Category Archives: Digital



An Oyster’s Cute Doom by Meg Lyman


As I slowly rebuild my desire to create and wean myself off my recent spate of physical exercise, I can’t help but wonder what I’m supposed to learn from it all. I mean, I feel guilty for not doing more art, but I feel great otherwise. It seems like I have time and inspiration to exercise my body or my spirit, but not both at the same time. I need to find a balance.

Maybe some spiritual artwork will be therapeutic. This is the last piece I finished, and it turned out to be way more brooding and sad than I planned. But I still like it, and it reflects the way I’m feeling about making art. I guess that’s how you know you’re an artist in your heart – when you don’t feel like making art, you make art to express how you feel.

Happy Zombie Jesus Day!

Jesus Toucan

Jesus Toucan by Meg Lyman

Digital (vector art done in Inkscape)

Happy Zombie Jesus Day to all! In celebration of this widely-celebrated holiday, have a holy toucan. If you are disinclined to celebrate this day because of your religion, or lack thereof… then here! Have some satire.

This came about because of Jesus Squid. It’s all his fault, and I can see this potentially snowballing out of control, until cute little haloed animal silhouettes are running amok and requiring that we all pay them homage with various morsels of food and bits of our souls.

If you haven’t seen Jesus Squid, there’s a bit of a progression. First, I wanted something very simple; I’m a sucker for simple elegance. Jesus Squid #1 looks like this:

Jesus Squid 1

I got several comments saying “it looks like a bird!” and the response, when asked which, was overwhelmingly “toucan.” There was one crow. Anyway, I decided to refine it so nobody would mistake it for an avian:

Jesus Squid 2

Good. People liked this one better. It was unequivocally “squid.” Success!

Jesus Toucan has been lurking in the back of my brain since, so I finally got it out. The whole thing made me wonder, yet again, at the nearly infinite ways that viewers will interpret a piece of art. As an artist, you see what you want it to be. Sometimes you’ve been staring at it for so long that you can’t see obvious errors (which is why critique is so valuable), let alone an entirely different interpretation. It’s sort of like the optical illusion with the faces and vases – you see one immediately, and it takes some effort and brainpower to see the other. That the same thing happens with art is fascinating to me. It’s even more pronounced with abstract art, of course, but it’s amazing that it happens at all when the subject is fairly clear-cut.

As an artist, what different (or strange?) interpretations have viewers had of your art? As a viewer, what have you seen that the artist, or other viewers, didn’t?




I could take this beyond one little digital piece, but I won’t. I promise.

If you are confused, visit I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER and view the “lolcats.” But you’ll get addicted. So click only after careful consideration about your free time, because the archives are calling like sirens…

Snoozy Squid

Snoozy Squid by Meg Lyman

Digital (Gimp)

I doodled a bunch of cephalopods during some down time at DragonCon last weekend. That is, when I wasn’t distracted by neat costumes. A group of people came dressed as huge Tetris pieces!

I haven’t drawn with my tablet in a while, so I colored him digitally. I’m experimenting with non-smudge tool blending. This was done with a hard-edged brush on low opacity and color-picking the two colors, and as they blended, color-picking the blend. I’m really new at this, so any suggestions are appreciated.


I enjoy helping homeless pets. I have volunteered at shelters, fostered kittens, and adopted (in my unbiased opinion) the best cat in the world from a no-kill shelter. She had been there three years.

So I want to use my art skills to help the less fortunate. I designed this little cat logo with the intention of getting it embroidered on stocking caps, just like my CrashOctopus hats. I wrote a letter to my favorite local shelter last winter, proposing that we make some hats and sell them at adoptions, with all proceeds going to the animals. They haven’t answered any e-mails or phone messages about it. Either it’s a horrible idea, or they’re too busy. I’d like to get your opinion before I proceed.

Is this a design you think people will buy? On what? Stocking caps… probably not at this time of year, at least in the northern hemisphere. T-shirts, maybe? I did a bunch of different colors and line thicknesses, and I did a dog logo, too. All suggestions welcome (i.e. would it look better with whiskers?). Meg wants to help kitties!


The Winoctopus by Meg Lyman

Digital – Prints Available

Cephalopods need more love and representation in art. They’re amazing, beautiful, intelligent creatures. They also happen to make great plays-on-words. What should I call this one? Winoctopus? Wineoctopus? Wine-octopus? Wino-octopus?

Excuses and Fan Art

Right, so, this week’s beer rating is postponed. The thing is, I ran out of beers for which I wrote down comments, and a girl can only drink so many beers a week. I have 35 beers on my list, 23 of which are rated, but only 13 of which have comments. I started rating before I started taking notes.

The good news is that we bought 3 new beers this week: Bridgeport Black Strap Stout, Left Hand Blackjack Porter, and Cooper’s Brewery Best Extra Stout. By the time the Superbowl is over, I’ll have 3 new fully-commented ratings for you. And no more excuses.

Speaking of the Superbowl, my team is in it for the first time since I was too small to care. After we moved to Chicago in ’86, I became smitten, and all the time between now and then, the Bears have consistently let me down. Now they’re going to Superbowl XLI, and although my hopes aren’t too high, I’m proud of them for getting this far.

This is my first piece of original Fan Art. I’ve done things for Star Wars and Samurai Jack, but they’ve just been copies of stills or promo photos. This I invented on my own. It came to me shortly after it sunk in that the Bears were actually going to win the NFC championship (I was giddy with glee). It took 2 weeks to formulate and execute, and it’s my first finished piece of digital art. After many hours the last two weeks, including 15 hours yesterday, it is done. It was hard. My wrist nearly fell off.

To: My favoritest team ever, da Bears
cc: Their loyal fans, at home and displaced
Subject: The Littlest Fan

link to a higher-res image: [link]

Guinness Extra Stout and Digital Art Blues

Guinness Extra Stout is the lesser known relative of Guinness. You know, if Guinness were a tall, fit, handsome movie star, Extra Stout would be his short, stocky, non-famous overlooked brother. Most grocery stores around here have it. It’ll be the dark-glassed, yellow bottle-capped six pack next to the Guinness. It is a short beer – the bottles are smaller. It doesn’t have that fancy doohicky in the bottle to create the head, either. But it packs a punch.

It tastes just like Guinness (really, big surprise, that), but there is more of that taste in each sip. As if its flavor is denser. It’s a bit stoutier, with a tang. I can’t access the stupid Guinness website without getting cookies, so I haven’t checked, but I think it has more alcohol than regular Guinness. A good beer to go with a meal, especially pizza. Mmmmm, pizza.

M: 6
N: 7.5

After my in-your-face experience with pastels last week, I was ready for a break. Pastels are a very hands-on medium. After each session, I had beautifully colored dust on my hands, arms, elbows, fingers, face, and under my fingernails. I wore the same sweatshirt each time, and it’ll never be the same. My nose-blowing was multicolored. There was dust all over my art table, supplies, lamps, and floor. I’m not sure if it bothered me or not; the jury’s still out on whether I like using pastels. But it was enough for one week.

So, I got out my trusty tablet with intent to work on the winoctopus. Then I remembered that I promised to do new stationery for my dad’s business for Christmas, which, you’ll notice, was a month ago. So I began working on that. The biggest thing I’ve learned from it (painfully, I’ll add): the GIMP is not a good tool for drawing straight lines.

I’m not sure whether Photoshop or some other non-open-source program for Mac or Windows could do it better; no experience with those. I’m a Linux girl all the way. But oy, this project had me wishing for the days when I had access to AutoCAD and Unigraphics. I would have had it done in 1/10th the time.

I could press shift to make the paintbrush tool do a straight line, but there were no detents and the line was faint, more pixels wide than the brush, and would change thickness halfway through. It was so annoying. If I didn’t have my tablet, I would have given up long ago to go find new wrists, since mine would have fallen off.

Lesson: Anything with geometry will be done with good old-fashioned pencil, paper, and ruler, then scanned. My wrists will thank me.

Red Brick Winter Brew Double Chocolate Oatmeal Porter and the Wacom

This week: the beer with the longest name ever. Or at least that we’ve bought.

Red Brick Winter Brew Double Chocolate Oatmeal Porter is the latest seasonal product available at our local Beverage Resort. We weren’t terribly impressed. Maybe the name is long to distract the buyer from the beer’s mediocrity.

Anyhow, the beer isn’t very chocolatey or oatmealy. “Double chocolate” my rollerblading-damaged butt. What’s that supposed to mean, anyway? It’s got an unpleasant tang that smooth beers don’t have, and the aftertaste is bright. Dark beers can have an aftertaste problem that I haven’t really encountered with light beers… but the good dark ones avoid it. This one didn’t.

M: 6
N (introduced half ratings this week): 6.5


My new Wacom arrived this week. I am ecstatic.

But first… I have Updated the Website. I have new art, and the cool CrashOctopus hats are on sale. Need a hip holiday present? Visit

Now that the plugging is over, down to business. The tablet was fairly easy to install. I’m convinced that Linux programmers make things easy for uber-nerds, but for average nerds like me it’s always a bit frustrating to do things. Maybe they’re ensuring that no non-nerds use it… anyway, I only had an hour of frustration before I got the thing working right; no hair-pulling. And it works beautifully!

I started my first piece of digital art. I was able to sketch, “ink,” and start to color it with no problems. It took me forever and a day to get this far:

But I intend to practice to get faster. It will go like this:

N: Shouldn’t you be doing X? (X = washing dishes, exercising, sleeping)
M: No… I must practice on my tablet. Practice makes perfect, right?

So, eventually I will finish it and post in on my website. And next week, I will write about underpainting in gouache. Because if I write it down today, I must put aside my new toy and do it, which will force me to finish the underpainting experiment I *need* to do now so that I can get Grandma’s painting done in time to frame it and give it to her on Christmas. The end.

Young’s Oatmeal Stout and Wacom

First, I must say… GO BEARS!

Now, this week’s beer: Young’s Oatmeal Stout. To begin, I bring you the following quotation from Wikipedia:

“Oatmeal stout has more body than standard stout, and is smoother, slightly sweeter, and typically higher in alcohol. The flavor is roasted and malty, with almost no noticeable bitterness, and a texture some describe as “chewy” or “silky” due to the oats; oats contribute significantly to the protein content of the beer. Oatmeal stout was, in the past, often recommended as a restorative drink for invalids.”

So, that’s how an oatmeal stout is supposed to taste. And most that we try do have those good oatmeal-y qualities. But Young’s is lacking. It may have body, but the tanginess overwhelms. It is bubbly and bright and not very smooth or sweet. Malty, yes… but that isn’t always a good thing. It is slightly bitter, not particularly chewy, and not good for much except washing down pizza.

At least it has protein. And… invalids??

N rating: 5
M rating: 4

p.s. I couldn’t find a good link for Young’s Oatmeal Stout, but google it and you’ll find it. Here’s a link for the last beer (I edited that post too): Xingu


On to the Wacom. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of trying digital art recently. With my newfound desire to explore color comes a desire to try all different kinds of media, digital included. The itch got worse when I had a dream about drawing on a graphics tablet. So I’m looking into getting one. You know, follow your dreams and all that.

First, I must mention that I’ve done a few little arty things and photo touch-ups with the GIMP (cool free graphics software) and the mouse. That did not make my wrists happy. In fact, they howled in pain, bewildered by the unwarranted punishment. So if I want to keep it up, I need a tablet. Wacom is a popular brand, so I looked at their website. Great features and all that, quite expensive (as expected), and no Linux support (also as expected). Sigh.

Of course, the Linux community being as rockin’ as it is, there is Linux support for all sorts of graphics tablets, Wacom included. It just isn’t done by Wacom. It’s done by lovable programmers who sit at their desks, basking in the glow of their monitors, with no thanks other than the satisfaction that they’ve once again thwarted the strangle-hold of the Large Personal Computing Corporations with Free Software.

So here’s to you wonderful geeks: thanks for making all my periphals work. I love Linux, and I couldn’t do it without you. My search for the perfect graphics tablet continues. <3