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What do you do when someone who's always made you laugh...makes you cry?

And if that happens, can that someone ever make you laugh again?

Well. Yes. But there's a trick to it. Allow me to digress for a moment.

One of my favorite fantasy films is "The Wizard of Oz".

Oz by Toonicorn

Perhaps one of the reasons so many love this movie is the poignancy of Judy Garland. Poignant, not just because of the incredible authenticity and sincerity of her performance of the earnest and innocent Dorothy Gale, but because of the tragedies that haunted the actress later in her life.

It's hard to watch her buoyant, effervescent portrayal of a simple farm girl lost in a bright, radiant be-careful-what-you-wish-for dreamworld without thinking of her dark struggles beyond the other side of the rainbow. But let's take a page from Doctor Who and get a little "timey-wimey" here. You can't see the light at the end of a tunnel if you're focused on the darkness surrounding it. You can't live in the moment if you're focused on what happens next. You can't look at a clock and tell what time it is if you're focused on the second hand.

To enjoy a moment in time, you've gotta be there - even if you're experiencing it days and weeks and years and decades after it happened.

When I watch "The Wizard of Oz", I remember that in that particular moment in time, Judy Garland was 16 years old, and well, and happy, and outgoing, and affectionate, and cheery, and funny, and professional, and endearing. According to everyone who worked on the film with her, she was "a doll". Everyone from the director to the songwriters to her fellow actors to the Munchkins to even the dog - Terry - who played Toto - bonded with her (and that's pretty obvious when you watch the dog's reactions to her in the film). And that's what I think about when I watch that wonderful old movie - and in doing so, I enjoy it in a way I wouldn't otherwise. It's the way I think Judy would want to be remembered. And since she's entertained me so profoundly, I think I owe her that much.

We owe that to Robin Williams as well.

"Laugh, clown, laugh, but he's crying inside" is a cliche, but unfortunately, I'm here to tell you, it's often very true.

Nevertheless, let's remember Robin when he was doing was he was meant to do, when he was in his element, when he was entertaining us, when he was (I suspect), really truly happy. Remember those moments, and be IN those moments when you watch him onscreen. Performers like Robin are the point of light in that tunnel of darkness. That's how he'd want to be remembered. We owe him that much.

Let's remember the laughter.

Rest in peace, clown prince.

Group hug.

Geniehug by Toonicorn

Liontears by Toonicorn
  • Listening to: Vivaldi
  • Reading: Naomi Novik's "Crucible of Gold" (Temeraire)
  • Watching: HunterxHunter
  • Playing: Candy Crush
  • Eating: Little Chocolate Donuts (breakfast of champions)
  • Drinking: Starbucks
I remember the first time I saw "Ghostbusters". As I sat in front of my TV, laughing at Rick Moranis' geeky pursuit of Sigourney Weaver, and at Bill Murray's interaction with an apparition with an enormous appetite ("He slimed me!"), I wondered why scary stuff always makes comedy that much funnier.

I was already a fan of the old Abbott and Costello comedy-horror films. Films like "Hold That Ghost" and "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein".

Holdthatghost by Toonicorn
A modern-day equivalent of that type of "laughing in the dark" comedy team might very well be Dipper and Mabel from the delightful "Gravity Falls".

Gravityfalls by Toonicorn

But "Ghostbusters" created a new kind of horror-comedy - one where the protagonists don't just scream and run when encountering a phantasm (a formula the venerable "Scooby-Doo" has done to perfection - or perdition, depending on how you look at it) - but aggressively seek it out and fight it, even if that phantasm turns out to be several stories tall and made of malicious marshmallow. It was a new kind of laughing in the dark. When we watch "Ghostbusters", we don't just laugh at the comic heroes - we want to BE the comic heroes, fighting rogue apparitions with heavy weaponry and thumbing our noses at humorless government bureaucracy (even if that includes politically-correct bureaucracies like the EPA). Laugh at what scares you; FIGHT with what scares you; amusing and empowering. In my case, "Ghostbusters" helped a kid who still had occasional nightmares deal with them. That, I daresay, is one reason why Harold Ramis' death has hit me so hard. That, and a deep appreciation for his comedy genius.

So the geekiest of the Ghostbusters is gone. But his work and his role as Egon Spengler will live on, keeping the ghosts at bay with bright laughter, and pushing away the dark with the flickering of a TV screen.

Ghostbusters by Toonicorn

Rest in peace.
  • Listening to: Vivaldi
  • Reading: Naomi Novik's "Crucible of Gold" (Temeraire)
  • Watching: HunterxHunter
  • Playing: Candy Crush
  • Eating: Little Chocolate Donuts (breakfast of champions)
  • Drinking: Starbucks
Valentine's Day can be romantic, memorable, dream-fulfilling and fun. So no worries! Right? Get out there and have a blast.

It's the day AFTER you gotta worry about.

Rude Awakenings by Toonicorn

Let's be careful out there.

  • Listening to: Barbara Mandrell's "Love Is Fair"
  • Reading: Naomi Novik's "Crucible of Gold" (Temeraire)
  • Watching: Log Horizon
  • Playing: Spyro The Dragon: A New Beginning
  • Eating: Little Chocolate Donuts (breakfast of champions)
  • Drinking: Papa Nicholas Cinnamon Hazelnut coffee
Arthur Rankin Jr., creator of the immortal Christmas TV specials "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman", has passed away at age 89.

Interesting...Rudolph was animated via "Puppetoons" - a stop-motion style of puppetry, while "Frosty" was animated via traditional 2D limited animation. Both were so well-done, that, 50 years after their debut, the two specials still get stellar ratings, according to the Hollywood Reporter:

(Rankin's) holiday specials air every year and always draw a crowd. In December, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which debuted in 1964, and Frosty the Snowman, which premiered in 1969, were broadcast by CBS and were the two highest-rated programs of the night.

The key to the specials' success is twofold - first of all, both were based on memorable Christmas songs. Secondly, the scripts of the two specials were top-notch - witty, insightful, poignant, and best of all, they didn't talk down to children.

It all begins with writing, kids. Clever drawing will not rescue poor prose. I'm still so impressed at how Rankin and his partner, Jules Bass, extrapolated and improved upon the original Rudolph story (which, in its original incarnation as a promotional give-away storybook for the now-defunct department store chain Montgomery Ward, was written in rather forced and clunky rhyme by Rudolph's creator, Robert L. May), and gave it a resonance that endeared it to generation after generation. The same deal with Frosty: how many of us fell in love with the cuddly snowman, only to have our hearts broken by his apparent demise at the hands of the devious Professor Hinkle?

Rudolph and Frosty were an important part of my childhood, and since I'm still pretty much a kid, they'll always be a part of me.

Goodbye, Mr. Rankin. The child in me weeps.

Frosty-the-snowman-33 by Toonicorn

  • Listening to: "Saving Mr. Banks" soundtrack
  • Reading: Terry Pratchett's "Witches Abroad"
  • Watching: Magi
  • Playing: Spyro The Dragon: A New Beginning
  • Eating: risotto balls
  • Drinking: Orange Shandy
New year, new art piece! I've just posted a new comic featuring my avatar, the Toonicorn, in his first appearance as a full-fledged comics character. To me, he's the embodiment of my artistic penchant for fantasy and cartoons. It was a lot of fun to do, and I hope it gives you a laugh or two. Be sure to click on it to enlarge (wouldn't want to give my readers eyestrain). Do tell me what you think. There will be more Toonicorn comics in the future. Huzzah! :)
  • Listening to: "Saving Mr. Banks" soundtrack
  • Reading: Terry Pratchett's "Witches Abroad"
  • Watching: Magi
  • Playing: Spyro The Dragon: A New Beginning
  • Eating: risotto balls
  • Drinking: Orange Shandy

An icy January blast tore at my coat as I hurried on my way to work. I noticed that the Christmas street decorations had been taken down, and in a way I was relieved. My wife was suffering from a long illness and I didn’t feel very festive.

I was glad to get inside the foyer of the Montgomery Ward building. In the elevator I leaned back and listened to the younger men eagerly discuss their work.

“And how are you starting the new year?” I glumly asked myself. Here I was, heavily in debt at age 35, still grinding out catalogue copy. Instead of writing the great American novel, as I’d once hoped, I was describing men’s white shirts. It seemed I’d always been a loser.

In the copy department a secretary called. “Bob, the boss wants to see you.”

What now? I wondered.

No, I didn't write that. The above was written by a person who's touched your life. You know who he is, even though you may never have even heard his name. Read on:

Our department head stood at the window in his office. “Bob,” he barked, “I’ve got an idea. For years our stores have been buying those little Christmas giveaway coloring books from local peddlers. I think we can save a lot of money if we create one ourselves. Could you come up with a better booklet we could use?”

I started to answer but he kept right on talking. “I think it should be an animal story, with a main character like Ferdinand the Bull.”

Finally I said I’d try.

That night, I wondered about what kind of animal it should be. Christmas. Santa. Reindeer? Of course; it must be a reindeer – Barbara, my four-year-old daughter, loved the deer down at the zoo.

The creative process at work.

But what could a little reindeer teach children?

Suppose he were an underdog – a loser, yet triumphant in the end. But what kind of underdog?

Certainly a reindeer’s dream would be to pull Santa’s sleigh.

Outside, the fog swirled in from Lake Michigan, dimming the street lights. Light. Something to help Santa find his way on a night like this.

Suddenly I had it! A nose! A bright red nose that would shine through fog like a floodlight.


The next morning I enthusiastically presented my idea to the boss. “For gosh sakes, Bob, can’t you do better than that?”

I retreated to my desk and sat staring at the wall. I had faith in the reindeer I had by now named Rudolph. But how could I convince the boss? I prayed for inspiration.

An idea struck me. A bold, audacious idea. I walked over to the art department, where my friend Denver Gillen worked. “Denver, could you draw a deer with a big red nose and make him look appealing?”

He looked at me quizzically and I explained my idea. The following Saturday morning, Barbara, Denver and I met at the deer corral at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. As he sketched, I held Barbara up so she could better see those gentle creatures.

Sometimes even great ideas don't work just because you want them to. Sometimes, a miracle needs a hand...

By afternoon we felt we had something.

On Monday morning we brought the sketches into the boss’s office. He studied them for a long time. “Bob,” he said softly, “forget what I said and put the story into finished form.”

I started writing:

“Twas the day before Christmas and all through the hills – The reindeer were playing . . . enjoying the spills . . .”

Spring slipped into summer. My wife’s parents came to stay with us to help. Suddenly her condition grew worse. Then in July she was gone.

At the office the boss put his hand on my shoulder. “Bob,” he said, his voice unusually gentle. “I can understand your not wanting to go on with the kids’ book. Give me what you’ve got and I’ll let someone else finish it.”

But I needed Rudolph now more than ever. Gratefully I buried myself in the writing. Finally, in late August, it was done. I called Barbara and her grandparents into the living room and read it to them.

In their eyes I could see that the story accomplished what I had hoped.

Today children all over the world read and hear about the little deer who started out in life as a loser, just as I did. But they learn that when he gave himself for others, his handicap became the very means through which he received happiness.

My reward is knowing that every year, when Christmas rolls around, Rudolph still brings that message to millions, both young and old.

And that's the story of Robert L. May, the creator of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. And as cheering as the story is, there's more: Montgomery Ward, in a rare, stunning act of corporate generosity, gave May all of the rights to Rudolph, even though the company could have claimed the misfit reindeer as its own, since it was created under a work-for-hire contract. (The same kind of contract that denied creator's rights to Marvel artist Jack Kirby). And as for the rest of the story...Robert L. May "went down in history" and became a millionaire. His story is an object lesson to those artists who are on the brink of giving up. And also how misfits can make good. What artist doesn't identify with that?

So keep trying. Believe in yourself. You are NOT just a misfit. This is my Christmas gift to you. And thank you for visiting my page! :)

Rudolphmay by Toonicorn

Walt1 by Toonicorn       Walt2 by Toonicorn 
 Walt3 by Toonicorn  Walt4 by Toonicorn

Yeah, I created the above memes to use on Twitter. As you may know, the movie "Saving Mr. Banks" has premiered, in which Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney. And as one might expect, the lies and slander about Walt Disney have begun to crop up again. See those words and pictures up there? All of the statements are true. Sarcastic, but true. They are facts. They were not created by Disney's PR department. They are not rumors. They are not wishful thinking. They are FACTS. Facts that are easy to discover if one does a little research through credible sources. The book "Walt Disney: An American Original" by Bob Thomas is the first and best place to start. Bob had access to Disney family members, the Disney vaults and archives, and many of Walt's employees, including the legendary Nine Old Men, Walt's favorite animators, and was allowed to write anything he wanted. Unlike other biographies of Walt, Thomas' book has never been challenged or discredited. It's that good and most importantly, that truthful.

Sadly, there are those who will not believe the facts about Walt. There are those who seem to have a veritable fetish for believing that everyone and everything that appears good and wholesome has a dark center. That's it's all a facade. That all gold is fool's gold.

Well, that's not true. There are wonderful people in this world. In fact, most people in this world are actually pretty damn great. There are monsters, sure. But they are vastly outnumbered by the kind, the compassionate, the gentle, the giving, the virtuous, the valorous, and the heroic. Never doubt it for a minute. And those are the elements Walt put into his entertainment because he believed in them. He tried to live them. True, he was human; he was flawed. He smoked too much and used profanity. He could be a difficult boss, which he understood about himself and acknowledged ("Sometimes I feel like a heel for the way I pound, pound, pound"), but he was difficult because wanted his studio's creations to live up to their full potential. In doing so, he pushed his artists beyond what even they thought they could do. And the vast majority of them admired and even loved him for it.

There are people who are worth admiring, for all of the right reasons. Walt is one of them. He was the genuine article. He really was a good guy. And isn't it more fun, more appealing, more satisfying to admire what's good, instead of sneering at imagined flaws and spreading baseless slander?

By the way, go see "Saving Mr. Banks". It's excellent. It's not 100% historically accurate as to the details, but it does employ graceful storytelling to reveal great truths. In other words, it's a pretty much a typical Disney film. ;)


  • Listening to: Mannheim Steamroller
  • Reading: "Dodger" by Terry Pratchett
  • Watching: Saving Mr. Banks
  • Playing: Spyro the Dragon: A New Beginning
  • Eating: Gingerbread
  • Drinking: Christkindl Hot Mulled Wine
Many thanks to the wonderful person who purchased a print of my painting "Spur Your Imagination"! It's my first sale here on Deviant Art (most of my sales have come from my site at Fine Art America). Best wishes, and I hope you enjoy it!

Spur Your Imagination by Toonicorn

  • Listening to: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • Reading: Crucible of Gold - Temeraire Series
  • Watching: HunterxHunter
  • Playing: Pac Man on my Nook
  • Eating: broccoli and pasta
  • Drinking: Mulled spiced Christkindl wine
Brianstewie by Toonicorn
  • Listening to: Bach
  • Reading: Crucible of Gold - Temeraire Series
  • Watching: Magi
  • Playing: Pac Man on my Nook
  • Eating: buffalo chicken
  • Drinking: Blue Moon
Brianmufasa by Toonicorn
  • Listening to: High Hopes by Frank Sinatra
  • Reading: Crucible of Gold - Temeraire Series
  • Watching: Log Horizon
  • Playing: Google Dr. Who game
  • Eating: pumpkin pie
  • Drinking: Sam Adams White Christmas
So here's my take on politics: We all have our opinions. Hopefully, they're educated opinions (not just the lock-step bleating of the flock you choose to be a part of. Warning: it's hard to see clearly through all that wool). It's easy to get fooled. The people who want our vote or donation or whatever are very good at dressing up their cause or crusade or campaign in pretty words and catch-phrases. It's easy to get dazzled. But remember that old adage about Hollywood: scrape off the fake tinsel, and'll find real tinsel. Some concepts - and people - are phony to the bone.

But, in my opinion, politics should never keep artists, writers, musicians and other creatives apart. Respect the talent! Celebrate the achievement. You don't have to agree with any given artist's opinion or be a part of their bandwagon. Disagreeing with their offstage political activities doesn't make you lesser, or disloyal. Because the most important component of being an artist is to be yourself.

Politically, I'm an independent. Fiercely so. Wouldn't have it any other way. You don't like it? I don't care. Just being myself.

Here, I'll let Judy Garland say it - or rather, sing it - for me. This is my second-favorite Judy Garland song (it shouldn't be hard, once you've seen my gallery, to guess what my favorite is). And in this case, it's not just the medium that sells it for me, it's the message. Enjoy!

The above might seem to be an odd thing to write on a site like Deviant Art, where eye candy is everywhere, free for the taking. Which figures, because many artists here do what they do for fun, for practice, for experience, and for exposure (more on that later). But giving something away inevitably diminishes its value in a market-run economy, and friends, that's the economy we live in. If you are in the habit of putting all of your good stuff out there just so your views will go up, you're selling your talent short. That "good stuff", that idea, just might be your equivalent of Hogwarts. In my opinion, if you have a really REALLY good idea, keep it to yourself until it's ready for actual publication, whether in book form, comic form, album form or gallery form, in which cases you might actually get - gasp! - paid for it. The idea!

Now, having said that, I've created and posted a few things here that are just for fun, for your enjoyment, gratis. Things such as this:
Dogs and Cats, Living Together by Toonicorn

That is a deliberate choice on my part. I want visitors to my page here to be entertained. I want to make people happy with my art. I want to make them smile and laugh. And I like to experiment. So in posting "freebies" here, I'm entertaining my visitors and finding out if my experiments work.

But in the meantime, I'm working on projects that I expect to get paid for, eventually. And I have my paintings here - which I consider my "serious" work - in hopes that some visitors might care to buy them. Which is why I offer some of them in print form. I also have them available for sale elsewhere - such as at Fine Art America - and I've made sales there (none here yet). If you're a serious artist, that's the kind of thing YOU should be doing. Posting art here for exposure is all very well, as long as it's YOUR choice, and if it's part of your marketing plan.

But here's my point (and to quote Ellen DeGeneres: I do have one) - there are going to be those people who will tell you that they LOVE your art and would like you to do some of it for them - but for free. Or for "exposure". These people wouldn't dream of asking someone to fix their car or paint their house for free, but they think it's perfectly fine to ask an artist or a writer to give them something for nothing. These people do this because they think art is frivolous, and that we artists do what we do all because it's just so dang much fun. "Fun". Ha! The idiots! You know what I mean.

Here is a link to an excellent article in the New York Times about those who prey on and exploit artists, maliciously or otherwise. Please read it, if you're serious enough about your art that you want to get paid for it. And make no mistake  - you SHOULD get paid for your art. Art is NOT frivolous, it should NOT be given away, even if your art is meant merely to amuse. Does anyone ever get in free at Disneyland? Yeah, I didn't think so. Here. Read. Learn. And beware!…
  • Listening to: Fun's "Carry On"
  • Reading: The Alchemist
  • Watching: HunterxHunter
  • Playing: Nothing, no new game system yet
  • Eating: kale salad with bleu cheese & viniagrette
  • Drinking: Starbucks Cool Lime Refresher
Just got back from seeing "The Wizard of Oz" in IMAX 3D. Yeah, I know what you're thinking - probably the same thing I thought when I heard that Warner Brothers was going to go all 3D on one of my favorite movies: "WHY????? They're only going to crap it up. Leave the classics alone!"

But I'm happy to report that the result was stunning. My jaw hit the floor with the film's opening shot of Dorothy (Judy Garland) and Toto (Terry - the dog's real name) running down a country road towards home. The depth of field was astonishing. The 3D, married to the rich sepia tone, gave the forms and perspective a reality and immediacy that made the characters and setting more convincing than ever before. And that cyclone scene...holy cow. Everyone in the theater was leaning back against their seats and when Dorothy's house landed in Oz with a WHUMP, I think everyone forgot to breathe for a moment.

Perhaps most amazing of all was how well the special effects, created pre-1939, held up, even under the unforgiving eye of IMAX filming techniques. The cyclone, the flying monkeys, the Witch, Glinda's bubble...all of them lost nothing in the translation. If anything, they were more magical than ever.

It's too bad the movie's re-release was so limited - only in 318 theaters and only for this weekend. I wish more people could see it. The movie had a profound influence on me as a kid, watching it on DVD on a TV screen. Its joy and color and magic permeates a lot of what I do in my art. I even gave it a little shout-out in my painting "Spur Your Imagination". Not even Disney has had the impact on my creative life that "Oz" did. That's what good art does, IMO. It crystallizes the good things in life, like wisdom and love and courage, that resist the depredations of cynicism and the ravages of time. "The Wizard of Oz" is a shining example of such art. No would-be sequel or prequel has ever equaled the charm, the grace, the respect for innocence, and the genuine enchantment, of the one, the ONLY, "Wizard of Oz".  I doubt that any film ever will. Thanks for reading.

This is the ending theme to the anime "Beast Player Erin". The lyrics may be in Japanese, but the sprightly tune and bouncy orchestration easily break down language barriers. Enjoy! explained by Dexter and the immortal Paul Williams:

Wow, this is my third Daily Deviation, and I am so grateful. The best things about getting Daily Deviations are the encouragement they provide, and the new friends I make. Thank you all!!!! :)
Hi, gang. Sorry I haven't posted much lately. How real life gets in the way of art! But I haven't been idle. I'm pleased to present to you my new painting "Spur Your Imagination". Creating it was as educational for me as it was fun. You see, I've mostly been a "traditional" artist most of my life - using real paint, real paper, real pencils, chalks and inks. I've only just started using digital tools, and I've mostly been it's taken me a while to get the hang of them. Fortunately, I've gotten advice from wonderful people on the web, like the gang on the forums at Elements Village and TalkGraphics. They helped me got over some pretty tough hurdles. So at long last, after a bit of a struggle and a lot of learning curves, I've finally finished a blended traditional/digital art piece that means a lot to me - "Spur Your Imagination".

This piece started out as a fragment of a gouache painting I started and never got around to finishing. The gouache part of the piece is most of the horse. When I found the painting fragment in my portfolio, I decided to see if I could still do something with it. I scanned the fragment in pieces - it was pretty big - using my HP scanner. I then put the horse back together using PSE4, then started cleaning it up and adding details. I completely redid the wing, changed the horse's expression (in the original fragment, he was in the midst of a battle. I decided to make him look a bit happier, like he was taking a pleasure flight) and smartened up the color.

Then the question arose: what to do with him next? Oh, the possibilities one has with a flying Clydesdale! Since that breed is most associated with draft work (pulling plows or wagons) I decided to go with a rural theme. That led me to consider a Western/cowboy theme, and that's when I drew the little cowboy in PSE4 and put him on the horse's back. Of course, riding a flying Clydesdale can't happen in real life, so the little boy had to be dreaming, right? And then the whole final theme of the piece spun out from there: a little boy riding a rocking horse and dreaming of great adventures, spurred on by his imagination. I have to say, digitally painting each segment of the piece was a challenge for me (how do you draw fireworks in PSE4? Since Photoshop Elements doesn't have a vector pen, how do I draw firm clean lines in order to create a dirigible? That's when I bought Xara), but it was a learning experience as well, and overall, I'm pretty pleased with the result. I hope you are too! Do let me know.

Oh, and Happy New Year! :)
Wow, my second Daily Deviation! You guys rock! Thanks so much to Astralseed for suggesting my picture "Mooncalf" and Nyiana-Sama for featuring it. And thank you very much to all of you who have stopped by and commented on it and added it to your collections and favorites. I'm overwhelmed by your kindness, and it's all so encouraging. And you know, I really developed an affection for Mooncalf after drawing his picture. I don't think we've seen the last of him...
  • Listening to: Freddy Mercury's "Don't Stop Me Now"
  • Reading: "The Hobbit" - again :D
  • Watching: "Blue Exorcist"
  • Playing: Epic Mickey
  • Eating: breakfast
  • Drinking: Coffee
I'm very happy and grateful that my picture "Epitaph" was honored with a Daily Deviation! I've only been here a short while, but this place has already been so great to me, and the people here are not only outrageously talented, they're thoughtful and generous as well.

I especially owe a big thanks to Kodiakk8 who nominated "Epitaph" for a DD. You rock, friend!  And thank you to all of the people who have left such wonderful messages to me. Your interest is very encouraging, and I promise to try to be worthy of it!
Woo hoo, my first post to my DevArt journal! Awesome!

I've been building my portfolio for some time now. It feels good to finally start putting it online. Besides the Toonicorn sketches I've already posted, I have other art - paintings and pastels and such - that I'll be posting later, plus a work-in-progress comic fantasy, vignettes of which I hope to post here in the weeks to come. Plus I have a few comic-strip ideas for the Toonicorn. Hopefully I'll get those drawn out soon and inked (although Photoshop isn't making it easy for me; I usually work in the traditional methods - oils, gouache, chalks, pen and ink - and getting used to Photoshop's equivalents of such mediums isn't easy. Not even with the added bonus of a Cintique , which is a tablet monitor extraordinaire; you actually draw right on the  monitor, and it's pretty sweet, except when you try to execute a nice smooth variable brush line. Curse you, Grip Pen, curse you!!!!)

But I've gradually learned that it's all a matter of getting used to it, plus discovering the system's strengths and weaknesses. As you'll soon see in my latest painting, I'm beginning to figure it all out. ;)