Monthly Archives: November 2014

Dragon Comics 43

HAPPY THANKSGIVING CATS AND KITTENS!

Only in America could we transform a celebration of gratitude for not starving to death into a celebration of Dionysian excess ushering in a month-long period of accelerated capitalism.

Only in America could we transform a celebration of gratitude for not starving to death into a celebration of Dionysian excess ushering in a month-long period of accelerated capitalism.

In brief: after 9/11, although I have never loved New York and didn’t know a single person there in 2001, I was one of those Americans who sort of lost their minds. For 3 days I did nothing but listen to NPR and freak out. I had to leave grad school in the middle of the semester to go home to my mom for a week. I was treated for PTSD. And then one day I woke up and said to myself, wait a second, I’m a fantasist. I can escape this world any time I like; I just need to go back to my novel.

We live in trying and complicated times. All QWERTYvsDvorak can offer is a moment of (hopefully) comedic escape. This is my first attempt at a purely visual gag. This Thanksgiving, I will offering gratitude for myriad blessings, and remembering those less fortunate and those whose lives, by a trick of fate, are so much more difficult than mine.

QWERTYvsDvorak will be taking the week off to enjoy time with family and recover from whatever bacteria has settled in my lungs. Comics and updates resume Wednesday, December 3rd. Be good to one another, people. We’re all we have, really.

Johnny the Australian Shepherd

On our recent sojourn through Arizona, we met a lot of friendly dogs. Johnny was the first of many canids to make our acquaintance on this trip. As we drove up onto the beach at Roosevelt Lake, Johnny was desperately trying to interest his human in a rousing game of fetch. His human was participating half-heartedly while trying to get his paddleboard gear organized. As soon as he saw us, Johnny came running down the beach, ball in mouth, to determine whether we would be his new best friends.

After we spent 45 minutes repeatedly heaving object into the lake for Johnny to joyously chase, catch, and return, his human called him over. Johnny jumped up onto the paddleboard and floated off with his human as I snapped the source image for this digital painting.

Johnny the paddleboarding dog in sticker form.

Johnny the paddleboarding dog in sticker form.

The original and the prints would be in a much higher resolution. It’s a small design, so some of the details are lost in a screenshot of this low res image. However, I’m pretty pleased with it, although it is little.

The reason there haven’t been any new T-shirts in the shop lately is that I started a large digital painting of a peacock a couple months ago. I’ve probably spent more than 30 hours on it so far, and it’s probably 1/3 of the way done! (In comparison, Johnny took me about 2 hours.) I’m sort of bummed out because there was another T-shirt design that I started a while ago and really wanted online before Friday, but that’s not going to happen. So it’s nice to add Johnny to the gallery. I will probably add a couple dragon panels this week, too, but we’ll see. I’m still sick and now my mom’s here.

You can acquire Johnny the Australian Shepherd Dog on a variety of fine products by clicking the link embedded in this anchor text.

Dragon Comics 42

Seriously. You should try it sometime. You'd be surprised how well it works.

Seriously. You should try it sometime. You’d be surprised how well it works.

Right now I’m grateful that I actually finished this comic. After 4 days of nonstop holiday cleaning, I find myself sick like a little kid, with an actual fever and everything. So if this comic makes no sense, blame it on my 100.5° temperature and my inability to breath the air that remains after you run the cleaning cycle on an oven where you regularly roast entire chickens. Not to mention my allergy to pretty much every cleaning product ever. My house is now toxic to me, and the sad part is that it doesn’t look substantially cleaner than it did before we started.

This is another comic that’s more about me than the kids. In reality, the Girl is something of a Pollyanna, with a strangely sunny disposition and a powerful ability to love her family. Although she also loves butter, sugar, milk, salt, cheese, and Taylor Swift. The redundancy of dairy products is due to the fact that The Man really did grow up on a dairy farm.

Not sure how many more comics I can write this week, since there’s family coming and also I am now the walking dead. We’ll take a little break for the holidays. Web traffic drops off like crazy at the end of the year, unless you’re selling holiday gifts.

Dragon Comics 41

Don't think about it too hard. Time travel is still completely nonsensical.

Don’t think about it too hard. Time travel is still completely nonsensical. In some reality, the cats are just passing the earring back and forth between panel 2 and panel 3 for all eternity, like a moebius loop. 

You know how it is when someone really wants your help, but you’re so sure that the thing they’re asking couldn’t possibly be helpful to them. You want to be a good friend. You want to comply with their request. At the same time, you know that it’s a waste of time, yours and theirs.

Maybe trying is better than doing nothing.

Time travel remains nonsensical.

 

 

 

 

So Alive: A Green Mandala

Plant symmetry is affected by environmental factors.

Plant symmetry is affected by environmental factors.

This vibrant, playful Thursday mandala features a verdant, blossoming design and fresh, vernal color palette. It’s reminiscent of water lilies and suggest the persistent quality of nature, the drive of life to continue living, to move away from the source in an effort to spread life.

Life is on my mind on my 40th birthday. Not the meaning of life, or my purpose in it, since I believe those questions were settled to my satisfaction long ago, but the simple state of being alive. How much wonder and beauty and possibility are packed into this fortunate experience called life, how lucky we are to have the option to choose. Even if you can’t choose your circumstances, you can still choose your reaction. You can still choose what’s inside your head.

Dragon Comics 40

My medium is metaphor. Mixed metaphor, I guess.

My medium is metaphor. Mixed metaphor, I guess.

It’s merely a coincidence that this 40th Dragon Comic publishes on the day on which the world marks my 40th trip around the sun. I assure you that this has no bearing on my maturity level. I do like how this arc comes sort of full circle, from satisfaction with art, to dissatisfaction with art, to depression about art, to straight up depression, to comedy about depression, and back to satisfaction with art.

There’s something classically right about black humor (thus, Dragon holds a copy of Hamlet, one of the best examples of gallows humor, in panel 1) because as long as we can laugh at our terror, our pain, and our uncertainty about life, we know that these things have not yet consumed us. When Hamlet fools with Yorick’s skull in the graveyard, it gives him, at last, the presence of mind to consider his own inevitable death while stirring in him the sensations of life. Ophelia’s death, and the clowning around it, spurs him on to the death and violence of the play’s conclusion. We all die, so why not keep merry? Whether or not Hamlet avenges himself on Claudius, he and Claudius and everyone else will die, like his Yorick, like his father, like Ophelia. Love cannot save us from death, but humor can save us from fear.

I’m 40. I’m mortal. I’m going to die. But until then, I’m going to laugh. Even when I’m depressed, I’m going to laugh.

All Dragon, All the Time

It’s not going to be forever.

Dragon Comics are definitely a finite thing. There’s no termination date or anything like that, but there are other projects in my mind, projects planned out more carefully than this one.

That said, there is a lot of Dragon.

Last week, at a Yelp Elite event, there was a wineglass painting station, and somehow, Dragon turned up there!

That snake would drive anyone to drink.

That snake would drive anyone to drink.

Then, because people were leaving and there were still undecorated wineglasses, I added a mandala to the night’s accomplishments.

Mandala wineglass is on the right, seen with Dragon and a bunch of other decorated wineglasses.

Mandala wineglass is on the right, seen with Dragon and a bunch of other decorated wineglasses.

I rarely drink, and when I do, it’s usually from my buddy Jeff’s Woodeye Glasses, so they’re just sitting on the bookshelf right now, but if I ever get that Kickstarter together, these glasses will probably be a reward.

There's nothing like other people's badly drawn rendition of your badly drawn characters.

There’s nothing like other people’s badly drawn rendition of your badly drawn characters.

But that’s not all the Dragon. You see, this little dragon is about to have a birthday. One of the big ones. And her kind friends threw her a rather intimate little party. And Dragon even turned up there.

I don’t eat vast quantities of cake, or dessert in general, since I have a very low tolerance for flour and sugar. But this treat came from a local bakery called Cakelab, which specializes in gluten-free desserts. So I ate about 10 times as much sugar this weekend as I would normally eat in a year. And I’m kind of feeling it, if you know what I mean. Ouch. The cake is delicious, though. 

So, Dragon is pleasing to people, and Dragon is a stepping stone to something else. But right now, Dragon is ubiquitous. I still have one more comic in this little arc, plus a standalone for Friday, with humor that’s terribly nerdy and not at all black. The world is dark sometimes, and so is my sense of humor, but it’s all in good fun. You’re having fun, right?