Category Archives: Uncategorized

Back to School, 2017-18

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What percentage of all elementary children will even understand what a chalkboard is? I don’t think this school even has any chalkboards.

Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, I went to school to put together this retro bulletin board. The original idea was to make it look like a smartboard on the right side and a chalkboard on the left, but they were out of white butcher paper. I had to use construction paper for the writing. The lettering is hand torn and the rest I cut out freehand with a scalpel. I hadn’t really figured out how to create the effect of a smartboard’s silver frame using the material at hand, and my time is limited anyway, so it’s best that the simpler concept prevailed.

This piece took a little more than 4 hours. I had my apprentice (the Girl) for the first time in a while, and that really helped it go faster. She’s tall enough to just reach the tip of the frame, and she’s a lot more patient and fastidious than I am, and there were tasks that she could do unsupervised that she could do just as well or better than me, like going back after the rubber cement dried to fix the places that hadn’t gotten sufficient adhesion, and then cleaning all the extra bits of rubber cement off the paper.

Other than that, I’ve been cleaning my office out, trying to get ride of a lot of material objects that no longer serve me, many of which I’ve been carrying for decades without ever using; setting up a floor desk, which I expect will be better for my back; and generally degunkifying the place, which I’ve occupied continuously for 7 1/2 years. I’m not quite ready to forsake all my material possessions, but a lot less clutter would be nice.

Will probably start posting more regularly soon, but possibly not 5 days a week. There many be another big project in the works. Maybe even 2!

 

 

Have a Sweet Summer

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Yeah, and, um…bee good, OK?

All week I believed I was going to make a bulletin board featuring a picture of a date palm, but somehow when I got to school, I made a bee on an opuntia flower. Admittedly, it’s not my absolute best work. The school ran out out of black paper and it was about 100° outside and I just wanted to finish because it was 5 pm everyone had gone home and I still had 3 more engagements for the evening. But it’s not a bad bee. Or a bad flower. Still, whenever I do anything, I immediately see how I could have done it better. But this is better than not doing it.

Anyway, school’s out on Thursday, both my district and the Kids’ district, and the pool water should hit 80° this week, so it’s as summer as it can get. Summer I, I should say, since, of course, we have 2 summers in southern Arizona. But I like them both. There’s nothing like a summer sunset in the desert, especially if you observe it from your own back yard, next to your own pool.

Gratitude: Connectivity

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Seriously, do you remember life before wi-fi? Before dialup? Were we truly even alive?

In some ways the internet is making us all stupider. We don’t have to remember things, because the internet remembers them for us. We don’t have to search for things; the internet does that too, which means we miss out on all the things we would have learned if we undertook our own, more arduous searches. The internet supports the rise of a lowest-common-denominator culture where there are no gatekeepers and anyone can publish anything, so the authority of the average piece of writing can never be assumed. Also, it’s destroying our ability to focus and concentrate. And it’s probably wholly responsible for the rise of white supremacy in America and the election of the current president.

But also, the internet brings us everything: new friends, old friends, music, movies, books, games, homework help, advice, cat pictures, instant news, school, an easy cheat to “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” and the basic sum of all knowledge discovered by our species. Can you imagine going back?

I don’t want to go back, anyway. Not if I can’t telecommute, digitally spy on people from my past, instantly discover the answer to almost any question I might have about the world, share my art with 1000s of people minutes after I complete it, and chat, for free, with anyone, anywhere, any time, in a format that allows me to also do 50 other things without the person I’m chatting with having any idea what percentage of my attention is focused on the conversation.

Despite its drawbacks and abuses, I’m grateful for the internet.

 

Dragon Comics 161

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This gag is moving in several dimensions.

Wow, a comic finished before midnight? This one was pretty easy, obviously. They’ll get a bit more visually complex, presently. The kids’ custody schedule got flipped for the week and I somehow scheduled 3 times as many social engagements as I would in a normal 7-day period, so my entire groove has been disrupted. Fortunately, it was possible to write 8 comic scripts at the Fox’s on Tuesday, so at least the words are already taken care of for a while longer.

Have a great weekend. Dragon out.

Rainbow Mandala Om

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Om, shanti shanti shanti. 

Despite my brother sending me an email explaining how he’d threatened my nephew with last Thursday’s “So Superior” comic, saying that if the bookish 10-year-old didn’t participate in physical activity he too would end up a basement-dwelling neckbeard troglodyte, I don’t seem to be feeling the comic today. If my nephew does end up living in my brother’s basement, I expect that will be entirely on his parents’ shoulders, right? I can rest assured that neither of the Kids will end up living in my basement, because the ground in Tucson is mostly clay, which is difficult and expensive to dig, so hardly anyone has a basement.

Anyway, I remembered there was another old crayon mandala that never made it to the website, because it’s hanging on the wall in the spare bedroom/closet. I wanted to lay it on the flatbed scanner but it appeared to be attached to the nail in some complicated way and it seemed safer to just let it stay where it was.

Truth be told, I’m getting a little nervous about finishing my big project on time, and around about while you are reading this, I am actually getting an MRI of my dominant hand, which could potentially result in surgery, which would likely prevent me from drawing anything or typing more than 20 words a minute for quite some time.

Anyway, I have to go draw some elephants.

Monday Gratitude: This Here Ukulele

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She ain’t pretty. But she is cheap. And easy.

Settling on a gratitude came with difficultly tonight; I seem to exist in a state of muted rage lately. That makes it hard to count your blessings. I’m either working or avoiding work at all times, and the number 1 way I’ve been avoiding work lately is this ukulele. Why is that slowly picking out “Stairway to Heaven” 40 times in a row feels easier than accomplishing the tasks I need to do, I want to do, other people are depending up me to do?  Tasks I’m actually capable of successfully completely, unlike ever being able to play “Stairway” at tempo.

That’s just this week. Usually I don’t use it as a distraction, but more as a calmative. I had developed a bad habit of staring at the screen late at night, and the ukulele gives me something I can focus on in the dark (much like with touch typing, I realized the only way to learn to do it without looking was to make it impossible to look), allowing me to pull back from electricity and possibly sooth my psychotic circadian rhythms.

I’m grateful for the uke, and the ability to play music. I always, always wanted to play, but I hated the music I was supposed to learn for the piano, so I hated practicing, so I never got better. And my hands are too little and intractable for the guitar. And certain things I can only learn on my own, with my own hands. I pity the people who tried to teach young dragon about music.

We are experiencing technical difficulties.

I just spent the last 3 hours drawing an insomnia comic. It was 99% finished, lacking only the word bubble. And then Photoshop just…closed itself. I didn’t close it. I didn’t click anything as far as I could see. It didn’t even ask me if I wanted to save. It just closed and lost all the changes I had made since the last save, and I was working so intently that the last save had been about 2 hours and 55 minutes earlier, even though I thought I had been saving as I went. So it’s 2 a.m. and I don’t have anything. Plus, it was an insomnia comic, so…you know. Sad Dragon. It was visually a very interesting comic. Challenging details. Gone. Gonna cry myself to sleep now. I really did draw a comic today.