January 30, 2012

Agent Sonar

Lana Jackson.

That name is not known to any of my fellow players in my husbands Cthulhu campaign. Instead she is Agent Sonar. But hey, even a half-human-deep one hybrid needs a vacation now and then. Just a quick painting in photoshop. Wanted to play with getting a scaled look to her skin. I am slowly discovering the use of layers and more layers to get an overall effect. Plus it makes going back and changing her freckles an easy thing when they are not drawn in the same layer as her camouflage stripes.

Here is a previous painting I did for my entry into the campaign. Agent Sonar serves as a diving instructor to the other players for now. Cool things to note: Because she is assigned to most missions in water, she has special weapons as a result: two H&K P11 underwater pistols and a modified spear gun. She has webbed hands and toes, the ability to withstand pressure to a certain depth, the ability to breathe both water and air, increased hearing underwater and bulgey-fish eyes with nictating membranes. Fun! 

January 27, 2012

Updated Layout

Just a quick note here... welcome to the updated layout! Just a bit more panache'. Thanks for reading.

January 26, 2012

Doctor Cat Contest! WOO!

So, if you need more cute in your life, why not read the webcomic Doctor Cat? It's about a cat, who is also a doctor. What else do you need to know??

Well the creator hurt her wrist and so is calling for entries for a contest. I had to enter, for the prizes and for the opportunity to draw something in Photoshop, which is something I have been itching to for a while now. From sketches to scans to photoshop and color. This comic took me about 8 hours over the course of three days to complete. I am a total novice at Photoshop, but I know enough to make layers for the line art, one for the colors and others for backgrounds and specific objects. I figured out grouping my layers to make moving each panel around easier. (again novice!) In the end I am pretty happy with it. At least it gets my not too funny joke across.

What I had the most fun with, was thinking about
a) how Lawyer Cat gets his glasses and
b) what his office might look like.

His office was super fun to think about. I wanted him to be behind an oak desk, like lawyers are in my mind... but then I thought why couldn't that desk be part of one of those cat jungle gyms?? And where normal lawyers might have a fancy pen in a stand, Lawyer Cat should have a fuzzy ball on a stick. But I also wanted his office to be totally cool, so I put it in a modern high rise building with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the heart of a city. I also tried to make the girl in my comic a nod to the human girl in Cat vs. Human, which is another of my favorite cat webcomics. Anyway. I hope it at least gets a laugh from the creator. Maybe you will laugh too?

UPDATE: At the end of the contest, grand prize winners and runner-ups were announced. So excited and honored to be chosen as a runner up! Thanks!

January 4, 2012

Etsy Woes

It is with great sadness that I feel I must warn others about dealing with people on Etsy. I know there are many sites that preach about taking care when ordering online and there are many horror stories from Etsy and Paypal. It sucks to finally be listed among that number.

I am a huge fan of Adventure Time by Pendelton Ward. So with Halloween 2011 rapidly arriving I thought, wouldn't it be cool to be Fionna and Cake for my costume! With that in mind I went shopping... I found a jean skirt, ordered socks to match hers, bought a light blue shirt and got out my Finn hat that my brother had gifted me for my birthday. I got small black shoes and even went wig shopping to find her golden hair. Then I turned to Etsy to find the two other crucial items, which I know are not sold in toy stores yet: the signature green backpack and a Cake companion.

Since the backpacks online were a little shabby I felt I could get away with finding a sword and having a cake around my shoulders as she often does in episodes. I found one seller on Esty who had an one Cake plush for sale, but at $65 I hesitated to spend so much. I understood why it was so expensive; with stretchy arms, hand made body, magnets in the paws and the size of it! But still... $70(with shipping no doubt)! So, I did what any normal person would do, ask if there was anyway to get one with less features and for a bit cheaper.

I was delighted! With over two months to go until Halloween I was sure that I would have a Cake to complete my costume in time. I completed the order, paid the $40 + $8 shipping and crossed my fingers.
I waited patiently for three weeks, hearing nothing. With the end of September rapidly coming I sent a message. With no reply I sent another on the last day of the month and finally got a response.
With a full 30 days until Halloween I felt sure that I could still have Cake in time. But two weeks later and still nothing I was getting worried again and I knew by the 20th that if it had not shipped, there was really no way I was going to get it.
Halloween rolled around and no package showed up on my doorstep. I really was upset that this point. I pulled out my old costume from last year and donned that instead. :(  I also filed a non delivery report with Etsy. What this basically means is that they open a channel for the seller and buyer to discuss the matter and Etsy themselves do nothing.

On Nov 1 2011, I closed the issue** since I, once again, assumed that here I was dealing with a real person, who was indeed sorry and saw the error of their ways AND was going to make good. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years now past, I have had time to sit down and look through my bank statements for the end of the year... Guess what I have not seen... The refund! Guess what else I haven't seen; the Cake plush/apology. Honestly, I guess I always knew in the back of my mind, that I was not going to see that 50 bucks or toy, but I didn't want to believe that an actual person, whom I had spoken to would do this to someone else. It's the kind of thing that would eat at me, but clearly was not bothering them. They had the balls to tell me to my face that this would all be ok, while clearly running off with the money.

Today I was on Etsy, shopping for a friend and realized that I had still not left feedback for this sale. It's the kind of thing Etsy bugs you about doing until you do it just so they stop asking. I clicked the link for feedback only to discover that the seller and the store are gone. I have a gmail address, which I have emailed, but have no hope of hearing back from. I have a user name and a logo, and should I see either pop up again, I will bring this back up to Etsy/Paypal. But for now there is nothing else to be done.

I guess the morals of the story are:
a) be careful of where/who you buy stuff from
a) resolve any issues asap
b) if you have any doubts, pounce or you will be taken

** Upon reviewing the article about non deliveries it is clear that I should not have closed the case until I received payment or saw that it shipped finally... however, it should be said that no where during the non delivery reporting process does Etsy direct you to this crucial article.

Please learn from my mistakes before you pay for them like I did.

January 3, 2012

I crochet alot!

Yes, I know... alot is spelled "a lot"... but not in this case. For I am using the noun as created by Hyperbole and a Half.

My brother knows that I crochet toys for friends so I guess he figured it would be no problem to whip him up something for Christmas. So when I asked what he wanted for Christmas, he promptly said he wanted an Alot. I went about looking for patterns and stumbled onto a contest and links to a few different pattern ideas and pictures: Like this one and this one and this one and Alot of Fun by Maiya Becker. Personally I loved the Alot of Fun pattern, but it is a HUGE pattern and I have not knitted in years. So taking inspiration from that one and the rather bean shaped one I set to work.

I found a great shade of regular brown yarn and bought two skeins of the Fun Fur in brown and held both together as I crocheted. The problem with making up patterns as I go along is that I have to do it all in one or two days so I don't forget what I was doing.

The body is one large piece. I used a familiar pattern from the Brain Slugs that I worked on before and just kept expaniding a flat circle until I felt it was large enough for a body... then maintained that number of stiches to give it some depth like a hat... after I thought it might be halfway to a body and decreased and increased for a few rows to give it a kind of bean shaped body. Then I continued rows to fill out the front half of the body and then decreased to close off the tube like I had started. I now had a large furry bean shape.

The back legs are the same kind of round tube shape and are two rows shorter than the front legs so that it would kind of sit up in the front. I then made two horn shapes by starting from 10 chains and single crocheting and decreasing down to one. Two different sized eyes looking in different directions from flat circle shapes. A mouth line, made from 28 chains, turned and slip stiched back into again. And finally a flat triangle tooth.

Assembling all the parts was a pain. I had stuffed and finished off the body before I made all the other pieces so instead of the way I would normally attach things, that being by sewing them to the empty body, I instead had to try and sew them in through the stuffing. A few hours of assembly later and I had a silly looking blob monster which I had to continually explain to everyone who saw it. The highest compliment was the squeal of delight and laughter that ensued upon opening the Alot. And the comment that my mom thought I had bought it from somewhere.

I'm not sure that mine is as accurate or impressive as Maiya's but for getting it done in two days before Christmas I am proud of it. The entire thing from head to butt is about 12 inches long by about 10 inches tall.