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Dragon People

Ya know, if I were my namesake (a bear) I sometimes think I'd spend a lot of time poking hornet nests just for amusement. Take the dragon people.

The "dragon people" (sorry, Peganthryus!) is my term for those individuals who either think they're dragons, or that dragons are real, or know dragons personally, or were a dragon in a past life and see fit to tell me about it in aggressive "Your dragons are wrong! Dragons aren't like that!" terms.

Now, being that I do art for a living, and primarily fantasy art at that, I'm used to the fact that my job is essentially either catering to people's fantasy lives or selling them bits of my own, and generally I gots no problem wi' dat. Most of them are perfectly decent, somewhat geeky people, and being a major geek myself, I can relate. And then there's the real weirdos, who I would also be fine with, except when they get outta hand in my direction.

I noticed after awhile that whenever I posted a fantasy piece over at Elfwood, if I made some utterly random comment in the description--for example "This giant riding macaw offers a brainy, non-flammable alternative to dragons, who are small brained and explode when nervous"--i.e. the sort of out-of-thin-air stuff that I dredge up when attempting to write better copy than "ph3aR mY l33t 81rd! copyright mememememe!"--I could anticipate that a good third of all comments would be "You suck. Dragons are smart! We invented...blah blah, puny mortal." I even had one teenager threaten me quite seriously that the dragons were gonna get me. This stuff was not limited to comment functions--I'd get e-mails. Really...odd...emails. And so forth, and so on, painting after painting, year after year, while I grew more and more bemused, because unlike all other fads, this one never quite stops. Nor was it just description related--some people actually get quite incensed if you deviate from the Ciruelo-defined norm of dragonkind and will tell you "Dragons don't look like that!"

Since learning from one's mistakes is something that, in my world, happens to other people, I probed this like a sore tooth. The dragon people were joined by a few members of the gryphon people, but not many. Unicorn people made more of a predictable blip on the radar. There seemed to be a few generalized myth people who would stand up for the rights of gorgons and manticores in addition to dragons. Nobody seemed interested in defending naked women. Fairies mostly fended for themselves. The angel people, as a subset of the generally religious people, made an appearance to protest angelic sexuality, but still, far and away, the great group that appeared to have both a tenuous grip on what we laughingly call "consensual reality" and, much more importantly, the desire to tell me about it at great and antagonistic length, were the dragon people.

Where am I going with all this?

You might well ask--this is nothing new and I've bitched about it before, and even painted about it before. Mocking these poor souls is like shooting fish in a barrel with an AK-47, and I try not to do it too often. But what I've realized is that I am so sensitized to the fact that some member of the dragon people is gonna go off on anything dragon-related I paint, that my brain, like Pavlov's dog, has adapted in order, not only to anticipate this, but to derive the most amusement from it. (Hey, I never said I was a nice person.)

Yesterday I painted an anime dragon-girl to go along with my anime ratgirl. And about two-thirds of the way through, with the end in sight, the verbal part of my brain, which is mostly unengaged while painting, and thus wanders around at loose ends giggling and shouting nonsense, rather like Gir from "Invader Zim," ("Piggy!") snaps on at some unknown but pre-arranged visual signal, salutes, says "Yes, my master!" and begins carefully composing the artist's statement that accompanies the art in most archives.

There are several rules. For example, the statement must include phrases like "As we all know..." or "As anyone who studies dragons is aware..." to set the stage. It must not refer to "in my world" or "in the mythical land of Urslandia", because if people don't know by now that dragons are mythical and can be anything to anybody, they oughta learn, and more importantly, I just invent this stuff out've whole cloth, it's not part of any integrated world that I illustrate. And, most important, it must be blatantly absurd. Anyone can reply to "Dragons have the brains of fire-breathing avocadoes" but it takes a real trooper to come up with a response to something like "Dragons, as we all know, are the descendants of blind cave worms who must coat themselves in a shell of damp newspaper in order to survive above ground, thus explaining the multitude of dragons found lurking around the edges of recycling centers." And hey, it keeps me amused (and evidentally other people as well, since I think the number one comment I hear on my art is "The art's okay, but I come back for the writing." *sigh* Oh, well, so long as they come back...)

All of which is a roundabout way of getting to the anime dragongirl, and her associated description, of a highly sexually dimorphic species of dragons where the males hoard and the humanoid females take classes in appraisal and antiquing, the better to determine the value of a male's hoard down to the last penny. Enjoy!

Anime dragongirl

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Nothing amuses me more than reading your rants. (ok... maybe a few other things, but I choose not to go into them because putting you at the top of my "amusing stuff" list may make you feel special. Or not, whatever works.) I follow your work on Yerf, and I must say you're amoung my fav's. Keep up the good work Ursula, and keep that sarcastic pencil a' pokin'!

Lovely as usual. I noticed your work through sans_souci's recommendation, and decided to watch you here since you are, as you know, entertaining. I have to agree with shatterstripes that the rat and dragon ladies don't fit my definition of anime either, though-- they're much too well-done, big eyes or no. :) Thanks for sharing! I'm enjoying your addition to my little list of people in a jar.

I am the lorax who speaks for the freaks

Some of the gryphons are still upset that you once expressed some sort of distaste for that particular mythical creature. How daaaaaaaaare you! XD

Re: I am the lorax who speaks for the freaks

You know, I heard about that, but none of them ever said anything to me. I just started getting random notes saying "Someone I know is mad at you that you made a derogatory mark about charismatic mammal species held together by superglue." It was odd. I'd never been dragon-peopled-by-proxy before. *muse*

I swear to god, one of these days I'm gonna write a book about these things...

Oh.. I've GOT to try this. Sharps sticks for everyone!


Ahh, i can relate, in a way, as i've had run-ins with vampires. No wait, "Vampyres"... Having once been intimate with the Goth scene, and having a bit of interest in vampires myself, the two worlds would sometimes cross over with interesting results. Making the odd misinterpreted statement in real life, or on the internet, could get me all kinds of strange reactions, from getting me into polite discussions about vampires, to people hissing in my face with a mouth full of fangs, do downright hostility. People do take things too seriously sometimes.....

The weirdest comments I get on elfwood do seem to be on the dragon art

Part of me was tempted to try and write a scorching reply to your papier maché dragon but I found I couldn't get quite angry enough and the rest of me was telling me that it would be much more fun to run with the ball and write about the ecology of the papier maché dragon.

As has already been mentioned, the dragons are forced to wrap their bodies in damp newspapers in order to prevent their bodies from drying out. As the outer layers of the shell dry, they harden, providing the dragon with a weak armor shell to protect themselves from their various predators and also in battles between themselves.

Descended from cave worms, the modern dragon subsists on what refuse it can find in the gutters that make its home, as well as any small animals or insects that it can snare in its claws or mouth. Incapable of moving quickly, dragons often fall prey to large birds of prey as well as domesticated animals such as dogs and cats. The dragon's diet makes it a food choice for only the most desperate of street dwellers.

The dragon possesses a soft boneless body which makes it quite vulnerable if its shell is removed. In order to defend itself and aid in hunting, it possesses two chitinous claws which extend from the front of its shell. The dragon often uses these claws to drag its body along the gutters as well as catching unwary prey.

Dragons come both male and female. During the female's mating season, nearby males will often grapple each other with their claws for the right to mate with her.
One week after mating, the female gathers as much wet newspaper as she can find into a nest and lays one to three small soft eggs in it. These eggs often hatch 2 weeks later.

No offense taken. I try to avoid the 'dragon people' as much as possible... they scare me.

Yes indeed, some dragon people are very strange. ];)

Despite the avatar--a gift chosen for me--the more philosophical of my sort are quite good at discerning fantasy as distinct from reality. And of course, my sort is the same as your sort, unless we're out of sorts. Or sortifiable. Umm, is that sordid sortie sort of able to be sorted out? Sory.

===|==============/ Level Head

~simply enjoyed the art and the read....Grins!~

I once said that Pern books were dull, predictable, and lacked space pirates and now SEVERAL people won't associate with me anymore.

I'm guessing that's related to the dragon people psychasthenia.

Or maybe it's because I'm a bit rude.

...poking the hornet's nest. Only I sometimes pretend to be a hornet for awhile, and attack from the inside. XD ... In my defense, I only do it to particularly stupid hornets who deserve some knocking about... XD

There is literally no end to the traumatising personalities on the 'Net. There's someone in the SWAT Kats (cartoon) fandom who firmly believes Dr. Viper (a badguy who is part kat-person and part snake) is REAL. And has VISITED her. Even sexually. I'm too frightened to poke her, but I've seen AIM transcripts... o_o;

Anyway. I loved the dragon girl. XD I'll have to keep an eye on your varying accounts for some vicarious amusement. Assuming anyone is silly enough to 'fight' you on that really interesting description on the female kind. XD

I don't know why I haven't ever conciously tried to provoke "fantasy geeks/demented people" through my artwork. Well, poked fads and specific people, just subtly... Dragons seem to provoke the most amusing responses. Though on any dragon picture I've done, I usually get stuff like, "ha ha, he took off her clothes. bad dragon!" and "I like this one. could you make his front legs bigger and his wings blue PLEEAAAAASSE????"

Re: Oh, I do it too..

Not confined to the dragon people, I occasionally get the random "Can you please alter this this and this?" thing on paintings too. That one always makes me scratch my head--I assume it's so that it looks like their character or whatever. (I've even heard "Can you put a suit of armor on this character with [insert item details] and e-mail it to me? THANX!") I mean, they wouldn't do this to an architect, would they? "I love the library! Can you add gables on the roof and make the marble pink PLEAAAASE?"

That, at least, we can probably just chalk up to "generalized clueless" rather than "questionable grip on reality."

You'd think everyone could figure the variations on the theme of 'dragon' are infinite. Not even 'reptile' or 'fire-breathing' or 'flying' or 'stupid/smart' are all-encompassing descriptions.

That is exactly the reason why I /originally/ liked to draw dragons: I thought nobody could ever say of it, "Hey, that's wrong! Everybody knows dragons don't look like that!" because there weren't any rules about what they look like or tend to do. I was free to draw them however I liked. I could even draw them with legs growing out of the tops of their heads and nobody could argue with me about that.

Apparently, if people are hassling you over /that/, I was wrong in that assumption of free expression. o_O Very rude and stupid of them, really.

(And, of some note, I did in later years figure I am what you keep calling here a "dragon person." Luckily I seem to be less... uppity and rude than the ones you described. Er... I hope, at least. Was I?)

Re: artist commiserating

Nah, I think one of the keys to being one of the 'dragon people' (at least the kind that one uses quotes for) is that you have to push this facet of your existence upon unsuspecting souls, usually by saying things like "Dragons aren't like that!" or, conversely, get really bent out of shape when someone's view of dragons fails to conform to yours. I wouldn't worry about it.

Further details can be found in my upcoming ethnological tour de force, My Life Among The Dragon People, an unpublished work that has not yet been written, nor is likely to be written any time soon, but hey, it's never too early to start plugging, right? Right!

Something about her skin, its shininess and sort of translucent quality (I'm actually talking about the actual art for once), gives her an amphibious quality very in keeping with her blind-cave-worm origins. Neat. I'm not sure the purple shadows quite work, though, since there's almost no purple anywhere in the painting but the shadows; I find myself looking for something that could be casting diffuse purple light and all there is is the background, except that's tan. Putting some purple in there might tie it together better, but I'm not sure how that would look, with the bright red dress in the foreground....

I just thought the dress was iridescent..

Iridescent cloth is nifty stuff. :)

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