Tag Archives: art

Hygge on Mount Lemmon

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To be honest, it all feels worryingly ominous to me, but I’m given to understand that some people actually enjoy this sort of thing.

For this year’s winter bulletin board, I was inspired by the Danish concept of hygge, which is a national emphasis on coziness during the darkest part of the year, often involving hot cocoa, but I wanted to give it a local spin. Of course, snow in Tucson is rare and scanty when it comes, but up on the mountain it falls in abundance and people who enjoy things that are cold, wet, and inconvenient can go up there and get whatever it is that people who didn’t grow up in the midwest and don’t find the cold debilitating get out of it.

All my bulletin boards are intended to be secular (well, OK, some of them subtly reflect my personal views of pantheism with a sprinkling of paganism and Buddhism, but they are never meant to reflect anything beyond the most superficial trappings of Christianity) but people will insist on attributing everything to Jesus. Apparently the Christians have a monopoly on the word “peace” now? It’s not for Christmas. It’s for winter. We could all use peace and coziness, regardless of whether a fat man in a red suit has ever brought us presents.

Dream Big

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Back to the basics here.

How can it be summer already? But it is. School here ends May 23rd, and I’m off to present my thoughts about Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics in Michigan, so I decided to clear this off my plate in a simple but elegant fashion before I left. I’ll do something fancier in the fall. I’m trying to dream big, like I did as a kid, and I hope the kids at this school are too.

The top font is called Indie. The bottom I just drew freehand.

Dark Nights on Planet Earth

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Who wants to buy me a plasma cutter so I can do this sort of thing in metal?

Well,  I’m in love with this style of paper cutting, except, obviously, it would work even better in metal. It’s weird that I’ve never even attempted anything like this before; was actually way easier than I thought, probably the only bulletin board I’ve ever done that actually took less time than I’d estimated. The whole thing still took 12 hours over 3 days, but cutting out the details (with a scalpel) didn’t take much longer than sketching them out.

You can view some process pictures on my Instagram feed if you want to see that, along with some closer imagers of each design.

The quote is slightly messed up, probably because I never sleep as much as I need to. There should be another definite determiner between “in” and “contrast.” Still, pretty good stuff. Some kid will probably rip some of the details; they’re very fine and I wasn’t able to hit every spot with glue. It’s too tempting for the littles. After the break, I’ll go back and secure it a bit more.

Speaking of the break, I’m grateful that I didn’t have to get anywhere near an airport this week.

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.

 

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.