Here’s Day 3 of Inktober. I drew Linus from CRIT! He’s actually tossing a D8 over his shoulder, that part’s not put in yet, since my mathematical perspective is strictly non-euclidean. Media is Pen and Ink. This is going to be on a big CRIT! banner at some point. I like how I managed to get more scar tissue on his skin.
Day 2 of the Inktober Challenge, and here is an attempt at Quince the Barbarian. Big Muscley men are very strange to draw because their proportions always seem, just WRONG. I even did this with a photo-reference and I remember looking at all the photos of muscley men and thinking they just look like cartoons, and made of clay. Oh well. Minimal lines, since I intend to colour this. See you all tomorrow.
I thought it would be a fun April Fool’s Day thing to post an excerpt from the upcoming Tangent Artists Class Handbook, which will be part of our series that includes “The Handbook for Saucy Bards,” and “The Cleric’s Guide to Smiting.” I now present this excerpt from “A Ranger’s Instructional or: How Not to Die Alone in the Woods.” The funny part is that this information is actually useful and we’re not kidding around.
WHAT DO I WIPE WITH?
Let’s not get shy here; it’s a fact of life—even the Majestic Elves and Powerful Wizards have to crap in the woods sometimes. ‘How’ is an age-old question uttered by new Rangers and adventurers alike since time immemorial. You will at some point be confronted with the urge, a bush and little to no guidance. Ignoring the urge is not an option.
The first part is easy, once you overcome your shyness and accept that this is part of the job you took. The key is to be at least 200 feet from where you’re eating or sleeping, and away from your water source. Take your spade, and dig a hole about 6-inches deep and “go” in there (or as close as you can get it). The ground might be rocky or tough or whatever—just do your best. The bottom line is to keep your business away from any scavenging animals to a) hide your presence so your meat won’t be scared away, and b) keep your meat from eating it. You never know if you’re going to have to eat something that may or may not have just eaten your own feces. Best to avoid that option if at all possible. “Never shit where you eat” as my gran used to say.
The second part of this (getting clean) is not always as easy and has led to some hilarious stories through the years that the publishers have forbidden me from elaborating on. NOT wiping is not an option as it can lead to yeast infections, jock itch, and a lot of bad illnesses and rashes (not to mention embarrassing staining you’ll have to explain later). Fortunately, you have a plethora of options open to you if you plan ahead. Don’t assume everything you need will be right by you, because it never will be. TRUST ME.
RAGS: Many first timers will try to prepare for this moment by rooting through mummy’s rag bag for fabric scraps to use. This may seem like a good idea but it’s ultimately doomed to failure. Your supply will never be limitless and little things like illness or too much fiber will usually deplete a well-calculated stock. The flipside being that if you DO plan ahead you will have a lot of extra weight with you and when it’s gone unexpectedly (as always happens) you’ll have to make do with other rags. Everyone will know too. You’ll be the daft bugger walking into a town with no shirt sleeves or socks.
PAPER: Similar to rags but much more practical and comfortable, and one small book, with thin soft pages, can last several days. I highly recommend the unabridged “Miles Reyner’s Handbook for Saucy Bards.” It’s been said that thin paper was our most treasured contribution to peace talks with the Elves and I believe it. Those poor bastards had to do with leaves.
LEAVES: Corn lily, dock, wooly lambs ear, mullein, and other leaves that are large and flat make good wiping leaves. Use them in a stack of three or four, with the vein sides out for added scrubbing power. If you’re passing by a bush take some leaves with you to keep on hand (or to thaw them out if it’s cold out). Plants like mullein and lambs ear are additionally popular because of their velvety fuzz. It’s like being cleaned by an angel’s wing, but it’s not for everyone. Some people’s skin can be irritated by the little white hairs and break out in a bad rash. If you’re not sure, test it out on skin that’s slightly less…er… vital.
MOSS and GRASS: several varieties of moss are good if you use the green spongy side and use a cloth to pat it dry. Drier moss like Old Man’s Beard (which hangs from trees) is a tried and true standby in the wild, and it’s often used by lady-travelers during their “monthly visit” (sorry if that’s indelicate, but I have daughters and a wife and they told me to address this). Cattails are also useful for both purposes.
Grass, if you’re so inclined can be gathered in folded in half to make a “scrub brush” to use accordingly. Just make sure the grass is soft and not the hard knife-edged variety with serrated edges.
HAND: This was Man’s first loo roll if you think about it. It’s also a testament to mankind that we evolved— rather quickly at that—other methods of cleaning ourselves that don’t involve getting poo in our fingernails. This might be considered a last resort, maybe if you’re in a desert or something. Just remember which hand you wipe with and be consistent. And don’t let me shake hands with you. I heard Orcs prefer this method which explains a lot and why I don’t shake hands with Orcs.
ROCKS: A smooth water stone, flat but round with a conical end is good, but it’s not going to be very absorbent, still it’s better than plants if you’re not an expert herbologist.. This is a method preferred by Dwarves, but I’m not positive—I’ve never had the courage to ask one.
SNOW: Want to really wake up on a winter’s morning? Try a handful of snow up your arse. In all seriousness, this is actually the most hygienic and least annoying methods if you’re traveling in winter. This works best with snow that packs nicely, like the kind for snowball or snowmen. Too powdery and your hands get dirty; too wet and it’s suddenly no fun.
IN GENERAL: Make sure to bury your waste and your wipers as best as you can. If the ground isn’t cooperating, build a little cairn over it, anything to keep it out of sight and free to turn back into the earth.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after every time you go. It helps to have a friend place the soap in your hands so you don’t have to root through your pack with dirty fingers. Also, help eachother out. If you spot some good leaves or stones or whatever, tell your friend too so they won’t be out of luck when it’s their turn.
For added fun, tell the company’s Bard to use pinecones. Tell him that all the great woodsmen use them. It’s hilarious, trust me.
Today I’m busy with a sick kid, so I gave myself a timed challenge to see how quickly I could draw Linus. I did this complete with pencils underneath in about 7 minutes.
Linus is an OLD friend of mine, so I’m starting to really memorize his features to the point where drawing him is almost automatic. It’s very rare that I have a handle on a character like that, since consistency is one of my biggest hurdles. That’s all for today, bye!
It’s high time I covered a baddy, so this week’s post is about Tyrrus Gruthsfield. Now, I don’t like to think of him as a baddy, although he’s definitely a villain in books 1 & 2. I just dislike characters who are evil through and through. I grew up watching cartoonishly evil bad guys in movies and on TV that were evil simply for the sake of being evil, and those always bothered me a bit (I should probably write a post on this later.) The point is, Tyrrus isn’t a villain because he wants to be evil. Like all proper villains, Tyrrus thinks he’s the hero of his own story—in this case a story of loss, love and abandonment.
We first meet Tyrrus when he appears in the last act of Must Love Dragons as the ruthless head of the corrupt Rangers Union. But we also know he and Linus have a history together. Let’s look into that, shall we?
Linus met Tyrrus when upon passing his entrance exams at the Rangers Union to become a Pre-One Ranger, or a Ranger-in-training. This is an apprenticeship period where a Ranger is usually assigned to an E-10 Ranger in good standing to have as mentor. The trainers assigned Linus to Tyrrus Gruthsfield, who was in his late 30’s at the time. Tyrrus was a rugged, jovial dandy bachelor, with a love of adventure and a lust for high living. He and Linus bonded straight away. Linus was in awe of this rugged expert of the wilderness and his bombastic personality. Tyrrus fed off of Linus’ admiration, and his youthful outlook made Tyrrus feel like he himself was a young teen again.
When Linus had finished his year under Gruthsfield as a student and graduated to E-1, he continued to travel and work with Tyrrus as a friend and compatriot. Linus became a family to Tyrrus, who had grown up as an orphan in the Rangers Union’s boys home for foundlings and had never known a family. And Linus, who had always had to fight with his dozen siblings for attention, enjoyed the singular attention Gruthsfield was giving him and eventually left his father’s house to live at the Union boarding house with Gruthsfield and other young bachelors.
Tyrrus tried to advise Linus as best he could on how best to navigate the rocky path of his late teens into adulthood, but it was myopic and sometimes self-serving. Tyrrus had avoided growing up, and didn’t really want Linus to either. It’s possible that a lot of Linus’ early missteps (bad relationships, hijinks, faux pas, his drinking habits) were either from Tyrrus’ lack of direction or from simply bad advice.
It was about five years after their pairing, when Linus began to make friends and peers in his own age-group, that his relationship with the then 40-something Tyrrus became strained. Tyrrus became more controlling of Linus and his free-time and assignments. He subtly tried to orchestrate fallings out between Linus and his friends, and when that didn’t work, he would bombard Linus with accusations of betrayal and callousness.
Linus didn’t take well to Gruthsfield’s constant intrusion on his life—feeling like he was tied to the apron strings of a clucking, nagging mother hen. By the time when Linus was beginning to slip into depression, alcohol, and a dangerous affair—a time when Gruthsfield genuinely wanted to help Linus—it was too late. Linus had already stopped listening to Grusthfield.
The incident with Tchineline (as outlined in Runs in Goods Condition) was the final breaking point and, soon after, Linus severed ties with his ex-mentor. Tyrrus and Linus most likely had no contact with eachother until the events of Must Love Dragons. Linus was more than aware of Gruthfield’s rise to power in the Union, but was only a disinterested bystander at the time. He had no idea that during that twenty-some years in-between Gruthfield had spent it brooding on the loss of his only friend and family, and becoming harder and more twisted as the realization of his own mortality grew more apparent and tortured him with the passage of time.
*The name Tyrrus is (rather obviously) taken from the Greek tyrannos meaning monarch or King.
*Gruthsfield’s actions have always been chiefly fueled by his fear of aging and death. It’s what draws him closer to true villainy as he begins to enter old age.
*He probably assaulted Linus a few times in their younger days, but played it off later as nothing. That unrequited attraction, as well as his emotional manipulation was a key factor in their falling out and later turned into the hatred we see in the books.
*Tyrrus was the one who blackballed Linus from renewing his Ranger’s E-10 license prior to the events of Must Love Dragons. After failing to ban him entirely, he brought up the motion to make Linus restart as an E-1.
* In my head, his voice sounds like the late Tony Jay.
So this week’s spotlight is on Miles Reyner, the sweet pop star who’s first introduced in Runs In Good Condition.
Miles is a charming clean-cut teen idol in RiGC in which I kind of combine modern stars like Zach Efron and Justin Beiber with more old-timey super stars like Vivaldi or Mozart. He defies the stereotype of the jerkwad teen with too much fame money and power, but is that simply because he’s trying to make a good impression on Linus’s oldest daughter or not? He’s the reason several songs appear in RiGC, although I’m learning that I will never be able to STOP putting songs in my books, no matter how I try.
The biggest question I get about Miles is why he’s so different in CRIT! than he is in Runs In Good Condition? Well that ultimately comes down to writing teams. I wrote RiGC long before we’d conceived of doing a comic about it and shortly after we started writing CRIT! my brother, Dave Joria, was wondering if he could be “in charge” of a character for writing sessions (aka: D&D games).
I told him I had a Bard in my next book and gave him a loving description of Miles Reyner…and Dave chucked it out the window. That’s why in the comic, Miles is a obtuse, egocentric, bombastic, glory hound in tight leather pants. It was so hilarious I didn’t have the heart to make him stop. He was even the inspiration behind the Handbook for Saucy Bards, which has been our breakout hit!
So does that mean the two Miles have no connection? Wellllll. Let’s just say that Justin Beiber was once a “sweet kid” too.
*Miles is actually Half-elven. It just never comes up in the book (there are LOTS of Half-elves in Gwynnharrafadd). Also, his hair tends to cover his ears.
*One of Mile’s trademark decorations is a quizzing glass on a chain (a sort of monocle with a handle), a fashionable piece of jewelry in the Regency Period.
*Almost all of Miles’ songs are written down in the book with the exception of the opening number for his concert. In my head, he’s always singing this song: the song that inspired him.
The Entertainer by Billy Joel. I do not own the rights to this clip.
That’s it for Miles this week. I look forward to your comments and suggestions for next week’s victim!
(Note: This is a repost after the first page got deleted. Apologies)
I had a request for one on Morfindel Cunlias this week and I’m happy to oblige.
Morf comes from both the Linus Saga books and its parallel dimension CRIT! He’s a young Elf, only 20 when we meet him, who still has a lot of growing to do. He tries to do his very best at all times, but usually ends up stymieing himself with his own naivete and impulsive nature.
He started off as a nuisance newbie hanging on Linus but over the series he’s starting to become Linus’ best friend… a bond that’s put to the test a lot when he falls for Linus’ oldest daughter.
SO! Some fun facts.
* To answer most people’s question, his surname, Cunlias, is pronounced “Koon-lees.”
*His mannerisms and personality are based on one of my best friends.
*Morfindel thinks of Linus as a father figure, even if Linus would rather think of him as a younger brother. He tends to gravitate to fatherly figures after being raised in a male mission since he was three. It also explains his avid attraction to women yet his complete inability to comprehend them.
*He has yellow eyes (those exist, I’ve seen them!) which hint at his true roots. More on that in future books.
*I cut Morfindel’s hair off out of spite because I hated drawing it in the comic. Much sooner in the book, and those tresses’ days are numbered in the comic too. I HATE long hair.
*Morf hates raisins. The monastery used raisins to sweeten a lot of dishes for the children and Morf got thoroughly sick of them early on.
That’s all for this week! Let me know who you want for next week.