Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness

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Maybe I was slightly inspired by that one Facebook frame. 

This is the time of year when I usually put up a Halloween-themed bulletin board, but somehow, this is what came out. Potentially I could still do a Halloween/All Souls’ design next month, but lately I have more design work than I can keep up with. Some of it actually pays money! And some of it is for fun, but it’s still serious to me. I’m working on something a bit blue, which I might as well say after that orgy T-shirt. Now I know what will happen when I post adult material on my public blog. My father will send me a personal message about how my mother can’t see things like that. My mother won’t see it because she has never, ever, ever understood any of my work and doesn’t look at it unless you force her to, and even then I suspect she’s looking but not seeing, the way, when I was a kid, that I could hear her without listening. My brother will post a sort of funny joke about it on the blog, and I will be charmingly reminded of the day that he, as an 11-year-old, confronted me with the shocking realization that AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” was entirely about sex. My grandmother hasn’t had internet since the hurricane but she’s got a stained glass panel of a naked lady above her bed, so, you know. It’s my blog. I’ll post whatever I want.

Anyway, I had the idea about the hands with the candles and after I made them I started thinking about the quote: I’ve almost done the Dumbledore one about turning on the light a couple times, and I was leaning in that direction. Then one of the kids hanging around the school (it was during conferences) started asking me a million questions and I had to spent 10 minutes explaining to her why we call the holidays the “season of lights” and then she told me to just make the text, “Happy Holidays,” which I have never once done. The Rabbit called me up at the same time and didn’t like the Dumbledore quote and then started reading quotes about light to me until I finally chose this MLK one. The complete quote reads “Darkness cannot drive our darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

 

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Dragon Comics 169

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Get you a man who knows how to lighten the mood. 

Obviously, Dragon could flame broil The Man if Dragon wanted to, but Dragon’s patience and forbearance is legendary among legendary creatures. You have no idea, the things Dragon has to put up with a world that mostly does not embrace dragons. Dragon would fight The Man, but The Man is not big enough, so Dragon has learned tolerance.

I like that last panel with The Man hoisting Dragon over his head. In real life, he can’t quite do that. I’m sure he’d like to. More to the point, when I started drawing comics, it would have taken me 3 days to draw. I improve. Slowly.

Dragon Comics 168

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In The Man’s defense, while he did just have lunch a couple pages back in comic time, it’s been almost 4 months in real time. And he does love barbecue.

If a dragon eats a human, obviously, it’s not cannibalism.

Even though I got stung by a bee, again, and suffered what would be categorized as a “moderate” reaction (my entire forearm swelled up and it itches from my wrist almost to my shoulder) I made a comic. Hooray for me. It was weird typing these words I originally wrote months ago, especially today, as The Man is Away on Family Business and he might be back tomorrow or he might be gone for a couple days. I guess I go away without him a lot more often than he goes away without me, so that feels strange, too.

Otherwise all there is to say is that this background took way longer than I thought it would and I should have made the black stripes be rainbow stripes running perpendicular to the other rainbow stripes. It would have been at least 20% cooler. Live and learn.

 

Dragon Comics 167

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Lost in time, lost in space, and meaning.

Here’s something you haven’t seen since last May: new Dragon Comics! When we last left our heroes, they were on a mystical, if peripatetic, journey. And I wrote a 2-week story arc for this part of the journey last spring and never got around to drawing it because I was drawing something else 25 hours a week and that was all the drawing my thumb could take. But now I have some time I’ll probably get this comic to some sort of plateau.

Truth be told, Dragon Comics aren’t what they used to be. Not only can I draw much more impressive webcomics than I could when I started this strip, so much about the relationships in the comics has changed. The Missesses Kitty are divorced, the Fox and the Otter are married and they have a Wolf-Deer in the mix. The Man and I are still on a mystical journey, but a lot changes in 3 years. I don’t know if I should think of a new iteration for the comic, or just move on to another kind of story. My friends have always liked this comic, but the rest of the internet seems more impressed by the other comics I draw.

Still, there’s a bit more of this story to tell, at least. Maybe it’s a good idea to keep it in reserve for when the plot needs to get a bit more metaphorical than comic.

Stop Me before I Create Again

pp,550x550What can I even say about this? Well, I’m all about being not ashamed. So I am not ashamed. Whimsical designs haven’t made my rich. Maybe off-color ones will do the trick. Perhaps small town orgies will by my claim to fame.

The words aren’t mine; they came out of a serious conversation with my friend the Coyote. He was only trying to be a little funny. Obviously, the statement is objectively true. You can’t do it alone. As soon as it came out of his mouth, I said, “That’s a T-shirt,” immediately seeing the design fully formed in my mind. So why shouldn’t I draw it and post it in my RedBubble shop? I work fast now.

RedBubble has a bunch of new product types, including wall clocks and acrylic blocks. I’m not sure what you do with an acrylic block. I remember them being a thing in the ’70s, but now we can just use obsolete electronics for paperweights. But surely, someone, somewhere would be delighted to received an acrylic block as a present.

If you’d like to acquire this design on a T-shirt or some other useful product, you can find “It Takes a Village to Make an Orgy” in my RedBubble shop. 

 

Priorities

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His second-to-last word were, “I don’t want to be a statistic.”

This is something from my sketchbook, the only comic of a million ideas that I had while drawing “Close Encounters of the ∞ Kind” that I actually recorded. It never got worked up because I was busy and it was dark. But, man, we are living in some dark times. I had a whole screed that I intended to publish here about how dark those times are, for me personally and for the world at large, but suddenly I’m not feeling it. A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend asked, “People with invisible disabilities, what do you wish other people understood about living with your chronic illness?” and I wrote, “I am literally doing the best I can.”

I am literally doing the best I can.

In case anyone was wondering, I finished all the art for Close Encounters; it took me about 8 months all told, working an average of maybe 20 hours a week for most of it. Linda loved it. Although it was meant to be ambiguous and mind-bending, beta readers seemed to find it a bit too ambiguous and mind-bending, so I’m adding just a bit more text. But honestly, its intention is to be something that the reader has to work at and at this point in my life whether or not an individual gets my art has little impact on my artistic process.

What bums me out: the artwork is about 1000 times better than what usually ends up in my webcomics, and it still bears about as much resemblance to the pictures in my head as a 5-year-old’s crayon drawing does to a portrait of their family, and to get it that good required an entire month to draw a single page. Granted, I learned a lot in the process and if I had to do it again, it might take only 4 or 5 months, but that’s still too slow for the kind of comics I want to produce. You need at least a page a week. At 4 pages a week, these webcomics are as good as it gets right now. It’s a conundrum.

Hopefully, I can announce the next comic book on the horizon pretty soon.

Back to School, 2017-18

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What percentage of all elementary children will even understand what a chalkboard is? I don’t think this school even has any chalkboards.

Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, I went to school to put together this retro bulletin board. The original idea was to make it look like a smartboard on the right side and a chalkboard on the left, but they were out of white butcher paper. I had to use construction paper for the writing. The lettering is hand torn and the rest I cut out freehand with a scalpel. I hadn’t really figured out how to create the effect of a smartboard’s silver frame using the material at hand, and my time is limited anyway, so it’s best that the simpler concept prevailed.

This piece took a little more than 4 hours. I had my apprentice (the Girl) for the first time in a while, and that really helped it go faster. She’s tall enough to just reach the tip of the frame, and she’s a lot more patient and fastidious than I am, and there were tasks that she could do unsupervised that she could do just as well or better than me, like going back after the rubber cement dried to fix the places that hadn’t gotten sufficient adhesion, and then cleaning all the extra bits of rubber cement off the paper.

Other than that, I’ve been cleaning my office out, trying to get ride of a lot of material objects that no longer serve me, many of which I’ve been carrying for decades without ever using; setting up a floor desk, which I expect will be better for my back; and generally degunkifying the place, which I’ve occupied continuously for 7 1/2 years. I’m not quite ready to forsake all my material possessions, but a lot less clutter would be nice.

Will probably start posting more regularly soon, but possibly not 5 days a week. There many be another big project in the works. Maybe even 2!