Saturday, May 19, 2018

Book! Summer, Broken by Phillip MacArthur

My brother Phillip has written a young adult book and it comes out today! It's really imaginative, nostalgic and very very funny. And it was illustrated by my sister Anna; you can see some previews of the illustrations here.
The story’s hero, Kenny, joins a baseball team for the summer, but soon becomes convinced that the opposing team is cheating by use of magic. No one else believes him except for one of his team mates who can’t speak English. Kenny is determined, though, and investigates occurrences of sorcery in the town. This leads him to a connection between the haunted house and the baseball field, and finds out that the witch living in the haunted house is connected to the opposing baseball team! Summer, Broken features magic, ghouls, investigation suspense, a deadly virus called the Cooties, an impossibly large fish, baseball, a great amount of running, and all sorts of summer fun. Kenny learns that doing the right thing is more important than becoming famous, and that although his parents’ rules might be strict, they just want to ensure his safety.
Buy it here!

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Eagle Doctor's little daughter

I had a dream where there was this country doctor who could turn into a bald eagle, and there was some problem with a trade union in the town, and the doctor's daughter had a cursed doll that caused her to die, and this trade unionist woman showed up to demand what the doctor was going to do for the trade union, and he was so angry and upset and he went out to meet her carrying the body of his little daughter.

And the scene was visually striking so I woke up inspired to draw it, and it served the purpose of: in the midst of illustration for hire, I need to be drawing something of my own now and then or I burn out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Two portrait sketches

Here's the sketch for my portrait of Mimi from Digimon.

And here's one for one that hasn't been finished yet:

Rebel from Alt☆Hero. As this is a training exercise, I tried to learn from the flaws in the Mimi one: Mimi's nose and mouth are of a smallness that can work for anime style but not this semi-realism. So with my second attempt, I took a lot of influence from Anthony VanArsdale. We'll see how it goes to color!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Iwo Jima sketch

Sketch for my ink drawing of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima photograph. It was fun to block out the shadows like that.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Aitkin Age column: Desire of the everlasting hills

My latest column for the Aitkin Independent Age, for Easter. It references another column that I didn't link here because I wasn't too satisfied with it, but you can find it on the site if you wish.
Last time, I wrote about the extreme nostalgia possessed by, or possessing, Millennials as shown in marketing directed at them and how it might be explained by the increasing instability of the family in the past few decades. Now I wish to write that this is but a particular instance of a universal longing.
For myself, the nostalgia for childhood is colored with memories of summers here in Aitkin, fun on Cedar Lake and in town at Ben Franklin, Butler’s, the bakery and the Rialto – only one of those businesses remains. My father is a professor, so we could spend almost the whole summer up here. There are many difficulties in the teaching profession, but one glorious perk is the continuance of summer vacation into adulthood. Those of us who aren’t teachers must make do with weekends and days off. Still, summer is something longed for and treasured, even more so because of long winters like this one. But I also now know that Aitkin isn’t the perfect paradise my 6-year-old eyes saw it as. Everywhere on earth has its troubles and disappointments. Still one feels a sort of homesickness for a place one has never been, a place to be truly happy.
G.K. Chesterton wrote that “the finest line in English literature” is, “Over the hills and far away."
Read the rest here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Charizard won't obey!

I did an art challenge of my brother's invention with him, my sister, and a friend; in a limited time, we had to draw a combination of various descriptors from a table, selected by rolling dice. This one was "a fanart of a disgusted peasant dragon lying down" drawn in eight minutes. I liked it a lot, and the whole thing was fun!

Saturday, April 7, 2018


Ink rendering of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima photograph that I did as a birthday present for my sister's boyfriend.

It's been a while, but I'm working hard and hope to have much to share in the near future. Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mimi portrait

I need to get better at close-ups, so I'm doing semi-realistic portraits of various characters as a training exercise. Here's Mimi from Digimon.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Christmas in Lent?

I wish I'd gotten to posting this earlier, but... my sister has a grand plan for decorating the free-arching rafter beam in our cabin for holidays. This past Christmas she was able to realize much of the plan, including making a large fake gingerbread house.

We made it of salt dough, glue and acrylic paint, polymer clay, beads, and the thing that really makes it work is spackle, piped through a frosting tip.

Detail on the piped spackle on the eaves.

 We also made men and a cookie tree.

Merry Christmas, holy Lent!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I wanted to do a more cleaned-up, fancy sketch, so here is a character from my upcoming webcomic, Paper Doll Veronika, who won't show up for a very long time.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Aitkin Age column - The oppression of women

My latest column for the Aitkin Independent Age:
Are women oppressed in this country? The feminist movement tells us we are. If so, of what does this oppression consist?
We are told that as late as 100 years ago, women were considered property. But history shows this is not true. If a woman were property that would mean her owner would be allowed to sell her, or dispose of her completely, that is, kill her. This has not been the case in Western Civilization since the end of the Pagan Roman Empire. It was certainly not the case 100 years ago. The only difference between the legal rights of women in the 19th century and now is that, since the 1830s-60s, married women may own property without giving their husbands rights over it, and since 1920, they may vote. So women are equal to men before the law. Are they otherwise oppressed?
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Precipice of annihilation process

Sketch and first watercolor wash of my Precipice of annihilation picture:

Monday, February 5, 2018

Patreon beneficiary: Copetillo Arts

The third artist I contribute to on Patreon is Gloria Copetillo, who does illustrations of elegant girls.

The reason I chose to contribute in this case was not so much the art itself -- which is pretty, ornately detailed, and colored with the smoothest gradations of color -- or the patron rewards, which are cute and quite lavish on the higher levels-- but because Miss Copetillo is living a dream that particularly resonates with me. Many folks my age grew fascinated with Japan in our teenage years, as anime and manga boomed in popularity in the twenty-aughts. One particular facet of Japanese culture enchanted me most of all: Elegant Gothic Lolita fashion.

I've mentioned this in passing; it's a style that began in Japan in the eighties, based on Western women's clothing styles of the 18th-19th centuries, with goth, punk, and fantasy influence. Don't be scandalized by the name; while the name did, ultimately, derive from Nabokov, it was in a very convoluted manner and there's nothing perverse about the fashion itself. The aesthetic inspired my fancomic Batman: Decadence and it's one I try to follow myself, having acquired a few dresses, planning to sew more, and endeavoring to live a ladylike life.

Miss Copetillo is not only an artist, but a lolita who sews all her own dresses and moved from Mexico to Japan to pursue a career as an illustrator. It was the following video of her sewing handiwork that really made me want to support her:

Gloria Copetillo's Patreon page is here, and her Etsy shop is here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Another SJW storytelling What-if

I talked before about how stories of the next generation of heroes are terrible when told according to the SJW Narrative. I haven't seen The Last Jedi but I've read enough, and heard enough from friends who are devoted fans of Star Wars to know it fits the bill.

I earlier imagined how the next generation part of Ace Attorney would be if it had been written according to the SJW playbook. Now I thought of another, more specific application that shows how much The Last Jedi despises the past.

What if there were a Legend of Zelda game where you played as a young Princess Zelda, growing up in the castle under the guidance of your mother the queen, also named Zelda, listening to her wonderful stories of the hero that saved the kingdom several years ago. She even shows you the hero's sword, the blade of evil's bane, the Master Sword, kept safe in the treasure vault.

Then one day, darkness arises from the desert, monsters start appearing, and Ganon arises to attack the castle. In a desperate flight, Queen Zelda takes the Master Sword and entrusts it to the young princess and tells her to find the hero in the forest and beg him to come to their aid.

And so Princess Zelda sets off on her quest. There would be monsters and dungeons; you couldn't use the Master Sword so it could make for some creative gameplay. And then, finally, you find the hero, an older Link than is usual for the games, but still capable of saving the kingdom as he did years ago. Princess Zelda bows in respect and offers him the Master Sword.

And he throws it into a pit.

A Zelda game treating its lore like that would be horrendous.

Image copyright Disney

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Precipice of annihilation

Another piece of fanart for the watch-people-play-Dungeons-and-Dragons series Dice, Camera, Action. Revelations in a recent session were so astonishing I had to do this immediately. I like when that happens; it rejuvenates my art energy for all the work pieces.

Friday, January 26, 2018

ballpoint sketch

Ballpoint sketch of a lady who's running for Congress around here. Won't vote for her, though.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Twelve to start, Twelve to end - 2017 in review

It's not too late to look back on 2017 and plan for 2018!

Last year, I finally started to get my day job and art work into harmony, following my resolution to draw more than I did in 2016. To that end, I started off the year with a twelve-drawing tribute to the significance of Christmas in Ace Attorney, commemorating the fact that Christmas 2016 is when the final case of the first game takes place.

I did a lot of work for Sophia Institute Press' Spirit of Truth catechesis series, which will come out in Summer.

I started supporting artists on Patreon, namely the webcomics Chateau Grief and The Silver Eye.

Most exciting of all, and something that will come to fruition and have a greater effect on 2018 than 2017, I began working with Jon Del Arroz on the upcoming steampunk comic Clockwork Dancer!

Then I ended the year with another twelve-drawing project (not counting the cover), a silly little Batman and Superman story, All's Fair at the County Fair.

So my resolution for 2018, (as well as sewing more) is to focus on big projects: Clockwork Dancer; upcoming webcomic Paper Doll Veronika; returning to my fancomic Batman: Decadence; and another collaboration with a writer.

Mario's Journey quilt

I made this quilt for my toddler nephew for Christmas. I left the image quite large so if you click it you can see the details. My idea was that kids really like to follow pictorial paths. At least, I did.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

All's Fair at the County Fair

A Visit with Ma

One day Clark Kent is visiting his mother on the farm in Smallville. She gives him a slice of her famous apple pie and tells him about all the local doings.

"You know that big ranch that's been for sale for years?" she says, "Someone bought it, and a thousand head a cattle to put on it."

"Who?" he asks.

"That man from Gotham, rich fellow, didn't you say he was a friend a yours?"

"Bruce Wayne?!"

"That's the one."

At the Billionaires' Club
Meanwhile, at the fancy Billionaires' Club, Bruce Wayne is talking about his new ranch to the fellows. Lex Luthor is particularly interested and also a bit incensed. He can't allow that whelp from Gotham to outdo him as the classiest billionaire! He determines to buy his own beef ranch in the very same vicinity. That'll show Wayne!

Riding the Range
Bruce Wayne has invited Clark Kent and his friends Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen to spend a week on the ranch with him and his ward, Dick Grayson. He acts all surprised like he had no idea this was Clark's hometown. What an extraordinary coincidence! But he had heard rumors that, after Metropolis, this is where Superman shows up most often. What a funny thing. Clark gives him covert frustrated glares while Lois and Jimmy take in all the ranch has to offer.

The Prize Steer
After the fun time riding, Bruce leads everyone into the barn where he unveils something very impressive: a prize steer! And he also unveils his grand plan: to enter it in the upcoming county fair. But they are not unobserved...

Inside Intelligence
Lex Luthor was eavesdropping on the conversation in the barn. He rushes back to Mercy at the car and tells her they can't let Wayne beat them: they're going to enter a steer in the county fair too!

To make extra sure that Wayne's steer won't beat his, Luthor sends Mercy to sneak into the barn and cut its tail off or some such devious sabotage. But Jimmy gets wise to this and tells Dick when she's coming. Dick says he has a friend who can help: Robin, the Boy Wonder! Together, Jimmy and Robin stop the saboteur and send her packing.

Judgement Day
At last, the day of the Fair has come! There are rides, and food, and games that everyone has a great time with, (though Clark, as he has throughout, is rather put-upon, and it's funny) but what everyone is waiting for most eagerly is the cattle judging. The judge looks over all the steers and is about to announce the results. He starts with Third Place, which goes to...

Sore Loser
Third Place goes to Lex Luthor! Luthor is furious that he didn't get First and activates a device--his steer is revealed as a robotic menace of destruction! He jumps astride, takes the controls, and rampages though the fairgrounds. Bruce and Dick are suddenly nowhere to be found, and Batman and Robin emerge to battle the biomechanical bovine beast! Lois and Jimmy rush forward to photograph the fracas, leaving the reins, literally, in Clark's hands.

A Job For
The Dynamic Duo gets the upper hand over Luthor and his mechanical bull and hits the weak spot, causing the robot to explode. But the explosion knocks over the Ferris wheel, and it's going to fall right on Lois and Jimmy! This looks like...

Moment of Truth
Everything's calmed down now, and Superman, Batman, and Robin mysteriously disappear before Lois can get a statement from any of them. Clark, Bruce, and Dick show up again and everyone returns to the judging pavilion to hear the rest of the winners. Second Place goes to Bruce Wayne!

But then, who gets First?

BLUE Ribbon
Ah, there was another member of the Billionaires' Club who was also inspired to follow Bruce Wayne's ranching example, though this one not out of envy. Plus, he has an assistant from Texas, so of course they'd raise the best steer of all...

The First Place Blue Ribbon goes to Ted Kord!

Prizewinning Pie
So, the World's Finest didn't manage to win the top place in the cattle division, but someone else had entered her famous apple pie in the baked goods division and brings home a blue ribbon after all. After a wild day at the Fair, everyone gets a slice of victory.

The End.

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster,
Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger,
Ted Kord created by Steve Ditko,
Jaime Reyes created by John Rogers and Keith Giffen,
All characters copyright DC comics.