Tag Archives: art

Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”

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Will I be doing any more hand lettering in the immediate future? Quoth the raven, “Not tonight.”

This is Halloween! This is Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! La la la!

Pretty often, the Halloween design is the bulletin board I’m most looking forward to. This one definitely was. I knew I wanted a raven, so I knew I had to do Edgar Allen Poe. The sticking point there was picking the right stanza; the poem is a lot longer than I remembered. I guess it could have worked with just “Quoth the raven ‘Nevermore’,” but where’s the fun in that? You don’t get very much poetry in 4 words.

Then again, cutting 170 paper leaves with terrible plastic scissors was nothing compared to the 4 straight hours I spent inking this bad boy. The raven himself was fairly simple. I sketched him out on Monday, cut and pasted him Tuesday (lost a lot of time because the Girl had hours of math homework to get to), fixed him up a bit more on Wednesday and blocked out the letters (in true Halloween horror fashion, I lost a lot of time on Wednesday because the school had a freaking hard lockdown because there was an active shooter across the street; The Man says it was an accidental discharge but tell that to 400 crying children who have just spend the last hour hiding quietly under their desks in a dark classroom), sketched out the lettering on Thursday (lost more time because the Girl had conferences at a different school in the suburbs and also some jerkface kid had pulled out 30 or 40 staples and tried to peel the raven off), and then strapped myself into my iPod and went at it with a handful of permanent markers on Friday.

It was 4 hours straight with no more than a few minutes break here and there to stretch. Made a lot of mistakes toward the end. It is what it is. I don’t have a name for that font; it’s just something that came up when I Googled “fun Victorian fonts for kids” and started clicking.

Sadly, the kids are on autumn break, which is a thing here. I always wanted an autumn break was I was a kid, and was always told to shut up about it, that I didn’t need a break because school just started. Kids today are lucky with their autumn breaks and their regular early dismissal days. But not so lucky with their active shooter hard lockdowns. Anyway, good thing their break had already started and the teachers just had grading day, because there’s no way I would have finished this if I also had to deal with children.

Anyway, you can read the complete poem here, and you should if you haven’t.

Seriously, my hand hurts. Happy Halloween.

 

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Get Well Soon

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I regret nothing.

My ridiculous heath issues have put a damper on my creative activities of late, but I have a friend whose health issues are much more serious; she had major surgery today and I decided to make her this card. Get well soon. You know.

Recently I decided that I should stop hoarding paper and just try to use it all to make art. I also have some papier-mâché I might post later, but the projects I have in mind are more complicated than just slapping colors on a balloon, and I’ve only done the preliminary steps.

As always, I see a million ways this could be a better image, but I’m only at about 50% capacity lately, so just being able to work at all was a coup.

Back to School 2018: Lions Launching!

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“Launching” and “stellar” are probably big vocabulary words for a sizable portion of my intended audience, but they’re coming to learn, right?

I’m on a roll with these retro rocket ships!

When I first started doing bulletin boards I never wanted for inspiration; there was always some big idea that I couldn’t wait to try, but now that I’ve been at it 9 years (NINE YEARS!) (averaging 5 or 6 a year, so let’s say about 50 total) and I hate the idea of repeating myself, at least in the same forum, sometimes I have to reach a bit for new material.

The school where I volunteer starts up Thursday, so I had to cram this into my schedule (Tuesday night was the big back-to-school, sign-up-for-the-PTA, eat popcorn and wander around the campus open house, and I managed to get the bulk of the work finished before the school was deluged with parents and kids) not knowing what the plan was, but once I got there I remembered how much fun I had drawing the retro rocket for my “The Future is Non Binary and Intersectional” T-shirt, and once I had that idea, the rest of it fell into place. The rocket and the lion cubs and the paw print and the flames were easy to design: a lot of these elements were ones I had worked with before and the Girl helped me on the first day. She’s really good at peeling excess rubber cement off things.

Then I went back the next day and did the lettering. Something was clearly disconnected in my brain because I measured the space available, calculated how big each letter could be, and then completely disregarded my own calculations and made each letter about 5 centimeters too wide. Thus the bizarre/organic spacing. My original plan was to cut out some of the text that ended up in the word bubble, but the families were already there and it’s a lot of letters that wouldn’t have fit anyway and I decided to just hand ink it and slap it on as a word balloon, which took 5 minutes, versus the 2 hours sketching and cutting would have taken.

The principal loved it. All the teachers loved it. Someone called me “faithful.” As I was leaving the school, I saw a parent taking a photo of my bulletin board! Also a kid trying to read it out loud who clearly didn’t know the words “launching” or “stellar.” Success!

Perfect Failure

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At least my braids always look great. 

It’s about 4 years since I started drawing webcomics, and if you scroll through 4 years of posts, you can really see the progression of my ability to force the Wacom tablet and Photoshop Elements to do my bidding, but it feels like there’s kind of a limit to all that, because all week I’ve been staring at the blank panels for a comic book that’s been causing contractions in my brain for the last year without finding the confidence to start over again with a totally different style.  At this point, it pretty much looks like the crutch of a digital drawing tablet has caused my drawing skills to actually degenerate.

On the other hand, I think the therapist in this comic looks like the same character in both panels, which was the thing that really stymied my comic creation prior to the tablet.

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of ideas along these lines. The blog isn’t going to look as great as it could, but like my friend the Coyote always says, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I need to unplug more regardless. I need to hold a pencil in my hand. I need to let go of the anguish I feel when I want to delete something or move something or just copy something. I’ve got to practice the basics if I want to feel worthy of comments like the one I received today from a woman who told me her dad drew for Mad Magazine and that I was the “real deal” just like him.

I’m not saying this is good, but it exists, which is more than I can say for last week’s comics.

Oh, hey! I drew a therapy comic that wasn’t about couples’ counseling. You’d think I’d had way more therapy than I’ve actually had based on the number of therapy comics I’ve drawn. I wasn’t even the person receiving therapy in the above comic.

Summer Dreams

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No more pencils, no more lame excuses for overdue books, no more kinder hugs

As usual, I left my final message of the year to the last possible second. Did this one Wednesday day and Thursday of last week (just uploading now because I was on a writing retreat) in about 6 hours. School ended for the year at 2:45 Thursday and I hung this thing up around 4 p.m. Miss Kitty showed up (with an art commission) and helped me get it up a bit faster. I knew I wanted something sort of cooling, so I went for a nighttime theme. The cactus depicted here is the night blooming cereus, also known as Queen of the Night. The flowers bloom one night a year (the blooms are sort of clustered, so you might have a cactus in bloom for a couple days, but each flower lasts only one night). They’re pretty stunning.

The lettering is an ersatz version of a brushstroke font called Wanderlust, which I have inelegantly reproduced here in metallic Sharpies. I hope it keeps the people who have to be there over the summer feeling cool, and I hope all their summer dreams are realized.

I have so many comic scripts written. With a little focus, I hope to get back to actually drawing and posting them again.

Spring Is the Mischief in Me

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And then you have to read the next couple lines in the poem.

With the comic finally put to bed, 11 days late, I managed to get a seasonal bulletin board up; the image hadn’t been changed since mid-December and now it’s basically spring in Tucson, even though the weather has been unseasonably cold.

The quote is from Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” which was first published 104 years ago, yet presciently questions the point of a meaningless wall.

The letter art for the word “spring” is all original, of course, although I did look at some animal alphabets for inspiration on the S and the G. The S is supposed to be a vermillion flycatcher, the P is a lemon bud, the R is a monarch butterfly, the I is a desert marigold, the N is a long-suffering saguaro, and the G is a gecko. The small block letter are just the easiest style to cut by hand, and the lettering of “mischief” is based on a Harry Potter inspired font called “Mischief Managed.” The other animals are a hummingbird, a jackrabbit, some kind of fish, and a gambrel’s quail. I feel like it needed more animals, but The Man wanted me at home and the school is closed until Monday (in Tucson we don’t celebrate President’s Day, but we get 2 days for Festival of Vaqueros: the rodeo).

Maybe I should go back Monday and give the rabbit some whiskers, and take a better picture. We’ll see. My massage therapist also suggested that I should let my creating hand rest a little bit.

I’ve been away a while

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Page 6, Panel 3

As usual, my process involved poor time management, overly complicating simple steps, and worrying a lot while checking out of the rest of life, but after 2 months of planning and 6 of work, here is one complete panel I like from “Close Encounters of the ∞ Kind.” This is why this blog looks like it’s been abandoned. I did draw 1 QvD comic in the last couple months but Miss Kitty thought it was a little morbid and anyway this is what I’ve been doing 25-30 hours a weeks for the last 3 months, a little piece of it. Hopefully, it all comes out looking as much like my imagination as this panel. There’s still at least a month of work before I’m happy with the entire comic, which will be 8 pages long.

So, this blog is not abandoned. It’s just on hiatus until I draw something I can share.