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Hey guys! Another long stretch of no updates... I'm busy working on stuff! Right now I'm crazy working on my MFA thesis project, which is on novel- to graphic novel adaptations. It's pretty much my life right now. I'll probably post some of it when it's in a more finished stage.

Anyway, if you're interested in keeping up with my projects, I post sketches and whatnot fairly frequently on my Instagram(and from there to Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook). See you there!
  • Listening to: music in my head
  • Reading: The Hobbit
  • Watching: Arrow
  • Playing: otome game apps
  • Eating: rice
  • Drinking: water
WOW! Have I been neglecting you! Sorry about that, folks. But guess what! I'm at the Savannah College of Art & Design, doing grad studies in Sequential Art (=comics), and it's awesome. Freaking awesome. I'm meeting awesome people and learning awesome stuff, and I've been keeping it all to myself. My first few months here, I've mostly spent discovering things and learning and practicing, finding out things I do wrong and how other people do it right.. I'm getting to the point where I have more confidence in myself and my ability to fix or circumvent these problems, and as I move from discovery-mode into production-mode, I'll be getting more active here, too. (I know I say that every time...)

So... yeah. SCAD is awesome. Comics are awesome. Skyrim is awesome. You're awesome.
  • Listening to: Lindsey Stirling
  • Reading: Castle Waiting, by Linda Medley
  • Watching: Psych
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: clearance Valentine's candy
  • Drinking: hot chocolate
My company had a wave of layoffs last month, and I was one of the people let go. Emotionally and psychologically, it's been pretty rough, I'll admit. But in trying to stay positive and reassess my goals, I've been spending the last couple of weeks revamping my portfolio and working on my comic.

As a result, "Muse" is now live (muse-comic.com), and you'll be seeing more of me here!
  • Listening to: Girls Generation
  • Reading: Supernaturally, by Kiersten White
  • Watching: The Mentalist
  • Playing: SWTOR
Like Brandon Sanderson? Want to get your name written into his next Way of Kings book?

Brandon's doing an auction here on eBay, with two days left.

All proceeds go to Life, the Universe, and Everything - a science fiction symposium (focused on writing, art, and everything including the sun) hosted at Brigham Young University each February. I've been a member of the symposium committee for the last three or four years, and I attended it several years as a student, too. I owe to the Symposium most of my knowledge of the publishing industry and the writing craft, my creative goals, and a whole slough of books autographed by my favorite authors. It's been an amazing experience rubbing shoulders with some awesome people in SFF - including Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, Patricia Wrede, Gail Carson Levine, and Brandon Sanderson, of course.

If you're not interested in the auction, but you can make it out to Utah next February (dates TBD), you should consider attending. LTUE 2012 is our 30th anniversary, and it's going to be more of a treat than ever!
  • Listening to: Ender's Game (20th Anniversary), Orson Scott Card
  • Reading: Thor and the Warriors Four
  • Watching: Alice (Syfy 2009)
  • Playing: Dragon Age 2
Hi friends!

Sorry I haven't been around for a long time. I'm still alive. (I know, all my journal posts start there.) And furthermore, I'm still working at my supercool graphic novel-in-development. I put up the chapter 1 splash at muse-comic.com, but then decided I needed to refine the story a bit more. Easier to fix the story first, than to redo the art later, right? ^^;

Life is busy, and progress waxes and wanes, but it's still going to be supercool. It's a bit epic, so it's taking a long time to put together. I've also got other projects that I sometimes end up juggling according to various motivations. If you like, you can follow my progress in my writing community, Hands on Keyboard; some writer friends and I talk about the process of writing while working full-time, including sharing resources and doing writing challenges.

When you have a long-term project, how do you keep yourself motivated?
  • Listening to: First Lord's Fury, by Jim Butcher
  • Reading: Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Watching: Alias season 3
  • Playing: Echo Bazaar!
  • Eating: carrots with peanut butter
  • Drinking: peppermint tea
So I joined the Artslam community on LJ in order to work out some design issues I'm having with my Muse (superhero-webcomic-in-development) characters, and to get myself in gear and drawing every day-

-something you can all attest needs to happen.

I figure, while I'm posting them to Artslam, why not post them here, too? It's been a while since you've seen anything I'm working on, and this story is pretty much what I'm working on. :) I may not post everything (I don't want to be *too* spoilerific), but here's a bunch of fun stuff.
  • Listening to: Nelson DeMille - The Lion's Game audiobook
  • Reading: Jonathan Stroud - Ptolemy's Gate
  • Watching: Glee!
  • Playing: Morrowind
  • Eating: cream of potato soup
  • Drinking: good ol' H2O
I've got Comic-Con all squared away.. :D Now all I need is to make sure I'm prepared with the art I'm bringing. For portfolio reviews and shopping around and stuff.

My desktop was broken for several weeks (life was busy, and I didn't know enough about hardware to fix it myself.. had to get some new parts and have them installed), so I spent the time mostly working on comic stuff instead. It was good and productive. I still have a long way to go with the story development, but I'm optimistic about it. I've got a few pages drawn and about ready to ink (yay!), but nothing to show you guys just yet. And I think I want to get more of a buffer than "a few pages" before I reveal it online anyway.

I also did more illustrations for Leading Edge.. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out; I'll post them once the issue comes off the press. It was good practice for what I'm doing now, but let me tell you, perspective really kicks my trash. I definitely need to work on that. Ugh. It kills me to know that I need to spend *as much* time, if not more, on the background as I do on the figures.

But speaking of perspective... what do you work out first, composition-wise - the figures where you want them in the frame, or the perspective grid? Probably the figures, yeah?

ALSO, I'm just getting started as an artist on Portrait Adoption, where you can browse a library of art and purchase a single-edition print to use for your very own RPG (or whatever) portrait, at reasonable prices and with no pressure. It's a neat program, check it out! I'll let you know when I've got stuff up. :)
  • Listening to: Jane Eyre the musical
  • Watching: Castle
  • Playing: WoW
So last night I took the plunge and bought a membership to San Diego Comic-Con in July. I've been to Anime Expo lots of times, but never gone to Comic-Con before, and it's way more up my alley these days. (Plus, I'm not very fond of LA, but I love San Diego. ^_^)

Are any of you going? Anyone know a good way to go about finding cheap/safe hotel accommodations? I'm not sure any of my friends are going - most of them are more of the anime type, and AX/CC are so close timewise that I doubt they'd be able to go to both.
  • Listening to: Josh Groban
  • Reading: The Dark is Rising
  • Watching: Dollhouse
  • Playing: Neverwinter Nights 2
  • Eating: Bajio's tamales
  • Drinking: water
Well, I spent several hours yesterday going through my long list of watched Deviations, and I felt inspired to pull out the ol' Wacom and try my hand at painting again. Un/fortunately, I'm so out of practice that I don't think I'll put it up. Maybe if I keep poking at it later, it'll turn into something worth posting. Anyway, it was good to work the artistic muscles again, but I'm realizing that I'm pretty rusty. Will need to paint with reference to get back in gear.

I've still been working on my new webcomic, but it's slow-going. I haven't been able to sit down and focus on it for a while. I've been feeling like the story is getting out of hand and I can't keep track of all the little things I'm trying to put in it. And I'm still working on character designs, and how to start it off (beginnings never crippled me before, but this one's kicking my trash..), and designing the website, and struggling with how best to unfurl the story.. All at the same time. It's going to be worth it, but man, this is hard.

Speaking of the site, it's at Muse: the Hero Next Door, but I can't get it to work in Internet Explorer. Everything else seems to load it fine. Any ideas what I did to kill it for IE?

PS~ Superheroes are awesome. They consume my life right now. If you were a superhero, what would your powers be, and why?
  • Listening to: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell audiobook
  • Reading: Ms. Marvel #13
  • Watching: How I Met Your Mother
  • Playing: Neverwinter Nights 2
  • Eating: orange pumpkin cake w/cream cheese frosting
  • Drinking: V8
Joss Whedon is trying to revolutionizing the entertainment industry, and he needs OUR HELP.

If you haven't heard about it yet, please allow me to introduce you to

DR HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG,

Joss's latest project. It is a LIMITED engagement - the third and final act goes live on the net tomorrow, and at midnight on Sunday the 20th, it will go offline.

YOU ONLY HAVE TWO DAYS TO SEE IT!

Pass on the news! Read Joss's Master Plan! Buy a t-shirt! But most of all, WATCH DR. HORRIBLE!



And did I mention Nathan Fillion? GO!
  • Watching: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
  • Eating: zucchini noodles with meat sauce
  • Drinking: water
Wow, I can't believe it's been 11 weeks since I've even been on here.. I'm alive and kicking. (Btw, I ended up getting an LCD monitor - I got this one, a ViewSonic VG930m, which is what I use at work, too. Except at work I have two of them, and at home I only have one. It's beautiful, and World of Warcraft is, too. ^_^ My roommate prefers playing on my machine instead of her own, heh.

Anyway, about not being dead.. I've been spending the last few months working pretty hardcore on a super-secret new webcomic. (Dream Like Destiny has officially taken a back-seat, and though I'll update it every now and then (the next page is still half-done), please don't hold your breath for it.)

I'm trying to learn from my experience with DLD and make sure that this new one doesn't die a slow death, or cause its readers the same fate. I want to "do it right." I've been doing a lot of research into comics, reading comics ("Invincible" is awesome) and reference books (I recommend Scott McCloud's work), watching everything superhero-y (I *adored* "Iron Man," and I'm super-excited about "Hellboy II" this weekend.. "Incredible Hulk" wasn't bad, and "Hancock" was really fun. And then there's "The Dark Knight," wooooo!!!!), and studying some of the comics masters (Jim Lee's work makes me drool)...

Anyway, what I've mainly been doing these past months is drafting the storyline. Sarah Ellerton (Inverloch / Phoenix Requiem) recommended planning it all out, and it's been extremely helpful. It's going to be amazing. I'm also working on organizing it into actual comic issues and arcs in order to translate easily to print, in case that becomes an option. I'm doing character designs and costume sketches, planning the website, and researching architecture.. It's a huge undertaking. But I don't regret it, and neither will you. XD It's killing me to not post some of the images I have, but I don't want to give you spoilers before their time.

But if you've made it to the end of this post, I'll reward you with the title of my new project. It's called "Muse: the Hero Next Door."
  • Listening to: Disney soundtracks
  • Reading: Making Comics
  • Watching: X-Men Evolution
  • Playing: WoW
  • Eating: yogurt pretzels
  • Drinking: water
So.. I haven't been using my desktop lately for anything but listening to music, because the monitor's getting so bad (and it doesn't want to play WoW.. but that's a different story). I'm finally looking into replacing it, but I thought I'd ask you people if you had recommendations.

It seems really difficult to find CRTs anywhere, but based on the comparisons I've read tonight, it looks like CRTs are still preferable over LCDs for graphic output - color capability and resolution handling is still better than with LCDs. And they're cheaper. The one I've got now is a 16", I think, but it came from an eMachine, which is not particularly... cutting edge..

If I went with a CRT, it seems Sony or ViewSonic would be the way to go. (This one seems pretty nice.... ) Thoughts? Anyone care to defend the side of the LCD? (I use LCD monitors at work, and it would be really nice to have more space on my little desk at home, but I don't know..)
  • Listening to: Rob Gardner
  • Reading: Understanding Comics
  • Watching: The Incredibles
  • Playing: WoW
  • Eating: Easter candy
  • Drinking: water
In case some of you are interested but haven't been keeping up.. the Twilight movie is about to start filming. Yesterday we got a press release on Stephenie Meyer's website with a few shots of the Cullen family - all dressed in cool blues and grays and blacks. I have a few issues (in essence, Alice's hair should be shorter and styled better, Jasper's too short and looks like he's wearing a bad wig, and they should all be paler), but for the most part, I think they look *great*! I'm very excited about the movie. It's supposed to be in theaters in December.

Go see the photos at www.stepheniemeyer.com/twiligh… !!
  • Listening to: Twilight audiobook
  • Reading: The Princess and the Hound
  • Watching: Mars
  • Playing: DragonRealms
  • Eating: macaroons
  • Drinking: water
You might be wondering what I've been up to lately, considering my last journal post was in August.. (!!)

I moved to a new apartment at the end of August, and it's quite a bit smaller than my last place. Though most of my stuff fits okay, my desk doesn't have enough room for my scanner. There *is* stuff I've been working on, but it's a pain to scan things now, so I haven't made the effort. When I have something I'm really excited about, or when I put up another comic page, I'll pull out the scanner. (If I could find a tray thing to put it on, and have my mouse underneath it, that would probably work, though. For now it sits on my bookshelf with my out-of-ink printer.)

For much of October my creativity was poured into my costume project. I made an awesome sideless surcoat with underdress with the intention of wearing it to SCA functions (I want to start doing SCA, cuz it sounds like so much fun), and ended up wearing it for Halloween.. I need to take some photos of it, and post it. It turned out pretty awesome - the underdress is light green, and the surcoat is a dark green viney pattern jacquard, with white fur trim on the armholes. And it has a sweet train!! And though I called my mom several times for troubleshooting and clarification purposes, not once did she actually drive or fly up to help me - there was only talking. I count that as doing it myself. ^_^ And now that it's done, I feel like I should be working on another sewing project.. Hmm.. More garb..?

I've also been focusing a lot on my book, which is why I haven't worked on my comic lately. I've been writing scenes and planning and brainstorming, and recently I've begun drawing things for my book, too. I figure that drawing the different races will help me differentiate them in my head, and then in my writing. So you're going to get a lot of elves soon. Hope you don't mind. ^^;;

Also, to those of you who requested stuff.. in July.... I haven't forgotten about you, don't worry. (NatalieKelsey, do you still remember what you were going to request?) I'm working on them.
  • Listening to: Within Temptation
  • Playing: Morrowind
  • Eating: Fritos
  • Drinking: Wild Berry Spring Water from Target
Self-tagged by raiagirl

The rules are:
1. Post these rules.
2. Each person tagged must post 8 random facts about themselves.
2. Tags should write a journal/blog of these facts.
4. At the end of the post, 8 or more persons are tagged and named.
5. Go to their page and leave them a comment telling them they're tagged.

1. I generally don't like women's choirs, or acoustic versions of songs on the radio. This makes sense to me - I want a full spectrum of sound when I listen to music, and women's choirs and acoustic versions are like cutting off half the scale (the lower half).
2. I worked several summers at a company that designs and builds satellites. The kind that go into space. (I was their business intern / art intern.)
3. I love libraries! It's not "home" unless I've got a library card there. And I couldn't make it through a semester of school without bingeing at the library for fun books. Usually when I had the most to do.
4. My favorite color is green, but my second favorite color is *grey*. (And I refuse to spell it with an "a". It just looks ugly.)
5. There are eight kids in my family, and I'm the only one who's left-handed.
6. I don't like pearls. Nothing personal - you can like pearls if you want - but I think they look horrible and pretentious on me. (I like sparkly things, though.)
7. I also don't like trucks. Unless you have a legitimate reason, like you live on a farm (or you're a geologist, Rachel). My perception is that casual truck-owners are by-and-large jocky, selfish, insensitive show-offs. And they're the most aggressive and unthoughtful drivers. *shrug* Sorry.
8. Some things that soothe my soul are birds, rain, and leaves. I adore leaf motifs. I need more jewelry with leaves on them. And little bells, ahhh....

I don't know who all reads my journal, so I'm going to leave the tag open, too. You're tagged if you want to be!!
  • Listening to: the washing machine
  • Watching: Hana Kimi Ikemen Paradise - J-drama
  • Playing: WoW
  • Eating: Donut Stix and rice (not together)
  • Drinking: Water
It was glorious. And now I have approximately 363 days left to wait for the fourth book. I can't help but wonder what's going to happen, though.. not a ton of threads were left loose.

What can I say without giving spoilers? Let's see.... In an interview on Amazon.com, Stephenie says that if Twilight is about finding true love, and New Moon is about losing true love, Eclipse is about choosing true love. Pretty much the book is Jacob vs. Edward, and there is angst up the wazoo. It's wonderful. I typically describe Twilight to people as being the "good parts" of every book you've read, crammed together in one book - well, this book is even more "good parts" than Twilight. Of course there's plot in there.. But when you take two very different, very powerful boys who are after the same girl and put them all in the same room together..... it makes for some very entertaining, intense, and angst-ridden scenes. ^_^ Welcome to Eclipse.

I didn't love this book. I adored it. And if I hadn't relinquished it to my roommate so that we could fangirl about it together, I would be rereading it right now. Instead it looks like I'll be forced to go to bed at a decent hour. DX


In other news, I apologize for being away for a while. First I was avoiding the internet for fear of Harry Potter spoilers, then I had some commissions to do, and I went out of town, and now Eclipse consumed me.. But I've got a few ideas for some Eclipse fanart, and those requests to take care of, so you'll see a little more of me again.
  • Listening to: Hairspray movie soundtrack
  • Reading: ECLIPSE, by Stephenie Meyer
"Ronin Warriors" was the first Japanese cartoon I watched with the awareness that it was not American. (This was when it was first on TV - before Sailor Moon made its debut, even! In fact, when Sailor Moon aired, the station gave it RW's time spot and I was really mad that I'd missed my episode of RW!!) Though I've only seen the English dub version, the show holds a special place in my heart. (I own 2 Japanese soundtracks and 3 Japanese artbooks.. heh)

A couple of weeks before AX, chibidrunksanzo brought it to my attention that it was available on DVD. And after some internet research, I realized that there appear to be two versions: the legitimate US release, and the bootleg (Taiwanese?) release. And I told myself that if I didn't find it at AX, I'd buy it online - well, AX didn't have it because it's out of print, so I guess I have to buy it online.

I'm writing this post in the midst of scouring the internet for places to buy these DVDs. I've discovered that the US release seems to be sold typically in single-DVD volumes, of which I think there are 12, and the covers have crisp art with the name "Ronin Warriors" with the "O" shaped as a sword's handguard (tsuba). The bootleg seems to be always sold in a box set with all episodes plus 2 OVAs, has 8 discs (in 2 boxes, I believe), and the cover is not as pretty (the color seems off) and says "Samurai Troopers", which is the Japanese name.

Unfortunately, the US version is more expensive. Prettier, more reliable (it matters because one user left a warning about poor quality with the other version), but more expensive. Like, $70 for the bootleg compared to over $100 for the legit copy. And if you buy it from somewhere else (like Amazon), it's really difficult to tell which version you're getting. So I'm wondering if any of you know a better place to find it - some obscure but reliable DVD seller? Or even a not-so-obscure but reliable DVD seller?
  • Listening to: King of the Murgos audiobook
  • Reading: Hana Kimi manga
  • Watching: Naruto Shippuden
  • Playing: WoW
  • Eating: Mongolian grill
  • Drinking: Root beer
Okay, since nobody seems to have caught my kiriban, and I'm leaving for Anime Expo *tomorrow*, in order to jumpstart my creative juices...

The first THREE people who comment get a pic request!

Same conditions apply - if it's characters, please limit them to one or two. Can be yours or somebody else's - you can email me a description (illustar (at) gmail (dot) com) or send it in a note if it's not a character I know. Or you can email/link me reference pics. Nothing suggestive or over a PG-13 rating!
  • Reading: Book of Jhereg - Steven Brust
  • Playing: WoW
  • Drinking: Water
Okay, so I just noticed I'm pretty close to a good number, so whoever catches page-view number 6,666 will get a pic request! Send me a screencap or something! Please limit it to one or two characters - yours or someone else's, whoever! (Or if you want something else, let me know) And please, nothing over a PG-13 rating.

---

(In other news, I finally hit lvl 40 with my main WoW character! I don't play as regularly as most WoW addicts, so it's taken me about a year. But due to my non-playing time, rested XP got me through two and a half levels! Yay!!)
  • Listening to: This is Halloween
  • Reading: Book of Jhereg - Steven Brust
  • Watching: Chipmunk Adventure
  • Playing: WoW
  • Eating: Symphony w/Almonds & Toffee
  • Drinking: Water
Some of you expressed interest, when I posted some drawings of my original characters (such as The Foxes), in reading some of my writing.

I've just created myself a writing journal for such interested people. At this point it will be only available to those with a livejournal - that way I can protect it from public masses, and use their comment feature - but eventually I plan to have it accessible from my website, kind of like :icontracyjb: has her Ainessa story online.

Right now I've got one [public] post, a short-short that I wrote for class a couple years ago that will amuse you KotOR fans.

If you've got a livejournal and are interested in reading my writing, please let me know and I'll add you to the list. If you don't have a livejournal, they're free to set up, can be much fun, and I'm very fond of mine (it's a great way to keep track of my friends' lives). Just a plug there.

My writing journal can be found at illustar.livejournal.com.
  • Reading: Command Decision by Elizabeth Moon