Art and cammy.somnol

I’ll explain this more when we get to the final post, but a real big reason I’m shutting down the Scratchpad is because I just want to go back to basics with my web stuff. I’ve been really fuzzy over archives lately; all our old sites are kept there in full working order, without any of the slowness that Wayback Machine crawls always have. Thus, they feel less like “wow, remember that” and more like old friends that can still be visited like they never disappeared. It pairs really well with your old iPod Touch 5 your friend motivated you to dig out.

Part of the shuffle is gonna be centered around cammy.somnol. Last year or so, there was a lot of interest in the group around the idea of smaller, more personal sites under our more personal aliases. dcb started his “digital garden” at lince.somnol, and Devon’s planning to use devon.somnol (as opposed to, her “main” site) for more experimental purposes as well.

I liked the idea well enough! The problem was that I spent 2021 depressed, and the desire to do anything besides be spergy about Guitar Hero was just not happening.

I had no ideas for what cammy.somnol was actually going to look like. My first two attempts at cammy.somnol, I hated. One was built using FrontPage Express, and I think I extrapolated out the current one from dicking around in RetroZilla Composer. Here’s what that looks like for future reference:

cammy.somnol as of writing this post
Click for full-sized, of course.

Man, this embarrasses me now. There’s no structure to the layout, no layout even to speak of. I remember wanting welcome text on this page–that never happened. Although I still love that drawing of Cammy, I really did just swipe it from Caby randomly to fill space because I certainly wasn’t drawing comfortably yet. The about page was all super forced “old furry” stuff too, even when I like some of what I put on it! (Fur code is staying, by the way. No worries.)

It just felt impersonal, really. It didn’t feel like anything I particularly loved or anything specific about me, just something I put together when my mind was elsewhere. The idea deserves so much better, because honestly, cammy.somnol feels like my true homepage. Yet, whenever I want to look at something, I use the URLs and skip the homepage entirely. That sucks.

And that’s the saving grace of cammy.somnol. The pages are great! I love all the stuff I’ve cobbled together. Game recommendations, pages on the differences between MP3 encoders with sample clips, pages on weird childhood obsessions of mine. I think the content is lovely. I just hate the presentation.

So enough preamble. Today, I’m gonna be blanking out the front and about page and over the coming weeks, I’ll be redoing all the page layouts to make them a lot more developed and more personal to me. Now that I’m drawing regularly, I want my art to be front and center across the thing, and now that I’m feeling infinitely better than I did, I want it all to feel handcrafted and tailor-made to the purpose, which is my, not mari’s, homepage on the internet.

Since this may be the only time I get to post art on here before the Scratchpad gets archived, here’s the Setter that’ll greet you when you hit that temp page:

Setter holding a sign telling visitors what's going on!

I really wasn’t feeling doing this one before I did it. Even though I’ve known I’ve wanted to draw this exact drawing for weeks now, I wasn’t sure when I’d get to it, and that kinda sucked because I want to pull down those pages as soon as humanly possible. This is only the second time I’ve drawn a Setter–and I wasn’t too comfortable with him the first time I did it, and I think it showed. (Only Caby saw it. I’m glad I have her to show stuff privately to.)

But then I drank some water and cranked this out in ten minutes. I keep surprising myself. I really like it. I’ve figured out how my hair works–and that’s thanks to Wyn, really! (Wyn in a moment.) Our hair works fairly similarly, mine’s just bwoofier. Start at the hairline instead of the side of the face and extrapolate out. Hair never works the same way twice (certainly mine in real life doesn’t), so it’s okay to make it up a bunch as you go along.

Art for me right now is a funny thing. I still get pangs of “man, I don’t know if I can pull that off yet”–but I surprise myself. I realized a few weeks ago that I can’t really wait until I’m at some arbitrary skill level to draw the things I have in my head that excite me. Not only will they never get drawn, not only will I burn out on stuff I don’t want to draw getting there, but drawing these things is my practice. I don’t doodle (currently), I don’t ~practice~ all that much. I just want to draw something and I draw it. That might change someday, but it’s how it works now.

It’s really easy, when you start drawing, to want to do it correctly. For 85% of your workflow, there is no “correctly”. There’s only what’s natural. You never know what feels natural if you don’t figure that out. For Devon, she sketches in blue pencil on paper and lines traditionally (with real ink!), and then gets rid of the blue in an image editor. borb’s sketches still occasionally come out like fully finished lineart. Neither of these are anything like how Caby works, yet they all draw lovely things. It’s what comes natural to them.

Even though I’ve cribbed a lot from Caby so far, I still don’t work like her, nor do I want to. She’s figured out her own crazy distinct, highly expressive path forwards through art that works for her, but it’s not the same as how anyone else does it, me, or the other more experienced artists in the group. We all have our quirks and what we’re comfortable with. Confidence and selling the drawing honestly matter a lot more than raw technique, especially for amateur anthro art.

Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t take good advice if it works for you. One thing she does that I absolutely love is the “color outline” method of coloring, where you apply base colors by drawing out the rough perimeter of where that color sits in the drawing on a new layer and then filling it in. It’s highly efficient, and it’s infinitely better than what I did for that first Dai I did last year (which I can’t wait to redraw). Art is fake and making art is all experimentation and going with it. It’s all about finding what’s comfortable for you.

Sleepy, leaning Wyn with a real 90s background,,,

I still really like this Wyn, so I’m gonna post him here too. Many firsts in all these drawings, but especially this one. First time I resized the sketch before I lined it (so it’s actually a decent size), first time I signed and added some kinda background to a drawing, first time drawing shoes! (They’re hard.) Still really proud of this. Eyebrows are everything. I can feel my lines starting to get better. I wanna keep the momentum up.

Like I said, the Scratchpad will probably be put to rest by the time I draw something else, but if you want to follow me as I develop–well, there’ll be lots of art on cammy.somnol, but I’m posting stuff to my DeviantART and as well. If I ever start taking it more seriously, I’ll maybe get a Buzzly too. That seems to be where everyone’s heading these days.

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