Past The Town Of Strange

An archive of Ursulav arts, quotes, fan flailings, and other things she may leave lying about.
Warning: Contains Wombats


ACEO sized sketch of a rabbit. I used to draw rabbits all the time as a kid, probably because of a serious Watership Down obsession in fourth grade… - Ursula Vernon

The ant seems very angry about something. - Ursula Vernon

Another piece for the Amazons portfolio…this time in color. A Mayan jaguar, some ruins, and a tree frog…fun stuff all. The carvings are based on heiroglyphics from the Popul Vuh, which I would like to nominate as having the Coolest Names Ever. Seriously! Wander through the underworld there and you encounter the House of Stone Jaguars, the House of Obsidian Knives, run into demons with names like Scab Stripper and Blood Macaw, and can even play ball at Great Hollow With Fish In The Ashes. Modern place names simply do not compare.  - Ursula Vernon
ursulavernon:

Evan came from a long line of angel balancers, but he only wanted to balance rats.
“I have no interest in balancing angels on pins,” he said, “nor cherubs on tuning forks, nor toasters on seraphim. I wish to balance rats on poniards—not the points, for that would be unkind, but on the pommels.”
His family disowned him, except for an elderly great-aunt. She had him over for holidays. He made his own friends and found that there was money in rat-balancing at parties and corporate events, and in the end he was very happy.

ursulavernon:

Evan came from a long line of angel balancers, but he only wanted to balance rats.

“I have no interest in balancing angels on pins,” he said, “nor cherubs on tuning forks, nor toasters on seraphim. I wish to balance rats on poniards—not the points, for that would be unkind, but on the pommels.”

His family disowned him, except for an elderly great-aunt. She had him over for holidays. He made his own friends and found that there was money in rat-balancing at parties and corporate events, and in the end he was very happy.

(via fuckyeahursulavernon)


Some days you just want to lie around and shove carrots up your nose. - Ursula Vernon

Quippet didn’t want to be a shaman.He didn’t like shamany things. Incense set off his asthma. He wasn’t good at chanting. Fasting made him feel hungry, not enlightened. And the Spotted Mushroom Drink made him throw up, and one time he’d been out getting it and gotten between some reindeer and the mushrooms and…well…it was ugly. He’d needed a whole lot of stitches. Reindeer are hardcore.The problem was that he heard voices.Crazy-Wool, the tribe’s shaman, told him that the spirits were tormenting him and his only choice was to become initiated as a shaman, go into the spirit world, and battle them into submission. “The spirits must be bent to your will!” bleated Crazy-Wool, his breath reeking of the Spotted Mushroom Drink. “They will drive you down into madness unless you have the strength to resist their wickedness!”“Uh-huh,” said Quippet, trying not to cough.The elder shaman told him, sometimes two or three times a day, how vital it was that he stand strong against the influence of the spirit-voices, that he refuse to listen to their wiles, and that if they ever told him to do anything, he was to come to Crazy-Wool immediately.Quippet always agreed—and felt guilty—and went to go alphabetize the magic rocks.Truth was, the spirit voices told him to do things all the time.They said “It’s snowing out, you better wear a hat or you’ll catch your death.”They said “You should have a hot cup of tea and everything’ll look better in the morning.”They said “You try to have a nice day now, Quippet.”They said “You’re a good sheep, Quippet, you keep your chin up and watch out for those nasty reindeer.”And every year on his birthday, they all sang a rousing chorus of “For He’s A Jolly Good Sheep” and took turns telling him how much they valued his friendship and how proud they were of all he’d accomplished. One of the voices even composed a small poem in his honor. (It wasn’t a terribly good poem, but all the voices cheered anyway and Quippet had been very moved and a little confused.)He didn’t want to go into the spirit world and battle them. He was horribly afraid that if he tried, he’d come back out with a cup of tea and a small note saying that everyone loved him very much and wanted him to be happy.It was all very worrisome.———-Poor Quippet is 15 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 5 inches tall. I am pleased with the design of the front end, but his tail doesn’t look as tail-like as I’d wish, so I may go back to a more rounded butt on the next one. I was pretty happy with his full-body dreads, though.His face is cast plastic resin, his feet are Super Sculpey, the fur is…err…fur… - Ursula Vernon

Quippet didn’t want to be a shaman.

He didn’t like shamany things. Incense set off his asthma. He wasn’t good at chanting. Fasting made him feel hungry, not enlightened. And the Spotted Mushroom Drink made him throw up, and one time he’d been out getting it and gotten between some reindeer and the mushrooms and…well…it was ugly. He’d needed a whole lot of stitches. Reindeer are hardcore.

The problem was that he heard voices.

Crazy-Wool, the tribe’s shaman, told him that the spirits were tormenting him and his only choice was to become initiated as a shaman, go into the spirit world, and battle them into submission. “The spirits must be bent to your will!” bleated Crazy-Wool, his breath reeking of the Spotted Mushroom Drink. “They will drive you down into madness unless you have the strength to resist their wickedness!”

“Uh-huh,” said Quippet, trying not to cough.

The elder shaman told him, sometimes two or three times a day, how vital it was that he stand strong against the influence of the spirit-voices, that he refuse to listen to their wiles, and that if they ever told him to do anything, he was to come to Crazy-Wool immediately.

Quippet always agreed—and felt guilty—and went to go alphabetize the magic rocks.

Truth was, the spirit voices told him to do things all the time.

They said “It’s snowing out, you better wear a hat or you’ll catch your death.”

They said “You should have a hot cup of tea and everything’ll look better in the morning.”

They said “You try to have a nice day now, Quippet.”

They said “You’re a good sheep, Quippet, you keep your chin up and watch out for those nasty reindeer.”

And every year on his birthday, they all sang a rousing chorus of “For He’s A Jolly Good Sheep” and took turns telling him how much they valued his friendship and how proud they were of all he’d accomplished. One of the voices even composed a small poem in his honor. (It wasn’t a terribly good poem, but all the voices cheered anyway and Quippet had been very moved and a little confused.)

He didn’t want to go into the spirit world and battle them. He was horribly afraid that if he tried, he’d come back out with a cup of tea and a small note saying that everyone loved him very much and wanted him to be happy.

It was all very worrisome.
———-
Poor Quippet is 15 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 5 inches tall. I am pleased with the design of the front end, but his tail doesn’t look as tail-like as I’d wish, so I may go back to a more rounded butt on the next one. I was pretty happy with his full-body dreads, though.

His face is cast plastic resin, his feet are Super Sculpey, the fur is…err…fur… -
Ursula Vernon

(Source: fuckyeahursulavernon)


Ursula went to the Pheonix zoo with her camera. After approximately six dozen trips to various tiger-bearing zoos, during which they were usually asleep, off display, two hundred yards away through heavy brush, or only viewable through a tiny chickenwired over gap, I was probably due to finally get a coupla good shots of the tiger. - Ursula Vernon

I saw these really neat Siberian shaman costumes, and wanted to paint something wearing one, and then of course, the fly agaric mushroom had to be involved, since the drug soma is supposedly used by Siberian shamans, and derives from it. (And because someone always asks, the antlers are from stag beetles.) Everybody always paints the Plains Indians costumes, because they’re neat lookin’, but other cultures had neat outfits too!All that said, I still like the idea, but I just wasn’t all that pleased with the execution. The paint went where I wanted it to, it did what I asked, but the sketch, even as a simple posed character study, had a great deal more vitality. This is missing whatever essential spark was in the sketch that made me want to paint it. And I can never figure out quite what I’m missing—sometimes it’s the one line that changes the whole thing, ya know?  - Ursula Vernon

I saw these really neat Siberian shaman costumes, and wanted to paint something wearing one, and then of course, the fly agaric mushroom had to be involved, since the drug soma is supposedly used by Siberian shamans, and derives from it. (And because someone always asks, the antlers are from stag beetles.) Everybody always paints the Plains Indians costumes, because they’re neat lookin’, but other cultures had neat outfits too!

All that said, I still like the idea, but I just wasn’t all that pleased with the execution. The paint went where I wanted it to, it did what I asked, but the sketch, even as a simple posed character study, had a great deal more vitality. This is missing whatever essential spark was in the sketch that made me want to paint it. And I can never figure out quite what I’m missing—sometimes it’s the one line that changes the whole thing, ya know?  - Ursula Vernon

(Source: fuckyeahursulavernon, via fuckyeahursulavernon)


I tried to take some of the advice from various commenters for various aspects of this. I am A) surprised by how much of design involves tweaking the same elements in different order repeatedly, and B) not at all surprised by the fact that after you stare at this long enough, you are no longer able to judge any of it. Composition is tricky at the best of times. I can do this for fun—I couldn’t do it for a job to save my spleen. In fact, after an hour or so of fooling around, the original one may still be my favorite… - Ursula Vernon

I have seen a lot of paintings of floaty glowy Zen people. It’s one of those Mystical Things. And you know me…never saw a motif I didn’t want to molerat… His teeth are actually correct, as weird as it is. Naked mole rat front teeth come through OUTSIDE the lip, practically under the nostrils, which is helpful for tunnelling with your teeth and not getting dirt in your mouth, and also makes anybody else’s buck teeth look positively discreet. (And since their teeth keep growing and need to be worn down, he probably has to re-scrimshaw ‘em every few months, now that I think about it. Must’ve caught him on a good tooth day.) - Ursula Vernon