DarcSowers.Com

I'm an avid collector of art books and Disney Animator Dolls. I draw a comic which I distribute for free online. I am also a trained researcher and librarian with her MLS from The University of Iowa.

Here you'll find work in progress, sketchbook practice, humorous items, personal thoughts, and resource links... as well as the occasional post sharing items from my art book collection. Just think of this as a backstage pass into my studio.

Sometimes I gripe and say not-nice things. If that makes you uncomfortable sugar-booger, then this isn't the place for you.
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theodd1sout:

This will help you write good.

(via samuraiinpurple)

The Moraine part of the next cover is sketched. The remainder will be worked up in a bit. Don’t fret or get upset about the lack of clothing. It’ll all work out, so let’s be grownups about things, okay? Good.

virtualclutter:

Hair washing and care in the the 19th century

Hair washing is something that almost every historical writer, romance or not, gets wrong. How many times have you read a story in which a heroine sinks gratefully into a sudsy tub of water and scrubs her hair–or, even worse, piles it up on her head to wash it? Or have you watched the BBC’s Manor House and other “historical reenactment” series, in which modern people invariably destroy their hair by washing using historical recipes?

Historical women kept their hair clean, but that doesn’t mean their hair was often directly washed. Those who had incredibly difficult to manage hair might employ a hairdresser to help them wash, cut, and singe (yes, singe!) their hair as often as once a month, but for most women, hair-washing was, at most, a seasonal activity.

“Why?” you might ask. “Wasn’t their hair lank, smelly, and nasty?”

And the writers who embrace ignorance as a badge of honor will say, “Well, that just goes to show that people used to be gross and dirty, and that’s why I never bother with that historical accuracy stuff!”

And then I have to restrain myself from hitting them…

The reason that hair was rarely washed has to do with the nature of soaps versus modern shampoos. Soaps are made from a lye base and are alkaline. Hair and shampoo are acidic. Washing hair in soap makes it very dry, brittle, and tangly. Men’s hair was short enough and cut often enough that using soap didn’t harm it too much and the natural oils from the scalp could re-moisturize it fairly easily after even the harshest treatment, but in an age when the average woman’s hair was down to her waist, soap could literally destroy a woman’s head of hair in fairly short order.

Instead, indirect methods of hair-cleaning were used. Women washed their hair brushes daily, and the proverbial “100 strokes” were used to spread conditioning oils from roots to tips and to remove older or excess oil and dirt. This was more time-consuming than modern washing, and this is one of the reasons that “good hair” was a class marker. The fact that only women of the upper classes could afford all the various rats, rolls, and other fake additions to bulk out their real hair was another. (An average Victorian woman of the upper middle or upper class had more apparent “hair” in her hairstyle than women I know whose unbound hair falls well below their knees.) Women rarely wore their hair lose unless it was in the process of being put up or taken down–or unless they were having a picture specifically taken of it! At night, most women braided their hair for bed. Now that my hair is well below my waist, I understand why!

The first modern shampoo was introduced in the late 1920s. Shampoos clean hair quickly and also remove modern styling products, like hairspray and gel, but the frequent hair-washing that has become common leaves longer hair brittle even with the best modern formulations. (From the 1940s to the 1960s, many if not most middle-class women had their hair washed only once a week, at their hairdresser’s, where it was restyled for the next week. The professional hairdresser stepped into the void that the maid left when domestic service became rare. Washing one’s hair daily or every other day is a very recent development.) That’s where conditioners came into play. Many people have wondered how on earth women could have nice hair by modern standards before conditioners, but conditioners are made necessary by shampoos. Well-maintained hair of the 19th century didn’t need conditioners because the oils weren’t regularly stripped from it.

Additionally, the oils made hair much more manageable than most people’s is today, which made it possible for women to obtain elaborate hairstyles using combs and pins–without modern clips or sprays–to keep their hair in place. This is why hair dressers still like to work with “day-old” hair when making elaborate hairstyles.

There were hair products like oils for women to add shine and powders meant to help brush dirt out of hair, but they weren’t in very wide use at the time. Hair “tonics”–mean to be put on the hair or taken orally to make hair shinier, thicker, or stronger–were ineffective but were readily available and widely marketed.

If you have a heroine go through something particularly nasty–such as a fall into a pond or the like–then she should wash her hair, by all means. This would be done in a tub prepared for the purpose–not in the bath–and would involve dissolving soap shavings into a water and combine them with whatever other products were desired. Then a maid would wash the woman’s hair as she leaned either forward or backward to thoroughly wet and wash her hair. Rinsing would be another stage. The hair would NEVER be piled on the head. If you have greater than waist-length hair and have ever tried to wash it in a modern-sized bathtub, you understand why no one attempted to wash her hair in a hip bath or an old, short claw foot tub! It would be almost impossible.

A quick rundown of other hair facts:

Hydrogen peroxide was used to bleach hair from 1867. Before that, trying to bleach it with soda ash and sunlight was the most a girl could do. Henna was extremely popular from the 1870s through the 1890s, especially for covering gray hair, to such an extent that gray hair became almost unseen in certain circles in England in this time. Red hair was considered ugly up until the 1860s, when the public embracing of the feminine images as presented by the aesthetic movement (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) gained ground, culminating in a positive rage for red hair in the 1870s to 1880s. Some truly scary metallic salt compounds were used to color hair with henna formulations by the late 19th century, often with unfortunate results.

Hair curling was popular in the 19th century and could either by achieved with rag rolls or hot tongs. Loose “sausage” rolls were the result of rag rolling. Hot tongs were used for making the “frizzled” bangs of the 1870s to 1880s–and “frizzled” they certainly were. The damage caused by the poor control of heating a curler over a gas jet or candle flame was substantial, and most women suffered burnt hair at one time or another. For this reason, a number of women chose to eschew the popular style and preserve their hair from such dangers! Permanents were first in use in the 1930s.  

(From: http://www.lydiajoyce.com/blog/?p=1022)

(via artist-refs)

I’ve been debating whether I should share the books/media I’ve been using as research and references on here.

Personally I enjoy browsing the bibliography lists of non-fiction I’m reading. I usually find something new to read. Still, I’m not sure if there would be any interest in that.

I don’t want to go into great detail about each book, just a quick bit of info and what I found useful about it - if anything. Some have been duds. Most of the current reading over the last few months has been in preparation for the upcoming side series. Books devoted to improving fiction writing have started popping up recently as well.

I used to feel comfortable talking about my process and what I’m doing behind the scenes. Lately I just feel uncertain. I’m not sure why or what changed. It just seems to have sort of… happened.

Pendragon? As in Arthur pendragon? Friend of dragons and Merlin and weilder of Excalibur? And most interesting is that the winter queen is "helping" Roderick?
darcsowers darcsowers Said:

Yep, that’s the one! As for helping Roderick… we’ll have to see. The Winter Court tends to be pretty direct with their actions. Sometimes their help is more aggressive than people appreciate.

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (via observando)

(via fuckyeahprettybooks)

Today in 'Code Name: Hunter'

It seems Winter has a long-term guest. Oh my. The conclusion of “Fairy Tale” will happen with Issue 19.

If you’d like to download a copy of this issue, the complete cbz is now available. Please feel free to share the file and help introduce others to CN:H. I don’t have much funds for advertising, so telling others is a big help! Thank you and see you Monday!

Here’s the complete listing of all the CBZ issues and interludes of 'Code Name: Hunter' that are currently available for download. Perfect for re-reading the archive or for those new to the series who want to catch up.

Downloads are free - no payment or donation required. This list will be updated as new issues become available.



—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-

NEW ISSUE!Issue 18: Fairy Tale (part III) - [Download Issue] 
While waiting for the recon team to return, Max listens to a story told by the changeling, Gillian. But is Gillian’s story really just a fairy tale, or something more? Part III.

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-



PROLOGUE - THE BREAKING OF THE SEAL
In which a war occurs, magic returns, and a group of nutters form an agency.

Prologue 1: Seal - [Download Issue] 
Seeking to strengthen his hold on Britain after he’s taken the throne, William the Conqueror has ordered magic be sealed away. Hundreds of years later, the seal is broken during the Blitz. 

Prologue 2: Agents - [Download Issue] 
We continue the adventure of Jacob Roderick, the MI5 agent assigned to investigate the strange, mystical occurrences in London. We find that he’s not alone in his search, having acquired a rather interesting traveling companion.

Prologue 3: RCSI - [Download Issue] 
Having proved his sanity to his superiors, Roderick is now facing a different problem… the agency budget crunch. Can he face a royal sponsor, an evil specter and still keep his job? 

Prologue 4: Tales From RCSI - [Download Issue] 
Two short stories… “The Streak” - Ruby engages in some extracurricular activity. “First Encounter” - A young Max has a run in with a fey and gains a new job.



A POLITICAL SPELL
In which Max takes a stab at diplomacy and Ruby complains about fashion.

Issue 1: Going Abroad - [Download Issue] 
Max and Ruby are not the best at diplomatic relations. But, when a deal with the neighboring nation of Astoria seems to be souring, a little muscle is needed. Can the two agents survive the journey?

Issue 2: Hidden Agendas - [Download Issue] 
The guardians have arrived, but their welcome is less than warm. Lord Cedric’s dislike of Britain is well known in the Astorian court. But, is it strong enough to make him attempt murder? 

Issue 3: Missing Agents - [Download Issue] 
As the ball approaches, tensions between RCSI and Astoria increase, as do Max’s troubles. Before Max can handle the ball, he must first deal with a ransom demand. But, is the agent in question really worth getting back?

Issue 4: Red Tape - [Download Issue] 
Politics are never easy, as Max and Ruby are about to find out. A dark secret in the agency’s past leads the couple to wonder just how far RCSI will go to get what it wants. Meanwhile, someone else is making deadly plans of their own.

Issue 5: Accidentally on Purpose - [Download Issue] 
With the ball over, Max and Ruby are left wondering if the events of last night were an accident or planned. Unfortunately, that’s the least of their troubles. Lord Cedric’s secret is out, and he’s looking for retaliation.

Issue 6: A Political Spell - [Download Issue] 
It’s the last day of their stay in Astoria, and Max and Ruby are anxious to return home. All that remains is to pick up Gadel and head for the shore. Simple, right? Not if the Dark Mage has anything to say about it. Guest cover by Rusty Haller.



INTERLUDE

Interlude: Mail Bag! - [Download Issue] 
Join us as the cast of ‘Hunter’ answer a few questions from you, the readers.



CATCHING UP IS HARD TO DO
In which Max has a chat and Ruby goes shopping.

Issue 7: Catching Up is Hard to Do - [Download Issue] 
Gadel finds her teaching space inadequate, Ruby is pressed into a bridesmaid’s dress, and Max is handed a ticket to Scotland. It’s just an average day in RCSI.



INTERLUDE

Interlude: Scrying I - [Download Issue] 
Gadel uses her magic to call home and discuss some of her recent experiences with Rashanna.



FAMILY MATTERS
In which Ruby calls her mother and Max meets with the folks.

Issue 8: Homecoming - [Download Issue] 
At Eric’s insistence, Max visits his parents for the first time since joining RCSI. Come meet the McConnors.

Issue 9: Family Matters - [Download Issue] 
While Max is up in Scotland, Ruby gives her mother a call, learning a bit more about her father and RCSI in the process.



INTERLUDE

Interlude: Lifts and Liaisons - [Download Issue] 
After hexing a freight elevator, Gadel meets a woman nicknamed Doodle who offers to help the young Astorian get use to the modern world - whether she wants help or not. 



TREATY NIGHT
In which Moraine lays down the law and Max dances with the fey.

Issue 10: Internal Affairs - [Download Issue] 
Four weeks have passed since their mission in Astoria, and Max and Ruby are finishing up their disciplinary rotation duties. Meanwhile, Queen Moraine is discovering that the Commander’s been hiding a secret from her for years.

Issue 11: Uneasy Alliance - [Download Issue] 
Between funneling questions about the founders, dealing with a red head during her PMT, and finding out he’s been assigned as royal baby minder, it’s shaping up to be a long, dull evening for Max. Or is it? The time to renew the treaty with the Fey Courts is here. 

Issue 12: Rules to Live By - [Download Issue] 
There are rules one should follow when it comes to the agency collars. There are also rules to follow when dealing with the fey. When a certain fey from Max’s past comes looking for him, will these rules be enough?

Issue 13: Gavin - [Download Issue] 
Gavin’s returned, and he has Max in his sights. With the Treaty Night rule of “no blood is to be shed” hanging over his head, Max’s only option is to get the young prince and himself to the ballroom as soon as possible. Can he outwit Gavin at his own game?

Issue 14: Courier - [Download Issue] 
The Treaty Night has come to a close, but all’s not well. An agent is missing. Hoping to make amends for his actions, Max volunteers for a quick job. The mission: enter the fey realm and deliver a message to an agent long thought dead. 

Issue 15: Roderick - [Download Issue] 
What’s this? Black ops agents and the missing founder of RCSI? It seems what started out as a simple courier mission has turned into something more interesting for the tired Max. 

Issue 16: Fairy Tale (part I) - [Download Issue] 
While waiting for the recon team to return, Max listens to a story told by the changeling, Gillian. But is Gillian’s story really just a fairy tale, or something more? Part I.

Interlude: A Bit of Gossip - [Download Issue] 
While Max listens to Gillian’s story, Specter, Jinx, and Rummy head to the Goblin Market to hunt for the missing Nyx.

Issue 17: Fairy Tale (part II) - [Download Issue] 
While waiting for the recon team to return, Max listens to a story told by the changeling, Gillian. But is Gillian’s story really just a fairy tale, or something more? Part II.

Interlude: Conversations - [Download Issue] 
While Max listens to Gillian’s story, Specter, Jinx, and Rummy’s search for the missing Nyx continues in the Goblin Market.

Issue 18: Fairy Tale (part III) - [Download Issue] 
While waiting for the recon team to return, Max listens to a story told by the changeling, Gillian. But is Gillian’s story really just a fairy tale, or something more? Part III.

Here’s the complete listing of all the CBZ issues and interludes of 'Code Name: Hunter' that are currently available for download. Perfect for re-reading the archive or for those new to the series who want to catch up.

Downloads are free - no payment or donation required. This list will be updated as new issues become available.

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-

NEW ISSUE!
Issue 18: Fairy Tale (part III) - [Download Issue]
While waiting for the recon team to return, Max listens to a story told by the changeling, Gillian. But is Gillian’s story really just a fairy tale, or something more? Part III.

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


PROLOGUE - THE BREAKING OF THE SEAL
In which a war occurs, magic returns, and a group of nutters form an agency.

Prologue 1: Seal - [Download Issue]
Seeking to strengthen his hold on Britain after he’s taken the throne, William the Conqueror has ordered magic be sealed away. Hundreds of years later, the seal is broken during the Blitz.

Prologue 2: Agents - [Download Issue]
We continue the adventure of Jacob Roderick, the MI5 agent assigned to investigate the strange, mystical occurrences in London. We find that he’s not alone in his search, having acquired a rather interesting traveling companion.

Prologue 3: RCSI - [Download Issue]
Having proved his sanity to his superiors, Roderick is now facing a different problem… the agency budget crunch. Can he face a royal sponsor, an evil specter and still keep his job?

Prologue 4: Tales From RCSI - [Download Issue]
Two short stories… “The Streak” - Ruby engages in some extracurricular activity. “First Encounter” - A young Max has a run in with a fey and gains a new job.


A POLITICAL SPELL
In which Max takes a stab at diplomacy and Ruby complains about fashion.

Issue 1: Going Abroad - [Download Issue]
Max and Ruby are not the best at diplomatic relations. But, when a deal with the neighboring nation of Astoria seems to be souring, a little muscle is needed. Can the two agents survive the journey?

Issue 2: Hidden Agendas - [Download Issue]
The guardians have arrived, but their welcome is less than warm. Lord Cedric’s dislike of Britain is well known in the Astorian court. But, is it strong enough to make him attempt murder?

Issue 3: Missing Agents - [Download Issue]
As the ball approaches, tensions between RCSI and Astoria increase, as do Max’s troubles. Before Max can handle the ball, he must first deal with a ransom demand. But, is the agent in question really worth getting back?

Issue 4: Red Tape - [Download Issue]
Politics are never easy, as Max and Ruby are about to find out. A dark secret in the agency’s past leads the couple to wonder just how far RCSI will go to get what it wants. Meanwhile, someone else is making deadly plans of their own.

Issue 5: Accidentally on Purpose - [Download Issue]
With the ball over, Max and Ruby are left wondering if the events of last night were an accident or planned. Unfortunately, that’s the least of their troubles. Lord Cedric’s secret is out, and he’s looking for retaliation.

Issue 6: A Political Spell - [Download Issue]
It’s the last day of their stay in Astoria, and Max and Ruby are anxious to return home. All that remains is to pick up Gadel and head for the shore. Simple, right? Not if the Dark Mage has anything to say about it. Guest cover by Rusty Haller.


INTERLUDE

Interlude: Mail Bag! - [Download Issue]
Join us as the cast of ‘Hunter’ answer a few questions from you, the readers.


CATCHING UP IS HARD TO DO
In which Max has a chat and Ruby goes shopping.

Issue 7: Catching Up is Hard to Do - [Download Issue]
Gadel finds her teaching space inadequate, Ruby is pressed into a bridesmaid’s dress, and Max is handed a ticket to Scotland. It’s just an average day in RCSI.


INTERLUDE

Interlude: Scrying I - [Download Issue]
Gadel uses her magic to call home and discuss some of her recent experiences with Rashanna.


FAMILY MATTERS
In which Ruby calls her mother and Max meets with the folks.

Issue 8: Homecoming - [Download Issue]
At Eric’s insistence, Max visits his parents for the first time since joining RCSI. Come meet the McConnors.

Issue 9: Family Matters - [Download Issue]
While Max is up in Scotland, Ruby gives her mother a call, learning a bit more about her father and RCSI in the process.


INTERLUDE

Interlude: Lifts and Liaisons - [Download Issue]
After hexing a freight elevator, Gadel meets a woman nicknamed Doodle who offers to help the young Astorian get use to the modern world - whether she wants help or not.


TREATY NIGHT
In which Moraine lays down the law and Max dances with the fey.

Issue 10: Internal Affairs - [Download Issue]
Four weeks have passed since their mission in Astoria, and Max and Ruby are finishing up their disciplinary rotation duties. Meanwhile, Queen Moraine is discovering that the Commander’s been hiding a secret from her for years.

Issue 11: Uneasy Alliance - [Download Issue]
Between funneling questions about the founders, dealing with a red head during her PMT, and finding out he’s been assigned as royal baby minder, it’s shaping up to be a long, dull evening for Max. Or is it? The time to renew the treaty with the Fey Courts is here.

Issue 12: Rules to Live By - [Download Issue]
There are rules one should follow when it comes to the agency collars. There are also rules to follow when dealing with the fey. When a certain fey from Max’s past comes looking for him, will these rules be enough?

Issue 13: Gavin - [Download Issue]
Gavin’s returned, and he has Max in his sights. With the Treaty Night rule of “no blood is to be shed” hanging over his head, Max’s only option is to get the young prince and himself to the ballroom as soon as possible. Can he outwit Gavin at his own game?

Issue 14: Courier - [Download Issue]
The Treaty Night has come to a close, but all’s not well. An agent is missing. Hoping to make amends for his actions, Max volunteers for a quick job. The mission: enter the fey realm and deliver a message to an agent long thought dead.

Issue 15: Roderick - [Download Issue]
What’s this? Black ops agents and the missing founder of RCSI? It seems what started out as a simple courier mission has turned into something more interesting for the tired Max.

Issue 16: Fairy Tale (part I) - [Download Issue]
While waiting for the recon team to return, Max listens to a story told by the changeling, Gillian. But is Gillian’s story really just a fairy tale, or something more? Part I.

Interlude: A Bit of Gossip - [Download Issue]
While Max listens to Gillian’s story, Specter, Jinx, and Rummy head to the Goblin Market to hunt for the missing Nyx.

Issue 17: Fairy Tale (part II) - [Download Issue]
While waiting for the recon team to return, Max listens to a story told by the changeling, Gillian. But is Gillian’s story really just a fairy tale, or something more? Part II.

Interlude: Conversations - [Download Issue]
While Max listens to Gillian’s story, Specter, Jinx, and Rummy’s search for the missing Nyx continues in the Goblin Market.

Issue 18: Fairy Tale (part III) - [Download Issue]
While waiting for the recon team to return, Max listens to a story told by the changeling, Gillian. But is Gillian’s story really just a fairy tale, or something more? Part III.

(via darcsowers)

30 plays
Within Temptation,
The Unforgiving

I’ve been kind of obsessed with Within Temptation lately, this song especially. I make no apologies for this.

Also, how big is the fey realm compared to Earth/mortal realm? I'm curious since Spooky managed to wonder from the neutral market to the Winter lands in the same day on foot.
darcsowers darcsowers Said:

The Fey Realm is actually quite big, most of it uncharted. The gates to the mortal world tend to be close to the Goblin Market, which itself is situated in a strip of neutral ground between the Summerlands and Winterlands.

While there are pockets of neutral ground dotted here and there, the majority of the neutral land is out beyond the two Courts in the uncharted zone. This is where most of the Wild Fey are from and they’re generally not big on map-making.

The gate into Fey that Roderick went through was likely a few miles out from the Goblin Market. The Market itself has four entrances - two which open out into neutral ground, one which points towards the Summerlands, and one to the Winterlands. When he left the Market, he ended up wandering out through the Winterlands entrance. He didn’t get too far into Winter’s domain before Puck showed up.