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Kawauso Illustration :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 20 3 Hunting Shadow Illustration :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 17 2 Kodama Illustration :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 21 3 Pokemon Team Group Photo Commission :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 40 11 Craps Table Model :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 8 3 Mirabel Illustration Commission :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 18 3 Mirabel Model Sheet Commission :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 22 2 Commission for nazuu-m0nster :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 11 12 Sunny Forest Path :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 71 12 Highway to the Moon Canyon Background :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 5 2 The Mayor of Dungeon Town :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 13 6 Death City Halloween :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 20 3 Commission For Spowzer :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 69 31 Sage Hauthen Basic Model Sheet :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 39 21 Lord Donovan's Influence Map :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 16 11 Specimen Jars 2 :iconlorddonovan:LordDonovan 10 22
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First things first- hello all, and yes, I'm still alive. I've merely been quiet again lately, which is quite the unprecedented turn of events, I know. Normally I'm so consistently a social butterfly!

Sarcasm aside though, let's get to business: I'm looking for advice regarding the purchase of a replacement for my ancient trusty Intuos 2, the first graphical tablet I ever owned. It gave me many years of excellent, if somewhat small, purple and grey service, but those days are gone. And perhaps most tragically, not because it broke, but because of a lack of driver updates to match the progress of everything else. Windows changed how it accepted graphical tablet input as of Windows 8, but Wacom never updated the Intuos 2 drivers to fit the new system. Thus, while my good ol' tablet worked on my old computer under Windows 7, and even when that same system was upgraded to Windows 10, functioning under a fresh new installation of Windows 10 is not to be, due to no longer having the Windows 7 legacy interface to fall back on. I found that out the hard way when much to my surprise, my new PC refused to acknowledge my poor old Intuos 2 in any way. So I must say goodbye now to my old Intuos 2, which is almost certainly my single most used piece of electronics ever. So many other devices have come and gone in far less time, but my Intuos 2 worked flawlessly all along. So great was its dedication that in the end, only a lack of driver support could silence it, which is truly an unjust end for such a stalwart device. Cut low by the idleness of another as the final reward for never abandoning its duty, can anyone deny that this is a world where justice is but an idle fantasy of those who would, and can do no more than, dream of better?

Melodramatic calls for drawing a nihilistic world view from the overwrought eulogy of one PC accessory aside though, there is a point here. I can't use my old Intuos 2 on my new computer, and I'm thinking of trying a non-Wacom-branded competitor. Not because I have any problem with the quality of Wacom products, but because dang, just getting the modern equivalent of my Intuos 2's capabilities is more than I want to spend as things currently stand. I was really hoping everything my old pad did would be their current cheapest option, but nope. Apparently this is one technology that somehow isn't coming down in price ever. ...Unless you look at competitor's tablets, in which case they offer a drastically better price for what is claimed to be equal to or even better than my old Intuos 2. And if the claims are true, getting a pad that delivers everything I already had plus a bigger functional drawing space for significantly less money than a contemporary Wacom replacement would be very nice indeed. Problem there, though, is that questionable choices are easy to find but a clear winner is not. Seems like the reviews are kinda all over the place on everything aside from Wacom options, which remain the clear choice, unless their relatively hefty price tag is an issue. And suffice it to say, it is. So at this point, instead of reading more reviews and just picking something with my fingers crossed, I figure it couldn't hurt to ask if anybody out there reading this has had any good experiences with a cheaper Wacom competitor. A recommendation from another artist would really help make me to make a choice, or at least narrow down the options. There's gotta be something out there among those off-brand competitors that's got the quality but not the name, seems like it's that way for most every product. The trick is just figuring out which is which, and only experience can verify that. So please, share with me your experience with other graphical tablets, it'd be very much appreciated. I've gotta get a replacement here, I've already done one small project without a functional tablet for my main monitor, and that turned out to be even more of a pain than I expected. And with how pessimistic I am, that's saying something. I wish I could just shrug off the cost of a new Wacom and be done with it, but finding a good cheap alternative is the more likely near-term solution. And the best solution all around if one of those cheap alternatives is just as good as a Wacom.
Like pretty much everybody who doesn't have a Core subscription, I've been seeing the "we know you aren't here for the ads" message lately. Because like pretty much everybody who doesn't have a Core subscription, (or just most everybody in general,) I use an ad blocker. And sure, I get it - DeviantArt is a business, they have servers to run and people to pay, and ads generate some revenue out of us non-Core peasants. When people like me do our dA business with ad blockers, we're parasites on the system, taking bandwidth but giving nothing. So turning off the ad blocker seems like the decent thing to do, but that's where things get complicated.

See, it's kind of a funny story why I started using an ad blocker in the first place: I got poison ads in my dA browsing, and only my dA browsing. I was just browsing along as usual and suddenly my familiar ugly dA drab green page goes to a big scary warning screen from Chrome saying bad things are happening on that tab and it stopped them. After the third time it happened in about a week, having made sure my system itself wasn't compromised and confident it must be bad ads in dA's rotation, I decided to install an ad blocker and the problem was definitely solved from then on. As such, the recent orange requests (and seriously, I still hate that new Core orange color by the way,) to turn my ad blocker off were a bit of a moral dilemma. On one hand I understand the need for ads, on the other dA has a known history of giving me bad ads. Ultimately, considering those original bad ads happened years ago, it was with some trepidation that I decided to turn my ad blocker off. Everybody deserves a second chance, right?

After that setup, you've probably guessed where this story's going. I had my ad blocker off for about three weeks before dA itself reminded me why I started using blockers in the first place. I wasn't even on dA's tab when suddenly its tab came into focus on its own, now on some page with a pop-up message box claiming my computer had been scanned and found to have all sorts of malware. Malware I had to call them to fix, or they'd cut me off from some unspecified network somehow. And once I actually got that message to close, dA's previous tab itself was on some totally separate page trying to pass as an authentic Microsoft support site, but a totally wrong address. And it started playing an automated voice reading exactly what the initial pop-up said, because yeah, cheaply voiced error messages are definitely what you expect from the real Windows support page experience, right? Obviously it was a phishing site, and obviously the redirect originated in dA's tab, since that's the one inactive tab the browser suddenly jumped to. My first step was to turn my ad blocker back on and continue as normal for about two hours, since on the off chance the problem was coming from inside my computer, turning dA ads off shouldn't make a difference. The problem didn't happen again, but just to be safe, the next thing I did was scan my computer with three additional security apps beyond what I already use to be sure my system wasn't compromised, and the worst I found was a few cookies. As such, confident that once again the problem was entirely the result of a bad ad from dA, I left the ad blocker on, and now I've gone nearly a week without further incident. I'd say the evidence is pretty conclusive at this point.

Thus, until DeviantArt can give me some definitive and meaningful assurances that it's finally made sure no more malevolent ads will be served, I'm keeping my ad blocker on, and I'd recommend the same to anyone else. Not because seeing ads is such a problem, not because I don't care about fairness and the reality of running a business, but for essential online safety. With bad ads still sneaking into the rotation, and ad spaces auto-refreshing regardless of user activity no less, getting served ads here is a risk I'm not comfortable with. Otherwise, at any time my dA tab can be hijacked by who-knows-what, and nobody should be expected to tolerate that. Such practices make returning to parasite mode not merely justifiable, but the prudent choice.

...Well, semi-parasite mode. I'm not one of those accounts that posts nothing, and some of the people viewing my stuff probably don't have ad blockers, so that's some revenue they're getting from me regardless. And speaking of getting revenue, I'd be a lot more likely to go Premium/Core again and avoid ads that way if they hadn't jacked up the price along with the name change, at the new prices it just doesn't seem worth it. Though as a matter of principle, avoiding malware by cutting out the ads shouldn't really be a selling point in the first place. Also, if money is so tight they gotta price gouge subscriptions right out of the market, maybe dA could try saving some money by putting reasonable restrictions on those pages with about a million animated gifs up front that take forever to load. Those gotta be guzzling some server resources while mostly just being annoying.
Kawauso Illustration
This is my third illustration for the upcoming tabletop game Mysteries of the Yokai.

In a return to the cuter side of creature design, the subject this time is the legendary kawauso. Well, not entirely legendary actually, as magical stand-outs aside, kawauso are an entirely mundane species of otter native to Japan. Or at least they were... Sadly, kawauso are now considered extinct, having fallen victim to over-hunting and modern habitat destruction. In that case, they are sort of legendary now, though not in the good way.

However, the magical yokai version of the kawauso is definitely legendary, in the sense that they're from fantastical old stories with little to no evidence to back them up. (Though it sure would be cool if they were real.) As seems to be the case for basically every kind of animal in old Japanese folklore, it was believed that if a kawauso lived long enough, it would transcend its normal animal limitations and develop human intelligence, human speech, and magical powers - basically becoming some kind of magical animal spirit-person-thing.

It's a fun idea that animals basically "evolve" into magical humanoids once they level up enough by living long enough, but there's one particular detail that I have to question: What stops the animals from simply dying of old age before they hit the magical upgrade point? Like, if animals were basically ageless and went forever as long as they weren't killed by something else or succumbed to illness, starvation, etc, then it'd make total sense. But like anybody else who's had pets all their life knows far too well, it doesn't work that way at all. Even if nothing else goes wrong, age alone takes its toll, and those Japanese magical animal legends require the animal lives to its theoretical extreme or maybe much longer. So do animals have to be special in the first place to break the normal age barrier to graduate to the potential of going full yokai eventually? If legends explain that one, I haven't seen it. And besides, I think I read somewhere that house cats have to hit 20 years of age to split their tales and start becoming magic, but I had a cat who got that old and she sadly did not become a magic talking cat. So does it not count for pets since they had human help living that long? For that matter, it seems like your magic nine-tailed foxes and whatnot never seem old and decrepit once they graduate to yokai status, but they had to hit the age where they'd be super old regular animals before getting there. So does the upgrade to magic mode reverse the animal's physical age? To go back to the example of my old cat, it wouldn't have been fun for her to be stuck in the sorry state she was in, had she in fact managed to become a magic two-tailed cat. So I have to assume that the yokai upgrade either makes animals young again, or the animals with the potential to become yokai have greatly increased lifespans from the get-go. I hope it's the first option, because it's more fun to think that ANY animal can become magic and intelligent and all that if they live long enough, as opposed to only a tiny minority being born with that potential at all.

But enough about me overthinking ancient legends, there's art to over-discuss! If you've been paying attention and noticed that this is the third illustration that's been pretty dark, you're not the only one. With the first kodama illustration, I just added the dark foreground for the sake of an attention-grabbing high-contrast color scheme, without thought to what might be next. Then for the Hunting Shadow, the concept of a monster that hunts at night and avoids light pretty much required a very dark scene. So I started this one with the intent of making a very much not dark scene to change things up, but in the end a dark scene was the only good, mythology-accurate choice. As previously noted, I wanted to avoid generic model pose style illustrations in favor of setting an overall scene and context for the character subject in addition to simply suggesting what it looks like. Since kawauso are from actual legend, I wanted to use a scene from their actual legends for maximum authenticity. So that meant picking the best option from their legends, and this was it. Otherwise, the options just weren't good choices for one reason or another.

For example, they were known to magically disguise themselves as humans in order to go into towns and buy alcohol, because like basically all yokai, they like to get drunk. (But for some reason can't make booze of their own, I've never been clear on why magical beings find it so hard to do that.) But that wouldn't be a good illustration since the point is to show them in their standard otter form, not disguised as some generic human. Plus, the context would require them being in a store with all the detail that requires, designing and drawing additional characters, and so on. That'd be a lot of work AND be a lot of detail getting in the way of showing the kawauso itself, which is the main point. These are supposed to be quarter-page illustrations, so try to cram in too much and it just won't read well. Another trick they liked was calling traveler's names from the water to either simply mess with people or trick them into walking into the water, possibly to drown them. Once again, that was a lot of elements to make the scene make sense at all, and the whole "drowning people" thing went against the friendly, harmless trickster angle the producers wanted to focus on. Beyond that, in yet another example of stuff lots of yokai apparently have in common, there was the ol' "seduce humans into having sex with them" trick. I don't think I need to explain why that wasn't an illustration option, this isn't THAT kind of game. So that just left their most harmless and simple-to-illustrate interest: For some reason they really like to magically extinguish lanterns in order to mess with people. Finally, an idea that didn't require a lot of extraneous detail to establish the context, other characters, sex, or murder. The only drawback was that it only makes sense for lanterns to be lit when it's getting dark, so... Yet again, another dark illustration. So yes, while I like dark scenery, that's not why I keep making these illustrations dark. I really hope they end up printing right, I know I'm playing with fire by making these really dark illustrations explicitly intended to be printed on physical media.

To wrap up a few last points: First, the blue flower print kimono wasn't my design choice, but specified by the person who sponsored the inclusion of the kawauso. For that matter, her hair and hair accessories were also specified, though I did change the hairstyle itself. Otherwise, the design was all my work, and the original outfit didn't include that middle belt... wrap... thing. (Not sure what they're called.) I added it to make the kimono fit tighter and better communicate the long otter body proportions, without it she was kinda shapeless. Second, as usual, my digital coloring still isn't good enough. There is something the bestest best of the best do differently that I am just not getting, and it frustrates me. I mean, I'm not saying this is bad, but compared to the superior work of my digital coloring idols, it could be so much better.
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First things first- hello all, and yes, I'm still alive. I've merely been quiet again lately, which is quite the unprecedented turn of events, I know. Normally I'm so consistently a social butterfly!

Sarcasm aside though, let's get to business: I'm looking for advice regarding the purchase of a replacement for my ancient trusty Intuos 2, the first graphical tablet I ever owned. It gave me many years of excellent, if somewhat small, purple and grey service, but those days are gone. And perhaps most tragically, not because it broke, but because of a lack of driver updates to match the progress of everything else. Windows changed how it accepted graphical tablet input as of Windows 8, but Wacom never updated the Intuos 2 drivers to fit the new system. Thus, while my good ol' tablet worked on my old computer under Windows 7, and even when that same system was upgraded to Windows 10, functioning under a fresh new installation of Windows 10 is not to be, due to no longer having the Windows 7 legacy interface to fall back on. I found that out the hard way when much to my surprise, my new PC refused to acknowledge my poor old Intuos 2 in any way. So I must say goodbye now to my old Intuos 2, which is almost certainly my single most used piece of electronics ever. So many other devices have come and gone in far less time, but my Intuos 2 worked flawlessly all along. So great was its dedication that in the end, only a lack of driver support could silence it, which is truly an unjust end for such a stalwart device. Cut low by the idleness of another as the final reward for never abandoning its duty, can anyone deny that this is a world where justice is but an idle fantasy of those who would, and can do no more than, dream of better?

Melodramatic calls for drawing a nihilistic world view from the overwrought eulogy of one PC accessory aside though, there is a point here. I can't use my old Intuos 2 on my new computer, and I'm thinking of trying a non-Wacom-branded competitor. Not because I have any problem with the quality of Wacom products, but because dang, just getting the modern equivalent of my Intuos 2's capabilities is more than I want to spend as things currently stand. I was really hoping everything my old pad did would be their current cheapest option, but nope. Apparently this is one technology that somehow isn't coming down in price ever. ...Unless you look at competitor's tablets, in which case they offer a drastically better price for what is claimed to be equal to or even better than my old Intuos 2. And if the claims are true, getting a pad that delivers everything I already had plus a bigger functional drawing space for significantly less money than a contemporary Wacom replacement would be very nice indeed. Problem there, though, is that questionable choices are easy to find but a clear winner is not. Seems like the reviews are kinda all over the place on everything aside from Wacom options, which remain the clear choice, unless their relatively hefty price tag is an issue. And suffice it to say, it is. So at this point, instead of reading more reviews and just picking something with my fingers crossed, I figure it couldn't hurt to ask if anybody out there reading this has had any good experiences with a cheaper Wacom competitor. A recommendation from another artist would really help make me to make a choice, or at least narrow down the options. There's gotta be something out there among those off-brand competitors that's got the quality but not the name, seems like it's that way for most every product. The trick is just figuring out which is which, and only experience can verify that. So please, share with me your experience with other graphical tablets, it'd be very much appreciated. I've gotta get a replacement here, I've already done one small project without a functional tablet for my main monitor, and that turned out to be even more of a pain than I expected. And with how pessimistic I am, that's saying something. I wish I could just shrug off the cost of a new Wacom and be done with it, but finding a good cheap alternative is the more likely near-term solution. And the best solution all around if one of those cheap alternatives is just as good as a Wacom.

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LordDonovan
Not actually Donovan
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States
Single commissions, contract work, full-time employment, whatever- If you think I'm the man for job, let's talk.

volcott at gmail dot com
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:iconthe-kid36:
the-kid36 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2017  Hobbyist
Happy Belated Birthday
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:iconinuto500:
inuto500 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2017
happy birthday
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:icononjikun:
onjikun Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:cake: Happy Birthday! :cake: :D
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:iconqueenspazdracka:
QueenSpazDracka Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday hope you are doing well. :D
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:iconastral-requin:
Astral-Requin Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2016  Student Digital Artist
wow!

Your artwork this wonderfull and magical! 8D
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:iconkrystlekmy:
krystlekmy Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2016  Hobbyist Filmographer
Thankies so much for the :iconllama-plz: :heart:
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:iconladydeliz:
LadyDeliz Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was spamming llamas when I noticed our usernames are weirdly similar... are we both nobility or what?
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:iconmrjugsy:
MrJugsy Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2016
Thx for the Llama :)
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RobotCatArt Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
50 Watcher Milestone! Chibi Neko Noire 2P Thank U by RobotCatArt
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:iconlexissketches:
LexisSketches Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2016
:wave: Hello there! :la:
Just stopping by to say hello! 
I hope you have a nice day:)
PS! I found you via the random deviant button!
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