Thursday Night Sketchbook #13

A pair of my more unusual (?) characters.

Chibi Darke (the little bat-winged dude) has been a part of my repertoire for quite a long time. I’m not entirely sure what he is, but he stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and enjoys getting into mischief.

Rekha, by comparison, is a more recent addition to my cast of characters. She is from the Indian sub-continent and stands about 6 inches tall. That’s about all I know about her at the moment.

I had some fancy at one point of having the two of them do a “world-tour”; a sort-of educational comic series about different places in the world and the cultures that inhabit them, but, like a lot of my “fancies”, it never really amounted to anything. Now I mostly draw the two of them getting into the kind of shenanigans one can only get up to when you are at the micro-scale.

I’m not sure where the idea to tap a can of soda like a keg came from, but I suspect Rekha is right to have her doubts.

Drink Soda Brand ™ Soda!

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Forced

There is a scene in the third part of Gundam AGE (one of the less good entries into the Gundam franchise, but enjoyable enough.).

The third AGE Gundam is struggling against the overwhelming might of the Vagan invaders, despite being the latest in Gundam technology. In his frustration, Flit Asuno, the aged inventor of the Gundam and its associated technologies, demands to know why the AGE System isn’t producing a counter-measure to the attack. A technician replies that the System has insufficient data to work with. Flit responds “Force it to make something!”

The AGE System produces an attachment for the AGE-3’s beam rifle which boosts its power output exponentially. The power of this rifle is sufficient to repel the invaders; however, due to its hasty construction, it explodes after just one shot, a flawed weapon.

I often think about that scene whenever I sit staring at the WordPress app, trying to think of something significant to write, be it a poem or a story or even just a noteworthy thought I have had. But, frequently it seems, I can come up with nothing. I seriously wonder how I managed to keep up a whole year of daily blog posts last year. My brain goes “I got nothin'” and I want to go “Force it to make something!!” but I know that it’d be barely worth the time to read it, let alone write it. I wanna produce good content, but at the same time I also want to produce regular content. I don’t want to have to wait weeks between writing something…that’s how I get rusty.

But I don’t want to force something out. I don’t want to produce flawed content. Worthless content.

(Content that will explode after a single use…)

Thanks to all my readers. I appreciate every Like that I receive. And I apologize for when I write crap. Or write nothing at all. I will try to do better.

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Thursday Night Sketchbook #12

It’s Mer-May!

It’s a thing, I guess. Like Inktober, except the only thing you can draw are mermaids?

I haven’t been drawing mermaids every day in May, but I do like to do at least one sketch in the spirit of the month.

I really like different variations of the traditional mermaid image. Brian Kesinger on Instagram has done some really awesome ones, including shark-mermaids and sea-horse mermaids.

So, inspired, I have Juice and Ringo as a Jellyfish-mermaid and a Blue Ringed Octopus-mermaid respectively.

Ringo and Juice are a couple concept characters I thought up a few years ago, and I enjoy drawing them. Juice is a sentient glob of chemicals, the result of a laboratory accident, capable of shifting into any shape. Ringo is a chimera, half blue ringed octopus, half human. They don’t have a story as such, other than they are on the run from the lab that created them. I might go more into their details some time, but that’s about the gist of it.

I am not sure that a parasol or sun hat would be at all practical underwater, but we’re talking about a sentient polymorphic mass of slime and a human with octopus tentacles (which would in no way aid swimming) here, so maybe practicality isn’t the first thing we should be concerned with.

Happy MerMay everyone! 🙂

Hey look, no mecha .

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O.S

Have you ever stopped to marvel at the human body’s control system?

Like, first off we have this complex series of biological systems, including circulatory, respiratory, digestive, immunity and so on, that not only functions to keep us alive but does it almost entirely subconsciously.

But beyond that, even our conscious movements can be practically subconscious. Example; go ahead and grab the nearest object on your right. For most of you, pretty easy right? Just reach out and grab it. You were not actively thinking about manipulating individual muscle strands, measuring out the distance and co-ordinating individual finger movements to apply the correct amount of pressure according to sensory feed-back. You were thinking it, but not actively.

That pretty astounding, right? The subtle and complex range of motions the human body is capable of with barely more than a thought or two.

What’s even more amazing is the ability to extend this level of control out beyond the limits of our bodies. A common example of this is driving; the manipulation of a large, heavy machine in 3D space with barely any more mental bandwidth than it takes to walk through a supermarket. When was the last time you drove somewhere only to realize, upon reaching your destination, that you can’t actively recall the journey?

(First off; that’s bad. Pay attention while you are driving. Secondly; wow, how bout that subconscious, huh?)

But our ability to manipulate objects like airplanes, or heavy plant machinery, shows just how effective our motor control is.

I was thinking this whilst riding a mower today. Mowing is one of those activities that I can mostly let my lower levels of consciousness handle, and thus leaves my higher cognitive functions free to contemplate other things.

Today I rode out on our recently acquired SCAG mower.

It’s powered by the two large wheels at the motor, but the steering is controlled by the single small wheel located directly beneath the driver’s seat. I don’t know how many of you have driven something with rear-wheel steering before, but it feels like you are drifting around every corner. It’s quite disconcerting the first few times you use it, and, unlike the zero-turn mowers, the controls aren’t quite so intuitive.

However, after a few laps around the Grove area at camp, I began to get the hang of it, and i didn’t have to actively think about steering it. Pretty soon I was scooting around the trees like I was doing donuts around them. And it struck me at how natural it began to feel in spite of the awkward steering, like the mower was just an extension of my own body. That’s what I find amazing, that my own brain could just adapt to the machine and operate it without any modifications or extensive practice. Same with our large tractor, I don’t think too much about manipulating the control lever so much as I think about moving the bucket directly, like it was my own arms.

A well-designed control system will let you become part of the machine, or let it become a part of you. But this is only possible because of the incredible capability of the human brain’s to adapt and control the space around it, both directly and through even larger systems.

I dunno. I thought it was cool.

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