My Work in Progress

A sketchblog where I post a few of my scribbles from a variety of works-in-progress, usually from my rather random personal creativity outside of the daily grind. I occasionally, but not always, post the final artwork.


Free At Last

Wrapped up the freelance illustration work for the children's textbook series at last today (well, until the next time they need me and I have some free time), so I'll be back to working on my own stuff after the day job and posting merrily away once again, for the next month at least. Wee!

Mina seems to be responding well to the thyroid medication this past week. Her coat is looking better and her behavior is more the occasional spasdic sweet cat like she was before. Haven't gotten the others tested yet since they weren't showing any of the symptoms mentioned. Unfortunately, I did get an email from Petsmart this week with the info that I'd purchased the tainted food - tracked me and the numbers by my PetPerks card. Isn't that lovely. Ah, well, I suppose it's a good thing I only buy cat food from Petsmart.

Had a quiet birthday this past week. Planning on going out tomorrow night with some friends to drink farewell to my lost youth. ha! I need to color my hair pink again - we all miss it. Tracey, my hairstylist, wants me to try this new iridescent pink. Sounds like fun!


My Friend Mina: Part 2

More news about the petfood recalls on the tv and in the papers today:
"...her first thought after hearing about the recall was, “Oh my gosh, I killed my cat.” Fluffy’s health deteriorated after Tracy fed her Special Kitty brand food, one of the recalled labels, and she had to euthanize the 11-year-old cat last week."

I have to admit I've been in a panic all weekend since I pretty much felt the same way. Evidently more dogs and cats may still be victims of kidney failure in the next few weeks; and in particular, cats, as it appears they are more sensitive to whatever contaminated the pet food.

Meanwhile, yesterday's tests and exam results are in - Mina has hyperthyroidism. She'll be on medication the rest of her life, but it's a treatable disease. Her kidneys seem to be functioning fine at the moment. My sister's cat Coco evidently had the same problem and lived till he was 20 before his kidneys finally failed him (...let me see...that's two pills a day for 365 days a year for about 7 more years...that's gonna be alot of pills...over 5000, if I did my math correctly -- sigh). For the next few months, I'll work with the vet to figure out what her dosage will be, and get her tested twice a year after that to make sure all is well.

Mina easily took the first pill without issue this evening. Hurray!! Hopefully, that continues for the future...have to admit that I didn't think that the pill pocket would work, especially since Mina isn't used to taking treats, but it did, yay! And here's hoping that the rest of my cats will have even better exams in the next few weeks.

I'd rather be sure than sorry, so I'll get the others examined and tested, too.


My Friend Mina

My 12-year old cat, Mina, hasn't been quite herself lately. Worse, she may have gotten ill from some of the canned food I've been giving her recently as a treat in the evenings (she usually only got the Science Diet dry food and no people food ever, but I've started feeding her and the other cats canned food once a day, too, for added moisture and coat improvement) -- unfortunately, the same food which was just recalled this weekend due to some kind of contamination. Turns out it may be the wheat gluten additive (for extra protein) from a new supplier for Menu Foods is what they said this morning on the news. In any case, I took her to the vet for a full "senior" exam which will hopefully pinpoint the problem so that the vet and I can get her feeling better and living a quality life for awhile longer yet. Her sister, Tabitha, seems to be fine. But, depending on the results of the tests that are being done for Mina...I may be bringing Tabitha in sooner than I'd originally scheduled for her annual physical exam and senior blood and urine tests. Here's an old picture of the two girls when they were about 4 months, I think. Mina still had a short coat then.

And this next one is from about 2 years ago, in her usual queenly pose.

I figured after bringing Mina home from the animal clinic (she was so stressed out by the visit that she was panting like a dog when the vet brought her to me in the exam room) that she'd run and hide under the bed for the rest of the day once I let her out of the carrier. But she's a trooper and instead wanted me to brush her for a bit (she's a very pristine cat) after she checked the apartment out to make sure everything was as it should be...and she is currently resting in the cat tree by the window watching the birds flying by while keeping a close eye on the two pigeons that persist in calling my apartment balcony their new home.

Stupid pigeons.


Believe Me

Just a quick little sketch of a memory to take a break from the tedium of textbooks...

While I was working on my freelance textbook illo's last night, the local PBS tv station was running a British music special which was providing some fun background music. When Dusty Springfield started singing "
You don't have to say you love me", I just happened to be walking by the tv and saw the performance - and totally had a flashback to a time when my mom was dressed up for a night out with my dad, and looked almost exactly like that -- big blonde hair, sophisticated, too cool for words. Well, at least to my little girl eyes.

I thought she was perfectly beautiful.


Dream On

Since I was about 4 or 5 years old, I've had the occasional vivid dream that I can later recall quite strongly. Either because it was a recurring dream (I have a few that I can still remember from back then, although unfortunately most of those were nightmares) or I enjoyed the dream-story so much that I wrote it down in one of the notebooks that I have hanging around me. Just reading my notes about the dream brings it all back once again.

There are a few times when I'm lucid dreaming, and in some of those I like to completely change the dream or at the very least, manipulate the "story". Some of my all-time favorites involve shape-shifting. I think it's memories from lessons in my old anatomy classes that also make shifting so attractive -- instead of changing in a flash from my own self to whatever creature I want to be (werewolf, swan, Tyrannosaurus Rex, mermaid, etc.), I like to make the changes properly and methodically, so that I can feel the bones and muscle grow or modify, the weight difference from my original self to the new creature, and the addition or modification of my limbs...and how the new body all works together once the shift is complete.

Elements from those shape-shifting dreams are currently driving some ideas I have for my participation in a fun little comic anthology. I'm working on it along with some concept artists (professional and student-level) that I've gotten to know in the last year. Not something we plan to sell, but rather use as self-promotion; and some have mentioned that they plan to include their contribution as part of their sketchbooks for this year's Comic-cons. In any case, I posted some of the very rough sketches I've been doing over the weekend for that.

Interesting, too -- it appears that there is a japanese feature animation called
Paprika that is about a "dream detective who can enter into people’s dreams and synchronize with their unconscious to help uncover the source of their anxiety or neurosis". It looks pretty cool. I really wish that there were good animation studios here that also did movies for adults and not just kiddie films. Anyways, the movie was released last year in Asia and should be in theaters here in the U.S. in May or June 2007, most likely in rather limited release.

In other news....

Just back from a brief visit with the Disney folks for another licensing meeting for my day job. Had a nice dinner conversation with
David P., a long-time Disney artist who has worked on a variety of feature animation projects and who most recently lead the creative development of the Disney Signature furniture collection (really cool and unfortunately every piece is way out of my budget), on working with interns (we both have some that will be starting in the next few months) and on some key creative best practices or maybe a "creative nugget" that we could take from the many years of professional work that we've done (we each have about 20 years of artistic work, his with the various Disney departments, me with various freelance, corporate and private companies in some creative capacity of one kind or other) that could be passed on to our future interns. After some discussion, we agreed that the simple idea to not immediately refuse a new project simply because you don't have prior experience is one of the best bits of wisdom we could pass on. Don't let inexperience scare you away!

Now, I just need to listen to my own advice....

Speaking of freelance and future job projects, I'm doing some freelance illustration work once again for some more children's textbooks with a publisher I've worked with before, so my postings will be rather limited if at all for the next few weeks.

And, back to those dreams of mine....

One of my more recent interesting dreams pulled in scenes and characters from two different books I read some time ago, "
Blood and Chocolate" and "Moon Called". Well, the second was a year ago and the other one about 6 years ago I think. Both of them were werewolf stories - which made my dream most excellent IMO. Nothing like turning into a werewolf and having a bit of fun. Grrrrrr... :) However, since I hadn't reread those books in a while, I believe that the dream may have been influenced by a project I'd been thinking about...a painting I've been wanting to schedule time to develop....and that's probably what really got me dreaming about werewolves. I've posted one of the initial rough concepts sketches for that illustration below.

Rubs hands together with glee -- Let the creative work begin!