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.

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…

Resolute

So the other day I was reading a book about astral projection when the back of my brain said “draw your dragon self in cool fantasy armor”. I was also very stoned at the time. I then worked on this on and off over the next few days.

Did you know that drawing cool fantasy armor is kind of a pain in the ass?

Technically, I’m happy with this one. There’s a lot of use of gradients in ways that come together quickly, that make it look a lot like a painstakingly masked out piece of airbrush art. Which ALWAYS makes ten year old me ecstatic to be able to knock out.

looks great, plays terrible

Somewhere back in August, I made a file titled “Peggy At The Con Of The Crimson King”, and meticulously reverse-engineered Roger Dean’s logotype for the 80s/90s computer game company Psygnosis. There’s a font out there that claims to be based on it, but half of the characters are swiped from his logo for Shadow of the Beast and they only sort of work together, so I just ended up making a bunch of art brushes based on his shapes and using those.

And then I let it languish in my working directory for the rest of the year because I didn’t like any of the sketches I’d done for the character. Today I loaded it up and did a decent rough, then did my best to pretend I was an airbrush jockey via a bunch of gradients and blurred shapes and masks.

Now I just need someone to do a furry con whose theme is “vaporwave” and I’ll have the perfect badge for it. But I probably won’t do badges in this style at the con because holy crap the typography took at least twice as long as the figure. I could re-use the brushes and styles I made but it’d still be like twice the work of “type name in a font, draw character” and I dunno if I really feel like seeing if there’s any market for $100 badges.

also here is a closeup showing the amount of detail I made Illustrator do in the eyes, because I wanted to capture a little bit of the INSANE STARING GLARE that Dean put into the stylized owl-head of Psygnosis’ secondary logo.  There was also a bunch of angular bullshit around the eyes based on that but it got covered up by the chrome hair, oh well.

Someone on FA asked for this on a t-shirt, so I posted it on Redbubble. Go here if you want one too.

an account of a week and a half

Sunday, Jan 29: Protest.

Tuesday, Jan 31: Hung with friends, watching them buy supplies for their Physical Art Doings at the art store. Impulsively buy cool mirror with dragon on it. Seriously it is fucking rad, it's circular and has the dragon splaying across it, dividing it into a ying/yang sort of pattern.

Thursday, Feb 2: finally unbox cool mirror. Contemplate places to put it. Come to vague decision, don't feel like nailing anything up. Leave on floor in foyer.

Friday, Feb 3: the inner Magician vaguely wonders if it's really a good idea to leave this mirror right at the door, reflecting the energies being filtered by the big picture of the semi-divine version of my dragonsona that's hanging on the inside of the door. Other things like “hanging with girlfriend” and “buying some magic chocolate with high THC and CBD content because my throat hurts when I smoke and there is no way I'm doing the Trump regime sober” distract me from this. There are ten little chocolates in the bag; I will go through them over the next few days.

There is pretty much no point in the rest of this journal entry where I am not at least a little high, until the last day.

Continue reading

will she blend?

Sooo

 

The past week I’ve been attempting to figure out Blender. Goddamn its UI is hostile as fuck. Especially with crazy choices like “use the right mouse button for selecting stuff”, which they claim makes ergonomic sense because it spreads the load out from your index finger, but if you’re using a stylus 24/7 like I am then it’s just utter hell.

Luckily you can tell it to use the left mouse button for selecting like every other program on this planet. And you can configure its keys. In a pretty user-hostile dialogue, but it’s doable – I’ve set it up so that holding space and using the Wacom pen, or the two buttons on its barrel, moves the view around in a way that doesn’t conflict with fourteen years of using space+drag to move around my Illustrator canvas. Though I still haven’t managed to make it stop asking “are you sure” when I try to delete a part of something, or when I tell it to save the file. All I can find if I google for solutions for that is people long-windedly explaining why they had that option, and removed it, because someone made a mistake once and so everyone has to suffer for that, ughhhh.

My test for doing this has been Peganthyrus, also known as “that cartoon dragon I’ve been drawing myself as for twenty years”. I figure I have a pretty solid mental model of her in my head, it should be a lot easier to put that in an unfamiliar program than anything else, right?

I started out by making an attempt to sketch a rough directly in Blender using its “grease pencil” function, which is a pain in the ass to edit. I went ahead trying to model that and eventually ran up against the fact that my side and front views were kind of  out of alignment, and were not great drawings anyway. I put the tutorial I was following, and my file, away, and did other things.

peggy-front peggy-sideA couple days later, I drew a nicely-aligned pair of reference drawings, put those into Blender, and started trying to do “box modeling”, which is called this because you start with a cube and extrude/chop stuff until you have something like your desired character, then refine it. Pretty soon I’d said “fuck it” to trying to model a low-poly version, and had added a subdivision surface to make it all nice and smooth and rounded, as if the polygons I was making were a bunch of control points in Illustrator. About halfway through, I realized that all my instincts were telling me that I was using entirely too many points by starting with a box aligned to the world’s axes; I felt like I kept on wanting to add edge loops doing down the middle of every side. But I didn’t want to do that because if there’s one thing that twenty years of Illustrator has taught me, it’s that defining an oval with more than four points is a waste of your time… and when you slice a cartoon character in half, what do you get? A bunch of ovals. Well, at least if you cut them perpendicular to their longest axis.

So I scrapped what I had again, and started fresh, with a cube that I rotated 45º, so that I could easily line stuff up with my front and side view drawings.

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 8.49.59 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 8.50.10 PM

Yeah this was so much easier to do, why the hell do you 3D jockeys tell everyone to do it from axis-aligned boxes. What is wrong with you people. Why are you making yourselves pull around twice the points you have to. (Or what problems do I not know this is going to cause further down the line.)

I haven’t bothered doing more than the most basic extrusion and placement of the legs yet, and the head needs a lot of work – but I think I’m beginning to see potential here. My next step may be to keep working on this, or it may be to try making it from scratch again in spline patches. Blender’s spline tools look really terrible and awkward compared to what I’m used to, so maybe not. We’ll see.

Ultimately, my goal is to get far enough along that I can have an animatable 3D version of my dragon-self, who I will of course then play with non-photorealistic rendering styles on. And maybe do other things like wear it via realtime animation toys. I feel like this is a skillset I need to begin to pick up if I’m gonna be serious about my plans to pitch Parallax as a 3D show with tons of non-photoreal rendering to make it look like I drew every frame in AI. Will I get there? Hell if I know.

Right now I just need some food.

Peggy Model 2016

I felt like paying someone to draw my black dragon self, and didn’t like the old model sheet any more. So I pulled up a rough for a drawing I did in the back of a copy of Rita, colored it, and added some bits from that sticker set and the old model sheet.

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I like to draw my dragon self around my birthday. Since I have ended up starting pole dance again, I ended up drawing her doing the kind of split I will probably never be able to do in reality.

 

Also I found this [NSFW: latex catsuit dragon]in my working directory in like a 90% complete state last night and finished it so I could use it as a non sequitur image with a Tumblr ask.