I have been working a lot at my new job at the Humane Society, so I’m just getting back to my arting after a few intense weeks of training and so on. My only offering to assuage your no-doubt intense ire is these pictures of cute dogs, who are not mine, but in fact at the Humane Society in Longmont, Colorado and waiting for YOU to take them home. You can have them, can you believe it? How often do you see pics of animals online that you can just… go and get and make your own?

So these are Carly and Greta. They are both the most velvety, wonderful girls, and they’re waiting for you to come tell them so. I usually post pics from work on my Instagram, along with bits and pieces of in-progress art, so you can check that out if you need soft dog noses quickly in an emergency.

Precious Cargo

Okay, so I promise I have an explanation for this. I don’t promise it’s a good one.

I’m goin’ to the game and I’m gonna be strapped. With cats. Cat-strapped.

The explanation is that first we were discussing the sexist bullshit associated with cargo pants. TL;DR: Apparently women’s purses are terrifying vectors for terrorist acts on sports stadiums, whereas men’s pockets, even if large enough to contain an army of ferrets each with their own submachine gun, are totally safe and definitely don’t need to be searched or excluded from the building.

This lead to my wife’s defense of the noble cargo pant, which I was ready to endorse – I’m a practical creature with zero fucks to give for your male-gazey fashion, and I appreciate pockets I can fit not one but two hardback books in. Women get screwed on pockets constantly; it is known.

In trying to describe the pair of cargo pants we have in this house, I suggested that a person could, if so inclined, attend a sporting event with a full-sized adult cat in each side pocket and four separate sets of kittens holstered for quick access. And then, because I was so reckless as to put that image out into the world, I had to draw it.

I decided to just use the Pigma brush pen that I’ve hitherto been too chicken to use, and as with most things I’m initially afraid of and then forced to spend time with, I’m now in love with it. Wait. Maybe that’s a bad comparison. Lemme start again.

I decided to use the Pigma brush pen, with which I am in a mutually consenting relationship, and I’m loving the variability in line weight I can get. Fear keeps getting in my way with my drawings but I think I’m getting past it. This brush pen might be exactly the combination of control and lack of control I’ve been looking for, we’ll see. I’m gonna keep practicing with it – I’m fairly happy with how this came out, never mind the ridiculous subject matter.

Get That Bone-Deep Gnawing Feeling

In the cold and painfully bright world beyond the internet, I do graphic design that tends to target parents and schools, which means I’m never allowed to do anything remotely fun. No jokes that even a twelve-year-old would consider “edgy,” current events carefully whitewashed, reality edited down to a PG level at all times. This may be why I’m so extravagantly sweary and filthy around here – I have all this spare vitriol stored up from work.

The funny thing, then, is that I kind of love the work itself – I love Photoshop and Inkscape and I spent all day being kind of overwhelmed by After Effects. I love designing logos and writing inane ad copy so long as I’m allowed to be as ridiculous as I want to be in it. Spare me your booster club meetings and chamber of commerce lunches, but if you need a flyer for your semi-legal taxidermy business, or a great logo for a dominatrix, I’m your man.

You can tell I got my start in gaming more than narrative; I love the worldbuilding, the details in the background that give you a sense of endless layers of structure, each more batshit than the last. So today you get a flyer for A Deeper Gnawing, which used to be a pet store before the Fall, and now trains, treats, modifies and maintains all classes of familiars, non- and semi-sentient pets, contractors and employees. If you’ve been chewing through the latest issue of The Hand That Feeds, salivating over the newest biological weaponry, but you’re balking at the prices – $59.99 for rabies, you have GOT to be shitting me, when I could piss off any feral raccoon and take my chances – come on down to A Deeper Gnawing, where they’re having a back-to-school special on installations! The school board has just approved the new list of campus-safe upgrades – you could be the first one at your school eating acorns, cherries or grapes straight off your faithful familiar’s horns right in class!

Insufficiently Ferocious

Today we get our first glimpse outside the Sects house. I realize zombies are done to death, so you’ll be pleased to know that they’re not a major feature of this world – this was not a zombie apocalypse; the zombies are the equivalent of an old man’s garage tinkering for one of our characters. He raises them, makes them march around the yard doing rifle drills, and tests the corgi’s reflexes and ferocity against them. So far the corgi has been rated insufficiently ferocious.

My new technique is to block out the light and colors with pastels, scan that in, tart it up in Photoshop a bit, then print it out and draw on the resulting print with the Micron pens. This protects the Microns from dragging through pastel dust, which I’m not certain would ruin them, but who wants to risk nice pens? And it seems to be working out really well; I’m very happy with the detail I was able to achieve here while retaining the depth of color and layering of the pastels.

Also, corgis are fun to draw, whereas zombies are annoying to draw. Still haven’t named the corgi yet; feel free to comment with great names for a perfectly ordinary corgi with absolutely no supernatural qualities whatsoever.

27 – Just Desserts

Yeah, okay, well, what’s important is that I amused myself, right?

You feel a great weight settle on your chest,
as if the hand of god Himself came down
and thrust into your chest His thorny crown
and you began to bleed at His behest.

Surely this is punishment for your sins –
for surely that must be the breath of hell.
It must be rotting bodies that you smell
as fatalism lets the monster win.

As will to live retreats, the world goes black.
You can no longer feel the creature’s teeth.
Dimly you imagine your family’s grief
if they should find you dead when they get back,
suffocated, utterly crushed beneath
the stinking breath and rump of this fat cat.

Check out the rest of the 100 Sonnets

4 – Blonde Boye

Today you’re getting a poem about my big dumb childhood dog. Frances was named after this Frances, a little badger girl in a series of picture books I had as a kid. These books led first to me being nicknamed Frances – “Bedtime for Frances!” was both the title of one of those books and the way I was ushered to bed for a few years – and later, the name was slapped on the dog, who didn’t know it was spelled the feminine way, because he was the dumbest dog ever born.

A big, beautiful, prancing blonde boye, he got compliments everywhere he went – he was built like a greyhound, all sleek lines and short golden coat, but like… quadruple that size. A hundred pounds of hyper great dane/greyhound/something or other, with the brain of a fucking squirrel at the helm. I spent most of my adolescence being dragged around the neighborhood at the end of his leash, wrestling him in the backyard, and laughing at him when he tried to eat rocks.

The thing about the light bulb is 100% true, although I did bend the circumstances a bit for a rhyme – point of fact, he got the light bulb out of the trash. We came back to the house to find the trash can spilled, and Frances sitting in the back yard with half a broken light bulb between his paws, and the other half presumably responsible for the blood all over his face and chest. We ran out into the yard to take it from him and he jumped up, panting blood, grinning like a maniac, hoping we’d throw the bulb for him to chase.

Somehow he survived that. He was about seven years old before lymphoma got him, so he defeated the light bulb and lived to chew the lit barbecue once more, to vault onto the counter and drag my mom’s homemade pizza out into the yard, to walk into the pillar that held up the patio roof no less than a thousand times, even though it hadn’t moved once in his entire life. So this sonnet is for my big stupid dog-brother. Good boy, Frances.

A golden dog, but not a retriever –
maybe some great dane, maybe some greyhound –
opined the vet when we brought Frances round.
“Hell, with those teeth, he could be part beaver.”

He was a chronic underachiever,
too dumb to get all four feet on the ground
bashed his head on walls when he’d turn around…
Smell something good? Why not lick a cleaver?

Frances, the prettiest, stupidest dog,
Biting the fire in the barbecue
put away everything he chose to chew
Even a light bulb he found on a jog.
Said to his bloody grin, “What did you DO?”
Must conclude fools are protected by god.

Check out the rest of the 100 Sonnets