apparently there has been yet more brouhaha at lj (i post from in case you didn't realize it). while i have not yet decided to return to any kind of regular blogging, i may quit cross-posting. if you have a dreamwidth account, look me up. otherwise, i think, at long last, this is truly goodbye lj. i'm glad i didn't buy a permanent account when i was tempted. haven't really bothered seeking people out on dreamwidth or plugging into any communities, etc. like i said, i don't know how often i may post or if this too will all just go away.

but enough of the doom and gloom. hope everyone is having a productive sunday. i know i have lots of writing to do.

and on that note, behold: the state of my desk (it's been a long time, hasn't it?).  the "clean space" below is more generally occupied by my tea kettle, so the desk is still pretty cluttered, but it's a good working space. i find i paint better these days using a clipboard and watching movies, so i moved all the art stuff over to the side where the computer sits (at the other desk). the writing area i am trying to keep pretty simple: i have my outline for reference, my notebooks to write in, and an assortment of pens and whatnots. my research books are banned from the desktop except on a need-to-read basis. i find as my hands grow more cripply with arthritis the writing slope is a big help in keeping me from pinching my wrist, which is what i tend to do when i write flat.

lookingland: (angel)
( Oct. 24th, 2009 01:21 pm)

october is almost over and i haven't posted a picture of my desk! so here it is as of this morning. earlier i was working on Reconstruction, but after painting two pages, i switched over to work on the paper dolls that i want to finish for Halloween. i finished two first outfits for the Ghost Rider characters (their initial clothes from Marvel Spotlight no. 5, which is Ghost Rider's first appearance). and now i'm noodling with the Swamp Thing characters who are proving a larger challenge.

i've got Abby down okay and i even think i managed to get a fairly good Alec going (though all the little mossy details will be painful), but i am totally struggling with Constantine. i have an idea in my head of what i want him to look like, but haven't been able to capture it yet. it may take me a while. and by God he will have cigarettes.

i've decided to commit to this idea of setting up a paper doll blog to go through these series and draw all of their clothes (Alec will be the easiest ~ har). it'll be fun and give me an opportunity to re-read the books (it's been more than fifteen years, i think i mentioned before). and there will be a lot of issues that have no costume variations whatsoever, but chronicling the journey seems like a nice side distraction to keep me from going blitheringly crazy with Reconstruction (working on that sometimes just puts me in a dark mood).

to spare my non-comic-book flist peeps from my obsessive prattling on about this stuff (because i know i can definitely go on), i am setting up the aforementioned blog elsewhere, and will just periodically make announcements about what's going on over there. 

hope everyone is having a happy sattidy!
so in case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to get back into the swing of blogging. a while back i suggested (to myself) that i would try to give myself a blogging schedule and have different topics every other day or so.

one of the obvious choices of topics is my desk. i can't imagine torturing you with a weekly image of the rats' nest that it is (yes, we've recovered from the empty void that was last may ~ yikes! what a difference a season makes, eh?). but a monthly post might be in order (in lieu of me rambling on about working on x, y, or z, perhaps). so here it is for September (late in the month, but this picture was actually taken about two weeks ago).

other obvious choices for blogging are book reviews, film reviews, historical blitherage. i'm hoping by the beginning of october, i will have it figured out.if any of you have idea about what you would like to see blogged about on your flist, i'll surely consider requests!

~ * ~

p.s. i am still working diligently on Reconstruction, though bogged down around p. 34. whatever i was thinking when i made Gwilym Fletcher a corn farmer, i clearly wasn't considering what torture it would be to have to draw all that frakkin' corn. is it too late to switch the Antietam cornfield to some other battle as one of the pivotal moments of the story?

i think i hate corn.
lookingland: (angel)
( May. 4th, 2009 08:44 am)
i haven't posted a picture of my desk in forever. mostly because i haven't been working at my desk and there's been nothing to see. even in this picture, you can see how sort of scattershot it is. i don't even remember why i have all the glue out (maybe i ought to put it away, you think?)

this weekend i managed to get a bunch of stuff done in spite of frittering my time on watching movies (among them: Crossing Over, which I recommend!), spinning about the usual quandaries, eating popcorn, and spending much of saturday running around at booksales and Cinco de Mayo festivities. a good time was had by all and very little damage was done to the pocketbook.

i also want to say that after 20 freakin' years my character's been lugging around a Navy Colt, i officially switched it to a Colt Dragoon this weekend. i had always wanted a heavier, more ridiculous firearm with a larger caliber (.44 instead of .36) ~ the dragoon is perfect. thanks, jamie, it's entirely your fault.

image for an up-coming scene

it's a good thing the dragoon shares a lot of similarities with the navy variety. it made drawing this one much easier than i suspected!

: D

i don't want february to get away from me without posting the obligatory picture of my desk. as you can see, my camera is on its last legs. it suddenly went screwy on me in january and i haven't been able to resuscitate it. i might buy a new one this weekend, which means i won't be getting that new tv i'd been hoping for. ah well ~ i've lived without tv for years now and i'll continue to do so. i think i need a new camera infinitely more. and the good thing is: camera prices are way down!

so the blurry desk should give you some sense of why i am not getting much done: that pile there is 5 volumes of a 14 volume salvage project i picked up sort of randomly. it's Harper's Monthly from the 1870s and 80s. as bound books it's probably unsalvageable, but i'm going to do a little experimenting this weekend to see if i can't get it to hold together (most of the covers and spines are off, though the interior blocks are generally good).

if it's a lost cause (and it very well could be; the leather is seriously rotted and i'm going to do some experiments to see if it can't be "stayed" with some fixative), i'll probably just salvage the interior illustrations (and maybe some pertinent articles) and recycle what's lost. i hate throwing out books, but i feel like i am giving these at least a second chance. wish me luck!

it's a messy task, but somebody's gotta do it. and i need something like this to break up the writing/drawing routine. i'll post anything interesting that i find ~ and maybe even report on the results of my weekend experiments. i know you can't wait ~ !

: D
I was really hoping to bring in the new year with a clean workspace, but I think the picture below tells it all. On the bright side, I'm busy and enjoying the busy-ness! I'm working on a ton of projects simultaneously and don't know how long I will be able to keep juggling them, but for the time being I'm going to ride this enthusiam train to the end of the line. Today I am cleaning off my actual drawing table (which has been buried under a map of Washington D.C. for the last six months at least) to see if I can't move some my work over into the other room and alleviate a little bit of the clutter.

Yesterday I worked on Reconstruction a good deal and am excited to announce that I think I can probably start posting three times a week very soon! I've finally distilled the process into something I can knock out very quickly. The art only suffers mildly for it and I have so much more fun moving through scenes quickly. I've finished drawing the "For Katie" scene that I have been working on and I like the way it wraps up. I'm glad I started with this sort of non-sequitor as a lead-in. It really gave me a chance to experiment with the tools I'd allotted myself and to get the story rolling. If you have been occasionally checking in at WebComics Nation for the updates, you'll notice that it's not very well organized over there, but I'm hoping to work on the "official" website this month and get that up and running at the start of February. Then maybe it will be easier to follow along.

It's a new year, but I'm slow to change my habits. As usual, I'm struggling with the usual pile of nagging doubts about what I am doing with my life and talents (I suspect many of my creative friends and readers go through the annual self-assessment thing around this time of year), but I'm going to just work through it (and I hope all of you do too!). Even if there are projects on my desk that I'm not entirely in love with at the moment, I will probably love them again next week.

I've been so busy that I haven't been posting much, which is a good thing, I guess ~ but I have so many cool books and things I want to share. I hope this week I can start to catch up!

Lastly, I need to post this picture as annual proof that yes, I do have the cutest dog that ever lived. This was taken at my sister's house on Christmas, which is why he's wearing the silly ribbon with the poinsettia on it.


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If the condition of my desk is any indicator, I've had a pretty good weekend as far as productivity is concerned. I've really taken the pressure off myself with regard to certain specific goals. This weekend I mostly ran errands, changed a broken headlight (I'm so car-savvy), wrote Christmas cards, and worked on the annual Christmas story. This year's story is pretty silly, but I'm having lots of fun with it and I'm pretty sure it'll be done by the coming weekend (haven't decided whether I will draw pictures for it, however). I wanted to finish a draft this weekend, but I have some key conversations yet to write and there are tons of transitions missing (and it's so far a very sloppy first draft). I'm going to print it out tomorrow and maybe finish it during the week.

Otherwise, I worked on paper dolls. No particular reason except that I've been sorta sloughing off on making dolls, etc., and I'd like to have some done before the year ends since it was one of my "non-resolutions" for 2008. Interestingly (or rather, typically), I started with one set of dolls and worked on them Saturday evening, and then today decided I didn't really like them as much as I thought, so I completely redrew them and then made a third that turned out better than the previous four. Hey, I'll take it!

I didn't work on Reconstruction at all (the break I was taking last week spilled over into the weekend), but I think I'll be ready to get back to it soon. This Wednesday we wrap up all the "buffer" I had socked away, so I've got to get on it. I don't know if I have solved the problem I am having with the style, but the time away has given me some space to mull over the style changes I'm looking to make. I think they're a go, so after this week, you will probably start seeing a noticeable difference in the artwork.

And now I'm going to take some drawing stuff to curl up in bed (and my laptop so I can watch The Dark Knight for the 187th time ~ I believe in Harvey Dent!). Looks like the snowfall will nicely replace what got rained on this morning. I love waking up to a fresh white world!

Coming up: some more illustrated books and maybe actual pictures of dolls-in-progress!


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We got a dusting of snow ~ not quite enough for full coverage, but it's nicely chilly and mostly white outside. I hear it will be a mild winter, which is a huge disappointment. I am hoping the predictions are wrong (isn't the weather always contrary to what's predicted? Please?).

I have returned from the long holiday weekend and jumped right back into work, which is good. Didn't get much done yesterday having driven in from Wisconsin in the morning and putting in a half day at work, but I inked a few panels and that's better than nothing.

I've noticed that the art for Reconstruction doesn't look very sharp on PCs with low resolution. The art is optimized for Mac at 1680 x 1050. This is a technological failing on my part, and something I will have to work on as I go. Meanwhile, my apologies to all the non-Mac users out there who are seeing Reconstruction as pale and fuzzy.

We are almost ready to launch The Orchard, which is also exciting. Okay, it's running a lot late, but I guess we've all been pretty busy this autumn with other stuff.

I have also managed to clean off my computer desk and it looks pretty great (see below). My work desk is still a disaster, though. I'm not even going to bother trying to tackle it. Clearly I work better buried under a pile of paper and tools.

Unfortunately, this picture is too wide an angle to see some of the details of the very cool doo-dads I have on this desk: like the little light-up fire station (which is a recent acquisition), and some of my favorite little old books. But at least you can see that the desk is clean!

Lots of plans in the works. Just wanted to check in since I've been out of town a while. More to come soon!


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lookingland: (fellas)
( Jul. 24th, 2008 09:05 am)
has anyone seen my desk lately?

because i sure haven't.

i'm sure it's under there somewhere and i hope to dig it out soon, but it's been low on my priority list to do anything like cleaning or organizing around here. i really need to work that in some time.

the good news, of course, being that all that pile of junk means i'm feeling sorta productive, even if i am completely disorganized at the moment. i'm hoping that all of this dust will settle into something like a work routine once i get back from my vacation.

thursday is friday to me, so i'm also looking forward to the weekend, though i have a bazillion errands to run before i leave next wednesday. and i'm going to see the X-files movie tomorrow. it's been a good summer for fun movies so far!

happy day all!

: D
it's been a long while since i updated the condition of my desk. probably because there's not much to show and tell. the same projects have been sitting, sort of flitting, around the desktop for the last month with scarcely a breeze to disturb them. it's gotten to the point where, unsure of exactly what's on the desk in its piles, i'd just as soon not disturb it (i may not like what i find).

for example, this sketch below of Reverdy Johnson explaining the lazy way to make panels for comics. on a scale of 1-10 of weirdness, i'm pretty sure this rates a 10 (at least!). put in context of the overall conspiracy pile on the desk, however, it brings it down to about a 6. still, sometimes i find things among my own dreck that amuse me and this definitely ranks.

the panel next to it is Colonel Bolton and General Hartranft from a series of sketches i made testing out a pen. there's a note on the page that says something about Bolton having a nightmare about looking for his teeth (which he lost when he was shot in the face in battle). it sounds like a great idea that i had, but sadly can't remember the exact context. i am hoping that somewhere in my pile is some note that explains what i was getting at.

even though these sketches are just toss-off jibberish, i actually like them. i certainly have a lot more confidence in the pen strokes when i'm not the least bit serious about what i am drawing.

: o p

happy sunday, all!

p.s. i finally made a "desk" tag. that only took me forever.
lookingland: (octopus)
( May. 10th, 2008 07:50 pm)
beautiful rainy day. blackberries for lunch. rosemary chicken for dinner (life is good!)

my desk just isn't looking any better yet (but no worse, thank God). i have no idea how picky fire inspectors are, but i hate the idea of my landlord coming in here and wondering what sort of nest i am building.

i really like where i live ~ in case i haven't mentioned it. my landlord is very laid back, the downstairs neighbors are practically invisible, and though i haven't shared many interior pictures of my domicile, it is beautiful and spacious. even though i don't use the second bedroom for anything (it's empty except my dining buffet, which i don't need here), i like having it just to feel there's room to grow. my kitchen here is larger than the one in my house back in texas.

i am almost done cleaning. fell off the coffee table trying to take a picture of my couch, so you get no pictures of the rest of the house, but here's my workspace.

cleaning has made me appreciate my home here. a thing as simple as replacing a missing light bulb has made the place bright and new for me again.

now if i can just get motivated to put away the laundry and clean the floors (yuck ~ floors are the one thing i don't really care for doing).

a couple more under the cut )

thank you again to [ profile] faynudibranch, who sent me the fabulous poster of Tudor Hall. i framed it a couple of weeks ago and tomorrow i'll see about hanging it (though i am wary about falling off any more furniture).

i am going to see about clearing that other desk of mine! lots of project stuff i want to get to tonight, but the cleaning's gotta happen as well!

happy sattidy all!

: D
it's finally happened. i have completely lost control of my desk. last night i sat down to work on Reconstruction and couldn't comfortably angle the clipboard in a way that made painting easy. of course, instead of clearing the desk, i just forced myself to make do. because God forbid i disturb the tower of i don't know what. and that's the worst part of it. i'm not even entirely sure what's in those piles at this point. a lot of photocopies, i think, and notes, and scanned microfilm. last night i was trying to baste together reconstructed pages of the Evening Star from 1865. and of course i did the scans wrong, so i am missing two lines in the middle of the pages (argh!). fortunately i still have the microfilm reel, so i can write in the missing lines tonight or tomorrow (but i am such an idiot).

i'm glad i went to the trouble of ordering this newspaper for a couple of reasons: it's the local paper for crying outloud! what was i thinking for blowing it off originally? and also, it's given me a few interesting new tidbits to work with (one description of sam arnold's father crying in the courtroom was rather heartbreaking).

i was really tempted to include a bunch of random local news things in my outline, but restrained myself (fascinating as they were), given that the monstrousness of this project is already too much for even me to handle at this point.

the good news is that this desk will be completely wiped clean this weekend. i've got the summer projects moving in (for the Here there Be Monsters press) and so everything is getting put on hold until late July. well, by "everything", i really mean In Pursuance of Said Conspiracy, which means i can get most of this stuff off my desk until then. this is not the way i wanted to do it, but life has a way of dictating the priorities. i have to write Issue No. 5 of Eleison in the coming week (yikes). thankfully i have a story in mind. just have to commit it to paper now.

in painting: Reconstruction shouldn't suffer for the schedule change (i hope). i'm a little bit behind, but the style change is gradually making it easier. i also have something more like a draft to work from (instead of winging it like i was doing for several pages there ~ shouldn't have done that, but oh well, it's all a learning process).

new projects: ooo exciting ~ my brother and i are going to launch a webcomic of some sort in late June/July hopefully. i want to title it The Orchard, but that sounds so prosaic given the subject matter. this will be an online exclusive about Death, War, and Bacon (for those of you who aren't familiar with my obsession with war and breakfast, please see Grantcakes). it will star Death, a soldier, and a pig (right?), and will likely be a meditation on themes familiar in my work for those who know it (fidelity, honor, and estrangement chief among them). stay tuned for more details!

in reading: book updates later. this post is already long and jumbled!
i have decided to quit all of my creative pursuits and just write a blog about the ever-evolving state of my desk. er, as opposed to what i seem to be currently engaged in.

i had to reconfigure the desk. the books were walling me in. they're very clingy, needy things sometimes. they make it hard to concentrate. so i turned my tv into a dictionary stand (you've probably not seen my 1893 Funk & Wagnall's dictionary ~ it's kind of immense), and moved all the books over to the table it used to occupy. this had made the dictionary crabby, but i will find it a place of honor elsewhere (just not right now).

anyway, this has alleviated the crush and made the source material easier to get a hold of (that teetering pile was just ridiculous after a week). i also put Hartranft's Letterbook into a binder (dunno what took me so long!). of course this meant punching it full of holes (that's okay, it's a lousy copy), but worse, i wound up whiling away an hour trying to read Hancock's letters. i'm getting better at it. it only takes me a few minutes to remember how to follow the stroke of the pen. bad as his handwriting is, it's consistently the same kind of bad throughout, so once you know how he writes "to the" as a one-word one blobby mess with no crossed t's, you can pretty much identify it across the board.

so yeah, that's been my morning. and just to share, i have this photo, which sold on eBay last year and which i never even bothered bidding for (as i knew it would sell for way more than i could ever hope to afford). from looking at his pictures (pretty much all of them), it's easy to see why people were scared of this guy. if all accounts didn't say what a marshmallowy underside he had, i prolly wouldn't believe it.

Hartranft in uniform seems a pretty
rare commodity. this one and another from the
same photographer of him sitting,
sold for $550 each.

all right, i'm going back to work as soon as read my flist. hope everyone is having a happy weekend!

: D

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well, it's a mess now. i've been home from work feeding a cold with popcorn and green tea (because that's healthy, right?). and between trying to get my little dog to eat something and blowing my sore and drippy nose, i have been attempting to get some creative work done. the good news is, i am making some progress. the bad news is, my desk is messier than ever (and completely non-conducive to actually working).

i tend to work best while standing, so it's fine if i throw stuff all over the chair, but the fact that i barely have any space to actually work in is making me feel buggy. i need a rolling trolley thingie to put my books in so that they will be right on hand, but not consuming the lion's share of my work area. then i could just pull 'em up when i need 'em and shove them off when i don't.

and all of this just to say: really, i am working. inking the Morse house on grace street may kill me, but i'm going to finish it (and a number of other goals) this weekend.

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lookingland: (hood)
( Mar. 7th, 2008 09:31 pm)
i was made much jealous by the exciting project notebook of friend moo (which has since been upgraded to a binder!), and despairing over the state of my desk, i did, as promised, undertake to clean it off and get something like organized.

my efforts proved slightly successful. at least the piles are vertical and straight at the moment. the dali cup in the middle (i forgot to point out on the picture annotation), is actually the water cup for the paints. scandalously, i might add, the total worth of the library books on my desktop exceeds $1,000. i have never really assessed my own collection, though i am sure it is equally obnoxious. i really could blow my tax refund on books (and, in fact, am eyeing something delicious on eBay even now ~ i know, i know! i need an intervention).

aren't you impressed?
do you think it will last like this
at least through the weekend?

currently, Reconstruction doesn't require much space, so it's dwarfed by In Pursuance of Said Conspiracy (i have better committed to memory the 1,001 details of Reconstruction than the intricacies of the other, which always seems to me a terrible tiger tail every time i try to get it in some kind of order).

so yeah, i am daunted, but not yet defeated. it doesn't help, however, that my own notebook (binder, actually), contains an outline that seems to have been all out of control from the start. i seem to like the idea of organization a lot more than actually being organized.

i don't know what's worse about this:
the fact that i've scribbled so many arrows all over this
thing i hardly know what order anything goes in anymore
or the fact that it's mostly encoded with acronyms and
page numbers, which i now have to decipher all over again.

i've saved the first page of each of the drafts i began of this work (and there have been many!). i've thrown the rest of it away entirely.

my goal for the weekend is to finish a handful of pages for Reconstruction, and to try to get reacquainted with this other mess. i've already re-read the last chapter of Lincoln and Episodes of the Civil War just to put myself in the mood. it's interesting, but every time i read it, i find Poppet's slant against the King Drunk more peculiar and suspicious. he makes no accusations outright, but at least twice in close quarters makes an overt note as to the King Drunk's actions seeming to scream a little too loudly: i had nothing to do with it!

but then, that's how conspiracy theories get started. the imagination is a powerful thing.

: D