Middle East Construction Kit

It’s here!! Here’s my descriptive page; here’s the Amazon page for the softcover. The Kindle will be out soon— sometimes this is quick and straightforward, sometimes it’s a mess. There will also be a hardcover option.

Edit: Kindle version is here. Hardcover too– see the description page.

The cover is a little different— I corrected the centering and changed the font for “Middle East” to Sanvito— but I’m too lazy to fix the pic. I can’t add much to the description on zompist.com, so I’ll just talk about process for a bit.

I got the proof copy last week, and made a bunch of corrections, reaching the point any author will recognize: thinking that this bunch of corrections is the last. But I’m also at the point where I’ve almost memorized the text, meaning that errors are likely to escape my eye. (My wife found a bunch of typos my eyes just blooped over for months.)

The back cover of the proof had a horrible typo: the snatch of Hebrew I used as an illustration was backwards. It turns out that Photoshop Elements cannot handle Hebrew (or Arabic). I had to use a bitmap instead. I hope the Kindle doesn’t have this problem…

This book took about three years. This is longer than the India and China books. You can mostly blame Covid for that— the library was closed, for one thing. Anyway, I think it turned out pretty well! (The book, not the pandemic.) There’s a lot of fascination in these sandy empires, and it was fun to get to know Semitic and Sumerian.

What’s next? An alert reader gave me a great idea: a book devoted to creating religions. I’m also still tempted to do a follow-up to this book, starting in the 600s or so, and covering Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. But for the immediate future, I want to concentrate on my Almea+400 project.

New computer who dis?

If you sent me mail before August, and you didn’t get a reply and you still want one, please e-mail me. Especially if you’re a (potential) reader of the Middle East Construction Kit.

I got a new Mac at that time, and for some reason it imported all my mail except for things in my inbox before that date. And unfortunately I have a bad habit of leaving things in my inbox for years.

No problem, I thought: they’re still all there on the old computer. Only I checked today and they’re not. (I guess they should be on the backup drive, but I don’t know where Mail stores its data or if it’s at all readable.)

Not gonna lie, an occasional mail reset due to getting a new computer is kind of nice. But there’s at least some mail in there I wish I hadn’t lost…

If you are a MECK reader and haven’t sent me comments yet, please get in touch, as I’m getting the physical proof copy made and I have only a few weeks to make final changes.

Almea+400 and Patreon

I have a new project, Almea+400. I’ve been working on Almea for forty years, and for all that time Almea has stayed in the year 3480. No more! The new project is to tell what happened next— for the next four hundred years.


Queen Tilye, 3496

This takes us through the equivalent of the modern era, and well into science fiction territory. I already have an outline of the history, and I think some really interesting things are going to happen.  Or have happened. I am not sure what tenses are appropriate here.

You’ll also notice that I have a Patreon now. This is to support not only Almea+400 but all my writing projects. Basically, I earn a scant living as a writer, but it’s pretty darn scant, and any support would help me keep going. (The pandemic hasn’t really damaged my income so far— but my wife lost her job due to it, so that doesn’t help.) Naturally I understand that most of you won’t be able to join, and that’s OK. I do really appreciate those who already have!

If you’re curious or worried, I’m also still working on the Middle East Construction Kit. In fact, one of the next steps is to go back to the sketch of Sumerian there.



On Aging

Due to the vagaries of fate, a lot of my friends are about ten years younger than me, and many of my readers (from zompist.com or the ZBB or my books) are 20 or more years younger.

So, I thought some of you might appreciate a glimpse ahead, and hear what it’s like to be middle aged (I’m in my late 50s), from someone who’s not their parent. All this is of course extremely subjective– it may not happen to you just this way.  But I think most of this will be pretty common.

Some of this will get a little dark, but you can handle it.


Aches and pains

Ironically, I’m probably more physically fit than I’ve ever been. I’m sedentary by nature and hate exercise, but now I regularly go to the gym. One reason is because of observing frail parents (see below).

But the other is: after a certain point, 40 or 45 or 50, you lose your immortality. Even a sedentary nerd can go through their 20s more or less ignoring their body, except for food and sex. After that, you start to get unwanted pains, not obviously tied to anything you’re doing. Your back may spasm for a week.  Kneeling and getting up from the floor are no longer effortless. Going up a couple flights of stairs with groceries starts to be hard work. You may get sciatica. If you don’t exercise, you can, well, kind of feel lousy all the time.

Sciatica is, except when you have it, pretty interesting. It’s a sensor malfunction. You feel like you have a burning pain going down your leg– only it’s not something in your leg at all; it’s an inflamed nerve in your back. It’s being pressed by your spine or something, and since it’s not a normal pain, no change in position, nothing you can do to your leg, will help. The cure turns out to be exercise. You gotta get better abdominal muscles to help hold yourself up.

The good news is that you can exercise and get fit. This is true at any age, in fact– I read a book on exercise that referenced studies of people over 90. You can get muscles even then. At my age, though, it’s the difference between feeling pretty good (also known as “how you always felt physically when you were 25”) and feeling worn-out.

Eyes and reflexes

An unwelcome fact is that your eyes keep changing, and not for the better. I’m near-sighted, which for decades meant I didn’t need glasses at all for close things, and I’m usually involved with things right in front of me. A few years ago, though, I was having trouble with books and computers.

The solution for books turned out to be “hold them closer”.  But for computers, it was “get special glasses.” So now I have two different pairs of glasses; in practical terms I use one inside the house (since I’m mostly at the computer), one outside (mostly for driving). I didn’t want bifocals because I don’t want to spend my time at the computer glancing down my nose.

If you play a lot of video games, you may wonder, when do my reflexes get shot? Well, the good news is, I haven’t noticed any deterioration yet. I don’t have the reflexes of a teenage pro… but I didn’t when I was a teenager, either. Honestly I think video game skills are far more due to practice than to natural gifts. I’m not a good sniper– but I haven’t put years into sniping. I play Overwatch every night, and at my level at least, it’s more important to know the maps, know your character, be aware of your surroundings, communicate, and understand team play than to have stellar aim.

(I wish I did have better aim. On the other hand, it’s far better than it was 12 years ago when I first started playing shooters. Plus, games have noticeably improved my hand-eye coordination. I’m less likely to fumble and drop something than when I was young.)

Sometimes I worry about memory. But the evidence is still equivocal. The thing is, if you do a stupid thing at age 25, you don’t think “oh no my brain is going.” If you do a stupid thing at 55 you can think that. So far as I can see, I can still learn complicated things, which is good because that’s what I do for a living.

Possibly related to all this: I’ve always enjoyed close repetitive work: making maps or complicated drawings or editing a text to be just so. But not quite so much anymore. When I was a teenager I started an atlas, basically just copying maps of various parts of the Earth. I didn’t finish it, but I did a lot of maps. I wouldn’t have the patience for that now. Or the eyes for doing it all on paper, without a zoom function.

Parents and death

My paternal grandparents died in a car accident when I was about 12. I remember my Dad saying that it was sobering to suddenly be the oldest in the family.  He’s right, it is, though I only appreciated it when my parents died.

It’s bittersweet looking at my wedding album these days, because so many people are dead. My parents, most of my aunts and uncles, our old family friend Mrs. Lovell.

My wife is in Peru right now helping out with her extremely frail (and extremely mean) mother. Friends of mine are dealing with the same thing: parents getting sick, maybe demented, losing their partners, finally dying.

So, basically, in your 40s and 50s you’re beginning to feel a little mortal yourself, but you’re also thrust deeply into the problems of people in their 80s and 90s. You learn a lot about normal life at that age, and you probably end up doing things that– let me put it gently– you kind of hoped only a nurse or health aide would have to do.

The details will differ, of course. The process can depend on what disorders they have, where they live, their personality, how much help they need. But it’s going to take up a lot of time and anxiety, and (spoiler warning) they’re going to end up gone. And it will affect you. I think about my parents a lot more now that they’re gone than I did when they were in their 80s.

In a sense, the whole process seems designed to beat us down to the point of accepting death. When you’re young, dying seems like about the worst thing ever. (I know a girl who’s barely 30 and is dying of cancer… it’s heartbreaking, it just feels wrong.) But the whole aging process, taking place over years and going places you’d rather it not go… toward the end you can still hate the thought of losing the person, but welcome the cessation of the pain or loss or demented confusion that they’re going through.

Sometimes the process will make you appreciate things your parents did. For instance, mine thought ahead and moved to a one-story house when they were in their 70s. That was extremely smart: by the time they were feeble and couldn’t handle stairs, they knew their house very well. (Moving to a new house when you’re old and confused is a nightmare.)

Or the opposite. My parents were not exercise-oriented. When they were fit, they were active, but they just did not have the concept of exercising to develop strength and endurance. My Mom was in rehab at one point and did amazingly well: she went in one month from nearly bedridden to being able to walk up and down the long corridors of the rehab place multiple times. But she hated exercise and refused to keep doing it. I don’t want to be that way.  When it gets to the point that 2 pounds is too much to carry, I really want to do a hell of a lot of exercise so I’m not quite that fragile.

Openness to experience

One thing you may wonder: do you get more conservative as you get older? Do you come to hate the youngs and their music?

A lot depends on whether you have kids. Till you do, you usually automatically take the kid side in any debate– you assume that authority is always wrong, that people should have more independence and do as they like. A few years of caring for babies, cleaning their butts, making sure they don’t injure themselves with their fingernails or put their fingers in electric sockets, tends to change this. All of a sudden obedience starts to seem like a virtue and getting some peace and quiet seems like a valid and difficult goal.

I’ll start with my parents, then, who definitely had children. Both were born in the 1920s. They didn’t get more conservative; in general, quite the opposite. My Dad was always a liberal. My Mom wasn’t so much, and had trouble accepting new things, like, oh, the 1960s. They used to say that their votes always canceled out, but in her later years she didn’t like what the GOP had become. (Based on reports from other people, though: for God’s sake, don’t let your parents watch Fox or listen to talk radio.)

I don’t have kids, and I’ve definitely moved farther and farther left over the decades. I went though a Christian period when I used “liberal” as a pejorative (though i was never a fundamentalist or a Republican). I got more committed to liberalism as the country moved to the right in the 90s. And the recession affected me as it did the youth– it made life far more precarious and revealed that plutocracy was getting downright dystopian. So, if the country decides it wants some democratic socialism, I’d be open to that. There are still some far leftists who turn me off, but I really like e.g. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

As for new music, books, comics, etc…. well, two opposing things. One, you’re apt to discover what you like, and be comfortable with that. When I was 20, I’d make list of Great Fiction that I should read. I stopped caring about Great Fiction– by now it’s clear I’ll never read most of it. (Which turns out to be fine since most of it is way way out of fashion now.)

And yeah, people will make music that you don’t really get. That’s fine, though you should also acknowledge that “that’s not for me” is not the same as “that’s bad.”

Also, pop culture can be intensely important when you’re a teen or 20-something, and it’s unlikely that feeling will continue. It’s like first love, which by definition you’re not going to have again.

Two, you absolutely can enjoy new things. It’s a choice. You just, well, keep trying things, and never ever say “theres’s no good music anymore.”  I’m by no means a music geek, but I can easily list a bunch of acts I like who have done most of their work since 2000: The Naked and Famous, Ladytron, Arcade Fire, Janelle Monáe, Tegan & Sara, Mika, Anaxaton6, La Femme, Angelique Kidjo, McBess, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Gorillaz, Fiona Apple, Postmodern Jukebox, The Chemical Brothers. Plus a bunch of one-shot songs, mostly found from jwz’s mixtapes.

(Re Anaxaton6, Barry Andrews is an old fart, but this is where he does some of his new experimental stuff.)

On comics– the golden age of comics is right now, go out and enjoy it.

As a teenager, I met a woman who was learning Esperanto in her 60s. It took her a long time, but she was doing it. I vowed that I would learn a new language when I was 60 (which, oh dear, is coming up pretty soon). And as it happens, I’ve been doing some close study of Akkadian and Biblical Hebrew lately.

That reminds me of one more change. It may be just me, I don’t know. But for some reason I don’t appreciate absurd, silly humor the way I used to. It used to be, y’know, my thing; I could recite Monty Python like any nerd and loved Pogo and Sam & Max and Bugs Bunny and MST3K and SpinnWebe and Mad and Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers and lots of similar stuff. I don’t hate those things, and I can appreciate something new in the same vein, like Ryan North’s Squirrel Girl. But when I go to the library, what I come back with is normally nonfiction, or classic fiction from other cultures (like Golden Lotus). Well, and comics, but even there when I want to re-read something it’s less often Mad and more often something like Planetary or Schuiten & Peeters. I don’t fully understand this and there is no judgment in it. I do suspect that that absurdist humor rhymes well with being a smart young geek. As an older geek I am less interested in mocking the world, more in (say) seeing what’s in the Shahnameh.

I read a piece recently by a woman who started dating again in her 50s. One of the first things she did was to consciously adjust her feelings about older people’s looks. She basically learned to find people in their 50s attractive. I am thankfully not in the dating market, but if I were I hope I could emulate her, because that’s extremely smart and it’s seemingly hard for many men. Few things are more pathetic than a middle-aged man obsessed with women in their 20s. (From what I hear, that was a lot of what the Great Fiction of the mid-20th century was about.)

One final thought.  As we go through life, we kind of progress through the tense system. E.g. if you’re 18, “I’m a writer” means you intend to write books. If you’re 58, it means you write books.  If you’re 88, it means you wrote books.

Not profound, but one of the corollaries is that just as you’re no longer immortal, you find that you’re no longer infinite. It’s a little sobering to think that I’ve almost certainly read more than half the books I’ll ever read. Still, I could totally write an epic trilogy. The real lesson here is not to pull a Robert Jordan, and start writing a series that you die before finishing.

Upcoming books

You may be wondering, or if not you should: what’s my next book?

It’s books. But the next one should be my Quechua reference grammar.


Based on some quick quizzes on Twitter and the ZBB, it seemed that people are more interested in a reference grammar than a textbook. Which is good, because I more or less have one! I wrote the grammar (and a dictionary) for my own use when I was studying Quechua in the 1990s.

It needs quite a bit of work yet, partly to make the text as good as possible, and partly because I need to go over some of the source materials in much more detail. But, that work is underway now.

If you’ve been following the blog, you’ve probably seen that I’m also doing research on the Middle East. Now, in theory this should be no harder than distilling all of India or China into a book. But, well, it isn’t. China is largely the story of one people and language. India is much more miscellaneous, but it’s mostly one civilization, whatever exactly that means. I could cover everything from Sumer to Khomeini in one volume, but it would mean compressing each bit into near unrecognizability.

So, my current idea is two books. One will cover the Ancient Middle East— concentrating on Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Persia, more or less up to Alexander. (That is, I don’t expect to cover Egypt or Anatolia in detail.) That’s certainly doable. After all, histories of Mesopotamia alone have to cover a lot of this material, because its empires were all over the Levant, and were eventually conquered by Persia. And most of the area was occupied by Semitic speakers, and shared a good deal of culture and cosmology. The obvious languages to cover would be Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hebrew.

There are a couple of really interesting puzzles to cover:

  • How did agriculture get started, and more importantly, why? People seemed happier without it.
  • How did one unimportant subgroup of Semites, of the same language and culture as the entire Levant, come up with a fervent monotheism?

Naturally, the latter question could take over the whole book, but I don’t intend to let it. I just read a history of ancient Israel, and though it’s interesting, what I crave is precisely the larger context. The Bible, and thus most historians, present Israel as somehow totally distinct from their neighbors. But they weren’t, at all; they basically spoke the same language, and indeed if you read a little closer they actually had enormous trouble keeping separate from those neighbors. And then there’s the tantalizing Persian connection— they interacted closely with the other monotheistic religion in the area. More on that later.

Book Two would cover the same area from about 600 to the present. That’s mostly the Islamic era, but also includes the very interesting 600s, when the age-old war between the Byzantines and Persians heated up, well, more than it ever had. The languages covered would be Persian and probably Arabic.

Clever people may note that there’s a gap of nearly a millennium in between. That’s intentional. I expect to cover the Persian part of the story, but what’s missing is the Greeks and Romans, and early Christianity. That’s nowhere near as new to most of my readers, I think; and covering them would require a different base area anyway.

Now, that’s plenty to do, but one day recently I woke up with my head full of Xurno. That is, I was thinking about the plot for Diary of the Prose Wars, my unfinished Almean novel. I read over the material I had. I think it’s in worse shape than I remembered, but that’s fine. The real problem was the plot, and I worked on that a bit. (For what it’s worth, it does focus the mind a bit when one’s own country is going to pot. “Oh, that’s how awful authoritarian regimes are formed.”) This won’t be a high priority, but apparently my subconscious was working on it, and I look forward to seeing it do some more.


Projects: Verdurian, French

I’ve been working on a few projects. One is making flags for the nations of Ereláe. You can see what I’ve done so far here.


Rather more surprising: I’ve been translating a French novel. No, you haven’t heard of it; that’s why I’m translating it. 🙂  I hope the author won’t mind my naming it: it’s Damien Loch by Shan Millan. It’s a fantasy novel,  but a rather satirical and contrarian one. It’s more or less “What if your asshole neighbor turned out to come from another world… but he was still an asshole?”

One of the fascinating bit about translating is how styles and wording differ between even quite similar languages. Conlangers, take note! One way to put it is: if the word-for-word gloss from your language sounds just like English, you probably haven’t worked out your language’s style enough.

For me at least, the problem is that reading the French original, the French style starts to sound natural, and the English ends up strange and wooden. So of course I have to go over the English and make it sound, well, English.

In return, Shan is translating the Language Construction Kit— the book— into French! I tried to do this myself a few years ago, and didn’t get very far, mostly because of the same style problem. I could make a French version myself, but it would be horribly awful. 

Anyway, this will eventually be very exciting for English fantasy fans, and French conlangers.

The other project came out of my work on syntax: I decided to finally update the Verdurian grammar. In the syntax book I want to explain how you can use modern syntax to inform your conlang’s grammar, you see, and I thought I’d better do it myself first. (Not that there wasn’t syntax in the grammar before, but now there’s more.)

I’ve also taken the opportunity to make the grammar easier, and harder. Easier, in that I can explain some things better, and get rid of what I now think are confusing presentations. (Also, there will be glosses for all the examples, a practice I now think is indispensable.) Harder, in that I don’t feel that I have to explain basic linguistics in every grammar, especially since the ‘easy’ route is already there in the form of guided lessons.

(No finish date yet, but it shouldn’t be too long.)

(I’m also hoping to include actual Verdurian text, for people who have the right font.)

The Fortressplex is moving

It’s beginning to look like we’re moving:


We now have a condo!  This makes me happy, because though we have a great landlord, having a place we own will be better in the long run. Our income is what the auditors call “no mucho”, but we will actually be paying substantially less in our new place.

There’s less room for bookshelves, so I’m getting rid of a bunch of books. Choosing books to toss turned out to be a less painful process than I imagined. The basic question is “Will I ever read this again?” and the answer is usually pretty clear. In some cases the answer might be ‘maybe once’, but it’s readily available at the library and I’d rather not lug a copy around forever.

Oh, if you’re in the Chicago area and want some books, contact me within the next week or so.  (No linguistics books, sorry, but a miscellanea of history, classics, comics, and science.)

The condo was offered at a much higher price, which steadily declined over something like 9 months. It ended up at a really good price for a 2-bedroom in its location.  My best guess is that the owner made a bad move by turning the large front room into two smaller rooms by adding a wall. I imagine a lot of people looked at it and said “This is weird, let’s move on to the next listing.” You could take out the wall pretty easily, but people would rather not have the hassle. (We’re keeping it, because it makes for a nice office.)

While I’m at it, I got the latest reports from the goblins chained up in the  Accountancy Dungeon.  Total books sold have just gone over 25,000.  Over 11,000 of that is the LCK. All the language books (and the PCK) sell pretty well.  About 60% of sales are paperbacks, the rest Kindle. The China book is doing adequately— way better than the novels.

What’s next from Zompist

You should, of course, be buying the India Construction Kit. But yes, here at the Zompist Fortressplex new plans are already afoot. Here’s a clue.

syntax books

Your first guess will undoubtedly be a Quechua grammar. And that’s still in the running!

But as the pile of syntax books next to my desk suggests, I’ve actually started on another language book, most probably called The Syntax Construction Kit.

Didn’t I cover syntax in the LCK?  Oh yes, more or less, but never to the satisfaction of my internal syntactician. I would really like to draw a bunch of syntactic trees, and explain why syntactic trees were so exciting in around 1980, and how to argue about syntax, and why Noam Chomsky is both brilliant and infuriating.

Syntax was my introduction to academic linguistics, and though it’s useful for conlanging, like knowing bones is useful for designing animals, what I want to get across is how much fun syntax was at that time. Generative syntax was a new field, so new things were being discovered— hell, your syntax class, or you yourself writing a paper, could discover a new fact about English syntax pretty much any time you wanted to. You could watch the big names in the field arguing with each other and not infrequently pausing to teach each other philosophy of science.

Now, only one of the books in the picture was published past 1990, and it’s possible that everything I learned is now completely outdated. I will take the opportunity to update my knowledge, but I’m guessing that I won’t have to change that much. The idea isn’t to teach a particular formalism so much as to teach the methods and findings of modern syntax.

You may be wondering, will there be another regional Construction Kit, after China and India? I certainly hope so! A Middle East Construction Kit is an attractive possibility. But the research load for these things is immense, and I need a little break.

Even less likely: you may be clamoring for more fiction, bless your heart. People who’ve bought my novels seem to like them, but unfortunately there’s just not enough of them. One encouraging sign, though: on my Kindle reports, I noticed that some lovely soul bought about fifty copies of Against Peace and Freedom in December, presumably to give to all their friends. That’s more than it usually sells all year. So I will probably dig out the sequel and keep working at it.


India Construction Kit coming soon!

The most important thing is done, I think: the cover!


Who are these people?  Once you read the book, you will know!  Also the answer is on the back cover, but you won’t even need that clue.

The text is about done— I have at least one more book I want to read, but it’s about time to order the proof copy. I’m hoping to make the book available by the end of November. Make your family buy you a copy!

I could probably use another couple of readers for this draft. E-mail me if  you’re interested and you are pretty sure you can read it and make comments within the next 3-4 weeks. (Sorry for the rush… some other stuff has needed dealing with.)

By the way, does anyone know what that big tree in the center is?  The fruits look like mangos, but the leaves are nothing like mango leaves. Perhaps an Indian tulip tree?

Drawing process

I had these drawing studies for my last gods picture and thought they might be an interesting process story.

The nice thing about these gods, Nečeron and Eši, is that they have things they can do. Nečeron is god of craft, so he can be building. Eši is god of art, so she can be doing art. But just that would be a little boring. From somewhere, but undoubtedly influenced by M.C. Escher, came the idea of each creating the structure that’s holding up the other.

Here are some doodles trying to make it work:


Nečeron’s bit is easy: he’s creating whatever Eši is standing on. (It starts as a table.) But what is she painting? Maybe some sort of framework holding up the platform he’s sitting on?  That’s the lower left drawing; it looked cumbersome.  Maybe a ladder (bottom right), but then he only has one hand free to work. Finally I tried a set of stairs, and that worked.

Here’s the second attempt at that:


I decided that the concept worked, but now ran into the next problem: I can’t really draw this scene out of my own brain. The figures here don’t look terrible, but the proportion and placement of the limbs was difficult, and the blobs representing the hands hide the fact that the concept requires four iterations of my personal drawing bugbear: hands holding objects.

(These are sketches, and would certainly have been improved if I kept working on them. But one thing I’ve learned is that poor proportions do not improve by rendering them really well. Better to get the sketch right.)

I tried looking for photos online, but getting these specific poses would be difficult.

Taking reference photos, however, is easy! I have an iPad! Here’s the pictures as they appear in Photoshop, with the sketch done right on top of them.


Who’s the model?  Oh, just some guy who’s available very cheaply.

If you compare this with the previous step, you can find an embarrassing number of errors in the original. E.g. Eši’s legs are way too small, the shoulder facing us is too low, and her neck is not drawn as if we’re looking up at her. Plus I think the final poses are far more dramatic.

I did the final outline over the purple sketch. Then the procedure is: select an area in the outline; fix the selection to make sure it includes everything I want, and fill it in on a separate color layer with a flat color.  Then go over each flat color area and use the airbrush to add shading. The bricks and stairs also get some texturing, added with filters. The jewelry is done on a separate layer with its own drop shadow— a cheap, quick way to add realistic shadows.

The gods aren’t wearing much.  That’s just how gods are, of course. On an operational level, there are two reasons for this (which we can assume are shared to some extent by Almean sculptors and painters).  The lofty level is that I like the human figure and hate to cover it up.  The less lofty reason is… clothes are frigging hard to draw. Figure drawing is hard enough, and clothing requires a whole new set of skills and rules of thumb, and looks terrible when you get it wrong. Plus, these are Caďinorian gods, so they should be wearing Caďinorian robes, which require, like, a black belt in drawing. They’re made of wrinkles. There’s a reason so many superheroes wear leotards: they’re basically drawn on top of the nude figure, with no folds.

The final picture:


Tonight, I like it; in a year, I’m sure it’ll dissatisfy me. Actually, when I look at it, I wonder if the angle of the iPad foreshortened the figures, making their feet proportionately too big. Oh well.