Monday, June 17, 2013

Lively And Experimenting With Anime Styles

What is Anime anyway?

The word pretty much just means "animation".

And, "Manga" is just the word for "comic book" or even a "graphic novel"...

But, "Anime" evokes a certain image in your mind. It's Japanese, but all over Asia, people do styles of cartoon art that has a certain look or feel to it. But, there's no 1 specific look necessarily.

I think most people, if you asked them, they would say "Japanimation!" Ha!

As I said, I used to HATE it in the 90s. I liked it in the 80s tho... I loved dorky shows like: Voltron, Tranzon Z, Unico... but, then when I learned about Disney, I got real snobby... it's true... Sorry...

I also, REALLY HATE English dubs!  I prefer to watch ALL films in their original languages, with subtitles.

Another thing to point out about Japanese versions of cartoon & comics is that they often just break rules. You can see some parts in high quality, fully done art, super detailed, very hard work. Then, turn the page of a manga and find lots of unfinished, or roughly drawn slacker drawings... sometimes, it's even done on purpose, not necessarily because they're lazy.  The animated work can go through the same things.

It reminds me of much of the movie content from Hong Kong as well. All just smashed together, high quality this, then crappy sketch skits for 10 min in the comedies... or odd anticlimactic skits in British comedy, like Monty Python or Benny Hill.

But, like I said, that all changed when I watched "Macross Plus".

The characters didn't ALL have the same face, or bodytype, and even changed their clothes. The character designs were beautiful, and the stories were very good. There was quality, innovation, morals, and more.

Other notable anime favorites of mine are:
"Macross Frontier", the series & the movies.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
(all of them! The series, the mangas, the films. Brilliant stuff!)

Personal Goddess by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

"Mononoke Hime" (Monster Princess, or Princess Mononoke)
Which is a very bloody yet Disney-like anime film, of very high quality shot on a 2s frame-rate (yes I'm speaking Animator). Which makes me VERY happy.

And most especially a film often called

"Spirited Away" (Also shot on 2s)

These animes have a wide variety of parts that cause the viewer to undergo the emotions of the characters, which range all over the place, from the very sentimental, to very disgusting, misfortune & frustration, and observe the characters try to maintain their inner goodness, whiles others are brats, or megalomaniacs.

They also deal with themes such as battered women, abuse, neglect, altruism, innocence, persons with mental illness or are emotionally damaged or traumatized. Also, these particular favorites of mine have very good endings.

When it comes to most Asian films, movies, and TV shows, I find they often lack the ability to have a good ending, most notably with the way they do endings for tragedies, unlike Hollywood which has it down to an art & science, and has several variations spanning several decades.

 As for experimenting with styles of anime, myself, I sometimes did it with Lively, but other times I used a  Humanoid version of my "Black UniGryphon" (Vallour Nikee) Fursona as a Goddess (a whole other story), because that character is also a shape-shifter.

Personal Goddess by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

When I experimented with Lively in an anime, she mainly wanted to go onto the page in a Romantic styles, like a Romance Novel, but Anime-ish.

I would find peices of art by actual anime/manga or Japanese artists, and deside to try something like it, and it would come out as Lively, usuallly.

Kneeling Goddess by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Inspired In Spirit by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Maiden Beckons Unicorn Color by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

The Flow of Romance Alternate by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Lovers Embraced by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

I would also like to get more into Lively and men... but, I think that's another blog entry for another time...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Overcoming Ethnocentrism & Prejudices, The 90s & The Matrix

I want to comment a bit about prejudices, and Ethnocentrism.

It turns out, that most people are guilty of this at some point or another of this, in some variation, whether they mean to or not. This includes myself. Overcoming this involves being curious about other cultures, and sharing things like arts & music, and other creative things.

Being or doing something Ethnocentric just means to judge people or persons of another culture by the standards of YOUR values & views from YOUR culture.

Even tho' it's not a good thing, it's important to keep in mind that people of another culture have a different view or perspective than that of your own, be aware of it, and ask yourself: am I being ethnocentric? Don't beat yourself up if you find out that you might have been... Instead, learn from it.

It's TOTALLY OKAY to shift your view of the way you view the world, and not just your micro version of the world, because it will broaden WHO YOU ARE. Others may feel threatened by it, and try to deter you from it, because people fear what they do not understand. (things that are different)

But, I can assure you, there's NOTHING better than the realization that you WERE WRONG about something, and then OVERCOMING it. Because you can FINALLY grow as a person.

This type of theme was ULTRA popular in the 1990s, but also throughout the 20th Century. And even uncovering that you were wrong or misjudged someone, or even about yourself.

(1990s) Movies I loved were: 

The Jungle Book (Jason Scott Lee version)
Dragon; Bruce Lee Story (Jason Scott Lee)
Map of The Human Heart (Jason Scott Lee)
Blade (Wesley Snipes)
The Matrix

Mortal Kombat (The Movie)
Jungle Fever
The Lover (1992 Tony Leung) 
Terminator 2; Judgement Day
Shindler's List
Fight Club
Home Alone
The Lion King
Beauty & The Beast
The Sand Lot
Radio Flyer
The Good Son
Beethoven (the dog movie)
Pretty Woman
Liar Liar
The Game
The Mask
Ace Ventura; Pet Detective I & II
Sister Act
Dangerous Minds
Rush Hour (Jackie Chan)
In The Army Now
Cool Runnings
Forrest Gump
Problem Child
Best of the Best (1989)

(and, yes, I was a fan of Jason Scott Lee in case you were wondering)

Films like this have an emphasis on "learning your lesson" and growing as a person, maturing, and giving back to your fellow human society in a good constructive, productive and genuine way by also being "true to your heart".  "Being the better man" even if someone is unwilling to be civil, and unwilling to let go of their prejudices by continuing to cling to it & fear-based ego driven ideals or judgements. To do the right thing.

Watching films like these, or even TV content from that period is like night and day compared to now. Now, you can find themes justifying torture frequently in TV shows. I've seen MORE rape depicted in films today than ever. And, I'm not talking about making the case against it like "The Color Purple" (1985) but a very gratuitous amount, often to entice viewership. It's VERY dark.

I used to think Chinese & Japanese films had an overdo of dark & tragic themes, such as rampant rape & torture, but I think content from the USA has far eclipsed it now.

But, art is art... and I don't think artists should be censored too much.... if at all...

The unfortunate thing about themes & media today is that they very rarely seem to make the case against theses actions or conduct on an inner level. Like, there's no moral to the story... Not that all stories require morals, and I understand entertainment for entertainment sake... but, it's just not there so much...

It's this: Be afraid. Look out for yourself. Dog eat dog. Take it while you can, winner takes all, over the top stuff... Or stuff that reinforces prejudices. advocates in favor of it, sometimes in subtle ways, others in your face...

And, sure, I do watch some of it... but, not all...

(Gratuitous content I have watched: Spartacus Blood & Sand (and the spin-offs), Game of Thrones, Star Trek Enterprise, 24, Lost, The Event)

Yet, I especially don't watch so-called "reality TV".

As for me, overcoming a number of things (prejudices) involves being open to other cultures, including films, music, etc...

It's a REALLY good feeling actually...

Chobits Freya n Chi by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

As I mentioned, I was very anti Japanese animated content, because most of the junk I'd known was what I saw on TV. But, when I was in college, there were SOOOOOOO many kids that loved anime.

If you didn't know, Anime movies/videos are VERY expensive, even if they are the bad quality ones. But, the experience of going to college is a VERY good one and helps one to open up and GROW as a person. Something I liked very much was how freely everyone wanted to share movies & music together.

When I was younger, like I said, I loved techno music even if it was in a different language, like German, or in Chinese. And, I got so much heat & hate for it. When I was in college I recognized that my classmates also loved the Japanese content in the same way that I loved mine, and that they had ALSO undergone the EXACT same kind of hate & prejudices others also had. So, I could identify with them... and so, I found myself opening up to all kinds of Japanese movies, videos, and even some music.

It's ironic because, now today due to the internet being FAR more accessible, there have been a number of forign hits world wide due to memes, such as:

Numa Numa (Dragostea Din Tei)
Caramel Dansen

-and the newest and biggest hit:

Psy's "Gangnam Style":

So, altho there is so much prejudices on the usual fronts in the media, you can find that in arts & music we've come quite a long way! And, it makes me feel good about Humanity...

Often people would say to me:

How can you listen to this or that music?  It's in German!

To which I would laugh: Well, I can speak German! XD

If I listened to Kelly Chen in any number of languages she sings in (Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Japanese) did it really matter what the language was?

When Blümchen (Jasmin Wagner) became a HUGE hit in Sweden with the song "Nur geträumt..." (Only Dreamed...) years after it was originally released, they asked her why she thought the song was so popular even tho' most people couldn't understand the words in Scandinavia, and she even had an English version ("Just A Dream..."/Blossom) but no one liked that version as much as the original version in German, she often would comment, laughingly, that she felt that the words really didn't matter, the feeling did, and if the feeling was good then that was all that mattered.

She said that when she was little she loved music by a Swedish rock band Roxette (Joyride, Listen To Your Heart, It Must've Been Love) and learned all the words to the songs because she just loved the music, even tho' she couldn't understand what they were singing about. Then, because of music, she learned to speak English.

It's like that with me as well.

I would like very much for the world to overcome more prejudices. At times things seem like they are, and other times I question whether we might ever get there...

Dhehkaujaa Humanoid ModelSheet by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART
 So, for my own stories and concepts I've also incorporated similar themes, and not JUST whimsical ones...

Remember how I said I liked things that reminded me of my own work, or ideas?

Well, it's true.

When The Matrix came out, I was BLOWN AWAY. It was loaded with subculture, underground themes, it mixed & blended ideas that were already around but MOSTLY just among others on the internet, like myself at the time, as well as mixing Asian, European, American, and Australian cultural themes. It has a very anime or even a comic book feel, but more Anime/Manga than anything... It has both what you would call "higher thinking" ideas as well as "deep thinking" if you care for philosophy... The classical types of what Science Fiction was originally about.

They used innovative new technologies with cameras, and ways to shoot film..
It was the big project by Wachowski Brothers, now known as just The Wachowskis. 

Wouldn't it be great to do something THAT big, some day? 

I think so. 

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Another Notable Artist: Fred Moore (Disney Animator)

I've been upfront, quite often, since I was very, very, young that the artist I'd idolized the most was Disney animator: Glenn Keane.

But, there have been so many very talented animators, and artists which have worked for Disney.

Often when you think of what a "Disney" style is, which I'm often commented upon as resembling is often credited to the work of (but not limited to) artists like Fred Moore.

If you read the thick text-book-like book called "The Illusion of Life" they make much mention, and give quite a bit of credit of this lovely artist.

He is most known for his "girls".

I've read many many accounts of people talking about how "everyone wanted 1 of his girls" meaning a sketch by him, and I've even heard/read that he had his own fan club.

If you look at his work, often times you might notice how often some of his "girls" look very similar to Hollywood Movie Star, Veronica Lake.

Altho' I personally don't care to draw the way Moore did, I very much enjoy his work. He was VERY expressive in his style & gestures, and was very good at capturing & expressing a very fem vibe in his work.

I think most often when I mention Moore, people think of his work in the Masterpiece film "Fantasia".

Fantasia, in my opinion as an artist, is 1 of the finest works of animated cinematic art EVER CREATED.

 It was ground breaking at it's time, and used many techniques, and technologies that no other work nor art & cinema had ever used before, and REALLY stretched, pushed, and pulled the VERY best of of the artists of that time. It's a gem for the entire human race in creativity, imagination, and beauty.

It blends cultural ideas such as mythology, fantasy, classical music, and musical pieces that were themselves ground-shaking & groundbreaking when they'd 1st come out.

It is SO good, that it makes me cry sometimes, because I truly can appreciate it, being that I myself am an artist. Of all the old original classics created when Walt was alive, the 2 films which stand out to me THE MOST in it's INCREDIBLE skills of artistry, Fantasia is 1, and the other is "Pinocchio".

Moore's body-types for his girls altho' I do like, sometimes are a bit too adolescent yet sexy for my own personal tastes. Altho' sometimes they often resemble Veronica and her body type, they also have a very 12-13 year old baby-fat plumpness which isn't my thing... But, I supposed back then, that is what was considered beautiful to either men, or at least Fred Moore.

The body-types of his "girls" are often more demure in the upper body half, with baby-faced facial looks, and similar poses to "pin-ups" at the time, but the bottom halves of the female figures are often very plump, and more adult-like.

I like very expressive art. Typical animators generally do. But, I also like realism, exaggeration, and stylization as well.

My style is still very influenced by artists from the 80ss & 90s in American comics, and Katzenberg Disney films. 

If you've NEVER even seen the book "The Illusion of Life", I would recommend you to at least try and find it in your local library, or book-store. It's QUITE expensive, and I'm sill astounded that I even have a coppy of it myself, because I almost didn't get it.

In 1999, I was living in Center City/Fairmount Park area Philadelphia, down the street from the Art Museum at a place called "Parktown Place" (Ben Franklin Parkway). I had somehow gotten some money, but I don't recall how. I'd often come in and out of money whether finding some way to sell something, do some kind of work, or job, or people would give me something saying that college students need some cash, so here's my contribution... etc...

I went to classes at The Art Institute on Chestnut St. and often went to Liberty Place which is a set of skyscrapers with neon lights lining it at night (the most beautiful ones in my opinion) that are connected at the bottom by a small 2 floor mall. On the 2nd floor, was a small bookstore. Maybe Walden Books...

I'd had an evening class, which I'd discovered early on were a waste of money since the night teachers were lazy, and left class early, yet you still had to pay the full price like any day class.

So, when the teacher went to break, and NEVER returned, I left the class, saw the computer labs were full, and decided to walk back to my apartment... But, when I left the building, I'd noticed that the Mall was still open, because it usually closed at around 7-7:30.

Why? I don't know... So, I went into the mall, and I was hungry... I saw the food court was open, and there were still patrons inside shopping... but, not much... I wasn't sure when the mall would close... and, most of the food from the food court vendors looked to old, and not very fresh... so, I decided to go to the bookstore...

I entered the bookstore, and saw no one there...

I thought that was very odd...

Was I being watched? Or, was whoever was supposed to be working just being lazy & taking a nap? Don't they worry about being robbed?

So, I went to the back of the store, and I saw all the books about animation... I'd already gotten a copy of Preston Blair's animation book, so I didn't think I needed any other books. And, I also had 2 "Dynamic" books by Burne Hogarth. So, I thought I was pretty set. As for as the "reading list" or the "book list" of recommended materials were concerned, I was pretty set, none were required, and most instructors made copies from these books as hand-outs anyway... so, I was rather pleased with myself, and felt I was somewhat ahead of everyone else for the most part, in the new students.

As I went to the back, and overlooked the books, I was well aware in a number of expensive books, and the cash "burning a hole in my pocket". So, I wanted to invest in something... but which book?

At the time, 3D was very new, and VERY HOT, and I was seriously considering a career as 3D (CGI), even tho' most of my peers were more Traditional, and I ALSO favored Traditional 2D animation.... So, I focused my attention on some 3D books...

Finally, I pulled out 3 books, and wanted to choose 1 of those, and I leafed through them.

Which one?
Which one??
Which one???

I stood there, I compared the prices...


Not sure...

Then, I removed 1 book, and had 2 to choose from....

Until, I'd decided on 1 of them... I stood a moment and pondered about whether I'd really wanted it or not, and determined that I did.

So, I went back to return the other book, as still no one was in the store...

As I laid it down, and was about to go pay for the book in my hand/arm, a young man (older than me) just randomly appeared. He wasn't there, and then suddenly HE WAS!

I gasped.

He looked Milato. He had blue-ish gray eyes, and light African textured hair that was growing very long in dreadlocks, with adornments in it, tied back, wearing the bookstore logo baseball cap that most stores back then required workers to wear, and an apron, with a logo of the store. He was slightly tall, slim, and muscular, with a very multi-etchnic look, with very handsome features, and almost breathtaking good looks. His voice was both calm, casual and laid back, but you could tell he was highly intelligent, had a high vocabulary, and was very articulate.

He looked me in the eye, and began talking. He told me:

"Oh, no. You don't want that one."

 I was taken aback. Who the heck was this guy? What does he mean I don't want this one? I'd just spent that whole time desiding which book I wanted, and I'd finally decided. I definately wanted this book. Who was he to tell me?

I was really perplexed.

So, I spoke back to him: "Excuse me. What?"

And, he said it again. "You don't want that one."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

Then, he walked over to me, clutched the book, and talked some more...

He said, "Trust me. You don't want that one. That's the wrong book." and he flipped through it commenting on the pages as to how cheesy, cheap, and overpriced it was, and all it was was glossy paper.... "See? I'm telling you, you really don't want to waste your money on this junk."

I told him, of course I wanted this book, and that it was new, cutting edge, showed new examples of work in 3D and so on... but, he stopped me from talking, and he said, "You're in Animation, right?"

So, strange! HOW DID HE KNOW THAT?

I'd NEVER seen him before! I was shocked... and before I could answer, he said "At the Art Institute, right?" I was stunned... did he go there too? I wasn't even in Animation 1 class yet, just the starting classes... and I'd NEVER seen him before. I knew the upperclassmen, their names, and I'd NEVER seen him among them either...I'm quite sure I would've recognized someone that looked the way he did. Extra big baggy pants, and all...

So, I asked him if he went there too.... he told me he did, even knew the names of the teachers, my teachers, which classes I was in, and even the names of my friends, like Shan (my roommate) & Kyle, and their close friends. So, he kept talking, and I kept listening... He also told me he was often in the animation room working on his reel & portfolio, and invited me to talk to him there anytime.

Since he'd seemed so knowledgeable and friendly. I just relaxed and listened to him... He laid down the book, and said he would show me which book I actually should get.

He lead me to a different shelf near the ground, in a different section, bent down and pulled the heavy, hard covered book "The Illusion of Life".

I was NOT happy about that. So I protested. I said, "No, I don't want that." But, he kept insisting.

"I'm TELLING you, THIS is the book you want! This is THE book. It's on the top of the recommended reading list for a reason."

He told me it was the best animation book. I told him I'd already gotten the Preston Blair book, and even books by Burne Hogarth, but he wouldn't waver in how adamant he was. He took off the plastic wrapping on the book, and began showing me the pages in the book. He went on, and on, about it.

Then, I turned it over and saw the price, and I freaked out. It was nearly ALL the money I had. And, I was upset. I told him it was too expensive, and I didn't want to spend all my money. He told me to calm down, and he would give me a discount...  and talked to me for a long time, about several other things, even made jokes, and so on... he was very nice, and very likable...

So, I wasn't sure whether he was just being a very convincing salesman, and I was just some sucker, or whether he was just being a friendly fellow student artist/animator...

He took me to the front, rang up the book, bagged it, and talked a little bit more...
He told me he'd see me in school, and that he worked again the next day.... then, I decided I should go back to my apartment (a long walk) and said good-bye.

When I left the Mall, I looked back at the mall as I was leaving and saw all the lights were off... that was strange... but, I shrugged it off... I've seen stranger things... so, whatever... 

So, I went home, with this very heavy, VERY expensive book.. and put it on the table... I leafed through it. It was very good... but, none of my classmates had the book, and I wasn't sure I even wanted it... But, I was hungry, so I put it down and ate... then forgot about it...

My roommate Shan hadn't been back a in while, since she was mostly w/her boyfriend (also my friend) and the other roommate was so lazy that she'd gotten kicked out of school. So, I was by myself... and the book just lay there... I put my name on it, sketched in my sketchbook, and went to bed... That was it...

The nest day, I went to school, and I went to the animation room to see if that guy was there. I had many questions, and I'm a curious person... but, I didn't see him in there... I checked several times that day, but he wasn't there...

So, I went to the Mall again (Liberty Place) and went to the bookstore, and found that he wasn't there... On my breaks from class I would either check the animation room/floor, or the bookstore... and I never found him...

The following day, the same thing. The weekend, the same thing... during the week, the same thing...

So, I gave up, after about a month, and was about to forget about it...

Then, my roommate came back... and she was hanging out with me, when she noticed the book.

And, she gasped and freaked out!

"Oh-my-gosh! When did you get 'The Illusion of Life'?"

Her reaction was strange to me... I knew of no one else that wanted that book, no one that had it, and no one that ever wanted it...

So, I told her about that guy, and and told her he pushed me to get it. Then, I asked her if she knew the guy.

She was perplexed and asked "Who?". So, I described him. I told her he knew her, and all her other friends, including Kyle. She just drew a blank...

So, she asked me if she could look at the book, or borrow it, and I said she could. And, being a nice as she was, she gave it back one day. (Shan was always so nice to me. Very supportive, friendly, kind. I liked her lots.)

Then, even Kyle came over and the SAME reaction: OMG! You have The Illusion of Life!!!!

Kyle had more in depth knowledge of animation, and animation history than anyone else I knew. SO, I very much respected whatever he said. Both he & Shan were AMAZING artists too. Shan had great tastes in art like I did too, like 80s stuff, and they both had the BEST sense of humor!

I asked my teachers, and other students about that guy, and NOT A SINGLE PERSON knew who it was. I also NEVER saw him at the bookstore. I even met a girl who worked there and asked her about him, and she looked perplexed. "Who?" Nope. never heard of him...

It's not the kind of face you could EVER forget. The hair, the eyes, the tan skin, the voice.... There was a kind of almost powerfully angelic quality to the guy.

After September 11th (2001), one day, I'd found the book in my portfolio case in storage... I was trying desperately to get work in my field, with no luck... and, there was some kind of storm, or something in Lewes Delaware, where my Mom lived.

So, I pulled it out, and had several times, sort of, hated myself for purchasing such an expensively decedent book, when I probably should've brought groceries... the only other book I'd ever bought like that was the hard-cover book about the making of Pocahontas, which was FILLED with the artwork of my idol, Glenn Keane. But, this was something I knew very little about...

But, oh "this is the book you really want"... well.... I got no career to show for it... didn't help me at all... should I sell it?

So, I sat on the sofa, petting Mom's dog, Tonka, on the head... and opened it... I looked through it, page after page, after page.... then back...

Then, I turned to the front and ACTUALLY started to READ it...

What an idiot I was!

It REALLY was the book I needed.

Page 13: 

1. An Art Form Is Born (read it)

....and they even cite Glenn in the book (Page 11/Acknowledgements). 

It's 1 of those "in the know" books. People who KNOW what it is freak out when they see it! It's so expensive that it's practically a luxury item, or even a status symbol to own one...

There were a number of people whom told me they'd tried in vain to get their own copy, but today, I believe you can find them online easily.

I have the version with the golden foil stamping on the glossy paper "jacket", hard covered in blue with an golden foil stamped image of Gepetto Painting Pinocchio.
First Edition, Printed in Italy Copyright © 1981.

But, if I recommend it to others whom didn't know of it, they are very nonchalant about it, like whatever... oh... that's nice...

If you read the 1st 3 chapters, it really gives you some interesting content (so keep reading), and also ideas into looking up what they're discussing. In some ways the book is intended for instructional purposes, but it's also a historical reporting item of reading material, with LOADS of graphics. They even discuss science, anthropology, philosophy, film, and more.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lively As A Unicorn Anthro Furry

If you've ever seen my animation reel, my logo has Lively morphing into a Black Unicorn. In fact back in the late 1990s, and early 2000s my online alias was usually "ZBlackUnicorn", "BlackUnicorn, or "EbonyUnicorn" (or perhaps some variation of that...

My VCL name is STILL ZBlackUnicorn!

Not only did I already have a story with Lively and Dragons, but, I'd read a book of short stories ("Immortal Unicorn") edited by Peter S. Beagle (The Author of "The Last Unicorn") in which he'd added his own whimsical short story, of a girl that was some kind of, I guess, closet magical witch that enchanted a unicorn painting and, a tiny unicorn popped out...

So, after I'd read that, I started sketching whatever was in my mind, and somehow Lively began popping into the sketches...

I'd also gotten into ancient fairytales from China such as "Xi You Ji" (The Journey West) which was about the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, and how he was born from a stone, as well as other even more ancient stories from the "Feng Shen Bang" (which is even older than The Bible) about the story of Nezha whom was born as a fairy from a lotus, similar to Thumbelina.

So, I started writing versions of a story involving Lively, but set as a teenaged girl (about 18 years old), even tho' I was already about 22 or 23 when I'd written it...

I'd originally started to write it in a paper notebook, while I was running my business selling artwork up here in Greater Boston. I would jot down whatever came into my head, and just go with it.

It's also written saucy stories about Werewolves with a Chinese theme, among many other stories. But, the story "Lively's Mini Unicorn" was my favorite. I'd originally tried to publish it to Elfwood, but there were just TOO many coding problems, that even if I COULD get it to work, the admins wouldn't approve it, or if they WOULD approve it, the coding didn't work.  So after multiple tries, and so much frustration I gave up. (I suck at programming.)

But, then, I'd rewritten it a few more times, and published some chapters to Deviant Art. However, I STILL think they are in need of a SERIOUS re-write YET AGAIN.

Anyways, during that time, I noticed that Lively started to morph into a Unicorn theme. Many of my sketches of Lively would turn out with her having an Alicorn (the correct term for a Unicorn's Horn: SEE MY BLOG POST HERE FOR MORE INFO). I actually had several sketches of this stuff, and I'd also gotten pregnant with my daughter Heidi.

As you can see, sometimes Lively is depicted with black hair & a tan... but, next thing I knew, because I was VERY into Furries, I wanted to do UNICORNS!

I also sold a number of  Furries, got Furry/Anthro commissions, and had many relationships with fellow Furry artists, as well as getting to know folks in The Gryphon Guild which is FULL of mixed fantasy artists usually doing Furries, Anthros, Dragons, and Unicorns too.

The Guild was VERY good to me. I made MANY connections, and I'd helped MANY young artists and to build their confidence.

Before I knew it, there was this Unicorn Anthro Maiden that kept coming out in my sketches... I kept feeling that she was somehow so familiar...

Who should I name her???
But, I couldn't name her!

Then, I realized it! No wonder! That's Lively!

But, I noticed that as an Anthro' Unicorn, Lively DIDN'T want to be BLACK. She WANTED to be WHITE! How VERY funny! Because my symbols were always "Black Unicorns" since the mid 90s, but White Unicorns before that... (80s)
But, NO! Lively just insisted on being a white unicorn!

So, that's how I sketched her.

I had a number of those sketches, and I don't know where they are...  Perhaps I'll find them someday, and share them here....

Anyways, I did some of these artworks in a sexy style, often nude, or in a leather corset or bodice.

One of my most popular works ever, and top seller.
Rainbow Courting Unicorns by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Unicorn Maiden Poser by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

2003 Lively Unicorn by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Nude Rainbow Unicron Maiden by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Some Noteworthy Female French Artists

It's not uncommon for artists to have a tendency to gravitate towards the artwork of those that do similar things that you like. As for me, since Lively is my most used & utilizes, most drawn, and most written about character, whom I put so much of my creativity into, and did (or still do) the majority of my learning with creatively. So, it goes without saying that if someone does a character, or some artwork, that reminds me of her, I will most like LOVE it. Nothing unusual about that.

I noticed that when the very fist installment of the Lord of The Rings Trilogy "The Fellowship of The Rings" hadn't even come out for release in the theaters, but MUCH of the promotional materials were easily accessible, there was this noticeable trend in the art of MANY artists to do a very European whimsical theme with Medieval & Renesance styles, very much inspired by the work & designs from the film directed by Pete Jackson. But, even recently, they've made a swing towards a Tribal Fusion, or Oriental/Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean/North-African flavor, or even Steam Punk.

The most noticeable of this trend were in French Female artists. They would blend similarities from Anime, which had also been inspired by the LOTR novels, but with some elves called Dark Elves.

As I'd already mentioned, I was somewhat inspired by the "Heavy Metal" Magazine in the 80s & 90s, which was actually originally a French magazine from France. I do very much like many Europeans styles of comics & cartoons, because they tend to focous on very expressive ways of portaying Romance, emotions, passion, and even prefer their ways of portraying sexualty, sexual situations, and sex.

Off the top of my head, these are just SOME of the noteworthy French artists that I like:



And, this one here has to be my favorite of them all:

There are also some Belgian comic/cartoon artists that are also worthy of mention. I know that Belgium is NOT France, but their comics are usually all published  IN FRENCH, which I CAN'T READ. Of them that's THE most noteworthy is the artwork of a comic series called "Djinn". I'd actually downloaded a few issues of, because I was considering purchasing the books, but they were virtually ALL in FRENCH, and the cost of importing the books was just SO high that I didn't decided not to buy them. If they were at least in German, or maybe even in Dutch I could maybe try figure out what it was about. I've been told that sometimes it's available in English, but I found it very difficult to find. (Anyways, now, I'm broke & unemployed, so it doesn't matter.)

But, the artwork is lovely. According to Wikipedia & other sources, the artists of this comic are also females.

A noticeable difference from American Comics is that there isn't always quite as much violence in their content. Instead, they focus very much or emotions between people, usually romance, but also sex, which can often be very explicit, yet very tasteful, and beautiful, unlike some of the more disgusting styles done in the USA, or Japan.

Many people whom I've known over the years often comment about this. They will wonder why American media is SO afraid of sexual content, which isn't taboo in Europe, but have such a stint on exaggerated violence, and even how it's become even MORE prevalent in this Century. I DO think it's a good point, because even TEEN magazines in Germany, or even Mexico not only openly discuss sexual topics for the teens, but even show nudity, which isn't considered taboo at all. I STILL have an old 1997 issue of BRAVO Magazine somewhere depicting this.

The case could be said that our past government administration have something to do with this, including the George W. Bush Era, but also being continued even further, and in MANY cases even WORSE under Obama's administration even tho' he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

I'm SO glad that these women artists made the move to publish & share their artwork online, because even tho' I do LOVE Furries, at the time, I just was so unhappy to do Furry ONLY artwork. It's NO SECRET that I like to draw beasts & Monsters, and back the Anthro/Furries was something that SOLD. But, if you are ONLY (or mostly) doing something some art for money and NOT because you loive it, something hurts you inside as an artist, because an artist ALWAYS needs to grow, or to go back to do other things they like. After a while I just couldn't take it anymore, and I HAD to start doing human figures again, like Lively. But, my audience, which had grown very quickly, and VERY big, was SO irate with me for doing so. I'd ALSO wanted to experiment & explore  the possibilities of Anime influences, because there was a big trend heading that way back then, and I'd ALSO made a 360 on my views of Japanese & Asian arts...

Sadly, I lost MOST of my audience.

I would like to discuss more on Anime, sexuality, and also Furries.

Now, WHY Furries??? 

Well, I'd actually had an Anthro version of Lively back then. I JUST could part with her. The entire time I was doing Furries, I guess I unconsciously, or subconsciously NEEDED her to go through it with me.

But, those are topics for yet more blog posts......