Inktober Results

Ugh. I know I said I’d blog more often, but I never seem to find the time to sit down and actually write the blog posts. Things move so fast around here. Honestly, I finished work on Inktober just in time to start volunteering with Princess’ drama club at school. Their first play this year opens tonight, and I’ve spent the last two weeks fitting costumes and helping to make props.

But enough complaining for now. I said I’d post some more pics from Inktober, so here we go. I managed to finish 23 out of 31 days this year, and by finish, I mean I honestly and truly finished! I drew the pencil art, colored it in with markers (I love markers), and then I did the inking and posted each piece to Instagram. If you want to see all of the drawings I did, my Instagram is @cynical_woman.

The theme I went with for this year’s Inktober was witches, so I drew a lot of weird little magical girls and anything else witch-related that I could think of.

Inktober 2018 Flame Witch

“The Flame Witch”

Inktober 2018 Magic Wand

“Magic Wand”

Inktober 2018 Sand Witch

“The Sand Witch”

Inktober 2018 Rose Witch

“The Rose Witch”

Inktober 2018 Thorn Witch

“The Thorn Witch”

Inktober 2018 Bone Witch

“The Bone Witch”

Inktober 2018 Pumpkin Witch

“The Pumpkin Witch”

These were my favorites from this year. I especially love the Flame Witch. Her pose and expression and outfit turned out perfect!

Anyway, that’s if for Inktober this year. Hopefully, by next week, I’ll have something new to post. I’m working on unfinished projects for November, and have already completed two, so I’ll see about posting them next.

Testing out Clip Studio Paint for the iPad

Gibbie and I go out for a run

A test comic of me and Gibbie going out for a run

Oooooh! What is this? Is it… a WEBCOMIC?!

Well, sort of. One of the biggest stumbling blocks last year to me getting the webcomic done was problems with software and hardware. I had purchased a new Microsoft Surface Pro with a larger screen, in hopes that the larger screen would make Manga Studio EX more readable, thus leading to more regular output of webcomics from me.

Alas, this was not the case. The Surface Pro really isn’t the ideal laptop for me, even with its touchscreen and high resolution. For starters, the stylus for the new Surface Pros last year was not a Wacom stylus. I have used Wacom styluses (styli?) for years, and I love them. They are dependable, easy to use, and work beautifully with a huge list of desktop software and iPad drawing apps. But for some reason, Microsoft decided to NOT use a Wacom stylus anymore and instead sold its own stylus with the Surface Pro.

What a lousy idea. First off, the Microsoft stylus runs on AAAA batteries! Do you know how hard it is to find AAAA batteries in local stores? We had to order the damn things just to get the stylus to work. That made no sense to me whatsoever. Wacom figured out a long time ago how to make styli (styluses?) that didn’t require batteries for power! My current iPad stylus, a Wacom Creative, is actually set up to charge off a USB port or Apple charger (just take out the attached cable and plug in Wacom’s charger attachment and power that sucker on up!).

The second problem I encountered was that Manga Studio DID NOT LIKE the Microsoft stylus. Rather than let me draw quickly and easily, it seemed to reject the stylus at every turn, as if the software instinctively KNEW that I was trying to pull a fast one by using a Microsoft stylus instead of a Wacom.

I struggled with it for a while, but eventually, the problem was so ridiculous that I gave up on Microsoft’s stylus and on the Surface Pro (what a waste of money). I tried searching for apps to draw webcomics on my iPad, but by that point, I’d been spoiled rotten by Manga Studio. It had layers! It had vector AND raster! It had materials and tones! It had so many effects and bells and whistles and I used all that stuff to make the webcomic!  Nothing else had this, except for a few apps that just did not play nice on my iPad. And then life started to fall apart in general and that sort of put paid to the idea of me drawing anything for a while.

Then earlier this year, I discovered that Clip Paint Studio, the original Manga Studio, was available as an app for the iPad. I decided to give it a try, but wasn’t very hopeful as I expected to encounter some of the same problems I’d had with the Surface Pro, that of having a full fledge software program on a small screen.

HOWEVER! Clip Studio Paint did look just fine on my iPad, so I plunked the money down for a subscription (yeah, it’s subscription based, which sucks, but….) and went to work on drawing new webcomics

Then I ran into the another problem that reminded me too much of the trouble I’d been having with Manga Studio on the Surface Pro. THE APP DID NOT LIKE MY WACOM STYLUS.

It liked the Apple Pencil just fine, but for some reason, it wouldn’t see the Wacom stylus as a pressure sensitive device, and so while it would let the Wacom draw, I lost all the ability to make lines thick and thin just by adding a bit of pressure (and if you draw comics, you know what a HUGE problem that can be).

Now, I have an Apple Pencil, but the damn thing is constantly running out of power. Honestly, I just can’t keep it charged. The power will last for a couple days and then FBBTZZ! Nothing. The Wacom can last for weeks on a single charge, so I never have to worry about not being able to use it, but if it wouldn’t work right in Clip Studio Paint… Well, let’s just say that contributed to another 8 or 9 months of hiatus from the webcomic.

Well, last week, I decided to open up Clip Studio Paint (I had paid for the damn thing, after all) and give it another try. I don’t know what they did, I don’t recall any update, but for whatever reason, the app now works just fine with my Wacom Creative stylus. So I decided to knock out a test drawing, see how long it took to make (still takes me longer than I’d like to draw even a single panel comic), and the result is the image you saw above waaaaaaaaaaaaay back at the beginning of this ramble.

Long story short, I may finally be able to get back to drawing webcomics the way I want to. Long story not quite as short, I may still have to suck it up from time to time and find some other way to draw the webcomic. So I’m going to research other apps that I see recommended, including Procreate and SketchClub and others, and I’ll show the results of my research here from time to time.

’Nuff said.

ACW Episode 307 – It’s not a horse!

Webcomic!

Click on the image above to see it full-sized!

In all honestly, I never even considered getting a horse. I’ve got no place to put on!

My apologies for the lateness of this episode. Between computer/website issues and a recent family emergency, I’ve been a bit behind getting things done. Hopefully, I’ve got everything sorted out now.

ACW Episode 304 – Keeping the beat

Webcomic!

Click on the image to see it full-sized!

Not long after I got back from taking care of my parents last winter, this happened. Princess was having trouble sleeping, and she was worried about her heart stopping. She said she felt really anxious and kept getting a tightness in her chest, and said she could feel her heart skip a beat every now and then. We had it looked into. She’s fine. The anxiety is most likely a result of teen hormones flooding her system. The tightness is due to the anxiety, and the occasional skipped beat looks to be a premature ventricular contraction, which is perfectly normal. Still, it was a couple months before Princess’ anxiety subsided, and while she was anxious, so was I.

To paraphrase Elizabeth Stone, having a child is like watching your heart walk around outside your chest. And that’s just as amazing to see as it is terrifying.

ACW Episode 303 – Finally!

Webcomic!

Click on the image above to view the webcomic full-size!

Finally, I am back to work. At least I hope so. My schedule keeps going crazy, and I have not been the best about sitting down to work on the webcomic. I am trying to get back to regular updates. I’m even looking at posting things other than just the webcomic! But we’ve had a LOT going on, and so I am struggling right now to get back in the saddle again.

This week’s episode happened a couple months ago, not long after I got back from taking care of my parents after my dad’s heart attack. For whatever reason, Princess suddenly needed me to be “Mommy” again, and I was more than happy to oblige. But Princess is now an inch taller than I am, and I really, REALLY, shouldn’t be trying to pick her up. My back, like the rest of me, is forty-eight years old.

I already have the next episode pencilled, so here’s hoping I get to work on inking it tomorrow! You may see some style changes in how I draw the webcomic. I got a new Surface and I’ve been uploading and updating all my software on it. I haven’t managed to migrate all my original brushes and preferences from the old Surface yet, but I decided I needed to get back to posting rather than worry about little things like that. Plus, I kind of want to experiment with the look of the webcomic, see if I find a new way to handle inking and pencilling and such.

Anyhoo, that’s all for today! Enjoy!

ACW Episode 302 – So this happened

So, this happened. A month ago, on January 13th – FRIDAY the 13th – I was feeling really good. I’d had a productive start to the new year. I was getting my house cleaned up, getting to the Y on a daily basis, doing lots of crafting a drawing, and I was looking forward to more of the same. Lots more of the same.

Then I got a call from my sister. Dad had a heart attack.

Just so you know, my parents are fine now. But back on January 13th, we had no idea if Dad was going to be okay or not. And we had no idea if Mom was going to be okay. You see, my parents live out in the middle of nowhere in rural Arkansas, and my mom’s health hasn’t been the best of late. She’s okay when Dad is there, but we had no idea how she’d be on her own.

What followed that phone call from my sister was a desperate race to get to Arkansas to make sure both parents were okay. I drove. My sister flew. Both trips ended up being disastrous. Carolyn had a couple of cancelled connecting flights, and I ended up spending a day at a car repair shop in Nashville when my engine started stalling out on the highway.

We both eventually made it to Arkansas, and as I said, my parents are fine now. Because my dad couldn’t drive for four weeks after his heart attack, I stayed with my parents for four weeks to help out, and it was quite the experience. But not one that I’m prepared to share here.

You see, the weeks that followed Dad’s heart attack ended up being frustrating, infuriating, exhausting, and lonely for me. I would love to say we all had a fun family adventure while I stayed with my folks, but that didn’t happen. Not at all. And I’m still frustrated, infuriated, and exhausted from the whole thing, though no longer lonely since I am now back home.

I am sure my parents feel much the same way. This was not an easy time for any of us. And maybe one day we’ll all look back on this experience and smile. But right now? No. I’m just too raw from the experience.

ACW Episode 301 – What the heck happened?!

Webcomi!

Click on the image to see it full-sized!

Just in case you were wondering why I haven’t been posting here very much, this is why.

Every time I think I’ve got my schedule under control, something else rears its ugly head to completely mess up my day… week… month… year…

I am working to take some of that time back, but the recent snow storm in the area has delayed the start of our Girl Scout cookie sales, so now we have to spend more time going door to door. And that’s okay. We’ll work through this. Just keep in mind, if you see some Girl Scouts selling cookies, considering buying some. Or even consider just making a little donation. Every penny a troop makes during cookie sales counts!

Now, I’m going to write some scripts for upcoming episodes and just keep plugging along!

ACW Episode 300 – FINALLY!!!

Cynical Woman!

Click on the webcomic to see it full-sized!

FINALLY!!! FINALLY!!!!!! FINALLY, I HAVE POSTED THIS BLOODY WEBCOMIC!!!!!

I’m sorry. I’m having a frustrating night… week…month… semester… life.

I think it’s ironic that as I was drawing the episodes for this particular story line, a lot of this has actually been playing out in real life. I had horrific insomnia and night sweats all summer (two of the more fun symptoms of menopause). Then just as I was coming to grips with all of that, the school year re-started and I got clobbered with all the turmoil that goes along with that – parent-teacher meetings, volunteer work, after-school activities, volunteer work, Girl Scout recruiting, volunteer work, troop meetings, volunteer work, eighth grade and the associated looming graduation from middle school, VOLUNTEER WORK.

It just never stops. Seriously. And I am doing my best to embrace the madness, but all the volunteer work has just killed my work schedule the last two months. I am hoping to fix that now that we’ve gotten past cross country season, but I know there are more opportunities for VOLUNTEER WORK just around the corner.

Seriously, if I didn’t need my right hand to draw, I’d cut it off at the shoulder to keep myself from raising my hand every time someone calls for volunteers!

Anyway, the comic above is a pretty good representation about how I feel these days, right down to the blowzy old broad in the final panel. I swear, I will have that hair AND those pants one day, and I will look FABULOUS!