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Hey, if you're waiting to hear from me, please don't worry- I'll get to everyone who sent me a note or email. Working on a big exciting project this week. More info later. :) 
  • Listening to: the trees talking
  • Reading: between the lines
  • Watching: the world burn
  • Playing: a dangerous game
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: manly tears
I'm almost finished with my current crop of commissions and it's time to line up some more. Mama needs some phone minutes and gasoline. I REALLY need the phone minutes. I pay $25 a month for a limited amount, the cheapest I could find anywhere. Noah's working a bit, but without the phone, no one can get in touch with him. It's a catch-22 and I'm mad at myself for allowing this to happen. I'm juggling too much and stuff keeps slipping through my fingers. 

Readers, if you do not need a commission, perhaps you know someone who does? I'd greatly appreciate it if people would spread the word about my $20 portraits. You might mention the fact that sometimes, I go a little crazy and paint a $20 portrait like I would a $50 portrait. Bad for business, good for you. 

Also, I haven't outright said this before, but if you toss me $5, I'll do something for you. Sketch, avatar etc. There's no minimum to hire me.

If this wasn't the internet, I would be holding an actual cardboard sign.


Forget a honeymoon. I wish I'd been able to have a proper wedding. Noah and I talked about having a post-facto one in May, but it's hard to imagine being able to spend money on ourselves like that. We got married at 9 pm at a local church, last-minute, with 4 people in attendance, including the pastor. They probably thought I was pregnant, but it was just really important to us that we got the date - November 5th. We'd decided on Guy Fawkes Day that summer, but never managed to save for it. It's a testament to the craziness of our lives, and also our stubbornness, that our anniversary is indeed the fifth of November. 

It's so lonely being broke. I don't feel like a real person. 
  • Listening to: the trees talking
  • Reading: between the lines
  • Watching: the world burn
  • Playing: a dangerous game
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: manly tears
Hello, fellow travelers. I hope your Friday 13th was a good one. For me, it came with a lot of bad luck, so it was a very traditional holiday. I approve of tradition, but disapprove of serendipity, especially when it doesn't occur nicely. 

Starting today, I am doing a one-week portrait sale to make ends meet.

The ends include rent, gas, bills and also food, since our food stamps were cancelled last month. (Bugger.) Having been on the stamps a couple times, I can tell you the difference is between eating nutritiously and trying not to eat at all. If only I'd known about this diet in college. It's simply fabulous. My head hurts.

There are some lovely things on the horizon for me - but they continue to exist there, on the horizon. My habit is to protest "I'll make it someday." It has become my mantra. It's a lot better than the last one, which was "just keep swimming just keep swimming just keep swimming."

I am terrible at journaling and even worse at marketing myself. That is why I use bold fonts to point out the important bits in my journal. I have never appreciated the importance of a topic sentence, and I'm not about to start now.

Here is a summary of the discounts for digitally painted OC portraits:

Avatars: $8/ea
Portraits: $15/ea (used to be 20!)
Double Portraits: $25 for both (used to be $40!)
Buy 3 or more: $10/ea (great balls of FIRE that's cheap!!)
New Customers get 10% off anything they buy!! 10% off $15 is a whopping $1.50! That's yours to KEEP, SON!

Contact me: Email with your request. I can draw real people, fake people, anthro characters, elves, hobbits, aliens, animals, theoretical entities, etc. 

You do not need a confirmation from me for these portrait jobs
, unless you want, like, 80 of them. I will take any and all jobs. You can send money directly to and reserve a spot on my paintin' queue. (I am getting these done in record time these days.) It is first-come first-serve. If you want confirmation that I can do a specific thing, you are welcome to text me at 540-223-7816. I have no internet at home, so please do not worry if I don't respond to an email right away - the phone is really the best method.

Examples of Portraits I've Done Recently:

Baristas by thundercake
Adanji by thundercake
beblue commission by thundercake


Thank you to everyone who has hired me so far during this tough time. Patrons are as important to the art world as artists. This has been my opinion ever since I started out, but I am seriously sure about it now. I feel like every job I get gives me a little bit more life and self-confidence. There's nothing like making a kid stare in amazement at their own portrait, or surprising someone's partner on their birthday, or making a total stranger ecstatic at seeing her characters come to life, all because I wiggled my stylus a certain way. I am ludicrously fortunate, and I thank serendipity, even if the word itself makes me cringe.

  • Listening to: the trees talking
  • Reading: between the lines
  • Watching: the world burn
  • Playing: a dangerous game
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: manly tears
Hi there,

I just finished up my queue of portraits, and I am available for more! A painted character portrait is $20. This buys you a surprisingly large painting of your character, over which I will spend entirely too long obsessing. All proceeds go to an arguably worthy cause: my livelihood! 

If you want to spend less, but still want a nifty picture of your character, I will do $10 portraits. These are smaller paintings that you can use as avatars or bio pics. (I can make the actual avatars for you, too, if you don't have a graphics program.) This isn't something I can offer indefinitely, but I'm trying to stretch my income this month, so get them while they're possible!

Please write me at my work email if you'd like a commission. (This is NOT my paypal email, please do not try to send $!)

My paypal email is, if you'd like to donate to the ongoing Drag Thundercake Out Of The Gutter In Which She Currently Resides Fund. A million thanks to everyone who has helped out so far by donating or hiring me. I am a VERY lucky person to have been given a second shot at my art career. I have several interesting things in the works right now, including an anthology cover that will be put out in late spring. Starting to get my flow going again, and it's getting easier. :) 

Love you dA! <3
  • Listening to: the trees talking
  • Reading: between the lines
  • Watching: the world burn
  • Playing: a dangerous game
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: manly tears
First Thing's First: 

You guys know that you literally saved my life last month, right? Like, prevented me from freezing and/or starving, in the actual, non-hyperbolic way? O_O I can't tell you how much of a difference this has made in my life, not just practically, but mentally. Being able to do digital art with a tablet again…oh man. It's like I rediscovered the ability to do magic. 

Unfortunately, the kind of job I do often leaves me weeks without any new work. I have a job at the end of February, but once I finish up my queue of commissions, I'm high and dry for several weeks. I need to pay my rent and energy this first week, so I'm doing a rain dance right now. I need to raise $150 by Thursday. 

If you'd like to donate to the unofficial Save Thundercake fund, my paypal email is ((( ))). Everyone who donates gets a shoutout in my nightly eldritch invocations. (Feel your ears burning? That's that old deep magic.)


Right now I am totally open for digital commissions. Bust portrait commissions are the best for me - you can see countless examples in my gallery - so they are cheapest, at $20 a pop. (The more you pay, the longer I can afford to spend on it, the more badass it will look.) These can then be used for forum avatars, profile pictures, & what have you. I can also bring your characters to max life with full body illustrations. These are calculated individually. Lastly, I can paint real people, but this is more expensive as it's more time consuming and exact. (If you're fine with a caricature over an exact likeness, it's the same price.)

If you'd like to discuss a job with me TONIGHT, you can call me - my phone number is ((( 540-223-7816 ))). (If you have phone anxiety, as a surprising number of people have said: I can relate, as I struggled with that for most of my life, and it's approached phobic levels at times. Feel free to text me if you are too nervous to call)


Still working on the funding for our shop, the Copperline - I have a business plan and hopefully we will qualify for a small loan to get it started. I'm also looking into gofundme. We'll eventually have an associated online store selling my prints, custom signs and handmade items. 

I have set up a Patreon profile: ((( ))) I have no idea how this site works yet, so forgive me if I made a faux pas on my profile. I'm always worried about that. Patreon is apparently just a formalization of the nebulous internet art patron community, which is very cool. One day when I have a good source of income I'm going to be one of those people. I really get know how support, financial AND emotional, is crucial to continuing this life. Art gets you very little respect irl, so hearing that what you do is important to someone is a huge validation of your life. 

Final Thought: 

It's really hard to ask for help. It's nerve-wracking, admitting failure to such a huge audience. It's also weird to feel such directionless gratitude. I can babble thanks on the phone and write emails to everyone but I never know what exactly to say. So many of you don't know me at all. Hearing from a total stranger "you were a part of my artistic development" is surreal, and uplifting in a way I can't properly describe. How can I even begin to pay you all back for this? I can only say, to this website and the people who have supported me during this time: you are the entire reason I am doing digital art again. 

  • Listening to: the trees talking
  • Reading: between the lines
  • Watching: the world burn
  • Playing: a dangerous game
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: manly tears

Hi folks,
I put up our paypal account yesterday and my mother tells me there's been a lot of money coming in from donations. I cannot even believe what's going on right now and I am so immensely grateful. Thank you all so much. Frankly, I want to take down the email address because this wasn't what I intended to happen. but my mom and husband tell me "NO DON'T" (basically); we all agree I should tell you guys what we plan to do with the donated money, and not look a gift horse in the mouth. I am torn about this. pride is a really funny thing. I am reading that people are unable to afford it but are giving me money anyway and I really... do not want! I mean, that is so sweet and wonderful but please don't burden yourself financially for me! As it is, we are really going to be ok for a while, and we'll be able to put our life plan into action. More importantly I will be able to do digital art again, and that means the entire world to me. 

My husband and I are starting a thrift shop called the Copperline; we're smack dab in the middle of town on family land. I've also started this sign business and I hope to sell some of my original artwork and prints through the shop. It's called Lemon Tree Letter Co. (name after the first song I ever heard that my dad used to sing to me) We're renovating the old house and skip-hopping along with yard sales. My husband is (among many things) a talented carpenter, and he was working on Tangier Island this summer. Right before we got married he was injured in a bike accident and now has a wonky shoulder that scares the dickens out of me. Things have been pretty rough for everyone in the family and especially my immediate in-laws, who live nearby. But with this shop I'm hoping we can create something that will save the family, and be the foundation for my future family.

I got a nifty new gig in Richmond too, I'll post about that later. It came out of a superfun job I did for Young House Love last year. (really cool people, check out their blog) It's in the field of interior design, but it's more like a mural job, with a twist. Hard to explain right at the moment since I'm still so flustered...

(I've also been working on the official Thorns books- ever since the plans for the new game fell through.. I have a stack of looseleaf a foot high. not having computer/wifi/tv for months on end is REALLY good for the creative juices.)

So yes! I have several jobs lined up now. I woke up this morning feeling...just....amazing! I want to get back into this. I feel so motivated and wonderful, I'm not even editing my writing. (Don't take this as a sample of my writing. It's bad.) I'm going to get on dA and hustle like before, and I will post many updates and pictures of our projects. I'm also pretty excited to upload my pencil stuff because I've been studying from life and I think I'm getting the hang of some new tricks. :)

I'm looking into several different things that people have suggested. I will thank every one of you individually - mom emailed me the responses. I love you guys so much. <3 

PS - I must apologize to the client who said "fandom" and confused me on the phone. That is seriously how out of touch I am. I forgot that fandoms are a thing.

  • Mood: Tired

a hail mary pass

Tue Jan 6, 2015, 12:23 PM

I want to thank everyone who contacted me from the bottom of my heart. I am so incredibly humbled by the responses. Umm, not good with emotions right now. Can I just say I freakin love dA, and every one of you people, so much it hurts? I do. 

I was asked to put up the paypal address I use; it is

Soon I will be able to paint digitally again...feels like my life is about to restart. I am so happy right now




I have been a member of this site since I was 17. Now, I am nearly 27 years old. This website was a huge part of my life and my artistic development. I have met so many amazing, talented, fantastic, generous, wonderful people here. From the moment I first picked up a stylus you have been there for me, cheering me on, teaching me what I needed to know.  

So, what happens when you're a digital artist, and the tablet you've been using for ten years finally dies, and you can't afford a new one?

My Intuos was my only reliable source of income. I didn't have a closet full of paints and canvas on standby, so I fell back on my other skills and worked wherever I could until I lost my apartment. Things took a turn for the worse.

I'm married now, living in a rural area, and quickly losing my grip because of unemployment. My husband can't drive or work due to an injury. I've danced along the poverty line before, but now I can't even see it if I squint up. 

Folks…THIS IS NOT ANY KIND OF LIFE. For a while I was selling my plasma 1-2 times a week, but I can't anymore, because there's no center here. We ration every can of beans and every pack of ramen noodles. We can't afford our prescriptions. There is no heat in our house, and in a few days we'll be entering the Below Freezing zone; we've been through three space heaters already. We have no bathtub or shower, and only one small sink. Needless to say, we're not online. (I drove to a library on gasoline fumes to post this.) Every single day I am gripped with raw fear - that our power will be shut off, that one of us will get sick, that the pipes will freeze. I am afraid for the first time in my life that I won't make it out of my twenties. If this goes on much longer, we're going to be homeless. 

Getting up in the morning is a conscious decision to continue living. I will allow myself the drama of saying that it is becoming more and more difficult to want to be alive. I miss being able to post here, to talk with other artists. I miss my Thorns peeps. Mostly I just miss being the sort of person who had a bright future. I always thought if I was good enough, things would work out for me. I thought that following my calling was the right thing to do, and people supported me so much. Some days I feel like I have failed them.

It's funny… I used to joke about being a starving artist. I was such a jackass! I had no idea what it was like to be food insecure without a safety net. I had no idea what it would be like to have to decide between meds and food, or food and gas, or gas and having a working phone. I didn't know about the crushing weight of worry, envy, despair and exhaustion - it hits me the moment I open my eyes in the morning and follows me like a little raincloud all day. 

Turns out, life is really freakin cruel, and you have to squeeze whatever happiness you can out of it before it kills you.

But artwork still gives me joy, and I have been practicing as much as possible with the materials left to me by my aunt when she passed. I've been working in acrylic and watercolor pencils, trying to continue to develop my skills and try new things. Without art I might be close to throwing in the towel, but it gives me purpose and direction in life. 

Basically, I REALLY need work. So for the first time I'm going to take traditional media commissions. (I can do any type of illustration. But since they're my specialty, character bust portraits are only $20 (+ s&h). ) Repeat: I'm using real paper and real pigment and mailing you the real results. :O 

THAT is what digital artists do when their tablets break. Evolve or die, right?

I'm going to put my number up here, because it is literally the only reliable way to reach me. It's 540-223-7816. I will come back to the library ASAP and check my email ( in case anyone has written me, but the phone is really the best way. You only have 7 days left to call me before my minutes go poof, so please don't wait.

I hate to beg, but I can't afford not to. PLEASE help if you can. Through it all I still believe that I was meant to be an artist. It's the thing that gives my life meaning. I'm not good at a lot of things, but I am lucky to know how to draw. Art has saved me before, and I am hanging on the hope that commissions will get us through this tough period until I can find steady work.

Here's hoping I get a phone call today. Cheers and happy new year, everyone. <3

  • Mood: Tired

turning the corner

Mon May 20, 2013, 1:15 PM

Hi folks!

I had a wonderful birthday; the curse is broken.

I've been working and spending time with friends lately so I haven't uploaded in a minute, but I'm working on some exciting new stuff. For now I'd like to link to my tumblr. My friend Applefritter let me know that somebody recently blogged a few of my paintings and it got, like, 1400 reblogs, which is Tumblr talk that confuses and frightens me, but I understand it to be good. Yay!

Also hit me up on twitter - @ivycave

I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future. I will be more social in the future.

If you wrote me a note, I will get to you! Promise! <3


  • Mood: Tired

glad tidings

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 10:12 AM

Well, these days I'm doing a heck of a lot better. Mentally, physically, and economically - although things are still tight, I've been making enough to get by and I started a new job. I'm really liking it so far. I've been more social and spending a lot of time painting and drawing. Overall things are looking up!

character portraits are now $30 each. I'm excited about my next upload. It's not finished yet.


  • Mood: Tired

Hi folks!

As you can see I've been doing portrait commissions. It's been going so well that I think I could open the door to other sorts of commissions, since I can't afford to be picky. I need to make rent, and I have 10 days. :/ It's down to the wire, but I'm feeling so good and capable these days that I'm not worried and I know I'll be able to do it. I also just got a new day job, so I know next month will be infinitely easier.

  • I can do painted 100x100 avatars of your original character for $10.

  • I can do portrait sketches for $10 or full body for $15

  • I can do full painted portraits for $40 or smaller for $30 or even smaller for $20 - three sizes, three different levels of finish

  • I'm open to any offers for illustrations, logos, borders, lettering (I swear I can do it)... hit me up!

some examples of what I've been up to:

Space Princess Saria by thundercake beblue commission by thundercake Sulfur by thundercake

YEAAAAHHHH so. hire me. :D


  • Mood: Tired

Ugh, that title is so weak. Maybe I'll think of something cooler by the time I'm done writing this.

Sulfur by thundercake

So now that I have my tablet back I'm going to be working on a series of digital character portraits. This effort is part fundraising for myself, part getting back into the saddle, so by ordering, you're really helping me out in two ways. Why portraits? Well, because they're fun and I love doing them. :P

I'm going to be doing things a little differently this time, so please bear with me if you're interested. Here's the scoop.

* I work best when I'm painting your own original fantasy, scifi, and other fictional characters. For the time being I'm not soliciting realistic portraits of real people.
* You can provide me with any kind of reference you have handy. Visuals are best but I can work from a written description.
* I will be doing these commissions one at a time, paypal'd in advance. Can't take a check or money orders this time, sorry!
* I can't really tell what the response will be to this offer, but I want to warn that I may not be able to get to everybody, if there are a lot of orders.
* I'm shooting for each portrait to be around $30 - $50. It will depend on the level of complexity of your character. (Please note that my prices have dropped considerably. Thanks, RECESSION.)
* Tips are always appreciated as I am waaaay more of a starving artist now than I used to be. So if you tip me, I will spend longer on your painting, and probably write you a love letter or something.

How to order:

* Send me a note with the title "2013 Commission".
* Include the name of your character, and provide visual references or a thorough written description. If you want, tell me a little about your character - with an idea of their personality I can do a better portrait. Please also include your email address and name.
* I will respond, we'll banter, etc. and decide on a price. I'll send you my paypal info, receive your payment, and then get my portraiture on.
* When I'm done you'll receive the hi-res file. I personally feel like this is as good as having an original, because no one else has the big file, so you're the only one who can print it out properly.

Like I said, I'm going to be doing these one after another. I will not start a new portrait until I finish the last. If I take your payment, you can be assured that's the only thing I'm working on until it's done.

I'm sure this is unprofessional to say, but momma needs to make rent. If you want to hire me for something else, like a bigger illustration, don't hesitate to ask.



  • Mood: Tired

That's the title :)

Set 50 years in the future from the T:U game date, this game will tackle a new kind of social upheaval: the disintegration of class boundaries, the struggles of a newly integrated society, economic strife, border conflicts, the meaning of life, mysterious enormous beasts that suddenly started showing up everywhere, giant cracks in reality out of which pour millions of hungry ghosts, labor laws, school rivalries, love, hate, and all the messy in-between stuff.

This is still in development phase. If you were part of T:U and would like to participate in R&D with me, please email me at with Thorns in the subject line.


I need money :P So I am going to be taking one commission at a time, in traditional media. Pencils, maybe watercolors. I will post a sample very soon with details. For this time, since I'm just getting back into working, I want to focus on character portraits. If a traditional media drawing of your character sounds good to you, it would be helpful to me if you'd post indicating your potential interest. It's been a while since I did commissions (2 years?) so I'm starting out doing only one at a time. The good news is this means I'll be posting stuff again soon. :)

  • Mood: Tired

the summer of Thorns

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 8:31 AM

Hi folks, how's it going? :)

I've moved into my new home, and can't wait to begin work again. Some of you may be aware that I was running a coffee shop. The shop was (very recently, like since my last journal) forced to close. I'm very sad about it, but it does afford me more time to work on my own projects, and it is nice not to be at the point of exhaustion every day...weird, though, to go from working 70+ hours a week to nothing.

The news I have for you today has been struggling to burst out of me for weeks. I've been working on a SEQUEL for Thorns: Uprising! Thorns was always a multiple-universe setting, so a game set in the future would allow T:U to continue unabated. This would not be the same game rehashed in a different era. I want to encourage more in-depth writing, more prose, poetry, letter-writing, etc; players will have more opportunity to develop their characters' stories and build their profiles. We'd also have a much bigger, better organized art section - you could be a player and do nothing but draw peoples' characters, if you want. The idea is a fully immersive world, with tons of different ways to participate. Hopefully this is something I can really kick into gear this summer.

I was so touched by the dedication of Thorns players, and how hard they worked after my absence to keep it going, that I felt a major resurgence in passion for the project. It's my biggest single work, and I am reinvigorated with new ideas. Dark, scary, timey-wimey ideas. Big beautiful fun ideas with polka dots. Little ideas that look big and big ideas that look little.

Game name announcement and more details to follow. :D

Thanks for watching!


  • Mood: Tired

greetings from nowhere in particular

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 9:56 AM

check out this stuff

Wed Nov 9, 2011, 5:42 PM

Check out these amazing posters.
Have you ever seen anything so amazing?
No, you have not.
So buy one now.
Buy one and rejoice.
Buy one, and love yourself again.
You are nothing without one of these posters.

This message has been brought to you by boxed wine.

  • Mood: Tired

haha what

Fri Oct 28, 2011, 12:20 PM

I was reminded of this place's existence by ARichards

OK so life updates: I'm single for the first time in 10 years, I'm moving to Seattle next month, I have barely been painting at all, I am working as a graphic artist and web designer for a software company, I had an absolutely terrible year, I came back to 24,683 messages and I'm not going to answer any of them.

Sorry I know, I'm the worst :/

  • Mood: Tired

3 portrait commissions are available from $50-$100 each, depending on the level of detail you're looking for.
Bros by thundercake
Sketch portraits with quick color are available for $25. I don't have any recent examples, but they're basically like rougher portrait paintings.

I'll take the first three people that can pay. After that, I'm going to start a queue. If anyone's interested I can try to live stream my work again. It's been a while.

If you've previously contacted me about commissions and did not receive an answer, I will try to get back to you soon. Sorry for the delay.

  • Mood: Tired

sea changes

Tue Jan 11, 2011, 10:00 AM

I'm going through some enormous changes in my life right now. To be brief, I made the very difficult and painful decision to leave my partner of 7 years. This along with my medical recovery means things are pretty nuts at the moment.

I won't be taking any new work until I finish up my current jobs, but I'm going to need to make some extra money so I will be opening up dA commissions very soon, with a flat price list like I had before. Never thought I'd be doing that again =p

Anyway, believe it or not, I'm doing all right. I wish I could turn off comments on this entry because I really don't want to receive any condolences. While this is a scary time in my life, I know I did the right thing and I have no regrets.

  • Mood: Tired

Portraits update

Thu Dec 16, 2010, 1:34 PM

Hi folks :) Just a quick update explaining how I'm handling portrait commissions.

I've been dealing with some health issues lately, and my endurance was going up and down sporadically. I've been unwilling to keep a "queue" as I used to, so what I'm doing is taking commissions as they come in, finishing them and then handling the next one, but not taking any money in advance because I would have no way of knowing if I could get everything done before the holidays are over.

Anyway, if you've sent me a note and I have not yet replied, it's because I want to keep them marked and in order so I don't forget about them. I will reply right away if I have the chance to take your commission.

As it stands, there are only 9 days left before Christmas, and I may be able to fit in a rush order or two before then. I'll do my best.

Happy holidays!

  • Mood: Tired

christmas portraits

Mon Nov 29, 2010, 10:29 AM

For Christmastime I am offering high-quality painted character portraits or real-people portraits.

Due to the unpredictability of my schedule, I can only take on one project at a time, but I will post up here when they are available again.

The price will depend on what is requested. However, character portraits will always be cheaper than real-people portraits because it is harder to get a likeness when you're working with real folks in photos. I specialize in fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk humanoid characters. Anthro characters are more challenging for me but I will still accept those jobs.

Bros by thundercake Eliza Thornberry by thundercake Gregg by thundercake

Please note me if you're interested :)

  • Mood: Tired