Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Story

Merry Christmas to all my lovely followers! For today, I share with youse all a Christmas story I wrote a couple years ago. I love the actual Legend of the Christmas Rose, which is the tale that inspired the story below. I hope you enjoy it. Have a gorgeously lovely Christmas!

The Miracle of the Christmas Rose 

It was dusk. Mother was reading her favourite Christmas story aloud to little Maria; the Legend of the Christmas Rose.

The two of them were snuggled cosily together on her day bed while the two older girls, Veronica and Anne, sat nearby, listening. It was not a very long story, though Mother always managed to make it longer by adding imaginative conversations.

But Mother was feeling worse than usual tonight. In the middle of one sentence, Maria was alarmed to hear a little sound of pain and see tears start into Mother’s eyes. The story came to a halt.

Anne and Veronica got to their feet.

Mother murmured, “I think I need a pill, Annie.”

Anne hurried over to her with the bottle of pain medication, shaking one of the pills into her hand. Veronica fetched a glass of water.

While no one was watching, Maria slipped down to the ground and hid beneath Mother’s bed. She lay there silently as Anne dispensed the pill and Mother drank it down with the water. Maria heard the sound of Mother’s breathing like little cries of pain. She lay there in the darkness, watching the lights on the Christmas tree twinkle on and off.

At last, Mother succumbed to sleep. Maria sucked quietly on her fingers and listened to Anne and Veronica murmur together.

“She’s so far gone.” Anne whispered to Veronica. “She can’t last much longer.”

“If only Christmas miracles still happened,” Veronica whispered back, her voice trembling with tears. “But they just don’t.”

Anne didn’t reply. Maria shimmied forward on her stomach and saw them standing at the foot of Mother’s bed, the tears on their faces shining first white, then red, then yellow in the flashing Christmas tree lights.

Maria felt tears in her throat, as bitter as the ones that gleamed in her older sisters’ eyes. She swallowed them away before she made a sound. “No Christmas miracles,” she whispered. “But Mother needs one.”

She waited until her sisters left the room before she scurried to the door. Quietly she wound a scarf about her neck and pulled on mittens and a warm coat. She crept outside.

The air was very cold and dark. The sky was clear, the first evening stars twinkling in the darkness, seemingly reflected in the shadowing mounds of snow that lay upon the earth. Maria knelt, scooped snow into her mitten. She stared down at the thousand distinct snowflakes she could see, so small yet so perfect. She leaned too close; her breath melted the flakes together into crystal droplets, like tears. Tears for Mother everyone tried to hide.

Mother was ill; that Maria knew. No one realized she knew Mother was dying. They all thought they had managed to keep that secret. But Maria knew.

Maria stood, shaking snow off her mittens, feeling the cold of winter sharper than she usually did. It did not seem like Christmas with such unhappiness invading the home. She turned, looked back at her house whose every window beamed with Christmas lights and scented candles. Each little candle shone like tapers of hope.

There was a wreath made of evergreen branches hanging on the door, twined throughout with red ribbons and gold beads. Inside, before one of the windows she could see the Christmas tree winking joyfully at her through the glass pane, the lights sending glints off the silver garland and the glass ornaments. She could see the Nativity Scene sitting on the windowsill before the tree. All the figures except the Infant were within the stable. Maria had put the figure of Mary in it that morning for Christmas Eve. Tomorrow was Christmas, but there was no joy. There was only sorrow. Mother was dying.

Resolutely, Maria started down the road. There were Christmas miracles. Mother believed it still, and Maria believed it because Mother did. She was going to find one for Mother.

All the houses she passed were decorated with lights, and here and there displays lighted up yards, and snowmen grinned their pebbled smiles at her. She walked while her fingers got cold in their mittens and her boots pinched her feet. She walked while the darkness settled its cloak-like folds about her and the first tingle of fear touched her spine. She stopped, looked behind her down the road, but the darkness was so thick and the lights illumining the houses confused her. She wasn’t sure which house down that long glowing street was hers.

Maria sucked a mittened finger, shivering now, and despite herself a tear trickled from the corner of her eyes. She was tired, afraid, and disheartened. She had expected to find a Christmas miracle a little way down the road. She hadn’t expected it would take longer. Mother was going to die, and Maria couldn’t do anything to stop her. She sat down beneath a tree where the snow did not lay so thickly, and she cried. She cried because she knew Mother was dying and no one could tell her why she would die, and because Christmas miracles no longer happened.

Someone said, “Why are you crying?”

Maria squeaked and wiped away her tears. She looked up. A girl she had never seen before stood before her, wearing a cloak with the hood pulled over her head, carrying a basket filled with white roses over her arm. Costume clothes, Maria thought, for the clothes were old-fashioned; laced leather boots, a simple brown robe belted at the waist, and a rosy brown cloak to keep away winter chill. The girl had a smiling face, framed on either side with curls of brown hair, and Maria put a hand to her own hair, wishing hers looked like the girl’s.

The girl said, “Why are you crying? Couldn’t you find any flowers either? The bright Person helped me find my roses, and I am going now to lay them before the Baby. Would you like to come with me? I should enjoy your companionship, if you’d like to come.”

Maria said, “My mother is sick and dying, and there are no more Christmas miracles. Veronica said so, and I’m very sad. Tomorrow is Christmas, but it doesn’t seem like it, with Mother so sick. Who are you, anyway? I don’t think you live here, do you? And where did you find the roses? Who are you giving them to? Is your mother sick, too?”

The girl smiled and said, “No. I live far away, and the roses are a gift from the bright Person. I am giving them to the Infant Babe this night. But as I was hurrying by I heard you crying, and remembered what happened to me when I cried as you did. So I have come to help you, as I was helped.” She put out her hand. “Come Maria. Take my hand.”

Maria hesitated. “I shouldn’t,” she said. “I’m not supposed to be out here by myself, especially this late. I’m going to be in trouble. But I can’t cry at home. Everyone tells me to hush when I do.”

Gently the girl took Maria’s hand in hers and pulled her to her feet. “No one will miss us,” she said. “I promise you. Come, Maria. Come with me to see the Infant Son.”

Snow started to fall out of the clear sky, snow like wind made visible. Maria could almost see each perfect snowflake as it fell, and she cried out her pleasure. Then the girl stepped into the air. Surprised but willing, Maria followed. The snow lifted them up, into the sky, and kissed Maria. She put out her hands and caught the white flakes.

Time, and yet no time passed, and then the girl stepped forth and touched the ground with her feet. Maria, secure in her clasp, followed and looked about her in wonder. They stood upon a hillside that was dusted in the falling snow, looking down upon the glimmering lights of a small town below. Maria gazed, enraptured. The lighted town looked like fairy lights glinting through the snowflakes.

The girl turned her gaze to a stable. “Look, Maria.”

Maria saw the stable, pushed dark and lonely in the side of a hill, and a little gleam of light shone through the chinks in the door. She took a step forward, and noticed that the girl stayed behind. Maria looked at her and said, “Aren’t you coming?”

The girl shook her head. All of a sudden she seemed ancient, as though she were but a memory of one who had lived long ago. Gently she said, “I had no gift until I wept before the stable. This is your turn, Maria. Go. See that Christmas miracles still happen, even now. Go.”

Maria trod the silent path alone. Before her the pale light from the stable shone out like a ray of hope. Behind her lay the darkness of the waiting hillside where the girl stood watching.

Maria walked, and put her hand to the door of the stable. It was latched. She leaned harder on it, but though a timber protested the door would not open. Maria tapped upon the door with a tentative hand. No one answered.

The air no longer kissed her. Instead, the cold ate into her bones and the helplessness of her plight overwhelmed her. Again, she began to cry, the tears mingling with the droplets of melting snowflakes on her face and she knelt in the snow before the door. Her tears dropped to the ground, hot as steam. She cried, until her throat felt raw and her heart, tight with hopelessness, eased. As her sobs quieted, she noticed, peeping its white petals through the snow, a white rose, white as the roses the girl carried in her basket.

Tenderly, softly, Maria reached her fingers down the cold stem to the ground and plucked the rose from its snowy bed, and held it in her hands. It almost glowed in the darkness, so bright that for a moment Maria wondered if the moon had taken root in the earth. She ran her fingers up and down the stem but she could not feel a single thorn. As she knelt there in the snow, her face tear-stained, colder than she could ever remember being, the stable door before her opened of its own accord.

She looked up, hesitating on the threshold, blinking in the light of a small fire that cast dancing shadows on the stable walls and wondering at the brighter light that framed the face of the young woman and the Babe she cradled in her arms. Maria knelt, and wonder kept her still.

A man came unto her, reached down his hand and helped her to her feet, then stooped so he could look into her face.

“You are Maria,” he said, and smiled.

The rose stem was cold and soft against her fingers. Maria clutched it tighter to be sure she did not dream. “I came for a Christmas miracle. I have a gift, also, to give.”

“You are welcome here, Maria. Come.”

The man took her hand in his large one and led her to the side of the woman. Maria laid her hands in the woman’s lap. The white rose lay cradled between her loose-knit fingers, the drooping petals vivid against the blue of the blanket. Maria looked down into the face of the Babe. He was sleeping, His face a wreath of flame, His body a kindled taper shining even through His swaddling garments. Maria thought she now understood what was meant by heavenly peace. It lay here, in this Mother’s arms, within the flaming body of this little Child.

Maria said, “I never realized He is so beautiful. He is the Christmas miracle, isn’t He?”

“Yes,” the Mother said softly, “He is.”

Maria laid the rose upon the Baby’s breast. She said, “I promised to give a gift in exchange for the Christmas miracle. This is my gift.” She stood away. She was so happy. She’d never been happier. “Thank-you.”

The Mother picked up the rose in one of her hands, held it to her face to catch the scent of it, looking over the petals at Maria with a clear, smiling gaze. Then she said, “Would you like to hold Him?”

Maria looked at the Mother. “Oh, yes,” she whispered, and put out her arms. The Babe was laid against her breast. Maria looked down into His Face, felt the warmth of His body, took one of His small hands in hers and kissed it. The warmth of that kiss swept through her whole body, and she sat down beside the Mother and held Him. How much time passed she did not know. She lost her sorrow and troubles in the warmth of His body.

Then Maria stirred, feeling as though she had been asleep for a long time. “Oh,” she said, “It is very late, isn’t it? I must get home. Everyone will be so worried.”

The Mother took her Babe back into her arms. “No one will be worried, Maria. I promise you this. Go now. Madelon will take you home.”

Maria turned. The girl stood behind her, her hood pushed down her back, her arms full of roses. She knelt for a moment and laid her roses at the Mother’s feet. They shone like kindled snow, each one more perfect than the last and yet each as perfect as the other. Maria’s Rose lay alone on the Babe’s blanket, and yet it seemed to shine brighter than any of the other roses, as thought the brightness of the Babe’s body soaked into the rose petals. Maria stood and looked down at the Babe and her rose. The rose smelled sweeter, lovelier than any other flower Maria had ever smelled. She turned and smiled at the girl. It was as though a light had turned on in her heart. She recognized who the girl was. This was Madelon of the Legend of the Christmas Rose. Maria wondered how she could not have recognized her before.

“It is time.” It was the Guardian-father that spoke, and Maria felt her heart give a dull thump. She took Madelon’s hand for comfort, and it was then that the Mother spoke again.

“This is for you.” She held out the rose that Maria had lain upon the Babe’s breast. “Take it back to your mother, Maria.”

Wonderingly Maria bent her head into the perfection of the rose petals and breathed deep of the scent, looking over the top of it at the Mother. Then she saw that which almost seemed to stop her heart.

The Babe was awake, and He looked at her. His eyes were pools of heaven, and in them Maria saw reflected the image of herself, and the Christmas Rose. If she wept, she did not know it.

She stood a moment, entranced by the gaze of His eyes, warmed by the Mother’s smile, secure in the shadow of the Guardian-father’s body. Then, snow came from somewhere, cold and white yet warmer than the inside of a flame. Maria and Madelon were lifted in its white clasp and blinded for a moment. Maria was conscious only of the rose stem in her hands.

She seemed to waken. She raised her head, baffled and unsure where she was. She looked about and saw she lay before the fireplace, clothed in her nightgown with slippers on her feet. The heat of the flames lay around her, as warm and soft and tangible as the fleece blanket upon her.

She sat up, looked around her. The lights of the Christmas tree flickered brilliantly, shining off the garland; it was the only light in the house. Veronica lay on the couch, asleep, and Anne slept with her head on her hands on the floor beside Veronica. There were packages about the foot of the tree, wrapped in bright paper and decorated with colored bows, and the stockings were lumpy with surprises.

Maria stared at the tree, her head whirling and a feeling of unreality in her heart, and a knell of fear beat in her breast. Had she only dreamed? Had none of what happened to her been real? Had Madelon been nothing more than the residue of the story Veronica had read aloud? Were Christmas miracles, then, untrue? And where was her rose that Madelon gave her? Maria scrabbled about on the floor looking for it. It was gone. Maria felt like crying.

Maria got up off the floor, depressed and uncertain. It had been a dream. Mother was dying and Christmas would never be happy again. Mother…Maria’s eyes darted to where her mother slept on her little bed, in the corner where, before she had gotten so sick, the big sofa used to sit. Mother had insisted that her bed be put out there so that she could be around her family more, and Maria liked the arrangement. She felt as though she had seen much more of Mother than she had ever had before. But now Mother seemed to be lying too still, and in terror Maria hurried to her side.

She looked down, her relief a gasp in her ears. Mother slept like the Babe had slept, soft and smiling, the sound of her breath a calming whisper on Maria’s face. Her head was turned to one side, and Maria found it so easy to lean down and lay a kiss on her cheek.

As she bent, Maria smelled a scent. It was the sweetest, loveliest scent she had ever smelled, and she pulled back the covers on Mother’s body and saw, clasped in her hands, the perfect, full-bloomed beauty of the Rose. It glowed in the darkness, like the face of the Babe had glowed, a wondrous light in the darkness. Maria stood so still, only her eyes were alive. Gently she touched the unfurled petals, feeling the softness like velvet on her fingers, and in the shimmering light of the Rose she saw, like a vision, the face of the Babe. She slipped the Rose closer to her mother’s breast and kissed the thorn-less stem. Then she slipped beneath the covers and snuggled into Mother’s arms, and in that secure embrace Maria fell asleep.


“Christmas miracles do happen,” Maria would tell her children at the end of the story. She would look over at her Mother, smiling, and all her children would say, “Yes they do, don’t they Grandma?”

Maria’s mother rarely answered, but she would stroke the petals of a fragrant Rose she would hold in her hands during the telling of the story. It was sweet and fragrant, and the stem of it was thorn-less. Maria knew that only she and Mother could smell the matchless scent of the Christmas Rose.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I missed Wednesday again. You know what? I don't care. Life will go on, whether I blogged or not. Besides, I've not been entirely sure what I want to blog about. I don't want to blog about just writing all the time. There are hundreds of blogs out there for writing, and all of them are better than mine. I'm into other things besides writing, anyway. Art, clay, beads, for starters. I would like to blog about those, too.
Oh, and I'm also a TV show junkie. Seriously, I sit and collect TV shows as voraciously as I collect books. And CD's. I have become a Whovian. I've fallen for the Eleventh Doctor, though. Most of my sisters prefer Nine.

Finally, it's Christmas time. I've been super crafty this year for Christmas too, so I forgot those little things I'm supposed to be doing in the world, such as blog posting. I can't mention any crafties I've done, since the clay thingies are Christmas pressies, but most of the things I've been making have turned out pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself. Perhaps AFTER Christmas I shall post pictures. But I mean, Christmas! How can anyone stay on schedule during Christmas? Not me! I'm too full of excitement and Christmas carols to retain something as mundane as a schedule!

So, that's my post for today. As a something else, one which is Christmasy, and one which is not, I shall now post these two videos of Josh Groban. One is of him, doing his Toy For Tots thing. (I hate the commercials.) The other is the single for his upcoming album, ALL THAT ECHOES. I am in LOVE with this single, which is called BRAVE. (Again, I hate the adverts!) I hope you enjoy both these videos as much as I did. (Aside from the adverts, of course. :)



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Six-Sentence Sunday...

...because, once again, I missed my Saturday. Truly, it did NOT feel like Saturday yesterday. Don't know why. Totally forgot it was. So, here's my Sunday post instead.

1.) I freakin' LOVE Christmas!!! (Just like THIS cat):

2.) I absolutely love "Mickey's Christmas Carol", and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this song from it:

3.) One of my favourite Christmas movies of them all is "It's A Wonderful Life," and that could be because I utterly adore Jimmy Stewart.

4.) I do not like snow at all, but this is the only time in the world I actually like to have snow on the ground, simply because it makes the world feel like Christmas. I mean, which FEELS more like Christmas?

5.) I do NOT like the generic "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings." Everyone knows this is Christmastime. Therefore, please use the proper greeting.

6.) I tend to feel extremely crafty during Christmas, and I never give myself enough time to get projects done, so I end up feeling a bit like this:
Yes, I think I'm a Whovian. At least a Doctor Eleven Whovian, anyhoozle

That's all for now. I hope youse all have a good week, and for those of you who celebrate it, I hope your third week of Advent is quite wonderful too.

God bless!!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Unexpected Blog Party!


Now, on to serious matters...

You know what irritates me? Whenever I come up with an idea for my blog, LIFE comes swooping down with an "LOL, you thought you'd have TIME for this, didn't you?" and ruins all my Great Expectations. Sigh.

Instead, after a verra, verra, verra long absence, I materialize to post this Unexpected Blog Party blog post, hosted by Nessima over at Arda Nessimava (minus the super-cool accents over the first A in Arda, and the I in Nessimava.) Since I love Lord of the Rings, and am expecting to see the midnight showing of the Hobbit (all by my ONESIE too, if needs be), I thought it would be appropriate to post this. So, here we go!!

1. How did you first hear about LOTR & The Hobbit?
In my family, if you don't read the Lord of the Rings at least once in your lifetime, there is something WRONG with you. Like, WRONG.

I read The Hobbit when I was... gosh, nine or ten, and the Lord of the Rings directly after. I mean, after Bilbo, you want to read about more hobbits. You know? So, I guess I've known about the books for... er, let me think... at least fifteen years.

2. How many times have you read LOTR/The Hobbit? Or have you yet to read it at all?
I don't remember. I've read both LOTR and The Hobbit so many times now I've lost count. They are more hilarious and more heartbreaking each time I re-read them.

3. Would you name your child after a character from it?
For a long, long time, I have wanted to name one of my sons James Peregrine. Now, if and when I get married, I WILL name a son James Peregrine... mostly because James Faramir just sounds, yanno, weird.

4. What are your thoughts on Tom Bombadil? Do you think he should have been in the movie?
I liked Tom Bombadil in the book. However, I feel the addition of him in the movie would have made the film a bit long and wandering. It worked in the book. I don't think it would have worked in the movie.

5. Do you have a favourite piece of poetry from any of Tolkien's books?
I love ALL the poetry!! However, there are some favourites, such as the Lay of Luthien, and all of Sam's poems.

I love THIS stanza from the Lay of Luthien:

"Tinuviel was dancing there
to music of a pipe unseen.
The light of stars was in her hair,
and in her raiment glimmering."

And I love THIS stanza from Sam's song while he's in the Orc Tower:

"Though here at Journey's End I lie in darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high, beyond all mountains steep.
Above the shadows rides the sun and stars forever dwell,
I will not say the day is done, nor bid the stars farewell."

6. Have you read any of Tolkien's work besides LOTR and/or The Hobbit?
Yes. I've read The Silmarillion, the Book of Lost Tales, Forgotten Tales, Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, The Smith of Wootton-Major, and The Father Christmas Letters. Loved them all.

7. Can you write in the Tengwar?
Not yet. ;-)

8. Were you at all disappointed that Prince Imrahil wasn't in the movie?   
I liked him in the book, but he was another of those characters that would have just "cluttered" up the movie. There were already so many prime characters and so many stories, it would have been hard to add another one. Though, I would have liked to see more of Arwen's brothers, Elladan and Elrohir.

9. What would happen if you and Denethor were put face to face? 
Freak! Why you try to burn Faramir alive?!?!?!?!

10. Would you rather reside in Edoras or Minas Tirith?
Minas Tirith. I have always wanted to be a Gondorian. Maybe because Faramir is a Gondorian...

11. What think you of Éomer's armour?

12. What do you think of Boromir?
Loved. That moment, when he keeps looking up at Merry and Pippin, and finds that extra strength to keep fighting for them... *heart thumps. Tears flow*

13. Which is your favourite LOTR couple: Sam & Rosie, Aragorn & Arwen, or Faramir & Éowyn?
Faramir & Éowyn. They were both so alone, so full of sorrows. Then, when their eyes met for the first time in the Houses of Healing, it was a "FINALLY! HAPPINESS!!" moment.

14. Did you shed any tears when Thorin died?
Not the first time I read it. Now, however, I tend to get a bit misty about the eyes whenever I read about his death. He wasn't such a bad dwarf. It's going to be AWFUL when he dies in the movie!!

15. Which is most terrifying of the following: orcs nabbing you in your sleep, giant spiders crawling out of dark tunnels and forests, Nazgul standing right over where you're hiding, or a ghost army that doesn't like you very much?
The Nazgul. I mean, everything is pretty terrifying, but the Nazgul are something else, man. Shriek!!

16. How well would you enjoy life as a hobbit? Would it be preferable to being something like, say, an elf? Or a Ranger?
Hobbits seem to engage in a lot of group activities. I'd like to be a Ranger. All that lovely alone time... 

Have a happy Wednesday, and remember... ONLY TWO MORE DAYS UNTIL THE HOBBIT COMES OUT!! *Swoon*

And now, because I love the song following the tragic moments after Pippin discovers Merry is missing and Eomer finds Eowyn nearly dead on the field of battle, I'm including this video clip. Plus, it's mostly about Eowyn's healing, and her first meeting with Faramir, which I LOVE!

God bless



Wednesday, November 21, 2012


That's right. I'm not going to apologize, either. I'm helping to pack up and move (again) so I have no time for a tutorial. Isn't that the saddest news ever? On the flip side, the next tutorial you receive ought to take place in South Lake Tahoe. Yeah, it's crazy. God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes I wish those ways weren't quite so far, but...

So, since I'm not lightening your day with a marvelous tutorial (excuse my small horn tooting there) I shall instead post THIS song, because I have been on a Disney RAMPAGE and am not sure why.

Besides, she has a KILLER voice. Would that I could sing so well! However, I guess I can only be uber talented in one thing at a time. Sorrows.

Oh well. Have a lovely Wednesday! Cheers! God bless! (Should I try using another exclamation point?)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Are you EXcited? Are you exCIted? Are you exciTED!!! I bet you are! You know what today is, right? Hurray! Another Drawing With Cat! Hoot hoot! Break out the beverages. Oh yeah, and the art supplies.

Today, all we're covering is Shadow. Oooh, doesn't that sound mysterious. Shaaaaaaaadow. Shadooooooooow. Yep, it'll be epic.

So get yourself:

  • One HB pencil
  • One basic Bic pen, or any cheap ink pen that draws kind of like a pencil
  • One nice and bright work area
Because I'm SO NICE this way, I'm going to give you a picture that's already done! You just have to trace it, or print it out, and copy it exactly. How neato is that? Very neato, right?


So, here's the picture:

"Hang on," I hear people say. "Haven't I seen that picture before?"

"Yes," I say. Like the rest of youse all, I've been having a crazy busy week, and I wanted to try and get SOME NaNo done tonight! I cheated and used an old picture I had hanging around that I'd never completed. So, now we are going to complete it. Step by step. :) (The yellow paint smudge is courtesy of Samantha DeLallo)

So, copy the picture. It has been inked in already, and all the pencil guidelines erased. Now we're going to lay down the first layer of shadow.

First of all, you're going to visualize a light source streaming from your left (her right). It's going to hit her right side, thereby casting her left side in shadow. Very gently, you're going to shadow in a faint line where her nose curves, as another faint line under her chin. Shadow her neck, following the curve of her throat, and add a touch of shadow under her shirt where it lies against her skin and shoulder. Darken both seams under her arms where the fabric lies, and just barely tint the undersides of both arms. Draw a line of shadow under her shirt where it hits her ribs, down the side of her waist, around her hips and legs, and in the crease where her leg pulls up toward her stomach. Add the same shadow technique to her left foot. Her right leg and foot are going to be slightly more shadowed, but not too much.

This is when I darken her hair. I like to really darken the area right around her face, to create a nice contrast. It really makes her features "pop"... in a good way. :) With the hair, basically all you're going to do is colour some strands of it quite dark, and leave other areas untouched. It also creates a nice contrast. Now you're going to go over all your shadowing again, slightly darkening the portions you've already laid down, and extending them outward just a fraction. You're also going to add crease or fold marks. These are just simple lines drawn lightly into the "fabric", with the soft side of the lead to create a very soft, smudgy look.

For the final step, once more go over the shadowed portions, darkening out the previous layer and extending  the new edge out just a fraction more. Enhance the crease lines, where the fabric "folds" in on itself, and go over the outline of her face with pen, to re-emphasize the contours. Do the same with any areas you've shadowed so darkly that the pen lines seem to be fading. Draw in some scribbles under her foot to "ground" her.

And that's that. Shadowing is a little bit of a process, but not too bad. I hope this clarified some of the mysteries surrounding my tutorials when you were like, "Good Heavens! How did the picture go from HERE to THERE!!!!" Now when I say, SHADOW, you'll be able to say, all-knowingly, "Ah yes. Shadow!"

Until next time, take care! As always, drop suggestions in the comment box. I will probably do a tutorial on hands for the next one. But I'm open for suggestions. :)

God bless


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 11/10/2012

It is another Saturday. I feel like I turn around and trip over the next weekend. It's amazing how quickly they come, isn't it?

1.) It is incredibly windy outside.

2.) I'm thinking of that line from Peter Kagan and the Wind: "The wind is working now."

3.) My little niece just came in, stabbed my computer screen and said, "Look, Auntie Trina! There's a sight word! It's "the", see?"

4.) I feel so proud. (I taught her that. :)

5.) I just had the cool experience of seeing THIS picture:

...drawn in all it's glorious step-by-step-tutorial detail on my sister's site:

6.) I'm having a severe and overwhelming sense of "coolness." I ought to wear sunglasses.

That's all for now. What's up with you?

I'm taking suggestions for a new Wednesday pic, too, so drop some comments in the box!

Ta, and see youse all on Wednesday! God bless


Thursday, November 8, 2012


Well, maybe not quite THAT extreme, but...

*deep breath*

Dear friends and followers, even if you're both one and the same thing.

I hereby interrupt your week with a newscast, of a sort:

American Duchess is holding a really amazing giveaway over at her blog. Follow this link to participate! You will win these absolutely amazingly adorable shoes! (Or the equivalent, but I like the shoes.)

Aren't they cute? Aren't they adorable? Aren't they swoon worthy?

If you answered YES! YES! YES!, then head on over and participate. You never know... YOU might just be the lucky winner!

God bless.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Drawing With Cat 11/07/2012

Good morning, good day, good afternoon, good evening! That ought to take care of all the times during the day people pop over to say howdy. :)

Now that it's getting so cold and decidedly winterish outside, I thought I'd hit us all those non-winter people with a pang of nostalgia and "Oh please YES!" So, for this tutorial, we are going to draw a cute li'l girl at the beach!

Yes, you heard me. The beeeeeeeach! It will be lovely.

So now, grab you:

  • One dullish HB or 2B pencil
  • One automatic pencil
  • One white artist eraser
  • One basic Bic pen, or any cheap ink pen that leaves nice, pencil-ish lines
  • One nicely illuminated work station

Okay, now that we've got all the necessaries out of the way, start with this Gollum-ish looking figure. (You do all know who Gollum is, right? If not, why haven't you read Lord of the Rings, or at least seen the movies yet?!?!?!) Draw it fairly small, with a head slightly down-turned. Draw a mostly straight back, gently bowing it out just a hair. Draw in her knees, so she looks like she's crouching a bit. Draw two mostly straight sticks for her arms.

Draw in her box dimensions. She's going to be a pretty little thing, so make these boxes kind of small. Visualize a thread running from her neck through the torso book, passing through the ball in her middle until it connects everything to her hip box. Once you've done that, mark in all the joint circles, drawing where her shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles join. Also draw a circle at her hip, where her leg attaches to her upper body. Last, draw in a small diagram of a foot. Draw this lightly, because it is NOT going to remain that way. It's for grounding purposes only.

Now, cover everything with a layer of skin. Draw a smooth, bowing line from her nearly invisible left shoulder all the way down her spine to where her leg attaches. Draw in her legs, making them fairly small and slender. Make her arms also fairly slender, as well as he neck. Mark in a very faint suggestion of her ear, and gently diagram the areas on her face where her eyes, nose, and mouth will go.

Now, using your artist eraser, get rid of most of the guidelines. Use the corner of your eraser when navigating through the small areas, such as her arms, neck, hands, and feet, so you don't erase too much of the pencil marks you want to keep. Draw in her nose, and darken the line where her mouth is. Diagram her hands. Refrain from hissing "my precioussssssss!" at this point.

Since it is a day at the beach, you actually have it really easy in the clothes department! Really, all you're going to do is draw a circle around her arm where the strap of her suit sits, and then you're going to draw a line around her thigh where the suit ends. Flesh out her fingers and toes, making them a bit more obvious. Enhance her ear just a tad, and draw in the rough outline of her hair. Since she's at the beach Mom doesn't want her hair to get too tangled, so little Beach Girl is wearing it in a braid. Draw some wiggly lines for waves.

Ink her in very carefully with your pen, being careful not to smudge around her face. Leave the waves in pencil. Don't ink this part in, or the "sand" she's crouching on. Once you've done that, completely erase all the pencil lines on her body.

Now, using the HB, or 2B pencil again, layer in the shadows. Very, very lightly touch up her face with a very faint bit of shadow. Add the same kind of shadowing to her neck, arms, and right leg. Now, pressing a little bit harder, heavily darken the area on her chest and stomach, gradually lightening as you work toward her back. Now, less heavily, shadow in her entire left leg, only leaving the top of her foot unshadowed. Once you've done that, colour in her hair, using alternating strokes of light and dark to create the contrast of highlights. Leave some areas completely white, to show where the sun is reflecting off her head. Use your pencil to draw more wavy lines on the wavelets ebbing and flowing toward the shore.


There you go! That is that! How did you do (gollum! gollum!)?

Well, kewl! If you've stopped by for a check, drop a suggestion in the comment box for the kind of tutorial you'd like to see next. Nothing TOO crazy, please. I'm not sure how great I'd be with cars or robots. :) Remember, I'm a fantasy artist, with some real life thrown in.

Stop by on Saturday for my next update. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this FOURTH INSTALMENT!!! of Drawing with the Grand and Glorious Cat, artist extraordinaire! (At least, that's what she wishes people would call her. ;)

God bless, and take care!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 11/03/2012

Wow, it's already November. Time is just whisking away on little golden wings. If you ask me, "Why golden?" I truly have no answer for you. That word just sort of came out of nowhere and imprinted itself on my screen.

So, for my six sentences:

1.) There is a child on my floor crying in a non-stop, resonant, blaring-horn kind of way.

2.) Violence may be going down in a moment......

3.) Oh yay! She stopped! Violence has been put on hold.

4.) I found this circle of fifths diagram that fit in beautifully with the colour wheel for artists, and it is becoming an integral part of my story-in-revision. (Ooh, look. That anagram makes SIR, story-in-revision. "Sir, yes sir!) I did some edits on it, to make it more "me", and I'm happy with the overall product.

5.) I am also doing NaNo, along with three of my sisters.

6.) I'm also doing Operation Agent Ink from Ink in the Book blogspot. Wowzers!

That's all for my day. What's new with you? And stay tuned! Wednesday seems to come SO FAST, but we will be having another little drawing day. If you'd like, drop suggestions into the comment box, and I'll see what I can whip up.

God bless


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Drawing with Cat 10/31/2012

Now that I'm thinking about it, I really should have done a Halloween Theme on this picture. As it is, I didn't, so you'll just have to suffer with a Gunslinger.

What, you say? A gunslinger!? Yes indeed. I have been watching much too much 24, so I needed to get into my violent side.

Without further ado, the Gunslinger. For this, you will need:

  • One dullish HB or 2B pencil
  • One automatic pencil
  • One white artist eraser
  • One basic Bic Round Stic ballpoint pen
  • One brightly lit work station

Okay, we're going to start with this very dynamic-looking kneeling person. Use the HB (or 2B) pencil for steps 1-3. It's just a great pencil for keeping your marks light and sketchy. Keep your motions really loose, creating semi-sharp angles for his knees and elbows. Tilt his head down just a tad. As you notice, we only see one arm right now. That's fine. We'll get to arm #2 in a minute. :)

Good job! Now, add the block dimensions. He's going to be a bit slender but well built, so don't make your blocks too too blocky. Give him mass but not bulk... if that makes ANY kind of sense! :) Mark in the joints; elbows and knees, ankles and wrists, and shoulders. Now, as promised, you can mark in the second arm. It's going to appear fairly straight, simply because of the way he's holding his gun.

He is starting to look sort of human! Still using your HB (or 2B pencil, whichever you prefer) go over the entire body, encasing him in skin. Since he's a man, he's going to have a fairly thick neck. Give him a bit of muscle on his arms. As you might have noticed, leg two, the one supporting him on the ground, has been edited. It is a bit higher up now. I have also drawn in "grounding lines", which help keep my perspective consistent. Make the gun a bit more detailed now. Draw in his nose, and a small mouth line. Enhance his chin a bit.

Best part EVER! Very, very carefully, use your eraser to get rid of all the guidelines. I don't know about you, but I find them awfully distracting once I get to this point, and I HAVE to get rid of them before I go any further. Once you've erased at least most of the guidelines, go over his body once more, this time using an automatic pencil. You want to enhance bodily features. Slightly bulk out his chest, adding minor ab details to give him a sense of fitness. Smooth out the muscles in his arms, and add a bit of oomph to his upper leg, the one he's not kneeling on. With the sharp point of your automatic pencil, and using a very light touch, add details to his features, hands, and gun. Good job!

Okay, this might actually be the best part EVER! With your automatic pencil, start lightly drawing in his clothes. I love the long jacket look - it's very gunslinger cool - so mark that in. There's a lot of "pull" in the sleeves around his shoulders, so draw in some stretch lines around the shoulders, and where his elbow curves up. For his legs, he's going to be wearing some sort of jean-like pants, so draw in stretch lines around his knees. Further enhance his face, hands, and gun, and add a bit of hair to his head. Draw in detail for his ear.

Grrr! This might actually be the best part EVER! Carefully erase all the parts of his body you can see through his clothes. Add a tiny bit of detail to the clothes, such as the flap of a pocket on his coat, the tiny slanting lines of his buttonholes, a hint of neckline underneath his jacket, a stitch line down the length of his jeans. You ought to be able to see a bit of finger from his hidden hand near the top of the trigger. Also add a tiny bit of cheek line to his face, and a shadow line where the hollow of his cheek will appear. Erase the bit of head you could see under his hair. Add a tiny bit of detail to his shoes.

This is the easiest part... at least, I think it's easy. You might differ. Go over the entire picture with your pen, taking extreme care around his face. I like Bic pens because they tend to look quite pencil-sketchy when you use them, but they do have a distressing tendency to blot. I've learned how to evade their sneaky blottiness by being sneaky myself, but for beginners this might be an irritating and potentially ruining occurrence. Use a pen you feel you can trust. Any cheap ink pen will do, really. It ends up being personal preference. Once you've inked in your very cool gunslinger, use your artist eraser and get rid of any pencil marks that might still be littering your picture. Excellent! On to the last step. :)

You're going to use a 2B pencil for this, simply because it is a bit darker than an HB pencil. Add a light layer of shadow underneath his hairline, gradually darkening as you head down his face, and becoming significantly darker around his neck. Using dark and light strokes, colour in his hair, leaving untouched areas to signify highlights where the light might be hitting him. Add a line of shadow to his nose, around his eye, and down his nose where his cheek is. Also add a small line of shadow to his cheek, mimicking the hollow in his cheek.

For his coat, you're going to draw substantially dark lines wherever there is a fold line, a pleat, or a gather in his coat. The backside is going to be a bit darker, so use your 2B pencil and add some shadow to the back. Also darken the area beneath his shoulder, as well as the right side of his pocket. Darken his wrist where the sleeve falls, and darken his hand beneath the gun... or pistol. Whatever you want to call it. Darken in the folds where his jeans stretch, and add a second line to the stitch line down his pants, using the Bic pen for this. Ground him with an energetic dash of 2B scribbling beneath his feet and legs. Voila! A gunslinger. Very cool. Very 24. Let's give him a name. How about, Shane Westmore? That sounds 24-ish, doesn't it?

Yay, you've just completed Drawing with Cat picture #3!! How do you feel? Remember, if you try this picture, I'd love to see it. You can post it on your blog and link it to mine. That would be awesome. Sincere thanks to everyone who comments and/or makes the attempt.

Shane Westmore, CTU 

God bless! Catch you on Saturday. Have a boo-tiful Halloween. ;)


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