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Oh, my dears. I apologize for the absence.

So much has changed for me in the past four months. In fact, in many ways, I’m kindof starting life over.

Essentially I broke up with my boyfriend of nearly four years, moved out, and began a new relationship with another man, a good friend whom I met at my last game studio job. It’s been a huge shift, in every possible arena.
Emotionally, I’ve been all over the place during this period, and I still have a lot of heart mending to do – so being a functional creative has been very challenging. I’m poring over treatises and techniques on how to stay creative, how to live. The Artist’s Way, The Perfect Bait, How to be an Illustrator, and many more, are fueling me.
Bear with me, as I bear with myself.

Things are better, I think, though. Already since the change, I feel more awake and in charge of myself, and it seems the universe is responding.

Good things:
I’m starting work with Playdom Interactive next week as a full-time game artist, thank the lawdy for health insurance.
I have some exciting new projects lined up – some are secret at the moment – but they include further work with the author of the Journey of the Noble Gnarble, Daniel Errico.
I have outlined the new and improved Clevenger Kids book layout and am beginning to block in some of the standout pieces.
I’m remembering more of my dreams, and drawing them.
Some of my friends still want to be my friend.

In any case, stay tuned for more – I’m going to be a locomotive in the next few months, and hopefully I’ll have time between drawing to post them all!
And as always, I invite you to check in on my nonsense on Facebook and Twitter because I’m a gushing stream of internet there.

Stay well, my lovelies.

~Tiff

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A Rest With Dimetrodon

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Eryops Surprise!

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Soooooooooo hey I’m a published illustrator! :iconawwyeaplz:

The Gnarble project took a long time, and overall the project was outside of my realm of mostly gamey experience, so it took me a while to ramp up – but Daniel (and everyone else!) never stopped supporting me. It’s so wonderful to see how the final product turned out! Here she is in all her glory – well, kinda.

The videogame I worked on with Backbone Entertainment last year is also soon to be released! After 6 years working in games, I’ll finally have a shipped title: Zombie Apocalypse 2: Never Die Alone! The bad news – NONE of my concepts made it into the game! Well, none except for a stupid auto-turret. BUT I’LL BE DAMNED IF IT WASN’T THE BEST AUTO-TURRET. T_T
Oh well – that’s how it goes in the wicky wicky wild wild west.

The publisher is currently working on a fancy theatrical-ish trailer, but in lieu of that, I can show you the gameplay preview from this year’s E3. (Fun fact: That’s my boyfriend Mike doing the playing and narration, he’s the producer on the project, and basically saved it from utter obliteration, lol)

Another project I helped with has also wrapped up. I spent four months working with Other Ocean Interactive’s latest, War of the Worlds! The team was fantastic, and we got a LOT done in an amazingly short amount of time. I might do more work with them in the near future!

I’ll be putting a lot of stuff together soon, including returning to Dinosaurs Before Bedtime, putting together a portfolio for Pixar (because they’re right here and it’s HIGH TIME, I SAY!), and several collaborations with fellow Other Oceanite, game designer, and good fwend, Paul. :3

Work-in-progress of Polycotylus, a late Cretaceous plesiosaur. This year a specimen was described with viviparous fetae inside her – which could be potential evidence of mothering!
…So here she is with her beebees. :3

Oh, I used a variation on Wilhelm’s fluke reconstruction, too – just for lulz. Not horribly accurate, I just wanted to draw some baby plesiosaurs.

I’ve been wanting to do a rendition of Livyatan melvillei ever since I saw the sad reconstruction painting that was stuck to every article about her. I used Nemo-Ramjet’s rendition as reference, and gave her a Cetotherium to eat!

Here, a Livyatan female has just pulverized a straggler with her initial bone-breaking ambush from below, and is moving in to finish her meal off – while the rest of the Cetotherium pod gets the fuck out! >:]

Not too accurate, especially with the sizing, but eh.

Stay tuned, suckas.

~Tiff

The children’s book I illustrated, The Journey of the Noble Gnarble by Daniel Errico, has a publication date – October 1st, 2011! It’ll be available from Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and on Amazon.com.

The big reveal!

The Corgi Gryphon is getting so much love, I’ve added a print for it on my Etsy shop! You can find it here.

I’ve also been getting crazy suggestions from friends on what other pairings of dog breeds + mythological creatures would be fun.

Beagle + chimaera?
Pug + chinese dragon?

What do you guys think?

Summary of my experience of returning to video game development

In other news, I got a day job working with a bunch of friends at Other Ocean Interactive, and we’re working on a game adaptation of War of the Worlds, with none other than Patrick Stewart’s dulcet tones to inspire us! I keep finding myself bellowing “THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS” and “THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HEEEEYA!”
The project has a hell of a schedule, but the cool thing is that it’s a 2d game, so I get to paint my stuff and then IMMEDIATELY plug ’em in to see how it looks in-game – a first for me!
And later, I get to design the aliens! :3

I’ve got some more Kylie Meadows work, and a little branding design underway as well. Blerg, so much to do!

Oh, and if you’re on Google+, I’m there too! It’s already turning out to be a wonderful sharing platform for art and connecting creatives.

Anyhow. You know where to leave them comments!

~Tiff

my first stab at a graphic kinda style

An old character redesigned, again

Goodness! So much has been going on! I feel ashamed of myself for not updating here.

It’s always so helpful to put myself into a writing sort of mood, but honestly I haven’t had the time! And normally when I say I’m busy it’s a half-excuse, but for the past 2 months, at least, it’s been completely true. 😛

Life has been like this for a while now.

So late last year I was approached by an independent children’s book writer who runs a site supplying free children’s stories on the web, one of which has been picked up by an independent publisher. He effectively opened a call for entries, and I won the bid! My first published work as a professional artist! Excitement!

The book is called the Journey of the Noble Gnarble, and it’s about a little made-up sort of fish who lives on the bottom of the sea, who dreams of seeing the sunshine. Can you say right up my alley? If all goes as planned, it’ll be printed and on bookshelves by Fall 2011. So, here’s a few sneak peeks of some of the double spreads:

His friends tell him he can't do it, but he's all, F*** YOU GUYS!

And lo, the Gnarble travelled through many lands...

fuuuuuu, this one took forever XD

That giant thing isn't going to play any role in the story whatsoever.

Kindof a spoiler, but I'm pretty sure you were expecting it 😛

So over the past 6 months I’ve been working closely with the author and the publisher’s designer to nudge the illustrations into a good spot. I designed all the characters and helped a little with the title typeface design – that was super challenging! There were a few stops and starts, technical malfunctions, miscommunications, and some emotional rough patches, but I had good friends and colleagues to keep me on track and encouraged! I like to think I gained a good chunk of experience – being a freelancer doesn’t seem nearly as scary. 😀

In addition to this, I’ve been working with another author, this time a guy who’s intending to self-publish a series of young adult Fantasy novels, called the Winterlark Series. More work to come soon on that, though!

Kylie is basically a girl Harry Potter who can talk to magical animals.

I also participated in a local art show for a gallery in San Francisco, the theme was meant to bring art by game developers into a fine art setting. It was definitely an interesting experience dealing with a gallery, but I don’t think I’ll be dealing with one again until my name actually means something. XD

For the show, I was convinced that everyone needed to know what whales and dolphins looked like 30 million years ago. Unfortunately, they put my piece all the way in the back of the gallery under the stairs, so no one cared. And yes, it’s still for sale!

Pakicetus was kindof like an ottery wolf with hooves that lived in prehistoric Pakistan, which was a giant swampy delta back then.

A bunch of ancient whales from different stages. These are not direct descendants.

I joined a blog that is an exploration of mythological and folkloric critters – some of which are quite awesomely poorly known! Some of my submissions to the Alphabestiary:

The Angha is a Persian manifestation of universal wisdom

The Bush DaiDai is a nasty thing from Guyanan folklore.

The Dobhar-Chu is an Irish lake monster, basically a giant otter. I didn't want to draw a giant otter.

My lady creature-making compatriots Brynn Metheney and Allison Theus, and I began a creature design project together – it might become a book, who knows! Right now the project is still in its infancy since we’re all three so busy, but hopefully more will come about soon! We were also interviewed about the project, and our very similar, yet distinctive work, by Mike Corriero for an artists’ spotlight via the Art Academy Character and Creature Design Notes Blog.

You can read the interviews HERE. Some of the work I’ve done for the project:

A giant filter feeder. The juveniles are more active predators.

Social pack-based plains hunters, a female with a new litter and last year's remaining daughter.

Nudibranch-based critter

Nudibranch-based critter

And lastly, THE OTHER BOOK. The prehistoric one where kinda-myself travels back in time with kinda- my little brothers. Well it’s still underway, but having worked so long on the Gnarble, I can’t help but notice that my drawing skills have substantially improved (by force) over the past 6 months. I’ve done some good work on the Dinosaurs Before Bedtime paintings, but I’m tempted to redo them. I wasn’t organizing the book properly, I had no layouts, and I had no text to work with. I’d often start paintings on a whim and flub in the illustratey details as I went along. With what I’ve learned from working with someone else’s text, that’s not very smart, and doesn’t make for a sellable product.

I did, however, get a few more of the paintings up:

Clifford and Clive arrive in the Cambrian

Dunkleosteus attack! Don't worry, though, Chloe's GOT THIS!

That last painting actually made it onto ImagineFX’s front page! I’m internet famous!

Turrill Attack! yeah that's pretty accurate.

So, I’m not entirely sure what’s next. Aside from taking a few small sketch and quick-paint commissions on DeviantArt, I’m definitely warming to the freedom and the diversity of work that comes with being a freelance illustrator, and so far I do enjoy working on small publishing projects. Even when it’s been hard, it hasn’t had the same soul-sucking feeling that my prior game industry experiences have had. So we’ll see if I give that industry another chance for the sake of job security and the ever-elusive perfect art team, or if I wind up sticking it out alone. I’m open to being convinced by either, or, and both!

Hopefully my next update won’t be so far off, but you can always follow more timely posts on my Facebook, and my Tumblr.

Cheers, cuties!


Lud-in-the-MistLud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Enticed by the promises of a great many favorite writers, I took up Lud-In-The-Mist expecting a change in what female fantasy could be.

The name, the time, the author’s story, all attracted me. Despite this, i couldn’t manage to lose myself in it.

Essentially, for me, it didn’t hold up.

I found the characters shrill and predictable, the bewildered goodies were good, and the baddies just as you found them.

As I read, I had a sense that I was waiting for the literary ah-ha to happen – the plot is thick as molasses, even the interesting characters are quickly stunted or oversimplified (I’m looking at you, Endymion Leer – such a great name, sigh!).

The whole plot and execution felt like a great dance around saying what the authoress wanted to say – I imagine this was quite effective in 1925, but I live in the 21st century, and I’ve seen LOST.

The premise is still interesting – a town on the border to the realm of Faerie, and the invariable cultural crossover that seeps in – and the prose was fittingly British and pretty, but Lud’ left me with little to go on… and the slightly irked feeling of having missed the boat.

View all my reviews


The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic MythThe White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth by Robert Graves

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

a dense thicket of myth in all of its core components. graves is the writer’s critic’s writer, leaping wildly from one subject to another, spinning threads and running out across them. he focuses a great deal on the Welsh Ogham and its correlations with Greek and Jewish traditions. although historically flawed, the book itself it still thrilling to parse – and tremendously inspirational when you consider the nature of culture, the foundations of all stories, and their further path. i will very likely read this again.

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images from Derek Henderson’s The River