I’d been living in Anza for about two years when my friend Dani wrote and asked me if I’d do some illustrations of creatures for the rpg gaming system she was putting together.
This is where the “coloring book” style I’d developed came in handy, because I could send her copies of pen-and-ink sketches until we’d hammered out exactly what a particular beast was supposed to look like…
…and then do the same with color copies (from Kinkos; a color copier in every home was still a distant dream back then) until we reached a final product:
That project kept us busy until Dani discovered the sweet addiction of BBSing (computer Bulletin Board Systems, for the youngsters in the audience: basically it was the social networking forerunner of the World Wide Web). She moved to Memphis, and I saved up my pennies for a year and flew out to visit her there, where I was quickly assimilated into the BBS collective as well. When I returned home she sent me one of her old computers so that I could keep up with the groups, and it was like a drug to me. I lived for the discussions and debates in those forums. My little 2400-baud modem connected me to people I could have actual conversations with (albeit slow ones; I would log on in the evenings and 30 to 45 minutes later I would have a complete download of everyone’s latest contributions to the discussion forums), and it was pure heaven.
You know, relatively speaking.