Hild Fanart

I drew Hild from Nicola Griffith’s novel of the same name a few days after finishing the book, and about 4 months later I decided to scan it into the computer, clean up the lines, and do a quick color and background. Drawing Hild took some guesswork on my part. I do admit that while I was reading the book I made sure to note specific details about her appearance for later. The cross on her neck is smaller than I imagine it, but I do like how her beads turned out. The staff could have been a little longer, and I honestly have no idea what her slaughter seax would have looked like. Clothing was completely imagined by me. I wanted to draw her in pants and boots and a shirt without sleeves. Very selfish of me, I know. The coloring was even harder. All I could honestly remember was that her hair was chestnut brown (…I think?) and her beads were reddish orange (…I think?) I can’t speak very highly of my memory.

Drawing and coloring this without any research except for what I remembered was kind of fun for me. I’ll have to go back now and see how much information I can find about how things could have been more true to the book.

Another idea I had but decided not to go with was to have Hild standing in the forest with her eyes closed, and then drawing some birds and other wildlife behind her. I get a really strong sense of that scene now, when I think back on the book. Or of Hild standing across the cool, dark cellar staring at Gwladus, who stares right back. The items that Hild acquires throughout the first book really stand out to me. Her seax, beads, staff, and cross. I left out the cups that Cian gave her because I didn’t think she’d take them with her on what I can only assume to be some kind of tracking mission (I honestly don’t know. I just wanted her to look action-y) All of these items she gets are symbolic of what makes Hild, well, Hild. Usually I’m not big on stories that put a lot of weight on items, but I think it was done in a way that kept me interested. Made me want to draw it, and when that happens something is being done right.

Hild Fanart - Hild Art by Justine Lavoie

Art for Thornorlae

Working on some concepts for some of my characters.

Thornorlae Character Concept Art - Paraplex - Justine Lavoie

Thornorlae Character Concept Sketch - Justine Lavoie

Ye Olde Tavern

Ye Olde Tavern - Drawing by Justine Lavoie

Game of Thrones Sexism – Part 2

So I realize that stating that I’ve watched only one episode is probably not helping my argument, but luckily, there is this great article on Tiger Beatdown that points out every scene with rape, molestation and/or domestic violence in the Game of Thrones books. Yes, I’m jumping from the televised series to the books, but still, this is by far the best resource I’ve found that proves my points. You should read it, it’s funny and sad and horrible all at once.

I really did try watching the second episode. I stopped at the scene where the ripped barbarian dude is raping the blonde chick… again. Sorry, that “gritty realism” is just too much for me! Again, this isn’t simply because I can’t read about rape. There are plenty of books that tell the story of rape in a non-offensive, serious way (I’m looking at you, Hild).

This may very well be the last part of my Games of Thrones Sexism series. I can’t find any reason to commit another hour to watching (or reading) something that doesn’t ever seem “get better” w/r/t being sexist.

A Very Quick and Easy Beginner’s Guide to Internet System Administration

I believe that there is a point in every web designer’s life wherein they veer towards the path of developer. This is happening partly because, in post-financial-crisis times, we are expected to put on many a hat in our working lives, and in general to do more with less. It should be no surprise to us, who know the ins and outs of the internet (or at the very least how to google it) that it is now our job to make sure that “things work”.

I said this would be quick and easy so I’ll get right to it. You’ve only ever messed with CSS and HTML before, and now you’re tasked with something that’s server-related. What should you do? My best advice is this: take time to really understand what it is you’re doing.

The problem is the easy part. Usually it’s something very simple, like:

  • Your website isn’t loading
  • Your website loads, but it’s just a blank page
  • You can send emails but you aren’t receiving them
  • You can send and receive email, but you don’t get the emails your website’s contact form sends

If you have absolutely no idea where to start when it comes to troubleshooting things like this, you need to learn about how this very complex system we call the internet works. But where to start? The quick and easy version of this is to simply link you to sites I’ve found helpful.

How Does the Internet Work? – You should start here, because if don’t really understand what’s happening when you try to access a webpage, troubleshooting problems is going to be pretty difficult.

UNIXhelp for users – Once you know what’s supposed to be happening, the next step is to understand how web servers works. Most web servers are going to be running some flavor of UNIX, so knowing what UNIX even is and how to use it for server administration is going to be important.

Taking the time to go through both of those guides should be a good start for anyone who is just trying to start out as a web developer or system administrator.