The Space Vixen Channel

Sometimes you just gotta make your SO get on their knees and take a photograph of you waving a toy ray gun at them, so you can draw a promotional image for the SPACE VIXEN CHANNEL.


And then you end up having to spend an hour finally getting around to drawing a Fraser spiral because you need some Op art effects and the usual rayed ones just don’t feel like the right choice.

The SPACE VIXEN CHANNEL is not found on your TV set. It is found by getting high as fuck and pointing your pineal gland in the right direction. There is a lot of adult programming on it. (NSFW)

Source files for both this image and the separate file I built the Fraser spiral in are available on Patreon.

Pride flag brushes for Adobe Illustrator

I needed this, and I couldn’t find it within five minutes of searching, so I went to Wikipedia’s list of LGBT pride flags and snagged all the SVGs and turned them into a bunch of Illustrator brushes. All of these files seem to be Creative Commons so this is, too.

Grab this and put it with the rest of your brush files: pride – go forth, and draw the queerest fucking things you can think of! I sure needed it for some super-queer art.

Illustrator: repeating lines cropped to a shape.

Here’s another of those “someone asked an interesting question on the Illustrator subreddit” posts. They wanted to know how to automatically fill a shape with a pattern brush that looked like embroidery stitches.

This is one of those things that seems like it should be super simple to set up as a live effect in Illustrator but turns out to be impossible. But a little abuse of some third-party plugins makes it doable! Astute’s WidthScribe lets you make a bunch of lines with the Width Stamp effect, and then you can use the Appearance palette to apply whatever kind of stroke you’d like to those lines – here I’m using a custom brush, but you could do whatever your image needs.

First, draw some shapes, and apply the Width Stamp effect.

Then, go to the Appearance palette and add a new stroke to the whole Width Stamp group. Not to the individual paths inside it.


You can generate more complex “stitch” patterns by changing the width stamp’s settings. 


embroidery – 152k, requires the Astute suite.

The Judgement of Bast

If you keep your local cats happy enough, perhaps this is what will happen after you die. No promises. Cats are fickle.


Illustrator, 4h.

I’ve been doing a lot of experiments in automatic shading lately and I think this is my favorite one yet. I can get Illustrator to do a lot of half-assed shading for me now.

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That’s what it looks like straight out of the stylus. I went back in and drew much more dimensional shading over it, and ended up with what you see at the top of this post with surprisingly little effort. Then I spent a couple of hours obsessing over sparkly effects and whatnot, because, hey, I was stoned and having a good time. Maybe I’ll revisit this look soon and reuse a lot of these styles, I really like the way it feels like my memories of the covers of Epyx’s early C64 games. Luminous festivals of glowing trails that probably took a lot longer to make with camera effects and transparencies than this did.

Here’s the effects stack for Bast’s body. The top fill is a vertical gradient in a highlight color, scaled to 130% with an extra copy made, followed by a Minus Back effect that takes the two shapes that Transform generates and does a Boolean operation that results in a big swath of color at the upper right of the shape. The second fill is similar, except for the Transform effect being anchored at the lower left of the shape. The stroke at the bottom also has a Transform effect to move it down and left a little, creating an extra bit of contrast between the overlapping shapes. It was a last-minute addition that worked out pretty well.

There’s similar styles for Anubis, the gold, their clothing (with pattern fills for the rayed effects!), the heart, feather, and the scales.

If you want to see the source, it’s available on my Patreon, along with a high-res copy of the image.

If you want this on a poster or a sticker or something, it’s over here on Redbubble.


grainy blur effect

I saw a post on /r/adobeillustrator asking how to make something like this. It’s pretty easy.

  1. Draw a shape in dark grey.
  2. Opacity: 20% screen.
  3. Effect>pixelate>mezzotint. I used “grainy dots” for the setting.
  4. Duplicate the shape. Move some points around so it’s smaller, leave some points unchanged, or very close to the original locations.
  5. Make it a much lighter grey. Maybe change the opacity level to something like 70%. Keep it on Screen mode though.
  6. Select both shapes. Object>blend>make.
  7. window>transparency, double-click its title bar until it opens all the way, uncheck “knockout group”. Setting the checkbox to – is fine too.
  8. Play with blend settings until it looks smooth.
  9. effect>document raster effect settings may be useful here, I usually keep the effect resolution at 150dpi but in this case 300 seemed to work better. You could also help avoid the tendency for the repeated mezzotint shapes to develop repeating patterns by adding effect>rasterize to both shapes in the blend before the mezzotint effect, and having different DPIs on the two shapes; I did this in the file attached here.

Please pardon the shitty point placement, there really should be at least one more point in the curves but I was doing this on the trackpad and just wanted to finish it. :)

grainy mist

on elves

so it turns out that actually elves have a LOT of kids

like they are constantly getting pregnant

but the thing is they have a strategy more like frogs than humans, when an elf is pregnant he or she is just brewing a bunch of tiny little egglets in their womb for like a single month, then they go down to the Birthing Pool and a whole host of tiny little bug-like flying critters with wings just come popping out and they all fly away

and if they survive long enough then they will grow and molt and change and eventually they will stop growing new shells and start to look like what you think of as An Elf

but the thing is

these little critters are SO FUCKING TASTY, they are chock full of magic and they are so stupid, only a tiny fraction of them even survive to the first moult, never mind long enough to come wandering into the elf villages from out the wilderness once they have enough of a brain to start on language and society and all that

everything eats them, even elves, it’s perfectly normal to for an adult elf just spew an entire brood into a jar and grind them up to be a sparkly, wonderful condiment, bigger ones are a super-rare treat if you can ever find them

anyway this is why you never see elf kids, it’s not because they only reproduce once a century, it’s just that they only actually survive long enough to qualify as “an elf” about that frequently

vr: the price of buy-in

So yesterday I found myself pondering if I would like to get a Playstation 5 now that the supply chain is not going entirely into the hands of scalpers. I’ll wait until they’re down a bit, honestly, or until a PS5 Slim comes out. There’s very little in the way of games on my radar that I can’t play just fine on the PS4 Pro, and I don’t have a 4k TV to push more pixels to.

This escalated into stonedly estimating how much I have spent on the entire ten-year tenure of my PS4, including every single game I’ve bought on it, and the PS4 Pro that I effectively got for half-price after selling my PS4 to a friend. And then that lead to me contemplating if I wanted to remain on the Sony version of the Sit On Your Ass In Front Of The Interactive TV Channel for the next decade or so.

What if, instead, I got a Windows box and subscribed to the Dance Around In VR And Also Sit On Your Ass Channel? So I asked my friends and followers: I currently own zero Windows boxes; about what would it cost to put together a system capable of letting me bounce around in Beat Sabre and VRChat with a custom avatar of my fursona, and track enough of my body to see that avatar in a virtual mirror as I dance around the studio and/or living room.

It seems to look like the buy-in from scratch is about $1-3k. And now I am going to have a long, boring list of prices and suggestions that I copied out of the various replies.

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Wepwawet, Opener of the Ways

Or “How To Tell The Different Egyptian Jackal Deities Apart From A Very Long Way Away, part 1”.

Illustrator, 5h.

You wake up in an endless, grey desert. You’re not sure how you got here; the last thing you remember was– Oh. Right. You just died. There’s a distant echo in the back of your head of wanting to utterly freak out about that, but, well. You’re dead. You don’t have any glands to flood you with adrenalin any more. Just a memory of them.

A little after you realize this, the hazy clouds on the horizon shift in your vision. Nothing moves; you just see them as a man made of stars and jackal, now. Or maybe wolf. You’re not sure. He feels like a friend, though. Smells like frankincense and maple syrup.

His name, he says, is Wepwawet, and he’s your guide to the Duat. Maybe you remember him? No? Ah. Sometimes you do, he says. Sometimes you even knew him in life. He’s solved a few problems for you in some of your past lives. Regardless, here you are now. He’s got a map of the underworld. He’ll guide you wherever you want to go, help clear a path through the more dangerous parts, maybe take you to his cousin Anubis’ court if you think you’re ready for what happens there. But if not? Hey, whatever. He knows some interesting places to show you down here. Maybe a few places to improve your chances when you go visit the judge. Or maybe just some places to have some fun before you go back to the world of flesh. Pick a direction.

Wepwawet (also Anglicized as Upuaut, Wep-wawet, and Wepawet) is a former war deity who moved over to being a scout, and guiding folks through the underworld. He’s found at the prow of the Boat of a Million Years most nights, helping to clear out the various nasties who want to eat Ra on his regular journey of solar rebirth. He’s usually depicted as carrying a mace and a bow; I’ve added a sword, and a bunch of keys, because what Way-opener shouldn’t have a whole bunch of keys to get through locked doors?

outline view, click for more detail

Partway through working on this, I pondered a video game wherein you wander around the underworld with this design of Wepwawet as your friendly guide. It’d be nothing but side quests; the main “quest” is simply “go get judged”. You always get a result of “sorry, you still have things to learn; go have another round of life” when you do that. And then the game politely refuses to let you play for a day or three of realtime. This would also be how you turn some collectable resource into stat/level/equipment upgrades, just to keep you from going through the entire thing in one session. Think of it as sort of an open-world game that’s in the form of a themed short story collection, rather than a big doorstop of an epic story that puts you in the shoes of someone who saves the world. You might make a few friends and trigger interesting events the next time you’re judged by doing them. You might not. Fuck up and die? You just wake up at the starting point again. There’s Wepwawet, with a comment on how long it’s been. Do you say you recognize him this time?

Prints/shirts/stickers/etc, should you want some, are on Redbubble. Illustrator source and a high-res copy are over on Patreon.

Unexpectedly Effective

Awrite, first: this kinda looks like vent art, but it isn’t. Everything’s fine with me.

So last month the SO went out of town for a late Christmas visit home. I stayed behind, made sure the cats were fed, and enjoyed the solitude for a few days – I love my spouse a whole lot, but sometimes it’s a real relief not to have to talk to anyone for a few days.

I spent a lot of this little bachelorette holiday lying on the bed, listening to guided meditations from the Monroe Institute app. During one heart-chakra-opening file, something like this happened in my inner vision. The black chunks of Me just kinda hung there in the air for a while; I tried stuffing them back in but golden goop just kinda oozed out around the edges.

Ultimately I remembered a moment years ago, when I first turned my computer’s mouse upside down, took out the ball, and began to clean it. What I initially though were black rubber tires on the wheels turned out to be caked dirt picked up from my desk, which dissolved under the touch of my alcohol-soaked q-tip. These shattered chunks of dark me-shaped substance seem to be like that: the caked-up gunk of years and years of living in this world, finally blasted out of my aura. It hasn’t really seemed to make much difference in my daily life but it’s definitely interesting to see this shit glowing in there when I try to look at myself with the third eye.

I make no claims about the objective reality of any of these events. But that’s basically what I wrote down in my magical diary over a couple of days, and that’s what I felt was worth turning into a piece of art.

Illustrator, about 4h.

Technical notes:

Lots of use of Astute’s Stipplism plugin here, each of these stippled areas is just a shape with one or more solid or gradient fills, with that effect applied.

The perspective extrusion on the Peggy Chunks was done by Astute’s Block Shadow effect, with various gradients angled and chosen with their new gradient plugins.

The negative-stipple effect is done with two fills: one with the stipple effect, set to 0% opacity, and below it, a solid or gradient fill. The whole path’s got Knockout Group turned on, which means the 0% shapes punch holes through the shapes beneath. It makes for a really nice sort of grease pencil or chalk look.

If you want prints/shirts/laptop skins/etc with this, they’re on Redbubble.

Patrons can grab a high-res copy and/or the Illustrator source file over here.

the joy of physicality

Earlier this year, I impulsively decided to buy a couple of paper calendars and hang them on the walls. I just wanted the physicality of crossing off days, maybe putting symbols in them to track good habits, stuff like that. Today I just bought tickets for a show and realized, hey, sure I could keep this PDF and spend a while searching for it in my email when we got to the venue, probably with shitty reception… or I could send this PDF to my brand new printer, cut them out, and tape them to the appropriate month of the calendar.

So I did. Is it weird that this feels kind of revolutionarily simple? People probably did shit like this all the time in the days before computers ate our infrastructure, but I wasn’t impulsively buying tickets to shows back then so I never did it or noticed if anyone else was doing it. Now there’s a big physical token of this event hanging where I can easily see it and grab it and have it scanned at the show, then maybe have lingering around in a drawer for a decade and trigger memories when I find it again. If I forget to bring it then it’s still on my phone at the cost of several minutes of finding decent reception and searching through my email and feeling dumb for not doing that on the way or something.

Also I sure am glad I got a laser printer instead of an inkjet when I finally got a new one just now. I’ve always had inkjets as an adult and the absurd price of the ink makes me think two or three times before printing anything out; toner for this is a lot cheaper.

Paper is such great information technology.