In Which I Think I’ve Eaten Too Many Stars. I Mean Sugar.

Lately, (psh, lately? How about for the last four years?) I seem to spend all of my time online. Mainly twitter, which is where you can usually find me. So when do I ever have time to draw? I have no answer for you, though I miss it. For awhile, a friend of mine and I tried to motivate each other by doing weekly drawing challenges, but it kind of fizzled out because life got in the way. I haven’t given up on it yet though. I will persist.

(You hear that, Jason, I am going to irritate the hell out of you until you draw me a spider!)

Ahem. I have managed to get a few sketches out though, and while I don’t think they’re that good, they’re at least getting me into the drawing mindset. And the comic mindset as well. There’s some big motivation happening on The Family Menagerie front. It’s coming back. When? Not sure. But it’s coming. If Ash has anything to say about it. Which I’m sure she does. Though it might all be taking a back seat once we start D&D’ing next week. Oh right. Did you not know I was a nerd?

You must be new.

Where was I? ART. Have some.

Sometimes we like to chase stars. And sometimes we like to eat them. They taste like sugar. No, really. Oh but I did mention sketches. Have some of those too. Because I like to draw things like hands, flying space Stegosauruses, shy moose, and Jackalopes in hats. I’m eclectic. Did you not know that?

Seriously, are you new?

& Because you can’t leave without a Totoro

It’s been a Miyazaki kind of month and Studio Ghibli makes my heart happy. And because Ash and I are nerds and like to collect things like giant stuffed monsters and talking cats. If you haven’t ever seen a Studio Ghibli film, preferably Miyazaki, do yourself a favor and go out and rent one. Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service… so many. Just go google them and pick one. They’re all amazing. My Neighbor Totoro is a favorite in this house. Can you tell?

Now your heart can be happy too.

A Plea for Rain in Texas

We need rain here in Texas. Badly.

That’s a picture from Big Dog Rescue’s Facebook page. They’re located in the Austin area, and their Vice President just had her house burned down and they’re looking for fosters to take in animals displaced. The Bastrop County Animal Shelter was evacuated as well and thanks to the awesome folks at Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society, all the animals were saved and they’re looking for donations and temporary fosters.

If you’re in Texas and want to help in some way, check out the Help For Fire Victims Facebook page and keep updated with the news on the Statesman, they’ve been on top of everything. It’s been crazy down here, and today is supposed to be worse. If you haven’t heard, Central Texas is being hit HARD with fires right now. The biggest being the one in Bastrop that has burned up to 25,000 acres since yesterday, jumped the Colorado River twice, and has desecrated more than 300 houses. Over 5,000 people have been evacuated so far, and a mother and her 18-month-old child were killed. The winds from the recent hurricane aren’t helping. You can check out the placement of all fire activity on this page.

Ash and I are in east Austin and while the fires are supposedly moving away from us, we’ve still come up with our evacuation plan (packing up 20 animals is no easy feat). Standing outside in our front yard, the smell of smoke is strong. It’s scary. If we didn’t have so many fosters already, I know we’d both be at the shelter taking in animals right now. I’ll be continually nagging friends all day to make sure they’re okay.

Please send good thoughts, positive vibes, and lots of rain.

Viva Wisconsin! I love you!

We Are All Badgers Now!

I was born and raised in Wisconsin – lived there for the first 22 years of my life, and now the whole country has turned their eyes to our little farming state full of corn fields, cows, and Amish folks. I miss it. I miss Wisconsin so bad that sometimes I’ll eat nothing but cheese for days. Brings me a little closer to home.

I just wanted to show my support for my fellow Wisconsinites. To the teachers and firefighters, the policeman and the rest of the middleclass union workers who have taken over the streets of Madison and to the thousands of supporters who have chosen to protest the treatment of their fellow man. You inspire me. I am there in spirit, walking beside you, and demanding fair treatment. I miss you all.

My feet may be in Texas, but my heart is in Wisconsin.

New Years Resolution Numero Uno.

We’re going to split this down into different posts so I can focus on my intentions for each. Do I know how many there will be? Nope. I honestly haven’t given it much thought, so I’ll blog about them as I come up with them. That’s just how I roll. Speaking of roll, I could really go for some sushi.

Maybe New Years Resolution Numbero Uno should be stop getting distra-

PUPPY.

Or blog more. I’m sorry. Ash has left for a week in Tennessee and I’m being left to my own devices. Which means eating a lot of sugar. Let’s see if we can get this post back on track. Where was I.

Resolution: MAKE MORE ART.

So I continually make up excuses for why I don’t draw anymore. I’m too busy. My room needs to be cleaned. There’s too much to do. The cat stole my eraser. It’s endless. So what I’ve finally realized is that if I want to draw, I’m going to just have to do it and to hell with all the other responsibilities I have. Is this responsible? Maybe not but it sure will make me happier, right? Right.

So this is my first New Years resolution (better late than never huh?): MAKE MORE ART. So check out my deviantart page and feel free to kick me in the butt and tell me to update it more often. I don’t need an eraser, right? The cat can have it.

So, even if it’s just one small doodle a day, I’m going to start making a conscious effort to get more art finished and out the door. I’m sure the thousands of people I owe art to will appreciate this. Again… better late than never, right?

Right.

Eulalia! R.I.P. Brian Jacques

When I was in sixth grade, my cousin introduced me to a book series that changed my life. Walking into the library of Phoenix Middle School, I would make a beeline to the bookshelves that lined the wall on the left. Second bookshelf in, second shelf down. I was more familiar with this area than any other and I’m pretty sure I checked those books out more than anyone else.

Redwall by Brian Jacques. The first website I ever created housed my Redwall fanfiction and fanart. I had a page of Redwall quotes and book reviews. That artwork and that “Redwall Story” I wrote were the first things I ever posted online. The first forum I ever took part in was in the ROC (Redwall Online Community) and the very first character I ever RP’d was Mara Treeflyer – a squirrel maiden that lived within the walls of Redwall Abbey.

While the site and fanart and fanfiction dwindled after I went to college, I never stopped reading every book Brian Jacques came out with. The Sable Queen came out last year and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ve stayed up to date with his books since 1997. There is nothing better than curling up with a big blanket, and a dog, and a Redwall book on a rainy afternoon and losing myself to the stories of Martin the Warrior and Constance the Badger and the great hares of Salamandastron.

So when I heard the news yesterday, that one of greatest and most inspirational children’s author that ever walked this earth had passed away, I was dumbfounded. Of any author (other than, perhaps, Tolkien), he has made the biggest impact on my life. That first story, that first artwork, the very first WEBSITE (!) I ever showed anyone other than my family were all based on Redwall. My best friend? I met because of a forum where I posted Redwall-inspired artwork. I most likely wouldn’t be where I am now, a writer and illustrator and web designer, if I hadn’t read the Redwall series and been inspired to take part in the ROC.

I won’t lie. When I heard the news I cried. I felt like a dear, old friend had passed away. His voice lulled me to sleep many times while I listened to my Redwall tapes. No on in the world could speak Mole speech like he could. I remember road trips with my dad while we both listened to the story of Cluny the Scourage. When I was in high school, I took home my first First Place Ribbon in 4N6 with a fun reading of Cluny and Basil Stag Hare. Redwall is entwined in my life.

Brian Jacques, thank you for every word you ever wrote down. Thank you for Cornflower and Jess Squirrel and Gonff. Thank you for Samkin, Triss, Basil and Constance. Thank you for Salamandastron and Mossflower and Loamhedge and, most importantly, for Redwall Abbey, where all the stories are told. And thank you for Benn and Denmark, too. I wish there had been more stories about those two. Thank you for introducing me to some amazing friends who have changed my life and who have made me a better artist and writer. Thank you for the amazing life you shared with us.

“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”

Eulalia.

Images from my favorite Redwall illustrator Christopher Denise.