Monthly Archives: May 2015

Pretty in Punk Mandala

My love is amorphous, like a single celled organism dropped in a vat of acid.

My love is amorphous, like a single celled organism dropped in a vat of acid.

What’s black and red and pink and spiky and full of love? This lopsided septagonal mandala which potentially looks like a Hot Topic exploding over an Orange Julius stand at the mall. It appears to be comprised of equal parts death, hearts, and sugar. It looks sharp. It will probably cut you if you try to pick it up. And it’s probably ornery, too. I bet the tips break off in your hand and you have to dig them out with a sterilized sewing needle.

On a wholly unrelated note, if you like webcomics and/or binge-reading, and you haven’t already, why not head over to Panels and check out my new article about webcomics you can read straight through, beginning to end, online?

Dragon Comics 101

Because seriously I will know if so much as a single cup is removed! And just because I'm feeling super-nerdy, that was NOT an LotR reference. My guess is that Tolkein was undoubtedly foreshadowing Oakenshield's death by referencing the act that led to Beowulf's death in the Old English epic of the same name, which predates The Hobbit by roughly 1000 years. Nerd cred!

Because seriously I will know if so much as a single cup is removed! And just because I’m feeling super-nerdy, that was NOT an LotR reference. My guess is that Tolkein was undoubtedly foreshadowing Oakenshield’s death by referencing the act that led to Beowulf’s death in the Old English epic of the same name, which predates The Hobbit by roughly 1000 years. Nerd cred!

While the comic Fox would naturally be the one who couldn’t understand why Dragon wouldn’t buy chicken and waffles if Dragon had the capital to do so, the real life Fox and I share similar views on cash: it is a thing you acquire. It is not a thing that you dispense of without great forethought.

The majority of people don’t sit down and puzzle out their opinions on how to establish wealth once they finish high school (although I imagine that the few people who do this manage to succeed in acquiring wealth). Rather, we inherit our attitudes about money from our parents. If our parents live on credit, we’re more likely to function under the assumption that borrowing is the best way to get what we want, and that we deserve to get what we want, and we deserve to get it right away. If our parents teach us to spend what we have when we get it, we’re not likely to think about future finances or consider why saving is a good option. If our parents exhibit extreme frugality, we learn to be suspicious of conspicuous consumption and to stack rather than spend.

I started working when I was 11; my parents almost never gave me cash, so when I did buy frivolous stuff, it was always balanced by the knowledge of how much time it had taken me to earn that stuff. My own parents didn’t make large purchases lightly or buy useless things, ever. Their tastes were never influenced by fashion or indeed the possibility of upgrading. My dad bought an Apple IIe in 1980 and I’m pretty sure he was still using that machine when I graduated high school more than a decade later. He still has the same stereo–the same speakers–in the same entertainment center–he acquired in 1987.

Admittedly, there’s a part of me that really really REALLY wants to upgrade my 4-year-old MacBook Air, but I can’t justify it. This one works fine; I don’t really have any income. Even though I could easily finance a $1,099 computer out of my savings, or with my excellent credit, rationally it’s a terrible decision, and I would never make it, even though I really really REALLY want a new computer. (The new ones have better batteries! And yes, I recognize that I could have a non-Mac laptop for 1/3 the cost, but then we’re in an entirely different discussion about money and possessions and why we make certain decisions.) Because there are just better things to do with $1,099, including leaving it in the bank, and I don’t have an immediate plan for raising another $1,099. Ergo, buying a computer is short-sighted.

And that’s the secret to how I’ve been able to spend so much of my life focused on art: I don’t spend money. During the 6 years I made bank as the Lead Copywriter for an international Internet company, I did get used to having discretionary income and being able to get whatever I wanted, but it didn’t change my overall attitude toward money. (Toward the end it did make me realize that the more money I had, the more money I needed, and the less joy I felt in that money.)

If I had a hoard, my attitude wouldn’t change. I’d fix the house, pay off the mortgage, travel more, and yes, get a 2015 Air. But I would probably still buy my clothes at Target and drive my mom’s old Honda. It’s just a matter of figuring out what’s important to you.

Something to Squawk about…

This T-shirt has the pre-school seal of approval.

This T-shirt has the pre-school seal of approval..

Another satisfied customer models the Punk Rock Raven kids’ T-shirt size 7 in green.

My thoughts on the magnificent corvid being well-documented, there is not much more to say about this shirt other than it’s adorable, almost as adorable as this kid. Especially adorable on this kid.

I took another stab at using Photoshop to color correct an image today. It didn’t come out bad, except that somehow I managed to make a tree in the background look completely fake, and by the time I even noticed, it was too late to undo it, so I had to go down to the pixels and fix it up by hand. As this was only my second attempt, we can call it a qualified success. Will continue to learn.

Dragon Comics 100!

And the next thing you know you're lying at the bottom of a lake with a black arrow sticking through your chest and there's 5 armies shoving each other around your front yard, and nobody wants that.

And fifteen minutes later you’re lying at the bottom of a lake with a black arrow sticking through your chest and there’s 5 armies shoving each other around your front yard, and nobody wants that.

I’ve published 100 4-panel webcomics! That means I get to recycle this panel:

Ooohh...cake...

Ooohh…really old recycled cake… 

It’s even more relevant now than it was the first time around, because the snake is well and truly vanquished.

For a while it seemed like I should end this experiment with a big bang on the 100th comic, but it seems like there are other places to go with Dragon. At the same time, there are a bunch of other projects that are calling my name, too. So the best course of action seems to be that I will work on whatever I feel like when I feel like it: do some Dragon, but not as much, work on old projects, and start new project. There will probably come a point in the near future when I’m not drawing Dragon Comics 3 times a week or updating this blog 5 times, but I’m not going to stop entirely, either.

One of the other projects I intend to get going this year is going to be a big one, something a lot more serious and considered than what I’ve been working on this some, something that will hopefully interest an audience outside my friends and family and the few people who have randomly stumbled upon and then managed to appreciated my casual late night humor. Believe me, I appreciate you guys too. But badly drawn comics, however amusing to me, are not my final aim, and some of these panels take a couple hours. I want to do something in a very different style, something that’s more story and character driven than a webcomic, and more lovely and detail oriented than this artwork.

I’ll probably take a vacation from QvD in the near future, but I’ve already got a couple more comics scripted as well as a super-cute photograph of a little kid wearing my merch, in addition to a scanned mandala, so this week will be business as usual.