Saturday, March 22, 2014

New graphics tablet

So I've been wanting to get a new drawing tablet for a while now, but I'm a poor starving college student. However, that didn't prevent me from keeping my eyes open. So the other day I came across some reviews for a Monoprice graphics tablet at quite the reasonable price. Definitely cheaper than the 200 dollar Wacom option. Anyways, it came in today and I decided I would test it out. Color theory has always been something I tended to avoid because graphite is so simple. So I wanted to mess around with colors. I also happened to be listening to a Disney themed Pandora station, hence the obvious inspiration of material. Yay doodles!

Also, I apparently have a thing for the 3/4 view.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Alma 16:1-4

     I wanted to preface this short little bit by saying that it is in no way related to the Prologue I posted a few weeks ago. That story is still a work in progress and hopefully I will get more up. This is just an idea that popped into my head while reading in the Book of Alma, contained in The Book of Mormon. I've always felt it challenging to connect to the scripture on a personal level, especially when it's particularly historical as opposed to doctrinally base. As a personal exercise I decided to take a few brief verses and write a narrative of what may have happened. That being said, what I write is purely fictional.
                                                                  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land.
     For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city"

     Jacob was in his field preparing it for the upcoming planting season when he first heard something; a loud, shrill, fierce cry. He looked up to try to identify who or what had made the noise but saw only the other workers in the field.
     Ah, probably a wild animal, he thought. Convinced that he must have heard wrong, he went back to work only to hear it again, only this time it was closer. And there was more than one voice. By now Jacob could tell that it was coming from the direction of the jungle. This of itself would not have been strange, except that the jungle was a wilderness.
     No one lived there.
     Jacob noticed that the other workers had paused their labors as well. Everyone was curious about the noise that emanated from the forest, growing louder as the moments passed. All of a sudden, a man burst from the undergrowth, racing towards the farmers.
     Why's he running? was the first thought that came to Jacob's mind before a startling realization. The man was a Lamanite. No sooner had this registered when a wave of Lamanites came crashing from the tree line headed his way.
     "Lamanites!" shouted one of the workers and as one, they all began to flee in the direction of Ammonihah. Unfortunately, the city was not particularly close. As Jacob ran he was confronted by the strangeness of this whole ordeal.
     Why are the Lamanites here? he wondered, there hasn't been a war in years. And then he was confronted by Lamanite warrior. Jacob didn't have time to slow down or change direction. Just before being cut down, a fleeting thought flashed across his mind.
     Huh, I guess Alma was right.


Sariah didn't look back. She had barely made it out of Ammonihah with a small bag of food and her two children. The city guard had begun to resist the advances of the horde, but the enemy numbers were too great. Sariah had only just escaped when the Lamanite army had surrounded the city. Two days later, the food ran out but that did not lessen her urgency to put as much distance between her and almost certain destruction.
     "Please sir, some food? For my children?" It hurt Sariah to have to beg. In Ammonihah she had been somebody, the wife of somebody. Now, she was just another refugee. Although, to be sure, there weren't many that had escaped in time. Sariah considered herself lucky to be alive. Because she had family in Zarahemla that seemed the best place for her to go. Besides, someone had to tell the Nephites of the Lamanite aggression. These thoughts fueled her journey. They carried her through the shame of begging for food. They numbed the pain of walking too far, too fast.
     At last she arrived in Zarahemla. Sariah very much looked like a refugee. She was aware that in her present condition, the likelihood of securing an audience with anyone of status was very low. Despite this, she approached the first city official she could find.
     "Excuse me."
The man ignored her.
     "Excuse me! I need to deliver a message of utmost importance!" Sariah almost reached out to grab his tunic when he abruptly turned to face her.
     "What is it?" The man sounded annoyed. He looked annoyed. There was something about him that seemed to exude annoyance.
     Just my luck, Sariah thought, I run into an official that would make lemons seem sweet.
     "I come from Ammonihah."
     "What of it?"
Irritated at being cut off, Sariah considered saying something rude, but decided against it in favor of accomplishing her initial design.
     "The city has come under attack by Lamanites."
     "Nonsense! We'd have heard of it by now."
     "That was but three days ago, I only just arrived."
     "How am I to confirm the accuracy of what you say?"
Then, without any warning, a small group of people ran into the city shouting,
     "The Lamanites have come!"
     "Ammonihah will be lost!"
     "War is upon us!"
At this, the man glanced quickly at Sariah before hurrying on his way.
     "Believe me now?" Sariah shouted after him. Her self satisfaction was short lived, however, as her present needs, and those of her children, reimposed themselves upon her mind. With no further encouragement needed, she headed off toward her cousin's house, children in tow.

                                                                      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness.
     Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness."

     As soon as word reached Nephihah of the Lamanite aggression in the land of Melek, he sent for his Captains with instructions to gather forces.
     Nephihah had hoped to have peace during all his days as Chief Judge. As soon as he realized that this was not to be, he began to brood.
      I suppose it was not meant to be. I can only control my actions, not those of the Lamanites. Not even those of my own people.  I can but proceed as I see fit and trust in The Lord. The men I serve with are honorable, let us see what can be done to protect our people.
     So Nephihah called a counsel of war. Present were the captains of all the various Nephite forces. At a glance, Nephihah could see that these men were capable men of wisdom. Coming to his feet, he addressed the council.
     "I have gathered you together so that we might plan how to proceed with regards to the impending Lamanite threat. Obviously the most pressing need is to halt their progression so today I wish to discuss what we have learned of their whereabouts, the damage they have caused, the forces we have currently at our disposal, and I feel it important that we name one of your number chief captain, to lead our armies. Being as I am merely the Chief Judge and therefore have no military experience, I will act as more of a bystander than participant during these proceedings."
   With that said, Nephihah beckoned to Aaron, the eldest captain and then sat down. From there, Aaron led the council. First they discussed the reports each captain had received from his scouts. It was learned that the city of Ammonihah had already been destroyed and the Lamanite armies had begun to raid the neighboring countryside. A tally of soldiers was encouraging. If the captains joined forces, they could withstand and even repel the invaders. At this point the conversation changed focus slightly.
     "It has come to my attention that the Lamanites have taken a number of our people prisoner. What of them?" Aaron began.
     "We must get them back," was the immediate reply by one.
     "Can we afford the cost?" came the rebuttal of another.
     "How would you feel differently if your family was among those taken?"
     "He has a point, though. Do we have the manpower necessary to not only overpower the Lamanites, but free their prisoners as well?"
     "We've been over the numbers. We know our forces. The only unknown here is the Lamanite army. At this point all we have is an estimate."
     "Regardless, I think it would be worth our effort to reclaim those lost."
     "That would definitely boost morale within the ranks and among the civilians."
     "Every man we free has the potential to add to our military strength. Keep that in mind."
     "I say we do it. I say we free our brethren from captivity."
     "I agree."
     "Any further objections?" There were none. Those who had spoken against before were merely providing an alternate viewpoint so as to better see the whole picture clearly. All of them wanted to free the captives. When that was settled, the captains turned to the final matter: that of choosing a chief captain. Many candidates were proposed and their merits discussed. In the end, the captains came to a consensus that of their number, Zoram was best suited to act as their superior. When this was decided, Aaron brought the meeting to a close and the men dispersed to fulfill their respective roles in the plans made.
     Well, that went about as well as I could have hoped, thought Nephihah. At this point all I can do is trust that these men are as capable as I thought.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


The first sensation he registered was the shaking. He felt like a Christmas toy in a neatly wrapped present being held by an excited child, unable to wait a second longer before discovering what treasures lay beneath the brightly colored paper.
     'This isn't good,' was the first thought that came to his mind, followed immediately by, 'Wait, where am I?" Opening his eyes, he noted that he was in what appeared to be a glass display case. No, that's not right. What was it again?
     The sound of an explosion was followed quickly by a tilting of the ship. Right, he was in a ship. Why was that? He stumbled out of the stasis pod, 'a what?' and began to follow the corridor hoping to get... somewhere.
     Finding an open door she, or was it he?, stumbled onto the set of a science fiction movie. It was a set, right? This couldn't be real. This had to be the strangest dream she, or he, whoever, had ever had. She was a 'she' wasn't she? Was he?
     He couldn't remember well enough. What he could tell was that he was in the middle of a first class emergency. This was evidenced by the continuous rocking of the ship, the intermittent explosions and the frantic shouting of the people that were running by.
     Confident now that this was a dream, she began to follow the most urgent looking people. After all, that was bound to be where the action was. And why not seek adventure in your dreams? Only this was particularly realistic. She couldn't remember ever having such vivid dreams before. The smell of smoke, melting plastic and anti-inflammatory chemical was downright stifling. In fact, was it just her or was she starting to have trouble breathing? On a whim, brought about perhaps by the memory of fire drills during her childhood or the echoes of a similar fire he'd escaped before, he ducked low, beneath the level of the haze and continued his journey.
     Finally he reached the command center. He'd seen similar designs before, but he'd never been on a ship so advanced. He would have liked the chance to stay a while and familiarize himself with the setup. However, he noted with a hint of regret, this would not be possible considering the situation.
     Out of the corner of her eye, something caught her attention. Or more accurately, someone. It was a young man in an odd looking uniform of some kind who she might have found attractive in other circumstances. As it was, his otherwise pleasant face was lined deeply with stress and marred by the occasional shout to his comrades in the room. Was this a spaceship? She'd never been in space before.
     "First time for everything I guess," she thought. Except, wasn't this just a dream?
     Before this thought could catch hold in her mind, her focus was drawn again to the man with the face. Had she thought him attractive?
     "Do it!" shouted the man, "do it now!"
     A woman's voice sounded in reply. "We can't, the calibrations aren't finished yet. If we go too soon it could destroy everything. There might be nothing left!"
     Another explosion rocked the room from outside, knocking everyone off their feet.
     "Listen, if they reach us, there won't be anything left!" the man shouted as he climbed to his feet.  
     'This is intense' thought the dreamer as he/she approached the woman from behind. He noticed that she was working feverishly at her console going through what appeared to be checklists and status reports. Glancing at the man who had been shouting, the woman made as if to get up but reconsidered and sat back down with a sigh. Another explosion went off. It sounded closer.
     "Alright," she said, "just give me a minute to make the changes."
     "I would appreciate it if you could hurry. They are almost here," was all the reply she received. As if on cue, the explosions ceased and the room became still. The dreamer began to feel uneasy and saw that the two others in the room felt the same. Without a thought, the dreamer began to ponder aloud. After all, they couldn't hear him could they?
     "Strange, everything just went... quiet." Both the man and the woman turned to look at him in shock.
     "How did you...? began the man before pausing, a look of realization dawning on his face. "Ah, I see."
     The woman looked at him, puzzled, and asked, "Is that..?"
    "In that case, we have to see this through without further delay."
     "My sentiments exactly."
     Turning to ignore her once again, the two crew members resumed their previous feverish pace, but with perhaps a slight increase in determination, if such were possible.
     Not entirely sure what had happened, the dreamer decided it was best to simply fade into the background. People don't look at you like that in dreams do they? Am I entirely sure this is a dream? Lost in her thoughts she nearly missed hearing the strange rumbling which had begun. The man and woman looked at each other for a second and then it hit them.
     "They're drilling!"
     "Do it! Now!"
     Without hesitation, the woman entered a command into the console. As she did so, the wall beside them burst open. The dreamer was thrown to the ground, managing only a glimpse of the man turning to face the new hole in the wall before everything went...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Envelope Art

Going back through my old pictures, I found these gems I drew on envelopes to friends and family during my time on the island of Fogo as a missionary in Cape Verde.