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S.H.I.E.L.D. is very much a fictional organization (Thank you Mr. Steranko!), but it appeals to some very real people.  And some of those people got started early on putting together a fan site for the new Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. show on ABC over the summer.  About the same time, my beloved 14 yr old rescue Bengal got diagnosed with chronic renal failure; sometimes the warranty on the parts wear out sooner than expected.

Anyways, to help distract my mind before bed I was hopping onto the chat forums.  One of the fans there, Agent K, was talking about some vet stuff and quite cheerfully chatted with me about Marra's recent bloodwork.  We chat casually anytime we're both on.  Well, as it turned out, Marra started having difficulties keeping weight on, and I discussed my concern with Agent K who did a little looking and then came back and suggested a specific type of steroid that is safe for aging kitties with renal issues.

This weekend Marra started doing poorly, not eating much and her weight went down a few more ounces.  I took her in Monday morning as she was clearly in distress; looks like she had a massive hairball attack.  I mentioned Agent K's suggestion to Marra's vet and she is doing research to see if we can try it.

So I can truthfully say that S.H.I.E.L.D. is helping my ill kitty get better!  And if you think about it, that's quite the accomplishment for a fictional comic book organization.

HUGE thanks to Mr. Steranko for the idea in the first place, and huge thanks to Agent K as well!
  • Listening to: Jazz 91.1
  • Watching: my kitty nap
  • Drinking: fizzy water
While reading Bleeding Cool this morning I stumbled across this link, rubbed my bleary eyes, and read it two more times to make sure I was really seeing it.  www.bleedingcool.com/2013/09/1…

Whut?

It appears that the misguided soul in question defines the human species by their genitalia and reproductive status.  Now, last time I checked, the possession or lack thereof of specific organs is not an indicator of one's total capacity.  We all know plenty of males who will never have kids.  We also know plenty of females who will never have kids.  But the production of kids really only qualifies you for two things:  1.  Being able to definitively prove you had sex and 2.  Being able to call yourself a mommy or daddy.  We ALL know PLENTY of people who had kids and yet still can't get a grasp on the whole parenting thing.

There's not a single manual I've ever read that states "You may not do X unless you are the owner of a penis".  Hell, with today's technology, I can even pee a name in the snow!

I do not identify as a feminist although I graduated from Mills College; my world view has always been that if I'm interested in doing something, I'm going to go do it and anyone who has problems with my gender will be either summarily ignored or run over.  I hold a pilot's license and attend the Oshkosh Fly-In; I can weld, run a lathe and a mill, and all the power tools are mine.  I drive a 4x4 truck (and will move to something smaller for financial purposes).  I've played coed ice hockey, driven combat robots (you know them as Battlebots), and played paintball against other guys.  I surf fish, build stained glass windows, enjoy photography, draw, and even knit.  None of these pursuits is hampered or enhanced by my tits or my unused uterus.

I remember holding my goalie gear and watching another women's hockey team playing before my game.  Some early-20's male walked up, giggled, and said, "Oh how cute, girl hockey!".  Then he watched for a while as the team effortlessly and smoothly avoided collisions and took off with the puck.  His face slowly lost its grin and before he left he said, "Those girls could skate circles around us.".  Indeed, they could have!  If you've ever spent time at a hockey rink you'll notice that the male teams tend to specialize in short, hard pushes and a lot of collisions.  The women's teams tend to specialize in paced endurance and finesse skating, dodging around other players rather than going for the hit.  It many ways it reminds me of Russian hockey vs US hockey.  Two teams, one male, one female, knew each other fairly well and we decided to share our practice ice time together, and WOW, that was a beautiful thing to watch!  The guys taught the gals how to hit and take a hit; the gals taught the guys how to pass properly and how to feint and skate around people.  Combining the teams resulted in BOTH teams learning new skills and improving overall.

The point here is that while either gender tended towards a playing style neither side was locked into any playing style or even the ability to play at ALL by virtue of their gender.  Indeed, the skillset of either gender was *enhanced* by including the opposite gender.  And so it is with the vast majority of pursuits...there's very few pursuits denied to anyone by virtue of their gender; most of the time people don't participate because they're not interested.  The airplane doesn't care about the gender of the person flying it.  The weld doesn't care about the gender of the person flying it.  We have reached a point in our evolution where we are so very, very much more than the organs we were born with, and people who make claims that "that gender shouldn't" should be summarily laughed at for having a complete and utter lack of imagination.
  • Listening to: Mike Shiver Captured Radio
  • Drinking: Ito En Golden Oolong Tea
Since I was a little kid cartooning was always my thing.  I did cartoons on EVERYTHING.  If you carefully scrape off the wallpaper in my room in the house I grew up in, I even drew cartoons all over the wall before we wallpapered.  When I got back into art later, I focused (perhaps a bit too much) on realism.  I'd been hunting online for a cartooning tutorial for some time and stumbled across Paris Christou and Toonbox Studios quite by accident.

These incredibly affordable and detail-rich tutorials were exactly what I was looking for!  I can now sketch up cartoon characters that look solid very, very quickly and crank out my own variations just as fast.  Paris does a fabulous job of explaining what to look for, what to emphasize, how to color line art....pretty much everything your little heart desires.  He's also super friendly and answers questions.  So these days I spend my lunch hours sketching along with his tutorials and building up my chops!

Thanks Paris!!!!!
You can find Paris here on DA:  toonboxstudio.deviantart.com/
  • Listening to: Trance
Back in 2011 I was cruising around DA and stumbled across a piece by John Moreshead.  The pencils were simply stunning.  This guy was GOOD.  I went to take a look at some of his other stuff...Catwoman, Hellboy, the Hulk, a bunch of really amazing pinups.  Tasty, tasty pencils.  I favorite'd a lot of his pieces and did a very sloppy job inking one of his Catwoman pieces, learning quite a lot about how not to ink in the process.  

John worked in Las Vegas in the construction industry as his primary job; after work he liked to relax drawing pinups and tattoo flash.  Tentatively, knowing how lacking in skills I was, I sent him an email expressing my appreciation of his work.  He sent back a very kind response and, encouraged, I fell in love with a Hellboy piece he had done and vowed to do a much, much better job inking it than Catwoman.  He inspired me; if he, a construction industry guy, could do such a fabulous job, perhaps there was hope for a software industry geek like myself.  Hellboy occupied me off and on for the next year as I moved from project to project, never quite hitting completion on the inks.

Peripherally I had noticed that John had stopped posting new work, but hey, neither was I and people get busy, right?

It wasn't until over a year later, December 2012 that I FINALLY finished the inks on Hellboy, and I was pretty darn pleased with them, too.  They were leaps and bounds ahead of my botched Catwoman job.  Deciding to post the inks here on DA, I went to go remember who "JM" was...and to my consternation discovered that the original pencils had somehow vanished from my favorites.  Fortunately I had credited him on the Catwoman piece and dug it up for reference, only to find....that all of John's art was gone and his account had been deactivated.

Well, that was peculiar.  But I'm a software geek, so the first thing I did was plug his name into Google to see if I could find him.  And that was how I found out that John Moreshead was no longer with us.  Sometime shortly after the last email I had exchanged with him, John had passed away suddenly at 32, on Oct 30 2011.  I was rocked.  All that talent, all that artwork...lost to us.  Thus spawned a hasty scramble to try to find as much of John's work that I could in order to preserve it from extinction.  And, the Hellboy piece was now my primary piece to fully finish in color as a way of saying thanks to John's memory.

We never met, just tossed some electronic bits at each other, but DAMN that dude could draw, and I find myself periodically wishing he was still around so I could ask him questions and bounce some ideas off him.  Hellboy is the first piece of his I've taken into color...but not the last...and it's my way of saying Thanks, John, for the amazing artwork, and the inspiration, and you are not forgotten.  Thanks, man.  We miss you.
  • Listening to: Trance
I'm slowly gathering more and more bits for a Steampunk costume.  Recently acquired at Dickens Faire was a delightful pocketwatch with glass insets so you can see the gears moving; and a lovely silver knob handled cane for my damaged left knee.  But every steampunk costume needs a good *character* to go with it, so.....

My character is an airship captain....but I'm trying to settle on the name for the ship!  Should my dirigible be named "Pride of Cynosure" (no theme, tip of the hat to Grimjack there); "Devilfish" (octopus theme); or Anubis (Anubis theme)?
  • Listening to: Peter Gabriel "In Your Eyes"
  • Reading: Nick Fury
  • Drinking: Chandon Champagne
Here we go again; yet another mentally ill person shoots a bunch of people.

Here's the key, people:  it's NOT about the guns.  It's about mental illness.  No sane person walks into a cinema, work, a mall, or a school and just starts shooting people.  They're mentally ill, and that's the key here.  We don't take proper care of the mentally ill.

There are plenty of laws out there about gun purchasing and gun ownership; the Columbine shooters got their guns illegally and demonstrate how the laws don't work.  Taking away the guns just doesn't work; let's not forget that just a few weeks ago a guy used a bow and arrow to shoot people, and today in Beijing a guy stabbed 22 kids at a school with a knife.  

The REAL problem is that we don't take proper care of the mentally ill.  The drugs are too expensive, so is the health care.  Hospitalizing a mentally ill person is hideously expensive; I know a family who used to have quite a bit of money who now live in a trailer park because they have a son with severe bipolar disorder.  You also can't leave the seriously mentally ill people alone; the ones that are really bad off NEED a handler, a caretaker, to make sure drugs are taken as prescribed and that the patient gets the therapy and treatment they need.  But this is the land of the almighty dollar, where drugs are hideously expensive, so is the healthcare, and Reagan shut down all the hospitals for the mentally ill.

If we REALLY want to stop this kind of shooting we MUST make healthcare and drugs for the mentally ill easily accessible and give them the proper care they really need.  Passing more laws against guns just won't cut it.
  • Listening to: Digitally Imported Vocal Trance
  • Watching: my new StarkTech UI
  • Drinking: Pepsi
So last week I was talking jailbreaking with a buddy.  "Oh yeah, that reminds me....there's this spiffy JARVIS interface someone was building for the iPhone..."  I'd found it a year ago and was utterly jonesing for it but it's clear that the project has been abandoned.  

Serious bummer.  I'd love a JARVIS interface for my phone.

Poking about to see if anyone else has made something like that, what do I find but....someone has a spiffy looking interface on their PC screen.  It's a really good version of the blue touchscreens from Stark's lab.  Wait....that's not a background?  You mean it DOES STUFF?  IT ACTUALLY WORKS??!!!!

I AM SO THERE!!!!

Turns out you need a program called Rainmeter, and these interfaces are skins.  Some are just a simple tool like the date and weather.  Others are completely new interfaces to the PC (sorry, Mac users, I have no idea) based on themes.  And yes...there are S.H.I.E.L.D themes, Iron Man themes, Star Trek themes, you name it.  And some of the very best skins are in the Rainmeter group here on DA.  And YES, these skins have the ability to DO SHIT when you click on them.  It's not just pretty pinups, it's fully functional!!!

Well HOT DAMN.  

A mere hour or two later, after poking around, I had one of the Iron Man skin themes running.  There were a lot of busted links...but it's super easy to edit the file for each piece of the theme and change what gets executed.  I now have all the stuff I use on a daily basis running off this skin, which displays on my second monitor.  Now I'm most of the way towards making a simple change to the basic interface so the text is as easily changed as the links!  

Earlier today I blew away a hard-to-impress coworker when I showed it to him; at first he thought it was just a background until he saw the CPU and network stats changing and the clock running, then his jaw dropped when I started opening browser tabs and applications from it.

With sufficient tweaks to this thing, I can probably render my laptop well-nigh unuseable for anyone else.  They're already having trouble with the Kinesis keyboard, the StarkTech interface will completely throw them.

Muha!
  • Listening to: Digitally Imported Vocal Trance
  • Watching: my new StarkTech UI
  • Drinking: Pepsi
So just following the Spider Jerusalem pieces, I underwent a job change that basically ate two months of my life.  And I added yet another hobby to my already groaning shelf of various hobbies....fishing!  This hobby is badly needed: it gets me outdoors (I am no longer vitamin D deficient), out of my chair, and eating far more fish.  These are all excellent things.  But it did cut back on art productivity.

There's a lot of crap in my sketchbooks, but for the past month I've been planning out the Crazy Mary pinup piece.  I've learned how to color over un-inked pencils, and now know WAY more about PhotoShop.  Next up on my schedule, I have three zombie pieces to draw for a coloring book; a personal logo to clean up and color; and then I do believe I have enough reference material to work on a dream piece of mine of....wait for it....Tony Stark.  Following that I will most likely revert to a charcoal portrait of Peter Gabriel (whose recent tour fucking blew my mind).
  • Listening to: Above and Beyond
  • Watching: Dexter
  • Eating: ribs
  • Drinking: Chardonnay

Stuffs

Journal Entry: Wed Oct 19, 2011, 1:09 PM
October has been BUSY.  Took a small break from stuff.  Lost (and then found) some new pen nibs, so I started screwing around with some guide/tutorials on lips and noses.  45 minutes later....one face.  Doesn't suck....but doesn't look like anyone in particular either.  Only about 3" tall or so.  Had fun playing with two different nibs.

TIP:  Clorox Wet Wipes are FABULOUS at removing ink from your fingers and your nibs.

PS.  No idea why Mr. Head there is lying on his side.  Perhaps he's sleepy?

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: Tranceportal.org
  • Reading: How To Draw Heads
  • Eating: lunch, after I fetch it
  • Drinking: Earl Grey black tea

My Little Fella

Journal Entry: Sun Sep 25, 2011, 1:04 PM
My plushy Fella arrived yesterday and BOY is he cute!  I'll probably take him to work and prop him up in the office, maybe photograph some adventures with him.

Lazy day today.  Been pondering various plans.  Think I'll restart the Kubert correspondence course that's been glaring at me from the drafting table these past few months.  Heading up to APE next weekend in SF....MUST visit Samovar Tea Lounge before heading back home,  but am looking forward to meeting other artists.

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: The suddenly noisy downstairs neighbors.
  • Reading: "Thirteen"
  • Watching: My monitor!
  • Drinking: Small Red Robe oolong

I need a scanner

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 6, 2011, 5:30 PM
Scanned in the inks for Saint of Killers...and WOW.  Ok, my days of photographing this stuff are OVER.  I need to put a scanner on my Xmas list on Amazon.

Am delighted to see that the corrective white behaves as advertised during scanning.  Once I get a proper revolver reference, I'll white out the twisted wreck I made of the gun and fix it up properly.

This is now pinned up on my cube wall to further terrify visitors at work.

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: Steve Getz
  • Reading: my email
  • Watching: My monitor!
  • Eating: banana
  • Drinking: Supreme Clouds & Mountain green tea

Saint of Killers, Redux

Journal Entry: Thu Aug 25, 2011, 11:04 AM
pencilsandstrings.deviantart.c… was wonderful enough to send me the hi-res pencils for "Saint of Killers" which I had already butchered with tech pens.  This has now been printed on 11x17 paper and is currently on the light table while I'm spotting all the blacks.  I'll grab a shot of it as soon as I finish up the black bits and before I move onto the line work.  I'm finding it a lot easier to work in the larger format, and the dip pens are really flowing nicely on this piece.  Should look awesome when it's done!

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: Indigenous "Hold On"
  • Watching: My monitor!
  • Drinking: Jasmine White Phoenix Pearls

Stuff

Journal Entry: Wed Aug 17, 2011, 8:46 PM
Currently inking John Moreshead's AWESOMMMMME Catwoman piece fav.me/d38o2z0 and about 60% done.  Should be finished by weekend at this rate (getting in an hour or two every night).

It's coming out AMAZING.  Apparently crowquill agrees with me...and John's lines are fabulous to ink.  Will post the final product soon's its done!

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Drinking: Gnarly Vine Zin

More Inks!

Journal Entry: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 11:48 PM
Have I mentioned that the scanner I've been using sucks dead bunnies through a bent straw?  I've updated the Gaunt artist's card with a photo instead that isn't nearly as blurry.

I've also added the latest finished ink, Jardel Cruz's Batman piece, also photographed.  Bit perturbed here that Jardel's signature isn't immediately visible against the ink wash; gonna have to photograph this one again in daylight, see if I can get it to come out right.  

Now working on....amusingly enough....a Catwoman piece that caught my eye.

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: Sound of the cat playing with the husbeast"

Inking Experiments

Journal Entry: Thu Aug 4, 2011, 1:07 PM
Ok, I've switched from using Micron pens to using a crowquill and dipping my ink.  My biggest accomplishment thus far is NOT dumping ink all over the table, and NOT getting ink all over my hands.  Clorox disinfecting wipes, I love you!

While I waited for my inking book to arrive (got here yesterday) I re-printed part of Red Monika on heavyweight Bristol board, and went at it with the crowquill.  I gave up on trying to accurately follow the smaller hunks of hair, and just kind of freewheeled it, which I think came out a little better.

It's certainly possible to get WAY thinner lines with the crowquill than my smallest Micron, but I'm still not as smooth as I'd like.  Practice, practice.

PS:  THANKS PATRICK!

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: James Asher "Red Rythm Dragon"
  • Eating: Skittles
  • Drinking: Ning Hong Gongfu

Devious Journal Entry

Journal Entry: Mon Aug 1, 2011, 3:27 PM
Two more inks up, one of them WIP.  OMG Hair.  Ai yi yi.  At least hair can be altered a bit and yet not screw with the figure too badly.  Trying to achieve smooth arcs is not easy on a time budget!

Progressing from solid blacks and solid whites to doing more shading via crosshatching.

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: Buena Vista Social Club
  • Drinking: Keemun Mao Feng

Artist trading cards

Journal Entry: Tue Jul 19, 2011, 1:12 PM
Working on my first card.  Woah, I'd forgotten that it's difficult to work tiny.  I'm out of practice!  First card is a portrait sketch of Eric Northman from True Blood.   Been working on this during lunch breaks, two hours in so far.  We'll see how it comes along.  Plans for the second card will be a half/half face of Tony Stark/Ironman.

If you have a special request for a sketch card, let me know, these are fun little exercises.  Plus, I'm looking for someone to swap with!

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: Delerium
  • Eating: Lunch
  • Drinking: Taiwan High Mountain Tea

Inks coming!

Journal Entry: Sun Jul 10, 2011, 4:06 PM
Finished up two inks; a page from Sky Pirates of Valendor (with TONS of details and lots of backgrounds in it); and the Saint of Killers from Preacher.  I'm particularly pleased with how Saint of Killers turned out; I arranged the weight of the inking according to depth of field and it worked out well.

In both cases I'm still using 8.5 x 11 format or slightly smaller.  Found out the hard way that my printer won't handle 11x17.  BUT...working small format like that forces precision so that helps out.

Scanning these two in tomorrow and posting 'em.

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Watching: The Hollow
  • Drinking: Tung Ting Cold Summit Tea

Devious Journal Entry

Journal Entry: Fri Jun 24, 2011, 4:41 PM
So I've pulled the watermarks from my pieces; it's funny, but not only are the damn things annoying and usually obscure some critical bit of the piece, but none of the true professionals that I've been following ever seem to use it.  Honestly?  No WAY I'm good enough for you to steal my shit, so I'm not going to bother.

If I see you SELLING my shit without my permission, that's a different story.  Otherwise....feel free to pin it up, trace over it, burn it, whatever.  I only ask for credit for the original, as I do my best to credit my sources.

And a huge thank-you to the artists out there that trust the community to not Granito them.  It makes it possible for the lowly minions like myself to use your pieces for  inspiration and instruction and improve!

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: iPod on Shuffle
  • Drinking: Earl Grey Tea

Not Dead Yet

Journal Entry: Mon Jun 20, 2011, 12:46 PM
Yes, I've been drawing.  No, not much of it is worth posting until this weekend's inking run for fun.  Needs work still, I'm hardly an expert inker but MAN it's fun to ink.

Skin by jennyleigh
  • Listening to: iPod on Shuffle
  • Drinking: Earl Grey Tea