Inktober 2019, Day 13: Ash

Tess and Abby walk towards Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, which has the shape of a giant ash
Inktober 2019, Day 13: Ash

Inktober 2019, Day 13: Ash. After crossing the lake of molten lava and landing their dragon (a motherfucking dragon! Whoop!), Tess and Abby find themselves in a peaceful meadow, at the center of which is a large ash tree.
“What’s so special about this tree?” asks Abby.

While looking for ash trees to draw for this challenge, I saw a photo showing one that had a familiar shape. My first thought was “It’s a Steeleye Span tree”, and then I realized that there was a reason that band featured that specific tree on several of their album covers. Yggdrasil, the tree of life, happens to be an ash.

Like the last one, this one was done entirely in digital media. I’m going back to traditional tomorrow, but it was nice not to have to worry about smearing, blobbing, waiting for ink to dry and getting my pen caught in the grain for a while.

Inktober 2019, Day 12: Dragon Complete Whoop

Digital drawing showing Tess and Abby riding a big fucking dragon over a lake of fucking molten lava. If that isn't a complete whoop I don't know what the fuck is.
Inktober 2019, Day 12: Dragon Complete Whoop

Day 12: Dragon/Complete Whoop. Tess Durban’s life keeps throwing her for a loop. One moment she’s sad because her friend, the same person who days earlier had turned her life upside down, has just ghosted her; the next moment she’s in an alternate dimension with a new friend, riding a giant fucking dragon over a giant fucking lake of molten lava. If that isn’t a complete whoop, I don’t know what is.

Once again I am combining the official prompt with a prompt from AI Weirdness, temperature 1.4, the absolute hottest take. My iPad Pro missed me, and I wanted to do some different things with colors. Unfortunately my understanding of color theory is somewhere between nonexistent and crap; however, I do know how to turn down the saturation for a value check and that helped me a lot this time.

Inktober 2019, Days 10 and 11: Pin Goose Pattern and Snow Whoop

A double today, because I was unable to finish yesterday’s drawing on the day itself, even though I’d made good progress on it during the morning session before going to work. It just so happened that I came home very late and exhausted. But I have a long weekend now, so I’m getting caught up.

A pincushion shaped, more or less, like a goose. It's got a patterned fabric and several pins stuck into it, including a broken safety pin
Inktober 2019, Day 10. Pin Goose/Pattern

Day 10: Pin Goose/Pattern. I did not find ‘Pattern’ inspiring by itself, so I combined it with one of the prompts from A.I.nktober: A Neural Net Creates Drawing Prompts by Janelle Shane. I went back and forth about whether I wanted to include a pattern in the drawing and went as far as to pencil in a tartan pattern on the fabric, but in the end I decided to have only the suggestion of a pattern in the digital coloring. Pincushions are weird, man.

Tess looks on as Abby slips over a patch of slippery, half-molten snow. Abby yells 'Whoop!"
Inktober 2018, Day 11. Snow/whoop

Day 11: Snow/Whoop. I liked ‘Snow’ a bit better but still wanted to include the A.I.nktober prompt “Whoop” in the art. So here are Tess and Abby in a snow-covered street, with Abby losing her balance.

Inktober 2019, Day 9: Swing

Ginger Baker in an interview setting saying "Cult of XünÿX? Yeah, I played on their record. They had this drummer, and I tell you… that fucker couldn't swing if he was hung!"
Inktober 2019, Day 9. Swing

Day 9: Swing.
Fictional outtake from the documentary Beware of Mr. Baker in which Ginger Baker discusses playing on the first Cult of XünÿX album. When original Cult of XünÿX drummer Jan Teunissen read the quote, he replied “But I am hung”, and left it at that.

I’ve been immersing myself in the records of Ginger Baker, who passed away last weekend, over the past few days, and I’ve enjoyed nearly all of them a lot, over the full range of his work from blues and jazz to hard rock, space rock, acrobat and unclassifiable stuff. His drumming is often the best thing on those records and even records that I might otherwise not have liked are lifted up by it. He also had an interesting face and did interesting, often quotably cantankerous interviews. It was only a matter of time before he’d turn up in a drawing by me. Because I had a full schedule today, I decided to stay in my comfort zone and do a simple thing that I could mostly finish in the morning before work. I went a little too far with that: I had time left to overdo the drawing, which I promptly did. It would have been better if I had quit drawing ten minutes earlier. I used Autodesk Sketchbook to undo some of that and I’m actually OK with how this one turned out.
I made the final image smaller, because the lettering in it is so huge.

Inktober 2019, Day 8: Frail

A man in a raincoat walks towards a compound. He has an extra shadow, which has eyes and bills all over the place.
Inktober 2019, Day 8. Frail

Inktober 2019, Day 8: Frail. For Frits Zuniga, the story ended on a less ecstatic note, though perhaps a hopeful one. With his demon under control, he was finally free to check into rehab.

I got a little too ambitious during the morning session before work. This meant that the inks weren’t done by the time I had to head out. Then my work day turned to shit, and I didn’t get to work on it some more until well past nine, with constant interruptions. The resulting inks looked horrible, so once again I’ve had to resort to fixing the worst errors – not all of them, just the ones that made the image unreadable – in Autodesk Sketchbook. It’s still not great, but it’s done. I can start on the next one tomorrow.

Inktober 2019, Day 6: Husky

A husky monster has so far managed to elude the police
Inktober 2019, Day 6: Husky

Day 6: Husky. Yesterday I had a busy schedule and drew like a wet noodle when I finally did get around to drawing. I’m still in wet noodle mode today, but at least I had more time to fix up the worst errors in my traditional ink, and to cover the rest up with colors.
Absolute Unit has been pursued by the police, but has so far managed to elude them. Traditional inks, fixed up and colored in Autodesk Sketchbook.

Quick review: Ian Gillan: Contractual Obligation #2 Live in Warsaw

Contractual Obligation #2: Live in Warsaw by Ian Gillan, Don Airey and the Don Airey Band is an album I am enjoying a lot more than I’d have expected to. Gillan/Airey and band play some Deep Purple classics, some deep cuts and some Gillan solo tracks with the Beethoven Academy Orchestra. The orchestral arrangements are the same Purple used on their orchestral tour in 2011: mostly not imaginative but very road-ready to play with local orchestras without too much fuss; the orchestra can pick their parts right up and the band can play what they always play. It’s a little lower-intensity than a Deep Purple show and that really helps Gillan’s vocal performance. It’s not like 1972 but it’s a step up from the last decade or so. Airey is his wonderful self, and the guitarist and bassist are the shit. There’s a rumor that the guitarist, Simon McBride, is being considered as Steve Morse’s understudy for when he’s unable to play with Purple due to the osteoarthritis that has been giving him trouble. He’d be an interesting choice; his tone and his take on the solos is different enough, even when he plays ‘like the record’, are different enough to stand out from how Morse plays things

Not-often-played Deep Purple cuts include Anya from 1993 and Demon’s Eye from 1971. The Gillan tracks are focused on his poppier works. There are two other albums with the “Contractual Obligations” title: the Blu-Ray edition (#1) and the vinyl edition (#3) were recorded at different dates on the same short tour. I’ve seen clips of the Blu-Ray and it doesn’t look like the visuals add much in this case, and the vinyl, by definition, is not available as a legal download, so I’m sticking with this one.

If you buy one album this year… it shouldn’t be this one as it’s pretty inessential. But it’s fun!

Linklog for October 5: Right-wing terrorism, air conditioning, nudity and Sydney’s war against trams

I’ve not posted a new linklog since July 25, but I have been collecting links. As with my art, I want to make sure the labour involved in collecting valuable links for others and sharing them doesn’t just benefit the platorms I post them on, but myself as well. Already I’ve found that I’ve referred to some of the things mentioned in these posts, tweets and articles without remembering where I got them from, so it’s time to put them in one convenient place.
Of course, with such a long pause between posts, some of these may be out of date and some may discuss things like how warm the summer has been, which doesn’t seem that relevant now that it’s fall and chilly (where I am). But I’ve decided not to whittle these down; if I thought they were worth reading at the time, they should be worth reading now.

United Steelworkers on Twitter:
When legal immigrant Ernesto “Tito” Ochoa of Local 6787 was detained by ICE on his way to work, thrown in federal jail and threatened with deportation, he used his one call to phone his union. We had his back and fought to free him. That’s what #USWUnity is about. #chr2019 #1u

Why You Should Stop Using the Angry Face Reaction on Facebook by Wordynerdbird. It apparently causes more algorithmic scrutiny and may lead to contribute to deletion of the post. This is not what most people intend when they use the Angry face.

One man, eight years, nearly 20,000 cat videos, and not a single viral hit by Joe Veix on the Outline. A lovely story about a man who helps stray cats and documents it without being bothered by concerns of the resulting video going viral. If you must use YouTube, subscribe to this instead of P**D**P**. And autoplay it for a few hours to confound YouTube’s algorithm.

The Netherlands has had a record-breaking heatwave and one thing that keeps coming up in conversations with Americans is air conditioning. Most homes don’t have it built in because historically, heating and insulation have been much more important. I won’t lie: I kept going to the office during the heatwave because the office has AC and my house does not. But AC has a high ecological cost that will only rise in the near future, and also returns the heat it removes from your house directly to your neighbours’ houses, and to the city as a whole.1 So I don’t want to have it in the house (I’m OK with AC in shared spaces). This article on by Elise Vermeeren lists some of the alternatives: external screens (another feature that Dutch houses traditionally aren’t delivered with), pools and the most interesting suggestion: heat exchangers that can also be used to return heat from the soil to the house in winter.

Wikpedia has a handy, but still incomplete List of terrorist attacks by right-wingers. The section on the US mentions some (but not all) of the many instances of terror attacks against abortion providers, so Eric Gustafson aka Carson Fire will still be able to dismiss it the next time he peddles his denialism in public (it was one of his sacred Rules of Engagement back in the early 2000s that you could only discuss left-wing vs. right-wing terrorism if you excluded violence against abortion providers from the discussion, because that’s the kind of trash he is). Also, the Luigi’s Restaurant shooting that paralysed my wife’s leg and killed the father of her child is not listed, so the list is woefully incomplete. I’m pretty sure not a lot of people remember the Luigi’s Restaurant shooting, because by today’s standards it hardly qualifies as mass murder, and I’m not sure contemporary reports mentioned that his stated aim was to teach the queers and the n****rs in the military a lesson. You kinda have to personally know one of the people involved to know that.

On to more fun things that include nudity. Here’s how I’d like to see #naturism reported on more often: from the perspective of an insider, with knowledge gained over time, and as part of a larger vacation report that includes other topics: Frontaal Naakt disfrutarren aan de Costa Dorada by Peter Breedveld (in Dutch). Don’t send me your 13-paragraph reports by a journo who went to a nude campsite once, describes the other guests in anthropological terms, only to conclude in the final paragraph with “that was fun but I won’t do it again.” A bot could write that, and probably did. I enjoyed the article after that, Feesten en feasten in het supergezellige Reus (Dutch) as well; it has some lovely pictures of a street parade and Catalan sculpture.

Reflections: Overpopulation & The Unbearable Whiteness of Green:

Calling for African and Asian communities to stop breeding to help the earth is as useful as focusing on banning plastic straws to help the sea when we know that 0.03% of ocean plastic comes from straws and 46% comes from industrial fishing nets.

Erased from history: how Sydney destroyed its trams for love of the car. Mike Ticher at the Guardian. We have a simplistic understanding of the history of cars: that as part of the inexorable march of progress, aided by the invisible hand of the market, cars replaced the horse and buggy because they were just better. In reality, cars replaced a lot of other things and in many cases these other things were deliberately destroyed to make room for (internal combustion engine, privately owned) cars, at a huge cost to society. This is just one example.

Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation with Richard Nixon – Tim Naftali at the Atlantic. The third-worst president in the United States’ history was even worse than we thought as recently released audio of a conversation with the fourth-worst president in the United States’ history proves.

Masana Temples by Kikagaku Moyo is an excellent psychedelic rock album.

Realm of Spells by Jah Wobble and Bill Laswell is an excellent dub reggae album.

And here are Eight Artists Making Music Built on Buchla Synthesizers. Louis Pattison, Bandcamp Daily. West Coast Synth has got me through some rough days over the past few years so checking these artists out may turn out to be expensive for me.

A Twitter thread on Andy Ngo’s lies (Andy Ngo is the editor of Quilette also known as Phrenology weekly). Not all his lies, mind, just the crop of one week of Andy Ngo being Andy Ngo. By @egoldmanrevolt.

The basic engine The Basic Engine is a very low-cost single-board home computer with advanced 2D color graphics and sound capabilities, roughly comparable to late-1980s or early-1990s computers and video game consoles. It can be built at home without special skills or tools and using readily available components for under 10 Euros in parts, or mass-produced for even less.

Three Years of Misery Inside Google, The Happiest Company in Tech Nitasha Tiku at Wired. A long read, very complete from the look of it.

The rise of the sober-curious: having it all, without alcohol Adrienne Matei in The Guardian. Not gonna lie, I hate the term ‘Sober-curious’ already, but what it describes describes where I’m at in my life.