For June 2004


June 7th, 2004 

Feeling Better

 For the last week, I have been gripped by a strange illness, but I am doing better now, I think. This, of course, is why the story was not updated during this time. I simply could not do the work.

Today's page, was very hard to do, in that my hands did not seem to want to work smoothly. I'm not sure what is up with that; lines were difficult to draw, and the basic motions of illustration seemed troublesome to perform.

My illness began during dinner the week before, and started with a migrane-like attack, which for me progresses from a strange tingle and numbness on the back of my neck to the loss of a portion of my visual field, combined with pulsing, concentric circles of light and shadow. It is always the same part of my visual field, the right side. This time I lost only a quarter of my vision, but I have had similar attacks that lost fully half of my vision. The area does not go black, rather my brain compensates as with the 'blind spot' trying to fill in the lost vision, but failing at the task. It is quite disturbing. No, that's not true, it is quite terrifying, really.

But unlike previous migrane attacks, this was accompanied with some odd other effects: extreme exhaustion, falling asleep at inappropriate times, some lost of motor control, loose bowels, and a spot of trouble trying to say the full alphabet...JK and L were difficult, specifically. It was quite odd. There were, and still are, some terrible joint and muscle pains too. I still have a bit of loss of coordination, which I noticed trying to draw.

Sandra thinks I might have had some form of food poisoning, to be sure, I felt as if I had been poisoned, that kind of 'sick' feeling in the stomach and all over. Naturally, because of my panic disorder, my mind leaps to the zebra of having had some kind of stroke, but that is dysfunctional amygdala always tends to worry about the worst case for anything. I just expect that now, I am used to suffering such fears over every little thing.

Now I go into all of this because it was quite strange, and therefore news, which impacts the story here, in that it cost a week of drawing, and will likely continue, for a while, to make updates a bit erratic. Sorry about that. I just plain am not 100% yet. But...I am trying to get back to doing the story. I am very committed to finishing things I start.

Just please have patience with me as I -hopefully indeed!- continue to gradually feel better.



June 29th, 2004 

Pen Broke Day

 My Intuos 2 Grip Digital Pen broke down today. The problem is two-fold...after 80+ pages of art, the nib of the pen has been eroded to almost nothing, and it is hard to use...since the Intuos 2 pen is monolithic in construction, basically just glued shut, there is no way to replace the nibs. You have to buy a whole new pen. Secondly, the pen nib mechanism is pemanently stuck in the 'on' position...there is no way to shut it off. I just always draws, or pulls, or grabs, the minute the pen comes anywhere near the tablet.

Stephen authorized getting a new is a much cheaper model, but hopefully it will work as well. It is thinner, which may be an advantage, being that it will be the diameter of a regular pen, rather than the fat crayon feel of the pen that I have used. On the other hand, it may also be too thin and be uncomfortable. I guess I will have to see.

Being without my pen makes me realize just how wonderful the whole pen and tablet thing is. It is really, really wonderful to work with. If you are considering getting a digital tablet and pen, and are unsure, let me tell you -it is absolutely worth it. My Intuos 2 tablet and pen have absolutely revolutionized my art. I did Unicorn Jelly with a mouse, clicking every pixel, because that is all I had. Oh my Goddess, how much better that story would have looked if I had known of the advancement of tablet technology back then! (and actually had a tablet, of course) The tablet and digital pen are easy to use, marvelous to work with, and utterly natural in feel. I adapted in but a handful of days, and most of that was just getting used to working with a pen -any pen, even just an ink pen- after drawing exclusively with a mouse for the past decade.

If you are waffling, go with the tablet. You won't regret it.

Of course, do be aware that eventually, everything wears out, including a Teflon nib digital pen. But then, although it only lasted like six months or so, I have to admit that I do press pretty hard, and I have really been using that sucker. I did 80+ full pages with the original pen. That's not to shabby, considering the power the digital pen gives. Of course, I wish they made the pens stronger to last longer, but I will not complain too very much, I know I am kind of hard on the pens. I grip way to hard, and press down far to heavily. Real Kung-Fu Grip on that pen. I keep trying to draw with a lighter touch, but I just have not yet succeeded. I don't know what my deal is.

Anyway, the new pen is supposed to arrive in a few days.



By Jennifer Diane Reitz

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