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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.


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Originally sketched in blue pencil & black pencil, on a (landscape) 81/2"x11" piece of paper, enlarged to fit on a (landscape) 11"x14" piece of Bristol, and transferred in blue pencil with a light box. Inks and ink washes using a Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush, with a few small width Micron art pens for tiny details, and a black pencil for light details and texture. Acrylic white paint for fixes and light trim pattern, white pencil for "embroidery" detail on black trim.

I actually sketched this piece a week or two before Father's Day, and a week or two later had most of the detail inked (I think). The summer has been a blur: long story short, between distractions, testing a few other things out that didn't make it to the final piece, and our air conditioner finally giving out (we were miserable -- but good news! New inside unit, and it's handling the hot days much better!)... this piece sat collecting dust and waiting for me to finish it.

I had planned to transfer a copy to better paper to do a background and paint... but I can't do that with what I have and use now. By the time I finally realized I needed to scale this back down, I was a bit sick of seeing it sitting on my drawing table. So I finished it with ink washes. Better scaled back to a simpler idea, than possibly never getting finished. ;)

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A little while back, I did an acrylic portrait of Thorin on canvas. He's been hanging on the "wall o' royal dwarves" in our living room... with a blank spot on the wall on the other side reserved for a matching portrait of his father, Thrain. I kept putting it off, and finally decided to start sketching today. He has so much hair... I think I may consider the size and layout and see if I want to rework it. I have time, since summer is about to kick in and it'll be too hot for me to spend much time by the big window to work. Regardless, it was fun sketching. As much as I draw Thorin, Thrain and Thror are also a blast to draw for me.
Sketched in blue pencil on 11x14 drawing paper, then adjusted to grayscale in Photoshop for easier viewing. Keepin' busy!

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On Wednesday, I decided I wanted to whip out a quick drawing of Thorin to share for the next day (Thorin Thursday)... and I also knew I wanted to draw a baby goat (d'awwwwwwww). So, this happened. Maybe this little bubbie grows up to be Thorin's pack-goat I've drawn before? Or perhaps a battle-goat to patrol Ered Luin?

Sketched in blue pencil on 11x14 drawing paper, and finished in black pencil.

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After a several-month-break, it felt like I barely even remembered where I kept all my drawing supplies... much less remembered how to draw (and this Thorin guy. I think I've drawn him before LOL!). I actually tried sitting down to draw a few days/a week ago and ended up with an instant eyestrain headache. I have been avoiding a lot of things -- glasses or not! -- because of that. I have really missed drawing dwarves, especially Thorin!

My goal was to fill a page with as much quick small-ish rough sketches to get used to drawing again.

I drew Thorin eating (it always bugged me that the poor dwarf really never got much of a chance to eat, before someone was trying to start a fight with him or talking to him about bad news), moved over to draw him about to take a drink.... and it grew into a much bigger/detailed sketch than I'd planned.

This is actually drawn in blue pencil on 11X14(? oops, I forgot to check. It's been a while) drawing paper. Once scanned, I darkened the blue pencil lines a little, then changed to grayscale. I LOVE blue pencils, but it's helpful with my old eyes to see things a little darker. ;)

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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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