Online Art: Experiment 3

Screen shot 2015-07-29 at 11.49.54 AM

It’s that time again. You know, the time where I decide I want to make more money with my art. Let’s recap the monetizing art experiments to date.

Experiment 1: Redbubble

Almost two years ago, I started a store on Redbubble, which was a rousing success. I’ve sold a ton of crap on there, over 300 tons of crap to be exact. Alright, so not 300 tons, but I’ve sold over 300 things. Woo! That’s an average of 12.5 sales per month if you’re counting.

2015 has been my best year yet. In order to get paid on Redbubble, you need to make over $20 in profits, and so far this year, I’ve gotten paid every single month. I’ve broken my record sales number twice this year alone; the new record stands at $72.35. While that’s awesome and certainly glee-worthy, it isn’t even close to quitting my day job kind of money.

Even with all those sales, in two years total, I still haven’t made enough to cover rent for even one month. So, maybe it wasn’t a monetarily successful venture, but it certainly proved to me that people want to buy my little critters on things, namely t-shirts and stickers, my best-selling products.

Experiment 2: Etsy

Because my slice of the profits at Redbubble is so very small, I decided to open an Etsy shop, where I get to keep almost all of the profits.

Unfortunately, because I’m poor (and cheap), I didn’t make that many sales. I was only selling signed prints on there, while my best-selling products are t-shirts and stickers.

I haven’t closed it down entirely, but all of my listings have expired. I’m letting it lay fallow until such time as I can invest in t-shirt and sticker blanks to reopen it. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to afford to print my own t-shirts and stickers. It costs money to make money on Etsy, and I just don’t have the money to spend.

So, then, what can I do to earn more moneys?

Experiment 3: Boom Boom and Society 6

I was going about my business the other day when I got this email:

Screen shot 2015-07-29 at 1.10.30 PM

I’ve been recruited. Woo! With a blanket email! Oh. Well, it never hurts to look. I’ve never even heard of Boom Boom Prints.

I did some digging and it turns out they’re a new print on demand service that’s very similar to Redbubble, except that they cater primarily to children and parents. No wonder I’ve never heard of it. They sell a lot of similar products to Redbubble (prints, tees, cards), but they also sell some things that Redbubble doesn’t, e.g. baby bibs and maternity clothes.

Since most of my art is very much geared towards children (the irony that most of my art is kid-friendly while I generally dislike children is not lost on me), I figured, why not. It’s not like Redbubble and I ever discussed being exclusive. A broader audience is never a bad thing, right?

So, I uploaded a few of my best sellers to Boom Boom, just to see how they would do.

And while I was at it, I did some digging into other print on demand services and found Society 6, yet another company that’s similar to Redbubble, but this one seems to be slightly edgier. From what I can gather, they cater more to the bearded/tattooed/hipster crowd, i.e. they don’t even sell kid’s clothes.

Society 6 also sells products that are similar and different from Redbubble, e.g. clocks, bigger coffee cups (hallelujah!), shower curtains, etc.

So, in the course of a week, I’ve opened two more online shops. In my sidebar, you can find little bubble icons I made for these guys:

Screen shot 2015-07-29 at 11.49.54 AM

I haven’t added all my drawings to either Boom Boom or Society 6 yet for two reasons. First, Redbubble will still be my main shop that holds everything. Kid-friendly stuff will go up on Boom Boom and more adult stuff will go on Society 6.

Second, both Society 6 and Boom Boom have precise measurements for all their uploads, and of course, they’re not the same as each other or what I’ve already created for Redbubble, so I have to create new images for every single item in both new shops. It’s slow going.

Before this, I thought Redbubble’s upload was terrible. Ha! Redbubble is cake in comparison to the other two. I have over 100 listings on Redbubble, so it’s going to take a while.

If you want a product from Boom Boom or Society 6, and I haven’t added the art over there yet, let me know and I’ll put it up. Fingers crossed that more print on demand services = more profit.  Happy shopping!


Do you have any experience with print on demand services, Society 6 or Boom Boom?

Grief Diary: The Ultimate Break Up

134

I didn’t get dumped. I did not get divorced. We didn’t break up. We aren’t taking a trial separation. We didn’t even fight.

Normally, when two people in a sort of quasi-relationship of fifteen years finally part, there are fights that escalate into fireworks, or conversely, the fire slowly dwindles until it silently goes out with a tiny puff of smoke coupled with the realization that you aren’t in love anymore and maybe you had nothing in common in the first place. How did fifteen years go by and you didn’t even notice that? How did you spend fifteen years with someone who maybe wasn’t even right to begin with?

I got no fights. No fireworks. There was no breakup. There was no arguing it. There was no driving by his house. There was no stealthily stalking him. There were no drunken late night text messages trying to regain what we lost. I got none of that.

There was no pleading, bargaining, convincing, winning or stalking. He just disappeared forever with a tiny puff of smoke. Having the love of your life die on you feels like the worst break up imaginable times ten.

The last thing I ever said to him was, “90 degrees in March. Fuck LA.” I’m not even sure he saw that text. He was probably already dead.

When he visited in January, had I known it was the last time we’d circle the subject of our relationship–that it was the last time I’d see those blue eyesthings would have been different.

When he asked me what I wanted from him, I wouldn’t have said, “I don’t know.” I would have said, “I want you, dumbass,”

When he asked, “What’s going on with us?” I would not have said, “Is there an us?” It was hurtful, stupid and cowardly.

When he said, “The next 3 or 4 years are yours. I can’t promise anything after that,” I would have told him that he’s an idiot. I already had everything he had to give.

I didn’t get 3 or 4 years after that. I didn’t even get 3 or 4 months. When he said, “I love you and I always will,” I would have forced him to mean it for more than two months.

I can’t argue or plead with him to take me back. I can’t stalk him or talk shit about him on Facebook. This is as final as it gets.

For fifteen years, other than the occasional slip, I never stopped being a chickenshit. Even at the end, I was a coward. I would only dip my toes when I should have jumped in.

He knew what I couldn’t say. He knew, but I wish I had told him.

Dragon Power!

easterndragon-2-cs6sq

Since I’ve been so slacky on challenges for Nerd In The Brain’s Summer Reading Program and the theme is dragons, I figured it’s about time I drew another one.

I’ve only read three books so far this summer and one of them I’ve only read halfway–Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane, a fellow Michigander. I picked it up at a thrift store for $2. Sadly, it, too, has a decided dearth of dragons.

Anyway, back to dragons: I have this guy, but he’s drawn western in style. You can practically see Camelot behind him. Did they have dragons in Camelot? Whatever.
Dragon

So, this time, I’m on a quest for badass eastern-style dragony goodness.

First, as always, when drawing something that already exists, to the research-mobile (a.k.a. the internet)!

According to the wikipedia: “The origin of the Chinese dragon is not certain. The presence of dragons within Chinese culture dates back several thousands of years with the discovery of a dragon statue dating back to the fifth millennium BC.”

The reason I drew a western-style dragon before is that honestly, I find the traditional eastern dragons to be a little, how should I put this delicately… ugly. I mean that in the nicest way, of course.

This is a traditional Chinese dragon.

chinese-dragon-red

And here’s a traditional Japanese dragon:

6_6_dragon_koi_panel

Korean:

BlackDragon

Thai:dsc_0492_a

This could go on a while since there are a lot of Asian cultures with dragons and they’re all sort of similar, no? Alright, maybe they’re not similar if you’re Thai, but from an artist’s perspective, they are. They all have the same basic snake-like shape, antlerish horns, splayed out toes, waggly tongue, crazy eyes and old man whiskers.

Since they are so visually similar and I am so lazy, I’m just drawing one that I shall call simply Asian-style dragon. I apologize to all the Asian dragon aficionados for lumping you together. This task most likely sounds easier than it will be.

As (almost) always, I start with the largest part first, which is the body. I like symmetry in my critters (because it means I can copy/paste/flip), and there isn’t much to be found in traditional dragons. I’m just going to draw mine in a sort of S shape kind of like the Japanese dragon above, which will, of course, give me another gall-durn 3/4 profile to draw (the hardest one), but it can’t be helped.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 1.43.42 PM

Wiggly goodness. I put a loop-the-loop in the middle like a sort of dragon roller coaster. WEEEEEE! I would totally ride a dragon roller coaster as long as it didn’t end at his mouth.

Now, he needs some appendages.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 1.48.01 PM

There’s an arm, which I will now copy to the other side.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 1.54.41 PM

Army!

I changed his left arm so it’s facing up. It doesn’t look very menacing now (in fact, it kind of looks like he’s waving at a neighbor), but I’m sure it’ll look better with claws. I’ll go back and mess with it later.

Next, some feets. Not feats; our dragon isn’t ready for those yet. He doesn’t even have a head.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 2.13.45 PM

Later…. I tried three different types of legs and all of them looked ridiculous. This is the best I can do and he kind of looks like a newt doing a pelvic thrust instead of a ferocious dragon. Not only that, but I can only fit one on there. There’s no room for his fourth leg. Either I’m going to pretend like his fourth leg is hidden entirely by his body or I’ll get rid of it altogether.

Honestly, I don’t know why traditional dragons have to be quite so gymnastic. Why are these dragons always doing the splits? Did they have dragon circuses or something?

Anyway, maybe my dragon is a magic dragon who can fly without wings and hind legs, because I say so. Maybe my dragon doesn’t need legs. We’ll see once we get him more ship-shape.

I’ve hidden the third leg for now so I can work on the shading. It probably won’t end up being black, but I find it’s easiest to draw in black and white. Now you can really see the loop since I added a middle.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 2.16.41 PM

Better. Now, he needs a very important part that every dragon needs: a head.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 2.29.08 PM

The humble beginnings of a dragon head. Let’s put it on the body and see how it looks.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 2.31.38 PM

Pretty good, but darned if those legs aren’t in the way again. I’m seriously considering just having a legless dragon. Let’s see how it looks blended together a bit better.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 2.59.31 PMMuch more dragony!  Alright, now to finish the head and draw some dragon scales.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 4.13.48 PM

Later…. Well, that took forever. The hardest part was getting the loop right. And for the second time, with his mighty horns, our mighty dragon has outgrown the art board that it sits on. This design is much more vertical than I intended. And, I drew those horns from scratch like a sucker, instead of just stealing some I’ve already drawn. Oh well.

We’re not done yet though. I still need some finishing touches like his signature beard and whiskers before we can do color. He’s looking fairly eastern though.

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 4.30.22 PM

So, I gave him a beard by cutting off the bottom half of my lion’s mane. I told you I never work when I can just steal from myself. Work smarter, not harder. Now for the whiskers…

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 4.36.37 PM

The whiskers actually do make him look a little more Asian somehow. More details…

Screen shot 2015-07-25 at 9.55.27 AM

In true FOG fashion, I stole Mr. Eastern Dragon’s claws from Mr. Western Dragon. The original dragon won’t mind, since he has legs, and therefore, extras.

I also added embellishment to his tail and little white squares to his belly, which won’t be white when I’m done. Watch and see.

So, I believe that’s all the components of our dragon that are needed at present. On to color!

easterndragon-2-cs6

Yay color! See? Those little belly squares don’t look so out of place now. Aren’t I a genius? Actually, I kind of like him in black and white, too, but the color really adds something. Perhaps, it adds color.

Now, all I have to do is put him on a background, sell him on Redbubble and we’re done!

easterndragon-2-cs6

I drew some little fluffy clouds, too. Dragons like little fluffy clouds I hear.

Enjoy!

You’re Fierce, You’re Beautiful & I Love You

Quotation-Donna-Masini-grief-loneliness-Meetville-Quotes-2190

Quotation-Donna-Masini-grief-loneliness-Meetville-Quotes-2190

This is the name of a post that was in my draft folder. There was nothing here but a title dated long before Male died. Those words might not mean much to you, but another piece chipped off my heart and clattered to the ground when I saw it.

When I was at my worst, he took my face in both hands, forced me to look him in the eye, and he said, “You’re fierce, you’re beautiful, and I love you.” He said, “If you kill yourself, I’ll never forgive you.”

It hurt me to see how I was hurting him, so I got better.

He’s not here now. He’s gone away forever.

I have friends. I have you, but you won’t take my head in your giant paws, stare intently at me with ocean blue eyes, and tell me, “You’re fierce, you’re beautiful, and I love you.”

You won’t put your big, warm hand over my heart and tell me, “It’s right here. You and me. Right here.”

You won’t tell me, “Everything is going to be alright,” and make me feel like just this once, even though it never was before, just maybe, it might actually be alright this time.

You might tell me that, but I won’t believe you. It would be hollow and empty like everything else. I won’t believe you the way I believed him.

I don’t know what to do without the big hand on my heart. I go on living, because it’s easier than the alternative. I get out of bed, because it keeps me from thinking, but it sneaks through all my cracks anyway like a dust storm.

It still hurts so very much, this hole in my heart that he left there 130 days ago. It’ll never close up. Not entirely.

Listening To Los Angeles

(rentcafe.com)
(rentcafe.com)
(rentcafe.com)

You are going to Reseda
To make love to a model from Ohio
Whose real name you don’t know

The dentist is in Reseda, and every time I go there, I die a little more.

It is 5am and you are listening to Los Angeles.

The local anesthetic wears off completely in the wee hours, giving me pain instead of numbness. I didn’t bite the inside of my cheek this time. I made sure not to bite the inside of my cheek.

And the radioman says
It’s a beautiful night out there in Los Angeles!

I hear the distant hum of cars on the freeway, crickets and nocturnal birds that all sound like doves or owls. I listen to this song like I always do when it’s 5 am in Los Angeles and I’m awake.

I don’t turn on the radio.

We are all in some way or another
going to Reseda someday
To die

Male didn’t die in Reseda. He died several thousand miles and one time zone away. He would have smiled at the notion of dying in Reseda. This was one of his favorite songs about his city. I should spread some of his ashes in Reseda at 5 am.

Los Angeles beckons the teenagers
To come to her on buses
Los Angeles loves… love

It was 5 am when I first drove into Los Angeles, when my belly went flip-flop at the enormity of it. I passed Reseda, but I didn’t stop there.

I am going to Los Angeles
To build a screenplay about lovers who
Murder each other

Los Angeles loves love… and murder.

I am going to Los Angeles
To see my own name on a screen
five feet long and luminous

Everyone who says they don’t want that, wants that. Even me.

It is 5 am and the sun has charred
The other side of the world
And come back to us

The sun isn’t up yet. It’s still so dark.

And painted the smoke over our heads
An imperial violet

There is no violet; only a smoggy orange.

It is 5 am and you are listening to Los Angeles.

Random thoughts brought to you by Soul Coughing and Los Angeles and 5 am.

You are listening.

One Fish, Blue Fish

fog.header.blue

You may have noticed it looks a little different around here. I got bored again, especially with my sedate, pastel-like colors.

The problem with having a goldfish as your mascot is that it limits your color palette. Goldfish need to inspire some sort of goldish color. So, for the past five years, since I really hate the color gold, the fish has been a sort of peach color. It’s as close to gold as I wanted to venture.

fishofgoldnewbluegreenav
Hi, I’m Goldfish. You may recognize me from such blogs as Fish Of Gold.

But, do goldfish really need to be gold? What kind of literal world am I living in where cartoon goldfish need to be gold? That’s silly talk!

So, for the first time since I started this blog, the fish got a makeover. At first, I used this one, which I didn’t like much. Its eyes seemed somehow creepy and/or over-enthusiastic with the missing eyelids. It doesn’t have that special smug/dopey/you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me look that I’ve become so used to as my mascot.
FOG.NEW.FISH1
So, I went back to the drawing board, literally and just changed the original Goldy to blue.

fog.header.blue

Much better. I really liked the dark blue background and the more squarish setup, but I couldn’t find a theme I liked that had a more squarish logo and I thought the dark blue field looked strange in a sea of white anyway, so I went back to this one.
FOGBLUE
And there we have it. I liked the bubbles, but in a horizontal design, I couldn’t find a place to put them where they weren’t awkward, so they had to go. I might use them for something else in the future.

Anyway, expect more futzing to come since I’m not entirely thrilled with this theme. Depending on how many changes I’m able to make with CSS, it might change again, but at least this theme was free. Free is good.


Do you get bored with themes? How often do you give your blog a makeover? Do you like the blue fish?

UPDATE: So, I switched themes again since I wrote this post, and after all that hullabaloo about the blue fish, I went back to peach (for now). Thanks for all the opinions, folks.

Dear Goldfish Part 38

deargoldfishnew

Hello, Internet. It’s Friday and I don’t have much going, so that means it’s time for another installment of Dear Goldfish, the (not even) weekly series where I answer real questions asked by our studio audience, in other words, you.

The following questions have been submitted by people who typed words into search engines with no editing or censoring. I shall do my best to answer them.

Dear Goldfish,
i don’t think we have a clue to existence universe life god?

I agree. I don’t think we have a clue either. I’m fairly certain the clue to existence has nothing to do with hating people in the name of some god though. If your god wants you to be a bigot, I’d recommend finding another god.

Dear Goldfish,
heisenberg?

A long time ago (damn, nearly 100 years), well before there was a television series called Breaking Bad, there was a German dude named Heisenberg. He wrote a paper about quantum mechanics, an uncertainty principle was named after him, and he was actually rather dreamy.

Werner Heisenberg (Brains are hot)
(Brains are hot)

Dear Goldfish,
you look like a whote?

Alright then. Whatever a “whote” is. I’m just going to take it as a compliment.

Dear Goldfish,
why brain injury sucks?

Well, the brain controls everything you do, say, think, eat, breathe, etc. It is the thing that makes you you. If it gets injured, very bad things can happen. You might stop being you.

Dear Goldfish,
narate a story assuming that u have become a gold fish?

But, I already am a goldfish! Oh, alright then:

Blurble.

The end.

Dear Goldfish,
are small birds silly?

I don’t think size necessarily enters into bird silliness ratings. Some rather large birds are silly, while some small birds are very solemn indeed.

Emu's, a bird considered quite large by most bird standards, are a 7.3 on the bird silliness scale.
Emu’s, for example, a bird considered quite large (unless you’re an ostrich), are a 6.7 on the bird silliness scale. I mean, look at that tiny head. Plus, they tell terrible jokes.

Dear Goldfish,
i don’t like how men are on social media?

I’m sorry to hear that (you’re generalizing a whole gender. Don’t do that.).

Dear Goldfish,
what was life like before funny answers?

Very boring and not funny I’d imagine.

Dear Goldfish,
i’m a giraffe stuck in a human’s body?

That must be very uncomfortable for you since the average human is only 5’6″ and the average giraffe is 17 feet tall. Good luck getting unstuck.

Dear Goldfish,
what does begs the question mean?

I’m glad you asked. It does not mean to raise a question. It’s actually a form of logical fallacy. I explained it here:

“Begging the question” means assuming the truth of an argument without actually arguing it. It goes something like this: “This blog post is trash because it is garbage.” (A is true because B–which is just a rephrasing of A–is true). It can take a more convoluted form: “This blog post is trash because it’s obviously worthless. The fact that it’s worth nothing proves that it’s trash.” (A is true because B is true, and B is true because A is true.) Or the mother of all ridiculousness: “This blog post is trash because it is worthless. It has no value because no one will read it. Obviously, no one will read it because it’s trash.” (A is true because B is true, and B is true because C is true, and C is true because A is true.) That’s not an argument; it’s a carnival ride.

Dear Goldfish,
i hate lookie loos?

Me too. They hold everything up with their gawking.

Dear Goldfish,
too tight pants guy?

Ugh. I’m so glad the 1970s are over. Here’s hoping that trend never comes back.

Dear Goldfish,
things that we do before and still doing now?

Before what exactly? Well, one thing we’ve done before and after everything is breathe. Also, poop. We’ve always pooped.

Dear Goldfish,
technologies before and after hinges?

That’s an interesting question. While a billion technologies have been invented since the hinge, I’m not exactly sure what we used for hinges before hinges were invented. According to this history of hinges article on the webz:

The history of the hinge stretches so far back into antiquity that archaeologists aren’t sure of its exact origin. While many metal hinges remain from periods dating back 5500 years, there is also evidence from later cultures that wood and stone were used to produce them, it follows that some of these ancient Mesopotamian cultures may have been producing them prior to the Bronze Age.

Fascinating and something I never gave any thought to before. Thanks for that.

Dear Goldfish,
jimmy choo gold shoes?

I can’t believe I’m still getting hits on something from a post that’s over four years old. Surely Jimmy Choo gold sandals can’t possibly be in fashion anymore, right? I thought fashion changed every week. How can you still be asking about four-year old shoes?

From Well Known Facts.
From Well-Known Facts: Goldfish Edition.

Dear Goldfish,
we don’t like fish these days?

We don’t like you either.


Well, that’s just about all we have time for today. Remember, you can submit your own question to Dear Goldfish by searching the internet for stupid things and ending up here. Thanks for joining us and be sure to come back for more Dear Goldfish next week! Thank you and good night!

More Dear Goldfish.

Cheetahs & Leopards & Jaguars

LEOPARD

Oh my!

I’ve decided since I haven’t drawn something for you in a while, and since I only have a lion and a tiger in my big kitty cat arsenal…

liontiger

I need to draw another big cat. Unfortunately, the only really distinctive big cats are lions and tigers. And, well, panthers and cougars. There are a lot of big cats, and it turns out, most of them look very similar. Not to mention that there a million different kinds of leopard alone:

1353699427-leopard-subspecies-comparison-all
Alright, maybe not a million. Click to embiggen. (noelshack.com)

So, in the interest of not drawing this pattern a thousand times (which I have to say, it’s a little intimidating), I’m going to draw one spotted cat, which can double as a leopard…

African Leopard  (wikipedia.org)
African Leopard
(wikipedia.org)

…cheetah…

1280px-Cheetah_Kruger
Cheetah (wikipedia.org)

…jaguar…

Jaguar (wikipedia.org)
Jaguar
(wikipedia.org)

…and whatever other spotted big cats lurk out there. Is it just me, or do jaguars and leopards look nearly identical anyway?

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Fish, there’s a huge difference between a cheetah and a leopard! Cheetah’s have tiny heads and long legs, for example.”

While that is true, dear reader, once I cartoonify the above, you won’t really be able to tell. Besides, like I said, I don’t relish the task of drawing that spotted coat more than once.

Anyway, on to our Leocheegaur, or as I shall now call it, the big spotty cat. I’ll be drawing in Adobe Illustrator with my trusty Wacom tablet.

Normally, when drawing, I steal certain elements from myself, like I did the other day when I drew the chimp.

Buy your own here.
Buy your own here.

Chimp’s ears, nose and little furry topknot were stolen from his cousin, monkey. The rest of chimp was drawn from scratch though.

Hi, Rule of Stupid.
Cousin Monkey. Buy your own here.

I’m not ruling out thieving from myself, but since big cats look so similar anyway, I think it’s best to take a stab at drawing this guy from scratch.

I always start with the biggest part of the animal, except when I don’t. This time, I started with the hind leg. Why? I don’t know.

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 10.08.22 AM

Now for some toes. I just drew a toe-like shape and copied it twice more.Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 10.08.35 AMWe have hind leg. Now, I’m going to draw the body, which I should have done to begin with, to see where the legs will live.

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 10.27.49 AM

There we go. My usual deformed bean of a body, but this one has a leg attached. Now I can add more legs, because I know where they belong.

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 10.36.43 AM

Two legs and a vaguely Tauntaun shape emerges. And then there were four…

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 10.42.17 AM

I’m making this look easier than it was. I moved the legs around a lot until I got the right pose and I still might fiddle with the digits.

Now, for arguably the hardest part: the head. This is the second or third version of a head that I did (and no, you don’t get to see my failures).

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 11.22.21 AM

I don’t know why I keep doing these 3/4 profiles. They are the hardest head to draw (as opposed to full profile or straight on–think mug shots). Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much, but you have to have imagination.

Anyway, we have a head. Let’s put it on the body and see how it looks.

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 11.25.48 AMPretty good. I think It’ll work. Now to integrate it with the body, rather than just having it sit on a truncated neck.

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 11.28.10 AM

There, ye of little faith. I extended the neck and hid the lines. Better, no?

Alright, all he needs is a tail and we can start the awful process of giving him his spots.

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 11.34.16 AMGood enough. OK, so leopard print. Eek. This is vaguely what it looks like.

leopard-pattern-24463447

This is where drawing with physical materials like pencil and paper totally wins over digital drawing, since it would be so much easier. But, since I’m drawing in Illustrator today, there ain’t no way I’m drawing a thousand little splotchy things by hand. Illustrator is excellent for precise, but not so good with splotchy.

Since I’m not going for 100% realistic accuracy, I’m just going to draw a simple, vaguely leopard printy pattern and hope for the best.

I am, however, totally going to steal those colors. I’ve copied that leopard print image into my Leocheegaur file, selected the appropriate body parts, and eye-droppered the base color.

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 11.47.20 AM

Remember, this is basically what we’re going for here:

African-leopard-walking

I tried at least three different types of leopard print, but none of them looked as good as just plain old dots. Pardon me while I copy/paste thousands of polka dots.

Screen shot 2015-07-15 at 12.02.18 PM

I drew a ton of them and put them in a layer called head spots. Then I copy/pasted the head spots onto his leg for leg spots. I see no point in reinventing the wheel.

The reason I’m being so organized about this is that once all the spots are in, they will make up about 99% of the file. I’d rather keep them grouped so I don’t have a ton of layers of black spots.

Later… Well, I tried to stay organized and failed. This is what my file looks like now:

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That’s precisely what I was trying to avoid–a thousand layers of little black dots. I told you this would happen.

This is a pain in the butt. Here’s what our guy looks like with all those dots in process:

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My leopard and jaguar are looking decidedly more cheetah by the minute. Not quite done yet. I still need to do the tail and finish the shading. This is taking forever.

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Alright, after several hours of futzing, we have a finished product. I toned down the color of the spots to better camouflage the fact that it’s just a bunch of circles. Also, I grouped them all. They’re only on two layers now, which made changing colors a snap.

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That’s as finished as it’s going to be at the moment since I am sick to death of dots. Put it on a background and upload it to Redbubble, where you can buy your own and I’m calling it a day.

LEOPARD

Well, that took way longer than expected and ate up almost a whole day. Considering I don’t have much real work to do at the moment, that’s a win.

The Dwarf Making Sweet, Sweet Love To The Skeleton Part 19

THEDWARF6CROP

This is the continuation of a story. You can read the rest here.

Since it’s already written, I see no point in keeping you in suspense. This is the chapter I talk about here.

THEDWARF6CROP

I can’t move my arm. Why can’t I move my arm? I can move my hand though. Let’s see. What’s this? Something fuzzy and wet. I am in my bed, right? Neither fuzzy nor wet belong in my bed. What’s this over here? Something squishy, but not fuzzy nor wet. Warm. What is going on here? I can’t see anything. It’s dark.

I investigate with the arm that isn’t pinned under fuzzy and wet only to find fuzzy and wet again with my other hand. What’s up here? This feels like… like an arm? Yes, that’s definitely an arm. Who’s arm? It’s not mine. Mine are right here. Oh, there’s my other hand. What is it holding? Squishy. Warm.

“Walker! What the hell?!”

The warm and squishy has moved. I know that voice. It’s Bets’ voice. Why is her voice here? What’s it doing connected to squishy and warm?

I’m blind! Someone has turned on the sun or maybe just a lamp. I take the arm that isn’t pinned under fuzzy and wet, and immediately cover my eyes. “What?”

“Why the hell are you feeling me up?” comes the voice again.

I open one eye to discover that I’m spooning a rather large dog who is drooling on my pillow. On the other side of that, Bets is sitting up and defensively choking the life out of my sheet. Squishy. Warm. I open the other one. “Bets? What are you doing in my bed?”

“Why are you feeling me up?”

“Why are you in my bed? I distinctly remember you not in my bed when I went to sleep. That also applies to the dog. Why is the dog also in my bed?” Fuzzy. Wet.

“Nora’s on the couch in the living room. I didn’t want to leave her here in the apartment alone just in case anything happened. I slept in the chair, but I must have wandered in here at some point.”

“She’s not alone. I’m here.”

“Yeah, but you can’t be trusted.” The look on her face screams that she immediately regrets saying those words, but her mouth says nothing.

“Gee, thanks. It’s nice to know how you really feel.”

“You know what I mean.”

“No, actually, I don’t. You never tell me anything going on in your head and you give me nothing but attitude and eye rolls. I put up with it, because… well, honestly, I don’t know why.”

She says nothing, so I go on digging my hole, “I can’t be held responsible for feeling you up when A) I was asleep and B) I didn’t even know you were there, so 3) it’s your fault that I felt your warm and squishies, and 4) I’m apparently not to be trusted.”

“Asshole.”

She looks defeated, and suddenly very feminine and small like a little girl. I have a flash of an impulse to reach out to her, but it passes just as quickly. I’m angry. “That’s right. I’m the asshole and it’s all my fault. Out!” I point my finger in the direction of the living room.

She says, “Come on, Shamus, let’s leave the asshole to sleep in his big comfortable bed alone,” but she doesn’t move. Shamus continues drooling on my pillow.

“Fine. You stay. I leave.” And with that, I find myself sleeping on the couch in my office without so much as a blanket. Damn her. We’ll call this a draw.

To be continued…

The Dwarf Making Sweet, Sweet Love To The Skeleton Part 18

THEDWARF6CROP

This is the continuation of a story. You can read the rest here.

After all the fuss I made in the post about hating romance here, I realized that I had to post another chapter before we get to the one I talk about in that post. Apparently, I’m a chapter behind in posting. Sorry about that.

This is the chapter entitled “The Love Duck,” which has little to no romantical tension, also, very few ducks.

THEDWARF6CROP

When I walk into the office, Bets is on the phone. She covers the receiver with her hand and mouths the word Macky at me, which produces an autonomic eye roll. When she hangs up, she tells me, “He says that there were a couple of big dudes messing up the bookstore. He didn’t stick around to find out who they were.”

“I assume he’s going home to do his homework now? Spulling is herd.” Another eye roll, but not mine. I’m looking at McGinty’s invoice that I got from Dixon, but it’s all Greek to me, or rather, Latin. “Bets, can you get Nora over here at some point? I have a Grandpa and or Latin related question.”

“Sure,” she says and starts walking towards my apartment.

For the ninetieth time today, I’m confused. “Where are you going?”

“She’s in your living room.”

What the ever-lovin’ spacegoat is she doing in my living room? I told you to take care of her, not put her in my living room!”

“What did you think I’d do with her? Put her in some seedy no-tell motel on Hollywood all by herself? No way. She’s safer here. Besides, Shamus loves her.”

“Oh. Well, if Shamus loves her, by all means, go ahead and give her my bank account details and my car keys, too! I also have a respectable record collection and half a sandwich in the fridge…”

“You’re being unreasonable.”

“Yes, because it’s entirely unreasonable to think that when I tell you to take care of someone–someone who isn’t even our client, by the way; our actual clients are dead and a lawyer respectively–I don’t expect you to take care of them in my living room!” By the time I’m done with my tirade, Bets has already gone into my apartment.

She returns a minute later with Shamus and a sleepy looking Nora who’s wearing my clothes no less. Now she really looks like a little girl playing dress up in my grown up man clothes. And by grown up man clothes, I mean my Damned t-shirt that I purposely hid in the bottom drawer, because Macky’s been trying to steal it from me ever since he saw it. I shoot Bets a look that she normally gives to me.

“Really? My clothes, too?” Bets just shrugs her shoulders. I’ve already lost the battle. I ignore her and turn to Nora. “Nora, you’re a smart girl. Do you know Latin at all?”

“Not fluently, but enough to get by. Why?”

What’s aurum anatis mean?

“Aurum means gold.” Oooh, gold! Now we’re getting somewhere! “And what was the second word? Anatis? A-N-A?” I check the paperwork again and nod. “Well, I’m not so good with biology, but I’m pretty sure that the root ‘anas’ is duck.”

“Duck as in quack quack? Or duck as in there’s an object on a trajectory to your head so you might want to adjust your course in a downward manner with great haste?”

“Quack quack.”

“That can’t be right.”

“May I see it, please?” I hand her the invoice. “Oh, this is my grandfather’s writing. I see the problem. I think that’s an M, not an N, so it’s amatis, not anatis.”

“Oh, well, that certainly clears things up then. Of course, it’s amatis. What’s an amatis?”

“I think amatis is from the root ‘amor,’ which means love, affection or infatuation, depending on how it’s used.”

“Uh huh. So, gold infatuation or gold love? That doesn’t make much more sense than a duck. Any idea what that means, you know, in a larger sense, or hell, even in a small one?”

“Not really.”

“Well, there you have it. A clue! Any idea what the love duck has to do with your grandpa’s book business?”

“No, I’ve never seen that title before. He didn’t mention it to me.”

“Did he mention anything to you about anything ever?”

“Sorry?” Fortunately, she didn’t seem to entirely hear my snippy remark.

“Never mind, you can go back to bed now. Thanks.” I watch as Nora totters off back to my apartment. When she’s gone, “Really, Bets? Really? I’m a bed and breakfast now?”

“I can’t have her out there all on her own. She’s really safer here. That’s my only concern.”

“Your only concern is her safety, not my rights to privacy and half a sandwich? What about my right not to be looted or have my damned Damned t-shirt stolen right under my nose without my permission? Has Parliament passed the Quartering Act of 1765 again? You didn’t even tell me, let alone ask first.”

She puts her head down, “Sorry.” Ha! I got a sorry out of her! “It’s just for a day or two until we figure this out.”

Bets knows she’s wrong, so I decide not to rub her nose in the carpet anymore. Besides, our record is now one million, three hundred fifty-eight thousand, five hundred twenty-five to two. I am gruntled with my victory and decide not to gloat about it. “I take no responsibility for her even if she is wearing my shirt and sleeping on my sofa. She’s all yours. ”

“Understood.”

“Oh, and see if you can get some money out of her. She hasn’t even paid for our regular services, let alone my gracious bed and breakfast hospitality. At least get a retainer or something if she’s going to be hanging around.”

“Honestly, Cump. You’re an ass.”

“Thank you!”

Part 19