I know, I know - I've been gone. I know I always say this, whether or not it's true, but I've been busy. No, really, I have. No sooner had Socrates left than I set off on an adventure in illustrating with my good buddy, Ger. Ger was also interested in starting a writing club, and since I've been trying to find the discipline to get my own children's book written and illustrated (not necessarily in that order), so on alternating weeks I'm either having a brainstorming "coffee" on Pluto, or meeting with the writers. I want to keep pretty tight-lipped about my own book, but Ger's got a website if you want to read the story we've been working on - it's Plip and the Purple Princess, which you can find here: http://www.ebookswithger.com
This has been really challenging for me. My drawings have a definite style to them, and I wouldn't describe it as "sci-fi picture book," but that's exactly what I'm doing. Plip is a little Plutonian boy who dreams of having ten arms with ten fingers on each and very long ears like his Grandpa Zoop. Yep. Ten arms. Ten fingers. How do you even illustrate such a thing? Well, something like this:
I stole from Hindu sculpture in order to manage this one. Shiva's only got four arms, but I knew other deities had more, and Kali, as it turns out, has ten. She was the inspiration for the arms.
I couldn't for the life of me think of anywhere I'd seen anyone or anything with ten fingers on one hand, but I laid my two hands on top of each other, and came up with this. I was pretty pleased with it - if we're so advanced (as opposed to animals) because we have a thumb on each hand, how much more advanced would a species with TWO thumbs be???
This is a scene I drew of Plip leaving for his first day of school. On Pluto, you have to learn to count BEFORE you have fingers, so Plip only has one finger on each hand. If Plip can learn to count to ten, he'll have ten fingers on each hand... The educational bits about counting and colors will make some nice graphic layouts, I think, and the colors should be out of this world (pun totally intended there, people).
I'm also trying to get back to the belly. I've been taking lessons almost since I got into Shanghai, but I haven't been an especially diligent student. Sometimes I think this is because there's not a whole lot of review from one lesson to the next, but I know (duh duh duh-duh duh) it's my own damn fault. I need to practice on my own to make progress, and I'm not doing it. I still love the dance as much as ever, but life gets busy and I'm a lot fatter than I was in my "glory days," which might explain why I still haven't bought a mirror to practice in front of. What I lack in quality I'm trying to make up for with quantity - my gym offers a class on Tuesday night, and I'm very likely going to start taking classes across the street, as I've discovered the yoga studio there offers them, and after a tip from the Evil One I've downloaded Kim Pechet's "Shimmy" workout show, which makes a nice (if cheesy) way to start the day...
...but really? What I really need is to perform. I'm doing this in May - I'm going to Azhaar's World Belly Dance Day extravaganza, and she's invited me to dance in her show - but although there are lots and lots of dancers here, I have yet to hear of any haflas or shows, nevermind be given a chance to perform. I have dreams of setting up a group like Azhaar's MECDACK, but I'm not the organizer she is, and I don't have a faithful sidekick like Kim to help me BECOME one, so right now it's just in the research stage. Someday, though...