Saturday, September 28, 2013

Animals with Instruments

I made a rather last minute decision to join this swap, hosted by the lovely Noodlerabbit, with the theme "Animal Orchestra". Now, when the idea to draw lemurs playing traditional Malagasy instruments, it came as a small surprise to me that all the best reference images I found were of bamboo lemurs. As one of the rules was "all animals must be different" I decided to make them three different species, and therefore had to colour them distinctively as well.

So, here's my Bamboo trio:
 On the left we have Babata, a Greater Bamboo Lemur playing for us his kabosy.
In the center Rabezoza, a Lac Aloatra Bamboo Lemur blows on his sodina flute.
And on the right Raza, a Western Bamboo Lemur prepares to begin plucking on his valiha.

For more on Malagasy instruments, and how to play them, visit wikipedia:

 And finally, as a bonus hostess gift, I would like to introduce you to Fluffy Cottontail. Known as "Flail" to his friends, Fluffy dreams of becoming a famous rock star, perhaps even joining one of his favourite bands (bonus points to anyone who can name them) or playing support for them at a big gig. For now, however, Fluffy must practise in his bed-burrow and hope that his neighbours, the Fuzztail squirrel family, do not complain too loudly about the noise. Here he practises the chords to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". (Of course, he prefers the Nevermore version).  Being young and naive, he actually believes the song is about rabbits. Another favourite track of his is Heavy Metal Hamsters by Helloween.

Day of the Dead Wedding

This was so much fun to make! It was part of CatPratt's Secret Halloween gift, and thus I could not show it off until now, as she has received it. What we have here are two paper dolls in their own little scene that slots neatly inside an 8.5x10 inch sleeve. The bride's boquet is removeable. Both are able to move their head, shoulders, elbows and legs, although only the groom has jointed knees.

If anyone is interested in making their own, let me know and I might make up a pattern for the two.

Here are some other pictures of the happy couple:



Monday, September 23, 2013

NZ Pokemon - the Taniwha Evolution line

[Taniwha are a mythological creature that live in the waterways and oceans around New Zealand. They act as a protector of the land.]

Teniwha - the tiny fish Pokemon (length - 0'6")
These diminutive piscian hatch in the ocean, then shoal together to swim upriver to find a home in the native bush. They are relatively fast, and like to dazzle potential predators (and opponents) by flashing their scales and turning sharply.
(teniwha is based somewhat on the whitebait, except for the colour)

Terewha - the slithery fish Pokemon (length 5'0')
Often found in shallow rivers, Terewha lurk beneath logs and overhanging banks. They use their long blue tongues to prey on waterbird Pokemon (which I shall invent later), dragging them beneath the water to drown and eat them. Normally found in small groups, Terewha have a well established hierachy and will often fight against each other. They use their long, slender body like a whip, and also curl it around opponents. Should one be ousted from its territory, it can find its way to a new river or pond by crawling out of the pond and slithering across land. As long as its body remains moist, it can stay outside of water for several days.
(terewha is based on the native eel species, except for the colour)

Taniwha - the river guardian Pokemon (length 20'5")
When a Terewha is established as the sole ruler of its territory it evolves into Taniwha. These fearsome, draconian water Pokemon are extremely territorial and will fiercely protect their river against any intruders or anything that sets out to harm it. They secrete a mucus through their skin that acts to purify the water, clearing it of pollutants. Very hard to train in adult form, often factories and such that produce toxic waste will capture Terewha and transport them into their ponds in the hope that they will evolve and clense their waterways. (Terewha does not produce this mucus, however, and if it is too unpleasant they will simply crawl out of the pond and away.)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kobo Arc - My New Toy

I now have the privilege of owning a Kobo Arc - having earned it in an online training program undertaken in May this year.

This is brilliant because at work we sell Arcs (and other Kobo products) and I have often been asked how to do this and how to do that, and I didn't know. But now I do, and I shall put it up here so that I a, don't forget and also b, because I learned to do it via google search and trial and error and it took a while, so I'm going to make it more straightforward for anyone else trying to do it via google search and trial and error!

Mostly I'm going to deal with the "Reading" tapestry, because that is what you are going to be using your device for mostly, right?

It comes with KOBO pre-loaded. Once you are logged in to your Kobo account, you can download any books that you have purchased previously on that account. Mine was a little odd in that I had a random book that I do not remember buying (it was a freebie anyway), which may have been a bonus extra, and one of my previews wouldn't show up at all. That was okay, the preview was for the book I had written myself, and I intended to get it onto the device in its entirity.

So, here's how to load purchased books onto your Kobo Arc:

1. Plug your Arc into your computer. It doesn't come with a USB cable, so you may need to borrow one from another ereader device (my kindle has the same size plug, as does sony) or purchase one.

2. Side-Loading: Open up the Arc's storage via your computer in the same way you would a USB stick. There is no Ebook folder inside it but that doesn't matter, because you can make one. So, make one, or use the main folder, it doesn't actually matter! Drag your file into this folder via copy and paste.
- To make your Kobo app recognise it, tap on the top right 3 dot icon and select the second option, it will then scan your internal storage looking for appropriate files.
- Select appropriate file/s.
- My thumbnail cover does not appear for some reason, but otherwise the story is fine (oddly enough, it does appear for some of the other books, which I loaded via the next process).

3. Calibre:  Download Calibre onto your computer. If you already have it, make sure it is the most up-to-date version. It should recognise the device. You can now add ebook files to calibre, then send them to device.
- Repeat process as per above with scanning the internal storage.

4. Adobe Digital Editions would not recognise my Arc, and apparently this is pretty standard. I believe there may be ways to do it, but since the above two methods both work, I don't care!

Borrowing Books from your Local Overdrive e-Library:

1. Firstly, ADE won't work, you need to download the Overdrive App.

2. Choose your local library. I cannot remember if I needed to enter the number and password or if it just recognised it via my Adobe id, but have your library card on hand anyway.

3. You will be prompted to log in with your Adobe ID. Having forgotten my password, I could not find an easy way to get it sent to me, so I ended up typing all the passwords I typically used until I got it right... But I did, in the end and then the book I had just hired pretty much appeared on my device. I may have been prompted to download it first, I cannot remember.

Overall, really easy to use. I also recommend downloading the Kindle app, so that you can connect it with your Amazon account and have access to any books you might have acquired through there, or to allow you to take advantage of their slightly cheaper pricing or greater range of  indie titles.

Other Apps I have added:
* GoodReads - allows me to manage my GoodReads profile from my device
* Book Catalogue - allowed me to import my GoodReads "books I own" folder onto my device so that when I go shopping now I will know what books I need to buy (have yet to double-check it has all of them)!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Animals Wearing Hats

Whilst randomly surfing the net one day, I stumbled upon this delightful blog entitled Birds in Hats . After pottering through it for some time, I moved on to other things, but when the "animals wearing hats" thread sprung up in Illustrated ATCs, it sprung back to mind. Now, I did not initially intend to participate in this swap, but hostess Waughtercolors found a cruel, cruel way to lure me in - she drew the most gorgeous illustration of a lemur clad in Malagasy style clothing, knowing that I collect such a thing.

Unable to resist its furry appeal, I knew it must be mine.

And thus I drew my "animals wearing hats".

 Here we have a Eurasian Jay in a beret; A Great Bustard in a Fez and a Bee-Eater in a bonnet.

And, as a final gift for the lovely hostess (and a thank you for the lemur) here is a hedgehog wearing a sombrero:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Introducing Niamh

Niamh is not a new character - she was first "conceived" around 1996 as the shape-shifting Assassin for the Gods (then called "Nemesys") and then later reinvented in 2005 with a somewhat more extraordinary background. She had now been reinvented AGAIN in 2013 with the same extraordinary background but with a few macabre twists.

I am writing her story for an anthology on "Reflections" that the Christchurch Writers' Guild will be releasing early next year (probably) and that I am compiling/editing.

Niamh isn't totally human, as you may have guessed - she was created with the life force of an owl, but she is intelligent, observant, silent of foot and somewhat aloof in her thoughts. She does not give love, nor take love, easily. Her story beyond her childhood (which I am writing now) is not fully developed, but I envisage her as being a sort of immortal being charged either with assassinating, or saving, specific individuals that will have a strong influence on the shape of the future. In line with a dream last night, I think she may be preparing for the encroaching apocalypse - an unknown threat that will obliterate a large percentage of the human population. She, along with other chosen immortal individuals (not all of them shape-shifted animals), are known as the Brethren of the Phoenix and it is their task to prepare the survivors to rise from the ashes of humanity.

This may, actually, tie in somewhat with my Furritasia stories - which would be a really exciting prospect.