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Inktober 2019 Part 10
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Inktober 2019 Part 10 2020-02-14T20:00:04+00:00close

Hey hey, it's another piece from Inktober 2019!

This one's my favorite of all my sketches: "Legend". I rarely draw humans under the age of 25 and I don't often employ wild camera angles, and that's why you've been given this tableau of a young lady facing down some kind of dragon-ish beastie. Jake Wyatt's comic Necropolis was a big source of inspiration (specifically his character designs for the comic).

I don't know what got her into this predicament, but my gut feeling is that she ends up not needing sword and shield to confront this opponent. I think it turns out his diet consists mostly of marshmallow creme and he was only belligerent at the very beginning, when he believed her to have purchased the last of the Little Debbie's snack cakes from the local 7-11. Once she promised to bake him a batch of macaroons he was totally on her side.

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Inktober 2019 Part 09
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Inktober 2019 Part 09 2020-02-11T21:54:12+00:00close

Inktober 2019 intrudes on your eyeball space yet again! This time the concept was "Dizzy".

I made a promise to myself that in 2020 I would put aside all my hangups about the human figure and start making up for lost time. I've been plugging people into my drawings and challenging myself to show them using their hands instead of hiding them behind their backs, or any of the other inventive ways I've employed to avoid drawing hands. (I neither make any excuses for this avoidance, nor any apologies. Doing the work is the only thing that counts.) Now that I think about it, I guess I started a little early by using Inktober as my springboard. Hot damn tamale.

I therefore hand over to you a dizzy guy, flailing around, acting discombobulated and possibly sloshed.

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Inktober 2019 Part 08
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Inktober 2019 Part 08 2020-02-07T20:01:01+00:00close

Behold, a ghost! For such was the prompt during Inktober of 2019.

You know what I found to be the hardest thing about employing this technique of scribbling in red pencil and then inking over the top? Trusting myself enough to invent and correct my work as I inked. Starting with a sketch is hugely beneficial for finding and solving problems before locking the piece down with pen. The down side, if you can call it that, is having to adjust my frame of mind while I work. My normal approach with a pen is to charge in swinging. I may have a general idea of what I want to do but more often than not I just start drawing and trust that I'll pull the threads together as I noodle along. No net, no grand plan. I don't know when I began to use this approach or why; wrestling with anxiety is a consistent aspect of my life so you'd think I'd plan my ink drawings out carefully in the same way I design my illustrations to mitigate the stress, but nope, not when I've got a Pigma micron or ballpoint pen in my hand. That's why it was so strange to me that working more methodically turned out to be more stressful at first.

Don't let thinking get in the way of creating. As a wise comedian once said, "the mind is a terrible thing, and should be stopped".

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Inktober 2019 Part 07
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Inktober 2019 Part 07 2020-02-05T20:01:01+00:00close

Here comes another Inktober sketch, sneaking onto my Patreon. "Voodoo" was the theme and once more Sergio Toppi enters through the back door of my imagination, influencing how I draw. (Sorry-not-sorry-at-all.)

It takes a little effort for me to let go of rendering and permit patterns and big shapes to take over the heavy lifting. I'm like most artists I know in that I love packing in little details and going for convincing, realistic surface textures. That's tasty stuff. It's also great for distracting the viewer from whatever shortcomings the work might have. I'm not advocating this as a technique to have in your toolbox, only giving a nod in the direction of bad habits and calling out something to watch out for when you're creating. Textures, patterns and rendering all fall under the rubric of Noise and noise in a work of art needs to be handled with care, otherwise it takes over.

I suppose the message here, if there is any, is that the more simplistic your approach, the sharper your storytelling has to be in order to win the viewer over. That's why some of my all-time-favorite sketch artists are visual development artists from the animation industry. People like Peter De Sève, Wouter Tulp, Carter Goodrich, Lou Romano and Nicolas Marlet. Each has their own way of cutting right to the chase. Whether it's a character design or an illustration for a children's book or a quick scribble, technique is always secondary to storytelling in their work, and while each of them has a very distinct style, their flair with line and media never muscles the story out of the way.

I've got a long way to go before I'm happy with working in this manner. My line work and the way I'm handling shapes doesn't feel confident to me yet. I'm enjoying the journey, though, enough to keep at it. Simple is hard, but when you nail it, man is it rewarding.

I hope all of you are doing delightfully well with your lives. *hugs*

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Inktober 2019, Part 06
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Inktober 2019, Part 06 2020-01-31T20:00:05+00:00close

I've been inspired by the work of Alfred Kubin (http://www.artnet.com/artists/alfred-kubin/) for a long long time. What he lacks in technical expertise he makes up for in the sheer disturbing and cynical brilliance of his ideas. Many of his most potent images were commentaries on the socioeconomic issues of his time but they resonate with own own era all too effectively. It's almost as if we've accepted, as a species, that some problems aren't worth addressing, that they will be a perennial facet of human existence--never mind all the historical examples to the contrary.

I took a page from Kubin on this prompt, "swing". I wonder if he'd approve?

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Inktober 2019, Part 05
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Inktober 2019, Part 05 2020-01-30T20:00:03+00:00close

The prompt for "coat" spurred me to go digging though all the reference I had from WWI. There's a grim stylishness about the uniforms from the Great War. It was the crossroads where the last of vestiges of chivalry and the pageantry associated with military dress collided with the meat grinder of modern, mechanized warfare, and died. You can see the last of the 19th century's imprint on the military uniforms of the Great War if you look at the outfits from the Franco-Prussian War and compare them to those of WWI.

Perhaps this character's from an alternate reality where the War to End All Wars (if only that had turned out to be true) was fought with tamed demons as well as Sopwith Camels and Skoda howitzers. He's a member of the German corps responsible for handling the Kaiser's hellhounds. That's his best buddy Bratwurst there on his right.

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Inktober 2019, Part 04
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Inktober 2019, Part 04 2020-01-24T20:01:10+00:00close

"Ornament" was the prompt for this sketch. I could spend days designing jewelry and be perfectly happy. I don't know why, exactly. It probably has something to do with the research end of it, digging through the ornaments of past cultures and then blending them with whatever sensibility I've either been tasked with or which has tickled my fancy. Research is addictive stuff for me. It's also relaxing to scribble out loose, noodly ideas like this. There's not the same level of commitment demanded of you with a more finished piece. You take pen and pencil and have at it.

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User #18690647 - 24 Jan 20 22:25
Man I just forever am in love with your designs. You conjure place, history and wrap it all up in a unique package that is 1000% all you!
Inktober 2019, Part 03
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Inktober 2019, Part 03 2020-01-22T20:01:00+00:00close

I was about halfway through this piece when I realized I'd blended two prompts, "shattered" and "fragile". I decided I didn't give a damn and finished the sketch anyway. Fragile things shatter, isn't that right?

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User #18690647 - 24 Jan 20 22:28
I want a book just filled with these and you just sharing what your thought process was while drawing them...not even necessarily related to the imagery..but just where your mind was and what you thought during their creation.
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Fyreant - 5 Feb 20 18:46
Maybe after next year's Inktober? I might have enough work generated by then to justify a small e-sketchbook. Speaking of which, I keep thinking about what you've got in the works and can't wait to hold it in my own hands, and for the very same reasons. ;)
Inktober 2019, Part 02
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Inktober 2019, Part 02 2020-01-17T20:01:03+00:00close

Here's the sketch for Inktober 2019's second day prompt, "Mindless".

I found myself bouncing around a lot with the "official" prompts for last year's Inktober. My muse wasn't content with going systematically. I decided to give up on the idea of sticking strictly to the lists and I blended a few different prompt lists together for good measure. Some prompts simply didn't interest me and others, well--see my comment about my muse.

The good news is there are no hard and fast rules for Inktober. It's about getting you to draw, not a punishment for artistic wastrels.

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Inktober 2019, Part 01
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Inktober 2019, Part 01 2020-01-15T20:01:03+00:00close

Let's start the New Year than with a wrap-up of last year's work. I had a lot to do in recent months but I was determined to take a shot at Inktober anyway. I figured I could get a sketch done here and there, so I set myself a goal of four drawings--one for each week of the month. Well, I succeeded in banging out 16, in and around my other responsibilities. Hot Damn! Here's the first of them, the sketch for the prompt "ring". I've been looking at a lot of artists who are either part of the modern animation industry or are influenced by it, as I like the look a lot and because I wanted the challenge of working in a different way than I usually do with pen and ink. Normally I just charge in with all nibs blazing. No under-sketch: I go straight to ink. I took a cue from the work of Marek Jarocki (https://www.patreon.com/marekjarocki) and Valentin Seiche (http://sakaseiche.blogspot.com/) by starting with animator's red pencils and then inking over the top. These efforts are rough, you can tell I'm not used to working this way, but by the end of the experiment I found the results encouraging enough to continue. I'll post more examples in this style as I complete them.

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New Year's Felicitations! 2020-01-15T01:39:46+00:00

Hello everyone!

I trust everyone's holiday adventures were full and joy and any drama to be had was minimal? Ours was pretty low-key (I haven't yet located the boxes with the Christmas ornaments yet, which put the kibosh on decorating). We've tried out an Icelandic tradition the past couple of years, giving each other a book and sharing chocolates in bed on Christmas Eve, and think it's going to stick. Simple, yet decadent! Not a bad combo move. We served our local friends dinner on Christmas Day (roast turkey plus more chocolate) and celebrated the turning of the year with more chocolate. Then some neighbors decided to reenact the firebombing of Dresden and we stayed up until the artillery went quiet while Violet hid behind us and quaked. I expect those loud booms hurt dog ears a lot. We're moving into a heavily forested community and hopefully that means no more street warfare.

We marked my 51st birthday with Edaleen's ice cream and chocolate cake. I am I being clear enough about the theme here?

The Worlds Beyond Kickstarter project is at last winding down. I completed all of the backer-ordered sketches and we delivered them and all the books adorned with Violet's paw print to my partner Ana's door on the 30th of December. She in turn got another pile of books mailed before the New Year (having already sent out over 130 of them in the weeks before) and another batch went out last week. The final bunch ought to hit the road either before or after this coming weekend, and then we are FINISHED. I'll be posting those custom sketches here and on Instagram when our backers let us know they've received them. These sketches were a joy to draw so I'm excited to show them to you.

With the book behind us, it's time to shift over to moving us out of my friends Sky and J'wyl's home. It's been mine as well for just shy of nine years. That's the longest I've ever lived anywhere as an adult. This place has been my refuge through some serious rough patches. In rare moments a gift may come your way that in time assumes a significance beyond what you're ever capable of reciprocating. I'm talking about gifts that change your life. Such is the nature of their having granted me sanctuary for nearly a decade. I will do all I can to repay their kindness but the difference it's made for me exceeds the value of money or time. Thank you both.

What happens after we move? I start busting butt on commissions. I came close to clearing out my queue last year but had to set them aside to get The Worlds Beyond wrapped up. Some of these folks have been waiting patiently for a long time. I also have some longstanding obligations I'd like to put behind me, all art-related. With the next Magic event on our slate happening in May, that ought to provide me enough distance to build up a good head of creative steam. (I'll post a full event schedule later in the year.)

The wild card here is my Mom's house, the state it's in versus the state it needs to be. There's a lot of moving, sorting, tossing and organizing ahead. I'm assuming a lot of caregiver duties with this change of venue. I'm not yet sure how that will impact what I get to do in my spare time. There's a real possibility that I will have to focus on more commercial work in 2020 than on the personal projects that make me so happy.

What does this mean for the Patreon? I honestly haven't decided yet. I still plan on returning to my novel. I've resumed creating therapy art after a hiatus of more than a year and so I'll continue to post that, along with whatever relevant thoughts I may have on the subjects of mental health. As for making tutorials and such, I'm not sure--I have the material to make tutorials handy, but I'm not sure that's where my heart is at the moment. I think the fact that I've had this Patreon for several years and have yet to make one tutorial is probably a pretty good reflection on how I feel about them, notwithstanding all the craziness of the past half-decade.

I'm not going to put my Patreon aside. It needs a good scrubdown and a rinse, however. I mean to make that happen before summer arrives.

My thanks and gratitude goes out to all those who've stuck with me on this journey, donors past and present. I am deeply thankful you're here.

Art Therapy--Yet More Noodles
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Art Therapy--Yet More Noodles 2019-12-20T20:00:03+00:00close

I remember these scribbles started with with a little inspiration from the concept artist MC Barrett (who in turn was inspired by the work of Moebius, I'm pretty sure). He'd drawn pages and pages of random devices: things that looked like sections of a control panel removed from the Space Shuttle, or retro 60s-era geiger counters. What I found attractive about his sketches was the looseness of the line work, and the solid interaction of overlapping forms. He wasn't letting perfection get in his way. The whole was accurate enough that little deviations from perspective just weren't that big of a deal. I thought what the hell--I'd try drawing in a similar vein and see what came of it.

I'm not sure at what point my subconscious mind took over. The first few pages I drew were like MC Barrett's, all sorts of various devices made of pipes and cables poking in and out of housings, boxes with panels of buttons and toggles and so on. Then, gradually, the forms became more organic and similar to the sorts of things I draw when I'm following my nose, like a wandering horse. Overlapping cables became ribbons and bones and veins. Containers and modules became more like hand-cast ceramics. These directions went from dominant and secondary directions to parallel to a dense mixture of free-form shapes with a scattering of more recognizable (but still baffling) mechanical designs hiding here and there.

What does it all mean? I'm not sure it means anything, but I do advocate that artists spend some time a few days a week doing free-form, directionless doodles. I think the benefit of giving yourself permission to wander like this is that it lets the noise of your subconscious come seeping up through your conscious mind, letting shape-ideas form that you might otherwise miss when you're trying to drive the process towards a goal. In the latter situation you've probably gathered reference and have a client's needs in mind. In the former you're just drifting. You might find yourself surprised by what comes out of your pen when you let it go its own way.

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Art Therapy--Angry 020
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Art Therapy--Angry 020 2019-12-17T23:19:23+00:00close

I once read depression described as "anger that's fallen down a hole". The drawings I've made reflecting my feelings on anger are like looking up from the bottom of that hole and seeing the face of someone I've ignored for years.

I've got a complicated relationship with anger. It's an emotion I was taught to suppress, early on. I give this approach to dealing with emotions one star out of five. Depression is my own personal Alcatraz and breaking out can be just about as difficult as escaping from that infamous prison. I can milk some motivation out of fury, turn it into action.

It beats eating the stuff. Anger tastes like bitterness and unwashed jockstraps.

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Art Therapy--More Noodles
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Art Therapy--More Noodles 2019-12-13T21:35:42+00:00close

Here we are back in the Noodle Zone.

You could call this aimless sketching a form of meditation I suppose. What do these odd interlocking shapes signify? I don't know for sure. It started out as an exercise in creating overlapping shapes. Maybe these twisting forms with their exposed interior spaces are a metaphor for my own knotted brain meat.

Then again, sometimes a noodle is just a noodle.

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User #250794 - 14 Dec 19 08:07
I Love these so much! Expressive and proportioned. They give me ideas, a lot of my thoughts kinda "look" like this. Thanks for sharing.
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Fyreant - 22 Dec 19 05:19
I'm glad you dig it, thank you for saying so! I can see how there might be some similarity between these and the images in your head--you create very dense images with lots of intricate overlapping forms. It's a big part of what makes your art stand out so boldly from the rest of what's out there.
Art Therapy--Over My Head
Art Therapy--Over My Headmore_vert
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Art Therapy--Over My Head 2019-12-06T20:01:01+00:00close

It's the Bomb of Damocles, ladies and gentleman.

I can only control so much of my life. I have the most power over myself, how I think and act, and it falls off sharply from there. I don't always accept this fact with good grace.

One thing I do know after living for 50 years: maybe I can't dodge all the falling bombs, but I can handle the fallout.

Hang in there, little guy.

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Art Therapy--Crushing Pressure
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Art Therapy--Crushing Pressure 2019-12-04T20:01:00+00:00close

My demons don't like to be drawn. That's an important lesson I've learned from putting my feelings down on paper in the form of images and one I know I've mentioned before. My demons are happiest when they're nebulous entities and conversely that's when I'm at my most miserable. Shine a little light on them and they start to shrink.

Drawing how I'm feeling at the moment has a similar effect to putting my demons on paper--it pins them to the wall. It puts them in front of me. That's way better than swimming in the middle of my emotions. Maybe all it does for me is help me accept that I'm having a bad day, but at its best drawing my state of mind provides me the perspective to begin changing how I feel.

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User #74333 - 5 Dec 19 02:23
OMG do I need a little print of this!!!
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Fyreant - 21 Dec 19 20:27
You got it! I'll put one in with your goodies package for The Worlds Beyond!
The Last of Magicfest Vegas: Lattices, Lattices Everywhere
The Last of Magicfest Vegas: Lattices, Lattices Everywheremore_vert
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The Last of Magicfest Vegas: Lattices, Lattices Everywhere 2019-11-29T20:00:02+00:00close

Mycosynth Lattice was a card I did in collaboration with my good friend Cara Mitten, as were all of my Darksteel and Fifth Dawn Magic cards. I had a lot of fun working as part of a team on a Magic card (she did the designs, I painted) and it's definitely something I would do again in a heartbeat. It pushes you to exercise your brain meat. There's some adapting to be done if you're going to create a synthesis of work rather than stomping over your compatriot's art. You have to try and see through their eyes in order to get a sense of where you need to take the piece, and that's good work. Anything that takes me outside of my comfort zone can be turned around and used as a means for improving my craft so long as I'm willing to make the effort.

We were met with some strange reactions at the time we did these pieces. One person asked if Cara were my understudy. (Understudy?) Another suggested that there was a conversation going around that I was getting Cara to do most of the work while I took the credit. I don't believe we were the very first collaborative effort for a Magic card, but we did stand out at the time, and clearly that confused some folks. Attitudes have changed a little, and while still rare there are a number of Magic cards out there with two artist's names on 'em. Now if WOTC would put Cara's name on our Darksteel and Fifth Dawn cards alongside mine, that would be just perfect.

Due to some new mechanics our card Mycosynth Lattice has become quite a powerful tool, so it shouldn't come as a shock that I ended up doing modifications to a lot of Lattice cards as well as signing a pile of them. Here's a few choice alters for you.

The last morning of the event we staggered downstairs to Starbucks for our morning caffeine infusion and discovered their latest culinary treasure--a poop emoji pastry. We had to try one, of course, and it tasted exactly how you would expect it to (provided you're not choosing to go in an entirely disgusting direction with your thoughts). It was mostly frosting and contained somewhere between three and five pounds of sugar per cubic ounce. Go for the yogurt parfait instead.

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User #16811921 - 24 Dec 19 08:11
I see that Microwave Lettuce, and man were those some very good memories. I'm not sure if you'd remember me, but I was a Bartender/Server at a little pub called AFK Tavern. You inspired me to get back into art! So, HUGE thanks for that. Still probably one of my favourite MtG cards. If WotC won't put Cara's name on the cards, I'll write it on them myself. ♥
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Fyreant - 5 Jan 20 20:35
Hey there you! I do indeed remember you, you were one of the reasons we kept coming back to the AFK. I am pleased (and humbled) that I've inspired you to get back into art. That's wonderful! Keep going--don't let anyone or anything stop you.
Magicfest Vegas 2019: Sketches and Mats
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Magicfest Vegas 2019: Sketches and Mats 2019-11-26T21:21:32+00:00close

And we take a leap backwards from November to the end of August with this post. I've got a few dribs and drabs left to share from Magicfest Las Vegas. There's a dragon with a crooked horn, a burned guy on a pole, a spiny Sliver beast sketched on a play mat and one of my regular guests, a gangley undead dude with a top hat, who got scribbled down inside a hardback copy of The Gathering.

One thing I love about the work of Sergio Toppi, a quality I'm trying to capture and include in my own work, is his flair for turning negative spaces into fitted puzzle pieces of empty space against graphic designs or rendered forms, often both at once. He's so very good at making silhouettes do double-duty. Cool as it is that he manages to make his positive and negative shapes shake hands in interesting ways, he often uses this technique of interlocking shapes to support his storytelling in surprising ways. The guy's inventiveness seems bottomless.

Mox Pendants
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Mox Pendants 2019-11-22T20:01:03+00:00close

Now THIS was an unusual assignment, and one that mashed my buttons. I had a fine gentleman ask for a couple of Mox-related sketches while I was at MFLV and these are the two designs I came up with. I'm a gemstone and archaeology buff (among far too many other things) so this commission had me happy as a pig in slop.

I have a fondness for pre-Renaissance jewelry. I like asymmetry in general as a design foundation. Perfectly-formed riches don't have the same human touch as those which feel a little rough-hewn, at least to me, so I went searching among Roman and South American artifacts for some inspiration. (I looked at a lot of examples of Chimu gold masks and such.)

I hope I'm asked to do more Moxes. These were fun!

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UNYCORM 2019-11-19T22:36:33+00:00close

Another adventure in the course of reintroducing myself to real media, this unicorm came to be at the request of Katie, a lovely soul who kept us company during Magicfest Vegas. I'm enjoying becoming reacquainted with traditional media, though mostly my joy comes immediately following the completion of a painting. Maybe I'm confusing joy with relief? The Undo function has royally spoiled me and I am guilty of turning the air blue during the act of putting brush to surface. In retrospect I think I did that back in the day when I was only working in traditional media, but that hardly matters considering that I swear while I'm drawing or inking or working digitally, for that matter, Undo or no Undo.

There was a study completed in Germany a few years ago that showed swearing permitted people to hold their hands in a bucket of freezing water for longer than when the same folks weren't allowed to swear in the same circumstances. I can't swear it's a necessary part of my creative process (if you'll forgive the pun), but the wrestling component of invention does carry some positive benefits. I think it keeps me from resting on my laurels. It means I'm rarely satisfied with anything I create. Frustrating as that is (and occasionally depressing), it keeps me striving to make the next piece better than the last. That could be where the use of my cursing comes in. It lets me bleed off a little pressure and continue instead of bottling my feelings up.

Or it could be that I just like to swear. If you're reading this, Mom, I apologize.

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User #18690647 - 20 Nov 19 03:09
You paint such delightful creatures!!! I also feel I see a bit if Hope in this?! But maybe I'm reading too much into this. Beautiful work as ever
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Fyreant - 25 Nov 19 22:43
It's all but certain there's some Hope in this here painting. Can't be around such a unicorn enthusiast without having it rub off on me. ;)
The Worlds Beyond Presales!
The Worlds Beyond Presales!more_vert
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The Worlds Beyond Presales! 2019-11-16T00:09:53+00:00close

I am so excited to announce that my sketchbook, "The Worlds Beyond" is up for presale at Papernautilus press! Reserve your copy today!


Magicfest Vegas 2019
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Magicfest Vegas 2019 2019-11-15T23:51:58+00:00close

Now that there's a lull in the recent craziness of my life I am happy to get back in the habit of posting more recent work. Let us turn back the clock and investigate what came of my time at Magicfest Las Vegas, 2019!

It's a big event, MFLV, and the fans kept us hopping for most of our time on the floor. This year brought some neat surprises, the most unusual of which was meeting someone I first encountered a very long time ago at one of the very first signings I ever attended. He was 12 at the time. Now he's a young man (I say that as a 50-year-old, but man it feels strange; I'm still working on being a kid, I'm not ready for elder statesman status!) and the owner of a game shop in SLC. It was so cool to catch up with him and see how far he's come. I sometimes forget how profound an effect you can have on someone's life just by lending them an ear. We all want to be heard. My conversation with him was definitely one of the high points of the event. He wanted to commemorate this unusual reunion with a sketch on the back of an Artist's Proof and I gave him the art entitled "Dragoney". I hope he likes it.

It was also a kick to see an old AP sketch show up at my table, and not, I think, in the hands of the person who originally bought it back in 2002. Wait, I've been doing this since--oh. BEFORE 2000. Egad. I AM old.

We had Craig Spearing as our table-mate. I first met Craig at Magicfest Seattle earlier this year and he is great company (in addition to be a top-flight painter). His brother came to hang out and see the madness of MFLV from up close, and we had a great time chatting with them during the pauses between the fits of signing cards.

And then there was the dinner we had with a certain someone, which neither my partner nor I will soon forget. We got properly spoiled that night. Our host shall remain nameless but appreciated from the bottom of our very satisfied stomachs.

There's more on the way! I wish you all a relaxing weekend, and I'll check in again with you next Wednesday.

Puget Sound Battleground 2019!
Puget Sound Battleground 2019!more_vert
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Puget Sound Battleground 2019! 2019-11-13T22:13:41+00:00close

Some time back in September my buddy Drew (http://drewtuckerillustration.com/) put me in touch with Dylan Jupp, the gentleman coordinating a Magic event called Puget Sound Battleground. Dylan was inviting local Magic artists to attend PSBG and given that Everett's only an hour south of us it made perfect sense to join in the festivities. Then about a week before PSBG came another good reason to attend: my sketchbooks arrived! You can see me in the cover image, a happy dork holding two copies of The Worlds Beyond.

I owe my backers many thanks for giving me their support for making the book available to the general public. And sell they did!! I scribbled in a couple of them and found the cover pages very amenable to ink. The surface seemed to handle pencil well but I didn't try anything elaborate, which means the jury's still out on that media. I'll try painting on one when I have an afternoon free for that kind of shenanigans.

I produced some more art over the course of the weekend, including a stab at drawing Scar, my favorite character from Disney's The Lion King. I'm posting the lot of them here. I've got more to come! We're in a bit of a lull on the household-shifting front so I have some time to catch you up with recent commissions and such.

Speaking of thanks: thank you, Dylan, for giving me space at PSBG 2019! The event was great in every way. Count me in for any future endeavors. Big hugs for my brothers Drew and Darrell, and my warmest regards to Nicola, Spoops, Brian, Brenda, Anson, Jesper, Daniel and Pete. We had more time to chat this time around than we usually get, which was grand. And hello to my newest Patron, Heidi! Thank you for coming aboard this crazy train of mine!

Back to work. I've got a bunch of sketches to pound out, starting today. These and more goodies will arrive in the very near future. Hugs to one and all!

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User #18690647 - 16 Nov 19 02:06
Lookit all this good STUFF <3
Book sales are LIVE!
Book sales are LIVE! more_vert
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Book sales are LIVE! 2019-11-06T21:13:12+00:00close

Since you folks wanted to know where to go to get a copy of the book... the sales page is live!


Please feel free to spread this link far and wide!!

BIG NEWS for The World Beyond!!
BIG NEWS for The World Beyond!!more_vert
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BIG NEWS for The World Beyond!! 2019-11-05T21:13:22+00:00close

Friends, If you didn't already catch it on Kickstarter, I have super exciting news about my skechbook, The Worlds Beyond!!! Hop on over here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/595430251/the-worlds-beyond/posts/2673616 to see what's going on!

EDIT: I will have a link for you guys to be able to purchase copies of the sketchbook sometime next week!

QOL--Asheran in Color
QOL--Asheran in Colormore_vert
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QOL--Asheran in Color 2019-11-08T20:01:00+00:00close

It's the end of the Asheran saga! Here's a bigger version of the finished image of this big imaginary city that stayed imaginary. (Quest Online, the company which commissioned me for this image, went defunct not long after it came into existence.)

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User #18690647 - 15 Nov 19 16:26
*sighs infinitely* You are some kind of wonderful <3
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Fyreant - 15 Nov 19 18:52
*grins* Look who's talking. ;)
Throwback Day! QOL--Asheran color progression
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Throwback Day! QOL--Asheran color progression 2019-11-05T20:38:23+00:00close

Here we go! This is the Asheran painting from start to finish. I've provided little notes for each stage but if you want to know more about any individual stage, just let me know and I'll post more information about it.

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Throwback Day! QOL--Asheran
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Throwback Day! QOL--Asheran 2019-10-25T19:01:01+00:00close

A few years after I worked on Horizons I got the opportunity to work on another online RPG. This one never got off the ground for a whole host of reasons but I got a few good paintings out of the gig, which is enough for me. (That and I got paid for my work...mostly.) Game development is about as bad as movie development; many more projects end up torpedoed by lack of funds or bad management than make it past the finish line. It's another reason to maintain a little distance between your heart and the project for which you're being paid. Do good work, hit your deadlines and all that, but keep the best part of your heart for your own art.


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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--a plaza in Cliffside, in color
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--a plaza in Cliffside, in color 2019-10-22T22:44:10+00:00close

Here's the color version of the previous image, painted in Painter 6, in the good old days when it was stable. I've got a copy of the latest iteration and I plan on messing around with it in the coming months, once I have my other pressing obligations out of the way.

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Comments (4)
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User #74333 - 22 Oct 19 22:55
This is so very cool, I love this plaza... reminds me of pictures I have seen of old cities in E. Europe.
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Fyreant - 5 Nov 19 23:57
That's exactly the sort of stuff I was looking at! Pictures of Prague, Budapest and so on. Eastern Europe has more of a Old World fairy-tale feel to it than any other place I've ever been.
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User #18690647 - 3 Nov 19 00:03
I want a video game of your headworlds...just a place to explore freely!! What an adventure your work is.
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Fyreant - 5 Nov 19 23:57
*hugstight* Thank you, Ana. I would not turn down a chance to design a video game!
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--a plaza in Cliffside
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--a plaza in Cliffside 2019-10-18T21:41:37+00:00close

Here's a more elaborate shot of Cliffside, the vampire city from Horizons, showing what a small plaza or confluence of streets might look like.

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Cliffside Alleys
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Cliffside Alleys 2019-10-15T23:23:03+00:00close

Welcome to Cliffside, home of the vampires of Horizons: Empires of Istaria, the online RPG that somehow is still alive after all these years. I don't think this part of the game ever got developed. It was a cool idea, though, to give the Creatures of the Night their own city to inhabit instead of the standard graveyard flats they're forced to inhabit in most fiction.

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the city of Tazoon, Part 02
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the city of Tazoon, Part 02 2019-10-11T19:00:03+00:00close

Here come another couple street scenes from Tazoon! I think the first image caught a few too many modernisms to fit with my previous stuff. Those wrought-iron handrails and the construction of the building on the left make me think of 1930s Paris. It's entirely possible I was looking through one of my books on 30s-era Paris at the time and some of the shapes crept into my wrist as I drew. It's a reminder to be careful how you handle your reference material: narrow it down to just the influences you want and stick to 'em.

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User #18690647 - 3 Nov 19 00:10
These are a delight!I love seeing work from your sketchbooks and archives! So much I have yet to see!
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the city of Tazoon, Part 01
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the city of Tazoon, Part 01 2019-10-09T00:04:20+00:00close

I was given a great deal of freedom to develop several cities for Horizons and Tazoon was the big one. It was meant to be a central hub of the game if I remember things right. I thought it would be cool to have it reflect cities in our distant past like Babylon, that came to be next to rivers (rivers being a much faster way of transporting goods) or maybe like Tyre, a port city that developed at the site of a natural harbor. I went for a 14th-century Italian vibe, mixed with a lot of Levant-influenced architecture and plant life. I had this notion that it would be cool as a Player to distinguish what district of the city you were in by the tiles, inlays and frescoes on the walls and beneath your feet. It was a fun idea but never implemented in the game so far as I know.

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User #18690647 - 3 Nov 19 00:12
Your architecture...I love it so much!!!! There's so many fantastic details and influences to chase.....but the package is all you. Just forever in awe!!!!
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Perlhada
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Perlhadamore_vert
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Perlhada 2019-10-04T19:40:35+00:00close

ACK and damnation; two posts behind!! Time to play ketchup with another Throwback Thursday! Here's another creepy critter from my days sketching for Artifact Entertainment. Who doesn't like a big-ass bug now and then?

....truth to tell, while I find bugs fascinating, I am not a fan of giant bugs or spiders. Anything bigger than the length of my little finger just needs to keep the hell away from me, thank you very much.

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Grakna
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Grakna 2019-09-26T20:34:10+00:00close

This was one of the team favorites of the creatures I came up with for Horizons. In retrospect I feel bad for giving the Grakna those skewers for his kneecaps. They'd get hung up on everything. Fortunately common sense and monster design for video games do not always have to go hand in hand.

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Busca
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Busca 2019-09-20T19:00:03+00:00close

Every fantasy world has to have some kind of big lumbering farm animal, right? For Horizons, that was the Busca, or that was the plan back in the day. I'm not sure how it played out in the end.

Consider a Busca the next time you need a beast capable of towing your RV.

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Krink in color
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Krink in colormore_vert
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Krink in color 2019-09-18T19:00:03+00:00close

And here comes the color version of the Krink! I decided to clip out the Krink pulling a Photobomb in the lower right hand corner in favor of getting the job done on time. Sometimes that's what you've got to do.

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Comments (4)
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User #3059435 - 18 Sep 19 19:10
Wow!! This is so beautiful! Love this, Ant!
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Fyreant - 18 Sep 19 19:37
Thank you, Kat!
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User #713546 - 18 Sep 19 19:27
Well done. Great colors, shape, and gesture.
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Fyreant - 18 Sep 19 19:39
Thank you, Jeremy! It was about 18 months of fun, with a lot of creative freedom, and that was lovely. Unfortunately most of what we made didn't get used, but that's the way things go sometimes, as well you know.
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Krink
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Krink 2019-09-13T19:00:03+00:00close

Horizons: Empires of Istaria had a lot of very silly names for their creatures but the liberty we had in designing them more than made up for it. Take the Krink. The name makes me think of the sound a crowbar makes when it hits a tin can. Is that such a terrible thing? No, not really, not when you consider I asked them what they wanted and they said "whatever you come up with".

I guess this is what would happen if a crab and a seal got married and had kids?

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Wyrm in color
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Wyrm in colormore_vert
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Wyrm in color 2019-09-11T19:00:03+00:00close

Here's the Wyrm in Technicolor! Or did they have Technicolor on computers back in 2001? I can't remember. It was so very long ago. hand to forehead dramatically

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--The Wyrm
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--The Wyrm 2019-09-03T23:09:27+00:00close

It's rare that I'm given the opportunity to reinterpret a common monster any way I'd like. This was generally the case with Artifact Entertainment, though, which is a big reason why the work was generally a lot of fun.

Wyrms are relatives of dragons and there doesn't appear to be hard ground rules as to what they are, other than they don't usually have wings and often they don't have a full set of legs--sometimes none at all. Snakelike was the way I decided to go, mixing a sharp, pokey snoot (like a bird's) with thick dinosaur armor plating and beneath that, flaps of fleshy skin like gills to make things more confusing, and pebbly lizard scales down the back.

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Soul Catcher in Color
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Soul Catcher in Color 2019-08-30T19:00:02+00:00close

Here's the Soul Catcher in color for you. It doesn't do anything to suggest his personality is full of flowers and rainbow farts. But perhaps he's just stuck with Resting Monster Face. I'm not the guy in the picture who's there for scale so I'll cut the Soul Catcher some slack.

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Soul Catcher
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--Soul Catcher 2019-08-27T19:00:02+00:00close

This was a fun guy to create. I'd try to make the silhouette read more clearly were I to attack it again today. Draw and learn, baby. That's how it goes.

If I were standing next to a creature that looked like this I would not be as casual as the dude standing there in the background. Maybe he knows something I don't. Maybe Soul Eaters are vegetarians with a terribly inaccurate name?

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Drake in Color
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Drake in Color 2019-08-20T18:43:03+00:00close

Why hello, Early Experiments in Painting with Photoshop. I remember you! I'd just as soon forget you but you know what the truth is: a person who never makes mistakes is a person who isn't living. They're not even trying. So here you go.

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Comments (2)
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User #74333 - 20 Aug 19 22:42
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Fyreant - 18 Sep 19 19:59
*hugsback* Thank you, Judy! I keep thinking it would be a good idea to do a pile of dragons for Patreon one of these days.
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--last of the head studies of the Drake
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--last of the head studies of the Drake 2019-08-20T19:00:02+00:00close

And here we are, at the last of the head designs for the Drake, including the one that ended up being The One.

It can take a lot of iterations to get to the final version of a design but hunting for the "perfect version" of a creature, for instance, is a variety of rabbit hole I am particularly susceptible to. I've figured out a few tricks to help minimize this tendency. One is to set an alarm and then a goal: one hour, four detailed drawings. I can't do much daydreaming that way. I have to make creative choices quickly and then choose what part of the drawing needs to get the most attention. Another way I approach the same Idea is to give myself the first two hours of the working day to come up with ideas, and the rest of the day to take some of those ideas to a finished state.

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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--head studies of the Drake
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--head studies of the Drake 2019-08-16T19:01:00+00:00close

These are some of the designs I liked best from all the noodles I did for the Drake's head. We haven't gotten to the one I decided was the best, though. That noggin is on the way to you in another post. The next one, in fact. How about that?

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Comments (2)
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User #74333 - 16 Aug 19 19:20
Very cool, like the details!
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Fyreant - 16 Aug 19 23:40
There is no such thing as "too many dragons".
Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Drake
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Throwback Day! Artifact Entertainment--the Drake 2019-08-14T03:54:56+00:00close

Welcome to the first official Throwback Day!

When life has me by the lapels I don't want you left twiddling your thumbs waiting for some art and wondering "Where the (blank) has Ant gone?". I have a huge backlog of work to lean on. Why not use it and let you dive into my treasure trove and swim around for a bit? This is something my PA suggested and honestly now's the time to test it out. Over the coming weeks I will be attending a Magic event, moving us out of our present residence and into our new one, getting my Mom started on the same process and hosting family from Japan. New work is ahead from both the Magic event and the time that will follow our guests as they fly back to Japan, and I'll be sharing it right here. Meanwhile, though...I don't want you to be bored.

Back in 2001 I did a lot of work for a game called Horizons: Empires of Istaria. It's still around, believe it or not, though it doesn't use any of the artwork I created for it, so hey--how about I show you some?

I'm including the isometric pose for this guy just in case you want to make him in 3D form.

Stay tuned! There's more to come!

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Comments (2)
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User #18690647 - 15 Aug 19 19:04
Your dragons make me swoon ;_;
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Fyreant - 16 Aug 19 23:41
*hugstight* Your facility with critters in general blows me away.
Art Therapy--Bright Shores
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Art Therapy--Bright Shores 2019-08-09T23:16:25+00:00close

Is that a night sky at the bottom? Or are the patches of green above showing us where the land's been flooded? What does it all mean?

I have no idea what this bit of self-therapy is supposed to have unearthed. I'll have to think about it and get back to you on that one.

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Comments (4)
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User #18690647 - 10 Aug 19 18:07
I love your loose exploratory pieces. I feel the swells of emotion, the colors carry you into clandestine places of mind and spirit. These are beautiful self explorations Ant!!!
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Fyreant - 16 Aug 19 23:44
*hugs* Thank you, Ana. It feels strange sometimes because my self-exploratory art is so abstract these days, and most of my friends (like you, for instance) tend to have more more identifiable, character-driven personal art. I often have this little nagging sense at the back of my head that I'm not doing this right. I know that's bs but it's there.
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User #250794 - 27 Aug 19 07:42
This is beautiful! Do you see things like this in your mind's eye when you think/feel, or is it something you only discover after you have started the creation process?
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Fyreant - 18 Sep 19 19:50
Thank you, Kirsten! Most of the time--about 90%--I break out the markers and just go. I am a Gold-Medal Awarded master at overthinking things; it's a gorilla I wrestle with on a daily basis. Somehow it seems to help my anxiety when I let the marks and colors take me someplace rather than (over)planning a design.
Personal Sketch
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Personal Sketch 2019-07-26T19:00:02+00:00close

So what AM I doing this for?

I have been drawing these strange noodle-y labyrinths for several years. It started as an exercise in making interesting 3-dimentional forms. What can I create out of a basic block? Can I draw an interesting overlapping, flowing form? Can I design layers of intertwined forms freehand?

After nearly four years I still don't have a definitive answer.

They are curious to look at. There's that.

Comments (2)
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User #18690647 - 26 Jul 19 20:09
These are actually some of my favorite of your sketches. There's something hypnotic about them; I feel as though I am following along as they come out on the paper. I think chasing this thread..is a very good thing for you to allow yourself to do <3.
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User #250794 - 27 Aug 19 07:43
Fun to see the visual play here, the feedback loop between mark and interpretation seems especially evident.
Dragon Sketch
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Dragon Sketch 2019-07-24T21:45:36+00:00close

I gave a dragon to a special someone. Maybe some month I'll give out a dragon a day. That could be a good idea.

Comments (3)
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User #250794 - 27 Aug 19 07:43
Great scale patterning!
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User #18690647 - 26 Jul 19 20:14
Yes all your dragons..yes..more please..more!
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Fyreant - 27 Jul 19 19:56
I will bring more dragons to the table!
No Patreon posts this week...here's why.
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No Patreon posts this week...here's why. 2019-07-19T00:34:57+00:00close

Hello everyone!

My apologies for the late post. It’s been quite the madhouse around here! The gist of what’s up is that KrakenPrint, the firm that we’d hired to print my sketchbook The Worlds Beyond, has bailed on us. They’ve run off with nearly 7k of my Backers’ money. I’ve needed to reallocate the time I usually spend drawing, writing and painting to fielding a ton of phone calls, emails, reports, and making endless attempts at contacting KrakenPrint for a refund. This has taken a megalodon-sized sized bite out of my normal work schedule.

I’m in the process of securing a business loan so I can get the book printed and out into the world. I want my Backers to know I am on this, but I also want those who missed out on the Kickerstarter campaign to know there will be plenty of books for sale after my amazing and patient Backers get the copies they are owed. I’m not going to leave any of you high and dry!

In the meantime, check out the cover for the book, with big thanks to Ana “Balaa” Korochonsckaja for making something so beautiful.

Comments (14)
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User #6811901 - 19 Jul 19 18:04
Good lord that's awful :| Can you go up the legal route so repercussions will follow?
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Fyreant - 27 Jul 19 20:04
Hey Naomi. *hugs* I've pursued all the legal pathways I've been able to find...but the tricky thing is, until somebody from Kraken gets back to me with a printing and shipping date, it's difficult for me to go after them legally. Not impossible, but difficult. I'm pursuing alternate ways of funding the printing in the meantime. This book is going to get printed.
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User #6811901 - 27 Jul 19 20:37
Godspeed Ant, it sucks that this is thrown your way, but you're filled with determination, aren't you? :) I'm crossing my fingers for a good ending here. That this book might see daylight soon!
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Fyreant - 29 Jul 19 01:07
Someone amazing has stepped in to fill the gap. We'll be making an announcement soon. :D
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User #250794 - 27 Aug 19 07:50
Also, I missed the Kickstarter. Any way I can still procure a sketchbook?
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Fyreant - 18 Sep 19 19:44
Hey Kirsten!! Thank you so much for hopping aboard and I give you my sincere apologies for taking so long to get back to you. When we have the books in hand and are ready to start shipping them out we'll release a link to our Backerkit page, and people will be able to preorder copies of the book there. I would happily get you a copy!
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User #250794 - 27 Aug 19 07:44
So sorry you've had to go through this. :-(
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Fyreant - 18 Sep 19 19:42
It certainly was an unwelcome surprise, but man I have heard of even worse things happening (like Kickstarter funders being defrauded by their creator) so I'm keeping in mind that we're lucky to have been given a way out of this.
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User #2677566 - 19 Jul 19 02:22
Well that sucks balls hears hoping things get ironed out 7k is a felony-level criminal crime so hope they quit screwing around. But so many got burned by Steve Jackson games among others and got away with it mostly.
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Fyreant - 27 Jul 19 20:01
Hey my friend. It's all a tangled web of weirdness. They're managing to keep me (and who knows how many others) at arm's distance simply by not responding to our calls and emails. I have a sense that they're holding off until the bankruptcy is under way.
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User #95794 - 19 Jul 19 00:59
NO, omg! That's AWFUL. What a nightmare!!!! I'm so sorry that's going on. So much sympathy and good vibes comin at you right now.
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Fyreant - 27 Jul 19 19:59
Hey Caytlin. *hugs* Thank you for the good wishes. This is pretty much the worst-case scenario we could have imagined...BUT we've already got a solution in place. It's not ideal, but it will work.
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User #6811901 - 29 Jul 19 05:17
Yesssss! That's great news!
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Fyreant - 29 Jul 19 22:04
This person is going to get major kudos in every way I can manage.

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