Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SocNoc, Day 0

The rules of SocNoc are not as stringent as NaNoWriMo, and therefore I have decided to continue with a story I have already began with. So here's the specs to get you started:

Title: none yet, suggestions welcome. It shall be referred to as Untitled Lemur Novel
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: teens/crossover
Plot: partly conceptualised
Setting: Alternate-world Madagascar

Current wordcount: 4,143 words


There will be others,” said a soft voice beside Katta’s ear. It snapped the young lemur from her reverie. She squatted on a branch before the great stone tomb, final resting place for her ancestors, relatives and, most recently, her own son. She cast a glance across at her mother. Weariness exhibited itself on the older lemur’s features, in the drooping of her tufted ears, the dragging of her long striped tail.

The twins are exhausting you,” Katta commented, referring to her two newborn siblings. It seemed bitter irony – the gods had deemed that her mother be graced with two hyperactive bundles of fur, whilst depriving her of her first and only. “And I know there will be more, Reniko…”

It doesn’t make the loss any easier though, does it?” Her mother finished for her. She clasped Katta’s hand in her own, brushing her daughter’s cheek with her own.

No.” Katta concluded. Her son had been but a few days old when his birth weaknesses had claimed him. The three days of mourning had barely passed, the grief still raw in her soul. This morning his body had been lain to rest and now the clan mourned his passing in true Maki style. There was dancing, and music and a great deal of rhum. Katta knew she should be partaking of the proceedings. Her son was now safe and content in the otherworld, with his great grandparents, aunts and uncles long since past. He would not want to see her torn asunder with grief and loss. But he had been her first, and now he was gone.

SocNoc - the Countdown...

SocNoc starts tomorrow. The Southern Cross novel challenge. Anyhow, at present I am working on three books:

1. Aroha's Grand Adventure - currently being proof-read by others (should be released in July/August)

2. Midsummer Knight's Quest - onto its final edit (hopefully available by Christmas)

3. Untitled Lemur Epic - in progress/conceptualising

The last few weeks I have been finishing up most outstanding art trades and swap cards and also editting "Midsummer Knight's Quest". In the act of doing this, I have been turning some of the show to tell. Tonight as a warm-up for what I shall be doing tomorrow, I wrote 1283 words, give or take.


Original prose - Tell
It was the pixies that Hemlock liked best, however. These fierce little creatures looked a little like teeny, fuzzy giants but for their short legs, extremely long arms and sharp, pointy fangs. They decorated their fur with swirls and spots, stripes, spirals and stylised animals, braiding animal bones into their shaggy manes. Their clothing comprised of stitched animal skins and their hats made from the heads of weasels or small rodents. They hunted their prey with spears and slingshots and after some pleading (and a bribe of chocolate-chip muffins) they taught Hemlock not only how to sling stones, but also how to make his sling. To his surprise, the goblin proved to be a decent shot, striking his target nine times out of ten.

Revised Prose - Show (extract)
Relieved, Hemlock dropped the bundle. It had not been heavy, but it had been awkward.

Butterscotch untied the knot and opened it out. “I've brought scones,” she shouted, “in payment.”

For a moment nothing happened, then the trees began to twitch. Cat-shaped eyes apppeared, staring down at them. Several lanky figures dropped from the trees, snatched up a scone and sprang back up. Soon all the scones had vanished, but one of the figures remained.
“Hail goblin,” said the creature. It was another faery. Although no taller than Butterscotch, he was much rangier. His lean, muscled body was covered in fine golden hair. This was decorated with swirls and spots. He leaned forward to sniff Hemlock, broad nostrils flaring. The bones braided into his golden mane clinked together. Hemlock sniffed him back. He smelt feral – of blood, sweat and ill-cured leather. The latter wafted from his clothing - straps of animal pelt stitched together with sinew.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some more natives

Kekeno, the New Zealand Fur Seal
These are the most common seal in New Zealand and love to sunbath on the rocks around the coastline. Her main diet is squid and fish, and she is the deepest diving fur seal in the world. She has been known to dive as deep as 238 m. Although most dives are shorter - usually 1-2 minutes in duration. When she is ready to breed, she returns to the same area year-after-year. However, it may not be to the same male. Bull seals defend their territory against rival males and strive to collect as large a harem as they can maintain. The females are already pregnant when they haul themselves ashore - having carried the embryo for around 360 days. Although gestation is 9 months, the fertilised egg does not implant until 3 months after mating. After she has birthed her pup she will mate with the bull before heading out to forage for her youngster. Seal pups are left in large creche groups without adult supervision whilst their mothers go out to forage. Their fathers have nothing to do with them.

Little Spotted Kiwi
The smallest of the kiwi species, the little spotted kiwi was hunted almost to extinction on the mainland. Humans hunted her for her skin and feathers, stoats and rats found her a tasty meal. Like all kiwis, she feeds on grubs and bugs and other invertebrates, plucked up from the forest floor. In breeding season she and her mate dig a burrow and line it with plant matter. The egg is the heaviest, proportionally, of any bird and weights about 26% of the bird's weight. Whilst she is "pregnant" her stomach is much compressed and she cannot eat as much. Once she finally lays the egg she is hungry and exhausted. It now becomes her mate's job to incubate it for 63-76 days. One hatched the youngster remains in the burrow for several weeks and is fed by its parents.

... And even more Pokemon ...

I get in these moods sometimes, when all I want to draw is Pokemon. I'm supposed to be drawing some other things - reptile, bird, pelican, face and a bunch of my own characters, but all I feel like doodling up is Pokemon... So here's a few more.

Welcome to Unova - choose your Starting Pokemon:

Okay, who let Aron play on the train tracks?

Oh look, I found some old friends:

If you're bored, you can play "spot the name".

And here's some electric stripes.

And before you drive yourself nuts, I haven't hidden the names in this one!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My next Big Project

(These pictures were illustrated in 2008)

June is going to be another big month for me, because Kiwi Writers Unite have unleashed a new challenge - SocNoc. SocNoc is very similar to Nanowrimo except that it is for the Southern Hemisphere only and it is a bit more flexible with the rules. For me it is an excuse/motivation to write my Epic Fantasy Novel.

This story has been conceptualising in my brain for a while now - since 2008 when I designed these trading cards, in fact. It is about an evil ruler of a failing country, a lost heir and the valiant struggle of a peasant against the odds.

Do I hear you say *yawn* you've heard this before?

Well, maybe not so much... And not just because obviously all the characters are lemurs and it is set in a sort of alternate-world Madagascar, but because I suspect with the tendency of my characters to do strange things, and my own brain to run off on a wild tangent it will hopefully be something a little bit different and not too gimmicky.

And if it is, well at least it stars lemurs. And lemurs make everything better.

You can follow my progress on this blog, which I will be updating daily with my wordcount and any quotes or challenges I have experienced that day, much as I did for November last year.

Here is some changes to my lifestyle that I will need to make to suceed in this challenge:
1. Get up an hour earlier to give me writing time (that means 5 am on a workday, folks)
2. Forgo drawing excessive amounts of Pokemon or other art (NO ATC trades, sorry)
3. Waste at least 20 mins a day on research that will end up with me running off to webpages on a wild tangent (when writing "Aroha's Grand Adventure" I spent 20 mins trying to find out if eating a cigarette butt would be fatal to a bird, then how many apple pips she'd have to eat before it caused illness... Eventually I realised that it was irrelevant to the plot and I could just leave that bit out.

Therefore for the next week I need to finish up making the following cards:
* May PAT - reptile, bird, face, pelican
* Draw-your-own-characters swap - 4 of my own characters
(faeries or lemurs?)
At least my Major Arcana are complete!

And here's the summary of characters I wrote up back in 2008. This may have changed somewhat. Not sure what happened to Leaf for a start! And I think I'll do away with the prophecy.

Eeek! I have just discovered the June 4th is Drawing Day so that is one day when I shall NOT be writing, but drawing as many Art Cards as I can. Probably Pokemon, because I don't have to spend too much time thinking about what I'm drawing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Zealand Tarot - Major Arcana completed

16. The Tower - a tomtit perches in disbelief amongst the remnants of his forest.
17. The Star - few birds are as rare and beautiful a sight as the white kiwi
18. The Moon - a possum stalks the night, causing destruction
19. The Sun - the innocent flight of a flitting fantail in summer
20. Judgement - the Puriri moth crawls from the tree tunnel where he has spent 5 years as a caterpillar, to take to the skies for one glorious night.
21. The World - Aotearoa, complete with tern, dolphin and shark.

If you are interesting in purchasing a set of hand assembled prints of the Major arcana, please send me a message.

Friday, May 20, 2011

And some more Pokemon...

I've been a wee bit lax at posting of late, and thus I apologise for the Art Dump I am about to submit you to. Why have I been slack? Well, for one reason, I have been making lots more art (Pokemon, tarot cards and some native animals) and for the second reason, I have also managed to streamline my website gallery. Now, finally, you can easily see all the New Zealand Naturally Collectible Art Cards available, and thus make a choice based on visuals, rather than guesswork.

The gallery is here
neatly divided into birds, mammals, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians.

Also, I have undergone a similar process for my Pokemon art, of which I have drawn around 330 different pokemon. And they can now all be seen here. They too are divided into the different regions/generations.

So here's a few more:

The first two are new Generation 5 pokemon, so you might not be so familiar with them:

Joltik, the electric bug pokemon
This little guy likes to play with electric sockets.

Unfezant the Gamebird Pokemon
The male is the pretty one.

And you might recognise these ones:

It's Goldeen and Seaking from the Kanto province!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chimerical Critters for the Wylie family

As part of my Art For Christchurch fund-raising project, I offered up commissions of chimeras. And I got a lovely request from Daryl to draw cards for each member of his family.

And here they are:

1. Dragon/Seahorse

One of my characters, Rhapsody Wavedancer is a dragon based on the sea dragon fish species, but I did not want to draw her here, so this fellow is perhaps her younger brother.

2 .Cat/Owl

This one is a bit of a classic hybrid - what would happen if the owl and the pussycat happened to have a child? This is the third I've drawn, and easily the one I'm happiest with.

3. 2 New Zealand animals of your choice hybridized together

Always a tricky one this one, because most of our truly unique animals are birds, and hybridizing two birds is a challenge in itself. So I decided to evade that issue by taking two of our most unique creatures - the kiwi and the tuatara. I've done it before, but this one worked out much, much better.

4. Canada Lynx/ Bird of Prey

Lynx and bald eagle - the good old bob-tailed gryphon!

If you wish to commission your own hybrid creature, I am selling a commission on Felt at the moment:
I will draw your hybrid mutant creature

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Comic teaser

So, when I received my proof copy of "Aroha's Grand Adventure", I realised that it had five blank pages at the back, due to the fact that they bind in clumps. What a waste of space, I thought. What can I put in it? I had already included the short story I had written about Aroha and her little brothers and sisters, so I decided that I would write up a four page comic.

The storyline is pretty simple, there is only one word in the entire text and it was a wee bit of a fun challenge for me. Am I going to share it all here? No way ^^ You'll have to buy my book!

Okay, I relent, here's the first page:

For those of you that don't know the story, Aroha's the girl weka, she has eyelashes (in the comic, for easy-ish identification), and a band on her right leg. Maru's the boy weka. He met her on her adventures and spent most of the book trying to impress her.

Suspenseful, isn't it? Will Aroha accept the flower, or will poor Maru be spurned again?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Gonna keep drawin' 'em all...

I'm a sucker for requests, and I seem to have once again joined up into a "gonna draw 'em all" community. Except now... There's so much more to draw! Anyhow, my Pokedex website has been updated and moved - it can now be found here:

And I have no idea how many I've drawn to date. If anyone wants to count them for me, that would be groovy!

570. Zorua the Trickster Fox Pokemon
Zorua is a dark type and something of a trickster. He is capable of assuming other forms should he feel like it - and has been known to mimic other people's pokemon or also to masquerade as a speechless child. In any form he cannot change his tail, and this will remain. If it is tugged he will revert to his true form.

586. Sawsbuck the Deer Pokemon
Like his unevolved form, Sawsbuck changes with the seasons, moulting off one coat for another. The leader of the herd has the mightiest pair of antlers, and will face off any competitors. When the seasons change, the herd migrates to warmer climes. This fellow is in his winter coat.

643, Reshiram the White Fire Pokemon
This legendary Pokemon is usually paired with Zekrom. Tales tell that once Reshiram and Zekrom were owned by twin brothers. Reshiram was paired with the older twin, who was true of heart and loyalty, whereas his brother was not. Reshiram and Zekrom have a long-term rivalry. When angered, it can send flames fountaining from its tail, burning up everything around it and changing the earth's atmosphere.

647. Keldeo the Water Horse Pokemon
Keldeo gallops across the surface of the ocea, spurting fountains of water from his hooves. He is usually sighted at scenic beaches, but never frequently and not for long. Keldeo is the junior follower of the "Musketeers" trio. He has not yet been officially released, yet seems to have a lot of fanart around him already.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pokemon Gen 5 (and an old friend)

Volcarona the Sun Moth Pokemon
When the sun is hidden behind a cloud of ash, from a volcanic eruption, Volcarona comes forth. Her fire brightens the sky, replacing the sun. With her six wings she scatters ember scales, surrounding the battlefield with a wall of fire.

Deerling, the Fawn Pokemon
This charming little pokemon changes her coat to match the seasons. Not only does her colour change, but so does her scent. When threatened, she takes covers.

Gothitelle the Gothic Mademoselle Pokemon
With her psyhic powers, Gothitelle uses the stars to predict the future.

Spearow, the Tiny Bird Pokemon
Tghis little bird has very short wings and does not like to fly very high. Instead he flies close to the ground, flapping his wings to flush out insects which he then gobbles up. His high keening cry can be heard many miles away.