Monday Dose of April: Coffee Date with a Baby Hedgehog

A couple nights ago, I had coffee with April on the front porch while the sun went down. The evening was warm and golden with late sunlight and startlingly mild for June in Texas. I’m definitely not complaining.

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April mostly sniffed around and explored and knocked over my coffee cup (but not until it was empty, thank goodness). It was the most perfect coffee date ever.

Now that she’s nearly ten weeks old, she’s a lot bigger and sturdier, and it’s easier to relax and know she’s going to be all right as we take care of her. Whenever we take her places, for instance, we put her in a small open box, wrapped loosely in a little cloth she loves to cuddle up in. When she was littler, I used to constantly be checking to make sure she wasn’t, I don’t know, suffocating or something in the cloth. Well, shocker, turns out she was always perfectly fine, and she definitely didn’t need me to make sure she was still breathing. Especially while sleeping peacefully in a very breathable fabric. Sometimes she’d get annoyed with me for letting in the light and spoiling her nap.

Paranoid much? Sigh. I don’t know what this says about how I’ll be when I become the mother of actual human children, but here’s hoping I can work out some of the over-protectiveness while I’m caring for a hedgehog, and not a kid.

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P.S. – Also, her coat of white fur is finally coming in! We have no idea why she was so late on getting her fur, but the breeder assured us she was perfectly healthy. And her mom was apparently the same way. So yeah, her fur makes her look extra cuddly, and that’s nice. Just look at that curious little nose!

Throwback Thursday: a Tale of Two Yzmas (Emperor’s New Groove)

Next up in our throwback series here on the blog are actually two drawings, both of the lovely (hideous) Yzma. I first loosely sketched a sort of creepily uplit portrait of Yzma’s grinning face, and then, at the brilliant suggestion of one of my old university friends, I drew her in her cat form. 

Both were oddly stress-relieving exercises.  

Up next week is another of my favorites. Hope to see you then!

A Monday Dose of April: Wheel of Terror

As a celebration of our third week with April, we got her a special play wheel to run in. We’d been told unanimously that hedgehogs love running in wheels, and as dutiful hedgehog parents we had to get one of our own. April, however, had other ideas. Her first time exploring the wheel, she did her Hedgehog Huffy Puffy Thing which means she is Very Upset, and promptly scrambled out of the wheel to burrow in the wood shavings and hide beneath it.

Side note: it’s a bummer that the Hedgehog Huffy Puffy Thing is a symbol of alarm, because it’s about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. April gives tiny gasps in and out over and over, and it sounds weirdly human. In the wild there are of course dangerous and threatening situations when such a reaction would be fitting, but when April whips it out in response to being set in a fun play wheel hedgehogs love, it’s the ultimate drama and it’s absolutely hilarious.

So yeah, anyway, she hates her wheel for now. (And by way of epilogue: we cuddled her back to comfort, and she’s ok now.)


Ah, well. We’re told play wheels are enormously popular in the hedgehog community, so we think she’ll grow to like it (just like her baths, come to think of it).

Otherwise, she’s growing fast and has now legitimately doubled in size. Her life motto is still SNIFF ALL THE THINGS!, which makes it a little difficult to take pictures of her because her nose is always blurry from twitching around so fast.

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We love our baby April, and it’s been a perfect third week with her. Even if she prefers hiding under her wheel to, you know, running in it.

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Art of the Week: Three Drawings

Happy Sunday, and welcome to the latest Art of the Week!

I started the week off with a bohemian-looking girl, drawn on the back of a business envelope from a paycheck my boss had just given me:

Next up was a quick sketch of a ponytail from the back, also on the back of an envelope:

And finally a couple days later, on a nice normal notepad, one more portrait of a girl:

Still working back up to a drawing per day, but this week’s three was at least an improvement over last week’s one. I’m investigating new techniques with character drawing and portraiture, so I hope you’ll stop by again next Sunday for another week’s worth of drawings!

(If you’d like to catch the beginning of this series, check it out here.)

Have a great week everyone. xx

Six delirious, middle-of-the-night thoughts on Jurassic World

It’s 3:08am. I have a terrible habit of swearing I’ll do better about getting to bed at a decent hour, then watching an exciting movie late at night, then not being able to sleep until I word-vomit my ideas about the movie all over a blog post.

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And, well, that happened tonight with Jurassic World. So without further ado, here are some thoughts. Bullet pointed, because I think my sanity is wavering, I’m so tired:

1. The Mockingjay preview caught my attention enough to stop me from eating my popcorn while I watched it. And as a passionate lover of hot buttery popcorn, that’s a big deal, ya know?

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2. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance, but it was refreshing for the youthful relationship focus of the movie to be on the brother bond between Gray and Zach instead of yet another angsty adolescent love affair. Just a nice little break.

3. My fiancé pointed out that, although he loved the movie, the plot points were extremely predictable. I was too busy being terrified and entertained during the film to notice or care, but when he talked about it afterward I did understand what he was saying. Still don’t care though. The thrills were a bit formulaic, but they were very well crafted in my opinion, and they certainly worked. (Can you tell I loved this movie?)

4. Speaking of the writing of the movie, there were a few moments the dialogue sagged a bit. Excellent acting mostly saved it, and the wonderful production quality of rest of the movie satisfied me, but there was just something missing about some of the scripting. It lacked the awe-inspiring “life will find a way” quality that Jurassic Park had.

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5. And speaking of acting—just have to mention Chris Pratt. True versatility is so hard to accomplish, and so valuable. I would never have suspected Pratt would be the hero of a new Jurassic movie—let alone such a tough, cool, slightly-snarky hero—based on his hilariously clueless work in Parks and Recreation. I respect that. His dedication and his ability to adapt to such different roles are just so great.

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6. Finally, the film did kinda sorta good-ish on Claire’s look changing from super-polished in the beginning, to holy-crap-I-just-escaped-dinosaurs-and-am-therefore-super-dirty-now in the end. (Far better, in fact, then several other film franchises I can think of. Star Wars and Transformers come to mind quickest.) However. WHAT is the deal with women in action movies wearing heels the whole time? I don’t care what terrain it is. I guarantee it’s going to be more comfortable (and survivable) running over it barefoot after hours and hours, than running over it in heels. I don’t care if it’s live coals. Listen, I’m a woman. I HAVE run in heels. Dear action movie directors: stahp. Women don’t escape (1) dinosaurs, (2) aliens, (3) serial killers, (4) psychopaths, or (5) ANYTHING ELSE running in heels. Here’s what we do: we follow our natural survival instincts, just like every human being would, and we take off the heels. It’s 2015. I’d love to see a woman in one of these fun action movies realize her heels are no longer appropriate and t a k e  t h e m  o f f. Go barefoot if you have to, for heaven’s sake.

I apologize for all the internet shouting. It’s late and I’m slightly exasperated with this issue. You do understand. (If you’re interested, you can read more on this subject in a similar middle-of-the-night post I did on the latest Transformers movie here: Why Lip Color Matters and What It Has to Do with Fighting Aliens.) Also I do realize that there are gritty action movies that do feature more realistically clad women. But they’re relatively few and far between and that’s kind of annoying.

All right, that’s it, I’m done. It’s almost four in the morning and I should not be blogging right now.

Anyway, the bottom line of this post is…when can I get back to the theater to see Jurassic World again?

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Throwback Thursday: Scar

So last week we began a sorta throwback series that’s going to feature a Disney villain drawing each week, from a recent series I did on Instagram. (Find the intro post and the backstory of the series here.)

Today’s villain is none other than Scar, that dastardly murderer of Mufasa and fraternizer with evil hyenas:

Now, there are some freaky (and freaky-looking) villains out there, but Scar may be the most actually despicable Disney villain of all time. The guy willingly murders his brother and tries to murder his nephew. Um, yikes.

On Instagram, some friends and I had a conversation about about whether or not there were another villain darker and/or more evil than Scar. And the general consensus seemed to be that Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is super creepy and might just tie with Scar on level of dark evil-ness, but not a single Disney villain actually beats Scar at the evil game. Like Scar legitimately is at the very limit of Disney darkness.

What do you think? Is there another Disney villain out there whose deeds were more horrific than Scar’s?

A Monday Dose of April: Baby Hedgehog’s First Bath

Armed with a soft toothbrush, a travel-size bottle of Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo, and a hand towel warmed up with a blow dryer, we gave April her first bath on Saturday. She didn’t like it very much, but that’s ok.

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Even though she wasn’t the hugest fan, April did wonderfully in the water. She’s a natural—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Hedgehog bathing is surprisingly therapeutic. I mean, sudsing up a little baby hedgehog in warm water and then wrapping her up in a warmed towel is about as cozy as it sounds. Even if said baby hedgehog won’t stop squirming.

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Finally out of the water and into a warm towel.

It was a big week for April. She practically doubled in size, and she’s gotten far stronger and more adventurous. It’s basically the funniest thing ever to put her down on the carpet and see her go rushing off to explore. She has to SNIFF ALL THE THINGS! And sniff them NOW!

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The aftermath. (Or, should I say, the afterbath.) See her grumpy eyes?

The week also had its trials, mostly in the form of an upset stomach she suffered for a few days. It was a new kind of sad for me to experience, to be caring for a little thing in pain that couldn’t, ya know, just tell me what was wrong. An afternoon of frantic research, and we discovered that an ingredient in her food was too hard for her to digest. We immediately switched her off of it, and she was completely back to normal right away. (And now, oh joy, there’s a 35-lb. bag of almost untouched pet food sitting next to her cage, totally useless. Yeah.)

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Warm and dry, ready to come out and play again.

Oh yeah, and also we’re still waiting for her fur to come in. You can see the fine white hairs beginning to show, but for the most part she’s still got a funny little naked face and belly. But I guess that’ll be news for another post.

For now, hope you have a lovely Monday, and thanks for stopping by!

Art of the Week: a Styrofoam Cup of Coffee and Other Drawings

I’m writing this sitting on my couch with a baby hedgehog cuddled up asleep on my lap. Totally unrelated to this post, but a neat feeling since I didn’t use to have a baby hedgehog to keep me company while I blogged. It’s nice. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, I have this running goal to have a new drawing to post on Instagram every day. (Check out the whole collection here if ya like.) Art helps keep me (mostly) sane when I’m walking through high-pressure situations in life, and plus I figure it’s good practice as an artist to draw every day. Win-win.

That said, I’d like to introduce Art of the Week, which’ll be a recap of the past week’s daily drawings. A weekly episode of drawings, if you will. The thing about Art of the Week that’s different from the Instagram posts or what gets put on my other social media, though, is that it will include behind the scenes stuff as well as failed attempts at times. (Like the one time I decided to sketch the lovely but ridiculously simple-to-draw Blue Fairy from Disney’s Pinocchio and in the process produced not one, not two, not three, but NINE miserable failed drawing attempts before I finally finished a passably adequate sketch of her. A tiny one in the corner of a notebook page. That was a depressing day.)

Cup of Coffee Drawing

Ironically, this week of all weeks was an absolute fail as far as drawing every day. The only sketch I produced was of this little styrofoam cup of coffee I had sitting on the table in front of me during a work meeting. Funny how a little coffee can cheer up mundane things, isn’t it? Anyway, even though it’s not a proper week’s worth of drawings, I thought it was fitting to start off these Art of the Week posts with coffee.

And just for fun, since I don’t have more drawings to share from this past week, here are a few small doodles from weeks gone by. Hope you enjoy, and see you next week!

Hippie Girl

Flower child…

Dachshund Puppy Drawing

…a tiny dachshund puppy…

Girl Drinking Coffee Drawing

…and a girl drinking coffee. Because what better to end this post with than more coffee?

 

Throwback Thursday: a Very Non-Villain Drawing (Princess Aurora)

A couple months ago I thought it would be fun to ask people on Instagram if they had a favorite Disney villain they’d like to see sketched. So I tossed out the question in a caption and waited to see if maybe a few friends had some requests. Much to my surprise, way more responses than I was expecting came flooding in, and thus commenced a Disney Villain Drawing Series that ended up lasting over a month. All the feels! It was a blast to revisit a ton of classic and contemporary bad guys of the Disneyverse, and to connect with fellow Instagrammers on what turned out to be a surprisingly universal love language—Disney villains. And I learned things as an artist from being forced to study such brilliant Disney art for a concentrated period of time, so that’s always a plus.

However, the first response I got was, rather hilariously, a request for Princess Aurora. Who is, in fact, not a villain. And ironically, the request came from my lovely fellow WordPresser Elissa Ryan McConathy. (Check out her brilliant blog here, in fact.) But I mean, who was I to say no to a chance to sketch Aurora?

So the Disney Villain Series started off on not a Disney villain.

Next week I’ll post the next installment in this throwback Disney art series. It’s one of my favorite villains of all time, and I can’t wait to share. Until then, take care, and thanks for stopping by!

Adventure is out there! (a Monday dose of April the hedgehog, plus a drawing and an announcement)

Our first week of being “exotic” pet owners was a hilarious mix of cuddly naps, spilled wood shavings, and hedgehog poop. (And we’re currently thanking God that hedgehogs have the easiest messes ever to clean up.) It’s also slightly less nerve-wracking to hold her now, since even just after one week with us she’s noticeably bigger and stronger, and as she grows less vulnerable it’s easier to see how she’s going to be just fine and have a nice long hedgehog life. (Can you tell we’re first-time pet parents together?)

Adventure is out there!

Adventure is out there!

Having baby April has been so. much. fun. Hedgies are always quickly startled and easily frightened, especially when they’re adjusting to a new home, and to a certain extent that’s true about April too. But we’ve been proud of her, because even after a kind of traumatic almost-car-crash with a dangerous felled tree on the road (thanks a lot to the El Niño this year with all that rain and flooding), she’s very brave and unusually adventurous for a hedgehog. With her curious personality and her funny little nose always wriggling and sniffing, I swear it’s like we stole her out of a Beatrix Potter story. And her little woodsy self is a welcome relief from the swampy jungle that has been the outdoors lately.

And the best part is she’s as cuddly as ever…although she’s (already!) growing out of fitting in the palm of my hand.

Our curious April

Our curious April

Ok, so that’s the hedgehoggy part of this post. Now onto the drawing and announcement. Here’s the drawing (which I did about a week and a half ago in honor of the torrential rain we’ve been getting)…

Girl in Rain Boots

….which brings me to the announcement. Which is, to wit, that more art posts are coming. I can’t reveal fully yet, but there may or may not be weekly posts coming on, say, Thursdays and Saturdays. And there may or may not be featured both current art I’m working on, and Disney art I’ve already done. Plus behind the scenes stuff and failed art attempts. So check back if ya like. : )

That’s about all for now. There’s a new pot of coffee in my kitchen, and I can smell it from the desk where I’m writing this. So I’ve obviously got to get a cup of it stat. So farewell, and thanks for stopping by!

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