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Working on Holiday Caticorn and Other Musings

I have two favorite mythical creatures— the dragon and the unicorn. I felt that these two creatures were polar opposites and the myths and beauty surrounding these two creatures have always entranced me. Dragon's Lament is about dragons and the fall of mythical creatures (which is why I am still working on it). Dragon's Lament doesn't get to that arc until Book III — who knows when that is ever going to happen and I'm the writer!

Oh the beautiful and unobtainable Muse!

For those who don't know, a caticorn is a cat unicorn. The cat gets all the powers and traits of the unicorn, but it is a cat instead of a horse. So a friend at work and I love caticorns. The story originally came about because— for one — I wanted to draw caticorns. For two — I really wanted to do a short project that wouldn't take too much time. Considering 2020 has been a mad house with a plethora of annoying and bothersome issues. I imagine that the holidays of 2020 will be much different than previous years for most people.

My holiday experience will probably be the same as the many years before due to my introversion. I find myself enjoying the holidays more when I am not forced to dance nicities with people who will never understand me. The last Christmas years ago I spent with my extended family was full of complaints because I was either reading or drawing. "Why are you reading/ drawing? Why don't you spend time with the rest of us?" I don't have anything to talk about. It's not like I am ignoring you. You're not talking to me except for right at this moment because you're complaining to me that I am not like you. I don't have anything to say.

My holiday's this year and every year will be filled with playing games and cooking with my boyfriend, an hour or two spent with my mother and sisters to eat, and a visit to my father who lives about an hour away. It's simple and about all of the social interaction I can handle. Not a single one of them will complain about my personality because they know me. If they want to talk to me, they know they can talk to me at any time of any day. I don't purposefully shove people away. I just don't always have something to talk about. Work is work and boring. Projects come and go— most people don't want to hear about my projects or animals constantly, so I try to keep it to a minimum. My dog Cinnamon is laying on the ground in my office snoring right now and I think she is so stinking adorable.

Caticorn was created with these ideas in mind. It begins with Halloween night and ends on New Years day. I think it is interesting to me and will be very pretty when it is complete.

I have one drawing done so far. There is plenty more to come. The story will be in color.

For drawing in pencil I use a clean 2-inch paint brush to dust off eraser shavings— to keep me from smudging the drawing. I use three different erasers— a large one (the mono eraser), an electric eraser (works well and is very precise, but it leaves a lot of shavings behind), and I use the eraser at the end of a mechanical pencil ( I have perfect control over a pencil eraser versus the other two and I can replace the mechanical pencil eraser). For pencils I generally use two pencils— it depends on the drawing. For this one I used my favorite mechanical pencil — the Pentel 0.5 GraphGear 500 with 2B lead (no sharpening required) and I used an 8B pencil (I sharpen it with an electric pencil sharpener. The best art teacher I ever had would kill me for using a higher than 2B lead because it smudges, but I like to get things very dark without that shiny effect when the light hits it. I also use fixative on my pencil drawings, so smudges are not a concern for me. I found Grumbacher Gloss Brillant Final Fixative works best— there is no way to edit the drawing once this fixative is sprayed on it and it doesn't matter how much pencil or even charcoal was used— the pencil will not smudge or come off when touching the drawing). For tiny details, I will use my Pentel 0.3 GraphGear 500 with B lead, but I did not use it for this drawing. I also use a thin smudge stick. I used to use my finger for blending and would get fingerprints everywhere until I learned to use a smudge stick (my art teacher hated those as well— sometimes you have to find what works for you. Listen to advice, but listen to your own experience). To proctect my wrist when drawing— I listen when it is unhappy. There will be a point in time when you are drawing a lot that your wrist will hurt. There are a few things to do when this happens.

For one, this will not protect your wrist (it is good to prevent smudging your drawing only):

This can help— this is an actual brace you can get at the store. See how it covers my entire wrist:

When I was drawing almost everyday for Faeryland: The Defeat of the Troll King and even when I was drawing for Dragon's Lament, my wrist at some point would hurt as well as my back and my neck. Listen to your body. Don't push through the pain. Pain is the body telling you that there is something wrong. You can break something if there is pain or even cause early arthritis. I am an artist and a writer. This is a double whammy for me— I spend a lot of my time at the computer. I do not ignore my body.

If my wrist hurts, then there are a few things I can do. The brace works wonders, but it isn't a fix all solution. There are exercises you can do to help, but your wrist has cartilage and joints. It will wear down as you age. You can take supplements to help slow down the process or even improve it, but you have to either speak to a doctor or do very thorough research. Most people will tell you to take Omega-3, but that isn't the full picture. Vitamins, minerals, and omega's work together in your body. I am not a doctor— that is not my specialty. Without taking specific tests for your specific nutrition, you can't ever really know what the issue actually is. However, I will say that a complete multivamin and a complete omega (3-6-9) can go a long way to help. However, it is always better to get your vitamins, minerals, and omega's from your diet. If you can't stand fish or vegetables— I get it, but you have to seek alternatives.

If my neck hurts then I stop and adjust things. It could be the way I am sitting or the angle the computer is at. I could be slouching or sitting at the wrong angle. Your body will tell you. As far as the wrist goes — I cannot draw on my iPad or my cintiq for any long length of time. There is a product that is coming out for the iPad that I think will fix that problem. I cannot stare at my citiq. It doesn't go at the correct angle for me. I have a 13- inch cintiq without touch. It has these large picky cords. If you move the cord, then it comes undone. I can't make it taller or lean on it. So, I stare at the computer screen instead when I am working on my citiq. The computer is more easily adjusted. I imagine that a drafting desk would be most useful to draw on the cintiq. For regular pencil or pen drawing, I use a large sketchboard that I can lean on anything and get a good angle. Ergonomics is very helpful. Look it up!

For reading this blog, here is a brief preview of Holiday Caticorn:

"It was a starry night when many were stirring. Through the quiet town while the wind was whirring, children pleaded in their costumes and disguises for candies to each lit house and doorway. Many conceded for tricks they longed to forgo. One young girl dressed as a witch from hat to toe returned home with her cat not too long ago. Dressed as a caticorn the albino cat followed the girl up the steps in tow and into the house on this Halloween night with the moon aglow.

The girl carefully sorted her colorful candy. She removed the pieces she didn’t like and set them aside for her little brother Andy. She tossed the candy into the trash that wasn’t already wrapped and sang a song that was quite dandy. The door snapped open her mother and little brother entered during her modus operandi.

The little brother pouted when he saw his elder sisters’ candy mountain. Upon the use of the word share, he collected his candy with care. As he ate a few pieces, the cat asked for his piece of the Halloween pie with a meow. The brother had learned from his sister and shared the colorful candy with the little kitty.

That night the cat slept in the brother’s room keeping the closet monsters subdued. That caticorn cat began a glowing and glowed through the night on until morning.

The girl tried to remove the silly caticorn costume from the caticorn cat, but it was stuck for it was no longer a hat. The caticorn’s tail was now colorful and whimsical as cotton candy and puzzled its entire family.

Mom went off to her Sunday morning shopping as the caticorn went hopping. Flying through the air it could have gone anywhere. Right in midair did the pair of siblings notice their cat was beyond compare. 

They were baffled with confused looks on their faces, but it was the sister that asked through her braces, “What else can you do?”

The caticorn blinked and smiled at the two siblings. It pawed at drawings of flying and soaring."

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