Thursday, October 27, 2011

AFA logo 2012

The ATCs for All gathering is in Portland, Oregon, next year. And I AM GOING! My husband and I have been planning an Epic USA roadtrip for some time now - and 2012 will be the year. Our route is epic and will take us through 8 states and goodness knows how many cities - but we'll be sleeping in around 18 different beds...

Anyhow, I decided to design a logo for the AFA gathering. It was supposed to be a simple graphic - and as you can see - mine is not particularly simple - thus it will probably not be considered appropriate, but I thought I'd show it off.

It depicts the State (Oregon), the State bird (Western Meadowlark), the State insect (Swallowtail butterfly) and the State flower (grape).
PDX apparently is the airport code.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bunny Evolutions

I decided a month ago that it was high time I hosted another "Original Species" swap, and thus I began one. There was just one problem. Unlike my previous OS swaps, I was not working on a fantasy noel with original critters in it, and thus I did not have any previously designed critters that I felt like drawing.

Never mind, I decided to undertake plan B, which was to choose a current, extant animal species and develop mutations and adaptations to it so that it could fit into a different habitat or different habits. I just had one hard and fast rule with this - the creature had to be biologically realistic - so no lemurs with bird wings, for example.

I decided on rabbits. Because... well, who doesn't love bunnies?

Here's my first seven adaptations/evolutions:

Predator Bunny
This vicious lapine has muscular shoulders and powerful jaws, making him capable of bring down large and heavy prey. His fur is patterned in an array of stripes and spots, allowing him camouflage against his savannah habitat.

River Bunny
Sleek and long, this water lapine has short legs with powerful webbed feet. His ears are greatly reduced in size, creating less resistance when he skims through the water. His tail has developed long and flat to provide a paddle. His eyes are positioned high on his head, allowing him to emerge only a short distance to see over the water.

Arboreal Bunny
This fuzzy little critter has longer and more flexible fingers than his terrestrial counterparts. His tail is also longer and fuzzier, providing him with balance as he scrambles through the tree tops. Probably his most interesting adaptation is the symbiotic relationship he has formed with a type of mistletoe. The sees of this plant bury themselves in his fur, and grow, providing him with camouflage.

Insectivore Bunny
Note the prehensile nose on this wee fellow. He uses it to sniff for ants and other insects, which he then unearths with his strong front paws. His fur has developed into spines, which protect him from Hunter Bunny below.

Browser Bunny
His toes have fused into something that is almost a hoof, making him even faster across the ground than his ancestors. His colouring provides him with some camouflage, breaking up his body so that it is harder for the Predator Bunny above to track him down and make him dinner. He also prefers to browse leaves, rather than graze.

Sea Bunny
This lapine has increased his body mass, the extra fat providing insulation against the chill bite of the water. His whiskers are highly developed, allowing him to navigate through deep water. His toes have fused together, forming efficient paddles when combined with his powerful hindlegs. As in the River Bunny above, his ears are greatly reduced in size to decrease resistance. He grazes on kelp and often lies on his back, exposing his pale belly to the sky.

Hunter Bunny
This fellow actually looks a bit like Furret, a Pokemon. He is long and sleek. His tail has developed into a fine plume which helps him balance as he pursues Arboreal Bunnies along tree branches. Although he also hunts Insectivore Bunnies in the long grass and his long, low form makes him an efficient hunter of ancestral bunnies as well. He is a generalist omnivore, and will eat fruit or even grass, but his preferred diet is meat.

I still have another five to develop for the swap, so if anyone has any suggestions on habitats or behaviour types I might like to experiment with, let me know. Other ones I am considering are an armour-plated bunny and an urban/city bunny. Maybe I should create one that predates specifically on birds. Hrm, so much potential here...

Also, if anyone can help me come up with decent names, I'd be very grateful!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Muse - the story behind "LemurKat"

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was not LemurKat. My online moniker was "Raynflower", named after a character I had played in a long-running role-playing game. She was a dark faerie, and she was pretty nifty. But... let's not get into her.

I first created Kataryna Lemusu when I fell into the Furry fandom circles. I needed a fursona - so what better than to use a ringtailed lemur? An animal that I enjoyed watching at the local zoo, where I did weekly volunteer work. Her name - Kataryna - was derived from the ringtailed lemur's latin name - Lemur catta which I eventually blurred into one word, to become "LemurKat". I have now held the moniker for around 10 years, and when you search it on google, what you will find is mostly me (except any really embarrassing stuff - obviously that's someone else).

At some point, Kataryna committed suicide. I was going through a down period in my life - don't ask me what it was - I can't remember, and I drew a particularly savage picture of her with slashed wrists.

But, thanks to Anubis, guardian of the Afterlife, Kataryna rose again, as an angel. Her fur turned silver and she sprouted wings. But with her new form, came a great responsibility - she had to save the world.

So began the Furritasia Chronicles. And never finished...

After I grew out of the Furry-biz, I still clung to Kataryna. She lost her humanistic characteristics, and took up a role instead as my muse. She has starred frequently in my art - with wings, without wings, sometimes with golden eyes, sometimes with blue. Sometimes dressed in costumes from various times and cultures. Masquerading as Frida or the Mona Lisa, or transformed into a My Little Pony. She graces the backs of many of my trading cards.

And she also had a starring role in "Lemurs: A Saga", without her wings, playing the part of Fiantrana, Aurelia's foster mother.

This is my latest rendition of her - designed to become a t-shirt print. Featuring a Malagasy Sunset Moth and Vanilla Orchids - look for her at AFA 2012 in Portland.

Here is a collage of Katarynas, in a multitude of incarnations:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Deus Ex Machina

It is a common feature in stories - a cliche, you might say. A deus ex-machina - an act of god that saves your character in a time of need. A time when all hope seems lost and the writer has truly painted themselves into a corner and must face that, the most unsavoury of choices - killing off a main protagonist. Well, my situation was possibly not quite so dire - for the villain was not about to kill the protagonist - merely capture her and take her to the Queen (whom might indeed kill her. Or brainwash her. Or worse.) And I am quite sure that Aurelia could have gotten herself out of the situation had the Deus ex-machina not occured.

In fact, the Deus ex-machina resembles more a "frying pan/fire" situation.

Still, I cannot help but feel a small spasm of guilt at having to use such a common plot device.

What do you think?

The black sifaka was fast, faster than the fossa. She dared not risking back to see how close she was, but she could hear him, crashing through the branches. Smell him. A strange mix of smoke and blood and something cold and flat and dead inside. Up, she scrambled, up as high as she could go. Up to cling to a slender branch. It began to sag under her weight. Her eyes met Noir's. Fires seemed to flicker in his irises, his lips drew back in a feral grimace.

"You're mine now,” he growled. Then his eyes widened, staring at something beyond her. Something up in the sky.

Aurelia followed his gaze, turning her head just in time to see great, clawed talons reaching for her. Felt them close about her as a gigantic eagle plucked her from the branch.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Open for Commissions

I don't usually do commissions - but as my husband and I are planning our Great US Roadtrip for next year (and as we live in NZ, this is no mean feat) I thought it might be a good opportunity to engage in a little fundraising. I will take payments via Paypal.

Firstly, I offer up:
Chimera lineart for only $5
(inked but uncoloured, size 6x4 or 2.5x3.5 inches)
You give me two or three animals you would like to see hybridised and I will do it for you.
It will cost you $2.50 to have them posted to you.

Or if you want something else:

Here's the schedule:
All sizes are in inches, all prices are in US$.

These prices are for one character, simple background:

ACEO - 2.5 x 3.5 = $15 (max 2 chars)
Bookmark - 2 x 4.5 = $15 (max 3 chars)
4 x 4 = $20 (max 2 chars)
6 x 4 = $25
5 x 7 = $30
5 x 7 (4-aceo set)* = $35
8.3 x 5.8 (A5) = $35
6 x 6 = $35
8 x 8 = $40
8.5 x 11 (A4) = $40

* This just means that the image will contain focus points in every corner, and will be cut into quarters. This one can contain multiple characters/creatures.

- All pieces will be full colour unless specifically requested otherwise.
- All pieces will include a simple background. If you require a more complicated one - such as buildings or heavy detail, the pricing will reflect that ($5 or $10 depending on size of image).
- These prices are indicative only and if you have particularly involved requirements (multiple characters, something that requires heavy research), they may increase.
- If I email you a quote, I will not increase it.
- Postage will incur an additional $3-$6 charge depending on size of piece
- I reserve the right to refuse your commission without giving a reason.
- Payment is to be made AFTER the piece is completed - but before posting.
- If the piece is completed and payment does not follow, then I reserve the right to sell or trade the piece.
- Please choose your size based on the complexity of the image - I do not want to draw an entire ecosystem within an ACEO, for example.

I specialise in quirky animals, complicated rainforest scenes and pet portraits. I am somewhat less skilled at architecture, human portraits and landscapes, and although I love a challenge I would advise you glance through my gallery at my renditions of such before offering me money for it.

My aim is to save $5000 in the next seven months. Any commissions will help me achieve that goal (however, I do also have a day job).

Lost in the Woods

This is the first large picture I've made in some time. It measures 16 x 8 inches and is in two parts, to fit inside a circle journal. The theme was "creepy and dark". Since creepy and dark isn't really my style, I did my best.

I like the spider. Although he is kinda cute.

Alas, my next circle journal partnership also requires me to draw something else "Creepy and dark" but it has been suggested that I do something Tim Burton-esque. So, I'm thinking... a graveyard picnic with Catrinas.

Also, in other news - part one of "Lemurs: a Saga" is finally complete. And I am now taking a break. Part two will begin in November, with NaNoWriMo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In praise of Kindle... and a few more Furries

Two saturdays ago, my husband decided to go out and do a little shopping. I said to him: "bring me back something nice." He asked, "what would you like?" and I cannot remember what I answered, but I was thinking - like a chocolate chai, or maybe a bit of cake or something. So, imagine my surprise when he walks in an hour or so later and says "here, I bought you a kindle." We had been discussing ebooks for a while, and I had specified an interest in receiving one for Christmas. So, I guess Christmas came early (and I now have to get an extra special present for him ^^).

Anyway, after downloading several self-published works and playing around with it for a bit, I decided to transfer my stories onto it. I haven't got them in mobi form - well, only one, the one that you can buy from Amazon, the others I translated into pdf and transferred across. And began reading them. I was a short way in when I realised there is something really nifty you can do with the kindle 3g - you can add footnotes. So, I began editting my story as I read it. This is an excellent use for a kindle - because I have difficulty reading my stories on the computer - too many distractions for a start, and I hate the idea of using so much paper to print it out. So, now I've highlighted all the errors (over 100 in all) and can go through and fix them up.

I have discovered one problem with my Kindle though. When walking and reading, I pay less attention to what is going on around me than when I read a normal book - I think because I don't have to worry about the pages flapping in the wind, or phyiscally turn the pages. And therefore I am more likely to get run over - or given that this is Christchurch, trip over on a broken piece of footpath and hurt myself.

Anyhow, to all of you writers, I highly recommend a Kindle - you can't edit directly on it - but you can mark the errors you find, and even "share" them (whether this emails to you or puts it on Facebook, I don't know - I haven't played with that yet).

This means that "Lemurs: A Saga"* will eventually be available on Ebook.

And now for some art:

Daniel Galbraith, Teknomage and musician. Abigail's father. Here in the Galbraith Clan colours.

Kataryna Lemusu, Abigail's mother. She died before Abigail was conceived. It's a long story (and one which is partly written and online, here although you don't get the good bits, cos I never got that far, sorry).

Aeturnis Christie, a female mage with a powerful singing voice.

Jacques Moufette, Scavenger and apparently swashbuckling. Although I cannot recall whether he actually swashed any buckles in the story. Still, he makes a handsome swordsman. If you like 'em furry and potentially smelly...

* title suggestions welcome, puns encouraged. I've so far contemplated "Lore of the Ringtails" and have been referring to it as "Epic Lemur Novel" but have decided that "Lemurs: A Saga" has a good ring to it. OR maybe a good ringtail to it. I'll shut up now.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Scavengers of the Deadlands

In 2003, I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote a novel entitled "Scavengers of the Deadlands". I "won" NaNo, and went on to write 95,000 words before stopping about 5,000 words before the end. I do not know why. The story had problems, but I just kind of abandoned it.

I feel bad about this.

Anyhow, the characters have stuck with me, and when the theme "Aristocratic Animal People" came up in AFA, I decided it was time to reinvent them. Coupling this with my recent interest in Steampunk, I decided upon a Victorian theme for their attire.

So here are four of the cast:

This unusual looking lass is Abigail Delilah Galbraith. She is the daughter of Daniel Galbraith and Kataryna Lemusu, my original Furry pairing. This means that she is in fact a lemur/wolf. Following in her father's footsteps, she became a student at Tirra Inle, University of Magick. Until she was captured by pirate slavers.

And this is Kameryn Grey. He's a grey/bat-eared fox hybrid. He was taken as a slave at the age of 8 and acquired by Captain Morgan - wherein he became a Scavenger. It is his job to explore the desolate deadlands in search of relics of the lost civilization, which are then sold to collectors.

Captain James Morgan is the captain of the pirate ship, Sanguine Star, which deal in artifacts and also in slaves. He is a tiger with the golden tabby colouration.

Luka is a numbat, with no known surname. She was raised in an Orphanage until she caused trouble, wherein she fell in with the wrong crowd. When they dissolved, she roamed alone until Captain Morgan found her and took her on as his mistress. She is a pyromaniac and somewhat crazy.

I think the fact that I have hardly drawn at all in the last month has actually improved my art, and these are certainly the best furries I have drawn in... well, maybe ever.

Now to ressurect this story.