Today’s offering for Inktober is a half-elf bard code name: THE FACE. She’s studying her script for the next Dungeon Tour. She has to be both the victim and the villain so she has a quick-change costume that will adapt. Sorry for the weird angle I shot it with, but my hands keep shaking and I’m tired.
Here’s my Inktober for Day 9. I put a shoutout for ideas, and my friend Barrie requested to see Linus in a school uniform. I’m sure she meant something along the lines of cramming 52-year-old Linus into a Japanese boys school uniform, but I did her one better. Here is a young Linus (about 19) in the official Uniform of the Rangers Union Pre-One student.
He looks like he’s on the way to archery practice, and doesnt’ care if his hair is combed or his jacket is hooked up. He has three leaves on his shoulder indicating that this is his third year as a student (students take 4 years to complete courses). His jacket also Features the triple-leaf emblem of the Rangers Union on his chest. The drawing needs some tweaking, but I like details that I came up with on the fly that add a little more to Linus’s story.
Hope you like it, Barrie.
Inktober Day 6 is a special picture Mythgard Community, specifically the ones who play Lord of the Rings Online. It’s one of the game avatars of the Tolkien Professor, Corey Olsen, Wigend. He’s reciting one of his favorite catchphrases.
I’ll be using a higher-resolution version of this for some Mythgard-related items. So stay tuned for that!
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.
I can only seem to make sense of the passing of Terry Pratchett by writing about how he influenced my life and my work. The rest has been said by better people than me.
In 1999 I was drifting. I was in my first year of college, my roommate was sucking the life out of me, I was doing badly in classes, I was depressed, and I would possibly go weeks at a time without talking to another human being. I was miserable, and I could only deal with it by escaping into books.
After consuming several dozen titles, I came across “Equal Rites.” I had tried reading it in 7th grade, but I put it down in embarrassment because the first page had the word “sex” in it. I thought I’d give it another shot this time, so I began to read… and read… and read. I was done with it in three days, I recall skipping a few classes to finish it. I adored it. I laughed. It was rare to hear me laugh in those days, unless it was cynically. A little cloud had lifted off of my heart.
But it wasn’t enough. When I put it down, there was a hunger in me. I wanted to play in this world again I needed to play in this sandbox again and never leave it. I looked in the inside leaf to find out what other books there were and dashed to my college bookstore to see what I could get. I quickly finished Colour of Magic, Light Fantastic, Sourcery, and Wyrd Sisters. Over my 4.5 years in college, I bought EVERY book in the Discworld series that was out (Sorry, Mom. Most of it was money that was supposed to be for food and texts). When I’d bought them all, I’d bug the staff about ordering the rest. They started to recognize me by face after a while. It wasn’t uncommon for them to greet me with things like, “No, honey. ‘The Fifth Elephant’ isn’t here yet.”
And in reading those wonderful magical books, my eyes were opened.
Terry’s writing voice was like mine—the running Mystery Science Theatre 3000 that was always in my head when I read fantasy. He was pointing out tired plot devices and character tropes that I had long ago become sick of. He seemed to be as tired as I was of all the myriad of fantasy authors who were attempting to ape Professor Tolkien. Not only that, but he too became tired of his own fantasy world. As the Discworld series progressed, everything became less about heroes and more about the little guy. It wasn’t about dark lords and farm boys and prophecies. It was about parents, and career women, policemen, bureaucrats, teachers, journalists, hippies, kids—ordinary people, made extraordinary by their larger-than life personalities.
Philosophically, I was enthralled as well. His portrayals of Death, culture-clash, capitalism, government, women, and people of faith and non-faith alike made me question my world and see his world in it.
Later on, his bravery and humor, and cutting observations inspired me to make my own sandbox: Tereand. Linus Weedwhacker, I can’t deny, would not have been possible without Terry’s influence.
I’ve been blessed with some good reviews for my books, but the only one that made me feel like I truly succeeded—that I was able to give back some of what was given to me— was the review that compared my work to that of Terry Pratchett’s. I considered that a compliment of the highest honor.
God bless you, Terry Pratchett. Hopefully, it will be revealed to you how much we all loved you.
Terry Pratchett was born in 1948.
In 1971 he published his first book, The Carpet People.
The first Discworld Book The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983
He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2007 and struggled with it while still writing and devoting countless hours to raising money for further research into the virulent disease. He wrote over 70 books, finishing the 40th Discworld book, Raising Steam, last year.
He leaves behind his wife, Lyn, and his daughter Rihanna.
His family is currently asking for their privacy to be respected and for well-wishers to leave donations to justgiving.com