Jan 01 2021

Shady Assassinated 2020!?

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Shade-Of-the-Candle runs into (or away from) danger!

Thank goodness SOMEBODY did. >.>

Anyway! Welcome to 2021, and let the un-suckening begin!

I’m moved, and for the time being at least I’m going back to full-time on my art and writing, which means that things should start picking up around here again! Thanks to all of you for being patient while I was digging out from the hole I’d fallen in.

My first order of business will be to clean up the commission queue! I still owe a few people commissions from October OR their Winter 2020 SUPPORT TIER OF CANGREJO DIABLO Patreon image, and January is going to be spent making sure all of those get done before I take on any new business.

For STofCD-level subscribers, Spring 2020 slots will open up as soon as I finish that, so probably February. :)

(And if you’d like to get in on some of that Patreon action, here: https://www.patreon.com/the_gneech )

My next priority will be to get Reclamation Project: Year Two edited and off to FurPlanet. Submissions are still coming in, so if you are in-progress or near completion, go ahead and finish off your story and send it. I don’t know how much I’ve got yet, but there’s probably room for at least one or two more good stories!

Following that we’ll see where we are, but I have two big projects I’d like to take on this year:

1) FINISH ROUGH HOUSING FINALLY, GEEZE, and

2) A SUPER-SECRET PROJECT WITH SHADE-OF-THE-CANDLE.

I realize that shouting in all caps about a super-secret project seems a little weird, but that’s just how I roll, babe.

So here’s looking forward to a year that doesn’t suck! We might even (gasp) be able to go to conventions again! C’mon, vaccine! :D

And thanks for coming along with me, friends. You rock!

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Nov 10 2020

Playing Shady Instead of Writing Her

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Shady, lookin' to gank some mooks.

It’s been a long time since I had a character just take over my brain the way Shade-Of-the-Candle has. Even Tiffany Tiger, who had a tendency to be doodled on any pizza box or napkin left lying within reach of me, didn’t just live in my head rent free 24/7 the way my piratey murdercat does. Certainly Tiffany never drove me to stay up until 4 a.m. trying to mod the hell out of Skyrim to create some semblance of her, just for starters.

But while I have written stories about Shady, and intend to do so again (with some big-name collaborators, if I can finally get to a stable place in my life again in order to take on a large project), that’s not really the experience I want. What I want, is to PLAY Shady. I want to vicariously experience her life in real time, reacting to her challenges the way she would, processing her triumphs and her heartbreaks as she does.

Shady’s lived a rich and full life in (modded) Skyrim, with a whole found family (she calls Inigo “Mr. Khajiit” and Ma’kara “Mrs. Khajiit,” even if legally she’s only married to one of them) and an impressive career as a renowned treasure hunter and a leader in the Empire’s war against the Thalmor.

Shady drove me to play the heck out of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, all the while doing my best to pretend that the stubbly blonde human male on the screen was actually my scrawny alley cat—because the story and gameplay of AC4 fit very well with both Shady’s motivations and her M.O.

Best of all, of course, is playing Shady in InkBlitz’s D&D campaign, and in many ways that’s what I think of as the “real” Shady. But Blitzy can’t spend his whole life running D&D just for me (and I wouldn’t want him to), which leads me to spend a lot of time staring at Shady’s character sheet and wanting to mess with it just to feel like I’m playing, somehow.

Gentle reader, I have spent SO much time staring at that character sheet. You can’t even know. -.- I’ve come up with different projected character builds, adjusted various stats up and down, even subjected poor Blitzy to multiple drafts of proposed house rules that would make her mechanically closer to my vision of how she operates.

This past weekend, as I was poking away at this build for the umpty-billionth time, I found myself wondering why I was spending my time doing that, instead of actually creating something. Why AREN’T I writing stories about Shady? Why aren’t I drawing her, instead of obsessing AGAIN over whether she should have INT 10 or 8 so that she can afford CHA 14 or 16?

The answer I finally came up with, is discovery. I want to “discover” Shady’s life, not create it. If I write the story, I know how it’s going to go by definition, because I’m the one who made it up. When I play Shady in a game, I don’t know what’s coming any more than Shady does, so when a dragon comes and blasts her boat to oblivion, I’m just as “oh shit oh shit” about it as she is. When Shady finds a wounded khajiit by the side of the road and ends up falling in love, I’m just as verklempt as Shady is.

But it’s not getting me anywhere. All that time I’ve spent noodling around with stat blocks could have been spent finishing a dozen WIPs, or writing new stories of my own that don’t require me to get “close enough” to what I want. So I’m going to try to do that. How I find the discovery element, I’m not sure. Use some kind of random generator as a story prompt? Grab the synopsis of some book I’ve never read and toss it at Shady? Dunno. But I do need to do SOMETHING more productive, I think.

Sep 24 2020

Gneech’s Big Honkin’ Pumpkin-Spiced Spoopy Commission Sale!

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Gneech's Big Honkin' Pumpkin-Spiced Spoopy Commission Sale!

Like it says on the tin. :) I’m opening a limited number of discounted commission slots for October. It doesn’t have to be a seasonal-themed commission if you don’t want that, of course, it’s just a prompt to give you ideas. :)

One of my Patreon subscribers grabbed the first slot already, so that leaves five as of this morning. Hop on!

EDIT: All slots taken! Thanks, all!

-The Gneech

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Aug 04 2020

FurAffinity Hijinks Commission Raffle! Comment on FA to Enter! :)

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Shady is Best Artist. *nods*

Find the post here: https://www.furaffinity.net/view/37567551/

Lhexa has very generously sponsored a two-person fully rendered commission for… somebody! It could be you! :D The theme is “Hijinks.”

HOW IT WORKS: Comment below thanking Lhexa and saying you’d like to enter the raffle. On Saturday morning I will pick a random winner! Simple, eh?

If you have ideas for what sort of hijinks you’d like to be pulling, I’ll happily take suggestions. Otherwise I’ll just come up with something! My general list of “will/won’t draw” stuff can be found here: https://www.furaffinity.net/journal/9540159

Let’s have some fun!

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Jun 10 2020

Pirate Mooncat, Plus Audience Building!

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Pirate Mooncat D&D Portrait
D&D Portrait Commission for Mooncat! Speaking of, commissions are open: https://www.furaffinity.net/view/36111580/

Following up on Monday’s post, I’ve been taking stock of where I am in my art and writing career, and it’s clear that I need to attend to some things. Not the least of which is re-building my audience! I have a small-but-tight core of people who have been following my work forever through thick and thin (❤️ Jungloids!) and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. That doesn’t alter the fact that in terms of treating my work as a proper business, there are times when I need to look at it as a numbers game. Even with the crazy high ratio of followers-to-financial supporters that I have, the actual number of followers is tiny.

So, for an example, another artist I follow on Twitter posted a rough little sketch of a character they were noodling around with. It was a cute little drawing, nothing that exciting, but it still got something like 800 likes. I looked at that and blinked for several seconds—I get excited when a post of any kind, much less a doodle, gets over 20 likes. So I looked at their follower count, and discovered it was something like 12,000—compared to mine, which is currently hovering around 1,600.

Well, I mean, no friggin’ wonder.

Before people hop in with “Followers aren’t everything!” I want to make it clear that I don’t attach a personal meaning to have a low follower count on Twitter (or any other platform for that matter), I’m diagnosing a business problem here. :) Even if every one of those Twitter followers was converted to a $1 Patreon subscriber for instance (which isn’t going to happen, but bear with me), that still wouldn’t be enough for me to put food on the table.

I must grow my audience in order to succeed.

So my priority for a while is going to be doing that—but the truth is I have no idea how. O.o

I’m open to suggestions, and I’d love any help I can get. I’ve started posting art to Instagram to expand my horizons, and I am making it a priority to post at least twice a week there and other places, even if it’s just a little sketch-a-day piece. I also started up a fanart sketch request Ko-Fi, although I haven’t had any takers there yet.

So I’m curious! If you follow my work and don’t mind telling me, why do you? What attracted you and made you want to stick around? Do you have suggestions on how I can grow my audience? How do you do promotion? I’m eager to learn!

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May 29 2020

Fort Redemption

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Catra fits, so she sits.

Inspired by LizardBeth, I’ve decided to do semi-daily sketches, primarily fan art, but not necessarily so. The recent post of Shady and Silma was the first one I did; here’s another one, inspired by the series finale of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. I don’t expect to post them all here—gotta do some quality control after all—but I really liked how this one came out and besides, it’s Catra. There’s never a day that wasn’t made better by having Catra in it. <3 I've opened up a fanart sketch request Ko-Fi as a source of prompts. Tell me what you want, world! :)

-The Gneech

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