Monthly Archives: November 2015

Top Leaf Mandala

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Yeah, I know what it looks like. My lips are sealed.

I’m back, and I have acquired 3 POUNDS of polymer clay for all your teeny tiny viewing pleasure. There’s one specific project I need to complete in the next couple weeks but after that, who knows. It’s 3 pounds. I could create a grocery store full of teeny tiny produce, or a teeny tiny city for the polymer Dragon to stomp through like a friendly blue Godzilla, or a garden of teeny tiny flowers, or more teeny tiny figures to wander through fantasy landscapes.

Today, Mrs. Kitty and I took a walk in the desert with the new Macro lens that Fox gave me, and we took giant pictures of teeny tiny things. I foresee a hilarious comic that involves little cartoon adventurers and a large cartoon spider, set against a backdrop of a series of landscape images that actually comprise about 6 inches of rock. Had some other comic ideas, but now it’s late and my fine motor coordination is probably compromised. I don’t think either Mrs. Kitty or I were really prepared, physically, for this particular hike.

This week, I have a paying assignment to write about pediatric cancer research and funding. Pretty sure there’s something else I’ve forgotten about, but it will definitely come to me, hopefully before the person I promised to write it for asks me when they can expect it.

 

Thanksgiving Gratitude

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Sometimes we need to stop and appreciate how much we really have.

It’s pretty common knowledge that a person can improve their overall state of mind by thinking of 3 things every day for which to be grateful. Living with constant gratitude simply makes you happier. For example, we have so much food. So. Much. Food. Some people in the world go hungry, but we never do. That’s something to be very thankful for.

So here I’ve sculpted 51 tiny fruits and vegetables out of polymer clay because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Mrs. Kitty and I were hanging out last week and needed something to do with our hands. She made a bowl and some jewelry, including a hilarious pendant that reads, “Be Kind, Asshole.” Genius. And I made a bunch of produce. I already had a bowl and a couple pieces of fruit from my trip to Flagstaff in 2014 with the Owl, and then earlier this week, I added a couple more and made another bowl and a basket, and Mrs. Kitty also made a bowl. And then I spent seriously THREE DAYS setting up this shoot.

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Pretty basic setup here

You can see my photo studio. I love this Flower Fairy popup book for a subtle backdrop. When I don’t use the bookshelves for the setting, this Ikea Lack table typically serves as the stage for 3D comics, and this old lamp, which once belonged to my grandmother, is always the light. The tripod ended up being useless because it wouldn’t go low enough.

Some close ups:

IMG_7789IMG_7808IMG_7871IMG_7876IMG_7878There could be another 10 photos to this post. I mean, you can hardly see the details on the basket of carrots, or the pumpkin, or the eggplant! But you get the idea.

Pictured here:

  • Apples (2)
  • Asparagus (6)
  • Bananas (1)
  • Broccoli (1)
  • Cabbage, purple* (1)
  • Carrots (6)
  • Cauliflower (1)
  • Corn (1)
  • Cucumber (1)
  • Eggplant (2)
  • Garlic (1)
  • Grapes, purple (1)
  • Grapes, red (1)
  • Lettuce, romaine (1)
  • Mushrooms (5)
  • Onions (2)
  • Pear (1)
  • Peppers, chili (2)
  • Peppers, orange bell (1)
  • Peppers, red bell (2)
  • Potatoes (2)
  • Pumpkins (1)
  • Squash, butternut (3)
  • Squash, yellow (1)
  • Tomatoes (5)

The cornucopia is made from a paper bag.

* You can’t really see the cabbage because it’s too deep in the cornucopia. I banished it there because I wasn’t happy about how it turned out.

If you’ve enjoyed these seasonal miniatures, or anything else on this site, why not consider supporting QWERTYvsDvorak by visiting my shop and purchasing my designs on some fine merchandise, or simply sharing links to your favorite products or comics with people in your network who might appreciate my work.

QvD will be on vacation for the rest of the week. Here’s wishing everyone a peaceful week, especially if you’re in America and spending time with your family. If you have people to spend the holiday with, that’s something to be grateful about too.

 

The Thanksgiving Machine

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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.

On my own, I tend to eat reasonable portions of healthy food, but put me into a situation where everyone is overeating–in a restaurant or a food-centric holiday like Thanksgiving–and it’s like someone else is moving that fork from the plate to my mouth. And then getting up for seconds. And thirds. And dessert. And seconds on dessert.

This comic is actually a rerun from last year (cf the copyright date), but it bears repeating. There are people like the Fox with a high tolerance for the effects of gluttony, but the older I get, the more uneasy they make me. So much conspicuous consumption. And the older I get, the more I tend to participate in it.

I’m not as bad as the Bear, though. he despises Christmas and Valentine’s Day and pretty much any type of popular celebration, but his business is mostly gift-based and he sells most of his art between Thanksgiving day and until whenever he stops taking orders because he can’t guarantee that things will be made/shipped by Christmas.

All of which leads me into the real point, which is that I had intended to work up a great ad campaign to launch Wednesday, and fund it and everything, but I was sick for most of October and everything fell to the wayside. Now the holiday week is here, none of the photos I took for tomorrow’s page came out right, and my family has begun to arrive.

So listen: if you’re reading this, if you are a quirky person, or a person who buys gifts for quirky people, consider purchasing a holiday present from my online store. In addition to Dragon merchandise, I offer a number of lovely and whimsical designs on a wide variety of products: Tshirts, hoodies, skirts, leggings, blank books, travel mugs, prints, electronic cases. There are a lot of designs on a lot of products, and if you see a design you like and it’s not on the product you want, let me know, and I’ll get it up for you. RedBubble offers a lot of sales, so if you look at the top of the page, you’ll often find a coupon code.

Not sure where to begin?

For the artist and lover of beautiful things, there’s the “Perfect Passion Flower” studio pouch, just right for carrying pencils, pens, and other small supplies.

Cat lovers seem to enjoy “Kitty Sees Three Fishes,” available here on a greeting card, a perfect accompaniment to any feline-themed gift. Hypoallergenic. Does not shed. No animals were harmed in the painting of this picture.

Feeling dangerous? The “Punk Rock Raven” pillow is soft and hard, all at the same time, for when you want to decorate with a little edge. (If you’re buying RedBubble pillows, keep in mind that the print is on a pillowcase, which can be purchased with or without a pillow, so you need to double check what you’re buying or you could end up either with a pillow you don’t want, or with an empty pillowcase on Christmas Day.)

If you’re more of a dog-person and less into commitment, “Johnny the Australian Shepherd Paddleboards Roosevelt Lake, October 2014,” on a sticker livens up any unornamented surface on which you have permission to stick funny dog paintings. Johnny is a real dog, and this painting is based off a photograph I took of this dog actually paddleboarding. Your outdoorsy dog-loving friends will appreciate it.

Finally, kids who love ponies love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and kids who love MLP:FiM and have a good sense of humor love the Princess Sealestia, Ruler of Aquastria Tshirt. If your bronies are too big for kids’ clothes, you can get this in adult sizes, too.

If you don’t want any of these items, but you still want to support a starving artist, please consider clicking “favorite” on any of my RedBubble designs, sending links to people who might like to buy them, or scrolling back through this website and repost any comics that amuse you. My traffic has increased 10x this year, and if I can increase it 10x more in 2016, I’ll have reached my goals. Every little bit helps.

Eternal Flame Mandala

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Where love blooms, there is a flame.

Most of my weekend, including Friday, involved cleaning (meh), but I did also attend a klezmer concert in the suburbs (The Man plays the trombone), and work on my Thanksgiving project, which is adorable. Planning on finishing (at least the part for the website) tonight.

Honestly, I thought making a cornucopia out of paper bag would be simpler.

I like the vividness of this mandala, and its Georgia O’Keefe secret-yonis-everywhere quality.

Now the holiday is upon us and only a small percentage of what I wanted accomplished got accomplished. It would have been nice to have a publicity plan in place to promote my store before Black Friday. As it is, an email blast may be all I can manage. Not sure I have a budget for paid advertisement, and time is sort of limited, since my family is coming, which is why I wasted my entire weekend de-grossifying my house (to the best of my ability; it still has some qualities of grossness). The Man says we’re 41 years old and don’t have to explain our lifestyle to our parents. Still, I don’t personally like wallowing in filth, my own or anyone else’s.

Now I go in search of some double-sided tape.

Dragon Comics 118

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It’s a full time job, keeping me down. Decades of man-hours.

This script was actually written a week ago in a moment of self-pity, but I had a great birthday and now I’m feeling all positive and upbeat about myself. Still this remains Dragon Comic 118, the vast global conspiracy against Dragon.

At first I was a little irritated to wake up and discover that a photograph of some lemons I posted on Facebook yesterday had 50 more likes than I had wall messages wishing me happy birthday (I’m not joking: it was a photograph of my hand holding 3 lemons and it got 90 likes and 1 share, proving once and for all that I really don’t understand people) but as the day progressed, my birthday greetings overtook the lemon likes by a wide margin, because I am actually awesome, even though, as this comic illustrates, that fact is sometimes hard to grok.

When I went into the kitchen, I found that The Man had filled it with flowers and chocolate. Then I looked around online some more and discovered that an article I wrote about Comic-Con was published, and that people were trying to contact me across a variety of platforms. While talking to a friend I hadn’t communicated with in a while, I heard a suspicious noise in the back yard, which turned out to be Mrs. Kitty coming in to wake me up, followed by the Fox, and they took me out to lunch at a fancy restaurant, where the Fox gave me the macro lens I’ve aways wanted. He said he specifically told the guy at the camera shop, “something for taking pictures of bees.”

For dinner, The Man took the kids and me to another fancy restaurant.

Since we all shared all the food at both meals, here is a list of all the animals I consumed today: cow, lamb, duck, chicken, shrimp, swordfish, lobster, scallop. I also got free fancy restaurant birthday dessert (i.e. fancy dessert with a single candle stuck in it; no singing) at both places: a chocolate peanut roulade and a huge slice of apple pie.

So, while I may have eaten way too many animals in a single day, I feel very loved.

 

If You Add the Digits of My Age Together You Get 5

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Also, presents. Lots of presents. And I like my cake gluten free, and with no white sugar, but make it taste like it has gluten and sugar in it. And I could surely use a massage while I’m waiting. 

Tonight, I said to Mrs. Kitty, “Birthdays are like Santa Claus. When you’re a little kid people go out of your way to make you believe they’re magical, and then one day you’re grown up and nobody cares.” Really, some people care, but you aren’t supposed to make a big deal about it yourself. Because that’s selfish and immature. But why shouldn’t everyone have at least one day a year during which everyone has to be nice to them?

Maybe it’s better to have low expectations. That way, if someone does care, it seems magical again.

While Mrs. Kitty and I were hanging out, we decided to make some art, which I’m going to hold back for next week because it will be more perfect then. But it is delightful. Her exact commentary was “kawaii!”

Anyway, yes, it’s my birthday, and this drawing is my present to myself. But feel free to use it too, if it’s your birthday, and you think everyone ought to be nice to you.

I Love Endless War

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I forgot the very best part, which is how war enriches those who already have power and inflicts suffering on the people who are already marginalized.

There’s this old story–I can’t recall the origins–about a righteous man who is given the opportunity to see hell, which is presented as a long banquet table, weighted down with the most scrumptious and delectable of foods. Everything looks tasty and enticing, but the sinners, seated along both sides of the table, have their arms encased in rigid sleeves. They can see the food, even touch and it and pick it up, but they can’t bend their elbows, so they can’t get it into their mouth.

The righteous man then asks for a glimpse of heaven and is surprised to find that it’s the exact same scenario–table, food, unbending sleeves. The difference is, in heaven, people are feeding their neighbor across the table.

That’s the world we live in, actually. It’s heaven when we care for those around us, and it’s hell when we selfishly think only of ourselves.

But this is all beyond the people with the power to make big decisions, it seems. Being hugely sarcastic seems to be my only remaining defense in a world increasingly populated haters and those with zero regard for anyone else. More guns, more war, more class stratification, more needless consumption of nonrenewable resources. Why not?

Many of the people with the power to make big decisions–a frightening number, really–want war, for financial or religious reasons. The only defense against this type of thinking is to point out, repeatedly, how ridiculous it is, how the suffering of some brings suffering to us all.

Trying out some different cartooning styles. Photoshop makes it easy to get lazy and my intention is to become a better artist. I don’t need any practice being lazy. I saw a comic where the artist drew black and white characters with colored hair and it looked pretty cool there, and here, too. This is me, of course, and Mrs. Kitty with her unicorn hair.

 

Narrow Tolerances

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It’s one ten-thousandth of a inch, not a sliver more, and if anyone has a problem with that, we’re switching to Angstroms, do you hear me?

The Man assures me that no one is going to understand this comic, but I’m not personally an aerospace engineer, and I wrote it. Furthermore, I’ve read every single xkcd comic, even though I have a liberal arts degree and haven’t even attempted to learn anything about coding since giving up on BASIC in 1982, and Randall Munroe specifically states that his work may not be appropriate for me.

The Man does work in this industry, but the idea of a 1/10,000 of a inch tolerance is kind of mind-boggling to me. He doesn’t have to actually measure the 1/10,000 of a inch himself–he programs robots to measure for him–but if it’s not right, back it goes. Some things won’t function properly if they’re, say, 1/1,000 of an inch too big. People could die. Or not die, as the case may be in that industry.

Math is sort of a foreign language to me, once that I’ve tried to learn on numerous occasions, and failed miserably every time. The only math class I ever did well in was statistics for the social sciences, and 100% of everything I mastered in that class vanished like morning mist as soon as I finished taking the final exam. Otherwise, I probably would have gotten a BS instead of studying psychology, which is an interesting, but inconclusive discipline. My parents would have been happier to start with, but probably more disappointed when I gave it up for art, which is what I told them I wanted to do to begin with. Imagine how much farther along I would be if I had ever in my life taken a drawing class instead of learning to calculate standard deviations.

Triumvirate Mandala

Next slide, please.

Next slide, please.

Reddit is so unpredictable. I can put the same comic into 2 different subreddits, and one link will get 2 upvotes and the other will get 147. Come on! Do I suck or not, people? Make up your minds. Friday’s comic was not my best work, I don’t think, but it’s gotten almost as many views in 24 hours as my bullying comic, which has been getting steady traffic for weeks. But neither of them got much play in /r/comics, which leads me to believe that people who read /r/sadcomics and /r/webcomics are simply more intelligent and discerning readers.

I like today’s mandala, which is unusual in that it is based off a 3-pronged symmetry, and also looks like something you would use to summon demons, or a portal into HP Lovecraft’s brain.

Posted my article on Tucson Comic-Con and am halfway through tomorrow’s comic. Sold a T-shirt. Also: paying work this week. Still scratching away at some bigger projects and…um…thinking about novels.

Integrity

I only signed up because I loved that freeze-dried ice cream when I was a little kid.

I only signed up because I loved that freeze-dried ice cream when I was a little kid. 

Where this comes from, there’s no way to say. Just pure ridiculousness, I guess, like a vegetarian butcher or a Republican presidential candidate calling for tolerance and diversity. Ah, there it’s gone and gotten political. Maybe I just wanted an excuse to draw astronauts, although now I wonder if the astronauts should have been bigger. It would have been more fun drawing bigger astronauts. Then again, maybe it’s funnier if you get the vast perspective of being so high above such a large expanse of the Earth. Maybe adding the ISS was a mistake. Maybe this comic is only a qualified success. It wasn’t the best day for my art, to be honest. I wanted to block out 2 hours to write an article, but instead I accompanied The Man on an unusual but informative adventure. And here we are.