October the 27th is World Lemur Day. A day to celebrate the most endangered clade of mammals on the planet.
Did you know:
- Lemurs are found exclusively on the island of Madagascar (and some tiny offshore islands)
- There are over 100 different species of lemur, ranging in size from the dwarf mouse lemur (30 g) to the indri (up to 9.5 kg).
- Of those species, a shocking 90% are endangered, many critically.
- Lemurs are prosimians, which translates as “before monkey” and are descended from a common ancestor. It is believed this ancestor was carried over to Madagascar on debris, and evolved to fill a variety of different niches.
- The aye-aye, possibly one of the strangest mammals in the world, was described as having “… the ears of a bat, the tail of a fox, the teeth of a beaver, the fur of a microwaved cat and the hands of a witch…” (from John Cleese’s “In the Wild”). Its middle finger is not actually elongated, but very, very thin, allowing it to probe into crevices to extract delicious bugs and grubs.
- Most lemur species are vegetarian, with the eastern sifaka species requiring such a diverse array of foliage that they rarely survive (and have not yet flourished) in captivity.
- The west coast of Madagascar is much drier, and the lemur species found there tend to somewhat more adaptable with their diet.
- John Cleese loves lemurs – and has a species of avahi (woolly lemur) named after him: Avahi cleesei
- The lemur “poster boy”, the ring-tailed lemur, is one of the more generalised species. It thrives in zoos, and spends more time on the ground than other species. However, wild populations have suffered a massive decline in recent years.
- The black lemurs have been filmed biting millipedes, which causes them to secrete a chemical that not only acts as a natural insecticide, but is also a narcotic.
- Sclater’s black lemur is the only non-human primate with blue eyes.
- The bamboo lemur regularly consumes high qualities of cyanide.
Here are some pictures of lemurs that I have drawn over the years:
Here are illustrations of ten beautiful species of bird. Not necessarily in order of preference (as that changes regularly). All illustrated by me, between 2011-2016.
(another favourite, Currawong is not included because I haven’t drawn him).
So, it comes to pass that 2016 is about to draw to a close. It has been a troubling year on the global scale: beloved celebrities have passed, as have prominent scientists and authors. Politics have been unsettling, as has the “revelation” that climate change may well lead the human race – and goodness knows how many other species – to extinction within the next decade. On a personal level, things have been rather more pleasing. We introduced a new, four-legged and furred, member to our family, and we have now owned our own house for a year. We traveled to Australia and explored Tasmania. My not-so-inner child was further delighted by the creation of Pokemon Go and the resurgence of popularity in Pokemon that ensured.
Whilst I did not achieve many of my writing goals for the year, I did complete my Animal Alphabet in April and successfully participated in NaNoWriMo. I have had two short stories accepted for publication in anthologies (that I am not the editor of) and one even paid me money! And I have taken on several formatting jobs for different authors. I also helped my lovely friend Matty Angel release her first book and realise one of her life’s goals, including helping her bank her first ever paycheque!
So, what do I strive to achieve in 2017?
Work on “Tail of Two Scions” (and get the damned thing done!)
Write a short story a month for the year.
Participate in NaNoWriMo 2017
Get back into a pattern of drawing regularly.
Create that picture book that Matty is talking about.
Sell some art.
Read over 100 books.
Celebrate Midsummer Eve in Scandinavia
See Europe (countries yet to be determined)
Travel to anywhere in the world that is required to attend the Helloween “Pumpkins Unite” tour. (may wind up in 2018 depending on their schedule)
Attend at least one concert (The Darkness)
I haven’t been doing a lot of writing recently, and even less drawing. Sad but true! What I have been doing is a lot of walking (damn you Pokemon Go!) and a fair amount of formatting. I’ve been working on the second anthology for our Writers’ Guild and I think, given the time and effort, that this will be my last combined anthology. The stories are great, and I’ve had a lot of support on the editing process, but wowsies… formatting takes time! However, I’ve gotten two actual paying projects for formatting to work on as well, so we’ll see how that fans out. Maybe one day I will be able to give up the day job…
Meanwhile, I’m trying to prepare myself for NaNoWriMo by: a, clearing out projects out of the way and b, deciding what story to work on.
I’ve several options:
- Rewrite “Tail of Two Scions” again.
- Rewrite “Furritasia: Reborne” (like I promised I was going to about a month ago).
- Finally finish my Pokemon Fanfiction with a Poke-apocalyse story.
- Write a series of short chapter books aimed at the 6-9 years market, each featuring a different animal having adventures.
- Write a romance/love story (maybe the story between Kataryna Lemieux and Daniel Galbraith)
Anybody wish to help me with suggestions? I suppose I could always try all of the above and switch between them. Seeing which one works for me!
The furry fandom is a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Examples of anthropomorphic attributes include exhibiting human intelligence and facial expressions, the ability to speak, walk on two legs, and wear clothes. Furry fandom is also used to refer to the community of people who gather on the Internet and at furry conventions.
- wikipedia “Furry Fandom”
I first connected with the internet seriously in the early part of this century, and immersed myself in online communities and cultures. Along the way, I discovered Furries. Now, the Furry Community was one of the friendliest, but also one of the most mocked, on the internet at the time – and they possibly are still rather misunderstood today. I created a Fursona (Furry persona), put up auctions for both stories and art on Furbid, and shared my art via VCL, spending most of my time on Yerf’s forums (but lacking in the artistic ability to actually become a member). Sadly, all of those sites are now long defunct, VCL has been archived, but is still viewable, Yerf has vanished altogether and Furbid has been replaced by Furbuy, which seems to attract sellers but not-so-many buyers. And truth be told, my art was somewhat substandard at the time and most of the auctions were purchased by the same fellow, a fellow how probably kept most of lower-tier artists afloat.
Now, whilst I enjoy drawing animal people – as has been noted in previous entries, I favour animal, or animalistic, characters over humans – I have never believed that I actually was the spirit of a lemur trapped in a human’s body, nor have I ever engaged in anything dubious or dodgy, either wearing a fursuit or not. I just prefer drawing, and writing, animal characters to humans. I have a vast cast of Furry characters, beginning with Kataryna Delilah Lemusu, a ring-tailed lemur.
Kataryna began life as a regular ring-tailed lemur-morph: brownish-red fur, white belly, long striped tail. Then one day, in a fit of artistic angst, I killed her off. Slashed her wrists in the bathtub, in fact. I’m not sure what happened to that illustration – it’s probably lying around in a drawer somewhere – but anyhow, she was unable to stay dead: Anubis sent her back from the Afterlife, tasking her with the duty of helping others, and saving other people’s lives. She was reborn, as an angel. For a few months, I actually wrote her story as a serial via Livejournal (also now largely defunct, as the users all migrated to Facebook) and have archived it on my Fictionpress site, if you want to read it (it’s poorly edited, sorry). Naturally, I never quite got around to finishing it. I was too fickle in my writing, and I don’t think I finished a single story between 2000-2008 (when I wrote, finished, edited and, eventually, published, Midsummer Knight’s Quest). Despite not being finished, it did spawn a sequel, Scavengers of the Deadlands (also unfinished) which you can read the first ten-or-so chapters of here.
One day I shall finish them … one day!
Although I did move away from the Furry forums around 2005 (and shortly after, Yerf closed, the two events are entirely unrelated), I still drew the occasional bit of Furry Art, and the characters still remained alive, begging their tails to be told. Fellowship of the Ringtails is technically furry, although the characters are actually little changed from their earth counterparts in appearance, and mainly anthropomorphic in behaviour. I was also accepted into the Furry Writers Guild, much to my surprise and delight! And, with any luck, will see some of my short stories published in future anthologies. This may encourage me to reincarnate my Furry characters, dust off the manuscripts and get them published!
I have also written Poke-morph Fanfiction, and you can read that story here: Pookamon: Quest for Freedom AND it actually IS finished!
Pokemon Go hit the “store” a couple of days ago, and it has been taken up, with great enthusiasm, by many of my (equally “grown up”) peers. Even my husband, who never watched the show and never shared my enthusiasm, has taken up the ranks of Pokemon Trainer. I’ve even purchased a data plan on my phone (there’s only so many Pokemon you can lure to your house using incense, after all). We’ve a gym at our corner, two Pokestops within easy walking distance and a shopping mall filled with rattata, zubat and pidgey at our disposal.
Anyway, in line with this recent resurgence of the little pocket monsters, I thought it might be fun to dig out some of my illustrations from my “draw ’em all” phase in 2008 (I didn’t draw them all, but did get through an awful lot) and one from 2011. You can probably spot the latter one!
Missing that I captured today are Slowpoke, Koffing, Weedle and Zubat, whom I appear not to have drawn. Maybe I should remedy that!
Here is also a clear example of how art improves with practice! Who thinks I should draw all my Pokemon again? Comment below (suggestions welcome)!
(Note: The sheep is a fan-pokemon, I think his name was Lambert. He was drawn for a trade. I should draw Pidgey again, shouldn’t I?)
Now, off to charge my phone, so I can catch some more!