Sunday, December 25, 2011

Knox on fox in socks in box.

Another Christmas project that I can now post about! Yes, I made some people things for Christmas. For this scheme, I picked up one of those little wooden boxes from the craft store and decided that I was going to paint it like a grown-up and gift it like a grown-up.

India ink does nicely on wood - fast-drying, bright colors, no raised anything, and the wood grain shows through. So I recommend that. Then, finely sand to give a distressed look and really bring out the natural grain. Then lacquer. (My husband used to work for a paint company, so we have tons of this second-quality lacquer-like stuff that's used for oil paints. It's fabulously glossy.)

The 4-drops-blue, 1-drop-green combo I mixed was questionable at first, but I chose to roll with it. Turns out - after the gloss darkens - to be a classic-looking, aged hue. I then hemmed and glued some leftover bookbag fabric (thanks Stacey!) in the bottom. And it's a nice little trinket box.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Assorted doodlings.

Things I sketch a lot of:

1) women in general;
2) eyes;
3) profile views;
4) clichéd fantasy babes

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Taking it into the last century.

I haven't cross-stitched since the eighth grade, but it just came roaring to the front of my mind recently. Nobody loves a totally random, useless creative detour like yours truly.

Ragnar and his little friend Healie go on adventures together. They are an unlikely duo and I like to think there's some kind of Brokeback Mountain thing going on here. But let's not think too long about that.

This was going to be a bookmark, but my attempts to incorporate it into a fabric sleeve made it almost wallet-like instead of boookmark-like. Something to consider as a learning experience, perhaps.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just like being home.

For those who haven't already been informed by the other 3,000,000 social media I use, I have been experiencing a killer withdrawal from one of my psychiatric medications. It makes me do things like sleep until lunchtime, eat chocolate at every opportunity, and run away from home like a 5 year-old. Not kidding. I went to the park and sat in a tree for about 3 hours. Or maybe that's more like running away from home like a cat?

Anyway, I am finally on the up-tick, at least for the time being. Let me tell you, it's N-I-C-E... like, actually being able to experience happiness when it's warranted. NEW CONCEPT. In the midst of this new energy, I recently decided to try some more game/world design. I love terraced cities. So I'm trying to design a small, self-sufficient mountain community fed by an aquifer and/or glacial melt that begins at the temple, traveling through a system of canals. Caste clusters receive the water at different stations, and with varying degrees of contamination from higher castes. Sort of like the concept of a family bathing in the same water, with the head of the household receiving the fresh water and the youngest getting the skunky leftovers from everyone else (hence the saying "throwing the baby out with the bath water"). THE HIGH PRIEST HAS PEED IN YOUR WATER. DRINK IT AND BE GRATEFUL. There's also a cemetery and a couple pastures for grazing rotation. Did someone say yaks?

The fun little sketch that makes my designing chops probably look more impressive than they actually are:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shrawl, anyone?

My mom-in-law bought me some amazing fabric, with which I promised I'd make her a skirt. I trimmed off some leftovers from the pattern and decided to get acquainted with the stretchy purple stuff through a "practice" skirt for myself. Somehow, I ended up with this.

I started out making a loose "shrug" (apparently that's what kind of a half-jacket or slightly-ambitious sleeves are called) and decided to leave the other end free. So it can pretty much function as anything from a scarf to a top. What I really love about it is that it has kind of a kimono tone to it. I took my little shrawl to the local business that sells my clothing creations (well, two of them, including this!) and the shopkeeper acted wildly impressed that I designed this myself.

I just spend a lot of time playing with fabric. I love saris. I love folding and pinning. So a shrawl was really not that wild of a departure. Still, I'm happy with how it turned out and hope someone with a lot of matching evening gowns adopts my little creation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More wrinkles! More!

I am really having fun with this. Despite the fact that each one takes SEVERAL HOURS of nit-picking.

1) Matronly figure! She's supposed to look like a kindly grandmother type, which is why I went with a model that was looking down - as if she's greeting little munchkins. While the photo was of a Mexican woman with an "oh God, I'm being photographed" grimace, a little tweak gave her a full smile. One gray pixel means a gap in the teeth. Phew!

2) Grown-up Tabrin. Thanks to Ms. X for the modeling! Here it is! It's not a precise match because I only have, really, 3 colors with which to cover the skin tones of a young person, and the photo was taken under fluorescent lights of death. But, all things considered, I hope it's OK!

3) A vastly improved seer. I was scared to go with the crinkly eyes at first, but seeing the weird clown-looking face changed my tune. So I let her wrinkles go wild, along with some pursed lips and better-defined face paint. I mean, come on. She may be old, but she can apply her makeup!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Talking heads.

I've been on a tileset-making blitzkrieg the last several days, including character portraits!

Young Tab'rin (modeled after me, proportionally adjusted for a child's facial anatomy), the Seer (modeled after an old Mayan woman) and grown-up Tabrin, which was also kind of modeled after a Mayan girl, but looks more like my neighbor. So I think I'll scrap that one. But, still, here's a few hours' worth of pixel work.

Today I was getting my script filled when I looked up at the pharmacist and thought "IT'S TAB'RIN!". Through all the awkwardness that a flaky artist can muster, I managed to get permission for a few camera phone snapshots so I could try the portrait again. I then learned that this pharmacist has an Aztec name! HOW AWESOME, and a true sign that this face belongs in my story that likewise features huipils and stone temples. I'm excited to have Tab'rin that looks more like the Tab'rin in my head than the pictured Tab'rin that cat-sits for me.

So if you're reading this, Ms. X, hi! And thanks for contributing for my nebulous science fiction project. E-mail me sometime! Otherwise, thanks for the bipolar medication. (The irony is that my project probably makes the most headway when it's NOT working!)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pixel art!

I started by modeling a few things off Dragon Warrior 4 (which I have been playing for like 3 hours a day) and I'm hopeful that I can end up with a nice tileset.

True-to-pixel size:

300% size:

It'd be fun to use some game editing software to create a little mini (very mini) RPG. I just adore these '90s wonderlands.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daisy chain.

Four individual threads and a plethora of beads! The most complex beading I've done. It actually warrants a spot here, I think!

Monday, September 12, 2011


I have been attracted to plants lately. I think it's beginning to hit me that winter's coming - I wanted to draw the deadly nightshade that is growing around my house (!) but the blooms have already disappeared. So perhaps I'll draw more dying flowers than fresh!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The comic has moved!

While Blogger is nice, it's just not a good format for webcomics. I intended this space to be for little, well, sketches.

You can now head here for more daily comic updates!

If you're an RSS-haver, you can subscribe at this URL.

It's ugly, but right now, it's more important to ditch the image-heavy blog for something more streamlined. Thanks for reading!

Yup. That's right. More than two weeks of my "trial" and I've decided to stick with it! Here we go!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#15: Hoe-down.

Not very pleased with this one. It's too small for details to come out properly, and I usually do not do big scenes like this. Well, and I am tired from the depicted gathering. But, hey, I said I would do a comic every day! Even if this one sucks, it's a decent attempt and I'm moving on.

Here is me with some yaks. I ate their cousins last night in burger form. I love them when they're alive, but they're pretty tasty the other way, too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

#11: Icebreaker.

This isn't exactly autobiographical, as people tend to take pity on anxious, naïve commuters instead of yell at them. However, the bus is awkward and I need to stop pulling out this fact in idle conversation. Even though it's totally true.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 8.

I have accomplished a whole week of strips! And I want to continue for as long as this uncharacteristic window of sanity will allow.

The question on everyone's (or my) mind is this: "How long can Candice keep this up, and will she want to make it into a legitimate venture?". It sure is nice to have a routine like this, I gotta say.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 5.

It is very, very rarely that I can say "I like my inking". But you know what? I like my inking.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 2.

My goal is to do one every day for a full week. Expect experimentation, variances in quality, and stuff whipped up just because. But when the week's up, I'll have accomplished a venture I haven't yet had the fortitude (or courage) to undertake.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book bag!

Maybe 2 years ago, I picked a small canvas purse out of a free box. That's been my main wallet and carry-all ever since. But, after those faithful years of service, it finally got to a point where the velcro was shredded, pockets hole-ridden, quilting miserably stained, and carrying capacity too limited. I wanted to bring along a book or sketchpad without flank-smacking people with tote bags as I walked down the bus aisle.

So I stitched up a new all-purpose bag. It's made out of scrap fabric I got from a local upholsterer. I even "harvested" the ID window and credit card inserts from my last bag and sewed them to the inner liner. Perfect!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Children's book progress.

I have had serious motivational problems with this project. It was offered to me around Christmastime, when I was already busy with other commissions, but I said that I would get started regardless. My first draft came with such smoothness, ease, and aplomb that I haven't been able to reproduce those results in a cleaned-up final format. Furthermore, the deadline of "whenever" and total creative control - from illustration style to number of pages to grammatical editing - have been oddly damning. It's sad when a project that starts out so fun and breezy turns into an object of dread and pressure. I literally wake up and think, "oh, God, I need to work on that" and throw the covers over my head. That's the sort of guilt I tend to experience: one that's so deep that it paralyzes and thereby prevents any progress from actually occurring!

The more time passes, the more I realize my bipolar disorder - diagnosed only a few years ago -has been the constant life-and-death cycle of my creative life. The euphoria of a new idea - hurling myself headlong into developing anything from a comic book to an operatic suite - quickly followed by the deep, sinking depression of perceived "failure" - wherein I can barely summon the motivation to play video games or feed myself - makes for one difficult process. I have been struggling a great deal in the past few weeks, trying to grasp what it will take to find the middle ground between these two stages. But the fact is, I've never found one for longer than a day or two. I can't consider myself a "professional" artist, nor expect "professional" results, until I can firmly take my mental wellness in hand. It's been a long process, and will continue to be so... as frustrating as that is to admit. I would love to think that if I did X and Y, art would just flow out of me eight hours a day and I would be blissfully happy. It's going to be more like A-Z, in some agonizingly encoded order. And maybe even then, it will be 2 hours a week. I just don't know.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

My first dress.

My friend, who owns a resale shop, originally gave me a few vintage pillowcases to make skirts, but in a depressive, oh-my-God-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life sinkhole, I thought that a fun, totally self-indulgent project could perk me up. So I made a pillowcase dress instead. I patterned the pillowcase base from something I already own, so it fits like a glove. I added gussets, a pocket, and the ruffles and elastic sash you see here. There were a lot of happy accidents - aren't there always? - and I love how it turned out. There are still imperfections, of course - the back has some funky puckers - but it's not bad for my second clothing creation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sheng and the wolf.

Very quick trials. See! I draw men!

I am growing more and more fond of the look of an inked subject with the original pencil lines still intact. I think it's sort of a training wheels thing, but also a stylistic thing. My pencil lines flow freely, but when it comes down to the white-knuckled, where's-some-diazepam, unforgiving inks, the resulting art is often vastly different, and vastly more ugly. I like the depth that remains in a blocked-out ghost figure.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hands down, my favorite scrape with death!

I went to a wedding recently. The bride had asked me in advance to use my "artistic skill" to decorate the guest seating chart. I felt enthused. Ever since drawing cats all over my husband's hospital room window, I've had sort of a thing for dry erase markers. This wedding, I guessed, would be a lot more fun than pumping antibiotics through a PICC line; I'd get bunch of free markers, free publicity, free honey-slathered pork loin... oh, and to see people I enjoy, um, being happy. That too.

Being a native west coaster, rather than a midwesterner, it was kind of surreal when the wedding party had to be moved downstairs due to an imminent tornado. As an artist, however, it merely meant a few fun Wizard Of Oz tributes and, well, extra time before the ceremony to do the job right.

I really just kind of went with my gut, which seems to be a really important part of the artistic process. The more I just wildly attack my medium without a smidgen of awareness, the better the actual art is. Whiteboards included.

And in case you didn't know, finally got a much-needed revamp. Check it out!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Spunky future chick.

I am planning a storyline set far in the future from my others. On a totally different continent. With totally different cultures. And by "planning" I mean "I have a vague idea of what's going on". It's not nearly to the same grueling extent of R&D I've done for Tab'rin, Mae'houn and the like.

So, I bring you spunky future chick.

This is a borderline Final Fantasy character design, I realize.

Something I am really trying to do is take different skin, facial, hair, and other cultural features and put them in a blender for the races on my planet. I think part of this is because I grew up with a very racist parental figure and resent a lot of the stuff that's been drilled into my head. Why not give people with white skin nappy hair? Why not give people with dark skin big Roman noses? It's fun. And hopefully not too politically incorrect? I am not sure; I've never really talked about this before. Anyway, like I said, it's fun - especially breaking out of common racial archetypes. (Yes, the heroine CAN have dark skin without it being A Thing.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fast friends.

Customer service.

I interact with a lot of very interesting folks. The other day, a customer instructed me to pick out a specific quantity of cherries - but only "the good ones" - and said she would come back later to check on my progress.

As you're standing there, alone, putting cherries on a scale one at a time, you can't help but feel like an ass.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We took the boats down to the shadow forest.

One of my many creative friends is a musician. She recently sent me one of her songs, a 6-minute epic. The lyrics were so bizarrely, wonderfully, symbolically parallel to my own epic that I began sketching up a movie trailer of sorts, set to her song. It's a pipe dream, of course, as I've hardly ever animated - and I have learned not to commit myself to massive projects that simply look good in my head - but it's at least fun to visualize.

A bit of trivia that I like to tell people is that movie trailers make me cry. (The E.T. one kills me.) They are just one of those visual media that is potent, intense, and perfectly-crafted to elicit a gut-punch emotional response. Being an empath, I am absurdly vulnerable to such onslaughts. So I dream up my own movie trailers because they are a wonderful imagination exercise, allow me to stretch my emotional muscles, and spark me to daydream of fame and fortune... even though such things would likely make me into the kind of celebrity that gets hooked on a cocktail of pharmaceuticals and tries to assault paparazzi with kitchen utensils.

So I stick to simple sketches. It's safer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dress design.

I went to a local fabric store for the first time, and... homygoodness. I knew there were a few projects I wanted to do, but it literally took me two hours to decide what to get. You know, along with the heavy-duty needles, scissors, snap accessories, elastic... of course! So here is something I am going to make: a blueberry dress! Actual fabric enlarged, but awesome at any size.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gangly creatures = always fun.

Don't ask me why wobbly rear legs, bulbousy snouts, and pokey ribcages on critters appeal to me. They just do. And apparently they just come easier to me. Human anatomy? Nails. Emaciated, classless specimen? Pie.

I think I was channeling that Rite Of Spring segment of Fantasia. DINOSAURS?

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Another little Postcrossing doodle. Being my first Moomin, it's hard to loosen up and let the shapes flow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Political cartoon.

Not my best, but I really just wanted to express this idea. I have actually attended a protest, and been keeping very informed as to what governor Rick Snyder and his supporters want to do in the state of Michigan. Actually, they're already doing it, despite thousands of protestors in the capitol and dozens of protestors following the governor everywhere he goes. The basic gist of it is that education is getting cut by $300-500 per child across the state, the poorest 20% will see a tax increase that is 10 times that of the richest 1%, the earned income tax credit is disappearing, and whenever a municipality enters a "financial emergency" (which they inevitably will, under these conditions) the governor can hand-pick people to replace elected officials. As in, whoever you voted for is gone. These Emergency Financial Managers have no term limits (and a salary cap of $160,000 a year, I hear) and can totally null whatever contracts they want - which is the shrieking pro- or anti- union footnote that's garnered the most attention, unfortunately. Oh, yes, those greedy unionized teachers (?). Meanwhile, businesses see huge - HUGE, as in 80+% - tax cuts. I don't know where these political geniuses think the desperately poor are going to shop, but I don't think the tax cuts will create or support any real, sustainable local jobs, since the poor will only get poorer and have no choice but to sell their souls to Walmart and the like. Cutting taxes to businesses accomplishes nothing unless people have money to spend on said businesses. This, plus the budget being argued about over in D.C. (that I'm too exhausted/cynical to even track anymore) means that it's a popular idea to cut vital services - community health clinics, afterschool programs, and so on - for those who are already un- and under-employed, hungry, struggling in the downturn. How is the workforce of this country supposed to get back on its feet? How do you squeeze blood from a stone? It's an absolutely absurd fever dream of the rich.

Anyway, enjoy the cartoon. I have other ideas for our multi-million dollar CEO Snyder's likeness, considering the fact that he constantly hides from any public debate and rebukes legitimate questions about his policies with quotations like the above, and insinuations of the public's baseless hysteria, immaturity, and ignorance. This is the delivery room into which I bring you my first political cartoon. And it is full of rage.