Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blogcessive Compulsive: Two Thousand Hits!

Edmontosaurus annectens. This is both one of my first computer illustrations and one of my first dinosaur illustrations, done some time in the early nineties. It was a scanned pen-and-ink drawing rendered in an early version of Painter.

This one was a pencil drawing modified with both Painter and Photoshop. The background is an ink blot with a gradient replacing the grayscale. It was done right after I finished my vocational rehab, in the late nineties, 1998 or so. Hey, was that time? Whatever it was, it just flew by.

Some time after I finished this I saw Gregory Paul's skeletal diagram for the same animal I realized my version was drastically distorted. I went back and looked at the photograph I had worked from and found that it had been taken at a slight angle which really messed up the proportions.

No, wait a minute. This isn't an Edmontosaurus. This is a Lurdusaurus. Yeah, that's it. I did it this way on purpose. It's a Lurdusaurus. (Hey, anyone ever seen a skeletal diagram for Lurdusaurus? So how do you know I'm lying?)

Well, I had a swell day today. I went out for a hike with my dad and while we had to cut it short -- poor bastard was recovering from a bug and wound up getting tuckered but pronto -- we saw a pair of golden eagles and a bobcat. One of the best wild cat sightings I've had so far. (Speaking of cats, my music buddy Paul claims that he'll be able to get me some face time with a liger. Further details as they come.) I missed out on signing up for my statistics class so I'm taking digital photography next semester -- with any luck this means I'll be able to post photos from our hikes within the next couple of months. And then we had Chinese food for lunch instead of our usual burgers. The old man had beef stew over noodles and I had lamb and eggplant and we split a green onion cake. Ma Joong and Chiao Tai (see Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee novels -- guess I'll have to report on them at some point) used to have those for breakfast all the time. Mmmmmm. Greasy, gooey, crisp, and savory with scallions. The Chinese grilled cheese sandwich. My lamb and eggplant was in a sweet and sour garlic sauce that was muy tastey and the Da gave me all the chunks and sheets of gristle that enriched the broth of his stew. "I don't know where you came from," he said as he forked over the goods, "but here you are."

What can I say? Connective tissue rocks.

And then I come home and look at the old website. And, of course, I check out the numbers.

Man. Two thousand hits. Dag. How the hell did that happen? (Let's be serious. For weeks now I've been waiting for the hits to mount and I knew it was gonna happen... well, a few days from now. I sure wasn't expecting it today.) I guess all that internet networking stuff really works.

Well, just for the hell of it I'm gonna take a little ego trip. This site is intended to be a tool to help me become a working writer and artist -- I mean, I'm working like a son of a bitch but I want to get paid. So I guess I mean a professional writer and artist.

So what kind of progress has occured since I started the blog?

I've made two professional fiction sales and I'll be appearing in a book alongside one of my current favorite writers.

I've placed a print in a fancy rich-person gallery show.

And that print is just part of a completed series. I've got the art printed and ready to roll for a whole solo show.

I've had a short story used as the subject of a report at the Columbia School of Writing.

I've had another of my favorite writers praise my art and design for Swill magazine, which has also been studied at the University of Columbia.

And he recommended it to the editor of one of the big Year's Best anthologies -- which means she's gonna be seeing some of my fiction at least once a year for a while.

This year I had fiction in two magazines and art in two magazines. Next year it looks like I'll have fiction in at least three, maybe four magazines, a story published in a book, and art in two magazines.

I've had editors asking me for fiction, rather than me asking editors for rejection slips.

I've finished a functional draft of the first volume of the novel. (And I've heard back from my first reader outside the writer's group and the word is that it needs to be tighter at the start and the end but otherwise it's a solid read.) I'm so ready to start rolling on the rest of it.

And then there are the tiny stories I've placed at Thaumatrope.

Not bad, oafboy. Not bad at all. Yeah, I'm feeling proud of myself. Right now I am not the guy who sucks. It feels pretty good.

And I've got to say that I'm really appreciating the long-distance oddly attenuated quasi-friendships I've developed over the intertubes. I wish all of you...

(Glendon Mellow, Traumador, Brian Switek, lunchboxxx, the guy [I assume] who hates theropods, the Brainiacs, especially Rory Harper and Morgan J. Locke, Zachary Miller, Rob [who isn't really an internet pal since I met him in real life and from time to time he shows up in my living room to be sniffed by the doggerals] and all kinds of folks who I'd remember if I wasn't drinking right now -- and a special salute to Megan. If you don't like the fact that I'm writing, blame Megan. She encouraged me with both words and $$$... never feed a stray cat. Unless you want them to take up residence in the neighborhood. And I know that tomorrow I'll look at this list and realize that the one dearest to my heart does not appear on it. Unless you count the missus -- I'm gonna post about her in the near future. Look, you've gotten some idea as to how weird and defective I am. She's the one who took me in, glob bless her.) 

...lived around here so we could get to know each other well enough to get on each other's nerves, or at least have a beverage or two and a few laughs. If you want the laughs, I'll take the beverage and you can laugh at me.

Next time around I promise you a more interesting post. I think it's time to get back to working on my Anomalocaris piece... which is going to be a lot more work that I thought -- but the results should be interesting.


Zach said...

I've never heard of Lurdusaurus. Now I have to look him up. Great skeletal diagram, whatever it is. I have very little patience for things like vertebrae and ribs, so I have great respect for those who do. I'd like to see some more skeletons from you, brother. Maybe a ceratopsian?

Sean Craven said...

Lurdusaurus is an exceptionally chunky iguanadontian that was contemporaneous with Ouranosaurus. It's frequently compared to a giant sloth -- another one of those Chalicothere/gorilla 'sit on the ground and eat leaves' guys.

And there is a ceratopsian coming up!

You know that Anomalocaris I've got percolating? It's part of a series. I want to do a sample animal from each of the geological periods at life-size. I'm only going to do one dinosaur and I've been thinking about making it a Psitticosaurus. They're small, they haven't been done to death, and I want a crack at those weird tail bristles.

But I'm gonna do the Anomalocaris and a Lycaenops first.

Zach said...

Psittacosaurus would be a good choice. Sadly, it's not restricted to just the Cretaceous. The China fossils are probably Late Jurassic.