Month of Monsters: Olga the Nosy

"Well," said Olga, waggling a knowing eyebrow. "I heard that Mr. Coffmin, seeing as he was never fond of Mrs. Coffmin's treacle tart, so guess what he did, he fed it to the chickens!

"As anyone who's anyone knows, chickens are dreadfully allergic to treacle. Turns out he poisoned the whole flock! Oh, I heard the misses was ever so shocked to find all her hens belly up. He didn't tell her about the tart, you see. Instead he told her he heard that the vampire moths were extra bad this year and that he reckoned that's what got them.

"I hear she now spends the night in the coop with the replacement hens with a bunch of garlic and a fly swatter.

"At least that's what I heard. What did you hear?"

Original art for sale.



MaAH Illustration: Doppin


Initial digital sketch.


Beginning to ink the piece digitally.


Final image.

Yesterday, P.G. Holyfield released some exciting news about his novel, Murder at Avedon Hill. It's going to be published though Dragon Moon Press.  As a fan of the story (and friend of the author) I couldn't be happier for Patrick. As I've said upon numerous occasions, it's a wonderful story and it deserves any and all recognition it receives. So, big congrats! I can hardly wait for its new release. You can see the official press release here. He also released a special announcement episode, here.


I was going to wait to post this image when the corresponding episode of MaAH was released, but with the recent good news, I figured now was as good a time as any.

Patrick asked me a while ago if I would be interested in doing another image for one of the last chapters. I, of course, jumped at the suggestion. The image itself was left open to whatever scene I wanted to do. After refreshing myself on the events of the applicable chapters, I sent a few ideas off to Patrick. From that correspondence we decided on this image (as to prevent any major spoilers of the plot).

For this illustration I decided to do the whole thing digitally. This method worked well for the last MaAH illustration I did, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to expand my digital art skills.

The first image is a rough concept sketch for what I had in mind. That was approved. I then moved on to the inking.  The great thing about working digitally, I found, was that if I made a mistake at any point, I could easily redo or adjust the image. In this case, I found that I had placed the arm in an awkward position.  I also noticed that the eye position was a bit off. So, I just moved everything around a bit until I was satisfied.

For coloring I shaded with sharp lines of different color shades rather than doing a blended shading. The only reason for this was that I hadn't really used that technique much and wanted more experience. Plus, I like the look. I also changed the color of the ink for the spirits from the original black to a light blue. This was done using a clipping mask layer (in Photoshop) under the ink layer. During the coloring of the spirits, I also found they needed more detail, so I added some swirls and additional line details. To get the spirits to look transparent, I filled them with color on a separate layer, then reduced the opacity of the layer.

The hardest part of the coloring, oddly enough, was the background. I was having trouble getting a texture and color that I really liked. After adding several textured layers and tweaking the color settings, I finally found a combination that I liked, while also matching the described scene in the story.

New Fuzzy Slug URL

Just so y'all know, I have registered the domain. Right now Blogger is converting the old blogspot address to the new one. However, eventually I see myself moving to Word Press as I am out growing the Blogger features. So, I since I don't want to loose anyone along the way, please update any links you have. Thanks! :-)

The Best Fake Medieval Castle

This is a photo of Châteaux Haut-Koenigsbourg near Orschwiller, France. There is actually an interesting story that goes along with this castle (and why the title of this post is what it is). The castle's documented history dates back to the 1100's. The ownership of the castle passed hands a few times before being destroyed in 1462 by a coalition of forces from Strasbourg, Colmar, and Basle. It was then rebuilt in 1479 by the Thierstein brothers. They improved upon the design of the castle by adapting the structure for artillery. In 1517 the last of the Thiersteins died out and the castle passed hands once again to Maximilian I. At this time the castle began to fall into disrepair. In 1633 the dilapidated fortress was taken by the Swedes in their war with Austria during the Thirty Years' War. A few days later what was left of the castle was destroyed by a fire. In 1899, the castle was given as a gift from the town of Selestat to German emperor Wilhelm II. In 1900 work began to restore the castle to the state it was in before the Thirty Years' War. Architect and archaeologist, Bodo Ebhardt, took on the task of restoration from historical accounts and documents. Since some information was lacking, Bodo improvised where necessary, trying to keep accurate to medieval construction. The result was fairly accurate as recent historians have determined. So, in reality it's not completely fake, just mostly. ;)

It turned out (as I later discovered) that artist John Howe was participating in a small documentary on the artist, Leo Schnug (who painted the interior paintings of the castle) the day before we visited. Here's the preview if you know French. If not, well, just pretend. ;)

Technical Details
Camera: Nikon D50
Aperture Value: f/11
Exposure Program: Program
Focal Length: 18 mm
Metering Mode: Multi-Segment
ISO: 200
Shutter Speed Value: 1/320 sec

Aww… it’s such a cute little city

Friday night we went down to OMSI and took some photos of downtown Portland at night. This is taken from the east back of the Willamette river looking west along the Portland Esplanade. I think that is Venus in the upper left corner.

Technical Details
Camera: Nikon D50
Aperture Value: f/8
Exposure Program: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18 mm
Metering Mode: Multi-Segment
ISO: 200
Shutter Speed Value: 1/0 sec