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Hello, my wonderfully patient watchers!  Popping up from the void of Hiatus Mode with a quick announcement.  In case any of you guys are into webcomics, RobinRone launched her Leylines' V3 Kickstarter yesterday!  I'm stoked bros.  Seriously, it's the best comic I've read in a long time -- granted, it's right smack in my blind spot of Stuff I Love, with fictional languages and crazy thorough worldbuilding and gods and monks and a freakin' princess main character, so it's hard to be objective about it.  But I can honestly say the story is probably the most solidly constructed narrative I've ever encountered in a long-form online comic.  Basically I recommend it.  A lot.

If anyone's interested in sprawling fantasy stories in original worlds, go read a thing.  Go go go.

"But Sorrel, you haven't even told me what it's about--" 

"Three siblings from a broken family are caught in the conspiracy that claimed their mother's life.  To save their family and nation, they seek out ancient gods for answers -- but the gods give nothing for free."
    -- The Blurb on the Home Page

So yeah, if some of my watchers have some spare change to back her Kickstarter, awesome!  If not, I'd appreciate it if you guys could spread the word -- this lady deserves so much attention for her work.  And read the comic.  Because it wins.

Thanks, guys!  Sorry to come back from the dead with an advertisement.  I'm just SO EXCITED you have no idea. 

Things on my end have been busy.  Working on my senior film for that animation degree that's been eating my life!  Might post some progress on that in the coming weeks, just as soon as I get past quarterly finals.  I will say this:  It's got cats in it.  And not much else. XD
This account of mine is almost entirely made of fan art.

Now, I don't mind fan art.  Obviously I like it a whole lot, since it's about 99% of my gallery or something.  But I do draw my own stuff (not as much as I used to, having burned myself dry over the past few years of art school, and taking breaks for the sake of my wrists).  And as time has passed, I've found myself less squeamish about posting it on the internet for the world to see and poke fun at -- a nice byproduct of learning a little professionalism.  So I'm considering making another account purely for original works and portfolio type stuff.

If ever I decide to go through with this thought, I'll post it here so anyone interested can take a look!  Apologies for the eons of inactivity, guys.  Y'all are awesome.


Journal Entry: Sat Jan 19, 2013, 2:01 PM
Epic thank-yous to RedJax for giving me a Premium Membership!  I've been curious about the features since forever -- but I thought I would have to save up enough to buy one myself, I never thought someone else would actually gift me a subscription.  Wow, what a fantastic surprise 8D

I guess this means I'll actually have to be more active in terms of posting things, huh? XD

I've seen a rather saddening trend here on DA lately, at least in the little corner I keep an eye on.  

There seems to be some kind of stigma against young artists studying another artist's work as reference in order to improve their own drawing/painting/whatever skills.  While I can understand how this could easily bleed into "copying an artist's work and claiming it as one's own" territory -- which is legitimately bad -- I feel compelled to let people know that the act of simply studying from someone you admire actually has a technical name: "Master-copying."

Students of the visual arts have master-copied the works of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and any number of Renaissance artists for hundreds of years.  Those artists themselves master-copied the works of ancient Greece and Rome.  It's not some new form of plagiarism birthed by the rise of the internet.  The purpose of the exercise is to dissect a piece you like, figure out what aesthetic choices the artist made, why they made them, and (most importantly) what you might do differently if you were the creator of the piece.

If someone is doing this to your work, for God's sake, accept the compliment gracefully.  They're not "art thieves."  They're not in any way trying to steal your internet thunder.  They are telling you, "The stuff you do is inspiring, and I want to be more like you."  This is a good thing.  Seriously.  Jesus Christ, I'm surprised I even have to say this.

And if you master-copy another artist's work and for some reason they get upset about it, I can predict two things about that artist:

1.) They do not have a job in the art world.  (That would imply that the person is mature enough to conduct themselves in a professional manner, and that they are humble enough to work for a company or client -- which requires that you swallow all pride and do whatever they ask of you, unless you want to refund their money.  If the artist has the guts to work in that kind of environment, there's no way they'd be self-absorbed enough to take offense at this in the first place.)

2.) They will not have a job in the art world any time soon.  (For the same reasons.)

That kind of egotism doesn't fly in any professional field.  The sooner they learn this, the better off they'll be.

Oh, someone's drawing eyes the same way you do?  Good!  That means your "style" or whatever struck a chord and made them want to see it more often, to the point where they took the time to dissect and replicate your technique.  Someone's using your illustrations to study anatomy?  Awesome!  That means your own anatomy is lookin' pretty kickass.  

An artist is more than the sum of his or her role models.  This is true.

However, no artist ever got anywhere without a role model.

Certain internet folk need to get their heads on straight and realize everything has been done before.  And furthermore, that this is okay -- because it's never been done in the same combination that you alone, in all the world, can think of.  Nobody else in history has had the same perspective or life experiences you bring to the table.  Nothing you do is completely original, but everything you do is unique in some way.

And especially if you're a young artist trying to build up your skills, don't you dare let anyone else quash that to spare their own ill-placed pride.

If you happen to really like the work of some jackass whom you know will get upset about anyone "copying" their work for study, don't let that stop you.  (Maybe don't post it online for the world to see.  But by all means, dissect that sucker to hell and back.  Figure out what they did, and why, and adapt it for your own use.)

And for anyone reading this who thinks to themselves, "Oh yeah?  Would YOU like it if someone did that to YOUR stuff?"

Damn straight, I'd like it.
Namely, that it is indeed possible to burn soup.  I'm not kidding.  It can happen.
...Still need to figure out HOW that happened. XD

So in other news, I remain alive and bombarded with a To-Do List the size of Texas.  The usual schedule isn't helped by the fact that I've finally thrown in the towel and stopped resisting the urge to seriously pursue writing -- and found it infinitely more enjoyable than schoolwork, no surprises there.  So along with classes, I'm enrolled in an online novel-writing workshop run by pro author Holly Lisle, whose website I've lurked around since grade school.  (Anyone who's interested in story craft, she's got a number of free how-to articles if you want to take a look.)

Long story short, having BOATLOADS of fun on my end, but at the cost of continued activity decrease in my online presence.  I promise I'll actually post something new one of these days. XD
So I've finally got about a week's worth of free time in which I plan to collapse, hibernate, and eventually wake up in order to catch up on my loafing-around quota.  Maybe I'll even have time and spare brainpower to write and do art things!  WHAT MADNESS IS THIS.

Hello, all.  Just checking in with the internet world :D

I barely ever go online anymore, on any of my various web accounts.  There's just too much going on really.  Right now I'm back at school again, preparing to be steamrolled by the workload -- which, fortunately, is comprised of mostly fun things.  And rhetoric.  (Which is also sort of fun, 'cause I already learned about rhetoric years ago.)

The worst part... is the freaking mockingbirds.

There are mockingbirds everywhere.

And it's nesting season.

Did I mention that there are mockingbird nests scattered along my route to class?  Because they are.  And holy Jesus, they've got angry, territorial avian mamas in them.  Granted, they're pretty small things and probably can't do much damage.  But when you hear a series of enraged CHEEPCHEEPCHEEPs and see this THING diving at you, it definitely triggers a fight-or-flight reaction.

(Yes, I am a sissy.)

It also makes for hilarious gag material, being chased around by a teeny tiny bird.  I might include that in some of the animatics due for class.

In summary:  No, I'm not dead yet.  And happy Fourth of July!
Mass Effect 3 is to Mass Effect as...

(a) The Prequels are to Star Wars
(b) Paris Hilton is to Conrad Hilton
(c) My Immortal is to Harry Potter
(d) All of the above

Gosh, I hate multiple choice.

On the other hand, the Retake Mass Effect movement did something pretty sweet -- in lieu of an online petition for Bioware to provide extra, more competently written endings, they've started up a donation pool to Child's Play, an organization that provides games and hardware to hospitalized children.  The monetary "votes" both send a message to EA Bioware and go to a good cause.  I feel like that's pretty creative of them.  Kudos to the people on the Bioware Forums that came up with the idea.

In my opinion, this almost makes that game's existence worthwhile.  Almost.

More on Retake Mass Effect:… link the Facebook page, but I don't exist on Facebook so I can't get to it.)

Child's Play main site:
TLDR: Boredom + Solitude= Unbridled Introspection.  You have been warned.

Greetings, fellow Earthlings!  Just popping in to let people know I'm... you know, alive and stuff.

I say that all the time, I know.

Anyway, things have been kind of pseudo-hectic on my end -- combination of workload and the crappy luck that makes workloads harder.  That's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it.  But on the up-side, I'm still slogging my way ever deeper into the delightful world of animation, so it's been worth the effort thus far.  I'm learning that the Maya software program is in desperate need of a computer-psychiatrist.

So anyhoo, I was trawling through my own gallery the other day and I realized something.  Out of all my most recent uploads (rare though they may be these days), it feels like most of them are of the anthropomorphic variety.  I've noticed a steady increase of furry inclinations among my recent watchers because of this.  It's quite intriguing for a couple of reasons: One, because I have very little knowledge of what the "furry fandom" really is, outside the experience of one convention I didn't spend all that much time at, so my curiosity is piqued.  And two, because it makes me realize just how little of my artwork I actually post online.  I mean, really, over the past year or two this account has become little more than a space for me to post up the occasional Dreamkeepers fan art piece.  (Which explains the recent furry-esque trend, but still.)

I've got tons and tons of sketchbooks.  My picture is in the DSM IV next to the entry on Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, complete with a list of all the sketchbooks I buy the moment I see them.  I usually suffer some kind of mildly orgasmic mental episode upon entering an art supply depot.  And most of my sketchbooks fill up pretty fast -- gestures, studies, doodles of my cat, etc.  I draw all the freaking time and going to an art school has only encouraged this habit.

And what makes it onto DA?  Like, maybe 1%.  The few drawings I actually pre-plan, thumbnailing and sketching in blues and going over with final pencil lines and scanning and spending hours coloring in Photoshop (or at least it feels like hours 'cause I keep losing focus and procrastinating), meticulously trudging through them with the expressed intention of putting them out here for the world to see.  (Which is sad, because I feel like all that effort is a tad disproportionate to the quality of my stuff... Hm.  Need more practice.)

Needless to say, that's a lot of effort.  And I'm usually too lazy for all that.  I like quick, fluid, sketchy drawings that capture movement and idea over light and texture.  They're easy for me.  They embody the thing I've come to love most about art in general -- the motion of the arm and wrist, the motion of the subject in the mind's eye, dancing together in the swift act of enthused creation.  The kinesis of it.  

Or I like the tiny little sketch-studies that help me work out the proportions of a character's face and form, the different doodles of his/her expressions, and by extension the different facets of the personality.  Either way, they always seem a bit too... unpolished, I think, too quick-and-dirty for the internet.  Maybe it's because of all the ridonkulously well-rendered fine artwork on DA influencing me, but I always kind of wince at the idea of posting a sketch that I never intend to finish.

I know, I know, sketchdumps.  They exist.  But it's also a pain in the ass to scan all that stuff and cobble it together in Photoshop, so there's my laziness coming out again.

So basically most of what makes it to DA these days ends up being Dreamkeepers fan art.  Which attracts both furries and other DK fans, naturally.  And thus I get a sudden influx of furry-ish Watchers, and I'm sure there are old high school friends out there who look at my gallery and think I'll be running around with ears and a fake tail next time they see me.  (I can think of a few, actually.)  On the one hand, it's kind of cringe-inducing; after all, furries don't have the best of reputations, and from what I've seen, the stereotype has a fair foundation regardless of all the normal ones out there.  But on the other hand... well, I'm confident in the knowledge that I'm not with that particular crowd of extremists.  Heck, I'm pretty sure I'm not even a furry unless "I just like Redwall and Watership Down and Mouse Guard" counts.  And my sketchbook can prove it.  Experience tells me that most "furry artists" don't run around actually drawing real people, or even real animals in many cases.  ...Ugh, I could rant about the horrifically incestuous nature of what I've seen of the furry art community, but I don't feel like bringing down my own mood.

But noticing the fact that so little of my work actually makes it onto someone's internet browser has also been enlightening, in a way.  It's made me realize that I'm not doing this -- the art school, the animation career aspirations, even the drawing itself -- for praise or peer validation.  Praise is awesome and I lap it up like a petunia in the sun, but it's not what I'm after, not really.  The act alone has become its own reward.  I draw because... well, because I really like to draw.  I like creating little worlds and little people to inhabit them.  In the case of animation, I get a rush out of flipping through the pages and watching the lil' suckers move.  Seriously, it's freaking surreal.

Recently that rush has been the only thing keeping me from hunting down Maya's programmers and giving them a swift kick in the arse.  Grr.

And then, of course, my family goes "HA!  You want to draw cartoons for a living!"  And they point and laugh and make starving artist jokes.  Yeah yeah, I love you too.  I'll admit, the one thing that makes me nervous is the job prospects.  Not necessarily because the market's suffering -- on the contrary, the industry folks I've talked to say that recruitment is up higher than ever -- but because the competition is so freakin' stiff.  You've got to be on your A-game just to get the right people to look twice at your demo reel.  Out of I-don't-know-how-many-hundred people graduate from my school every year, maybe three get picked up by the big fish like Pixar or Disney, and the rest set out to look up smaller companies or advertising agencies to test the waters with.

Not that settling for a smaller company is a bad thing, by any means.  It's just that I really, really, really want to tell stories, and I've been really excited about working on a film of some sort for years.  Out of all the animation studios that exist, not that many venture into the realm of feature film.  (Can't blame 'em, it's freaking expensive to produce that stuff.)  Though I suppose the world of short films isn't something I've given much thought to... Must remedy this.

HOLY CRAP long journal is long.  I'm going to shut up now XD

Peace out, yo.
Hey yo heads up!  David and Liz Lillie, authors of the Dreamkeepers graphic novel series, are giving out free downloads of volume 1.  GO HERE.

Seriously one of my favorite comics ever.  In this fantasy action-adventure set in Anduruna, largest city in the Dreamworld, four children get caught up in a conspiracy of world-ending proportions and must race to stop the apocalypse.

Also: Sparkles and bright colors EVERYWHERE.  These two artists comes from a background in animation and have a wonderful visual style.

Come on, you know you love free stuff.

That is all! :la:
Late journal is late.  But better late than never!  So yes, ye grand olde Turkey Day has come and gone, leaving us with piles and piles of glorious leftovers.  My family won't have to cook for a week.


And looking at my gallery reminds me that I haven't posted anything here since halfway to forever, so I'll get on that soon.  I've got a bajillion sketchbooks to scan.
Finals -- they come for my SOUL.

Shoot me now.

...Well okay, it's not that bad yet.  But I've certainly spotted enough work on the horizon to make me nervous already.  I can't freaking wait for the quarter to end, man.  Very tempted to skip out and run to Disney World or something.  Or better yet, bribe the teachers into having the last class in Disney World.  Then everyone would win and we would all be distracted by shiny things.

If only school were anywhere near Disney World...  But hey, I can dream, can't I?

Okay!  Pointless journal over.  Just letting people know I'm still alive and stuff.
Okay it's probably not, but the sheer whimsical quality of it certainly makes me want to eat at a Sonic:…

I want to ride a flying pepper too, man!  That looks awesome 8D
Oh the rioting carnage, will it never end!  Observe this terrible atrocity!…

...It's nice to see someone making light of things XD  Those poor guys in the UK could probably use every laugh they can get right now.
So apparently this gangster with an illegal weapon died in a London shootout with police recently.

The people's response?  Riot.  And riot.  And keep on rioting for days on end.  Set fire to nearby buildings, break into shops, vandalize the living hell out of every structure in sight.  Yup.  It's a perfectly natural and justified course of action, really.

I mean, how dare the police do their jobs?  Such insolence can't be tolerated by the people any longer.  Also, it's the conservatives' fault as well.

And of course it's perfectly fine to bring your kids and little siblings into this giant mosh pit they've got going on over there -- the more the merrier, right?  I mean sure, they might get trampled in the process and treated for fractures in every bone in their bodies, but hey, you're training them to be independent thinkers.  It's a valuable life lesson.  It's worth it.

(....So yeah, just in case the dripping vitriol doesn't make my sentiments absolutely clear, this journal is composed entirely of sarcasm.)

And I finish with this lovely summary of the week's events:……

Probably the only coherent pro-"femShep" article I've seen on the internet, this piece takes a long, hard, in-depth look on the origins of Mass Effect's Jane Shepard -- and why the sudden, well deserved attention by Bioware may be doing her something of an injustice.  It's certainly refreshing to hear an argument from someone who is neither a rabid fangirl nor a chauvinistic ass.

Why has such an afterthought character, whom nobody on the development team ever thought would be played by more than a handful of gamers, garnered such a huge and devoted following?  What is it that makes Shepard a great character instead of a "strong female lead?"  Why has her default appearance, given practically no attention compared to the carefully-modeled male Shepard's, somehow become even more endearing in its genericalness?

Most of all: why do the femShep fans hate her new makeover by Bioware?

So many questions, so much debate.  It's a fascinating topic really.

I kinda wish female Shepard weren't such a floozie with every male crew member (except Thane), but I guess the "all women are sluts" cliche still holds true in even the best of sci-fi stories these days.  Seriously, some of those romance-progression initiation lines were just creepy and awkward.  (Speaking of creepy, don't even get me started on Jacob.  I liked his character until I watched the romance cutscene on YouTube.)

But the gameplay, the weaponry, the story -- holy crap I'm in love with this game.  I mean the morality system is buggy and plunges headfirst into Uncanny Valley territory, but aside from that, the battle system was sweet.  Of course, I'm a bit biased towards it due to the ability to literally pause the game and line up your next shot.  I'm terrible with shooter games, I just can't think fast enough, so this is a huge help and really lets me enjoy the game.

All in all... this is the only game I've even considered trying to play on anything higher than the lowest difficulty setting.  That's how much I enjoy it.

The following is a very frustrated explanation of my confusion.  "Bronies" beware.

Three words:

...What the hell?

After plowing through two seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in the hope that I might come to understand the reason for all the hype, I've gotta say I still don't understand.  I mean I can, on a very basic "Oh, look how pretty and colorful it is!" kind of level, but aside from that it isn't THAT much better than the other substandard cartoons on the air these days.  It has its charm, but it's nowhere near as awesome as everyone and their brother says it is.  The following is a systematic debunking of the points commonly made by the show's more rabid fans.

1.) It was created by the man behind The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.

More specifically, the wife of the man who created those shows.  However, that doesn't automatically mean it's going to be good.  (Just how the fact that How to Train Your Dragon came from Dreamworks didn't automatically make it shallow and childish.)  Considering the extent to which a television network can now interfere with the workings of its shows, I honestly think it's nigh impossible to get anything truly fresh and creative past the focus groups and corporate censorship -- especially with children's shows.  I mean come on, even Avatar: The Last Airbender couldn't escape that fate in the end; the creators' original plans for the show, particularly the final episodes, were much darker, more mature, and ultimately more moving than what eventually made it to public television.

If something as huge as Avatar couldn't get away unscathed, I don't think a show about talking horses can, regardless of who wrote it.  And as it turns out that's exactly what happened.

2.) The animation is fantastic!

Okay.  Okay, guys.  I am an animation student so I know what I'm talking about.  I've seen what "fantastic animation" looks like in TV shows -- and this ain't it.  This is Adobe Flash doing exactly what it was programmed to do; no less, but certainly no more.  It's the same fluidity of movement you see in Powerpuff Girls and Foster's.  There... is... no... difference.  Honestly, from an animator's point of view, the only edge this show has is the visual style and the sheer colorfulness of freaking everything on screen -- which is great, and I actually really like it, but there's still nothing groundbreaking in that alone.

It is quite pretty!  Kudos to the visual department for really earning their paycheck.  But it's nothing special, so stop pretending it is.

3.) It's aimed at young girls, and there are too few shows today that do that.

Who the hell cares?  Most young girls don't.  All the 11-13 year old girls I know are happy to watch anything with a good story and decent visuals, as long as it's not so overbearingly masculine that they can't possibly relate to any of the characters.

4.) Viewers of all ages can enjoy it.

Well... sure, I guess.  Except that the only people I hear getting excited about it are 20-35 year olds, predominantly men from what I'm seeing.  My younger friends, all of whom happen to fall into the target demographic of 11-13 year old girls, quite frankly don't care about the show -- in fact, some actively dislike it, for reasons I'll explain momentarily.  In my experience, the show's main appeal is the almost-nostalgia factor, that happy colorful style that appeals to the inner child.  (I just haven't seen it appeal as effectively to actual children.)

5.) It's a kids' show that doesn't talk down to kids.

In the words of one of my young friends:  "Oh, that pony show?  Nah, I don't like it.  I feel like they think I'm stupid or something."

I could leave it at that, but instead I'll explain what she meant.

Kids are smarter than most people give them credit for.  Particularly kids on the verge of their teenage years -- they know hypocrisy when they see it.  So when the "spoken message" of an episode is something like "Be inclusive of strangers, and try to be tolerant of people you don't like," they expect the characters to act according to what they're being told is the right thing to do.  Therefore, when they then see the main characters ostracizing Gilda the Griffin because they don't like her, most kids will roll their eyes and change the channel.  Now, one could argue that dear Gilda was in the wrong (and she was), because she wanted to keep her childhood friend Rainbow Dash to herself and not allow the other ponies to spend any time with her -- but in that case, given the supposed moral of the story, how should the ponies have handled it?  They should have tried to include Gilda a bit more, make her feel accepted, and given her and Rainbow Dash the space they needed.  Seriously, if those two want to spend some time catching up after years of separation, freaking let them.  Don't go bouncing around and being hyper and getting all up in their personal space and not leaving them alone.  (Pinkie Pie, I'm looking at you -- somebody get that child some Ritalin.)

Kids can read between the lines, guys.  They can tell when a character's actions don't match what they claim to believe.  And that can be played for some great conflict, particularly when said character is forced to confront the discrepancy between their true values and their "public face."  But when every character, without fail, falls into this trap and nobody acknowledges it, the show as a whole instantly loses credibility with kids.  AND THIS HAPPENS SO OFTEN.  Seriously.

Of course there's also the annoying, Furry-level overuse of pseudo-equine terminology -- "everypony" as opposed to "everybody" and such -- but that's a whole other rant.

Points Over.

Now don't get me wrong.  My Little Pony doesn't suck horribly.  In my honest opinion, it's decent.  But "decent" is about as far as I can push the amount of credit I give it without exaggerating.  It would have been much better if it had managed to escape the corporate chopping block, in which case the series would have played out more like what we see in the pilot episodes, which had a pretty cool concept going.  My biggest problem with MLP is the same problem I have with the Twilight series: it simply doesn't deserve nearly as much hype as it's been getting.  Most other cartoons these days are so God-awful that this one, which I personally consider solidly average, looks like Prometheus's fire by comparison.  It's really not bad... but it's not that good either, and quite frankly I and many others am tired of seeing it hailed as the next best thing on TV.

Okay, I'm done now XD
My roommate is undead.

No, this isn't some Hollywood scare-flick come to life -- just the annual chaos of HvZ.  It's actually quite fun.  I'm not playing, since I can barely make it through a game of tag without severe psychological scarring, but I have to admit it's hilarious to watch.  Here's what happened yesterday morning, a mere two hours after the game's official start:

Roomie and I leave dorm.

Roomie and I walk toward dorm-house exit, through the nice little courtyard.  I am entirely oblivious to everything as always.

Roomie:  "OH@#$%!!!"

Me:  "Eh?"

Cue a dramatic camera zoom to the face of a zombie standing between us and the exit.  He cocks his head and starts for us at a jaunty walk.  Roomie draws her nerf gun and runs for her life.  So do I -- don't want to miss the lulz.

She escaped that time, but got tagged later.  (Kids, never approach a stunned zombie when you're not sure how long they have until they become un-stunned.)

In short, I am amused.  Apparently it's been extended until Thursday this year... heee.

In the meantime, all humans are advised to follow the Sign of the Lambda.  You know what I mean.

  • Eating: Not brains, thankfully.
So I got a Livestream account purely for the sake of watching TheFlamingKuillox and commenting on his work in realtime.  For some reason, the site refused to allow me guest status in the little sidebar chatroom.  Anyway, I was wondering if it would be worthwhile to actually... oh, I dunno, do something with that account.  Something art-ish.  Would anyone be interested in watching me draw stuff if I hopped on the Livestream bandwagon?
  • Listening to: &quot;The Show Must Go On&quot; - Moulin Rouge
  • Eating: Cookie Dough ice cream! I feel indulgent XD