Category Archives: mandalas

Edible Mandala

As always, symmetry gets a bit ragged around the edges when the center has any imprecision.

Usually I wouldn’t post food on this blog even though I’m considered a pretty good home cook and my food tends to be photogenic when I put forth the effort (I do post food pics on Instagram @hubris_and_smoke) but this one is a mandala so I totally have to share it.

Alas, the picture is all the remains after I fed it to my Mom for Mother’s Day. It was a big hit, and fairly simple to make. The crust is basically a sugar cookie and the sauce is a simple cream cheese icing. This one is gluten free so the cookie was a bit delicate but that’s why I made it in a pie pan.

Just Another Rainbow Mandala

Sometimes it do be like that: a little off kilter, ragged around the edges, and with the lines from something you husband drew on the back of the paper showing through in the corners.

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.

Three Days Ago’s Mandala, Today


Play with your vegetables.

This week began with best intentions but even though the mandala was scanned weeks ago and I started a comic on Friday, somehow the time slipped out and the first never got posted and the second never got finished and THEN I lost 2 days of my life to circumstances best forgotten but permanently scarring, and they weren’t even the worst 2 days of this month.

Do you think it’s possible for a human brain to forget how to sleep? Because I’m starting to wonder.

It makes one much less effective, and there is really a lot to do around here.

This is really, as you may have guessed, The Asparagus Mandala. It seems like the original intention was to create an assortment of vegetable but after the asparagus I just couldn’t stop laughing and didn’t want to mess with perfection.

In case anyone wondered, QvD still exists as a daily blog. Just a little blip there.

Perfectly Pink Flower Mandala


It’s a mutant plumeria, or something.

It’s been a rough month in Dragon’s Cave. The deadly beast insomnia (second only to gravity in the “keeping-Dragon-down” pantheon) keeps rearing its ugly head, which can be kind of debilitating. On the plus side, I have beaten my own personal record for most consecutive hours of consciousness. The previous record was 36, in which time I took 2 cars, 2 planes, and 4 trains from Chicago to Prague. This weekend, all I did was travel to and from the town of Bisbee, attend a late night stand up comedy show at an underground club, and fail, repeatedly, to fall asleep.

Picture me, hour 39, in the front row of a club hazy with the green-tinged atmosphere of a Dutch coffee shop, looking up, as if from the bottom of the ocean, at this big black comedian who’s explaining to the organizers of a local Pride Parade that Chik-Fil-A is so good that he doesn’t care if the organization is homophobic, that he would eat Chik-Fil-A if they were openly racist and made him sit in a black-only segregated area of the restaurant, while the civil rights lawyer on my right side is actively booing him. What am I doing here? I ask myself. Is this really happening? Also, if I stand up to go to the bathroom, how likely is it that I will fall over and injure myself? How am I going to get out of this club, anyway? Will I have to walk? Am I actually already asleep and having a weird meta dream about insomnia? And so on.

Round about hour 41, my brain finally relented and I got 9 hours of unconsciousness (not uninterrupted, as The Man got up and made a smoothie halfway through). I bet I could have slept another 2 hours at least, but also there are the kids, and when you’re a kid, “being quiet” and “banging the door of the front-loading washer 17 times in a row” are somehow not mutually exclusive activities. But you can’t make up lost sleep, can you? Like, I should have slept 16 hours, right? Not an option. So, I’m not wholly recovered. I may never be.

Here’s a pinky-pinky flower mandala with an unusual symmetry based on the number 7, drawn in less stressful and more well-rested times.

Eternal Flame Mandala


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.

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.

So Many Circles Mandala

Hey, even the Earth is slightly egg shaped, really.

Hey, even the Earth is slightly egg shaped, really.

How is that I’m still awake? I had a press pass to Tucson Comic-Con this weekend, so I felt compelled to spend almost the entire 3 days at Comic-Con. I only left Saturday because I had to go to a birthday party, and I only left Sunday because I wanted to march in the All Souls’ Procession, and I like to hang out downtown for 3 hours before the procession starts to just be in the middle of everything. So I walked a LOT. Plus, I wore combat boots for 10 hours today. My feet are kind of complaining. The introvert side of me was actually kind of freaking out about these plans, and there was a moment on Thursday when I thought, “I can’t do this.” But I did it. I took some great pictures and talked to plenty of artists and cosplayers and writers and publishers and I will write a sweet article and next year maybe I’ll get the press pass to the (MUCH larger) Phoenix con. Maybe I’ll even have enough cache for San Diego. Stranger things have been known to happen.

Dragon Comics tomorrow!

Blue Lotus Mandala


Sometimes you just have to lay it on thick.

If you are interested in reading the unvarnished truth about my spiritual beliefs, someone has been inquisitive enough to interview me about it and industrious enough to type up the interview and post it on her blog. The timing is great, because it’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and a lot of the interview is about why I don’t practice Judaism even though I was raised in a traditionally observant household. Or perhaps because I was raised in a traditionally observant household. There may be a comic in there somewhere, although that might prove even harder to write about than the chronic pain disorder.

Clouds are my religion. Mountains are my religion. The bulletin board in the breezeway of the elementary school where I hang my cut paper projects is my religion. All these mandalas are my religion.

As for other people’s religions, there’s really only one thing that interests me, and that is their mythology. But there’s only one thing that’s really important, in the long run, and that is whether or not you follow Wheaton’s Law. If you think your divine creator is telling you it’s OK to be a jerk, you might want to examine whether your beliefs are spiritually uplifting or merely self-serving.

Boiling Hot Mandala


Summer’s end in the desert means it only gets up to 95° during the day.

This one sort of reminds me of an electric range as well as a pot of boiling water or that game where the floor is lava. You might think I’m feeling the heat, but in fact, it’s cooled off significantly around here. When the temperature is in the 90s, I find myself gravitating back to long pants and even to long sleeves in the evening.

Our long weekend was supposed to be a camping trip, but we found out on Thursday that the heavy monsoon rains had washed out the road to the campground we’d booked, and also there was a party The Man wanted to go to on Saturday night. We ended up having a blast Friday, too, staying local but running all over the city for a little bit of everything good Tucson has to offer.

I’m working on another comic about the terrible facets of my life, which people seem to like reading about. I started working on it about a week ago, but then I stopped, thinking, “Man, this is heavy; no one wants to hear this.” And then I got another PM from someone saying, “Thanks for writing all these serious, personal stories in comic form.” Every time I think I’m done with a particular form, someone contacts me to ask for more. So, soon you’ll be able to read a comic strip about chronic pain, which, clearly, you have been waiting for all your life.

I’ve also been storyboarding another comic, a more traditional kind of comic book story that I guess would fall into the category of paranormal romance. I intended to write 16 panels with a punchline, but the punchline didn’t come to the 20th panel, and by that time I had invested enough into the story that I didn’t want to play it for cheap gags. I wanted the characters to learn and grow. So instead of drawing a 4×4 grid and telling a short joke, I’ll probably end up with about 25 2×2 grids that tell a complete arc, with flashbacks and character development and plot and conflict and resolution. I’m not sure when I’ll get to write it, but I’m ready to get back into more detailed writing and storytelling. I could do more, every day.

Cookie Cookie Cookie Crumble Mandala

It's a pentagram of deliciousness!

It’s a pentagram of deliciousness!

When I look at this mandala I see a plate of artfully arranged ginger snaps, and little pink frosted cookies, and some other cookies, as well as cookies broken up to make symmetrical non cookie shapes. Also, I see cream. Or possibly custard. It’s like a very upscale version of one of those mud cakes that are made out of chocolate pudding and crumbled Oreos with a few gummy worms sticking out. You serve it in a plastic bucket with a shovel. But this five sided display of decadence belongs on the dessert table of an autumn themed wedding banquet.