I wasn’t planning on posting this image, or the image in my next post, but my brother saw them on my desk and wanted to know why not, and I didn’t have any particular reason. I used to post mandalas and dragons all the time. There’s no reason why not, except that the last couple years have been sort of detrimental to my health as an artist.
For the last 8+ weeks I’ve been working my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which is a sort of an emotionally painful and psychologically brutal. I used to say that drawing mandalas could help you view the state of your spirit, and this one—complicated and colorful but off-kilter and imperfect—seems to follow that pattern. Even before I started the book, I’d been working on playing—making art fun again instead of a job—and this mandala and the dragon drawing I have slated for later in the week are part of that.
I’m fully vaccinated and will be clear for hanging out with other fully vaccinated people on the 30th. I can’t help but feel like if my spirit had been in a better place, this pandemic would have been a much more productive time for me. I did create some things, but not as many as I would have liked. And now my time is going to fill up with other people again. But here we are: the world keeps moving.
The execution may have suffered a bit due to the addition of the work in my previous post, but it’s still pretty decent. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I miscalculated the letters and had so much extra space that I had to add the big butterflies, and then miscalculated again and had to add the little butterflies. Plus I miscalculated a third time and ended up with 6 little butterflies rather than the 4 I meant to make. But it’s better this way.
My district is going back to in-person learning after their spring break (which is this week) and the front office staff asked me to work my magic on the front window. (With social distancing, temperature checks, and hand sanitizing, I’m guessing there’s going to be a bit of a bottleneck there in the mornings.) Since I was also making my own back-to-school/spring bulletin board, and this week was break, I really had to jam.
This is the biggest piece I’ve done to date. It’s about 170 cm wide by 180 cm high, which is bigger than me in both directions. It took three people to hang (haven’t figured out how to get a good photograph from outside because it’s behind a glass window and there’s a glare). My head was in all kind of places all week and I was constantly miscounting and mismeasuring things (anybody need a heraldic lion? ‘Cause I have extra) plus I really just slapped all that lettering together in record time and those rainbow bullseyes should have been much more complex mandalas and I’m still quite satisfied with it. The front office staff loved it and the principal thanked me too.
You can thank The Man for this one. I drew the image and refined the text but the comic was his idea (although I don’t think he’s the only one to notice that we do seem to be littering the red planet with robots). I did watch Perseverance land today, but unlike a lot of people, I wasn’t crying.
Well, the new baby is like 8 months old now, but I made this little card when he was newer. Baby Amiel will be bilingual—his mother is American and his father is Spanish—so I wanted to make the card bilingual too. A is for alligator and apple in English, and árbol and abeja and amor in Español. Also, Amiel’s middle name is Willow so that tree is doing double duty.
Just found some stuff from last year that I never uploaded, probably because, like most people in the pandemic and most artists all the time, I was a little bit depressed. But this is the bulletin board I made last fall when we thought they were going to reopen the schools, an event they kept (rightfully, intelligently) bumping back, although now it looks like they’re definitely going to reopen after spring break (which would probably be OK if schoolteachers were 1b and were all vaccinated; what a mess). And I’ll have to make a new bulletin board because this one is already blowing apart.
Will schedule at least one other post of old art for later this week. I actually have made and sent so many cards in the pandemic, and most of them I didn’t even take the time to photograph individually. Somewhere, I have an image of a bunch of painted cards, and I might upload them if I can find them.
This is a little comic I scribbled on an envelope last summer, but I was too busy with volume 4 of Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics and the pandemic and a bunch of other life changes to clean it up and post it. I’ve thought about it a lot, though, and have, in fact, gotten much better about arguing with strangers online. For the most part, I can walk away from a clearly pointless discussion with an obvious troll or someone who lacks the intellectual capacity to understand the subject at hand or isn’t going to change their mind despite an abundance of evidence disproving their belief. It’s made my life better.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get caught up in those stupid arguments from time to time, especially on Reddit, which isn’t so bad because it’s obviously all strangers, but sometimes on Facebook, which really isn’t great, because there’s a good chance that I’m fighting with someone I know and possibly like, or at least someone that knows the people I know and like.
So it happened again this week: a person I know, with whom I spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME last summer trying to explain systemic racism and Black Lives Matter at their request (not that the amount of time I spent was excessive in light of the subject matter and its importance, but it was too much time to spend trying to explain things to someone who didn’t want to learn, but rather to have his opinion validated), posted some incredibly ignorant and hateful things about rights for transgendered people and I started to get into it. Eventually I remembered this comic and my promise to myself, for my own mental health, to stop getting into these arguments. I walked away. The information he needed is widely available online, for those who care about human rights. There was no point in wasting my time explaining.
Today that same person posted some very horrifying remarks about reproductive rights, and I opted not to get involved.
I comfort myself with constant reminders that conservatives are het up because they don’t want enlightenment. They’ve been taught that progress is the work of the devil and that thinking about equality could actually damn their mortal souls, that progressives are in thrall of Satan and that true education is a tool of evil. It’s weird to think that people have been trying to make this world better for hundreds of years, and a bunch of very powerful and stubborn institutions are out there actively working to stymie any action that could lead to people being happier in this world. Obviously, people don’t need the promise of the next world if things are nicer here.
I also comfort myself with constant reminders that enlightenment is happening anyway, that Black lives do matter, that trans people are valid, and that even if some nutjobs make it harder for women to control their reproductive capacities, the world has come too far. We’re never going back. No matter how many hateful laws get passed, we’re not going back.
But I still need to add: if you have a lot of negative beliefs about, say, Black people or trans people, and you don’t really know any Black people or trans people, you might consider educating yourself before you draw (and post) any conclusions based on your nonexistent knowledge. And you might also consider that if people are willing to do vast amounts of emotional labor on your behalf to help you understand a subject, they might have reasons for their point of view that you have yet to understand.
I wasn’t planning on drawing today, but a bunch of people have been saying I should write political cartoons again, and this one just came to me this morning, and the whole thing will be meaningless in 24 hours, and the Rabbit said I should, so I dashed it off in record time.
I do want to get better at drawing caricatures, and this guy is too easy to lampoon, but looking at his cruel face and that mean little butthole of a mouth is unpleasant. He’s a bad man. These are bad times. Just saying no to lying fascists is only step one of the solution.
Well, all things must come to an end, and that includes the waking nightmare that was summer of 2020, and now children are heading back to school in whatever ridiculous configurations are necessary to educate the populace without killing it. In this district, there will be distance learning, with teachers teaching from their homes and children learning in theirs (except for a small number of economically disadvantaged children who will be distance learning in one big, happy, k-12 classroom, with a single aide to watch over them).
I made this bulletin board for those unfortunate souls who do have to be in the building 5 days a week.
The lettering is based on the free font Andhibath Demo. The lion face is based on a stuffed animal my aunt gave me 40 years ago.
Some time ago (April, 2019, according to the date on the original file), Professor Gwen Tarbox asked me to comic-ize this Facebook status written by Professor Patricia Jabbeh Wesley. I previously comic-ized another of Professor Wesley’s Facebook statuses—I don’t think she can help writing poetry, even on Facebook—and I readily agreed. And then I made the file size too big (I think) and the drawings too complicated and it was taking hours and hours and I was working from these really old and not necessarily focused photographs and I just sort of…gave up?
My life was really complicated around that time and it’s only just sort of settling (obviously, few of us are really settled in this pandemic, but I guess we’re adjusting to the new normal) and Patricia Jabbeh Wesley recently published a new book of poetry, Praise Song for My Children. I haven’t read it yet, but I did acquire a copy (persuaded my public library system to buy it) and it’s the next thing I’m going to read. (I’ll link to my review and to Amazon after I read it for people who want to know more/buy their own.) Anyway, having the book in my hands (combined with the fact of pandemic) reminded me that there was this half-finished comic. And it still took like 3 more hours to finish. It’s way too much detail for a comic, and I don’t think most readers will even be able to zoom in (but trust me…too much detail for the format) but I guess that makes it exceptionally beautiful.
I do want to publish more comics. Probably not in this style. I’d like to develop a more cartoony one that takes less time.
If I was in the Patricia Jabbeh Wesley business (the way I’ve been in the Bonnie Jo Campbell business) there could be no end to these. There’s a lot of material. This wouldn’t even be one of the posts I would have chosen myself, although it’s got some good stuff in it. This guy thinks that shaving your eyebrows makes you beautiful? Not to mention the part where she’s been married for decades and has adult children…what makes random dudes think that women care about their opinion of their appearance?
I must also add that my eyebrows are just as bushy as Professor Wesley’s. Possibly moreso. However, I am also married and my husband has never spoken of my eyebrows to me. I assume he likes them.
Maybe this is playful banter and I miss some of the subtext but this guy doesn’t actually sound like a friend to me. Professor Wesley’s retort reminds me of the lady telling Winston Churchill that if he were her husband she’d serve him poison and Churchill replying, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.” And then, hilariously, his comeback is that she’s too smart and knows too much? How is that an insult? I’m guessing she is proud of the number of books she’s read and the level of education she’s achieved (I met her in grad school: she was finishing up her PhD when I was working on my master’s). I don’t know anyone who cries when you call them smart. The only thing people like that cry about in regard to their educational level is their student debt.