy-turvy lately, but I’m getting closer to normal (for whatever that means!) I wanted to share with you where I’m at on our Typodmary comic books, because that’s why we’re all here, right?

I also need to be able to remind myself where I’m at, and know that I’ve been making progress, even if it seems I haven’t. So, to that end, some reminders as to where we are at this moment in time!

Era of Great Wonders:

I’ve been getting really detailed with the backgrounds in Era, but I think I’m getting really close (for yet another given value of that word!) I may end up using simplified backgrounds for the inside of Eoin’s apartment (like the one directly above, where he’s trying to sleep on the couch) to help differentiate the chaos of the outside world, vs the stability he’s trying to provide his children.

And the updates we’ve all been waiting for, All the Growing Things! I’ve been tinkering away in the my “spare” time (usually when I should be working on other commission work) and adding pages and moving things around.

The first and second page are copies because I’m trying to figure out the layout for the printed book – I think I’m going to have a different page 1 than the one here, something that will work as a nice “splash page” for folks that just pick up the comic without picking up the other comics.

I’ve really been struggling with the pages where Texy starts to remember things, and his memory starts to bleed through: the first set of pages 6-12 you’ll see below. I want to really hit home the fact that Texy and the people he sees in those panels are all reincarnations of people he’s… um… “wronged” or at least, been tied-up with for the past couple millennia!

I also included pages 1-8 of the NEXT  issue of All the Growing Things (although 7 and 8 look pretty blank!) but I want to show everyone that Maude is coming back, and she’s coming back with a vengeance!

I have a bunch of photos I’ve taken of my painting for the Dr. Strangelove piece, but I want to wait until after the art show on Friday to show everyone the “final product” (by which I mean, art hanging in a public space!) and the changes and problems I had with that piece.

For closers today, I wanted to show you the drawing I was working on last night, for our Pen & Stylus reboot podcast:

We’re going to be re-doing the way we do the podcast, where instead of doing a live google/youtube hangout and having you all suffer through our rambling, we’re going to edit things down, maybe even have theme music from the Creative Commons world, and basically, try to step up our game! I can’t wait to see how the new episodes come out, and I guarantee that I’ll share those links with you once we figure out what we’re doing!

That’s it for now, I hope to update more frequently now that the worst of my deadlines are over, and comic convention season is almost over! Thank you all for your patience!

-Jenn

What I’ve been upto

Sorry about the silences on the site, it’s one of those deals where I’m really not paying as much attention to time as I should be.

I’ve been sketching and doing layouts for the next issue of Era of Great Wonders, and then I got distracted drawing and inking pages that are at the end of the next issue without bothering to finish the ones in between! I’m a bit of an organizational mess right now! Still, I have stuff to share with you:

This is me drawing page 32 of issue 4 (or maybe 5… having 40+ pages in ONE comic seems a bit extreme, so we’ll see where it ends up when it’s all said and done.)

In order to keep the video under 4 hours, I’ve sped it up 16x so it goes pretty quickly. One of these days I’d like to do a more “true to how slow I draw” video, where you can see exactly how much time I spend drawing and erasing, then redrawing and re-erasing things. I wanted to show just how much I mess up, because I think it’s important to show that pages don’t come out perfect from the get go.

Not that they ever come out perfect, but there are some pages I complain about less than others! Which is a sort of perfection!

I’ve also been trying to come up with a shirt design for All the Growing Things.

I want something that says “Monsters and Garden Society” or, “Urban Gardening and Monster Hunting” or something that implies a bunch of old ladies sitting around, drinking tea, and fighting monsters. I just can’t seem to get the wording right. I feel strongly that if I could find the right words, the art will fall in line, but I’ve been struggling. Instead, I’ve been looking at a lot of Mucha’s art, and am thinking maybe I’ll just with something along those lines.

garden-tshirt

She started out as Matilda (or Young Maude as she’s sometimes called) but I’m thinking this might be another gardener, who is maybe also dealing with the same monster infestation! Who knows? I like the idea of doing a couple different designs with different women in the design. Maybe even a dude or two. Print On Demand is an amazing thing these days!

Tomorrow Pen and Stylus will be doing another show at 8:30pm (or more likely, 9:00pm) MST where we will all be showing our responses to Ben’s Random Character Generator. Tomorrow’s subject will be “Male Alien Heavy Weapon’s Expert”.

I’ll be showing how I drew this, as well as probably talking about why I drew a worm-alien. Spoilers: It’s because I received a worm composter for my birthday, and I haven’t shut up about it since!

worm-gunnerFIN

Alright, later alligators! I need to get some more pages of Era done so I can at least pretend I’m going to make my deadlines and start uploading to the webcomic!

Garden Age

I’ve been playing a lot of Dragon Age recently, while working on pages for All the Growing Things.

This is what happens.

gardenage2

While not as pretty as the actual Dragon Age cover, I’m still pretty pleased with it.

At some point, I will resume posting comic pages online. Right now I’m simply trying to get as many done as possible (I have dreams of finishing issues 4 and 5 of Era, and compiling them into a book by mid summer!) Because I’m trying to get all of the pages done at the same time, it means I have a bunch of half-done pages, but nothing I’m ready to post yet.

Some quick thoughts on Dragon Age:

A lot of people are comparing it to Skyrim, and while I can see the initial comparison, I don’t really think that’s fair to either Skyrim or Dragon Age.

Dragon Age: Inquisition does have an open world feel to it, but it’s not as sandbox as Skyrim. You can play Skyrim for hundreds of hours and never touch the main storyline. And that’s something I LOVE about Bethesda games.

DA:I on the other hand is seriously story driven. While you can roam around maps all you want, you can only unlock new maps by completing story missions.

The only complaint I really have (and it’s not much of one) is that DA introduced so many new game mechanics that I really didn’t know what I was doing with the game, while removing old mechanics I relied heavily upon (detailed tactics comes to mind).

All in all, it’s a pretty fantastic game, and I’m having to restrict myself from playing it (and I am now counting down the days until Friday, where I plan to play it to my heart’s content. Or, well, until the early hours of Saturday morning.)

Dead but Not

Sort of occurred to me that while I’ve been pretty crazy industrious over on my side of the internet, I’ve not really shown anyone much of it. I thought I’d give y’all a sneak peak of the next cover for All the Growing Things (and if you saw the one I posted on twitter, these are fuller, more finished versions of that work in progress photo!)

Here’s the finished line art:

deadbutnot2

Start of color (with flats):

deadbutnot-color

The color that you see here (except for the stone background) are considered “flats” – which is to say, flatly applied without any shading. Later when I go to add the actual colors, I’ll use the flat colors as an easy way of selecting things and then work on another layer to give it a painterly look, hiding the coloring book style layer.

Hm. I need to write up a “how I color stuff” post. I will add that to the ever expanding list!

Meh

posted in: All The Growing Things | 0

Past couple of days were crazy productive!

I’m up to 30k in my nanowrimo, 5k of which I did yesterday! And the few days before that I think I was writing something like 3k or so a day, trying to catch up. I also managed to do a comic book page for All the Growing Things, and if we’re counting last week, (and I do!) I also managed to finish two pages for Era of Great Wonders!

But my productivity tends to come in waves, and I think I’m nearing the downward slope today. I managed to do very little work today – only four out of the five panels needed for tomorrow’s All the Growing Things (which will probably not post until next week. Sorry.)

I don’t know why this is; why it is I go through waves of meaningful and productive time spent working, and then times of just absolute struggle and “meh.” They don’t last terribly long, which is both a good and bad thing, depending on what side of the productivity wave I am on.

I’ve read some pretty depressing comments about nanowrimo, and I don’t know how I feel about them. I used to not really like nanowrimo, mostly because I would take it very serious, and struggle with putting words on a page. I still take writing seriously (which is why I tend to avoid it, because it turns out that stuff is work!) but I’ve started to really enjoy the whole nanowrimo process.

There is something freeing about knowing that you have a very simple little goal: put words on the page, and it doesn’t matter if they’re good. After a few hours of grinding, there is a euphoria that sets in, where you realize that if you write ALL the crap, that eventually you will run out of crap, and maybe you’ll write something worthwhile someday! I still have a lot of crap to write, but I feel like there’s a purpose to it, and that maybe with some heavy editing, it’ll be worthwhile. Or not. You never know.

And I promise you: I will never inflict what is happening in my scrivener document on any of you, at least, not without some serious editing, and even then I think I would need to find a couple of unbiased opinions first to make sure it’s readable. Or as unbiased as I’d be able to find. I think a lot of people are very nice to me because they like me, and don’t want to hurt my feelings. (I am, at very unexpected times, extremely sensitive; other times, not so much.)

It’s a “good” problem to have, but it is still and problem, and it does mean that I have a hard time believing any positive criticism given to me by friends – I find myself second guessing their motives more than actually listening to their words.

I know it’s a self-esteem thing, but I don’t really know what to do about it. It’s not a problem in that I still function, so that’s good at least. But I tend to sort of feel like the sloppy dumbass that the other artists take pity on. I always sort of imagine them humoring me and looking at my dumb drawings with a polite “Uh-huh… and that’s a cow? And the cow goes moo? Nono, it’s very nice… here, let me help you with that,” and then they wipe paint from my chin and tell me that maybe I shouldn’t eat that.

Like I said, it’s a “good” problem to have people be so supportive all the time. I just have some self-image problems.

Well, that and I find the imagery above pretty funny! I’ve not eaten paint, but I’ve come close a few times, and I can totally see someone walking into my studio and I freeze like a rabbit as a bit of phthalo blue slides down my lips and drips of my chin, and no one knows what to say. It’s a funny image!

In a Dr. Pepper-Fueled Haze

“Fueled” is a weird word. I’m sort of thinking that it’s real, but then again, maybe it’s not? I don’t play enough scrabble or do enough crossword puzzles to know if it’s a legitimate word (because those are my standards, I guess?)

My husband is out of town, which means I have been returning to my feral semi-human state of not having changed out of my pajamas all day, and I’ve been eating cold spaghetti and drinking shocking amounts of that most forbidden of drinks: Dr. Pepper.*

I have been trying to fix the website, but not much appears to have been done because not much of what I have done has been successful. I still need to put in another mailing list . The last one was… complicated, and I forgot how to do it. The newer one is also complicated and keeps sending me passive-aggressive emails that suggest that I’m a bit of a disappointment when it comes to following through at projects.

I’m still trying to put together Namio Tristique.** I’ve been feeling the urge to work on it lately, but was a bit surprised to find out that all the art I’d previously posted has… gone… somewhere else. I know that the last year was pretty crazy for me, but I’m fairly certain I didn’t make up the whole Namio Tristique project as some sort of hallucination, so the art assets have to be somewhere on my hard drive. Right? RIGHT?

Because files don’t just disappear… right? *sigh*

I may have to scan everything in again, but that’s how it goes.

I’ve also been working up to splitting All the Growing Things into smaller, issue sized bites, that way people who want to buy it, but aren’t yet ready to plop down $20 can still check it out. Also, I think having a goal of 22 pages to shoot for is a good one for me as an artist to have, especially since I’m about 15 pages into the next book, and quite a few people have been asking about when the next one is out.

22 pages is do-able, where as another 148 pages is… daunting to say the least.

I’m also working on nanowrimo*** this year. I normally don’t do it because I tend to fail at it, but I figure that – hope springs eternal – I can do it this year! I’m already off to a pretty decent start (after a bit of a delay while we were at the Tuscon Comic Con at the beginning of the month.)

If all goes well, I’ll have a truly embarrassing piece of Lovecraftian steampunk that I’ll have to edit like crazy before I can ever show it to anyone. Ever. Still, it’s fun to do, and it’s been keeping me from playing too many video games. Which, considering that Gearbox knows the way to my  heart is paved with golden weapon drops, there has been a LOT of videogaming in the past month.

I’ve been dreaming about playing Fallout 3 again though. Is that weird? It seems weird. Maybe I should try to finish one of the other Fallout games first. Or maybe I should go back to trying to get Namio Tristique back online.

Arg. Things.

 

 

* John does not like them because he says they are “too sugary” BUT HE IS WRONG AND THEY ARE PERFECT. THEY ARE THE MOST PERFECT DRINK KNOWN TO HUMANKIND.

** I’d link you, but it’s REALLY messed up right now.

*** If you want to add me as a buddy, that’s cool and I’ll add you back; if you don’t want to, that’s all cool too!

Caffeination

posted in: All The Growing Things | 0

WordPress does not recognize “caffeination” as an actual word. But google does, and I’m gonna go with that. Also, I’ve had two cups of coffee in the past three hours, so I’m crazy wound up. Caffeine is a magic wonder drug that I should never be allowed unfettered access to.

I had been planning for a few months to have an art show at the local coffee shop in December, but my friend Reyes (who runs the art scheduling at the shop) asked me to show in October, and… well, October is here now!

We ended up hanging my giant All the Growing Things paintings that I’d done a few years back. The reason this is exciting is because these paintings have NEVER been seen hung together because they’re just so monstrously big. Normally I don’t like showing art that’s already been shown, but I feel this counts as a “new” show because… well… never before seen together.

I took a few snapshots, but it’s with my camera phone, so I’m very sorry about the quality. (And the lack of photography skill… I just can’t seem to really understand photography.)

Reyes is unafraid of the ladder.

I feel like I should also elaborate: Reyes is not just unafriad of the ladder, he is also willing to lean WAY OUT and stretch to reach things that normal people would… just move the ladder. He is also willing to balance the ladder on things that should never have a ladder balanced upon them.

ALL SIX! - Never before hung together!

At one point while we were finishing hanging these up a couple came in to see them because they were driving by, and saw them through the window, and felt the need to pull over and see them up close! That’s… an amazing compliment, I think.

View from the Street

Look how shiny and glittery! It’s actually very striking when seen in the really real world, or… when photographed by a real photographer. Still, think of these like family snapshots: not great, but still sentimental!

Opening is tomorrow night, and they offered me free coffee while I’m there for the opening.

I may never sleep again.

 

Giveaway Winners, Shipping, and Other Craziness

posted in: All The Growing Things, comics | 0

I just got the list of winners from Goodreads. Man, they (the Goodreads people) are REALLY on the ball when it comes to their stuff! I can’t believe how nice they are to talk to (I had to have extra help because I don’t have an ISBN yet, and they helped me fake one until the giveaway was over.) They pretty much walked me step-by-step on how to do things, and then when I still sort of just flailed around, they were able to go in and fix things for me. Seriously, they are awesome!

I’m going to ship out the books today, after my shift at the soup kitchen.

Okay, and speaking of shipping: I try to keep detailed notes on who I’ve shipped to (especially after those tragic three weeks where I ran out of books) but if you haven’t received a book from me, and you were supposed to, LET ME KNOW! I ship things media mail because I’m a poor college student (and an artist to boot) but the post office people told me that there’s tracking included in the media mail, but then another post office person told me that while the numbers were there, they weren’t necessarily tracked, so… I don’t know what any of that means. But the fact remains: LET ME KNOW if you don’t get something, and I’ll make it right, alright?

(I like saying, “right, alright.” I should probably stop that.)

Other Craziness: after filling out the labels to ship these (I hand write them), I sort of forgot halfway through what my address was, and how to write it correctly. It’s sort of like when you write one word, and you keep staring at it to the point where it becomes a nonsensical mishmash of shapes and lines. So if you receive a package in the mail and it looks  like I forgot my address… it’s because I did.

I have one week (and two days) before I have to hang my BFA show. I’m sort of going crazy right now (because I have about 9 paintings that still need fixing), so please bear with me. I will be sane again after the 10th of March. I hope.

Remember Remember, the Fifteenth of November!

posted in: All The Growing Things | 2

That’s when my best buddy* in the whole world was born.

Besides a day of celebration for Liz, I also  managed to get the cover for the All the Growing Things trade paperback almost done. I still need to drop in text, but that’s going to take a little more time than I have right now. Right now, I have to get back to the art mines and work on some paintings for classes.

Would you like a taste?

AtGT trade cover

 

* Best human buddy. I have no idea when my best dog buddies were born. Usually I just pick an arbitrary “Dog Day” and celebrate that.

Garden Things

posted in: All The Growing Things | 0

I had previously meant to show these, and then the time sort of got away from me. (As usual.)

These were painted for the kickstarter that I ran back in the summer, and were offered as reward incentives. They’re about 3″ x 3″ square, and are oil on panel. I had a fun time painting them. I started from a red base and then added greens, blues and browns to built up the background, and I think it worked pretty well. I also deviated from my normal methods of painting, and let the brushstrokes remain on parts of the skeletons. (I’ve been struggling with the brushstroke/no-brushstroke question all summer, and here I went “with.” I think I really like that look.)

As for the backgrounds, I  especially like the background on Garden Thing 2 – that greenish-red blend is particularly nice to look at, and since having done these small paintings, I’ve been painting everything on red these days. I especially love the way the transparent and semi-transparent greens like Sap Green take a richness from the underlying red. Top it off with little hints of lemon yellow or yellow cadmium (with a little white) and it’s just working for me right now.

Oh! I almost forgot – I started a tumblr for my art (and some of the things I see around that I like) – so you can see some of my art there, as well as here. And if you happen to have a tumblr and share my work, that would be incredibly helpful and flattering to me! I’m not terribly clever at using tumblr yet either, so if you have advice, I’m all ears for it!

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