I just had a rather fantastic encounter at my local coffee shop (Peet’s). I had settled in to do some catch up work on art stuff. I had just finished a commission for my buddy Krishna. His wife asked his daughter the age old ‘If you could have a super power, what would it be?’ thing. When they heard the result (a modification of Elsa, of course) K commissioned me to draw it up. The result is above.

Anyway - so I’d just finished up the image, and a family came in with a little boy who can’t be older than 8. I noticed the printer paper in front of him with... are those comic panels? And pencil drawings? Why yes. Yes, they are.

”Are you drawing a comic?” I asked.

He was a bit shy with the big hairy stranger, but with a glance at his mom (grandma?) sitting next to him, he said “Yeah.”

”Well that’s awesome! This is what I just finished!” at which point I turned the iPad to face him and clicked the play button on the time lapse video for the image.

His jaw dropped and his mom started Oooh-ing.

We proceeded to have a conversation about art and comics and I introduced them to software he could get for his iPad and of the very concept of ashcan comic books. He’d said that he was doing them and keeping them to himself. I explained that (if he wanted to) ash cans would let him keep the originals and still share copies with his friends.

The whole family seemed delighted.

For a while now, I have been in seventh heaven listening to the sounds of the little boy quietly narrating his comics to himself as he works. Both dialogue and (far better) sound effects keep coming while he’s drawing.

He’s not playing on an iPhone. He doesn’t have his own laptop here. He’s not watching Youtube. He’s drawing. With pencil and pen on paper.

That. Was. Me. When I was a kid, and it’s just so very good to see as an adult.

* * * * *

In case anyone’s curious, this is the text for the commission:

"Here is what M told me she said: "If she could pick any magic power she would pick being the princess of ice and snow mountains and being in control of fire. And she hopes one eye was clear and white and one eye was red and orange"."

And here’s a link to the time lapse video of the process - https://photos.app.goo.gl/YQEXkK1kQEe4DHw47

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Gaaah! I can't read what M told you she said. It's in different text that doesn't wrap in mobile. I'm in potrait mode now, so it cuts off at

"she said: "I

When I flip my phone to landscape I get a few more characters, but they display off my display. :-)

Wondering if I should submit a bug report, or should I just reload the page requesting the Desktop Version™?
OK, I'm in DesktopMode now, and it shows a teeny bit more of the quote, but it still won't wrap... and it still runs off my window no matter my phone orientation.

(I'm using Chrome.)

Bummer!
Anyway, this interaction with the boy made me SO HAPPY. Go fuzzy guy, go!
Thanks for the heads up. It's because I used the 'preformatted' option to try to differentiate - like quote formatting in a book. I've changed it so you should be able to read it now.

I've also added a bug report for the OPW folks. :)
Oh! Thanks! I was gonna do that-- thanks for taking care of it!

And thanks for re copying/pasting the quote so'z I can read it now. Yay!
Oh, and Maj. Dickason's Blend from Peet's is the coffee of the house here. They make a half-caf version that we buy from Peet's online, and it's pretty awesome seeing the "Roasted on" date be the week prior to me grinding the beans in the kitchen. Damn tasty.

I have Patty to thank for turning us onto that blend. Peets rocks!
 

Art is my illicit drug of choice. The more I create, the more I need to make to get off.

Okay, so I put it that way to be a touch provocative, but it's also kinda true. I've been doing more illustration work pretty much every chance I get and I'm still getting further behind. What's more, I want to do more. That's kinda crazy.

ETA: Okay, I think I was going to go deeper into this and then change the post to public, but I've lost the train of thought and figure I should just let folks see it as is for now. I can always comment more later if I get that thought back.

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Dood, your coloring skills are really getting great!
Thanks beb. All I can see is how very far they have to go, but I'm glad someone is seeing the improvement. ;)
The dimension in the last female figure iteration is wonderful.
The one that's all the way left? The were-panther?

In any event - thanks! I've been working pretty hard on my female forms recently. I want to be able to do 'ideal' but not make that every female character like in bad comic books. Too often, comic artists learn a 'template' (which, of course, is some kind of idealized Olympic athlete which somehow retains breasts and butt cheeks) and just apply that template to every female character ever.

I don't wanna be 'that guy'.
Not the were-panther, the one in the second picture, the one with the big ears.
Ahhh. Gotcha. Technically, that's a he/him, but you can't really tell since he's wearing a poncho. I _was_ also told to make him quite chubby. If you're curious, there's more info on this one in particular (and my process in general) here: http://dragonbones.net/character-portrait-drawing-process-a-step-by-step-demonstration/
 

*The Fourth

Had a great Fourth of July. I'm staying with some life long friends in Olympia, WA. Helped Margaret build a trellace structure out in front of the house. We got the hard part done, and I'll come back for another visit to finish the cross pieces. Felt like a solid victory, and they're delighted. Check that box for "I kicked ass today."

Their kid continues to be about as adorable as they come, and she loves her Uncle Matt. It's pretty fantastic. We've reached that state where her parents can ask her to do something, she'll say no (she's 3) and I'll say "Well, _I'm_ going to do [the thing the parents are asking her to do]..." and she will suddenly change her mind and proclaim that SHE is going to do [the thing that the parents want her to do]. Hey - I'm using my powers for Good. So far.

We grilled out - corn on the cob and veggie burger patties. Maybe my first time doing something like that for the 4th, and it was just fine by me.

Now I'm sitting and writing this while sipping some Jack Daniel's. There's a beautiful pup next to me. She's wearing her thunder shirt, and her doggy Xanax has worn off (she's a bit of an extreme case of high anxiety). She pressed herself up against me once the fireworks started, and any time I get up to drink, pee, or whatever, she's right at my side. Poor thing. She seems to be a micro dot more relaxed beside me, but I wish I could do something more for her.

* Work

I'm supposed to be finding a place to live. For $1500. For 3-6 months. In Seattle. With 30mb UPstream internet access.

I feel like this isn't very realistic. I'm looking into AirBnBs. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll find someone I can convince to work with me since I will be there for a _long_ stay by hotel standards. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. This won't be easy.

* Break

So I'm going on break next week (starting July 11th). I'm not sure yet if I'm headed to Maine (to visit my Grandfather) or 'home'. I'll keep you guys posted. I'm actually looking forward to the break. I _love_ it out here, but I miss my people too.

If you're reading this, and you have some event planned that you think I might be into that week, please let me know!

* Relics

Remember Relics? Well, my partner and I reinvested ourselves on Monday. I'm _really_ excited about it. We're having bi weekly meetings to review our progress. Which means there will either be progress or there will be awkwardness. I'm looking forward to the progress. I've been kicking ass on the art side of things, and I just saw tonight that he's done a bunch of works on the last faction for the initial trio of factions. We're getting close to something I can pass around to the beta testers. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. We just figured it out - it's been over 4 years since we started.

Please let me know if you're interested in being a beta tester. The game will be  given out as a free downloadable PDF for printing on print at home business cards for this first version. Based on responses and feedback, we're hoping to move on to a Kickstarter to get a full color larger card version printed professionally. But that's down the road. One of the focal points for this first meeting was MVP - Minimal Viable Product. Or, said another way: Keep It Simple Stupid. I've been a part of too many projects where people got really excited, then there was scope creap, and then things fell apart because everyone was daydreaming about "one day..." First step first.

My biggest problem is that I've improved dramatically in an artistic sense over the past 4 years. That doesn't SOUND like it should be a problem, but it is. I look at the original artwork for the first faction (Goblins) and I kinda feel sick. I do NOT want that being presented to the world as an example of my artistic skills. But I'm going to. Reworking all of the art would take way too long. I may touch up some stuff, but the idea here is MVP. As I said to Chad - "Until other people start playing - even just beta testers - this is just you and I talking. It's not a 'real thing in the world'."

So yeah. Most of what's there will have to stay there. For now.

Okay, I should probably get to bed. It's nearly midnight and while I love my friends' daughter, I'm pretty sure I recognize the tickle in the back of my throat because she's come down with something while I'm here. *grumblebitchmoan*

ETA: Can't believe I forgot to mention this, but I got a chance to hang out / catch up with J Riley! He came to town, and we grabbed breakfast at one of my favorite haunts (Hart's Mesa). We talked about his #vanlife adventures and his project. He's traveling the US for a number of reasons, but chief among them is a desire to understand other people who think differently than he does. How can you not love somebody with a head on their shoulders like that?!

He's doing a project as well which I found rather interesting: both in a notebook and on video, he asks people to 1. Ask a question of the next person he encounters / asks to take part in the project and 2. Answer the question from the previous person. I sorta love that he removed himself from the experiment (aside from his role as facilitator).

The young lady who was in the spot before me is a life coach, and her question was what I would have a life coach ask if I was drawing one in a comic book. Something like "What is your Perfect Life? What would you have to do or achieve in order to live that life?"

I responded in a way that I thought was appropriate - something about not wanting to have kids, so I want to leave some form of art or literature behind that future generations can enjoy.

I asked "Aside from child birth, what's your greatest accomplishment in life?" I put in the 'aside from child birth because it's too much of a default for anyone with kids. The project seemed like it warranted more thought from respondents than that.

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You have much to be proud of this day!

How close to Literal Seattle does this place have to be?
That's a bit 'up for debate'. The theory is '45 minutes from city center'. Which, on a bad day in Seattle seems like it could be 4 blocks. I'm thinking that I might stretch it a bit and try for Tacoma (some of my friends are in Seattle (E) and some are in Olympia (Margaret and Krishna) so it seems kinda perfect.
45 minutes from city center? Yeah, they are totally high.

What is the reason for that anyway? In-person meetings?
You should be able to get a reasonable studio or small 1-br within 45 min of downtown (we don't say "city center" here) for $1500 or less. The data thing might be a slightly tougher nut to make but probably not impossible.

Tacoma is 45 min from downtown if you're driving at 3 AM. More like 90+ on a normal weekday.

For the 3-6 month thing, your only option is going to be extended stay places or taking over a lease from someone who's moving. Or a shared house type of thing.

Oh hey - I just realized - I have a friend who's looking to sublet her room in a shared house for a month in August. If that's helpful. Nice housemates. They'd only want someone queer, trans, and poly positive. (They're not a sex cult...really.) anyway - lmk if you're interested.

Anyway. Good luck. I think there are options.

CM Adams 7/5 '17edited
Yeah. I found places on Zillo and the like in that range. Problem is that it doesn't include utilities, and often doesn't include parking. Parking isn't necessarily a deal breaker, except for maybe in the heart of downtown. Worse, some places have parking garages - which I most likely can't use. Or at least, without a 15-20 minute process to lower the camera mast every night. Presumably on a busy street curb.

I'm looking into Air BnB hosted spots. I've found some in the $60/day ($1800/mo.) range with a discount for 'longer stays'. I'm hoping that I can get someone to agree to a $40/day(ish) ($1200/mo.) price with me being there for 'so long' with the 3-6 months. That way the remaining $300 will go to cover the taxes etc. that come with each stay. It seems difficult, but not impossible.

The network speed may still be a problem.

There also may be legal issues with extended stays of that length where the Air BnB host would be considered a landlord instead of a hotelier. I don't know about these things, and I'm hoping it won't be an issue, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I have more immediate concerns...
Oh, and yeah - I'm starting to think that Northern Tacoma would be a good idea. K told me that there are 3 pinch points when it comes to traffic between Olympia and Seattle, and being at the top end of Tacoma would get me past 2 of the 3.
Well, most (read as: nearly all) the details are not forthcoming. Errr... that's being too gentle. It doesn't feel like I can drag any information at all out of anyone. Yeah. That feels a bit more on the nose.

Why near 'downtown'? (Thanks Adams - I feel like a local already. ;) ) I suspect that was decided early on, and for reasons which may or may not be valid when we actually 'go live'. Without going into the weeds (partly because I don't know how much I'm allowed to talk about) things are very much in flux - and not just with my team. That means that the demands on us are not fully understood, and (I suspect) the management wants us near a downtown for access to high speed networks. I also think that my immediate management is getting told A one day and B the very next then C the third day, wash, wince, repeat.
I'm so happy you got to see James! Did he tell you where he's blogging/posting his writings? I've been looking and can't find them, but I desperately want to keep up to date! (Now even more so.)
I asked, but he kinda... isn't. He expressed his regret that he just doesn't seem to have the gene that is required to have a desire to photo/ blog / post about his travels.

I think that he is hoping his question/answer project will take the place of that.

I don't know if it had any impact or not, but I explained why I wish I had written a good deal more about my motorcycle tour in 2002. He clearly understood, but I didn't get a "Holy crap - that makes sense! I'll start TODAY!" vibe from him. Part of me is okay with that because individuality is something I've always appreciated about both of the brothers Riley.
Tired... want to respond more thoroughly later. But, if you come here (and I selfishly hope you do) let's please 🥓 and 🥃?
Leela 7/5 '17
Absolutely! (Though I can't tell what those emoticons are.)
They're bacon and scotch emojis, lol
Leela 7/6 '17
I kinda love how you said "absolutely" without even knowing what I want <3
Leela 7/6 '17
 

I write and draw every day.

The new plan is a simple one - which is arguably the biggest reason that I like it so much. Call it positive affirmation, call it a daily chant, or call it whatever you like, but that opening sentance is something I will write down every day.

Then I will do it.

My intent is to try to do 1/2 hour each in the morning and in the evening for a total of one hour writing and one hour drawing every day. If it's a crazy day, and I have no time, I'll allow just 1/2 hour each. Then the next day I will get back to the full hour each.

It might seem like a lot, but it's really not when you realize how much free time I should have each day. That, of course, assuming that I'm not screwing around and wasting my time.

Set my timer and go. I like that.

The best part? Sure, there will be some garbage, but there will also be some good stuff, and it will pile up. I'll have a collection of work in a very short span of time. It's the best way I can think of to make that happen.

All my illustration and writing projects can happen - I just need to eat that elephant one bite at a time.

So, what's on the list now? What are my current projects that I want to focus on?

Art

  • The Greek Gods - A new project with an old friend. He's designing a card game and I'm doing most (all?) of the illustration work. I'm really looking forward to this, but it's not a small order. 14 gods by the end of November. Good thing I'm planning on spending an hour on art every day.
  • Relics - Yes, I'm still plugging away on this - slowly but surely. I drift off at times, and at other times I've had paying clients that took priority, but it' long past time I finished the third faction so we can send out a beta version for public release. This is the third year that I've been hoping I could complete the work in time for an X-Mas beta release.
  • Sketchwork - I doubt I will have much time to focus on anything but the above items before the new year, but if I do, I would like to put together a free digital 'sketchbook' to give away. This might include anything and everything from random doodles to WIPs for client work.

Writing

  • Patch Book - writing is the easy one. I really only want to focus on the book. Maybe it's because it's NaNoWriMo, and I have that sense of missing out, but I really want to get this damn thing done. Much like Relics, this one has been gnawing at me for a while, and it's past time.
  • Another Blog?! - I was thinking about where I would want to post chapters for ARCs. I could post here, but I get so damn worried about eating up my 'daily post' on random things, and this place seems, well, personal. The very nature of the single post per day seems like it makes it more intimate. So probably not here. LJ? Maybe. Hell, GRRM posts there (still, I believe). But probably no. Same issue as here. I have a LOT of old posts there that are pretty personal to me. So I'm thinking that I might clear out any / all posts over at mrlich.wordpress.com and post there. It's not like there's a lot there,  and it would make a good spot to just post 'book updates'. My 'professional writing' update location. But it means another location online that I'm updating. I already feel too scattershot online. That's the whole reason I set up mrlich.com as a menu for where to find me online. I need to narrow my focus a bit online, but that seems like a project for another day.

Journal Update

I went and visited the King yesterday. I had the option to route my travels through Memphis, so I did. I'd never visited Graceland, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity.

It was interesting. Not the $40-$80 price for tickets interesting to me, but interesting. Not upset that I did it (how would I know what I thought of it otherwise) but I probably wouldn't go back unless it was with a group of friends, and that would likely be more for the company than for the tour.

They give you an iPad to use through the tour which has a complete guided tour narrated by John Stamos. Why John Stamos? I have no idea. Still, it was neat, and I like that it allowed us to choose our own pace. I took a crap ton of photos, so if any of you would like to see some, let me know below.

I had to make my way back to Decatur last night to pick something up though, which made my trip to Memphis a 6 hours of driving detour. Bah. Worth it.

I did, of course, enjoy a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich after the tour.

Now I'm working my way to Kansas City for my next project. It's not a YUGE project, so I'm not sure how long I will be there, but a few days at least. It's a small enough region (for the project portion) that I should be able to stay at one hotel for the duration. That's such a good thing for me. I love my job, but these smaller projects tend to mean bouncing around every night. It's a bit annoying to pack up everything every day. Even two nights / hotel seems so much more worthwhile. Ahhh, the life of a nomad.

The election. I'm over it. Yes, I understand how important it is. I have a low threshold though for repetition, and both sides (and their supporters) are saying so much of the same damn thing over and over again that I'm really just ready to scream and start breaking shit.

Also, it breaks my faith in humanity that anyone could think that Trump would be even an acceptable president - let alone a good one. I mean that sincerely. I don't see any plus to him. The only thing I've heard said about him (that I believe) is that he won't be 'business as usual'. Probably true. 1. Not being equal to is not the same as 'greater than'. 2. I will never have kids, but if I did, I would never want them or my beloved nephews to ever act like he does regularly. Why would I want someone like that representing out country? I honestly don't know as much as I should about Hilary, but what little I do makes her an infinitely better choice than him. Infinitely. Even if she was going to be 'business as usual' (which I have no reason to believe she will be).

Already over my 1/2 hour. More later.

ETA:

First

I was terrified. I felt like I was clinging to the edge with bloody fingernails. It was that moment in the movie where you see the killer moving in and the next victim is oblivious to what's coming.

Then

I wanted to be physical. I wanted to smash, to break, to rend and tear. To smash whatever I could get my hands on.

All the while knowing it wouldn't help, but it's what I understand.

Now

This is a different kind of fight. It's a kind I've never taken part in before. I don't know the first thing about it, if I'm honest.

Looks like it's time to learn.

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11/8 '16 1 Comment
I like this mantra. :-) Looking forward to seeing the output!
 

First, I should point out that I hate the name Drawlloween. I love the concept behind it, and I'm taking part, but there's just something about the name that is very much like fingernails on the chalkboard for me. I think it has something to do with the way some people have asked me throughout my life to "please drawl me something?". That's not the word.

I'm not really a grammar nazi. Not really. I just play one in my head.

Okay, yeah. I kinda am.

Anyway. I love the idea behind Inktober and Drawlloween. (Links are to their respective FB groups.) This year, I decided to take part in both. Yes, that's a little bit insane.

Unless, of course, someone got the idea in their head to combine the two. Which I did. So I created a quick cheat sheet which can be found here: Inktober Drawlloween Combo Prompts. (Document also contains the list of prompts for each separate group.)

So - I don't know if any of you were thinking of taking part, but if so, feel free to let me know! (I'll probably be posting the images here - or at least links to them throughout the month.)

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9/30 '16
 

Good lord did I just stumble upon the way to lose ALL of my time. I've been rediscovering Reddit over the last couple days and finding a lot of stuff that piques my art curiosity.

I just found the /r/Imaginary.../ subreddits.

Example:  /r/ImaginaryVikings/

Once you're there, note the menu structure along the top of the page.

You're welcome/I'm sorry.



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9/26 '16 4 Comments
I love Ruthgar, Mother of Cakes.
Yeah - she's pretty fantastic!
The Jarl of Winter is killing me.
Yeah - she's kinda achingly beautiful.

And just think - these are all in just the vikings page. There are _many_ others. One could easily spend many hours/days browsing.
 

So I'm late posting this (how often do I manage to get it posted in time?!) but whatevs.

It rained today (yesterday) for my birthday. That may sound like a complaint, but it's the opposite. It meant I had the day off.

Went out for a nice big breakfast at a chain restaurant called Cora's. They're only up here in Canada, and I think they might only be in Quebec. I don't recall seeing them elsewhere, at least.

Anyway, after my tasty breakfast and about a gallon of their coffee, I retreated back to my hotel room where I watched most of the second season of Daredevil and just did a shit ton of drawing. Quiet, peaceful (the rain was very soothing), and productive. The images above and blow are what I did today alone.

In addition to these, I updated my Deviantart page, and created a couple different videos. The only video I uploaded is here. The technique I used is very different for me. Far more 'painting' than 'drawing' once I got past the initial sketch stage.

Alright - I'm hitting the sack. Hours to make up for work tomorrow!



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9/9 '16 6 Comments
Kudos for keeping up this giant productivity streak! You've been dropping the hammer, as we used to say. ;)
Karen 9/9 '16
Thanks hon. Feels pretty good indeed.
Happy belated Matt!! The art is rockin.
Rabbit 9/9 '16
Thanks - for both parts!
Happy (belated) Birthday! Patch's arms are magnificent.
Thank you. Yeah, funny thing is that I drew it back in 2007 and just inked/colored it now.