Tag Archives: artists

Don’t Take Me Down

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And did you further know what I am applying to myself right now?

This one started out as an extra page for the American Salvage book, a little introduction to the history of and academic discourse about comics that could explain the project’s intellectual value, but I could never figure out the last panel, how to bring it full circle or tie it in to the rest of the material. Like, where was this narrative going? Was there any joke in it? And how many copyright violations did I dare produce?

In for a penny…I drew all the licensed characters. I believe that this comic constitutes fair use but you know fair use is only for people who can afford lawyers.

Tonight I just decided to draw something for the last panel. I don’t know if this comic succeeds in saying what it wants to say, but at least it’s finished.

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You’ve Made It! Now Where Do You Go?

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Crippling hand pain is a side effect of pretty much everything good, and a lot of bad things too.

Maybe I’m not looking hard enough, maybe my outrage meter needs recalibration, or maybe nothing outstandingly egregious happened in Washington today. Nothing struck me politically, and I didn’t even start thinking about this comic until midnight, so if it’s a little light, blame my running-on-fumes brain.

When I took up ukulele, I usually couldn’t hear how out of tune it was. I asked some musicians if it was possible for someone with little musical talent to develop and ear for that sort of thing and they assured me it was. Now I can tell, more or less, if it’s not right, but I can’t tell you if it’s flat or sharp, and I can only tune it with an interactive device that visually tells me whether I’m flat or sharp. And even then I’m not great at it. But I love playing it.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that I realize, now, that never in my life has it even been a particular desire of mine to be successful. All I ever wanted was to spend my days immersed in the arts. Society and my family told me that it was only important to be successful, and after I achieved success then I could do the things I actually wanted to do. Just doing art without worrying about success or whether the world would agree that that’s what I should be doing with my time seems like a real crime sometimes. But now that I’ve achieved a modicum of success I guess it’s all right?

Not that the world needs more successful people. But it probably needs more happy people.

A Fish Is More Than Nothing

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You clean your brushes your way and I’ll  clean my brushes mine.

By doing the bare minimum with my thumb for a couple days, I have taken it from ~5% to maybe 50%, which is an improvement, but still not optimal, so I’m sticking by my resolution to draw no comics this week. What we have here, instead, is a quick painting of a fish I did last after I had painted all those origami fish and didn’t want to waste all the unused paint I had squeezed out on to my palette.

What I’d like to do is more drawing/painting from live models. Seems like the only way to improve. Most artists have a better connection between their memory and their art; I’m still more a writer than an artist, and I can hear/see words in my head much more clearly than I can see pictures, although apparently it’s possible to train oneself to understand things like light and shadows across 3-dimensional objects, even though they’re harder to grasp when you lack depth perception.

Golden Snowflake Mandala

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I know it looks like I spilled coffee on this mandala, but I don’t drink coffee, so I can’t say what that stain is, but it’s probably not coffee.

I wrecked my hands pulling weeds this weekend, because I received a letter from Big Brother explaining that my property was in violation of local law, and if I did not pull weeds, the city was going to pull my weeds for me, and charge me for the privilege. It’s a pretty irritating system. For one thing, I don’t believe in weeds. A weed is a plant growing where a human doesn’t want it to grow, and I was perfectly happy to let those plants grow in my yard. The birds and lizards seemed to appreciate  my laissez-faire approach to landscaping, as did my cat. So, I could argue, there were no weeds on my property to begin with.

The other super-annoying this about this is that I still live in Arizona, and these plants only grow in the monsoon, and the monsoon is over, so in a couple weeks, they’ll all be dead anyway. But no dice. The city doesn’t care about the natural cycle of the land. Remove all weeds and grass within 10 days, or I would be abated. Abatement does not sound like something you want.

The third terrible part to this is that I need my hands to draw webcomics, and now they are covered in blisters and micro-abrasions. The blisters are pretty prominent. I only figured out about the micro-abrasions later, because I promised the kids lemonade after they helped me. And really, the kids aren’t that much help at all. But they drank most of the lemonade. And I got to figure out where exactly on each hand I had a tiny little cut.

Still, tomorrow is the last scheduled BJC comic, which I have been writing for a month now, and tomorrow is also the day that I write with the Fox, and also get a massage to help undo the ravages of time and the physical strain of drawing webcomics 25 hours a week, which doesn’t leave a lot of time left over for shilly-shallying.

Dragon Comics 139

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First you go viral. Then the virus kills you.

If you’re asking someone to submit content to your website, and the very first thing that person says in their response is, “Before you go any further, is this a paying gig?” and it’s not a paying gig, then what you should say is, “Sorry, no.” What you should not do is send a poorly worded boilerplate description of your website that doesn’t answer the original question in a straightforward manner, and then, when the person whose favor you are asking reiterates that they need to understand whether or not you intend to compensate them for their work, get all bent out of shape and snarky about it. You’ve wasted their time by not just answering the question.

I’m lucky because I have The Man looking after me, and before that I had a very solid and well-paying corporate writing gig, but I know too many freelance writers getting shafted by a system that runs on their talent but devalues their skill.

Drawing a comic is better than getting riled up about it. So actually, I did profit from the exchange.

In the Court of Public Opinion

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Next on the docket: the case of Kindle versus some talentless  hack self-published novelist.

This one pretty much speaks for itself. Although maybe I should have called it “You Can All Go #@$* Yourselves!” Usually I like to think that I can be just as funny without swearing, but The Man suggested I go with the grawlix, which I’ve never done before, but is a time-honored comic trope. Because, seriously, in this situation, what else would you say?

A Career in the Arts!

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The Unicorn of Creativity supports this message. So does the Moth of Poverty. Your parents are just disappointed.

I say “get older” because I’m not sure “growing up” is something that is compatible with the creative life. At least, it’s been a couple decades now and I don’t seem to be doing it, at least not in the sense that my parents used the term. Maybe other creative types have had better luck, but I’m pretty sure that we’re all just big kids going through the motions of putting on pants in the morning and driving cars.

This comic isn’t 100% representative of my life, because I did try to have a career in my 30s, and after the novelty of having a lot of money wore off, I hated every second of it, and it wasn’t like I needed so much money anyway. It just felt like squandering my creativity. Even now when I get desperate and take the little freelance jobs that still come to me sometimes, I feel guilty.

Anyway….

I’m really digging this very web aesthetic of drawing black and white designs with small but meaningful hints of color. A lot of web artists seem to employ this style, and it’s pretty effective. Berk Breathed has been using it in the new Bloom County strips, for example. I hope it’s apparent that panels 1-3 feature colorful butterflies while in panel 4 you see a gray moth. The comic still works if that’s not apparent, but it has a nicer balance if you see that.

The really important part is that you know that mystic unicorn is always right behind you, whispering in your ear: You have made all the right choices. If you can hear her, just keep skipping through that flowery meadow. Tra la la.