Cunning Fire Fan Art

The two main characters from the webcomic Cunning Fire.

I wanted to do something fun and cute! So I drew the characters from a webcomic I’ve been reading. If you haven’t read it, you’re in for a treat, because you can do what I did, and binge-read the hundreds of pages that are already up. It’s a beautiful urban fantasy story about witches.

It’s made by Kaz Rowe, and they also have a great YouTube channel about LGBT+ history.

A recurring theme on my blog is becoming ‘fun things I found on YouTube’. I guess I spend a lot of time there!

Nature Girl Series – Part 3

This is the third and final ink drawing in my Nature Girl series! (Here are parts 1 and 2.)

I did a bit more preparation for this one than the last – working out the perspective on the tree, since we’re looking at it from high up, and trying out a couple of different compositions in thumbnail form.

I like this one! Even though I can see its flaws, like the where’s-Waldo aspect of my character – she’s hard to spot. Or is that a sign of success? I integrated her into the landscape a bit too well.

I enjoyed making this series! It was fun getting ink all over my hands, working analog, and practicing new art skills. Now, I’m gearing up for another drawing series to do this quarter.

Do you like organizing your projects into series or challenges? I’d recommend trying it if you haven’t!

Nature Girl Series – Picture 2

…and anatomy practice.

This is the second drawing I did as an experiment in combining landscapes and characters! I did a little more sketching with thin pen lines this time, before doing the thick dip pen inking. Also, I practiced drawing heads from this angle in my sketchbook a few times, since I hadn’t tried it before.

After my first attempt at the drawing, I put it aside, but something about the head position seemed off. So I took a picture and figured out the anatomy using red lines:

Luckily, I was able to fix the issues in the ink drawing, before going back to digital to change the background color and add highlights. That way, the original looks right too.

Part of the trouble comes from sketching with pen without using pencil first. Going ink-first is a habit I have from my sketchbook. Maybe I’ll try it the sensible way next time. But not before…

Nature Girl series part 3! (Coming soon.)

Multiproject Update for Q3 2022

This is a late start to the quarter, since I gave myself an extra month to work on my Q2 goals. I spent today assessing where my projects were at and what they needed most. Without further ado, here is what I’d like to get done in the next couple of months!

Research Quest

Over the past two reading projects, I got the foundation of sustainability knowledge that I’d felt I was missing. There’s always more to learn, of course, but my focus is going to be on output – writing about what I’ve learned, and picking up any additional research I need as I go.

I still have a few blog posts pending from the first reading project, and books to read (that I’m looking forward to) from the second. And most recently, I’ve been experimenting with writing public comments and letters to the editor (LTE).

So my goals are:

  • Write the last few blog posts from reading project 1,
  • Read the books from reading project 2,
  • Continue to write public comments and LTE,
  • Try to get to the next sustainability skill: writing op-eds! I took a cool class by the OpEd Project last year about how to do it, and I’ve made one submission so far…

YA Fantasy Novel

I have a fairly consolidated draft that needs more detailed editing. I don’t think I can get done with a full edit in the next two months, so my goals are:

  • edit half the novel,
  • post regular writing updates and spoiler-free ‘concept art’ (I’m using drawing to help me visualize parts of the story) over on the Fiction page.


I had such a blast doing a 10-day drawing challenge a few months ago that I definitely want to do another one. I have two ideas I just can’t choose between! Maybe I’ll leave it open, and decide when I’m ready. It’ll be a surprise, to me as much as anyone.

* * *

And that’s all! Setting goals after I’ve started – I guess that’s one way to do it.

Are you in the thick of your projects? Do you find it useful to re-evaluate in the middle of them?

People in Places – the Nature Girl Series

and trying something I found difficult.

While journaling recently, I suddenly remembered something I used to do a lot back in middle school – draw people. All my textbooks had doodles in the margins of people ziplining, rock-climbing up the walls of text next to them, or running with long ponytails streaming behind them.

Then I had a pure landscape phase, or several. The reason for it was clear: as I got better at drawing and painting through high school, my landscapes improved first. Adding in a character without changing the quality or tone of the painting was difficult, because I couldn’t make them as detailed, their clothes clashed with the background, and overall, they ruined the peaceful solitude I was trying to capture with the painting.

More recently, I’ve also had portrait-phases. (Not to be confused with a phase portrait. Sorry for that terrible ‘joke’; I’ll see myself out.) Over the past five years, I’ve been learning how to draw both real and cartoon people: from photos I found on the internet, persuading friends and family to sit for me, and drawing self-portraits. Capturing a resemblance was an exciting new skill to learn.

But the one type of drawing I never thought of doing was combining a character and a landscape. It just never occurred to me, and still felt kind of incongruous.

So I thought I’d give it a try! I followed this advice from art YouTuber LavenderTowne: to learn new art skills by framing them in terms of the skill that you are already good at.

In her case, she enjoys and is good at drawing characters, so she imagines their homes as an extension of them. Drawing backgrounds was the hardest part for her until she started seeing them this way. (Overall, her channel is excellent and worth checking out.)

My problem was sort of the reverse, so I tried something weird. I drew a landscape, and basically made the character an outgrowth of natural features. Like she’s some kind of rock-spirit.

In the picture above, I sketched in the foliage and rock face and added a rough outline of the girl, all in dotted lines with pen. Then I inked and hatched most of the background, and hatched some of the shadows on the girl, before finally inking her. I did this with dip pens and some ink I was using for my fountain pens, on some hemp (I think?) paper samples I had lying around.

The character blending into her background makes her a bit uncanny. I think I like it.

Later, I also did some digital editing in (iPad) Procreate, including changing the background color and adding the lighter highlights.

Anyway, this is the first of a series of three ink drawings I’m calling the Nature Girl series. Reconnecting with my middle-school interest in adventurous characters. More to come soon!

Is there a particular skill that you’ve always found difficult? How could you focus on it primarily, and leverage the skills you’re already good at?