LokiOfSassgaard

I have no idea what I'm doing

Halfway point

Well, that little white stripe between the two pink ones is technically the halfway point, but I spent so damn long on that second pink one I thought I was never going to finish.  But the nice thing about that enormous pink stripe is it was big enough and tedious enough that now I feel like each row is actually gaining a bit of speed.  I not only got the pink one finished, but got a good chunk of the way into the next white one, and anticipate finishing that one today.

Now that I’ve got to this point, and was able to lay everything on the bed for a photo, I’ve realised this blanket is much, much larger than I’d planned.  And it’s even two rows shorter than planned, because somewhere I miscounted the size of a stripe, and the totals on my chart come out to 248.  I wanted it to be 500 rows from corner to corner, but oh well.  I know now I can probably get away with 400 and still have a usable blanket for two grown adults.  Or the next one, I can just use a smaller hook, but I’m not sure if anything smaller than the 5mm would even be comfortable without also changing the yarn weight.  Though I have been wanting to do a blanket in wool, and then deliberately felt the hell out of it, but the thing that’s holding me back on that is the outrageous price it would surely be.  Especially since I have no idea how to pre-determine how much yarn I might need, and bought an excess of everything so I could improvise and write down my totals as I went.

I want to try to get this thing done as soon as possible though, so I’m going to laser focus on it so I can move on to the next project I want to do, which is also going to be heavily improvised and probably require me to buy more yarn despite being buried in it already.

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Site Updates

I did a little bit of fussing around today, trying to figure out how I want everything laid out and organised going forward.  The biggest change, as always, is one I think the average user is unlikely to see.  I’ve fussed around with how fiction is posted, so things will be a little less chaotic for me to operate.  The biggest problem was the system I was using didn’t scale very well, so as I sat down to add new areas for fiction to go, there was no way to integrate those new areas into the site’s organisation structure.  Things got very ugly and messy very quickly, so I’ve decided to err on the side of temporary chaos and broke everything so I can rebuild the structure from the ground up.

Nothing has been deleted, although finding certain things may prove difficult.  I’ve added a search bar to the main blog’s sidebar, so if you need to find something, you won’t be stuck combing through hundreds of pages.

Granted, you’ll still have to be a little creative with your queries, because searching for “Loki” will bring up more than 700 results.

The navigation has been slightly altered as well.  URLs have changed, since archives are no longer by category, but by type.  Again, bookmarks and permalinks out in the wild will break because of this, but this is going to make it easier to separate certain things out.  For instance, there’s a brand new photo feed, and coming soon is a section for original fiction.

This is a big project that I intend to poke at slowly.  The end goal is for th is site to be a log of everything I do, and I may even now be able to move my art here, without using clunky galleries that don’t work amazingly well.

Also, I bought a new lava lamp this week, which I’m mentioning only to explain my featured image on this post.

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New URL, who dis?

You may have noticed my site went away for a while today.  I did this because I wanted to change the url, from lokiofsassgaard.com/fanworks, to just lokiofsassgaard.com.  When I first set this place up last year, I put it under a weird path by accident, and by the time I realised I didn’t want that, it was too late.  I’d already bought a few plugins that were registered to that url, and I didn’t know how to change it.

But lately, I’ve been falling far away from fandom, and wanting to post other things here.  Especially since I put money into this place, I want to still use it, but posting random things to a “fandom” site felt weird.  So today I went on a hunt to see how to move the directory the site is in, to put it in the root (.com), instead of in a subfolder (/fanworks).  It turns out, the process was actually pretty easy, if time consuming. 

Mostly, I was still worried about my plugins though, since one of them is fairly integral to how this entire site works.  Luckily, that plugin immediately noticed something is very fishy, and threw a popup as soon as I found my way back into the dashboard.  It let me activate it on the new url with a single button click, so that’s that worry dealt with.  There are a few others that may cause some trouble down the line, but none of them are vital, and honestly if they lapse, it’s no big deal.  Most of the rest of the paid plugins I’m using, I’m on the fence about renewing anyway.

There are a few things that are still weirdly broken, but none of them affect anything on the user end.  The menu ought to work, since I’m pretty sure I’ve fixed all the busted links that were still pointing to the old domain, but I know pretty much everything in the fic section of the site is very broken.  Suddenly taking forever to organise that is a good thing, because I’d hate to have to do that all twice.  Bookmarks will also break, but in both cases, these links will not take you off-site.  You just get an embedded 404 page, so you’ll still have the menu and everything.  But know that the fanfic section of this site is 100% busted and will remain that way for a while.  It’s a lot to fix, and not a task I’m up to doing right now.

In fact, I very well may redo everything from the ground up at this point.  I’m not going to delete anything, but I do think I’m going to massively restructure everything.  The whole point of moving to a new url is so I can more or less strip the fandom identity from this site as much as possible (you know, while keeping my name attached to it), so I want to move the menu and sidebars around to highlight other things I do.

This is basically going to be a dumping ground for everything I do, and I want to make room for that.  So, for the time being, the site is going to be a bit of a mess, but it’ll be a mess I can use for more things.

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This pink stripe is going to be my death

It looks positively delicious and I want to eat it, but that’s not the problem.  The problem is how astonishingly large it is.  Like, I cannot, for the life of me, see an end to it.  It’s 30 rows, which is not insane.  Except because it’s right in the middle of a corner-to-corner, those 30 rows are close to 500 stitches each and aughghghghghg.

When I went to bed last night, I was on row 26.  Each row is getting shorter by two stitches, but still.  It’s so much.  Why do I do this to myself?

This blanket has also been a nightmare in other ways, because I put it down for almost a solid year.  Last year, I was using a notebook to keep track of my projects, and then all my projects got shoved into a closet, and then hauled out to the kitchen, and this specific one caused so much trouble, because it was the only one where I was actively keeping track of how much yarn I was using.  The problem started when I began entering all of my yarn into Ravelry, to figure out what I have and what I might need.  ha.  ha ha.  Oh god, I only did that a few weeks ago and it’s already out of date because I found so much other stuff I had no idea I had, and augh.  But the problem with this, specifically, is that it’s a rare project where I bought yarn specifically for it.  So when I input the yarn to Ravelry, I did it by going through my Amazon purchase history. 

It seemed like the easiest way to do it, except the other day I realised I’m missing a bunch of blue yarn.  I have no idea how I might have lost a bunch of blue yarn, but I went searching for it.  In searching, I found a bunch of other yarn I’d missed before, but not the blue stuff.  So now I’ve got a bunch of yarn that’s not tallied on Ravelry, but my plan is to not go through and update anything until I’ve used most of what’s in my bag, just to make it less of an ordeal.  But that still left the missing blue yarn.  I tore the house apart looking for it.  It was nowhere it ought to have been.

Then, I double checked my Amazon purchases.  But instead of just looking at my order history, I looked at the orders themselves.  I had two orders for a 3-skein pack of the blue, which ought to have meant six total skeins.  Except one of those orders never arrived and was refunded.  I only ever had three to begin with.

But then I had to go through and work out how much yarn was in the blanket itself, because there were four other colours.  The pink and violet were easy enough.  I bought those specific for this blanket too.  But the blank and white?  I already had some, and bought more.  So for those, I’m kind of having to trust my notes from a year ago, where it seems like I may have marked off skeins used as I started them, and not as I finished them?   I have no idea.  It’s driving me insane, and I think in the end I’m going to have to weigh the whole thing and do some math about it.  And the only reason I even care is because I want to release this one as a pattern, so I kinda need to know how much yarn has gone into it.  bluh.

In other news, I noticed that WordPress now has Snapchat-style stories.  I don’t think they’re a good fit for WordPress, necessarily, because of the way they don’t work outside the mobile app.  I don’t see myself using them very much, honestly.  But I do want a place where I can dump photos without much context.  I was trying Tumblr, but I hate Tumblr so much, and the fact that there aren’t default settings to keep your shit from getting reblogged kills me.  So instead I’m going to set up a new feed here, similar to my fic and recs.  Increasingly, the “fanworks” part of my url is growing inaccurate, but I did that by mistake and have no idea how to change it, so yolo or some shit idk.  Anyway, because I just want a dumping ground where I can easily track progress, and not necessarily a social media platform on which to do it, I’ll just put them here

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Fandom, tattoos, and a finished blanket

I haven’t really been posting much lately, which includes sending out newsletters.  Fandom in general has been leaving such a sour taste in my mouth that I’ve decided to go off and do other things for a while.  One of those other things is a Redbubble store, full of random designs that might appeal to one or two people idk.  I’ve got a bunch of stuff sitting in queue to be uploaded, including some space-themed stickers soon, once I get the whole set finished, and set sheets assembled.

I recently saw the newest Jurassic World, which has almost made me want to write a sequel to Isla Nublar, but I’m so astonishingly meh on all things fandom right now it’s not even funny.

One of the other things I’ve been doing lately is getting a new tattoo.  Right now, as I type this, it’s a sad, leaky mess that nobody wants to see, but that’s normal and expected.  I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out though, and I can’t wait to get this weird second skin bandage off, because it’s pulling my hair and feels weird.

My body thinks I’ve got flu, which is kind of funny and irritating at the same time.  It probably doesn’t help that I didn’t sleep well last night because every time the blanket touched it wrong, I woke up.  Honestly, I’m glad we’re on an opposite schedule right now, because the octopus I usually share a bed with would have made last night hell.

The other thing I’ve been working on, which most of you already know about, is my giant yarn project.  I forgot to post about it last-ish week when it happened, because again, I’ve just had no desire to do anything much at all lately, but I finished my big junk blanket.

I don’t know why this photo is such low quality.  I must have had my phone on a weird setting or something.  But I basically got sick of this thing and decided it was done, rather than working it to the size I’d originally intended.  I kind of regret that stripe early on, of a different weight that makes the whole thing bunch up awkwardly, but it’s way too late to do anything about that.  I have a bunch of other weird yarn like that which will be going into its own project, where being super ugly and inconsistent will be part of the charm.

Also, there are a few stripes of bright blue scattered throughout.  I’ve no idea where I got that yarn in particular, but every single row of that colour has split.  I need to go back and fix it all somehow, but it’s a low-priority project, since right now I just want to focus on getting more  yarn used up as quickly as possible.

The nice thing about this one though is it’s surprisingly light-weight, which makes it a great blanket for when it’s too hot to sleep even with the sad little AC in the window.

It’s every bit as ugly and messy as anticipated, and at some point I even gave up weaving ends in and just let the yarn stay tied together in knots, since that’s how I had it when I wound it into balls.  I think, just to save time on the next junk yarn blanket, I’m going to do the same, and not even bother with the ends because it’s a lot of hassle on something that’s already ugly and weird to begin with.

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Insane Yarn Project | Day 2

Listening to: Finished I’ll be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara; Started Fire & Blood, by George RR Martin
Project: Junk yarn blanket
Rows complete: 12

I don’t have a lot of fiction in my audiobook library as well, and what little I do have is very particular.  You’ll see that as a theme.  But I’ve been watching Fire & Blood on HBO, and figured I should go into this next, since it’s one that’s new to me.  I’ve tried listening to other ASOIAF books in the past, and hated the narrators, but if the guy who’s done this one has done others in the series, I may give him a go.

The problem, and it isn’t even a problem really, I have with this book in particular is that it’s not a narrative in the traditional sense of the word.  There’s a story in there, but it’s a story the same way a history book has a story.  I feel less like I’m listening to a wildly popular fantasy series, and more like I’m listening to a lecture from Ancient European History.  I’m into that kind of thing though, and do actually follow several college professors on YouTube so I can listen to their classes while I do other things.  Unfortunately, I was also fed a brownie last night, and very rapidly lost the ability to focus on a dryly-narrated geopolitical history of Westeros, so I went to watch Deadwood instead. 

Because of the brownie, I didn’t get much done here either.  I finished off a ball of yarn and moved onto another, which I’ve also decided to start cataloguing on Ravelry.  Another thing I did before the brownie was managed to set it up so these posts automatically get listed over there, but in a way that my fandom ramblings do not.

I also noticed that there is a particular shade of blue yarn that is apparently rotten.  There are now several long tears along those blue rows where the yarn just fell apart, but I’m not going to bother trying to fix those until after it’s done.  I’ve decided to make this blanket a full square, so I figure I’ve got maybe three or four more balls of yarn to go before it’s done, which is far less than I thought I’d need to finish it.  So my next project will also be a junk yarn project it seems, because that stuff is covering the top layer of my bag.

You can follow the progress of this one on Ravelry.

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Insane Yarn Project | Day 1

Listening to: I’ll be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara
Project: Junk yarn blanket
Rows complete: 17

I don’t actually have a whole lot of true crime in my library, for exactly the reason discussed in this book’s opening note.  Something about being a consumer of horrific, deliberate acts of violence makes me feel a bit icky (though I can’t exactly cast stones, because horrific, accidental acts of violence litter my library).  I picked this book up after watching the documentary of the same title, because McNamara’s story fascinated me.  I could take or leave the details of what this man did, but the obsessive story of how he was found, because a blogger couldn’t let it go is the sort of story I do find deeply compelling. 

As for the blanket, this is junk yarn in the truest sense of the word.  Whenever I finish a project and start organising what’s left, any single ball of yarn weighing less than 50g gets rolled up with all the other little scrappy odds and ends, to create cakes of a variety of colours.  You can see already in this blanket where yarn was taken from a specific frogged project, vs typical junk that had accumulated over time. 

There is no rhyme nor reason in which colours come next.  I work with a ball of yarn, use it up, and grab the next one.  As for why I’m starting with this one, I’m working from the top down, and this yarn was the last to go into the bag.  Whether I finish this blanket first will be another story, but I very well may run out of junk before then.

You can follow the progress of this one on Ravelry.

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Starting a new Yarn Project

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen the beginnings of this already.  But let’s start from the very beginning to understand why I’ve been going slowly insane over yarn.

The story starts several years ago, when I already had a decent amount of yarn to begin with.  But one day I was at Goodwill, and they had a couple of large trash bags full of colours I did not have, in the brand and weight I prefer.  So naturally, I bought them and dragged them home.

A few weeks later, I was probably having a bad day or something.  I can’t exactly remember.  But my husband was at Goodwill, and saw more trash bags full of yarn.  Wanting to make me feel better, and not fully understanding why I’d bought the ones I did, he bought those ones and dragged them home.

Some time after that, my grandmother died, and I brought home all of her yarn.

Suffice to say, at this point I had half a bedroom full of yarn.  I started using as much as I could.  I made blankets and scarves and pot holders, which is basically the extent of the sort of things I like to make.  And still, I had a lot of goddamn yarn.  Last winter, I decided I was going to use it all.  I made a whole bunch of blankets, and gave them to my husband to give away.  I made a bunch of scarves and gave those away.  I made two rugs, because some of what I had was rug yarn.

I still have so much yarn.  At this point, it was all stuffed into the bedroom closet, and honestly, very ignorable.  So I pulled it out so we could get our closet back, and I put it in the kitchen.  The kitchen was the worst possible place for it, which is why I put it there.  If it was constantly annoying and in my way, it would put the bug up my ass to do something about it.  Unfortunately, the “something” was finding a container large enough to fit it all.  Yarn bags are comically small even at their largest, and I didn’t want to put it in easily stackable bins would could be shuffled into another closet somewhere.  I wanted a single solution that could still live in the way somewhere, but not right in the middle of the kitchen; somewhere still relatively annoying, but accessible so I could get to it and do something about it.

This week, I finally found it.  I’d joked on Twitter about needing a yarn bag large enough to hold a body.  I’d searched on all my usual sites endlessly for large, canvas bags without compartments inside.  Then, Amazon recommended me a bright purple hay bag.  I recognised it at once, because we had several of these when I was a kid, but they’d fallen out of my conscious memory because I haven’t had horses in over 20 years.  But this is a bag that is meant to hold an 80-pound bale of hay, and live in the bed of your truck so you don’t blow hay particles all over the person behind you on the road.  It’s 16 cubic feet of bag, with the same sort of eyelets yarn bags typically have.

I have filled this fucking bag to capacity.  I spent twelve hours yesterday making sure all of my yarn was neatly wound up so it wouldn’t become a tangled, un-usable mess.  Then I had to wait for my husband to get home because it was too heavy for tiny little noodle-arm me to lift.

But the yarn is no longer in the kitchen.  It’s in the living room, taking up a huge chunk of real estate near my chair.  This is an improvement.

While going a little insane over yarn bags, I also unrelatedly noticed that I have over 200 audiobooks, between Audible and iTunes.  Some of those books are my husband’s, but they’re on my account, so nyeh.  Whatever.  It’s still a lot of books, even discounting the 20 or so that are his.  So, I had an idea.  I am going to see which I can do first: use up all of my yarn, or get through all of my audiobooks.  I’ve already listened to most of them, many more than once, but this felt like a fun project to combine.  I’m gonna get myself a good pair of headphones to plug into my stereo out in the front room so I don’t have to juggle charging my phone and having headphones plugged in.  And I am going to use up as much of this yarn as possible so I can move on to other projects.  Especially since so much of this yarn is what I would classify as junk.  Just a bunch of tiny balls of a single colour, or weird weights or textures that I would never use otherwise, but don’t want to just throw away. 

I’m going to document it all here as well, so you can all watch me go slowly insane as I listen to books and fuck around with yarn until my fingers fall off.

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Ours to Keep #2 | The Beach

Ours to Keep (130,000 words) by LokiOfSassgaard

Chapters: 14
Fandom: Thor, Loki (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Underage, Dubcon
Pairings: Loki/Sylvie
Characters: Loki, Sylvie, Thor, Angela, Odin, Frigga

Summary: After Bor’s death, the entire family manage to make it into town for the will reading. It’s only been a few months since Loki had a close call with a car accident he probably should not have survived, which only adds to the tension of having too many people in a house with not enough beds.

But the funny thing about death is it has a way of unveiling all sorts of secrets, whether or not they have anything to do with the deceased. And for Loki and Sylvie, this has the potential to be catastrophic.

eBook Download | Website

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State of the Things

Just wanted to give an update on all of the things I’ve been doing.  So, let’s go through all of it.

AO3

I’ve had a couple questions again lately about where my fic went, and why I deleted everything from AO3.  For one, I didn’t delete it.  It’s still there, unrevealed, possibly forever.  Or at least until I feel comfortable using it again, which at the very least won’t be until I can choose to unlist my fics, and make them so they can only be seen by people I allow to see them.  That’s probably never going to happen, because it’s antithetical to whatever all-or-nothing ethos AO3 works under, so they’re just hidden forever. 

But since moving to the system I’m using now, knowing that people can’t just randomly stumble upon them as easily, I’ve been having a lot more fun with it.  Statistics and numbers deadass ruined fandom in so many ways.  It’s all number-chasing, and I rather enjoy not having any real idea how many people have seen my fic.  The one exception is the newsletter, where I can see the single-digit numbers of people reading a given fic.  There’s something a little nicer about “nine people went out of their way to choose to get these alerts” than “1,000 random ghosts might have clicked this by accident.”

Newsletter

Speaking of the newsletter, I’ve got it in a good rhythm as well.  Tomorrow’s round-up issue is going to be enormous, because I’ve finally worked out my art situation, but it should go back to normal next week.  I’ve started working on my Stranger Things fic, and have begun sending out those issues.  But a lot of people have begun to fall off the list because they didn’t whitelist the email address, which means everything’s been going into their spam folder.  If you are one of the people who fell off, you can resubscribe without issue.  Just make sure you hunt down that welcome email and follow the steps in it to make sure you don’t get kicked off again.  The process which kicks people off is automated, and I’m not stepping in to stop it because I would like to get out of Gmail’s spam filter, quite frankly.

If you’re new to the newsletter, remember that fic doesn’t go out to it on any schedule.  It happens as it happens, and lately I’ve been stalled on updates on a lot of things for a lot of reasons.  Many of which stem from other fic reasons, oddly enough.  But the Saturday issue almost always goes out, unless I’ve just straight up done nothing all week.  Which won’t happen at least through November.

Fic & Art

Circling back to fic, I’ve begun posting the edited chapters of Ours to Keep to the site.  Those are getting posted every Monday, and will be included in the following Saturday’s roundups.  So far, not much has changed from the original version; mostly cleaning up some choppy bits, and making sure my continuity is solid.  I think there were a few details I flubbed the first time round, but nobody seemed to notice so they must not have been that bad.

I’ve been struggling since I started the site to figure out the best way to post and organise everything, because every time I land on something I think I like, it winds up not working out very well.  A big part of that is I write a hell of a lot more fic than I draw pictures, so I went for a layout that favours text over images.  The problem with this layout is that it really favours text, and finding a way to include images at all has been driving me nuts from day one.  I’ve tried various plugins and bodges to get it to work, and nothing has been both provided an effective layout and been easy to use.  It either looks nice, but is a pain in the ass to use, or is easy to use but looks like ass on the page.  I was kind of quietly ignoring this for a long time, and just not updating my galleries until I made the decision to start compiling my own eBooks and making those available.  I do have a system that lets me list them on my site, but again, it doesn’t have a gallery/landing page.  It just makes a new post for each entry, so the only way to browse them is by scrolling through pages the same way you do the blog.  And it’s, well.  It’s awful.  So I took that page down completely. 

Around the same time, I decided to go start nosing through deviantART again for the first time in ages.  And somehow, that has turned into exactly what I wanted.  So I removed all the galleries from my site and put my art up on dA instead.  There are a few exceptions, but I was able to upload way more than I expected after finding out that when I wasn’t looking, dA changed its policy on porn.  You have to put it behind a paywall, but you can post it.  So, I’ve done that.  I want to aim for at least two drawing a month in there to start, but for now it’s just got a few old doodles in it.

It’s also accidentally provided a really nice cover gallery for all my fic. 

So, that’s what I’m doing.  Most of them, I’ll be able to link directly to, but dA’s policies on literature and linking off-site are vague as fuck, so some of them are just kind of coyly letting people know there’s something new on the site.  But this is why I put so much effort into doing these covers in the first place.  I wanted a sort of digital bookshelf for all of them, using my own art so they didn’t get lost in the sea of identical covers you get from AO3.

And doing this has led to stumbling upon the final way I want to organise my fic.  It’s going to be an absolute meal, because there are almost 300 of the fuckers I need to change up, but it will look so much better on the user-end, and provide an additional layer of opt-in for some of the particularly deranged fics.  It’s also going to get rid of those big, ugly “read more” buttons, and just make a more streamlined browsing experience.

The dA page is mostly set up, except for a few areas that are waiting on me to finish the website.  And the website is going to be a nightmare, and probably take a few weeks.  But once I get both of them done, my focus is going to be on finishing the rest of the covers, and the compiling everything into eBook.

I’ve accepted that I’m very likely not going to hit my word count goal for GYWO this year, but so much has happened elsewhere that I think just focusing on busy work like adding tags to 300 posts is probably a healthier use of my time just so I don’t completely fry what’s left of my brain.  But I also do find it funny that compared to AO3, deviantART has much more robust options for allowing you to control who sees your art, and I have been making use of follower-only galleries over there.  I also like that deviantART isn’t a share-based site, meaning people can’t just spread my shit to their followers with the click of a button.  Honestly, that’s always made me uncomfortable, because as soon as someone retweets or reblogs your art, you have no way of knowing who’s going to see it or who they might show it to next. 

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.  And I may not post again, outside of Ours to Keep, until I’ve finished up re-organising all my fic. 

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Dusting off my deviantART account

I’ve been getting really frustrated with both Twitter and Tumblr lately, for various reasons.  Since installing a thing on Tumblr that hides reblogs, and realising I’m only seeing posts from three people now, and having a similar experience on Twitter with retweets disabled from most people I follow, I’ve realised that I hardly follow anyone who actually makes things.  There are so few creators left in fandom, and it’s begun wearing me down to only see post after post of wank and discourse.  Even those who do make things, that’s a small percentage of what they post.  And that’s not any one person’s fault; that’s the way these sites operate.  In order to get your artwork seen, you have to be loud and obnoxious in all the worst ways possible.  The only way Twitter promotes your artwork is if you put in an equal amount of effort into going into someone else’s feed and QRTing all their bad takes.

Basically, I want to see art, and deviantART is the only place you can do that.  So, I’m back there now.  You can find me here.

I’ve got my page set up more or less how I want it.  If you do follow me for art, there’s a lot you’ve probably missed, because I don’t play the game Twitter wants me to play.  I’m also brainstorming the best way to use dA to promote my fic.  I’m probably not going to promote too many older ones, and only stick to new stuff, and anything that’s “good enough” to get its own cover eventually.  But the main reason I’ve started uploading is honestly, I just haven’t been able to find a good way of doing it over here.  I’ve installed multiple gallery plugins, and all of them suck in varying degrees.  Short of setting up another instance of WordPress with a portfolio theme, there aren’t any good options since my main goal with this site was always fic.  I’m probably going to take down the art options from the menu.  Those galleries never get updated anyway, because it’s a tedious, multi-step process and it doesn’t even look good once it’s done.

Also, in the process of setting this up, I learned that deviantART actually allows porn now.  Which was not part of the decision making process, but it is definitely a perk.  I still can’t upload everything to dA, because there are a few rules banning certain kinks that I peddle in, but there is some stuff you might not have seen before.  The only catch with the porn is you have to put it behind a paywall.  Which, hey.  Whatever.  I’m not actually going to argue about that.

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Ours to Keep #1 | The Tesla

Ours to Keep (130,000 words) by LokiOfSassgaard

Chapters: 14
Fandom: Thor, Loki (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Underage, Dubcon
Pairings: Loki/Sylvie
Characters: Loki, Sylvie, Thor, Angela, Odin, Frigga

Summary: After Bor’s death, the entire family manage to make it into town for the will reading. It’s only been a few months since Loki had a close call with a car accident he probably should not have survived, which only adds to the tension of having too many people in a house with not enough beds.

But the funny thing about death is it has a way of unveiling all sorts of secrets, whether or not they have anything to do with the deceased. And for Loki and Sylvie, this has the potential to be catastrophic.

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Ours to Keep 03

This is another one I bounced around a lot on, and you’ll really see that in these more detailed drawings. Either I get bored with something, or frustrated, or get an idea on how to do something elsewhere, and the drawing winds up coming together bit by bit, instead of step by step.

The atmosphere for this one was tricky to get right, because it’s illustrating a specific scene from the fic, and I wanted to make sure it stayed faithful to it. I didn’t notice until after that the lighting should have been yellow, and not blue, but oh well. Mostly, I was concerned with getting a good, moody atmosphere from this stupid open-plan house. And I was married to the open-plan house, because this is the house the fic is set in. Normally I’d use stock for something like this, but because I’d written this with a house I’d found on Zillow in mind, I used a photo from that Zillow listing. Which is why it’s such poor quality.

It’s kind of a shame Procreate saves these videos at the speed it does, because this is another one that gives a good example of how I use an existing image to find vanishing points. In this case, I wasn’t interested in expanding the image. I could have just traced over the image and called it good. But I needed to find my vanishing points so I could situate Loki and Angela inside the frame. I started out with them comically large because it’s easier to shrink something to the right size than it is to make it bigger, I’ve found. I knew they were going to fit because I was able to pose them using this same photo as a background image in the doll app, but then I resized the image itself and they no longer fit. It wasn’t the end of the world though, because all I needed to do was find the right-hand-side vanishing point, and I could shrink Angela down to a size relative to Loki.

Of course, then the big question became whether or not I wanted her to be the enormous woman she is in canon, or if she should be more realistically-sized. I think I made her just an inch or two shorter than Loki, but he is enormous in every version of canon so it worked out.

The one thing I really did not like, and which I think actually contributed to the difficulty I had in getting this as atmospheric as I’d intended, was this HGTV colour scheme in the base colours. But again, I was kind of married to it because Frigga in this fic is exactly the kind of basic wealthy suburban mum who would go nuts for that bland, no-character aesthetic. But at the same time, it lets Loki and Angela stand out, despite their own fairly subdued colours. The pink and yellow of theirs shirts are both very desaturated and pale, but against the white (even drowned out by blues and violets) makes them stand out brighter than intended. I also toyed very briefly with giving Angela a tattoo to mimic the face paint she wears in the comics, but nothing worked for me, so I decided she’d dyed her hair black once upon a time, and has just let it grow and fade out since then.

This is always my favourite sort of thing to draw, so expect more in the future.

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God of Outcasts speedpaint

The struggle on this one was real. I knew exactly how I wanted it to look, but just couldn’t get it there. I started off with the bug up my ass to do this without using a doll, but the foreshortening and proportions were driving me to madness, so I gave up. I was also playing with those watercolour brushes, trying to get them do to something neat, but they wouldn’t do it.

Another problem I had with the first attempt is that I wanted Loki to look a bit younger, but I missed the mark by quite a lot. Basically, every single part of the process bothered me, and I started over, deciding to just do it how I normally would.

I bought a few brush packs, and I’ve slowly figured out that I could just like, use them the same way I used all my funky brushes in SAI. And that actually works a lot better. I also fixed up somet stuff with the lineart the second go around, altering some proportions and slimming Loki up a bit. Once I finally committed to just doing it my normal way, this piece came together more or less how I’d wanted it to originally. There’s still a few things I’d have liked to do a bit differently, but for now this one works.

The colour blocking in this one is a little bit funky because I knew I wanted to use a lot of warm, dark tones in this, and with my crunchy deep fried brush, that causes problems. So I blocked out in random, bright colours just so I could see what I was doing a bit easier.

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Niðhöggr Speedpaint

The first eBook cover I drew specifically to be an eBook cover, which is what the blue lines along the outside are for. Even though there’s no real need to mind bleed and margins, I still want to make sure certain details don’t cross certain boundaries, just because it looks nicer.

I usually draw dragons in a very particular way, but I wanted to take a different approach with this guy because he is a Norse dragon, and Norse dragons are people. I wanted him to look like people in a vaguely unsettling way, and wow I hate it. I don’t hate it because it looks bad. It’s exactly what I wanted. I hated it because it’s exactly what I wanted. It’s very uncanny and I squicked myself out with it.

I was also playing with some brush packs that had been recommended by a friend, and I don’t think I’m going to wind up using them as intended once I get properly comfortable with them. But I’ve never used art supplies as they were meant to be used, so this is nothing new.

One thing I do want to point out is how much of this video is taken up by just the sketch. In a goofy way, it kind of demonstrates exactly why I tend to use those little art dolls the way I do. I can draw without them, and up to the same level of skill and quality. I just don’t want to. I used to get so frustrated with myself when I was younger, and had internalised the whole “don’t trace” mantra, without understanding what that meant. I would much rather spend ten minutes posing a doll and doing my rough sketch on top of it than spend two hours on the rough sketch. The next one, you’ll see me having much of the same struggle, before just giving up.

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Compulsion Speedpaint

I think this is the last NSFW one for a while. It really did not wind up turning out like the image in my head at all, but it was also another one that was drawn during this frantic period where I was just trying to get as much done as possible. This was very unsustainable, and I stopped doing them this way shortly after.

Again, because it’s so rushed to begin with, I haven’t much to say about it now. But the ones coming up after this one are going to be very different.

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Sins of the Flesh speedpaint

We now get into May. This was the first one I drew with my own custom brush, before I deep fried it. I think I did that between this and the next one I drew.

I really bounced around a lot on this one, because there was a lot about it I had no idea how to approach. When that happens, I tend to go off and do something else intsead. I wound up really relying on my little pose doll a lot more than usual, just because I was having so much trouble with other areas that I didn’t want to keep getting frustrated at every step of the process.

The slime was not something I included originally, because it wasn’t in the story. But people wanted to see slime, so I drew sline. It’s not something I have a lot of experience with drawing, but I feel like I figured it out in the end.

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Odinsons Speedpaint

One more from April, and another one I wasn’t happy with even at the time. This may have been the one that made me decide to do a model sheet for Loki, but it was a while back and I can’t remember exactly. I do remember getting endlessly frustrated with his face here, because I could never find a good balance between looking like he ought to, but also femmed up a bit. But like the last one, I just wanted it done quickly in the end, so I had something to put up on those pages.

At one point, I started redrawing this one, but kind of ran out of steam on it. Not sure if it’ll ever get finished at this point.

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Starve to Death with Dignity Speedpaint

Another really short one from back in April. I didn’t put a whole lot of detail into this one, because I was more focused on getting something drawn so I had a header image for this fic. There’s a lot about it I’m not super thrilled with, but it did the job it needed to do, which is provide a graphic header for those chapters.

Don’t have much more to say about this one as a result.

Not on YouTube for obvious reasons.

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Ours to Keep Speedpaint

This is not the first one I drew since making my own inking brush, but it’s the first one I can put on YouTube. I may still post those directly to my site, once I’ve done the YouTube ones, but we’ll see.

I gave up trying to find a brush I liked, and in making one for myself, came up with this crunchy, deepfried mess that I actually really like. I wanted something that was crisp, without being smooth, but which also worked with taper and pressure sensitivity. It’s now become the brush I use not just for inking, but for a lot of detail and shading work as well.

There’s a lot I wound up not liking about this one, I think just because it was the first ambitious thing I’d tried to do in a long while. I’m also very aware that the video quality drops as it goes on. I ran out of layers several times during the process of this one, and I think that really affected Procreate’s ability to record what I was doing.

Since the stock photo I used for the basis of this wasn’t wide enough to capture the entire scene that I wanted, I used it to find my vanishing points, and built a whole new scene around the dresser. For something big and and detailed like this, I like to start out with the scene first, so I can figure out how the characters fit in it. That makes it easier to add or change things later, as opposed to starting with the characters and trying to build a scene around them. Figuring out the perspective early was especially important in this one, since half of the scene happens in a mirror. Because of this, the pose dolls came in especially handy, because I was able to duplicate and mirror the doll I used for Loki, so his pose matched as much as possible from both angles.

I really struggled with several aspects of this one, particularly Sylvie because she’s a character I’m not very familiar with drawing. I really don’t think either of them turning out looking right in the end though, but it kind of gets hidden in the intense atmosphere I smothered everything with. I really wanted to get this late afternoon/early evening feel, with the setting sun pouring through the window and lighting everything rather harshly. At the same time, I wanted it kind of dark and foreboding as well, because of what was going on at this point of the story.

I think a few more like this, and I might finally knock all the rust off though.

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Waiting Speedpaint

One from May, and another one that went super quickly mainly because I employed a whole bunch of cheats to make it go quickly. The biggest was tracing a stock photo for the background, and just straight up not caring to do it well because I knew going in I was going to blur it to pull focus to Loki in the foreground.

I also think this is the first time since my Cryptid Hours drawing where I used multiple light sources from opposite sides of the image. when I do something like this, I tend to make the shading layer for one light source a warm tone, and then use a cool tone for the second so they don’t compete too harshly against one another.

This was also the first drawing I did after making myself a model sheet for this character. Keeping characters looking consistent is tricky for me, because I’m a bit faceblind. Having a model sheet meant I was able to spend considerably less time fiddling around with the face, because I could just copy what I’d already drawn elsewhere.

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Ours to Keep Speedpaint

Another one from April, and one that went very quickly. It was a very simple piece, with a lot of open space between the lines, but the speed is something of a success for me. Unfortunately, Procreate has two settings for video export, and I could have artificially slowed this one down but I didn’t feel like it. So here’s a barely-two-minute one, because it went that smoothly for me.

Despite its simplicity, I still really like this one. I think it’s also one that best shows much much the colour palette in a given piece is determined by the final few steps. When I lay down the flat colour, I do it without lighting or atmosphere in mind. Then, I let the shadows, highlights, and ambience take over, and in this case, make everything blue and purple. Bright colours get dulled, and almost disappear, which is the desired result, but with significantly less work.

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Thor Speedpaint

This one was done immediately after the one with Loki and Sif. I wasn’t pleased with my lazy backgrounds up until this point, and wanted to do something more composed. I love doing detailed backgrounds, but Procreate’s perspective tool has always been kind of a pain to use for me, because of its layer limitations. I wound up starting off using the perspective grid from my pose doll app, which just made kind of a confusing mess that wasn’t actually helpful.

Usually when I do something with dramatic perspective, I’ll make the canvas way larger than the image calls for, and find my vanishing points off in outer space somewhere. Then I’ll mark off where the actual image will be, and work within the entire space until I have enough detail to crop it back down (a process you’ll see in detail in other videos).

But Procreate is not amazing at this, because in order to get the canvas big enough for this to work, often I wind up only having two or three layers available. This is not helpful especially when I want to have multiple vanishing points along my horizon. It’s something I’m still trying to figure out how to work around, especially for these really dramatic shots where I need a vertical point to refer to, but Procreate simply doesn’t have the power to pull it off.

At this point, I still don’t think I’d settled on the ink brush I use now, but I have at least found a rhythm. There’s a lot less starting over on inks or shading, since I’ve more or less found the direction I wanted to go. I also use some stock elements where trying to work with Procreate’s limitations proved too much of a hassle, and I didn’t want to try to figure out where a vanishing point was when I can only have three at a time. Another time-saving shortcut I used was pasting in some maps I’d drawn for God of Outcasts, rather than trying to come up with something unique to put on the mess that is Loki’s desk in this drawing.

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The Cat’s Away Speedpaint

I did this one in April this year. It was one of the first things I managed to draw and finish after finally getting an Apple Pencil. I wanted to start drawing custom header images for the fic on my site, so I could get away from using comic panels, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, exactly.

I’m still trying to find a style that I like, and on this one I decided to experiment with line weights and a different style of shading. I’ve also never been overly fond of using flat black for dark objects, but I decided to try it here to see how I liked it.

One thing I struggled with for way too long in getting away from smooth, clean lines was which brush to use. I didn’t really like any of the default brushes in Procreate, and could only find a handful of other ones I did like out on the internet. What made it worse was I knew exactly what sort of look and texture I was going for, so not being able to find something that matched was also beginning to build up frustration.

This one wound up being fairly simple since I just wanted to have drawn something with these two characters. It’s one I’d like to attempt to redraw, now that I’ve got a little more comfortable with Procreate and my own style again.

I also started using a different pose doll app for this one, recommended to me by a friend.

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Cryptid Hours Speedpaint

I drew this one almost exactly a year ago, when I decided I wanted to get into a better relationship with my art. At the time, I had a $10 stylus with no pressure control, and it was no better than drawing with my finger at the end of the day (often, I wound up using my finger anyway, because it was so bad).

One thing I consciously set out to work on was the time it took me to complete a drawing. For years, I had used PaintTool SAI, and got very used to perfectly clean, straight lines. It looked nice, but it took forever and didn’t allow for a lot of texture or fluid movement a lot.

When I switched to Procreate, I also started using digital art dolls to take a lot of the early frustration out. Rather than spending what would often be several hours trying to pose a character and get the proportions right, I had some ready-made bones I could stick down, basically. It gave me a good boost in speed, letting me get to the parts I find more interesting without getting massively frustrated first.

I went into this one without much plan of where it was going, so the background wound up really simple and bland. The lighting and shading also really started to annoy me when it wasn’t working the way I wanted it to (which I later found out was because SAI and Procreate have different functions for blending modes of the same name). I kind of gave up at the end, but despite that I really like how it turned out.

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