Snarkclaw Snarkclaw: Art And Comics by Sheryl Schopfer. Illustrations include characters from Deer Me and Sharpclaw, plus fan art, mostly in a cartoony style.

July 2024 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics


Brief Notes

Deer Me

I figured out most character statuses I want to achieve before I end the comic. This does not mean that Deer Me shall end anytime soon. It means that I have ending goals towards which I want to work. Deer Me started as an impulse project for which I had no original vision... which also means I had no plans for an ending. I dislike series that just fizzle or end abruptly, and realized I wanted to give the Deer Me characters good "And they lived happily ever after" situations in their lives. I figured many of those out this past month, which helps give the comic direction going forward. How long shall I take to achieve all these resolutions? In the immortal words of the Critical Drinker: "Don't know!"

Twitter (a.k.a. X)

Twitter (a.k.a X) sucks. It always has and it always shall. I have been using it again this year, and Twitter locked me out of my account for no known reason at the start of June, requiring that I "prove I am human" with one of those stupid tests that it repeatedly made me redo, even after successful completions. When I contacted Support, I was told to provide a telephone number to "resolve the issue." No. If I ever regain my account, then I shall clear it out to leave Twitter completely. If you follow me there, then please follow my websites' RSS feeds instead. If I follow you there and suddenly stopped, then know it is not you; it is Twitter itself.

Cara (And PixelFed)

On the same day Twitter tried to extort me for my telephone number, in a completely unrelated event, I learned of Cara, a new website that is like a mash-up of Instagram and ArtStation. Posting is much like posting to Twitter -- text posts with optional image or video uploads -- and browsing the feed is much like scrolling through Twitter or Instagram. However, artists can mark specific posts as "portfolio," enabling a professional portfolio like on ArtStation (which, like Twitter, also uses underhanded tactics to force you to provide a telephone number, FYI).

Like many artists, I am wary and tired of new websites, but Cara looks to fill the niche I have been seeking for years: a gallery where I can follow artists for their art without an algorithm or the government determining what I see. Furry galleries still manage that, too, but the topic is more limited than I prefer.

I have posted images to Cara, but intend to be there as a viewer more than as a creator. Still, here is my profile for anyone interested in connecting there. I also still use another Instagram-wannabe, PixelFed, but my interest in PixelFed has long been waning.

June 2024 Update Image

No links! Oh no!

Scarborough Renaissance Festival

Wow, May sure zipped by. This past month felt as short as its name. At least I got to visit the Scarborough Renaissance Festival this month!

My first Ren faire in Missoula decades ago was more of a themed craft fair that could be fully viewed within an hour or two. The Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire was much larger and more involved, with several shows as well as an enormous shopping section I barely ever explored, despite attending the fair multiple times. The Saint Louis Renaissance Festival really wowed me with a gorgeous setting that included permanent buildings. I also found one or two smaller fairs that seemed more like that first fair in Missoula. With those experiences, I deemed myself a pretty savvy Ren faire attendee who was well prepared for the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. After all, this apparently is not even the big Ren faire in Texas.

If Scarborough Renaissance Festival is not the big Ren faire of Texas, then I doubt I could handle attending the big Ren faire. Scarborough Renaissance Festival is huge! It is split into three sections, two of which each can easily take at least two days (again, per section) to fully experience and the third section... I only briefly visited the third, but it could probably be fully experienced within one day. Still, that means this Ren faire would take at least three weekends to fully experience... and I am probably underestimating, since I do not shop much, and there are many vendors to shop.

I mainly visit Ren faires for the acts, and there were many excellent acts. Most were music performers, though I also saw some comedy and acrobatics. I added so many albums to my music library and finally heard a version of The Parting Glass that I actually like. The Parting Glass is a pretty song, but always performed slowly and usually feels dragged out to me. The Iron Hill Vagabonds gave it just enough of a kick to perform it at the pace I have always felt it should have... so of course they were the one music act not selling music at the Ren faire.

Artistically, this was not the month I meant for it to have been. The only comic pages I did this month will be released later, because they are for a project that has not published yet. In good creative news, at least, I am piecing together several various Deer Me ideas I have floating around. With the unintentionally long hiatus, it is probably hard to believe that I actually have more Deer Me story ideas, but I genuinely do, and I am excited about how I am finally fitting them together... and want to start sharing that vision with you.

May 2024 Update Image

Deer Me Comics

Sharpclaw Comics


Character Names

A comic forum thread asked about character names, and that inspired some explanations I think I have not previously shared.

Deer Me Characters:

For first names, I mostly utilized baby name websites and picked normal-sounding names, with a few exceptions. For last names, I often referenced the animal's original breed in some language or used another (often less common) first name.

Normal first name and animal-reference last name include: Alicia & Nichole Muis, Cory Carniche, Devan Ramson.

Two first names include: Aaron Vaschel, Jared Raul, Rasha Zwi, Blaire Evans-Keene (pluralized "Evan"), James Keene.

Exceptions: (in order of character creation)

Velvet Hairyson: "Velvet" for the velvet of a horse's nose and "Hairyson" as a fur-based play on the common surname Harrison.

Viana Doesulen: "V" for the "V" in "cervine" (or possibly for "venison;" I may have been in a dark humor at the time) in front of "Diana" for the Roman moon goddess, one of whose symbols is the deer, and "Doesulen" was from putting "sullen doe" together out of order and removing one "L." Though "Viana" came from "Diana," I pronounce it "Vee-ana" rather than "Vi-ana," to emphasize the "V."

Woola Ramson: "Wool" for sheep coat and "Ramson" also for sheep plus playing on the commonality of "some name or title"+son for last names.

Thondy Ramson: "Thomas" + "Andy" hybrid. After 20 years of the comic, I have yet to canonically address that Thondy's name is a combination of his first and middle name that a family member came up with when he was young and he just stuck with it because it is unique.

Thomas Millwood: Common first name (shared with Thondy!) and I previously lived near a neighborhood named "Millwood" and that name stuck with me.

Sharpclaw Characters:

Almost every name -- first, last, and even every location name -- is either a word straight out of the dictionary or a combination of words from the dictionary. I especially focused on colors, plants, gemstones, and emotions.

Heath, Heather, Holly, & Ivy Marchen (plant, plant, plant, plant, another word for folktale)

Douglas, Fraser, Opal, & Ruby Benison (tree, tree, gem, gem, another word for blessing)

Bole, Dawn, & Dusk Gramary (color, liminal time of day, liminal time of day, archaic word for magic knowledge)

King Cole, Prince Jasper, Prince Jet, & Queen Rapunzel Guardbone (titular nursery rhyme character, gem, gem, titular fairy tale character, stereotypical habit of dogs condensed into one word)

Black Shuck (a.k.a. Big Bad Wolf) gets his name and nickname from the folklore and the fairy tales, respectively, that inspired him.

The Rumpelstiltskin brothers -- Adze, Auger, Bradawl, Burin, Gimlet, Mattock, & Pritchel -- were all named for tools that can be used for mining and digging. Their last name is for the titular fairy tale character.

Sharpclaw characters also were often named in themed pairs (or larger groups, like the Rumpelstiltskin brothers):

Heath & Heather: father-daughter pair; similar words

Holly & Ivy: daughter-mother pair; referencing a Christmas song

Douglas & Fraser: brothers; referencing fir trees

Opal & Ruby: sisters; white & red, referencing their roles as the fairy tale sisters Snow White & Rose Red

Dawn & Dusk: sisters; referencing beginning and end of the day

Jasper & Jet: brothers; red & black

April 2024 Update Image


Grump Grump Grump... Bobcat!

Today is the day of pranks, but I feel like I was pranked last month. I made plans to draw the next chapter for Sharpclaw and outline (and hopefully write) the next several chapters for Deer Me across the month of March. Instead, I fell sick (again) for most of it. What an irony that Texas was a popular destination for invalids in the 1800s, considering how bad it seems to be for my health.

However, my current resentfulness is somewhat tempered by my excitement; I saw a bobcat! An actual bobcat walked my backyard fence like any normal domestic cat. How nifty!

March 2024 Update Image


The Core Problem

"Stick with it for two weeks and you will find that you want to exercise!"

  1. You have to get through those two weeks first.
  2. Liar. It takes my body longer than two weeks to adapt to a new activity.

Back to that first point, though: How am I supposed to "start easy and add a little each day" when my body berates me on Day 3 for Day 1? I confirmed that push-ups definitely work the core muscles because I got down on the floor for my push-ups and my core said, "Nope."

Speaking of part of me saying, "Nope," I seem to be stuck creatively. I never intended Deer Me to go on a multi-year hiatus, but I ran out of scripted stories. I have story ideas, but they are a jumble and I have some overarching concepts that I want neatly woven together through shorter stories.

I need to sit down and actually build a timeline and outline for the coming Deer Me stories. However, my brain seems to reject the project whenever I try. So, I have these (in my opinion) cute and funny short stories that are waiting for a writing project much bigger than those little ideas all put together.

This is less Writer's Block and more... Writer has to build the entire apartment complex before getting to decorate a single room within that apartment complex.

February 2024 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics


Happy Love Month!

Surprising as this might sound, for a few years in my childhood, Saint Valentine's Day was my favorite holiday.

Obviously, I loved holidays like Halloween and Christmas, but Saint Valentine's Day provided a certain social experience that I enjoyed. My classes, during those years, would carve out part of the school day for a small party. Each student brought in a hand-constructed mailbox that the others filled with little platonic valentine cards that were sold in boxes of 20 or 30, specifically for children to hand out to each other in bulk. The teachers handed out candy hearts and the students tried to create conversations with -- or at least decipher -- the text.

The whole experience was just a time during which we all shared a little more camaraderie. Maybe we today could use more moments like that.

Jan 2024 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics


Happy New Year!

With January 1 often comes previous year retrospectives, resolutions or plans for the future, some words of community feeling... but all I can think about is how I spent most of this past December sick. Each time I believed I had recovered was followed by a relapse time... including yesterday. I started yesterday feeling genuinely vibrant, genuinely eager to rise and take one of my multi-mile walks, and I ended the day watching bad movies and taking Ny-Quil.

This lingering illness reflects reality lately: every time I feel overcome with optimism, reality kicks me down. At this moment, the more I say, the more negative I shall be, which is not what you or I want.

So, I am just going to keep this short and sweet: Happy New Year!

Dec 2023 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics


Peppermint Season!

For the last two decades, yuppies have gotten excited as autumn arrives with pumpkin spice food and beverage. As for me, I look forward to when the Christmas season brings peppermint goodies!

I love mint of different types, but peppermint is what comes first to my mind when I think of mint. However, this sharp and potent mint tends to be absent most of the year in desserts that feature mint, and mint itself -- while pretty common -- is not as ubiquitous as flavors like chocolate and vanilla. So, I feel a particular glee when I see restaurants and grocery stores roll out their white-and-red offerings.

Though I am trying to reduce my consumption of added sugars from my diet, I have already celebrated with the Portillo's "Candy Cane" milkshake, a vanilla milkshake with peppermint candy flakes. Om nom nom.

Nov 2023 Update Image

Deer Me Comics

A New House :-) Downsizing Begins :-(

After nearly five weeks of hurriedly packing up the contents of our too-large house and then six weeks of living in hotels with mostly just the items we could fit into a commuter car (with three pets), we found a rental house. The rental house has maybe one third the space of the house we just sold, but admittedly fits us better. However, we expanded into that too-large house over the past six years and do not have room for everything.

That probably sounds privileged, but I did not expect to be downsizing my possessions to fit in a small rental house in my late 40s.

I have moved often in my life, probably more than most people, so know to expect certain things. One thing is the heartache of having to pack and decide what can be lived without for an unknown period of time, and another is the joy of reuniting with those items lived without for weeks or months, depending upon the complexity and timeframe of the move. Another heartache is discovering some of those recovered items got damaged or even completely destroyed. With this move, I get to add two more heartaches: #1 deciding what I can live without for maybe another year or more by putting it into longterm, offsite storage and #2 deciding what I am willing to part with forever, by selling it or giving it away. Downsizing is not fun.

We and another couple got quite lucky with our timing: we needed to get rid of furniture while they needed furniture. We gave them some pieces that simply would not fit but they could use, so everyone won. They got free items they needed and we were spared the issues of trying to store items until we could find buyers or wind up having to give away or pay to toss the items.

We still have so much to go through. Just this past weekend, I managed to make the bathrooms useable, which now feels great. The kitchen remains daunting, though. Our last house had a magnificent kitchen -- it was why we bought the house -- and our rental home has a small kitchen maybe one quarter the size, with significantly less space in all categories, including pantry, counter, and even appliances. Our counters are not useable due to the clutter of things needing homes. The pantry is too crammed to readily find anything. We will eventually shrink into the size, but it shall take time and effort.

Oct 2023 Update Image

Deer Me Comics


1980s Music

This is 1980s Nostalgia Autumn! Last month, I complained that expressions of worldly grievances never change by highlighting four songs originally released from the years 1988-1991 which still resonate today. This month, let us celebrate those years gone by.

Play "Identify That 1980s MTV Reference" with Bring Back The Time by New Kids on The Block, Rick Astley, Salt N Pepa, and En Vogue.

This video provides the answers.


In move news, I have been living in a hotel for a month now. Not-fun fact: The standard rental agreement in Texas gives the landlord and representing agent(s) permission to literally break and enter the home without prior notice any time the resident is not home, as long as the intruder leaves a note. Also, refrigerators are not standard included appliances in rental units in Texas; that was a surprise.

Coding Question

Is it possible to implement a website cookie with PHP, but get viewer permission first? Currently, I hide "mature" content on my website and require the viewer to consent to viewing such per image. I want to make it possible for the viewer to consent just once and use a cookie to remember that setting. The PHP setcookie() function must load prior to the webpage, so I cannot make it load based on a user action like I can with a JavaScript function. I could instead use JavaScript... except for the tiny problem that I do to know JavaScript at all... yet.

September 2023 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics

The Move Continues

This move is proving more complicated and longer than originally expected. We managed, in our last move, to go from deciding to move to clearing out the house within two weeks. That included giving away most our furniture and getting some help in exchange. This move is taking much longer as we keep most of our furniture and have less assistance.

Meanwhile, my drawing tablet battery died and then my smartphone battery died, just for that extra slap in the face and on my wallet. Also, the weather decided to punch us in the gut with the worst heatwave we have seen since the year we moved here, followed by rain. Both conditions are less than ideal for the outdoor work of loading heavy items into moving pods. I originally thought that saying this move-induced creative hiatus would last through mid-September would give me some buffer time, but now I think I may have been optimistic about how quickly I would be creating and uploading again.

Have Some Music And Social Commentary

August 2023 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics


Stoopid Artuhst

Gosh, I wonder why it takes me so long to draw comic pages? It could not be my insistence on having multiple panels featuring seven-almost-identical-but-not-quite characters, could it? Along with all the other characters, including one whose very design is a contradiction to my artistic comfort zone?

Maybe Moving

I may be making an interstate move again, paired with downsizing my possessions. This is currently speculation with no definitive schedule. If it happens, then it shall certainly interfere with comic and art updates in the coming months.

July 2023 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics


Seven Brothers Rumpelstiltskin

Writer Me: "I have a clever idea! Seven characters who look similar enough that any one could be mistaken for another when they are not together, but different enough to be distinguishable when side-by-side!"

Artist Me: [punches Writer Me]

Jun 2023 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics

Sharpclaw Smut Comics

Finally! Back to Drawing!

I mentioned last month that I suddenly felt seized by a compulsion to code. I felt driven both to refine a few operations within the CMS and to finish the data files for my art dating all the way back to 1990. Yes, really, my art gallery genuinely has everything I have from the last 34 years; I did not cherry-pick and the only drawings missing are ones I simply do not have anymore. Some of those images were even started prior to 1990! My art gallery is not my portfolio; it is my handy reference tool.

Anyway, I finished the data files (for now) and made some code changes to the CMS that have been bothering me. I still have further plans for the CMS, but I figure that is going to be remain an ongoing project for as long as I find coding interesting. It shall never be "finished" as much as it shall be sufficiently functional and "I can live with it as-is right now."

This latest obsession to work on the website happened while I was trying to pencil a comic page. As soon as the website once again reached "I can live with it as-is right now," I resumed penciling that same page... three or four weeks later after originally starting and then abandoning the page.

Compulsions can be strange things.

May 2023 Update Image

Sharpclaw Comics

Sharpclaw Smut Comics


Happy Walpurgis Night And May Day

Abruptly around the start of April last year, my ability to work on my website CMS vanished. Just as abruptly around the start of April this year, the drive to work on my website CMS returned.

While it shall always be an ongoing project -- as my coding knowledge changes, as PHP itself changes, as my desires for my website changes -- I expect to finish the coding and data entry I have felt compelled to do this past month and return to focusing on the content side, the comics and illustrations.

Do you ever get hit by something like that? Bam! Do this now!

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