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Cynthia Griffith
Learning to sew historical costumes, fan art of Middle Earth dwarves, and juggling with my husband when we have time. Too many hobbies to list! See links to art and sewing below.
Learning to sew historical costumes, fan art of Middle Earth dwarves, and juggling with my husband when we have time. Too many hobbies to list! See links to art and sewing below.

Cynthia's posts

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Still helping out on podcasts and audio fiction -- this was a lot of fun! ;)
In honor of Halloween, this month's episode of Not about Lumberjacks is about a podcaster who discovers some ghostly audio while editing an episode of his show.

It's a bit of a departure from most episodes of Not about Lumberjacks because it's a true audio drama (instead of the usual prose story). It was a lot of fun to put together because it also features the voice talents of +Cynthia Griffith, +Rick Coste (seriously, listen to his awesome show, Bryar Lane!), Rocky Westbrook, and even my mom!

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My husband had a business trip out-of-state for almost a week about a month ago or so. I thought I would draw a new image to help pass the time quickly. The morning he left (Tuesday), I sat down and sketched this in blue pencil directly to Bristol (not my usual small sketching/enlarge/transfer-cleanup). By the next day (Wednesday), I was already starting to ink it.

I still had issues with my eyesight going out quickly on me, so it's not like I was working for several hours (sadly -- I would have finished it within a few days, I think). Some of the blue pencil sketch lines were very loose and vague due to the way I drew this piece, so inking slowed down as I got to those sections. I also had a bit of a brainfart that Thursday (my last day that week to work on it, as I would be away all of Friday and spending time with my husband over the weekend when he got home). For some reason, I couldn't focus and made stupid mistakes or was sloppy. It was almost like I'd never inked before. Thank goodness for being able to clean up the mess for the most part.

The following week... momentum had been lost. I didn't want to work on art at all that Monday, and I struggled Tuesday to sketch in some backgrounds. Between allergies driving my eyes nuts again, and the weather getting cooler (and calling me to enjoy it)... well, it took longer than it really should have taken. I finally pushed myself to sit down and finish inking the cooking supplies in the background, and all the landscape in final burst.

I wanted to draw Bombur, because recently I'd been watching the actor's (Stephen Hunter) video blog and even asking him questions on Twitter about voice acting. He's such a nice guy, I thought he should be my next drawing. I'm just sorry it took me so long to finish it, much less start it.

Drawn directly onto Bristol using blue pencil, and inked with Black Magic Ink using a Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush. Also a few details in size 005 art pen and black pencil. Acrylic white paint for covering up mistakes.

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I'm actually in the process of finishing another inked drawing. Let me rephrase that -- I'm currently enjoying the fact that Autumn has treated me to a little bit of a break from the unbearable heat and wanting to go outside and play, with an inked drawing close to being finished sitting on the drawing table.

So despite the fact I was not going to let myself start another project before I finished that one, I gave myself a goal. One day. Morning to afternoon, start to finish, moving on and not fretting about mistakes (plenty of things I wish I could fix oh yes, but movin' on.... laughs). I did this Wednesday, with the plan to post it the following day for Thorin Thursday on various social media. And yes, my eyes gave out as usual, so I wasn't even sure if I was drawing where I needed to or balancing things out (and I was also running around doing chores like laundry while working on it). At least I finished something quickly, as planned.

Still, I prefer taking my time, giving my eyes (and shaky hands) a break, and being able to go back and fix or change things I don't like.

Sketched in blue pencil on 11x14 300 Series Strathmore Drawing Paper, then finished using regular art pencils (F, 3B, and 4B).

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Yeah yeah, what can I say? It's another drawing of "just Thorin." Well, I like drawing Thorin (hubby is certainly thrilled as Thorin is also his all-time fave character too). Also, I've mainly been testing some things out as well as finding easy projects to work on to practice and build up confidence again (I know what Thorin looks like, but I'd have to hunt down tons of character/costume refs for an entire Company to "get to know them" better for drawing).

I was rolling along pretty well with this one once I started working on it, only fighting my usual quickly fatigued eyes that I've had problems with since at least my teenaged years... and then symptoms got worse. I didn't talk about it too openly, but it was bad enough that I got a referral to an eye doctor to make sure there wasn't something really bad going on. Turns out, another problem I have frequently -- allergies (grrrrr) -- hit me SO hard, I could barely see out of or move my left eye. Finally got a medication and some tips to fight the allergy trouble, and things started getting back to normal very quickly, so I was finally able to finish this drawing. Between the heat of summer with an a/c that wasn't working well for a while, and the eye thing, I took a lot longer than I intended to finish it. It sucked wanting desperately to work on it, but knowing better than to go near it (with good reason).

Although it's just of Thorin, I like to imagine this is where they were almost to the Misty Mountains, and he stopped to watch and wait for his Company to catch up to him (and scan the horizon to make sure they weren't being followed).

This one was originally sketched a while back and I can barely remember much about it. The original sketch is just over 4 inches tall, and apparently I was in a crappy mood when I scrawled it (those sketch lines look SO angry heheh -- you can see the original sketch here: ). I scanned the sketch, enlarged it, and lightly transferred to 11x14 Bristol, and finished up the details in blue pencil before inking. I took a while with Thorin himself since the bulk of the a/c and eyesight issues happened while working on him, but the background only took a day's work (the scan didn't pick up all the subtle ink washing and light black pencil shading. I wanted Thorin to be the main focus).

Done in Black Magic ink with Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush, some archival art pens for touch-ups and straight lines, black pencil for light thin-lined details and a little light texture, and acrylic white paint for touch-ups. Also did a bit of inkwashes.

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I've been spending a lot of time messing around with ink, but not really getting much done. Time to simplify. And time to finish things that have been sitting around WAY too long.

This was originally started (the blue pencil part of it, not the inks) in early June 2015. For whatever reason, I couldn't bring myself to ink it (despite really wanting to). So new brush in hand, I decided enough was enough. I really need to stop putting things off -- I end up forgetting (or am just doing things differently now) what I was planning to do a year or more later when I finally get around to these.

The original blue pencil was done on 11x14 Strathmore drawing paper. I wanted to preserve the blue pencils, so I scanned, darkened the lines, turned it into B&W, and printed it out to transfer to 11x14 Bristol for inking. I used Black Magic ink with a Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush, a little bit of detail work on Thorin and a few tiny pebbles with a Micron 005 pen, a bit of touch-ups in white acrylic paint and white pencil, and a little texture-work in black pencil.

As far as the scene... I play Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), and I have one dwarf and two elves (also a hobbit) so far. You'd think I'd be sick of seeing Thorin's Hall/Ered Luin... well, no. My character house is there. I love that area and feel at home there. Many times, when I'd be questing (and coming across little things that were about Thorin or the Battle of the Five Armies) I would stop and just think about the story before The Hobbit. As I said on the original sketch's page:  

"I've been obsessed with the story-not-told in Ered Luin (most likely also because I play LOTRO and love going back there with my characters). I like to imagine Thorin would go away on trips for trade and supplies on his own, so he could think and be alone. Perhaps here, he is thinking of happy days gone by, family lost, Erebor in its glory -- the mighty kingdom of Durin's Folk. And while picking up supplies, I am sure he is also searching for information: where is his father? Any detail. Any hint. Any rumor.... always searching and wondering."

And of course, wondering when the time would be to return to Erebor.

(I hope the scan doesn't lose some detail. I was pressed for some time, and wanted to darken the solid black areas to get rid of the streaking that happens with scanning and hope it didn't do anything weird to the details.)

Link to the original blue pencil sketch:

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If you enjoyed Christopher's story The Other Side, have a listen to this behind-the-scenes episode. Also includes some comments from three podcasters who helped with some of the voicework for a scene! ;)
This behind-the-scenes look at the latest episode of Not About Lumberjacks is worth it, just to hear the opening lines by Mark Hosack. But the interviews with Mark, Shawn Kupfer, and Rick Coste about voicing orcs for the story is a blast. Somewhere between the short interviews is a commentary about childhood slipping away as one grows older, but how adulthood is not without its own charm and magic.

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I know I seem to be focusing on Thorin as well as head/shoulder portraits, but I've been currently going through a few things:

- I am older, and while I've been drawing most of my life, there was a long break. I guess you could say I'm trying to find my old habits again, as well as any new voice or styles that might be wanting out.
- Chronic pain and eyes that aren't reliable makes for lack of confidence and shorter amounts of working time. So bigger views allow for that practice.
- Thorin's a favorite and more familiar subject, so he's helpful to use.

I recently was on a road trip with my husband (it was a writing conference), and while he attended things throughout the day, I relaxed in the hotel room and sketched in my sketchbook.

This was one of the sketches. It was very small, one side of his face ran into the binding area (making it non-existent for the most part), and it was in blue pencil. Also, it was very stylized and simple. But we liked him... so I decided to enlarge him, add a little more detail and finish the view for inking.

Unfortunately, that first thing I mentioned above got to me. I kept playing and changing and obsessing... as well as making stupid mistakes or flat-out not realizing I couldn't even see what I was doing (sometimes it's not a good idea to "just do it" -- what's the point of working if you can't even see what you're doing, eh?). I finally stopped myself from constantly fixing things (or making those changes that I just never seemed satisfied with), and finished him. This was really supposed to be a way to get myself drawing/inking, as well as breaking in a new brush I had not used yet. Well, at least the brush works nicely compared to the old one that was worn out!

Stylized, small, unfinished blue pencil in a sketchbook, enlarged and transferred (in blue pencil) to 11x14 Bristol. Inked with Black Magic ink, using a Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush. Also using a few tiny archival ink art pens, a little white pencil, and acrylic white paint for fixes as well as a little fur texture.

As far as what point in the story this is from, I had made a simple non-costume-specific cranky Thorin face. My husband, a friend, and myself voted on which costume to draw... and while working on him, I realized it made me think of the point after talking to Bilbo about the acorn, when Dwalin came to tell him about the Laketown survivors and he snapped back from his brief moment of kindness. It wasn't intended, but works for me.

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If you have a soft spot for fantasy stories, or just daydreamed as a child about having another world you could hang out in... give this a listen! (written and narrated by my husband.) :D
My wife knew my writing shortly before she knew me -- she's been reading what I've written for 24 years this month. This is her all-time favorite thing I've written. The gist: Daniel, recently divorced AND unemployed, breaks into his childhood home to see if something he remembers in his old bedroom closet is still there.

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It was a lot of work, but it was also fun to do... here is the behind the scenes interview with me about the short story I narrated. 
The first short story I've written in over 5 years was brought to life by my wife, Cynthia Griffith. To date, it's ALMOST the most successful episode of Not About Lumberjacks. I sat down with Cynthia for this 13-minute interview about the challenges of not just narrating a story, but bringing the voice of an African grey parrot named Horus to life.

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Yup, it's true! I read this for my husband Christopher, a writer and podcaster (and I have new understanding of all the work that goes into things like this -- whew)! Please check it and his other stories and podcasts out! :)
Need something wonderful for tomorrow's commute? How about a story about an unemployed writer who lands her dream job, but finds it comes with much more than she bargained for in the form of an African Grey parrot named Horus?

Narrated by Cynthia Faye Griffith (the part that makes it wonderful, although for the first new short story I've written in years, it turned out well), I have a new favorite episode of Not About Lumberjacks.
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