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I put music on while I was drawing that, and it fit the feel so well I felt I needed to link it here in the form of a YouTube video. Afro Celt Sound System, "When I Still Needed You". This song is a journey, and over its eight minute length becomes exactly the kind of bio/techno blending her setting needs.

youtube.com/watch?v=oC_cKVDM_z

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An approximate version of the four-armed pirate from last night's dream. As usual, trying to render dark colors (like her skin) in pencil comes out looking nowhere near as dark as it should. The world she's from is possibly a renovated version of the old Xanadu Station setting, playing up the science-fantasy elements. It's oddly more realistic than typical space-travel sci-fi, because there's no FTL travel and no alien life. The existing Solar System is plenty big enough to have adventures in, and you don't need aliens when humanity has had a few centuries to mess around with extreme custom genetics. A lot can happen in that time. This is the world Neena is from, too.

The 4/5/1 thing in the corner is a shard of a larger idea I'll talk more about later.

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Simka Choi, a young woman with the body of a multi-legged red panda. Although she usually appears to have six, she actually has nearly two hundred; the rest are tucked away into a pocket dimension that she can freely shift parts of herself into and out of. It was a bit of an ordeal for her to get that working in the first place, and even now it still malfunctions sometimes, causing her to suddenly get longer or shorter at random. She's learned to just roll with the changes, though.

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The design firm of Icon Tactic is based in an office in downtown Elseways. They contract their skills out for the usual posters and advertisements, but also enjoy unusual requests, like decks of custom cards or distinctive trophies. These two are the co-owners and lead artists - Durin, on the left, likes bold geometric patterns and striking color contrast, while Yulya on the right tends to be more freeform and organic in shape and likes colors that evoke nature.

The pattern behind these demons is that each has an association with a zodiac sign, an emotion, and a (very loosely defined) element. They're a cast of villains I've had around for some years now, but I figured out a way to make the pattern even stronger. Zavijava used to be associated with shame, but that's someone else's now. Joy is such a better theme for her. It'll take a few more before the new pattern shows up, though. It's in the way the emotions and zodiac signs relate.

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Zavijava is more of a threat than Sheratan. That's not her actual face in the middle there - she is, in fact, the entire plant. She uses the little fruit-heads in combination with her vines and leaves to emote and pose, but any part of her you cut off will quickly grow back, especially if Zavijava's been busy accumulating emotional power - she's a demon of joy, which is a dangerous alignment for a plant. Especially one who can grow addictive fruit, and who is only all too willing to let people sample them. Even the fruit are happy! Look, they're smiling! And they're delicious! Also highly intoxicating in ways that leave people more and more dependent on them to survive, but she doesn't care. All she wants is to make you happy.

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The Kalivalkans are one of two nations that inhabit Delyria's far north, living on the tundras and ice floes. It's a harsh place with very little in the way of natural resources, but the Kalivalkans have a secret - they have mastered magic that brings them grain, salt, and other resources. Where they come from is a carefully guarded secret. Guarded by guys like this, in fact.
The name is a blend of "Kalevala" and "qupqugiak", names from two similarly far-Northern cultures, and they're built like multi-legged polar bears, with anywhere from 2 to 4 pairs of legs. They're warm and welcoming to strangers as long as you don't ask too many questions.

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Felt like drawing Iris again, so here she is casting some kind of swirly spell. Even though she likes working with fire the most - it's flashy and appeals to her need for attention - it's not like she's locked into any particular element. The maginaria will respond to the right gestures and the right offerings of chroma no matter who's casting it (even if they learn to recognize casters' styles over time - this is how you get specialized mages).

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Sheratan, Herald of Disaster, is a ramlike demon associated with both lightning (so, yes, another electric sheep-taur) and the emotion of anger. The angrier either he or the people around him get, the more powerful lightning he can throw from the end of his guitar.
Sadly, even given all that, Sheratan is pretty low-ranking among demons. He talks and bleats big, but he's fated to be the target of some novice demon-hunter's training mission. He'll be back, bigger and angrier, eventually. Once he tends to his wounds. But for all his thunder and bluster, Sheratan is just never going to be as threatening as he thinks he is.

Ever since I heard it for the first time, this has been Patch's unofficial theme song:
virt.bandcamp.com/track/starin

There's a specific scene in Patch's story this fits perfectly, too, even with lyrics. That lead synthesizer is basically what Patch's singing voice would sound like, especially once the main melody kicks in at 0:50. For the more complicated synth-solo bits, just imagine attaching a neck to that rectangular DataFrame to play it like a keytar.

I'll share the last verse with you here:

<i>I'm not
Unaware of my flaws,
But I'm not
Holding out for applause
Just because
This is the best we are, so let me call your bluff
I think this is good enough
</i>

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Still working out how to express emotions here. The mood here is "having admin rights to reality sucks when you're the only ones who can fix it".

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Some sketchy practice with poses and expressions, featuring Patch, Iris, and Frigid (who I've redesigned slightly but is still recognizably her usual skinny frosted self).

Bitkin history and worldbuilding (cw: long) 

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Another sketch of Patch, showing off the interface Bitkin can use to customize their outfits. They're all in control of their own appearances, from small details like clothing to their own shapes and voices. Each System tends to have a theme, and Bitkin always tend to gravitate toward "small cartoonish animal", but there's no need for them to stick with a standard humanoid shape. For that matter, their apparent genders are up to them, too. Patch stays neutral, while some of the others have gravitated toward masculine or feminine just because it feels right for them.

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Bonus sketch. Patch attempting to be a blacksmith, carrying a hot lump of metal through the Crimson Cavern. Patch has no idea where to go with it, but one of the very few things that -will- get Flicker out of bed and moving as fast as his four legs can carry him is someone getting close to the fuel supply lines with a heat source.

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Patch in various poses and settings - a poncho and gloves while exploring the vast and desolate Desert Speedway territory, and then a snazzy shirt with jacket and pants, goggles down, ready to chill out with Blitz in Cosmic Circuit.

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Some software is "free as in speech". Some software is "free as in beer". Patch wants to be a third kind of free: free as in "free to leave". Free to explore places beyond the small System, free to poke around and find new things to experiment with and maybe even fix stuff that doesn't know it's broken yet.

(Dropbox link: dropbox.com/s/622hb00nj7zb2yp/)

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A few more Carmina poses, showing off her needle-sword-wand thing, now with a little added hilt jewel thingie. I feel like I want to push her poses more - make her more expressive and emotive - but every time I do it just looks like I'm being sloppy. I have no idea how cartoonists do it, and I'm probably not cut out to be an animator either. I don't want to deliberately draw things that look wrong, even when they're more "correct", and I have never seen guides for this. How do I go about drawing things "wrong" well?

(Dropbox link for now because I'm having trouble uploading images: dropbox.com/s/ho3shejbeuhphfx/)

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This is a Riddle Dragon, fond of coming up with puzzling questions and challenging anyone they can find with them. They hoard the good ones - after all, you can really only ever keep asking a riddle until the answer becomes common knowledge, so the hard part is finding the really good ones and then knowing the right time to spring them on someone.

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Neena enjoys experimenting on her own body, and sometimes the results are good enough that she keeps them around for a while. The extra arms suit her well, and I might leave her this way for a while, but of course she's got a tendency to get bored and want to try new things out, so we'll see how long it lasts.

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Dragon Style

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