Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dragaeran Duet

Stress must be good for me. Well, let me rephrase that. CERTAIN levels of stress that don't reach the state of my previous job must be somewhat good for me. Over the last few days, work has been just a touch busy; the result is that I find myself wanting to draw or create more shiny wire things even if I have to push myself to do it.

I haven't done any jewellery since the weekend; it feels weird, but my hands were hurting from using the pliers a bit too much my last bracelet. Pictures forthcoming, but I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. Black glass beads and copper! Very antique-looking.

So last night, after a day in which patience and grace were stretched to the limit of taut piano wire, this eventually produced itself at 2am in the morning. It took 30 minutes. For 30 minutes, it's definitely not satisfactory, at least to me - but it -did- get done faster than Whisper. Which is an improvement, so I s'ppose I should be pleased. Constance! Just for you since you wanted some more soft shading!

Vlad Taltos and Sha, minus the Fur Skillet

Vlad actually has a thicker, bushier mustache. I think. It's been almost a decade since I read the books. Either way, I wasn't about to mess with it and make it worse, so it stayed that way (the other explanation tentatively involved singed hair and a stove which made it so he had to grow it out again but.) Oh, and he's a creation of Steven Brust. Sha is a game character of mine and is running off with Vlad in my place**.

**: Refer to the entry for Jan. 31st for explanation of why I'm suddenly running off with an assassin from a book. Short version - I'm insane. That covers all bases nicely.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

For Love Of Furstacks

One of my favourite people in the whole wide world happens to be a furstack. It's a bit complicated to explain, but suffice to say that a role-playing game involving large furry felinoids who shed, and punky, demons-fear-to-anger chicks produced an in-joke whereby the player of the felinoid was promptly dubbed 'Furstack' and has remained so for the past eight years. (I sent him fur in Kosovo, but that's another story.)

Just for my favouritest furstack in the entire world, this came about tonight. It took too long, it took too many corrections, I rediscovered the pain of doing pencil shading, it looks a ton better scanned, and it looks fantastic upside down - just less so the right way up. Why, I don't know. But this is Whisper in the Deep Shadows, or at least a pale representation of what he SHOULD be like:

He looks a lot better as a Ball Jointed Doll, I promise. I don't have one, but I've seen one and it was the most perfect-looking Whisper imaginable.

Except for the fact that it cost over USD800? I'd have bought one just to drool over the perfection of the sculpting...

...which tells me I really need to go to bed. Like, now.

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's A Movie! ... So Sketch It

People watch movies to have fun. People watch movies to relax. I apparently watch movies to sketch.

I finally caught Sweeney Todd on the last day of its showing, and all I have to say is: Theatre graduate + beautifully costumed and made up film + Sondheim = Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. No more comments necessary, hein?

So of course I had to sketch it. The following were produced in a brief moment of utter insanity in the dark. If you're not convinced that white reflects light, try drawing Sweeney Todd singing 'London' in a dark theatre - trust me, there's light reflected to see a big blob of sketchbook if you keep one eye on the screen and another obliquely on the paper. Notice I didn't promise they'd be GOOD.

...And then there was Violence and I had to concentrate, and that was the end of productive artistry for the evening.

Tonight, I took apart 2 inches of European 4-in-1 chainmaille after deciding I was not about to craft 7.5 inches of migraine no matter -how- much I love this friend of mine. I can do about the same amount of Byzantine weave in half an hour, and this took 4 hours, most of it spent taking it apart and putting it together again. As a result, out came the sketchpad again, and the Chinese calligraphy pens since I hadn't used 'em in a while. The result: I -really- need a lot of practice with those things.

I can't wait for fencing class come Tuesday. Between that and the wirework jewellery (which I am still doing every day) I think that airport detectors'd have nothing on me when it comes to beeping out alarms for contact with too much metal.

Man, I really need to practice drawing some more too. How many hours in a day do I have again? Oh. Right. 24, not 56.


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Possessions, Obsessions...Err, Batman?

There's a tradition, at least among some of my choir friends and I, that it doesn't matter what date Chinese New Year falls on. The weather? Will be HOT. Scorching, unadulterated, completely and unbearably hot, even if it was raining cats, dogs, and frogs just the week before. Nothing this year has disproved the trend yet.

As a result, I fled my furnace of a room for downstairs, and the fishtank outdoors. I admit to being fond of fish in general (both aesthetically and as food, yes.) They just tend to be a bit lively to draw when they're darting around. Ours are, as you can see, rather fat. They're a mixture of Japanese carp and huge-bellied goldfish that look frighteningly obese. They're cute.

Right after the goldfish, it was time for Batman. Marco? This. Is. Entirely. Your. Fault. I -have- excessive testosterone levels, see! (and it's noir because I can't for the life of me draw the style you did. I so suck.) The colour is a lot better for real; I just don't take very good photos.

And while I'm at it, this is the infamous Hammering Station for my metal and wirework jewellery:

These are the first bracelets and hammered charms I made my first day back on vacation:

These are the first rings I ever made and the green one is singularly screwed up because I had to use pliers to make a bend in it to stop the metal bead from running away:

This is Aliera, the ring that's companion to the Loiosh Bracelet (Aliera is a noblewoman of Dragaera with a honkin' huge Great Weapon of Doom):

This is a bracelet commissioned by a friend, and yes, fish again!

And I'm still working on another piece of chainmaille bracelet - this one the Sha's Fire Draegaran bracelet, in Byzantine weave.

Do they have Chainmaille Addictions Anonymous perhaps?

Friday, February 08, 2008

New Year Traditions

Every family here in Malaysia has different traditions for celebrating Chinese New Year. In mine, we give my mother's plants haircuts.

This requires just a wee bit of explanation so it doesn't sound quite so odd. My mother loves plants. More to the point, plants love her. Think of a benevolent Poison Ivy, and you have an idea of how our garden looks like, and how plants behave around Mom. Got a sick plant? Bring it over. Quite a few plants sent over for rehabilitation have stayed on as permanent residents, after their owners saw the results and realized they wouldn't be able to duplicate such conditions in their own gardens.

My mother swears she doesn't do anything but feed her plants organic compost, which is mostly just all the fruit-peel, tea leaves, and coffee grounds and eggshells that the household disposes of. Orange peel is the biggest contributer to the compost box, so we have a running family joke that if any of our pineapple plants, fruits or vegetables ever taste of oranges, we'll know why.

That being said, Mom is a fanatic about her plants looking nice for New Year. Since we live in such a hot climate, the plants do get some brown edges due to heat and old age. There is one particular potted plant that we've nicknamed the Twin Towers due to it having branched out from one bulb into two bulbs, and grown into a gigantic onion-looking piece of greenery. The ends of the Twin Towers -always- require trimming, so it's become known as 'giving the plant a haircut.' And since we've been doing this for about three years now, it's become a Household Tradition now.

In other news, today was Sketching to Blazes and Sucking Badly Day. I think I'm out of practice or else I'm just not concentrating, but oh, improvement, improvement, thou hath backslidden from me. The following are studies I did for a picture I'm intending to work on soon, and...ngh. Yeah, improvement needed.

The Family also got their fair share of being sketched tonight after dinner:

The scan quality is less than stellar, because I was trying to take flash photographs with my camera - no scanner here, alas. Tomorrow, it'll be Sketching Fish, which will hopefully go better than this.

And on the jewellery note, can't resist tossing this one up. It's named Loiosh, after one of the mythical dragon-like telepathic creatures called jhereg in Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos novels. Even if I do say so myself? I'm really pleased with how this came out despite the clasp being a bit of a disaster. New Year bracelet!

More jewellery tomorrow and Gong Xi Fa Cai to all!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Stardust Falling

on a good night they say sometimes
sixty meteors fall
an invisible one streaked
past my window
sank into the dark
without a sound

could have been your heart breaking
could have been mine
but mine
would echo like an hollow tin box
heavy with melted dreams

maybe i heard though
it fell so quietly
i never knew it had gone

elephants have graveyards
memories do too
or so they say

i wonder where falling stars
go to die

--LSY, 2.51am
Chinese New Year's Eve