Yes!! This is my life right now! Only my life is also neck-deep in Girl Scout stuff too, so this was the only way for me to get a comic done for today! Speed painting rules!!
You can see the video of the painting in progress here:
Princess Yum-Yum Finds a Snack by Helen E. H. Madden
Here is today's PerCaDraMo cartoon. Honestly, this one, like yesterday, is more a painting than what I typically think of as a cartoon. I had meant to keep things simpler, but I got carries away playing around in SketchClub on my iPad, and now here are the results.
This drawing, in part, is for Princess who loves cats and princesses (obviously). But it's also for NekoMich who says I never use enough yellow in my artwork. Is this yellow enough for ya? 'Cause I'm thinking this is pretty danged yellow.
Anyway, it's late so I'm going to bed. Good night!
Click on the thumbnail above to see the full-sized webcomic!
I’m always busy, always. And I will freely admit there have been times when I’ve been too busy and I fumbled a few things. The past two years in particular have been rather difficult. In part, it’s due to my kids going to a new school, and in part, it’s due to my increasing involvement in Girl Scouts. But really, it’s mainly due to the fact that I’ve slowly let my work hours get eaten away by non-work related activities.
The Hubster realized this before I did. I was complaining to him last week that I just didn’t have enough hours in the day, and changes to next year’s school schedule were pretty much going to kill my work schedule. He pointed out that from 8AM to 2:30PM, the kids would still be in school and he’d be at work, just like they are now. Those hours ought to give me plenty of time for me to sit down at my desk to work as well. Problem is, I don’t spend that much time at my desk. Why?
Well, for starters there’s exercise. I go to the Y two mornings a week, and then at least once a week I go to the dojo for karate class. And when I’m not at those places, I go for a run or ride the bike. Exercise usually takes an hour out of my work day, and getting ready beforehand and cleaning up afterward takes another hour. Plus I do try to get a load or two of laundry washed and folded every day, and I like to clean up the kitchen, and the floor needs to be swept, and by then it’s lunch time, and of course I ought to read the news…
You see where this is going, right? All these non-work related things are eating away at my precious work hours, keeping me away from my desk. Yes I need to exercise, and yes I need to clean the house and stay on top of the laundry.
But do I really need to do it between 8AM and 2:30PM?
I’m hoping the answer is ‘no.’ I’m hoping that I can find some other time during the day to do those things, and still get them done. For example, there’s a 6AM deep water aerobics class at the Y that I could go to on Monday and Friday, instead of my usual 8AM. Yeah, it means getting up at 5:15AM, and it also means that the Hubster is on his own those mornings, getting the kids up and out of bed. But you know what? That’s okay. Hubster says he doesn’t have a problem getting the girls up and moving and fed and out the door, and I can actually drag myself out of bed at the butt-crack of dawn if I set my alarm. And let’s be honest, a dip in a cold pool will wake me up just as well as a cup of hot coffee, won’t it?
As for the laundry and house cleaning… Well, it’s time the kids started earning an allowance anyway. Princess can fold laundry, not perfectly, but she can do it. Pixie can help sort it, and she can also pick up around the house. Both girls know how to clean a toilet, and Princess can wash dishes while Pixie feeds the cats. I would still be doing a lot of chores myself, but with two helpers in tow, I’d hopefully get the house clean and teach the girls a few things about responsibility in the process.
What’s really funny about all this is that I already knew what I needed to do to steal back my schedule. I just didn’t know what I needed to do until the Hubster said it out loud for me. So here’s hoping he and I are both right. We’ll see. I’ve got a couple of weeks to try it before the girls are out of school for the summer. Then I’ll have to come up with a new plan to keep all those eggs in the air for summer. But I’ll think of something, I’m sure. And if I don’t, Hubster will. Or we’ll just eat a whole lot of eggs. Who knows!
Click on the thumbnail above to view the full-sized image!
I drew this comic on Saturday. I spent all day Sunday working on a commission for a client. I finished this morning at 4AM. My house is a disaster. My office looks like someone vomited computer graphics magazines all over the place. I have email coming out the wazoo because my inbox can no longer contain it. And then there’s the actual physical mail which, combined with the unwashed laundry, is probably going to topple on me and kill me the moment I open the office door to resume the rest of my life.
Oh well! I’m taking a day just to sleep because I’ve been up 24 hours straight. I’ll deal with all that stuff when I wake up. Sometime on Tuesday, I think.
Current Work-In-Progress by Helen E. H. Madden
Photoshop, 30 April 2012
“Cynical Woman (with Pookie)” by Helen E. H. Madden, Sharpie pen on sketch paper, July 28, 1993
Long before Cynical Woman became me with horns, I drew her like this. And I think when I’m older, this is exactly how I’m going to look, so consider this a prescient self-portrait. The bug in the picture, Pookie, is a Madagascar hissing cockroach, a nod to the original Cynical Woman, Joelle. Joelle studied entomology and wrote her master’s thesis on cockroaches. I remember sitting through her presentation. I didn’t understand any of what she said, but she did mention the word “ootheca” an awful lot.
Anyway, sorry for posting this late today. I’ve been busting ass on my current commission, a book cover for a publisher I work with. I’ve been posting screen shots of the work-in-progress on Twitter and on Facebook, so if you follow me on either of those, you may have seen what I’ve been slaving over the last couple weeks. (If you don’t follow me on either Twitter or Facebook, why not?! I’m a perfectly nice social media person, and I haven’t bitten anyone on Twitter in days, and the guy on Facebook that I did bite did NOT contract rabies, contrary to popular belief. He was already rabid to begin with.)
But I’ve been working very hard on this digital painting and staying up way too late too many nights and today it really caught up with me. After the Hubster left to take the girls to school, I went back to bed and had nightmares for the next few hours about Hubster switching out our phone for a complicated media center remote that I couldn’t operate to save my life (don’t laugh, he does this to me in real life all the damned time!) and it was very important that I call 911 because an undead Anne Romney might or might not have invaded our home and I was not putting up with that.
Needless to say I woke up in a cold sweat and all the coffee in the world cannot help me feel normal and fully functional today. Oh well. Back to the digital painting.
Work-In-Progress by Helen E. H. Madden, Photoshop, 26 April, 2012
This is a screen capture of my current commission. It’s far from finished yet, and I can only see now, after having spent a couple hours slaving over it today, how badly I need to fix this guy’s chin. Seriously, did he just have a root canal?
Anyway, this piece is a bit of a departure from me. In the past, I used DAZ Studio or Poser to set up 3d models of people, which I then rendered and Photoshopped to make this kind of artwork. Since both DAZ Studio and Poser work like crap on my system these days (no, I don’t know why, but I suspect it’s because they’re both bloated all to hell with features I don’t need), I am making the move to straight up digital painting. It’s a slower process, but I think the results will be better.
I’ll post more updates as I go. This piece has been interesting to work on.
Yes! I have finally done it! All that lovely iPad artwork I’ve been showing off all year is finally being put to use! As of today, the Cynical Woman store over at Zazzle.com now offers Cynical Woman greeting cards! I’ve got two up so far. “Hurray! You Not Dead Yet!” and “Tina, Your Demonic Tormentor” are both available for sale. You can buy single cards or get a whole pack! And may I say, Tina is particularlly appropriate to send as a Halloween greeting?
There will be more cards – as well as mugs, t-shirts and other stuff – available in the near future. For now, you can find “Tina, Your Demonic Tormentor” here, and “Hurray! You Not Dead Yet!” is available here. Go buy some!!
This was done in Sketch Club on my iPad. The Sketch Club app now allows me to record while I draw, so you’ll be seeing quite a bit of these recordings. If you like them, please let me know! As for the actual sketch, I will post it later today. Right now I’m on my way out the door for some exercise. Yes, I feel as dead as I look in the video above. But take heart! I should be recovered by next Balticon, just in time to do this all over again.
I realize I am probably best known for the cartoons and the freaky little pictures I draw, but earlier this week I tried my hand at something new in digital art. Tell me what you think…
Is it not gorgeous?! This image started out as a photo I took last summer during a visit to Toronto. This is the May pole in the Music Garden designed by Yo Yo Ma. I started playing with the image after reading a tutorial on converting photos to line art in this month’s edition of Photoshop Creative. I experimented a bit with the tutorial’s instructions and voila! The nice thing is, the final image is large enough for me to make prints.
I did a couple other images like it. You can view them over at Flickr if you’re interested. I’m going to go through my photos over the next couple of weeks and see what else I can come up with. I know I have some pictures of old farm equipment and machines that would make great steampunk images. Turn those into line art, combine them with colors like those in Alphonse Mucha’s poster art, and I think I might have some very lovely stuff on my hands.
But then I have to decide what to do with them. Would anybody be interested in seeing these images on posters? Blank books? T-shirts? Post cards? Jewelry? Let me know. I’m thinking of setting up an online store this summer to sell some artwork. If you know there’s something you’d be interested in buying, let me know and I’ll see what I can figure out.
A brief explanation as to what’s going on here. In my quest to discover the best way to draw the web comic on the iPad, I decided to try drawing this week’s episode using Inkpad, a vector graphics app. I like Inkpad a lot. It’s easy to use, it works very well and responds very quickly as I draw. It also allows me to draw at very large sizes, much larger than any of the other apps I have on my iPad. And if what I draw on the iPad isn’t large enough, I can simply export the image as a Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG), then import it into Adobe Illustrator and scale it up even further, with no loss to the quality of the image.
So I was very excited to try drawing this week’s cartoon with Inkpad. Only, for some reason, when I set up the document, it gave me a cartoon strip that was turned 90 degrees from the direction I needed. In other words, it gave me a sideways page to draw on.
I couldn’t figure out how to change this, so I ended up drawing the whole cartoon sideways. Thus the final product you see above. I have since figured out how to fix this, and I am creating a template on my iPad that I can reuse over and over again so I don’t always have to set up the document and add the credits. I can just jump straight in and draw.
Overall, how did it work? Well, **I** certainly like it. I was able to sketch the rough images with the brush tool first, then use the vector pen tool to create the line art and colors. The colors are nice and bright, the lines are dark and smooth. Plus I can now draw all the panels in one document and I can create a color palette in Inkpad’s color picker so I don’t have to keep hunting for the right colors once I’ve found them. And the fact that I can scale up the cartoon so that it’s large enough for quality prints? Abso-frikkin’-lutely beautiful! I can even scale and readjust the drawings in each panel if I need to, to make more or less space for the word balloons. In fact, this is just about perfect in my opinion, except for two small things.
First, Inkpad does not allow me to draw lines with tapered ends, like I would get if I used a brush pen. The only way I can get those tapered ends that you see in all the line art above is to draw each line as a closed filled object and then adjust the vector points as needed. That slows the process down a bit, and I’m not crazy about that. I’d rather just draw a line and have those nice tapered ends show up automatically, or be able to apply a brush style to the lines like I can in Illustrator. It would speed things up quite a bit!
My second complaint is the text tool. There’s no way to adjust the line spacing in blocks of text. To get the text spaced just right, I have to make each line a separate object, then carefully space them by hand, which is also annoying. If I could just adjust the line spacing, I’d be able to type in my text and BAM! Dialog would be done!
But still, these are minor problems, and I’m hopeful that future versions of the app will fix those problems. In fact, I’ve already sent email to the app creator asking about the tapered lines. Hopefully, he’ll respond soon.
So, I like it. And the truth is, it took me less time to draw this cartoon than the previous two cartoons, although the artwork in this week’s strip was much simpler. I’ll continue to work with it to see what happens when I’ve got a really complicated strip to draw, but right now, this is a good working solution for me.