Your Own Personal Lilith

click for naked snake lady

A while back I doodled this out in about a half an hour. It sat around unfinished for a good while. Today I pulled it up to experiment with some texture techniques, and ended up spending an hour getting it to where it is now. I’m still not entirely sure it’s finished but it’s good enough for now.

Dunno why I felt a need to draw my cobra sorceress character as a lamia, but here it is. I should really draw her with clothes again; it’s been forever.

fursona thoughts

So last night I sat around and drew a picture of my dragon self, put it on top of a photo I took of a part of City Park, and then spent a little time making her look vaguely sweaty.

click for full size, contains bare lizard titties

This morning, I realized something. For the past several years I’ve mostly described myself as a dragon from New Orleans. But in a technical sense, Peganthyrus has never been from New Orleans – the player entity on Furrymuck bearing her name was created in fall 1995, and I moved to Los Angeles in summer 1995. She was something I created as I figured out who I was outside of the expectations of the place and people I grew up with. Nick’s been calling me a “swamp dragon” for a lot of the past few years as my desire to get the hell out of Seattle for somewhere warmer grew, but it’s kind of been a lie if I look at the dates like that.

And now here I am back in New Orleans, discovering that running around with a fine film of warm sweat on my body is something I miss. And since she is basically Me, so is Peganthyrus.

I’m just gonna retroactively declare her as also being from here, I guess. Or something. She had her own history once but it’s mostly fallen away as she stopped being A Character and started being Me, But A Cartoon Dragon. I kinda feel like I’m not entirely from New Orleans any more either; I was twenty five years old when I left, and Peganthyrus will be twenty five years old this year. That’s a significant chunk of a lifetime.

This feels like a weird complicated thought to untie, and also not like one really worth spending a lot of time untying. Enjoy the sweaty dragon titties.

sizing

I spent a while today and Monday doing something I’d been putting off for a good while: resizing the styles for the Mixolyne mechs. See, I’d drawn them super-huge originally, and a lot of the graphic styles I’d built out of those drawings performed poorly when I tried to use them at the right size. I’d been resizing them on an ad-hoc basis every time I pulled the styles into a new page, but last Monday I pulled up the first of several rough pages where Kirt and Noa will be spending a lot of time running around in their mechs, emoting at each other through body language, and I just really did not feel like rescaling these styles for every page individually like I’d done for the first few pages.

A few weird Illustrator hangs later, I’ve generated a feature request for folders in the Graphic Style palette, decided to do an ugly organizational kudge in the meantime of blank styles serving as separators to help me find stuff in the giant sprawling pile of styles I’ve ended up with, and created sets of styles for these mechs in both their shiny, healthy versions and the “dehydrated” versions they started the story in.

This took me a few hours but it should help a lot when I start actually drawing these pages; by doing this I’ve piled up a bunch of cool effects and taught Illustrator how to do them for me, and now I can just mindlessly re-use all of them at high speed.

end of an era

For most of the time I’ve lived in this apartment, the living room has been dominated by shelves with my fursona painted on them at life-size.

But now they are gone. Starkatt and her friend came by to haul them off to their new home. I am told there is a very high chance these shelves will be filled with the tools and products of a Dicksmithy. I think I am totally fine with my fursona being FILLED WITH DICKS.


Also I just liked looking at the clear spots in the dust that had collected on top of the shelves. A line of electric candles, the base of  a glass swan I inherited from my mom, and a couple vague blobs where some dragon flags and a plushie lived.

It will feel weird to not round the corner and see my dragon self staring back at me. I may have to set up something similar in the new place, whether by painting it on the wall, or on new shelves… we will see. Between this and taking down the canvas print of the luminous white angel-dragon that I had on the inside of the front door, it definitely feels like I really don’t live here any more. The bedroom and kitchen and bathroom still look inhabited but that should change soon.

I was also pretty glad to not find anything lost in the space behind the shelves. There’s like two or three boxes worth of stuff hanging around the living room still, I would like to see myself make a dent in that before bed tonight but getting the last things out of the path between the shelves and the door felt like significant work for the day…

Ἄνεμοι

 

The Ἄνεμοι (Anemoi) were, collectively, the wind gods of Ancient Greece.

Feels like a good title for a piece based on what I saw swirling around my plane when I asked the spirits of the air to convey us safely across the “bomb cyclone” that covered a lot of the US recently.

Illustrator, two hours spread out across a couple weeks.

Significant Ink

Opening one’s third eye comes easily for some, slowly for others. It is not advisable to use a scalpel to hasten this process along.

 

Portrait commission, about six hours.

sigils: towards a modern aesthetic

It occurs to me that not a single person who has worked on popularizing Austin Osman Spare’s methods of “sigil magic” has been, like, actually an artist.

So everyone draws these little things that chase the aesthetics of Goetic demon seals. Occasionally people will look at a Vodun veve for inspiration. But whatever they do, they always make little line-drawn symbols that positively reek of Witchiness. Or of the glyphs in Seuss’ On Beyond Zebra. Sometimes you will see people paraphrasing Grant Morrison about how you can see corporate logos as powerful sigils of corporate egregores… but I never see anyone writing about Sigil Majgickqgh who actually tries to use that aesthetic. They just make the usual witchy scribbles. Because none of them seem to, like, actually draw as their vocation.

But I’m an artist. Spare was an artist. Sigils are fucking art majgickqgh.

I mean, I’ve been guilty of making Obviously Witchy Sigils too. It’s what everyone does in their examples, so it’s what I copied. And sometimes that is exactly the aesthetic something needs.

But. Lately I’ve been getting out of my armchair and making some sigils again. I’ve been starting with the usual modern chaos magic workflow of “throw out vowels and duplicate letters, start combining letters into a pleasing pattern”… but instead of keeping it a linear thing I could draw with pen and paper as I start finessing it, I’m just letting my hands do what they do naturally when I’ve got Illustrator open, and using a lot of solid shapes. Treating it as a rough sketch that vanishes, instead of lines to preserve.

I haven’t quite gotten anything down to the graphic power of, say, one of Paul Rand’s logos yet. Or maybe one of Jim Flora’s lively cubist album covers. But I’m getting somewhere that feels right. Somewhere that feels like art as well as magic.

I should probably actually find a copy of Spare’s books and plow through them sometime soon instead of reading yet another person rehashing Peter Carroll’s simplification of Spare.

above: some WIP sigils, none of them are entirely There yet, never mind charged, and in fact one of them saw some major revisions after I asked myself “what would Jim Flora do with this image to make it suck less” in the course of writing this post.


(and yes, I know that there is also a tradition of making sigils by just hooking up points on a grid of letters, and, y’know, that works but it is so utilitarian and boring…)

ten years

I am going through the giant prints left over from the gallery showing of the Tarot deck, so I can hang some of them at Morsel, and I am realizing they are from 2008.

That’s ten years ago. And it feels like a while. Some of these pieces I’d want to spend a bit more time on now. Some of them are still just fine by my current standards. My anatomy’s gotten better with subtle stuff but these are still perfectly fine drawings; I think the biggest change in the work if I was to do them from scratch now would be that I’d go from rough to final colors a LOT faster – I was still laboriously pulling paths out with the pen tool back then. I think it was near the end of the whole thing that I discovered that the pencil tool has settings, whose defaults render it useless, played with those settings, and switched to it for pretty much everything shortly afterwards.

I wonder if I should make a regular practice of drawing some kind of bright, happy flat piece once a month. As a vacation from the giant task of a fully-painted comic. I could do it as porny commissions with my alter-ego, like I did this December, or I could do them as my cleaner identity and regularly print them out and do galleries. Finding subjects feels like the hard part; I could start going down some prompt lists? Or I could occasionally just ask my followers/patrons for an assortment of words, then shuffle them together to give me some directions to draw in. (If I wanted to be topical it might be fun to do a series of Chaos Deities, since that sure feels like the theme of the past couple years. Eris, Kali, Tiamat, Kek (yes probably with a frog pin), Azathoth, etc, maybe even paired with Law Deities from the same pantheons because that would be a lot of chaos to evoke in my personal life without some balance…)

 

(more: hmm, really I could just mine “a selection of deities” for multiple shows. wisdom would be fun, I could use more of that in my life.)

hallowme

This morning, I wandered through the local instance of the pop-up Halloween store. It was a lot bigger than I expected, possibly due to using space that the former tenant (a third-party Apple retailer) was using for their repair offices. This may have been related to my decision to spend an hour doodling my fursona as a Sexy Witch tonight. With an angry green cat in her lap because that has basically been Nick’s fursona around the house lately. Mostly. Furries are weird, okay?

I also finished two pages of Parallax that had been in the works for a while, and posted them to Patreon today. Which is always a nice feeling: yay, I get paid a couple hundred bucks more at the end of the month! Onea these days I might even start paying most of my rent from comics again.

Tomorrow: haul stuff to the convention center, set up for Geek Girl Con, which is this weekend. And next weekend is gonna be PatreCon, thanks to them impulsively running a contest to choose a few creators to give a free ticket and hotel stay, and picking my half-assed, sassy entry as one of the winners. (“Maybe I’ll learn something that’ll let me triple my patronage; maybe I’ll hit it off with someone who’s better at promotion than I’ll ever be. Maybe I’ll just end up sharing a drink with some of my LA animation friends and get a gig that’ll pay well enough to let me extend my financial runway a couple more years.”) I still feel really weird about this and wonder if there were next to no entries (it only ran for a half a week, and they asked applicants to do Something Creative to say why they should be chosen to attend but didn’t mark uploading a video/image/etc as mandatory; I nearly abandoned the application when I got to that, but just rambled for a couple paragraphs of text instead), or if my crazy obsessive drawings actually stood out from the pack. Who knows. Either way I was able to persuade them to comp a conference ticket for Nick as well (what with him saying he’d like to try and take over some of the stuff that’s not drawing; we’re going to attend talks scheduled against each other and take notes), and paid for a couple of airplane rides with the Business Account. I’ve also contacted said Animation Friends about sharing lunch/a drink/etc.

Anyway. It’s getting to be about bedtime, I think.