Monthly Archives: June 2016

Seeking Zen

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Try and try again.

This whole day was just off. Woke up off, never really got it together, and then suddenly, for no reason, my tonsils tripled in size and I started to feel exhausted despite having done absolutely nothing except for eat Mexican chicken with the Fox. The Man and I wanted to watch a lighthearted comedy to change our frame of ming, but, despite what Netflix will tell you Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is not a comedy. And suddenly it was 11:30 at night.

So I thought some zentangles would help untwist me, but I might have caught the Misseses Kitties’ travel cold. I’m so disappointed in my body, particularly my immune system. Shame! Shame! Shame! Ding! I got nothing. There looks like a fair chance that I’ll have nothing tomorrow.

Please, buy my book, support my Patreon, order my merch.

Dragon Comics 136

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There’s no such thing as bad publicity. 

I’ve written about it before: you know you’re doing well when people start talking smack, because if you weren’t making an impact, the haters wouldn’t even have the chance to see your work let alone pass judgment on it.

Sold more copies of my book today and got a new backer on Patreon, and yesterday’s comic got over 1000 hits in 24 hours. Some people hated it, and told me so in the most condescending possible ways on Reddit, and that’s awesome. You see, I’m niche and you’re mainstream and you don’t understand my work and never can, and you’re not my audience and aren’t even qualified to offer a cogent critique, so it would be impossible to take your uninformed opinion about my potential seriously. But you are helping me reach my audience. I’ve written about this before, too. Google doesn’t care whether or not people like your work. It only cares that people engage with your work. Pissing people off is a great way to increase your web presence.

Good art elicits a response.

For so many years, my inability to draw as well as I wrote enraged me, but as soon as gave myself license to expose my flaws and deficiencies, when I got past the false idol of perfection and let function triumph over form, the path seemed clearer and clearer. You can tell a story, arouse an emotion, elicit a response with a stick figure, if you know what you’re doing. You can do it with a scribble. And you know what, writers of base insults? I know what I’m doing.

So, buy my book, support my Patreon, order my merch, if you get it, and you want to live in a world where different types of expression are encouraged to flourish. Or, tell everyone how terrible I am, so the people who get it can find me.

Dragon Comics 135

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That and some spare change will get you a cup of coffee. Good thing I don’t drink coffee.

I’ll be getting public assistance for the first time in my life, I guess. I’m losing my pretty-good insurance at the end of the month, and even the lowest rate on the exchange would be a hardship for a dragon who makes $27 a month. The Man went down to DES for me because he knows government offices make me go crazy and bite people, and he texted that he learned we really were probably eligible for $5 a week in food aid. And also that I still need to go to DES anyway to be fingerprinted, in case I am an imposter who doesn’t actually deserve medical care. Because heaven knows the world would screech to a halt if the wrong people got to see doctors.

I also did make about $27 last week, mostly from sales of my novel, along with a couple of stickers, but my margin on stickers is laughably low. So, 7 copies sold. Now, I just need to sell 865 more in the next 51 weeks, give or take, in order to reach my goal of becoming a professional member of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Today, the Owl was saying on Twitter that some writers find self-promotion gauche. I was always taught not to ask for things, but in a world where it’s totally normal for people to set up IndieGoGos and GoFundMes so they can take dream vacations, there can’t possibly be anything untoward about an artist saying, “I’m not famous but I am worthwhile, and you can acknowledge that worth and help me become self-sufficient by paying money for my art.”

So, buy my book, support my Patreon, order my stickers, because otherwise your tax dollars will pay for my medical insurance.

Evolving Mandala

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Everything in its place, and the universe is harmonious. 

It was a good week for QvD. Four consecutive days of excellent traffic, a request from Tony DiGerolamo of The Webcomic Factory and Super Frat to trade links, and the soft launch of my novel, The Hermit, in the Kindle store. I’ll be doing a hard launch with publicity and email blasts and things like that in the future, but if you want to read it now, go ahead. I promise that it’s a much, much better love story than Twilight. And no wussy monsters. My monster is extremely badass. I can’t think of anything else you could do with $4.99 that would provide you with so many hours of pleasure, while going so far to help to prevent me from starving to death. Well, I guess you could support my Patreon, but I won’t expect too much.

I should make some new comic T-shirts. Definitely the drunk painting panel. Probably the charcuterie. Some of the other 1-panel comics, the cover of my book, and that super-cool dragon mandala. Now I have a migraine, though. Please enjoy this mandala that suggests the world is finite, knowable, and in balance.

In the Court of Public Opinion

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Next on the docket: the case of Kindle versus some talentless  hack self-published novelist.

This one pretty much speaks for itself. Although maybe I should have called it “You Can All Go #@$* Yourselves!” Usually I like to think that I can be just as funny without swearing, but The Man suggested I go with the grawlix, which I’ve never done before, but is a time-honored comic trope. Because, seriously, in this situation, what else would you say?

Indifferential Equations

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Him: We blinked at the same time! It’s definitely a signal that I should kiss her. Her: I wonder how many giant nuclear powered robots I would need to take over North America.

Three things: First, a few people indicated in a Facebook thread that they would enjoy being depicted in a QvD comic, so here’s the first one. You may recognize Laura from that one time she modeled my merchandise. Actually, she’s been featured in this blog twice, but the first time she was wearing a welding mask over her face, because she’s that kind of person, so you probably wouldn’t recognize her from that.

Second, I was thinking about gender, because that is something I think about. All. The. Time. Specifically, I was thinking about the interaction between heteronormative men and every kind of woman, and the Rabbit’s running commentary about the men who force her to interact with them on the Bart and the Oakland/San Francisco ferry, and about some of these dudes on Reddit who seem to willfully not to get it. So let me lay it out slowly: the odds that a woman with whom you briefly exchanged glances on public transit is very excited to meet you are low. Extremely low. This situation that I’ve drawn is a no-brainer. Note the woman’s posture: she is turned away from you AND leaning away from you AND she has her legs crossed away from you AND she has her arm protectively around her leg AND she clutching her purse on her lap AND she’s reading a book. She is doing this because she wants to reduce the number of times in a given day random strangers hit on her.

Your interest in her is not special;  more interesting men than you express interest in her. All. The. Time. She is overtly demonstrating her lack of interest in you, and her desire to maintain her perimeter. There is a 100% chance that if you try to talk to a woman with this posture, you are annoying her. There is a 50% chance that she finds you actually threatening. I don’t care that you’re a “nice guy.” If you can’t understand this, you’re not a nice guy. Like I tell my stepkids, just wanting something doesn’t mean you get it. No matter what you think, she is not playing hard to get or sending you magical brain signals about how much she wants you. This human being is interested in reading her book without being disturbed for her entire commute.

Which leads me to the third thing, which is that although Laura does some modeling work and often looks like a model when she’s dressed up, Laura is not a model. Laura’s profession is actually metallurgist. She has a degree, I think, in materials engineering. This is the thing that drives me crazy about men who address random strangers with the idea that if a girl is attractive to you, she must be interested in you: they almost never approach you with the idea that you might be smarter than them, and if they do, they usually don’t have any way to use that knowledge except as a compliment. So if random sweatsuit wearing subway guy plunks down next to lovely bookworm girl and asks about her book, he’s going to be way out of his league if she actually starts discussing differential equations.

I should point out that I know nothing about differential equations, having barely passed my requisite math classes in high school. I copied this one from the internet because I liked its shape and its name: it’s the Anger Equation, and I carry a lot of anger. But I don’t enjoy talking with human beings in general, so I rarely start conversations with strangers in public and will not likely be embarrassed because someone wants to talk about differential equations.

I should also point out that this comic must have been in some way inspired by the classic Gary Larson strip, Same planet, different worlds.

Also, I hope Laura has a good sense of humor about me putting her head on someone else’s body to make a point about not objectifying attractive women. At least I’m not a random stranger.

 

 

My Senior Moments

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Actually, I’d rather forget about the diagnoses I already have. 

It’s late; I’m tired. Also, I have depression and chronic pain. And insomnia. But not, I’ve been reassured, early onset Alzheimer’s, although my grandmother and 2 of my aunts both died from it, so it could still happen. Until then, the only option is to soldier through the cyclical feeling that I’m down 2 or 3 standard deviations on the bell curve, intelligence-wise. Then I just remind myself of this classic scene from The Simpsons. Losing my perspicacity, indeed.

There would have been more to this blog post but it’s late, I’m tired, and I have depression, chronic pain, and insomnia. Oh! Here’s a good one; I also forgot to eat dinner. All in all, things have not been optimal.

More Magical Paintings from the Past

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The mythopoetic tree serpent ascends. 

Before all the webcomics, and the Trickster’s Hat, the first couple months of this blog were just scans of every piece of art I’d made prior to starting the blog. Not everything, of course, but everything I still had that I still liked, going back to when I was 11 years old. But still not everything, because I keep remembering, for example, this photograph of a painting I did when I lived in Israel, in the fall of 1997.

The original’s probably long gone. When I left the kibbutz, I gave it to the volunteer coordinator because he had admired it once, and I was going to bum around Europe and didn’t want to carry it, but about 6 hours after I gave it to him, this guy I knew told me about a terribly racist thing the volunteer coordinator had done and I wished I hadn’t. He probably didn’t want it anyway. For my purposes, the photo is probably sufficient.

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The Fabulous Butterfly Screen

This butterfly screen is definitely the biggest thing I ever painted, and the most complex. Actually, paint costing what it does, I’ve done very little painting in my life, and this is the only piece that took me more than an hour or two to finish. I think it took close to a month, actually, but it was a labor of love, a gift for an old friend. This is Christmas 2000, I think. Maybe 1999. Wonder if this screen still exists.

It’s hard to imagine painting this by hand. How much more righteous would it have been if it were done in Photoshop?

No one ever goes back to the beginning of this blog but it’s still nice to have everything uploaded to one place. Although if I could go back and do it again, I would have made this blog a Tumblr.

 

Old, Rolled Mandala

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Ever have one of those incarnations when you feel like you’re just eating your own tail?

Whilst searching for some other document (never found; can’t even remember what it was now), came across this blast from the past: one my first mandalas. Not sure about the date, but probably from sometime in the mid-’90s, although it could be earlier. Sketching it out was meticulous work; I literally used a compass and a protractor to get all the curves and angles. The center part shows the phases of the moon, and the cardinal points are trees during the 4 seasons.

After putting so much effort into making the sketch perfect, I then became terrified to ruin it by trying to color it, so it just hung out in a tube for 15 or 20 years. No idea how it got stained…the stains are not as bad as they look, but rather amplified due to the Photoshop correction I had to do to the original image just to make the pencil lines clearly visible.

The whole this is pretty banged up, and, of course, held together with scotch tape, but none of that matters anymore, because now I do have Photoshop. I could draw a clean and more perfect copy in a relatively short period of time, and I could color it in a million different ways without ruining the original. Would make a wicked cool T-shirt.

Not that I don’t have 50 other projects.

The Hermit: First Glance

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Well, here goes something.

There will be a bigger deal made about this in the next week or so, but: my adult-fairy-tale-with-elements-of-horror-and-romance novel will be coming out through Brother Wolf Press (e-pub available in the Kindle store), exact date TBA, and here’s the cover!

Unlike some of my art projects, I was able to create to something that almost exactly matched what my brain visualized. Actually, in this case, the cover is better than I imagined it, because I hadn’t figure out how wonderful the sky would be. But it is wonderful.

I wanted it, first of all, to look like a tarot card from the Rider-Waite deck, at which task it seems to succeed admirably. The coyote is crazy adorable; her design is based on the wolf from The Moon card. The Hermit is, of course The Hermit, but her face is more the Queen of Cups, except less constipated looking, and she is disarmingly unassuming. The landscape also takes cues from other cards, although the sky is kind of improvised. Even the font turned out spot-on.  And then there’s the gallon jug full of magical water. Intrigued at all? I even had a lot of fun with the little sigil/signature in the bottom right, which, at first glance, looks a fair amount like the artist’s mark on the Rider-Waite deck, but is actually comprised of my initials.

My instinct is to always keep tinkering with it, but of course the Rider-Waite deck is hand drawn and imperfect, and anyway, my whole thing now is letting it be imperfect. Perfectly imperfect.

Love it.