Mo joins the Monster Party

November 26, 2016

Just an excuse to play with a few of my “monster” figures in Poser, along with the Trunk House (technically for fairies, but monsters need homes too!)

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Virtual Amy 1.0 and 2.0

November 21, 2016

Here’s an example that shows the difference between the first character I designed to represent me and the second one. The second one is closer to the look I wanted, but she’s also easier to pose and has a wider range of expression controls.

This is a shot from a scene that takes place in a bookstore.

AmyCk (aka 1.0)
AmyCk (aka 1.0)
AmyV4 (aka 2.0)
AmyV4 (aka 2.0)

New Character: Emo Guy

November 19, 2016

I finally broke down and bought Michael 4, which is the male counterpart to the Victoria 4.2 figure I used to create the 2.0 version of the character based on me. M4 is a pretty old figure, so I must be one of the last Poser users to actually have to purchase him. But wow I’m glad I did, as he’s so much easier to work with than the other male figures I’d been planning to use.

This character is based on a gay guy I used to know who was very much an “emo guy” long before that term was invented.

randym4_nov18

My “new and improved” 3D character

November 18, 2016

I got somewhat derailed from making progress on my graphic novel when I realized that the figure I had chosen to use to create my character from just wasn’t going to be versatile enough for the job.

That figure was Cookie, by Lady Littlefox, who remains my favorite Poser figure, and she will still serve as the basis for AmyCk and CynCk, when I do renders of us together.

But after endless hours of experimenting with other toon-like figures, I finally broke down and decided to give Victoria 4.2 with the Aiko 4 morphs another try, and lo and behold, the problems I’d had using her in the past were no longer an issue. And WOW what a difference it makes to work with such a versatile figure!

So here she is, with the Anime Eyes add-on, a mashup of textures I made in Photoshop, a refit of Star’s Tilla hair, and the morphing fantasy dress with a custom transmap and texture. This version has red hair so she can serve as my current avatar, but the version for the graphic novel will be blonde.

amyv4_face_profile2_nov16

At last, the cast! Or a draft version anyway

November 15, 2016

Here are some of the cast members I’ve created for the graphic novel I’m working on. The character in the blue floral dress with blonde hair is based on me when I was in my 20’s, and the others are based on people I knew. More details to come!

memoircast_set1idlsm_nov16

Star has the blue state blues

November 9, 2016

Star conveys what many of us felt after the results of the 2016 presidential election.

star_glum


Credits:
Figure: Star! by LadyLittelfox
Hair: Kendra Hair by LLF
Clothes: OOT Star Mega Wardrobe
Software: Poser Pro 11

CynCk says “Happy Halloween!”

November 2, 2016

I posted this on Facebook but forgot to share it here!

cyncookie-halloween2016-export

“CynCk” is the 3D character I created to resemble Cynthia, using Lady Littlefox’s Cookie figure as the starting point. The witch hat and broom were free props, and I put the rendered image over a freebie background and added lettering in Photoshop.

Happy Birthday animation

September 1, 2016

I started off making this for a specific friend who’s learning how to do 2D animation on an iPad, but I put so much work into it that I ended up making it generic enough to share with any of our friends! I originally started drawing these “shape creatures” a few years ago, when I decided to “go literal” with the drawing advice to break everything down into their component shapes (circles and squares).

Animation made in AnimationCreator HD, by far the best 2D animation app for iPad!

“Cyn Explains Things”

August 8, 2016

In order to further experiment with the characters I’ve created in Poser, I’ve made several variations on a scene in which Cynthia (or “CynCookie” as I refer to the 3D puppet) adopts a pose familiar to anyone who knows her: that of being engaged in an enthusiastic explanation of something that’s captured her attention.

Here’s the first one I made, shortly after creating our characters:

AmyCookie-CynCookie-chat3-export

After I decided to try and recreate our living room, I made another version:

New-HH-Den-CynExplainsThings-export

AmyCookie & CynCookie

August 7, 2016

I made these characters in Poser 11, using Littlefox’s “Cookie” model as the starting point and “t-pose” photos of Cynthia and me as the reference for height, size, and limb length. In other words, these characters are meant to represent us, whether I use them in a comic or elsewhere.

AMY-COOKIE-2draw-3qtr-stand-export
(with some post-work in Pixelmator)
AMY-COOKIE-2draw-3qtr-stand
(straight out of Poser, using the Firefly renderer)
CynCookie-clothes-here-she-is
(a “toon render” out of Poser)

Waiting by the Little Fairy Dogs restroom

June 23, 2016

After attending the Festival of Faerie in Lafayette, CO, I was inspired to make the following image out of photos of my dogs and a variety of media assets I’d saved. All composition work was done in Pixelmator.

fairy-holly-amber-waiting-for-dulcie-flattened

I was then inspired to try animating the wings, and I had to do that part in Photoshop CS5.

fairy-holly-amber-waiting-for-dulcie-tweening-sm2

Finding the Right Fit (animated love story)

October 15, 2015

Here’s a little animation I made using a variety of iPad and Mac tools. The personal experience that prompted this story is fairly specific, but I hope I’ve created it in a way that broadens who it might apply to. (More details below.)

Here’s the inside scoop: I never really fit in among straight people because even though I looked like them, I didn’t think like them. Likewise, the first group the main character in the story encounters shares her coloring, but their thoughts take unfamiliar shapes.

I also never really fit in among lesbians because even though their thoughts were often familiar to me, I didn’t look like them. Likewise, the second group in the story shares thoughts in the same shape as the main character’s, but their solid coloring is different.

It wasn’t until I met my partner that I found someone I could relate to on both levels: neither of us fits in with conventional “straight” or “lesbian” ways of thinking or being, which makes us a good fit for each other!

Marehaven Farm Dogs: Holly

June 24, 2015

Holly

Approximate birth date: January 2014.

We adopted Holly in January 2015, from Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue (which is where we also adopted Amber from, two years earlier).

It was Holly’s Sassyesque coloring that first caught my eye, but it’s her absolutely adorable personality that captured my heart!

Photo Gallery

Also pictured below is Dulcie, who we adopted in November 2014 from the Longmont Humane Society. More Dulcie photos to come!

Marehaven Farm Dogs: Amber

June 22, 2015

Amber

Approximate birth date: January 2012.

We adopted Amber in January 2013, from Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue. She wiggled her way right into our hearts — and my lap!

Photo Gallery

Videos Gallery

Amber the Tissue Thief

January 2015

Whenever I feel the tell tale tug on my pants pocket, I know the Tissue Thief is at it again! (Also featuring Dulcie.)

Amber vs. The Hallway

December 2014

Amber has many endearing traits and a few odd behaviors. This short video captures one of her notable oddities: aversion to walking on a leash. But once she finally gets going, her little waddle is completely endearing.

Marehaven Farm Horses: Kelton

June 20, 2015

Kelton’s Photo Gallery

1993 Percheron/TB mare. 16.2h

When I bought Kelton in 2003, she was my absolute once-in-a-lifetime dream horse. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. She had been successfully shown at Second Level and was wonderfully easy to ride, light on the aids and very cooperative. She still remembers all of her training and would gladly offer to do what she knows, but about nine months after I brought her home I discovered that she has an old suspensory ligament injury, which limits her quite a bit. I’ve tried having it injected and giving her stall rest with light hand-walking, but each time I’ve tried to bring her back, the old injury would show up again.

I decided to just put her out on pasture because I couldn’t bear to part with her, and about two years later I noticed that she was starting to look sound. So I’ve been slowly bringing her back into work, to see how it goes. She’s doing very well at Training Level work, although I’m not yet doing a lot of schooling at the canter. I’m hoping we can do some schooling shows this summer at Training Level Tests 3 and 4, and then who knows, maybe in another year we can try First Level! But I’ll continue to go easy. No hard-core “dressage queen” riding for the Princess! She’ll also get plenty of “mental health breaks” in the form of trail riding.

Kelton’s Blog

more “Marehaven Farm Horses: Kelton”

Marehaven Farm Horses: Belle

June 18, 2015

Belle’s Photo Album

Short Creek’s Wedding Belle

1998 registered Norwegian Fjord mare. 14.1h

I adore Belle! She’s an energizer pony, and she loves trail riding. She’s very sweet and friendly and always seems up for an adventure. We’re doing a little low level dressage schooling with her, and I might want to take her to a schooling show one day, but her main purpose in life is to carry me down the trails (and to make me laugh!)

Belle’s Blog

Belle gets lonely (and Hearts and Horses benefit ride)

Posted on: April 29, 2008

Poor Belle. Every time I go to get Kelton out to ride, which has been nearly ever day recently, Belle comes to the pasture gate and looks eager to get out and do something too. The friend who had been trail riding her with me has been busy doing other things, so poor Belle has been neglected. I haven’t had the opportunity to take her trail riding myself, and

I don’t want to do much with her in the arena until after she’s had some dressage training. But I’ll be getting her out soon, on the Hearts and Horses benefit ride on May 3rd. If you’d like to make a donation to Hearts and Horses to “sponsor” my ride, please go to this page. Thanks!

Muddy ride in Larimer County

Posted on February 10, 2008

Just got back from riding the Blue Sky Trail in Larimer County, which weaves around an inlet off of Horsetooth Reservoir. Nice trail but seriously muddy! Belle practiced her mud skiing skills a few times but did quite well considering the wide load she had to balance!

Good lessons – with Belle

Posted on: December 10, 2007

I also took Belle for a lesson with the same instructor to get some help with encouraging Belle to relax. Ivy is just green, but Belle is confused, and I’m not sure why. I had some success working through her confusion by riding her regularly when I first got her, but then I gave her a year off to have and raise her filly and didn’t start riding her again until this past summer. And then I mostly took her on trails.

She’s super on the trails but gets tense and worried in the arena, as though she thinks I’m going to ask her to do something like run barrels or chase cows — and I’ve never done any such thing! She will start trotting and then go faster and faster, even if I use smaller circles to slow her down, so then I sometimes end up using a fairly abrupt one-rein stop. I don’t like doing that, and it’s not helping her relax, but I can’t seem to stop her otherwise!

So the instructor helped me break down what was probably going on for Belle and showed me what to do when she started to get nervous or tense. Belle is emotionally complicated for a Fjord, but that also means she has the potential to be pretty light and responsive (if we can work through the confusion).

We worked in a large circle the whole time and kept things very simple, working on concepts at the walk and trot, and by the end I was amazed by the improvement in Belle. Not only was she more relaxed, she was moving much better than I thought she could, with longer strides, a round frame, and softness in her neck. I was so delighted! Belle is by far the most comfortable horse I’ve ever ridden, but I would say that the quality of her movement is just “OK.” However, if I can get her to move like I did in the lesson, then I’d say we would probably do well at Training Level — provided she’s relaxed and on the aids and all those other things!

I look forward to taking more lessons after the holiday break.

Marehaven Farm Horses: Ivy

June 16, 2015

Ivy’s Photo Album

Sulphur Springs Vera (Ivy)

(Anvil’s Steinfinn x Ashwood Valina)
2002 registered Norwegian Fjord mare. 14.1h

Ivy is such a sweetheart! She is one of the smartest and friendliest horses I’ve worked with, and she likes to think of herself as being extremely helpful around the farm. If only she could actually hold a hammer!

Ivy’s Blog Posts

Heated indoor arena

Posted on: January 09, 2008

My friend Jane and I took the Fjords to the indoor arena at the fairgrounds this morning to ride during their “open riding” session. Ah, how nice to get out and ride again! The weather has not been very cooperative. We were both dressed for frigid temps because we didn’t realize that the indoor would be heated. It was rather toasty in there.

Neither Belle nor Ivy had been ridden since I took lessons on them in early December, but they were both very well behaved, especially considering they’d never been there before. There were several other riders there, all on Quarter Horses, and one of the QHs was a little freaked out by the Fjords. He kept staring at them as if he couldn’t quite make out what the heck those little mohawk ponies were! Pretty funny. But it reminded me that whenever I take the Fjords somewhere, they’re going to end up being “ambassadors” for the breed just because the breed is so rare. So they better continue being well behaved!

The county just opened up this morning “open riding” session, and we plan to make good use of it in the future!

Good lessons – with Ivy

Posted: December 10, 2007

I took Ivy for a lesson with a local Fjord breeder who has a natural horsemanship and classical dressage background, and she really helped us along. Ivy is pretty green when it comes to arena basics, like bending to the inside and leg yielding, and the instructor helped me simplify what I was asking for so that Ivy could more easily comply.

Ivy was completely at ease in the new location and remained her lively, friendly self. She didn’t even mind when another horse left the indoor arena just as she was arriving; she just went to work. What a good girl!

Finding the Right Fit: An Animated Love Story

June 1, 2015

The personal experience that prompted this story is fairly specific, but I hope I’ve created it in a way that broadens who it might apply to.

Here’s the inside scoop: I never really fit in among straight people because even though I looked like them, I didn’t think like them. Likewise, the first group the main character in the story encounters shares her coloring, but their thoughts take unfamiliar shapes.

I also never really fit in among lesbians because even though their thoughts were often familiar to me, I didn’t look like them. Likewise, the second group in the story shares thoughts in the same shape as the main character’s, but their solid coloring is different.

It wasn’t until I met my partner that I found someone I could relate to on both levels: neither of us fits in with conventional “straight” or “lesbian” ways of thinking or being, which makes us a good fit for each other!

(I’m likely to continue working on this story, so this is just the first “take”)

#FemmeFails: New Coworker, Old Assumptions

February 22, 2015

Here’s another comic I made in Pixton, this time as a sample for my Rhetoric of Gender & Sexuality students. I wanted to show one of the many subtle ways people still reinforce gender norms, often without meaning to.

The embedded preview below shows the first few panels. View the full comic on Pixton.

To show students how to plan a comic, I wrote the script first. Once I worked out the details in the script, it was quick and easy to transform it into a comic.

SCENE: Caroline joins her new coworker, Sara, for drinks after work

SETTING: Inside coffee shop, late afternoon

ESTABLISHING SHOT: Both women seated on either side of a cafe table, with drinks on the table

Caroline (happy): “Thanks for joining me. I’ve been wanting to get to know better since you joined our team.”

Sara (pleased): “Thanks for inviting me. I look forward to getting to know everyone.”

Caroline (curious): “So, tell me about your family. What does your husband do?”

Sara (still pleasant): “Um, I don’t have a husband.”

Caroline (surprised): “Oh. But you’re wearing a wedding ring.”

Sara (close up on ring): “Well, yes. I’m married.”

Caroline (confused): “Then how can you not have a husband?”

Sara (slightly impatient): “Because I have a wife.”

Caroline (perplexed, to herself): “Huh.”

Caroline (slightly shocked): “But you don’t look like a lesbian.”

Sara (annoyed, to herself): “… sigh …”

Meet the Queen’s Royal Court Members

February 20, 2015

I’m working on a series of comics that introduce my internal “cast of characters,” which I’ve set up as though they’re members of a Queen’s Court (with Queen Grace at the head).

The comic below introduces you to each of the characters I’ve created thus far. I’m working on separate comics that feature each character in more detail. You can find them on my Pixton page.

Halloween & gender norms in grad school: Drag queen tributes and #butchfail

November 4, 2014

In my previous post I wrote about my experience with Halloween and gender norms in college.

Fast forward to 1994.  I was in grad school and spent a lot of time at an LGBT goth club (as the only lesbian among loads of pale and moody gay and bi men).  Halloween was like the High Holy Day for that crowd, but the costume I remember most was worn by a drag queen who came to the club decked out in black Doc Martens, semi-opaque black tights, cutoff jean shorts, a purple body suit, and a black velvet choker, with her hair done up in a twist in the back with a large section of long curls framing the side of her face*.

As soon as she saw me and shrieked, “Do you like it, girlfriend?  This is my tribute to your fabulous outfits!”  Apparently I tended to wear variations on the same theme to the club each week, but at least that made me recognizable enough for a drag queen to dress up as me!

* This isn’t a great photo, but it’s the only one I have that shows how I used to wear my hair to the club.  I was impressed that the drag queen nailed this part!

me-syracuse-goth-club-dress

My costume for that year was considerably less recognizable than the drag queen’s, as I took on the theme of “dress as you aren’t” and attempted to go butch, but not very convincingly:

me-butch-come-as-you-arent-300px

But about a year later, I moved to San Francisco, cut my hair short, and started wearing men’s clothes on a regular basis, and I still don’t know what that was about.  Just a “butch phase,” I guess!  (I refer to it as “The Year of Living Androgynously.”)

me-andro-SF-improved

(The original photo was too dark, so I tried to improve it using Fotor’s vintage effect and a few tricks in Pixelmator.  But this was the best I could do.  I’ve long since lost the original, so I can’t make a better scan of it.)