Monday works roundup, 2/22 (She-Ra, Valkyrie Drive, Hellsing, webcomics)

But I’m A Cat Person
Torted Up – remix (wallpaper | Kara Lynn, Poe, Patrick, Reseda, Cybele | worksafe)
Re-Cover-ing Patrick (cover art | Sparrow, Bianca, Patrick | worksafe)
Under-Cover Poe (cover art | Poe, Miranda | worksafe)
Dis-Cover-ed Kara Lynn (cover art | Kara Lynn, Jany | worksafe)
Cover-ed All Bases Cybele (cover art | Bennett, Cybele | worksafe)
Ten Year Reunion (art | Bianca, Jany, Sparrow, Timothy | Camellia, Miranda, Dr. Rosen, Dr. Gaillard, Dr. Köhler, Cohen, Bennett | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
January 2021 speedpaint (Making Of video for daily strips, spoilers)
Pillows (wallpaper | Hermosa/Dex | NSFWish)
Agent Frenemies (sketch | Dexie, Del | worksafe)
Ferret Chair-it (sketch | Ragnild, Ketil | worksafe)
Character Height Chart 7 (art | Red through Purple | worksafe)

Hellsing/Leif & Thorn
Character vs Inspiration – Lulen and Sigrún (comic | Seras, Lulen, Integra, Sigrún | G)

She-Ra/Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid
Kitty Helms (art | Mirei, Adora | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
The Astrologian (reward art, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Annotated reruns of the full series, now on chapter 2!

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Hermosa is super duper lost. Won’t someone come save him?

Why I’m still using a 20-year-old art program (not exclusively, but still…a lot)

Three months after this post about getting a new computer, and things are going swimmingly. There was a building issue for a while with a Mysterious Hidden Process steadily filling up hard drive space, but this forum post had the fix, and poof, my free space went from 29 GB back to 129 GB.

I also did a writeup about Paint Shop Pro 7 back around that time, and figured it deserved its own post.

And hey, it pairs really well with this recording of the strip-creation process! Not quite start-to-finish, but most of the “cleanup-flats-shading-effects” process. (Light Quarantine Flashback spoilers.)

Programs you’ll see in use:

  • Legacy version of PSP: cropping, lineart cleanup, flats
  • Newest version Clip Studio Paint: tiled patterns, perspective effects, anything that uses nice brushes or complex assets
  • Either: shading, adjustment layers
  • Legacy (pre-subscription-model) version of Photoshop: files saved by Clip are just different enough to be unreadable to PSP, but re-saving them in PS fixes that

And here are the functions of PSP that make it extra-useful for basic comic-strip operations, i.e. the reasons I’ll keep using the program as long as it will run…

  • Opens real fast. Not as much of a bonus since I got the high-powered New Computer, which can even open Photoshop quickly, but still nice
  • Lets you paste on the layer you’re working on. I do a lot of “copy this bit of the lineart and paste it over that other part,” and if they generated a new layer every time, I’d be constantly stopping to merge them all
  • Same with adding text  — which I write in another program, so it can be insta-copied as text into a transcript (I fully expect Clip Studio to add an “export all text into a plaintext file” option one day, it’s such an accessibility gimme!, but we’re not there yet)
  • Lets you paste a selection with one color erased to transparency. Lots of white backgrounds I get to auto-erase
  • Color/pattern settings don’t have to be universal, they can be different for every tool. So there’s a lot less referring back to the palette — you can just pair 2 lineart colors with the pen, 2 flat colors with the bucket, 2 shading colors with the brush, and then one-click switch between all of them
  • Keyboard-shortcut instant toggle between layers. Based on their order, regardless of layer names (lowest is ctrl+1, next is ctrl+2, etc). Working on one layer when you notice something needs fixing on another — toggle over, fix it, toggle back, without your eyes/cursor/attention being pulled away to rifle through the layer window
  • Switching between “view all layers” and “view current layer” also has an instant shortcut. No matter how many layers you have, pick one and see it alone in a couple of clicks, no need to go through and individually hide all the rest
  • This one isn’t about PSP working better, since Clip and Photoshop both have much more powerful vector tools…but PSP draws 99.9% of the lines I need that for, and it’s the one I already know, which saves me the effort of getting used to a whole new “click these points and drag those handles to generate this curve you have in mind” system

I could make a whole list of features where Clip and/or Photoshop have a fancier version, which is useful when I need to get fancy, but for a lot of these average daily operations, it’s overkill.

So: Clip has all these sophisticated content-aware fills — great, but you don’t need any of them to handle black-and-white lineart. Photoshop will let you do all this precise warping and twisting of vector text — sure, but I don’t need Fisheye Perspective Skew for the “click” of a door opening, just a little tilt and it’s fine. Both of them have amazing brushes; I don’t need any of them for basic cel-shading, it’s all covered by “freehand selection” and “multiply fill.” And so on.

And listen, if you got your start in CSP or PS (or any of the freeware programs still being updated), and learned digital-art skills there from the ground up, your workflow probably developed to fit that program anyway. So maybe none of this sounds like a huge improvement on what you’re used to.

But if it might be valuable, or sounds intriguing, or you feel like trying something new, or you’re just really into retro programs by defunct companies that are so well-coded they still run after 20 years and 5 OS upgrades…I’m gonna leave this link here. Have at it.

Monday works roundup, 2/1 (Wizard of Oz, Hello from the Magic Tavern, Leif & Thorn)

Leif & Thorn
Montmere, cliffside (art | scenery | worksafe)
Hermosa in Pink (art | Hermosa | worksafe)
Unnamed Goose Girl (art | trickster | worksafe)
2020 in Leif and Thorn (art meme, worksafe)
Midnight snow (wallpaper | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Delphinium in gold trim (art | Del | worksafe)

Hello from the Magic Tavern
Hall Passes & Badgie Huggies (fic | Chunt/Arnie, Arnie/Sarah, Chunt/Twosidore, Usidore | T)

Wizard of Oz
Five Earth Gifts Dorothy Brought Home (fic | Dorothy/Ozma, Eureka, Jack | T)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Annotated reruns of the full series, currently on chapter 1!

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
This is not Hermosa’s beautiful house. This is not his beautiful spouse.

Mostly Trump and COVID, but if you skip to the end there’s a cute dog story

“Four years ago as a candidate, President Trump made more than 280 campaign promises. Let’s see how he did.” A nice succinct roundup. (Takeaway: he succeeded at “appointing conservative judges,” and with all the others he either did nothing, or did the exact opposite.)

June 3: “The Postal Service’s struggles began in the early 2000s. In 2005, Congress imposed an unprecedented austerity measure on the agency which required USPS to pre-fund retirement benefits 75 years in the future, including for employees who have not even been born yet. No other government agency or corporation operates in such a manner, and the move left the USPS woefully strapped for funding.

June 29: “Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials […] that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States.” I mean…this isn’t news. But none of you could’ve brought this up at the [first] impeachment? Really?

Reinforced by this interview with Trump’s first SecState, Rex Tillerson, January 11: “I used to go into meetings with a list of four to five things I needed to talk to him about, and I quickly learned that if I got to three, it was a home run, and I realized getting two that were meaningful was probably the best objective. So I began to adjust what I went into a meeting with and what I attempted to explain and describe, and then I started taking charts and pictures with me because I found that those seemed to hold his attention better. If I could put a photo or a picture in front of him or a map or a piece of paper that had two big bullet points on it, he would focus on that, and I could build on that. Just sitting and trying to have a conversation as you and I are having just doesn’t work.”

September 30: “And that’s why, despite all the religious flourishes that Trump himself views as weird — the prayer, the God-talk, the laying-on of hands — Trump likes having them around. People like Paula White and Jerry Falwell Jr. and Robert Jeffress and Eric Metaxas reassure Trump that he’s right about the world — that everything is transactional, and competitive, and profit-seeking, and that anything else is merely a sucker’s dream.”

November 17: “Neely Petrie-Blanchard, a Kentucky resident, had long ago lost custody of her daughters […] she turned to Chris Hallett, an amateur legal expert who offered bogus court services through a company called “E-Clause,” and who promised Petrie-Blanchard she could win her daughters back through ludicrous courtroom tactics he borrowed from the anti-government sovereign citizen’s movement. […] On Sunday night, Hallett was found face down in the kitchen of his central Florida home, bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds to his back.” A bit of QAnon intramural violence.

December 8: “After the boasting and gloating from Trump about the successes of Operation Warp Speed, his administration’s project to fastrack a Covid-19 vaccine, the failure to option enough of the vaccine, even after promising early results, is perplexing. It will also leave the U.S. short: 100 million doses, while significant, is only enough to immunize 50 million people, and with only one other vaccine at the regulatory stage of development in the U.S., developed by Moderna, supply will almost certainly outstrip demand as vaccination programs get underway.”

Some of the inevitable fallout, January 15: “States were anticipating a windfall after federal officials said they would stop holding back second doses. But the approach had already changed, and no stockpile exists.”

December 10: “”There are things we can do to prevent what we are seeing, and so many people believe this is a hoax and this is politically motivated,” [the intensive care doctor with the Cleveland Clinic] said. “The truth is, I don’t get to look away. Every day when I go to work, I know that I am going to have to put multiple patients on ventilators, and when I put those patients on ventilators, I am at risk every single time. I could also die from this.”

December 27: “Getty Images is a major photo agency that has worked hard to get its photographers into hospitals, with only rare success. “For every thousand calls or emails, you maybe get three yeses,” said Sandy Ciric, the agency’s director of photography. “Sometimes we even had the CEO say, ‘This is great, yes, we want coverage,’ and then someone tells them no and they change their mind.”” Why we’ve seen so few photos documenting the COVID crisis in hospitals.

Okay, one nice thing, they had a ceremony for Biden’s dog: “People logged on from across the country to watch the “Indoguration,” which raised over $100,000 for the DHA, a nonprofit no-kill animal care and adoption center. Participants had the chance to nominate their own animals for a position in Major’s cabinet. Organizers collected over 700 nominations for the title of Secretary of Rescue Dogs.”

It’s probably going to keep turning out that this attack was worse than we knew

NYT provides some fascinating perspective on who’s tried to do this before, and for almost exactly the same reasons: “In the confusion that followed Wednesday’s desecration of the Capitol, it was widely reported that the last time the building was stormed was in 1814. That overlooked a desperate day in 1861, nearly as lethal to democracy. On Feb. 13, a mob gathered outside the Capitol and tried to force its way in to disrupt the counting of the electoral certificates that would confirm Abraham Lincoln’s election three months earlier.”

There was at least one bit of sabotage done before the riots, which probably means there’s more to be found: “As people rushed out of other buildings on the Capitol grounds, staffers in [Ayanna] Pressley’s office barricaded the entrance with furniture and water jugs that had piled up during the pandemic. [Her chief of staff] Groh pulled out gas masks and looked for the special panic buttons in the office. ‘Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit.’

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA): “The Capitol police with us seemed very confused about who had the key to the doors. They were closed, but we weren’t sure if they were locked, and we were yelling, “Lock the doors! Lock the doors!” We heard shots being fired, presumably into the chamber.”

Jason Crow (D-CO, veteran): “I called my wife. I told her I loved her and told the kids I loved them and told my wife I might have to fight my way out. […] I did a double-check of all the doors, made sure they were locked. Escorted the more senior members away from the doors, moving them into a defensive position. Asked folks to take off their member pins so that if the mobs break down the doors, the members would be harder to identify. I took a pen out of my pocket to possibly use as a weapon.”

Nancy Pelosi talks about her young staffers, who knew what to do from their school active-shooter drills: “The staff went under the table, barricaded the door, turned out the lights, and were silent in the dark.” “Under the table this whole–” “–under the table for two and a half hours.”

“Moments later, there was yelling in the gallery, as staff and security details started to move around with a heightened sense of alarm. Inside the chamber, news photographers that Pelosi (D-Calif.) had allowed in to capture the historic electoral vote at the dais instead turned around and trained their cameras toward the doors in the back of the chamber.”

Same article: “Capitol police had said previously they didn’t need help, but Bowdich decided he couldn’t wait for a formal invitation. […] These teams typically gather at a staging area off-site to coordinate and plan, and then rush together to the area where they are needed. Bowdich told their commander there was no time.”

Less-reported-on, ordinary people throughout the city also had to hide from rioters wreaking havoc: “[In DC], a city long shaped by hardworking Black Americans and immigrants, the terror unfolded at home, forcing residents to lock themselves behind closed doors or commute from work through downtown streets filled with throngs of white supremacists and law enforcement officials who have often been openly hostile toward their communities. “

Meanwhile: “As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building.”

BuzzFeed News spoke to two Black officers who described a harrowing day in which they were forced to endure racist abuse — including repeatedly being called the n-word — as they tried to do their job of protecting the Capitol building, and by extension the very functioning of American democracy. The officers said they were wrong-footed, fighting off an invading force that their managers had downplayed and not prepared them for. “

The officer initially scopes out the door, sees it’s not guarded, and tries to block the way. More rioters pour up the stairs after them, and the officer seems to go with a new strategy – he shoves the first rioter, pissing him off, and then leads the whole mob the other way.” One specific black officer uses himself as bait for racists. Get this man a medal, please.

Not to forget the other cops whose behavior that day deserves to be recognized:”Two Capitol Police officers have been suspended and one has been arrested following the riots at the U.S. Capitol.”

And: “As investigators seek to identify rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, police departments in Virginia and Washington state have placed officers on leave as authorities examine whether they took part in unlawful acts while off-duty.”

hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent…this you?”

Some fallout:

At least one known-COVID-positive rioter identified among the chaotic and unmasked crowd. Inside, several Republicans sheltering-in-place refused to put masks on; presumably they aren’t getting tested afterward, or won’t reveal the results if they are. Meanwhile, Democrats who were forced to share the room with them are starting to report positive tests.

“Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.” Contains a few choice screenshots of Parler-hosted content, for anyone who’s unclear about what Amazon considers a ToS violation.

“One member [of Congress, being briefed on plans for future riots] was explicit that these groups were trying to get journalists to report on their demonstrations. ‘Some of their main communications to organize these have been cut off, so they’re purposely trying to get the media to report on this as a way to further disseminate information and to attract additional support for their attacks.'”

Sadly, the graphic about Olive Garden canceling Lifetime Pasta Passes for various rioters and their supporters turns out to be a joke.

As is this resignation letter from the Death Star: “Destroying planets and using fear of this battle station to keep the local systems in line was my No. 1 passion until — about 30 seconds ago, weirdly! That was when I saw the X-wings that had evaded our turbo-lasers and were proceeding down a trench toward our vulnerable thermal exhaust port — and realized I had to speak up. I thought: What if remorselessly destroying planets isn’t my passion? What if my real passion is staying alive and avoiding the consequences of my actions?