Category Archives: mandalas

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.

A Candy Colored Mandala

Sweet and sour

Sweet and sour

This color palette reminds me of the sour gummies the kids like. Apparently I am too old to understand their appeal. Even though I would not eat the colors in this mandala, I I love its complexity, the combination of circles and triangles, the way the (almost) straight lines intersect. It’s a really successful design.

Today was a pretty emotionally taxing day for me. We thought we would blow off steam with some storm chasing, as towering cumulonimbi surrounded the city in the early afternoon, but they had all dispersed against the mountains, which happens sometimes, so we walked by the river instead, and then ate West African food and then got baklava, and then watched a cute anime called A Letter to Momo. Other than that I have no update.

On Thursdays We Get Mandalas

This mandala is on point.

This mandala is on point.

Yesterday was Monsoon Day, otherwise known as the Dia de San Juan. It’s a local holiday, I guess. Maybe it rains on June 24 in other parts of Arizona, but in 11 years in Tucson, I’ve never known a real storm to come down before the 5th of July. Instead, it just gets really hot and muggy. I went out to lay down some pre-emergent on the front yard to prevent the desert weeds from taking over the property when the rains do come, and I was dripping with sweat when I came in. Still, we haven’t swapped the swamp cooler over for the AC, which means the humidity still isn’t high enough. It’s not yet monsoon.

It was another ineffective day for me; mostly just reading. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get my act together.