The first comic since I got this new computer, and it’s drawn in pencil. In hindsight, it would have worked better in the other style. Maybe the funny ones should be digital and the serious ones in pencil? I’ve been drawing webcomics for over 4 years now (four years!) and I’m still working this stuff out.
Anyway, this one, obviously, is based on a true story that I hear pretty much every day. You know how I know if the dishwasher is clean or dirty? I look at it. Then I use my powers of perception, primarily sight, but also smell to some extent, to determine whether or not the dishes therein are soiled with food particles. The same skill you use to determine that 1 part per octillion of your fork tine hosts a speck of foreign matter, except what I’m looking at is discernible with the naked eye.
I should also add that I am speaking on 7 (seven!) panels at Tucson Comicon. One of the panels will actually be about comics. (The other 6 will not. The con’s tag line is “Pop culture for all!”) I am a bit apprehensive about the comic discussion: it’s the only one that I’ll deliver on my own, plus the time slot is not desirable. It’s just when the con really kicks off, early Friday evening, and last year I did another panel in that slot, which happened to be during the first big-name guest’s autograph session. What I mean to say is, nobody came to our panel, because everyone went to meet Billy Dee Williams. True story. Actually, one guy came: the official con photographer. He thought Billy Dee Williams’s people were being dicks, and he was cool enough not to mention the fact that we gave a 50-minute presentation to a empty room, and he told us a funny story about how Stan Lee owes him a beer, and he took this picture of us, which the con is using for publicity on social media.
ItsI amazing that I managed to log in to this account on my phone in the first try. It took 2 days to remember my Reddit password and I still haven’t gotten into Twitter. Guess I’ll buy a new laptop tomorrow, but I’m not happy about it. Also not happy about blogging on my phone. After 3 days of sliding around a 1.5″ x 2.5″ keyboard, it’s time to concede defeat. I gotta have a real machine.
For some reason, some people don’t appreciate the beauty of a giant beetle flying into things and dying tragically in your swimming pool filter.
The ASDM webpage on which I found the reference photo of the larval beetle offers this statement of caution for desert motorcycle enthusiasts who don’t wear helmets: “Being hit in the face by a beetle this size can be quite painful.” That’s probably an understatement; one flew into my head earlier this month and I wasn’t even coming toward it at 60 miles an hour and it still felt like being hit by a rock.
Anyway, I think these creatures are fascinating, and, for whatever reason, they don’t feel like cockroaches to me. My response to cockroaches is visceral and immediate; if one crosses my path, I feel compelled to smash it as if it’s a vicious, carnivorous alien (even though cockroaches are harmless, vegetarian, and have been around longer than humans). My response to giant palo verde beetles is, “Cool! It’s a giant bug!” And then I take a picture and send it to my nephew or something. He’s at a prime age to appreciate giant bugs.
My first script had the final panel as some snarky remark about how maybe these insects had it all figured out and maybe we’d be better off if we spent our childhood and adolescence underground and then had thirty days to mate before dying, leaving the next generation to figure things out on its own. Then I thought I’d go for a straight biology story, with only a little snark. Then I finished the artwork and thought the panels looked kind of blank, so I put the snark back in, in word balloon form. That’s why the text doesn’t quite fit the space.
Until you’ve known the pressure of summer one you can’t love the release of summer two.
Oh, god, I’m so pleased with this comic, especially the first and last panels, but also the sense of motion in the second panel. The guy in the third panel could look more oppressed by the heat, but anyway I drew this without any help from Photoshop or the digital tablet. Just pencil, paper, and a ruler (OK and some reference photos) (OK I fixed a few lines in Photoshop after I scanned it because I’d already lost my eraser). Somehow, just sitting down and committing to doing it is the hardest part, yet, it didn’t take me any longer than it would have had I used the computer, and I’m still happier than I’ve been with the more polished stuff you get with more advanced tools. The drawing part start to finish took about an hour. I never know how long it takes me to write things. My lettering probably needs work.
It’s monsoon in Tucson, and it rained intermittently all day, which is lovely and refreshing and also kind of heavy and bittersweet. The Girl, who is now a full-fledged teenager, said she had been wishing for a full day of rain. Can you even wholly appreciate the beauty of a rainy day until you’ve been a teenage girl?
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.
My administration has the best solutions. You’ve never seen any solutions like we’re solving problems all the time, problems that we didn’t create ourselves. No, the Democrats did that when we weren’t looking. Sneaky! But I fixed it. Myself. Tremendous.
Political cartoons were killing me so I stopped but here we are again. Stupid stuff. Blaming the minority party for your unpopular decisions and then very slightly amending those terrible choices and patting yourself on the back for telling yourself not to do the thing you decided to do before you finally found one action so reprehensible that it offended the people who were totally cool with the misogyny and racism.
Still slouching toward the Third Reich, as it were. I’m scared. I’m scared all the time.
Vegan fish. It’s not a thing. I mean, there are a lot of vegan meat replacement products—burgers, hot dogs, chicken, sausage, bacon, and I once even had a vegan duck substitute in a vegetarian Chinese restaurant—but I’ve never heard of a vegan alternative to fish.
I like fish. I hate zucchini, ever since the summer my mother grew 3 plants in her garden and no one told her that you’re supposed to pick them when they’re young and tender. Like many amateur gardeners, my mother let them grow to the size of baseball bats, amazed at the growth potential of one crop in a garden where you’d be lucky to coax a carrot to attain the width of a pencil. This resulted in a harvest of roughly 75 pounds of a vegetable that most kids wouldn’t enjoy an ounce of. And my mother never throws away food. She freezes it and reserves it and hides it in other things, so that I was gagging on secret zucchini in my pancakes for what felt like the rest of my childhood.
My mother denied this when I recently brought it up, but my father contradicted her protestations. He knows my mother is more than capable of the diabolical act of serving a picky 9-year-old zucchini pancakes and pretending they’re free of contamination. You weren’t fooling anyone, Mom.