Category Archives: Clothing

Be Like Allison

allison redbubble

You can’t buy happiness. But you could buy a T-shirt from my RedBubble shop, which would definitely make me happy, and probably make you happy.

This is Allison. Allison is a successful writer and professional performer of death defying feats. Allison is very happy. Why do you think Allison is so happy? Is it because she is wearing this kickass QWERTYvsDvorak T-shirt? Correlation may not prove causality, but there does seem to be abundant evidence that wearing a QvD T-shirt can make you, and the people around you, at least 20% happier.

Allison is modeling “Embrace Me to the End.” If you click the link, you could, too.

This has always been one of my favorite designs in the shop, even though a marine biologist once chastised me for drawing a blue whale, rather than a sperm whale, which is more commonly thought of as the giant squid’s natural enemy. The way I see it, we don’t know everything that goes on under the ocean. Who’s to say that there isn’t a kraken sized squid that periodically tries to munch on the largest animal on the planet at the deepest, darkest depths of the world? I like both cephalopods and cetaceans. The bigger the creature, the more love there is to go around.

There are also some other interesting things in my shop if you click around.

I procrastinated and didn’t draw a comic and there’s still one other important thing to do before bed tonight. It’s sort of related to the fact that 3 years ago, The Man and I got legally married by the law of the land. We’d already been together for 4 1/2 years before that, and we were, as we said, “gay married” for a couple of years before the wedding, Tucson being a city that offers domestic partnerships, and the University of Arizona being an employer that offers benefits for domestic partners. I wonder if the marriage supersedes the partnership?

Anyway, 3 years ago today I became a married Dragon, and The Man became a married The Man, and we were bound to each other for better or for worse. Love that guy.

 

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Koala-T!

koala-t_edited-2 no agm

I don’t see why we wouldn’t win. We meet all the koalifications.

The Man works for an aerospace manufacturing firm, in quality assurance. It’s a job, you know? Every year, the company holds a big picnic in the park, with a bouncing castle and water guns and games for the little kids. Hot dogs and hamburgers provided by the company, potluck for everything else, water balloons, temporary tattoos, that sort of thing. Very America. Much wholesome. In advance of the picnic, they print a commemorative shirt, designed by an employee. Whoever wins the design contest gets a little bonus, maybe $100.

So The Man had this idea, putting the koala in quality. The words are his, and the idea for the picture is his, but he doesn’t have the patience for drawing. He mentioned this concept about 6 months ago, and I said I could probably do it (I’m much better at Photoshop and the Wacom tablet than I was last year!) but we didn’t follow through. Yesterday, he mentioned that the design was due next week, so I did a little sketch. Today he mentioned that it was actually due tomorrow. That was fine, since I had the sketch and no comic anyway.

This is what I did today. I started by looking at how other cartoonists would depict the body of a koala giving a thumbs up. The Man was very clear that the koala must be giving a thumbs up. I was surprised to find that this is, apparently, a common theme, and there were many thumbs up koalas from which to choose. Then I looked at photographs of actual koalas, because most people who draw cartoon animals don’t seem to have ever seen that actual animal, and I like some degree of verisimilitude in my comics. Once I got the eyes, nose, and mouth satisfactorily blocked out and positioned, I just started grabbing colors from actual koala photos, and drawing tiny dots and lines to represent fur. Then I used the blur tool to floofify QA Koala. Somewhere along the line I noted that koalas do not, in fact, have tails and deleted the vestigial one that had appeared in my original reference image. You can’t trust cartoonists. Not about animal anatomy.

The Man was happy with the design but wanted it a bit darker, so I added a layer, grabbed a dark gray, set the opacity to 20%, covered the koala with this shade, and then cleaned up the edges. The Man came in again as I was finishing up the outline and said he could see that I was doing something, but he couldn’t tell what. “I’m making him floofier,” says I. The blur tool is great for cartoon fur.

I used fonts for the lettering instead of doing it by hand. The original version has the company name and “2016 company picnic” written at the top, but I took that out for this blog.

Whether or not we win (“When we win,” The Man said, assuming that no one else was going to top this) I’ll fix this design up a bit more and offer it on my website. Someone, somewhere, wants a Koala-T.

The Thanksgiving Machine

dragon comic 43_edited-2

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.

New Stuff and Why

We didn’t have summer reading when I was a kid. Actually, I read all summer long, but we didn’t have assigned books. It’s hard for me to understand that some kids don’t read for pleasure, despite the fact that both the kids living in my house fall into this category. The Girl probably would, sometimes, but her dyslexia makes it hard. I have no idea what the Boy’s excuse his. He is supposedly a very good reader, but I have never, ever seen him read anything for pleasure besides gaming manuals.

Anyway, 6+ weeks into summer break and he’s barely cracked his summer reading book. Considering he’ll be spending a week on vacation in San Diego with his mom, and a week in Seattle on vacation with his dad and me, and that school starts up on August 8th, and the book in question is 550 pages long, he’s really cutting it pretty close. We’ve been bugging him about it off and on, but today the Man cracked down on him. No Kindle until you’ve read a big chunk of that book, he was told. Fifteen minutes later the Man found him hiding in his room, watching YouTube on his GameBoy. Now he’s lost all screen privileges.

So now I feel compelled to check. That is, I got my own copy of the book. This morning he claimed to be on page 47. Now he claims to be on page 125. At any rate, I’m somewhere at the 35% mark (mine’s a pdf and it’s paginated differently but I’m guessing I’m probably somewhere around page 175 of the print copy) and now we can all experience the joy and excitement of me going all English teacher on that kid. There will be book talks. I will determine how much he has actually read. He will be prepared, goddamnit.

It took me a couple chapters to get into the story, but it’s very beautifully written and I ended up reading much longer than I had intended. However, now it’s 12:30 and there are no comics for your reading pleasure.

Great Things Are on the Horizon

Great Things Are on the Horizon

What I have instead, is a couple new product types in my RedBubble shop. It feels like they’re adding new stuff too fast for me to keep up. No sooner have I enabled one new kind of notebook for one product than they introduce a different kind of notebook. This spiral one looks pretty sturdy. It’s 6″ x 8″, 120 pages (ruled line or graph, your choice), and comes with a pocket in the back. Pictured here, My Sister and Brother-in-Law Look to the Future is very timely, as their wedding is fast approaching and my mother bought a bunch of these T-shirts for the grandkids on both sides to wear.

I’m working to get all product types available for every design, but it may take a while, since I now have a lot of designs and I also have a lot of more pressing other stuff to accomplish. Like finishing this 8th grade reading assignment and find a wedding present for my sister and brother-in-law. I can’t use this design because that’s what I gave them for their engagement present.

Big, blue, and beautiful

Big, blue, and beautiful

This is a different style of notebook, the hardcover journal. It’s similar in size to the above product, but not quite the same: 5.2″ x 7.3″, with 128 pages. In addition to ruled lines or graphs, you can also order this one as a blank book for a more freeform writing/drawing experience. The image wraps around to the back of the cover, which looks pretty cool.

This, of course, is the Blue Morpho design, a painstaking and velvety recreation of one of planet Earth’s most spectacular insects. Although they’re all pretty spectacular if you really open yourself to that sort of thing. I mean, I was strongly considering drawing a comic about the tarantula hawk, a giant local wasp that literally hunts and eats large spiders. They are spectacular in their own way, although not everyone will be filled with awe and wonder at their presence. I can still hear the pained shrieks of the Girl after one flew in the general vicinity of her head 5 years ago. She didn’t stop screaming for about 15 minutes. She only got over the experience about a year ago. But really, they’re pretty cool, for what they are.

Draw attention to your middle part.

Draw attention to your middle part.

I’m actually sort of torn on this pencil skirt, simply because it seems like only women who are perfectly comfortable with the shape of their legs, hips, and belly would want one, and generally speaking, I don’t know a lot of people who fall into that category. At any rate, this style of skirt in the Vanity Has a Thousand Eyes design is certainly a hugely striking and attention getting way to CYA, if you feel comfortable drawing the gaze of other people to this region of your body. It’s a personal choice, I guess. It comes in 7 sizes from XXS to XXL, and the price is reasonable.

There are actually more new products but I shall save them for another update.

Some fun things: last night the actual physical human being Matt Paxton, a guy whose wit and wisdom I have enjoyed for a number of years on the horribly voyeuristic and schadenfreude-tastic reality show Hoarders, saw my comic in honor of his superior organizational abilities and retweeted me with a compliment.

Go me!

Go me!

Then this morning, I woke up to 2 i.m.s, 1 asking me to review the ARC of an upcoming book by an award-winning author I love and have known personally for some years for a website where my work has never appeared, and the other asking me if I would be willing to help someone write their autobiography. It’s nice to be recognized. Although, to tell the truth, I get asked to help someone write an autobiography about once a year and so far no one’s ever written anything.

Well, better get back to my middle summer reading assignment. You know that sort of thing goes on your permanent record.

World’s Latest Boyfriend

I'll see you when you get there, if you ever get there.

I’ll see you when you get there, if you ever get there.

The Man and I belong to a rather thrilling social club, comprising a diverse group of interesting folks of various ages, backgrounds, and walks of life, but in the last 6 months, between typical small group dynamics and people with upwardly mobile careers, we lost a huge chunk of our membership. It was determined that the rest of us should submit names of potential new members, and after a few months of discussion, a half dozen people were invited to a final meet-up to determine whether they would fit well with the existing group dynamic and to assess their interest in joining a social club.

It was the first time in quite a while that everyone RSVPd yes to the meet-up, which was cool, and after a couple hours of mingling, we gathered formally to introduce ourselves. One woman, after identifying herself, mentioned that she had the world’s latest boyfriend, which struck me as particularly hilarious. I don’t know how she felt about it. In fact, although I’d known this woman for over 2 years, I wasn’t sure I even remembered her boyfriend ever showing up at a meeting. (Later on in the evening I found myself standing next to him–he must have arrived eventually–and became extremely confused as to who he was, and how there could be anyone at this small private gathering I didn’t know.)

Anyway, I decided to create a “World’s Latest Boyfriend” T-shirt, although, to my mind, any person who actually buys a shirt like this is probably going to be single in the next 6 months. I guess there are some guys who would think it was funny, although to me it’s pretty passive-aggressive. Well, it’s a little funny, at least, and I drew it, and here it is. You can buy “World’s Latest Boyfriend” on an ever-expanding variety of fine products in my RedBubble shop.

The Perfect Passion Flower

This is Cthulhu's favorite flower.

This is Cthulhu’s favorite flower.

Wow! This design took forever! And it’s complete at last. In retrospect, maybe it didn’t need to be quite so complex; a lot of the detail gets lost at the resolution at which it will be viewed. It’s weirdly, uncomfortably humid here, which made it hard to focus on work. Maybe I could have finished this yesterday if it hadn’t been so sticky.  But here it is: the perfect passion flower.

You can acquire the perfect passion flower in my shop on T-shirts, tank tops, and more. There are even some totally new product types, including a pencil skirt, and a drawstring bag.

Working on this digital painting made me consider the 5 day a week publishing schedule. Obviously, I had nothing to post on Tuesday. I was so focused on trying to get through this piece that I didn’t even have a chance to scan and write about an old piece. And while I do enjoy doing the comic, I miss the opportunity to throw myself into larger projects. Is 3 a week the best option? Would 2 be better, or even 1? Still pondering. But this is what has occupied my attention for the last week or so.

 

 

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.