Decemboobs 2017, Day 19: Thanksgiving

Focussing on traditional art really worked for me in December 2017. With 19 entries already, this Decemboobs is on track to be the longest so far.

Day 19:

Pencil drawing of a nearly nude woman sitting on a towel, and stretching.
Pencil drawing of a nearly nude woman sitting on a towel, and stretching.

What I wrote about this at the time:

Today’s drawing is based on a photo from Thanksgiving, a blog post from the Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society. I like how this photograph showed an average-sized and proportioned woman in a positions that caused her breasts to be lifted and stretched across her chest; I also liked how the tan lines managed to look like a top that pulled them upwards. I’ll be drawing more from this entry later.

Links for February 13, 2019: Fairy Play, Yorkshire cheese

Fairy Play is an interesting fantasy webcomic with focus on marginalized characters. It is also captioned in great detail and has content warnings. I’d seen it around before but hadn’t remembered the link. Now I have.

John Bull on Twitter, writer of Brexit Adventures, also knows a thing or two about cheese.

The UK National Archive’s currency converter will turn your new money into old money and then tell you how much it would buy. Handy for historical fiction writing and role playing games set in the past.

Decemboobs 2017, Day 17: Keep it cool

Day 17:

Pencil drawing copied from a selfie. The model is a black woman with large hair. Her left arm is distorted because it is holding the camera.
Pencil drawing copied from a selfie. The model is a black woman with large hair. Her left arm is distorted because it is holding the camera.

What I wrote about this at the time:

Entry #17 in Decemboobs, the annual-monthly-daily drawing challenge in which cartoonists draw boobs in order to learn to draw boobs, in a range of positions and situations, and on a range of different bodies.
Uh, every once in a while, a drawing doesn’t work out. I still post it, to show that I’ve done the exercise and to better track my progress over the whole period. This one, the second I did on Saturday, started out promising. I had a lot of fun setting up the basic shapes, reserving half the height of the paper for that magnificent hairdo. I kinda messed it up in the detailing though, especially, again, the face. This is why each year, I follow up Decemboobs with Portrait January, so I can focus on faces next.


The reference image has been memory-holed by Tumblr.

Decemboobs 2017, Day 16: I have insecurities

Day 16:

Pencil drawing of the torso and thighs of a nude woman, posing in a relaxed way. The model is anonymous and her head isn't shown.
Pencil drawing of the torso and thighs of a nude woman, posing in a relaxed way. The model is anonymous and her head isn’t shown.

What I wrote about this at the time:

Entry #16 in Decemboobs, an annual, month-long, daily art challenge in which cartoonists and other artists improve their female anatomy by lovingly drawing it from photo reference or live observation. You’ve read Bizarre Breasts on the old Sequential Tart website? That’s what happens if we don’t practice this stuff. Art drawn on illustration board, using 2H, 2B pencils and 6B graphite pencil.
The reference is from /r/normalnudes, a subrreddit in which men, women and others share images of their own nude bodies, usually anonymized by blurring out or cutting off the face. Due to the difference in proportions between the reference photo and my paper, there’s actually more in the drawing than in the photo. I took a bit of a guess at how the legs went on beyond the photo frame. Reference is here:

I’m not a big fan of reddit, but it is handy that they don’t take stuff down for being too naked.

Decemboobs 2017, Day 15: Dulcé Sloan

Yay, another name that I can finally spell correctly! DeviantArt does not allow diacritics in headers, which means that a lot of African and African-American names are verboten on DA. Guess what I think about that.

Day 15:

Pencil drawing of comedian Dulcé Sloan at work, based on one of her videos.
Pencil drawing of comedian Dulcé Sloan at work, based on one of her videos.

What I wrote about this at the time:

I saw Dulcé Sloan on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah the other day and thought she was funny and super cute. When she said “these titties don’t run”, I realized that true as that may be, they would be fun to draw as part of this challenge, so I looked at some of her videos and picked this one. However, instead of taking a screenshot, I simply paused the video and put it on full-screen, so when my screen started turning itself down, I accidentally restarted the video and couldn’t find my place. Oops. Also, I somehow managed to age her face 20 years. So I’m not entirely happy with this one, but you know, as I’ve said in previous years, that’s a thing that happens. As in previous years, I still post the bad images, for accountability if nothing else.

Reference: It is often odd to draw someone who is obviously very accomplished in their work, when what interests you about drawing them is their body. To remove all doubt: Dulcé Sloan is an excellent comedian and is usually the highlight of any episode of the Daily Show that she appears in.

Road trip to Spain

For years, Rona has been wanting to spend winters in Spain because she can’t handle even the Netherlands’ mild winter weather and short winter days. This year, we finally managed to set aside time to go on our scouting mission. We drove to the Mediterranean with an old pop-up caravan and our two dogs, spent ten days at two different naturist campsites within walking distance (for me, anyway) to the sea and then drove home. It was very old-school and became more old-school after our Tom-tom led us into the mud at a kilometer from our first real destination and then Rona’s phone got stolen, leaving us without 4G for the rest of the trip, so we had to locate and learn about hotels the old-fashioned way (I have since changed my bundle and now have 4G on my phone for the first time in my life). Here are a few things we learned during the sixteen days of travel:

It takes longer than you thought
By airplane, you can be in Malaga in a matter of a few hours. In theory, you can get there by car in 24 hours if you drive the maximum speed, piss in a bottle and take amphetamines. But traveling with a trailer and two dogs, it will take three days or more, and if you have one driver with a paralyzed leg, those three days will do a number on you. Next year, we will take time to space travel out over 4 or 5 days. This will be easier because unlike this year, when we had to purchase a pop-up caravan at short notice because our 1970s Constructam was being rebuilt and an existing alternative fell through, we will be traveling with a real caravan next year. Or at least, Rona will be. Depending on our vacation schedule, she may decide to travel alone so she can stay longer, while I fly over at a later time and catch up with her in Malaga. I don’t like that idea, because I really don’t want to be on an airplane unless it’s for work or other very urgent reasons, but it’s something that we might do.

It’s also much more expensive
We took the toll roads a lot. I am in two minds about the idea of toll roads: on the one hand, people using them pay closer to the real cost of road travel, but on the other, that prices good, well-kept roads out of the reach of poorer travelers, and it also looks like it effectively de-socializes road maintenance. Where there are toll roads, the public roads turn to shit as a result. However, we found that the toll roads met our needs right now, because they were clear, safe and less busy, with no worry about roadside bandits other than the ones running the gas stations. Er, it turns out that the true cost of road travel is much greater than the subsidized cost of air travel. We made up for that by not going to any restaurants when we were at our destination though.

Aires (Areas, Raststätten): use them. Well, maybe
On the western route that we took towards Conil, the public rest areas in France, known as Aires, were pretty impressively well-kept. We took all our breaks and refueled there and the only thing that stopped us from sleeping there was that one of our dogs freaked out each time we were in the car and not moving for more than fifteen minutes. Next year, with our real caravan and the need to space travel out over four or five days, we will spend some nights there.
It was a different matter in Spain itself, and different still on the Eastern route we took home from Almayate. The Spanish Areas were smaller and more run-down and this didn’t improve once we were back in France. As for the German spots that we ended up in, they were run-down and filthy. Too bad, because otherwise the eastern route was a much more comfortable drive.

TomTom and Google Maps are both pretty useless at the edge of the continent
Trying to find our first campsite, Cala del Alceite outside Conil, province of Cadiz, we followed directions from our navigation systems and ended up stuck in the mud! A gang of lily-white youths pretended to offer help, then made off with Rona’s cell phone. After we got out of the mud, we heard that in that area of Spain, navigation systems cannot be relied on and indeed we found throughout the trip that roads recommended by TomTom were dirt trails or otherwise did not match the lay-out the system showed us, and that businesses referred by Google Maps whenever we had WiFi did not appear to exist on the stated address at all. A good old-fashioned local road map would have helped us a lot more, as, to be honest, would paying more attention to the signage. But at the point where we hit the mud, we had been traveling for three days and weren’t at peak mental capacity.

I am very bad at some aspects of camping, especially living at close quarters with my stuff
Because this was a scouting mission and we wanted to simulate the sort of life we would be living if we were overwintering, I took much more stuff than I would otherwise have done, including a full set of traditional drawing tools, print books and musical instruments. The drawing tools got used, some of the print books got read, but the musical instruments, including my guitar, were not touched at all. This mattered because we had very little room in the pop-up caravan and the stuff I didn’t use got in the way and obscured stuff I needed. I am bad at keeping things in their proper place at the best of times, and having to be constantly mindful of where everything was was mentally draining, as was making sure all of it was safe from falling over or getting wet from coffee mugs and water jugs. Next year, I won’t take the guitar and focus on ebooks for reading even if the reading experience is somewhat less good for me. Every misplaced or mislaid item carried an immediate penalty in terms of stress and hassle, and I don’t need to make this harder for me than it is. I will also cut the amount of traditional drawing tools in half, as I am perfectly content to draw on the iPad Pro if the sun isn’t directly on it. And I will spend the rest of this year training myself to stay organized better.

Winter naturism is absolutely possible if you go far south enough
We both have a strong preference for naturist campsites although we would compromise on this if we had to. Rona is going no matter what, so if we hadn’t find any naturist sites, we would have found some good textile ones. However, we found places we could comfortably stay at near Conil, province of Cadiz, and near Almayate, province of Malaga. And in late January, early February, it often warms up enough to go nude; we were able to sunbathe and I managed a long walk on the bach at Almayate.
The demographics at these sites are doubly skewed: naturist campers tend to be older and so do people spending the winter on the Meditteranean. On both sites we were the youngest people by a large margin. Since we primarily socialize with each other these days, this isn’t a huge problem and the people we did talk to were very nice.

Nights can get very cold in late January, early February
This may seem like a ‘duh’ thing to observe but it’s worth noting because we went south to escape cold weather. Surprisingly, I was much more affected by the cold nights we had than Rona was. Eventually, we added a space heater to our inventory, used the electric blanket more and in the final days I changed my schedule so I could warm up with my morning run. This is another thing that wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if we’d had our real caravan to sleep in, so it won’t be a problem next year.

It was worth it and we’re doing this again
I won’t lie: six days of travel in total took its toll and there were times during the trip when we got on each other’s nerves. But when times were good, when the sun was shining, everything was organized and we could settle down to do our thing, times were very good. We prepared to the best of our ability (given the unexpected unavailability of our own camping vehicles) but neither of us had ever done a road trip to Spain before. Next year, knowing what we’ve learned and what we will learn through further study at home (we’re planning to learn Spanish and get our own fast internet connection to use so we’re not dependent on campsite WiFi, for example), we will be much better prepared and things will go much more smoothly.

Photography is fun and I need to get better at it
During my morning runs and while walking the dogs, I took a bunch of pictures, most of which were for the purpose of helping me find my way back without GPS, a map or a functional sense of direction. Because of that, the quality of the photographs wasn’t a concern, but as I went through the 150+ photographs I took after we got home, I found some that I thought would clean up well. Here they are:

Links for February 10, 2019: An Angry Gay’s Overdue Screed on Bohemian Rhapsody, Chivalry is not that, naked webcomics, Terry Pratchett’s Oblivion mod

Christine Kelley posted a belated, but powerful response to Bohemian Rhapsody, a Queen biopic I have personally refused to watch because shouting and throwing eggs at a movie screen is not my idea of a good time: An Angry Gay’s Overdue Screed on Bohemian Rhapsody.

That’s Not What Chivalry Is by Dr Eleanor Janega is a good explainer on the history and scope of medieval codes of chivalry:

Basically then chivalry and the chivalric code has fuck all to do with women at all. It’s a bunch of rules about how to conduct yourself if you are a rich dude, with a horse, a lot of weapons, and time on your hands. Saying that you treat women well because of chivalry makes about as much sense as saying you treat them well because of the highway code. It’s just not a thing.

The naturist campsite El Zorro in Cartagena, Murcia, Spain has its own webcomic: María Jesús Naturist Del Portús. It’s a bit hit and miss and it looks like a lot may be lost in translation, but it has its cute and funny moments and the fact that it exists at all is noteworthy.

Terry Pratchett worked on an Oblivion mod, writing characters and suggesting adaptations to accommodate his Alzheimer’s, which then also turned out to be useful for abled people.

Decemboobs 2017, Days 13 and 14: 2 from Yournudemom

I’m just going to consolidate these two as well. I’ll probably post a YNM gallery as a separate post later.

Day 13 (Pensive) and Day 14 (Good Morning?)

What I wrote about these at the time (more or less)

Thirteenth[/Fourteenth] entry in Decemboobs, an annual month-long challenge in which a small handful of cartoonists work on drawing more realistic breasts by creating at least nominally referenced drawing, though keeping any group of cartoonists working within any predetermined constraints is like herding cats. As for why we do this, well, comic book boobs have gotten better since the 1990s, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
[These drawings are] based on another photoset by the lovely Yournudemom on Tumblr: – [For the first drawing,] I was struck more by the thoughtful seated pose, which actually highlights the shapes of her body (breasts, back, long bones and the folds in her torso) quite well and has an interesting composition and expression.

Yournudemom shot these with a self-timer and while the reference photos (now shadowbanned by Tumblr) aren’t technically perfect, they have fantastic perspective and composition.

Decemboobs 2017, Day 12: Lexiislimz

Day 12:

Pencil drawing of model Alexis Sade, a petite Black woman with interesting hair, hoop earrings and a light navel-bearing top.
Pencil drawing of model Alexis Sade, a petite Black woman with interesting hair, hoop earrings and a light navel-bearing top. Reference:

What I wrote about this at the time:

Twelfth entry in #decemboobs, the annual, month-long daily drawing challenge for cartoonists to practice drawing breasts accurately and believably, because God knows we need it! Like I’ve said before, I struggle with smaller breasts because I’m not a very subtle artist and I need grand gestures to make things work, so this was a bit of a challenge. I guess the hair counts as a grand gesture. Once again, I did my best with the face, but it’s not the best work I’ll ever done. Faces will, of course, be the subject of another drawing challenge in January when I try to do a month of daily portraits.

With hindsight, the face doesn’t look all that bad to me. The reference image still exists. Model Alexis Sade has a Tumblr that has more of her model shots.