Not much to say about this; been in a weird space but didn’t want to write more depressing comics. It’s more fun to play with your toys, sometimes. Dragons need to go on interior journeys. Dragons need to lay their burdens down and only carry magic. Dragons need some empty space. Dragons need to relax.
Monthly Archives: July 2016
Free Range Kids
More baby cannibalism comics! Modest Proposal jokes never stop being funny. Ditto gags about PTA moms. Together, they’re pure comedy gold.
My Facebook page hosted a long discussion about this family in England where both parents gave up their lucrative careers to live on welfare and raise their children “off grid” without shoes or school or vaccinations or diapers or rules or weaning and is now trying to crowdsource their dream of buying land in Costa Rica so they can live a life of true independence. Cost to you, the non-consumer: $100,000. So far I guess they’ve gotten £47, which is probably £47 more than I would have made if I went on GoFundMe to beg for $100,000 to pay for my dream of self-sufficiency.
There was a lot of argument about the worst part of the story, but ultimately, the most superlative (best, worst, stupidest) part is their inability to recognize the irony of begging for money because you want to be self-sufficient. I’m not linking to their ridiculous story, because they’ve gotten too much publicity already.
The difference between free range and cage free, in the case of livestock, is that free range animals (chickens, we’re mostly talking about) can go outside, but cage free animals cannot. The difference between free range and non-free-range kids, as far as I can tell is that the non-free-range kids don’t want to go outside.
The Hermit and the Coyote, a Cell Phone Case, and Marketing
Some people fail. Some people fail spectacularly. Kaija failed mythically, and now she’s trapped in the part of the fairy tale when the monster appears.
When Kaija couldn’t find contentment in the human world, she checked out, turned in the key, and went off the grid. For fifteen years, she’s lived between worlds, hiding in the desert, holding herself apart from nature just as she has from civilization, but when disaster strikes, she finds that no woman is an island. She is dragged, kicking and screaming, to the realization that no woman is an island.
The Hermit is a novel for adults who still love fairy tales, people searching for transformation and magic, readers open to contemporary fantasies with elements of horror and romance, grown-ups who still wish they could talk to the animals.
Not that Kaija wants to talk to the animals–she’s a hermit, after all, and hermits don’t want to talk to anyone–but she can’t make them stop talking her. She can’t force them to quit sharing their fears about the legendary monster stalking the Sonoran Desert. She can’t run away anymore; she’s run as far as anyone can go. If she wants to maintain her sliver of solitude, she’ll have to shrug off the hermit’s mantle, gather allies from both worlds, and go on the offensive to defeat the true monster.
The paperback version of The Hermit will be available this Thanksgiving, but if you want to read it now, it’s already available in the Kindle store ($4.99 for 426 pages of delicious mythopoetic rampage) for your reading pleasure.
If you just love the cover, you can purchase the image of Kaija and her coyote companion on this cell phone case (and pretty much anything else on which you can emblazon images) in my RedBubble shop.
Confidential to all the people who, according to my stats page, woke up this morning, visited QvD in search of a new comic, and got nothing at all: better 15 hours late without a comic than no update, right? If people love my comics as much as they say they do, I hope they’ll consider laying out $4.99 for my book. It’s like reading my comics, but you create the pictures with your brain, so they’re much better drawn, and the word part lasts a lot longer.
It’s Not Just You
Halfway through, the realization came to me that this would have worked better as a Monday comic. Although maybe Jim Davis already nailed the “Mondays suck” trope into the ground. At any rate, I never get tired of the “everything sucks” trope. Disaster is definitely imminent, which you can prove by waiting between 1 and 24 hours, during which space of time you will always learn about the occurrence of something disastrous.
I love how the person on the rights’s face came out. The skepticism in the eyes is so great. I couldn’t have drawn that if I tried. I can only draw expressive eyes by accident. I made about 6 attempts on the eyes of the person on the left and gave up. Dots it is. I’m not funny, and I can’t draw. And something truly awful will hit your radar between now and this time tomorrow night. Guaranteed. What are you gonna do? What can you do?
Keep on creating, kids!
Green Cell Mandala
Not much to report for this weekend. Added 3 new designs to my RedBubble shop and started to work on a 4th. Wish I understood more about typefaces, about how designers choose lettering for visual appeal, readability, and emotion. Also, how to design specifically for different article of clothing, versus drawing things as they come to me and then sticking the same image on a variety of surfaces.
This is a tidy little mandala, another amoeba type. They really do fall into simple categories.
Sorry there’s nothing of any depth or substance in here. The Rabbit told me she wanted us to make a business plan, and I told her, “You make the plan and I’ll just do whatever you tell me to do.” I swear to god, a woman came up to me at a party this weekend and said, “I had this idea for a T-shirt and I heard you sell them online,” and then proceeds to tell me that she works in marketing. I’m like, Lady, you don’t need my help. You’ll probably sell more T-shirt than me without even trying. I have no idea how to sell things. I just create the.
But, you could buy my book, support my Patreon, or order my merch if you wanted to prove me wrong.
Dragon Comics 139
If you’re asking someone to submit content to your website, and the very first thing that person says in their response is, “Before you go any further, is this a paying gig?” and it’s not a paying gig, then what you should say is, “Sorry, no.” What you should not do is send a poorly worded boilerplate description of your website that doesn’t answer the original question in a straightforward manner, and then, when the person whose favor you are asking reiterates that they need to understand whether or not you intend to compensate them for their work, get all bent out of shape and snarky about it. You’ve wasted their time by not just answering the question.
I’m lucky because I have The Man looking after me, and before that I had a very solid and well-paying corporate writing gig, but I know too many freelance writers getting shafted by a system that runs on their talent but devalues their skill.
Drawing a comic is better than getting riled up about it. So actually, I did profit from the exchange.
Dragon Comics 138
Here is the ghost town comic I would have written yesterday if I had thought of it then. Admittedly, the last line I totally ripped off from the world’s stupidest joke, which The Man told me on the way home from being stranded in the Costco parking lot today. Fortunately, the Otter saved us, because he groks cars, and we were able to ride home in comfort, and The Man could tell me a stupid joke the set up to which I already forget. But it nicely complements the rest of the comic, which I swear I had sketched out before he told me the joke.
Anyway, I assume this is the sort of thing that goes in ghost town hall meetings. Who knows? In 2003, the Rabbit and I were in, Kutná Hora, a city in the Czech Republic famous for its lovely and surprising ossuary, also known as The Bone Church. It’s a small chapel beautifully, exquisitely, minutely decorated with the bleached white remains of 50,000 dead human beings. Our tour guide, who was an overall despicable person, kept trying to hustle everyone through, even though seeing the ossuary was the only reason we went to Kutná Hora in the first place. He thought it was hilarious to suggest that if we didn’t get back on the bus right that minute, we would be locked in the church overnight. With all the ghosts.
We would have been fine with that. It’s a really pretty church and they didn’t give us half enough time to look at it.
“If I’d been dead for 800 years,” the Rabbit said, “I’d be thrilled that people were still coming around to see me.”
What is this, a doorway for ants?
There were a couple interesting shots on my last roll, including a couple decent but not mind blowing bee pictures, some vast sweeping vistas, majestic trees, weirdly blue skies beside ominous silver clouds, lines of distant storms on the horizon, things of that nature. But this seems to be the most striking image. It’s a yucca flower, into which the ants have cut their own ant-size door for nefarious ant purposes. Took a couple good shots of ants on other blossoms slipping in and out between the edges of the petals, but this bud must have been especially tasty, because the ants just couldn’t bother with all that mucking about between layers. They just went straight for the core, like a mad scientist with a mole machine. Ants are pretty interesting.
I messed around with the contrast and such in Photoshop just to really bring out as many details as possible. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of yucca flowers, which grow in great, beautiful clusters, but they don’t seem to really stand out in pictures. I guess that’s true of most white flowers. Maybe if you put them against a black background.
Also found a couple recently deceased figeater beetles. These are large bugs with splendid iridescent green shells. I wanted to say “carapaces,” but Google told me that carapaces aren’t associated with beetles, and only refer to the top part of the shell, whereas the figeaters are more resplendent on their undersides, for some reason. Will try to figure out how best to capture their visual essence.
Had two positive, encouraging, useful interactions with great writers today. That’s always nice. They both have suggestions for things I must do to be more successful, on top of the list of things the Rabbit has already told me I have to do to be more successful. The Fox cancelled our Tuesday writing meetup due to an in-law situation which required his emotional support, but Misses Kitty came over instead and persuaded me to make her brownies. I tried to invent a new sugar-free, gluten-free brownie recipe and instead invented a new sugar-free, gluten free chocolate cake recipe. It’s pretty good. You’d never guess it was sugar-free or gluten free.
It’s not even midnight. I promised to create a logo for someone, which will benefit me in the long run, so even if it’s not necessary an integral part of the list of thing I must do to be more successful, it’s still a thing I should day. And I guess every time you succeed at something, you are more successful.
ETA: Redditor blacksheep998 seems to think that this door is too big for ants and that it is actually a bumblebee door.
Need to Know Basis
I sort of covered this territory before: When Good Moms Go Bad, but @#$&#*!!! does this drive me to the edge. But after I drew that comic I learned that I’m not alone. And it’s not like there’s something inherently wrong with the question. It’s not like you can ask them to stop asking. But I wish they would stop asking. For one thing, I feel that a reasonable person can usually answer it themselves just through a few moments of being observant. For another thing, what difference does it make to you now? You’ll find out when I serve it to you, and until then, it has no impact on your life. I’m working. Please stay out of my circle of influence.
And I swear the other day, I did get, “Why can’t we have x?” in response to my answer. We can’t have x because I’m not making x. I’m making the thing that I’m making. Not everyone wants to eat macaroni and cheese 7 nights a week.
If you cook for kids regularly, you get it. Otherwise it’s probably not relatable. Although maybe cursing loudly on a mountaintop is universally relatable.
This comic could use a lot of shading and other things but I didn’t start it until very late and I don’t have much left in my hands at this hour. We did take a lovely drive through the mountains, through a monsoon. The photos ought to be resplendent.
Candy Delight Mandala
Today I had some very intensive conversations, one with the Rabbit and one with Misses Kitty, on the subject of marketing for artists. I have a fair amount of experience in marketing for other people. It was a huge component of my last real job, and I worked closely with the marketing people when I was in traditional publishing, but I never enjoyed it, or excelled at it. The Rabbit and Misses Kitty are sort of better at it than I am. But I’m supposed to try.
After all, the Owl, whose book coming out really soon, sold her house, bought a van, and swore to spend the entire year on a publicity tour. That’s a real commitment. And what have I done? Made some posts on social media? My books are good. I’m a good writer. But beyond that, the process loses my interest.
Also today I finished reading my next big novel to The Man (I have a slender kids’ book that will come out later this year, but it’s actually older than The Hermit.) This next book is science-fiction-y, and murder-mystery-y, and dystopian-y. It’s also about 800 pages. For quite some time I puzzled over how to cut it down to a manageable level, but the people who’ve read it don’t seem to think it needs cutting down. Still, it needs some editorial work. In reading it to The Man (800 pages, which took about 5 weeks) I found dozens of typos and a number of continuity errors and things like that. After this next book is published, and I have participated in some marketing-related activities, I will make about 2 more passes and then maybe start the entire agent-seeking process all over again. If I can actually sell some copies of The Hermit before then, it will help.
Now I’m writing a horror novel; it’s a genre I’ve barely touched on in my life, even though I read everything Stephen King wrote prior to 1996 and some of the stuff he wrote after it, and all of Clive Barker’s early stuff, and HP Lovecraft and other writers in that vein. I know I can write a novel; it remains to seen whether I can be scary.
Not that I’m scaring anyone with a crayon mandala in cotton candy pink and marshmallow Peep yellow. And I guess those are blue M&Ms and the green are those weird sour candies that kids like today. They didn’t have them in the ’80s, as far as I can remember, so I never got a taste for them.
You know what would help, though? You could buy my book, support my Patreon, or order my merch.