Mermaid Monday fun. I’d imagine wrasse fish gotta clean mermaids too right?
Mermaid Monday fun. I’d imagine wrasse fish gotta clean mermaids too right?
A murder of crows, a crush of rhinos, a clowder of kitties… A mess of Penny’s?
I love that groups of critters have a collective name. Some of them are pretty awesome, for instance a group of tortoises is called a creep. So effectively we have a creep and a clowder in our house- that’s right, two is a crowd (says’s us). I mean if you have two of something it might as well be 11 right?!
Here is a mess of Penny’s. I do love that lady. She’s as sweet as can be and has so much personality. Adam has had a cough recently and she actually gets agitated when he coughs. She grumbles, complains and growls. Maybe Penny has misophonia like her adoptive mother.
Mermaid Monday! It’s a thing. Sketchbook page. I was drawing this while Adam was doing the CrossFit Merge Pumpkin Spice Throwdown. Instead of you know, watching. Bad wife. Bad.
More site drawings from Disney!
This is a study while we were at Palenque. Palenque is a late classic Maya site in the Yucatan peninsula in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It held it’s own in the sway of large Mayan city states between 226 BC to around 799 AD. One of the most notable Mayan rulers, Pakal of Palenque, can be seen depicted all over the remaining plaster and in a very well preserved tomb that held his body. He was responsible for the largest build out of the Palenque’s architecture. He’s very easy to recognize as he had a very distinctive face, notably his large misshapen nose. I am under the impression he may have not been the most attractive of leaders, he was however, very successful and reigned for a solid 68 years, the longest known ruler of the Mayan kingdom. The Mayans were prolific to say the least with Pakal being no exception. Pakal’s tomb was remarkably well preserved. So well preserved that a lot of the painted plaster held up. His sarcophagus lid as well as his jade funerary mask are well represented today in a lazy google image search. If I remember correctly a few family members were buried with him, including his pregnant wife. That must have sucked for her.
Most of the time grave robbers in Mexico dig out holes and loot the Mayan archeological artifacts and sell them on the black market. This happens today. Sadly there are SO MANY uncovered Mayan ruins there just isn’t enough money to keep the sites secure- or to even excavate them. You can pretty much walk down a jungle path, find a big hill overgrown with trees and not realize it’s a Mayan stepped pyramid. BUT BACK TO BLACK MARKET MAYAN ARTIFACTS… people are jerks and even though this site is amazing, people take bits of plaster off of the buildings. The site isn’t secured and is one of the pyramids you can still climb, as a result people take the liberty steal things or yank off detailed bits of plaster for keepsakes. So what I saw in 2007 very well might not be the details I would see if I visited today. You can kind of see in the sketch of the foot at the top right- It used to be attached to a leg and most of the bas-relief has been lost to tourism. Nothing is being done to combat this. *Sad face*
Gotta love taking your sketchbook with you to amazing locations. One of the great perks about working for Imagineering is the travel. Sometimes you just need to see and experience something as an artist to really get a feel for what you are trying to recreate. Part of what we strive for when we build an attraction or a place is a sense of authenticity. A place or experience is filtered through our imagination- what we found exciting, how we want to tell a story and what we want our guests to feel when they are in a place we’ve created. It’s editing on a strange and massive scale. We take what is beautiful and unique about a location and culture and try and edit it down to its best features. Idealism is a very real part of design for themeparks. I could recreate hollywood Blvd. for you as it REALLY is, but I’d imagine the hobos, hookers and pee smells might cause the Hollywood in your mind to lose it’s charm. So sometimes a copy of a place isn’t what you want… but the essence of a place is. Most of the time the essence of a places is what makes it feel authentic, and not how “real” you make it. That’s research and that is design. I always like to remember something Imagineering legend Joe Rohde said to me: “Our goal as designers is to make it look like there was no designer.” Which basically means in a nut shell, the place should feel so real that you forget you’re in a themepark and that you shouldn’t see the hand of an artist crafting anything. It’s just real place. I think this is best displayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Just like taking notes helps you remember a subject in class, so does sketching on location. The details in architecture, landscape and materials in a place describe where it is… it all contributes to making something authentic. When you draw, details are programed into your mind differently then if you took a photo. A photo is so fast that there is no time to reflect upon shapes like you would in a drawing or painting. As you can see in this sketch I was focused on the details and influences of what makes Mexican architecture… well, Mexican. Most things have a history and it’s very easy to see the graphic geometries of the late Maya and Aztec cultures merging with spanish colonialism. It’s what gives this particular place (Campeche) it’s character. Light, color, shape and sound are all things an artist takes from a research trip and distills them down into an experience. It’s an incredibly valuable and indispensable process for great design. Unfortunately research is disregarded more and more by companies that do creative work, perhaps not understanding that the research and experiential phase if design is the most important. Creativity is an extremely exhausting, analytical, logical and laborious process. Creativity is a language born of knowledge, deduction, problem solving and skill. It really does deserve a LOT of respect as it doesn’t just fall out of someones brain without a lot of work.
Courtney Stodden. Those two words are synonymous in my mind with sheer mind-numbing voyeuristic entertainment. It’s not a big secret that the human psyche loves a little bazaar with their morning coffee and I am no exception to this rule. I don’t generally follow celebrity gossip columns as I generally don’t care that much about celebrities- but come to that I am not even sure if Courtney IS a celebrity. I have a few fave actors that I hold in great esteem like Daniel Day Lewis and Gary Oldman… but lets face it, they’re not up to entertaining antics. Courtney can’t sing, though she tries, she can’t act though she tries, her pumpkin carving skills are questionable at best- and in the shoes she wears… im pretty sure dancing could result in very serious injuries, if not death.
Courtney, if you remember- back in 2011 was the 16 year old bride of then 51 year old Doug Hutchison (Lost, Green Mile actor). She’s a busty, vivacious, perversely religious, animal loving, entirely STRANGE human being who I am utterly fascinated with. Like, I want to be her friend and ask her questions and present philosophical conundrums and see how she responds. Her twitter kills me, her Instagram is nothing but ridiculousness and she once got kicked out of a pumpkin patch for being too risque. I should hate her, but I don’t! she owns being a cartoon character like no one I have ever seen with a naiveté that just makes you sigh and think “oooh that Courtney, she’s at it again.” Weirdly lovable.
Clearly she is a real person with real feelings and is probably a very nice person, but to me, she is like a really cool tropical bug exhibit at the natural history museum. I am perplexed, fascinated and wholly absorbed in all the things she does. I follow her on Instagram and Twitter and I can guarantee you I’d ask for her autograph and a picture if I saw her on the street. She seems like the kind of celebrity that both knows she’s ridiculous and is totally on board with it.
Anyway, her lady mammaries keep getting bigger, as do her lips. I drew her little character today after having yet another conversation about her to friends at a party. I didn’t really take the drawings far enough, eventually I’d like to draw a very silly one with just her eyeballs and a bit of platinum blond hair peeking above her giant knockers… but until that happens here you go. Magic in lucite heels.
This week was just THE WORST. I woke up last Wednesday morning with my cat Pants on my head (as usual) and since I am always around cats I am very well aquatinted with cat breath. This morning however, instead of the normal stinky tuna breath of a heathy kitty, I noticed a very strong smell of ammonia coming from Pants. I am no doctor to be sure, but I am a strange receptacle of all things medical. I remember weird medical factoids and never forget them. I think there me a special part of my brain that is always harboring an unfulfilled desire to go into medicine. So right away… my spidey sense blares alarm bells, goes through my memory bank and comes out with “ammonia breath= kidney failure”. With that thought my normal morning turned into a freak out as I google-fu’d my diagnosis and confirmed my worst fears- yes, kidney failure does indeed make ones breath smell like ammonia.
EMERGENCY though? It’s kind of hard to tell with cat’s, and Pants was acting mostly fine- maybe drinking more than usual, but still purring, playing and peeing. It was early and I didn’t know where to go. So I took Pants to this vet that he hates, and I am not particularly fond of right down the street from me. I wasn’t aware that this vet didn’t have on-site lab results and had to send away for Pant’s blood values. He said I would have to leave him overnight because he seemed dehydrated. So I said okay and came back later in the evening to say goodnight. When I came in at 6pm later that day Pants was squashed so far into the corner of his cage I think he was trying to merge with it. He wouldn’t look up at our voices and was hooked up to an IV. I didn’t know what to expect, but maybe he just really doesn’t like the vet.
The vet called us the next day at 10am and said we needed to come in so he could talk to us. So when we got there we had a feeling bad things were afoot. The vet told us our kitty was very sick, showed us his blood values and. specifically, the values pertaining to kidney function (BUN and Creatinine). In healthy kitties, the range for BUN is 35 and creatinine is 0.6-2.5. Pant’s blood values for BUN were 198 and Creatinine was 20.7. That’s bad. Very bad, that’s dead kidney’s bad, that’s your cat is going to die bad. So the vet says that we need to euthanize him and he’ll give us a few minutes to decide. HELL NO. I guess I was not prepared for that outcome, I thought maybe he had some crappy kidney values or IBS I didn’t think I’d have to put my best friend to sleep right then and there. With very little information from this vet OR further testing I just was not having it. He told us there was no hope of recovery, that Pants was too sick and that “yes, we could do an IV at home, but it’s expensive” As if money would preclude us from tying to save our friend. Crazy. So we took Pants home where he ate like a maniac and drank a bunch of water. I made an appointment at another vet that our friend Beth, and really about 6 other friends told us to go to.
I want to mention this pet hospital because they’ve been so wonderful- So shout out to Los Feliz Small Animal Hospital! They took Pants in and calmed Adam and I down. Dr. Meriwether was super sweet, told us “yes, those blood values are really terrible BUT, Pant’s is acting alert, active, eating and drinking which leads me to believe that this could be an acute kidney issue or perhaps an infection.” They retested his values and 20 minutes later we were somewhat relieved to know that his numbers were down by half of what they were- at the very least moving in the right direction. The doc said he’d probably be in for a 5 day hospital stay so that they could hydrate the crap out of him and flush his kidneys, and hopefully he could bounce back. The doctor told us that despite those scary values, cat’s are very resilient creatures and to think of the now- Pant’s is doing okay now, we don’t need to think about euthanasia unless he’s not responding to treatments. Besides, there are more tests to be done before we could know what was really happening in his body.
They shaved his belly and did an ultrasound on his kidneys. He has a giant kidney stone in his left kidney which seems to be the cause of all this upset, and unfortunately the right kidney seems to have succumbed to the fate of kidney stones some time ago. So while he is a very sick guy, it doesn’t totally mean he’s going to die tomorrow. He is on a special diet for sad kidneys and the same formula will help disolve the stone over time. There isn’t a great test to see how much kidney function is remaining in Pants, so it’s really just a wait and see process at this point.
So 7 days after I smelled ammonia breath is kidney values are back within a manageable range. They’re still high with BUN at 43 and Creatinine at 3.5… but no where NEAR where they were. So our best friend came home last night with a bag of IV fluids, a new diet and some antibiotics. He’s SO happy to be home! purrs, love, head-butts and snuggles all night long. I am in heaven. I don’t think I have ever been so worried about anything, I have an emotional attachment to that hairy little shit-rat like you wouldn’t believe. He slept on my head (as usual) and all 4 of us- Adam, me, Pants and Penny passed out in the glory you see illustrated above.
Pants has the worst haircut ever, he’s probably mortified. Belly shaved, neck shaved, front legs shaved… oh man it’s hilarious and I can’t stop scrambling his pink cat boobs. And of course am totally fine with them draped across my eyeballs while sleeping. Even shaved cat belly is better than no cat belly.
So we check up on his blood this Friday and we’ve got everything crossed that his kidney values can be managed at home. Putting a giant needle in your cat’s neck at home first thing in the morning is weird. Just saying. I don’t care, I love him too much to not try everything I can do to help him stick around for a while longer.
Dawww… Inktober 15 with a combo of Sketch_Dailies. Baby Edward is cuute. Pen and ink yo.
I was in Europe for two weeks. Since it’s Inktober I thought I’d start my first post back on my site as lucky No. 13. Nothing fancy here! Just an brush pen drawing with some photoshop washes. Easy peasy.
Summer is ending guys! Nooooo. I have spent so much time at the beach this year. Living in sunny southern California has it’s perks and it’s actually pretty rare that I GO to the beach even though it’s so close. I usually just go, read a book and take a nap. Then get horribly burnt. Yay!
This is inspired by my friend and co-worker Staci. She’s a sassy ginger. I just imagine her reading a book on baking while baking in the sun, she’s prolific like that.