The art for this has been mostly done for like a week, I’ve just been struggling with the text. I think I’ve found it now. So here we are, passing the Car Marsh on our way downtown to fix the router.
This update is five pages and it was fuuuuun; there will probably be more of this inverted look because I love how it came out. Feels appropriate to the world of Sects.
Little bit of backstory here, about the night the world ended. It wasn’t supposed to, but… they told us what we’d have to sacrifice to save it, and the price was too dear.
Two new pages for Sects! I loooove this brush-pen more than most men I’ve known and I think I’m achieving a style that’s a little more usefully detailed for scenes – like this one – with a lot of movement or exposition. So finally we can jam some plot up in there. It feels like my style changes every time I draw? I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing; certainly I’m learning a lot every time, and I’m happier each time with the result, so let’s call it good.
I’ve been doing a ton of stuff this week, but unfortunately a lot of it is stuff I can’t show you yet – it’s either unfinished or a seeeecret. I have done some work on the portrait of Eric, though, so here are some details from that. The markers I’m using are… honestly really shit-terrible; I bought this giant thing of like 75 markers in a tube for $20 and got what I paid for, I suppose. They’re fine for now but I’m going to need to look for another option beyond pastels if I want to do a lot of really tiny detail work like this in color.
Today I’ve been laying in some art nouveau-style outlines on the portrait of Eric from the other day. I’m loving Inkscape for this purpose; up until now I’ve done stuff like this in Photoshop, but this would have taken me three times as long and looked ten times as shitty if I’d tried to do it that way.
I have a couple of thoughts about how this might end up looking. I want to fill in the larger negative spaces with some detail and smaller drawings, so I’ve printed it out to go back in with the pastels and pens. After that’s done I also want to make an attempt at laying strong outlines over Eric himself with the brush pen. Might not work, in which case we’ll roll back to the version without. I’m enjoying this process of back-and-forthing between the computer and traditional media, and I like the combination of the softer pastel drawing with the art nouveau frame.
What can I say? I love combining things that don’t go together. No matter what you give me, my first impulse is to misuse it. Hand me a snowglobe and I’ll gnaw on it. Tell me one thing doesn’t work with another, and my first thought is, “Challenge accepted,” whether it’s clothes, food or art. Radical synthesis is how I break past creative blocks – when I get stuck, I reach for the most off-the-wall idea I have, the one that fits least well with whatever I’ve got going, and start chopping bits of both off to make ’em fit. The tagline of this site used to be “perverse pastiche,” and that’s why. When I’m working, I throw in whatever comes to hand and sort it out once it’s in the pot. Can’t promise you that this mess will always be tasty, but it’ll always be a flavor you haven’t tasted before. Like broccoli and jam!
Meet Jeremiah and Eric. As all art imitates life, the house they live in is very much inspired by a number of places I’ve lived, and these two are made up of the men I’ve lived with and loved.
Jeremiah, the Lurch-lookin’ motherfucker on the left, is so literal a depiction of an old boyfriend that he could probably sue me for libel, but I honestly think he’d be pleased. He became even more of a Luddite than he already was when I kicked him out and he went back to Texas, so he’ll probably never see it. When we lived together and were speculating about our future, he promised me that, should I have a daughter someday, he’d refer to her as “Thunderhead,” because he felt it was an excellent nickname for a tiny girl. Thus, Ava inherits the nickname, because it suits her even better.
Eric, the bargain-bin lagoon creature in cargo shorts on the right, looks like all the other men I’ve dated who weren’t the enormous Texan. I like pale, skinny geek boys, what can I say? I look forward to working out years of unresolved domestic issues on these helpless ciphers of former lovers! I’m sure we’ll all grow a great deal as people while we watch them suffer for our amusement.
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!
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.
‘Lo, child! I hope your weekend is going as well as mine. Made some progress on the Shadowplay rewrite, but you can’t see that yet; I’m still adding even more murder. More murder than your body has room for! I think. Presumably your body has room for, at most, one murder.
On the subject of bodies with room for more than one concurrent murder, Sects has a new page. Will be introducing two more of our cultists, a pansexual fish-boy and a very Texan zombie, on the next page after this one. I think that’s going to involve pastels, so we’ll be back in color. I’m really enjoying working with the Pigma Microns for the black-and-white pages, though – I’m not good enough yet with the pastels to get the kind of gritty precision that I’d like, so when the scenes get complicated or text-heavy I’m switching to the pens.
This page I ended up drawing, scanning in, tweaking it in Photoshop, then printing it out to draw more on the shopped version, which worked way better than I expected. I’m thinking that might be an effective way to combine the pastels and the pens without having to draw directly on pastel with the Microns, which I feel like would destroy the tips. I’ve ruined cheaper pens trying to do that, and I’m disinclined to risk it with these, but if I do punch-up in Photoshop and then come back in to draw over the result, it might produce something both pretty and readable! Imagine!
Apart from the page, I also did a (very) rough blueprint of their house, for my own reference. The layout will probably change a little as I actually start drawing the rooms and figure out the flow of action through the space, and once it’s settled I’ll make a cleaner, sexier blueprint that will be of use to anyone other than me. For now, feel free to bask in the horror that is my handwriting.
Happy Tuesday! I can do things, I swear. Actually there have been a lot of thing-doings, just mostly things I’m cuddling close to my generous bosom; some work on Shadowplay that I’m very excited about but can’t show you yet, and about half of a rant about names that I’ll probably have finished later this week. But today I spent some more time with my new fancy-ass pens (not to be confused with fancy ass-pens) and I have two new pages of Sects I’m pretty happy with. The dialogue may make more sense if you read the rest.