Monday, May 12, 2014

April Art Round-Up

Since I shared my March art explosion with you all last month, I thought you might be interested to see what I was artistically up to in April.  Unfortunately, due to the loss of our wonderful pet and a very very (very) busy work schedule, I wasn't quite as creatively productive during my lunch breaks.  So instead of an art explosion, here is my April art-poof. 

I continued my animal sketch project with this happy fellow:

Then I decided to attempt something brand new.  I've always wanted to try a lineless, cut-paper illustration style, and I was in the mood to make some fan art.  A good deal of trial and error later brought me to this:

If you play The Legend of Zelda video games, then you know this is the main character's trusty steed, Epona, and fairy friend, Navi.  (And if you didn't know that, you should play the games anyway because they are all sorts of awesome.)  This style was quite challenging, but a fun experiment!  As I was adding the final touches, though, I realized I'd made a tragic error back when I set up the file.  (You know, before I even started drawing.)  A tragic, not-easily-fixable error.

And that made me crabby.  Very crabby.  So I drew this:

Arguably, most of April made me crabby...

Crabby Crab made me feel a bit better, so I put on my big girl panties and went back to fix my tragic error of the Epona and Navi piece.  The process was lengthy (and rather crabby), but everything turned out okay in the end, and I actually like the piece better now than how it looked before.  I don't think this will turn into my go-to style, but I'm definitely going to experiment with it some more in the future! 

And I shall never (ever) make that tragic mistake again.  (Or Crabby Crab will return...)

(Note: Epona, Navi and The Legend of Zelda are (c) Nintendo.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Ferret Retrospection: Part 2

It pains me that the time has already come to write another post remembering the life of a beloved pet.  You may recall that back in October, I wrote about the passing of our ferret, Link.  Sadly, on April 1, just shy of six months after Link passed away, we lost our other ferret, Butters.

While it's never easy to lose a furry family member, Butters' passing hit us hard.  The loss of Link was still too fresh, and we had hardly settled into solo ferret life.  Link was always sickly, and we'd felt lucky that we got to spend almost five years with him when it was a miracle he even lived to see his first birthday.  But Butters was always as healthy as could be--a fat, fluffy, happy little fellow.  We thought we would spend the next few years enjoying his antics and his company.  Unfortunately, as is common with ferrets, he fell victim to cancer and went downhill so very, very fast.  We tried to save him with surgery, but there was nothing they could do.

I can take comfort in the fact we did everything we could, and that he and his brother weren't apart for very long.

I can happily say that everyone who met Butters loved him.  He was a charming little guy--so well-behaved and good-natured.  This picture truly sums him up:

"Goofball" was his middle name, and he lived up to it.  He never failed to bring a smile to my face every time I saw him.  There are so many things I miss about my sweet boy:  How he would waddle through our house without a care in his pretty little head, bonking into walls left and right.  His ability to became a big, fluffy butterball each winter.  How he would climb back into his cage during playtime for a potty and snack break.  His utter-obsession with his jack toy.

For some unknown reason, this plushie, jingly jack was his sole treasure since he was a kit.  He didn't play with it; he didn't chew on it.  Quite frankly, he didn't seem to do anything with it.  But every time he saw it, he just had to squirrel it away as fast as ferrety possible just so no one else could have it.  Link was always the master thief, stealing everything he could get his paws on, but even he didn't mess with Butters' jack. 

Towards the end of Butters' life, Link's thieving ways seemed to finally rub off on him.  (But perhaps that's just because there had never been any items left for the poor guy to steal during Link's reign.)  He became a champion sock-swiper, pilfered our pillows, and even tried to steal my robe with me still wearing it.  With ambitions like that, who knows what he would have tried to steal next!

Butters wasn't crafty, or sneaky, or swift, or slinky.  But he was silly, clumsy, cheerful, and adorable.  He was a good ferret.

My life is quite a bit quieter and emptier without those rambunctious fuzzballs, and now there are two ferret-sized holes in my heart.  I've also found myself facing an unforeseen question:  How do you keep writing a book called Pirate Ferret when you don't have any ferrets? 

I suppose that's a casualty for anyone who writes animal fantasies inspired by their own critters.  While I typed the tale of my fictional Tentacles, it never occurred to me that I'd someday have to face this sad scenario.  I was too busy having fun with my real-life pirate ferrets to think about what would happen when they were gone.  While I'm confident ferrets will come into my life again in the future, my heart (and unfortunately, my wallet) say that time is not now. 

It may just take me a little while to find an answer to that tough question.

While I regret that we didn't get to spend more time with Butters, I am grateful for the five and a half years he filled our house with laughter and fun.  We gave him the very best life we could, and he gave us joy.  (And sometimes ultra-rare ferret kisses.)  I will always miss my fuzzy little buddy.