Just a little scribble that could probably be a comic if I didn’t think that whatever was going on here is probably not funny. Can’t help but think that this drawing means something, but it’s hard to articulate what that might be. I certainly was not trying to draw anything like this.
I wasn’t planning on posting this image, or the image in my next post, but my brother saw them on my desk and wanted to know why not, and I didn’t have any particular reason. I used to post mandalas and dragons all the time. There’s no reason why not, except that the last couple years have been sort of detrimental to my health as an artist.
For the last 8+ weeks I’ve been working my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which is a sort of an emotionally painful and psychologically brutal. I used to say that drawing mandalas could help you view the state of your spirit, and this one—complicated and colorful but off-kilter and imperfect—seems to follow that pattern. Even before I started the book, I’d been working on playing—making art fun again instead of a job—and this mandala and the dragon drawing I have slated for later in the week are part of that.
I’m fully vaccinated and will be clear for hanging out with other fully vaccinated people on the 30th. I can’t help but feel like if my spirit had been in a better place, this pandemic would have been a much more productive time for me. I did create some things, but not as many as I would have liked. And now my time is going to fill up with other people again. But here we are: the world keeps moving.
Although I spent Tuesday night at the Fox’s house writing 3 weeks’ worth of comic scripts, most of the this week has been dedicated to the big project, which is now maybe sort of close to halfway. It’s hard to tell. Hopefully halfway, because it needs to be done in a couple months, and I have sort of verbally agreed to another paying project for the end of summer.
As mentioned, in this comic, “Close Encounters of the ∞ Kind,” different layers of reality will be illustrated in different media. The protagonist’s ever-changing imaginary friends are these whimsical crayon drawings, reproduced at 50% opacity. The main friends are an elephant, an octopus, a bird, and a walking tree, although by the end of the comic, there are many more imaginary friends. And for some reason I decided each friend would look totally different in each frame. So I have to draw like 37 different imaginary elephants. It’s all good.
Last night I drew a super-cool elephant, which originally I thought I’d post here, but this ent is even cooler. This ent is like Fonzie cool. Now I just have to draw about 27 more elephants and 22 octopodes, and 19 birds, &c. &c. And then I can start on the 5th dimension special effects. The Fox and I are going on retreat in 2 weeks, and with any luck (more like determination and forcing myself) all the imaginary friends will be drawn by then, and I can start integrating them into the reality layers. While I’m also finishing editing a novel. And a few other projects.
Anyway, I will publish more Dragon Comics. Next week. We decided we can’t work all the time, so we’ve also been preparing the house for the party we’re having Friday night.
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.
Welcome to a special Saturday edition of QvD. If you don’t know what this is all about, you can check out this Facebook event, or search “postcard avalanche.”
The general details are:
Join in and send a postcard directly to Trump! Here are the basic instructions to participate:
** IMPORTANT – Don’t mail your card until NOV. 26th **
1. Get a postcard from your state – any picture that represents your state.
2. In the message section, write this simple message: NOT BANNON!
3. Sign your name if you wish
4. Address it as follows:
c/o The Trump Organization
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10022
5. Affix a stamp – you can use a 34 cent postcard stamp, or a normal letter stamp.
6. Take a picture of your postcard that you can share on social media on Nov. 26-28th
7. Drop it in the mail between Saturday, Nov 26th and Monday, Nov. 28th to create a concentrated avalanche of postcards.
8. On Nov. 26-28th, Tweet and share the heck out of your photo using the hashtags #postcardavalanche #stopbannon
Why “Not Bannon”?
Because this guy is an insidious enabler of the modern-day Nazi. This Mother Jones article sums it up nicely. Bannon may or may not be a racist himself, but his work has consistently empowered and normalized the racist community (for his own personal profit) and is probably responsible in part for the 2016 election results. Although I have not been a practicing Jew for a good quarter century, speaking as a person who was raised in a traditional Jewish household, I’m personally terrified about the possibility of American turning into the Fourth Reich. I think I’ve seen more swastikas in the weeks since the election than I did in an entire semester of Holocaust studies.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think Jews are even the primary target. Muslims, black people, trans people, queer folks, and recent immigrants are more at risk under this upcoming administration, in this weird political climate. But seriously, anti-semitism was a distant concept to me most of my life, and now it’s right out in the open all the time, all over the internet. That’s telling.
Anyway, since I’m spending the holiday in Illinois with my parents, I didn’t have any easy way to obtain an Arizona postcard, and since all the art supplies in my parents’ house are 25 years old, there wasn’t a wide variety to choose from. Basically, it was a can of broken crayons and a half dozen colored pencils. And I couldn’t get a really good photograph of it either. But I made an Arizona postcard in order to participate in this action. And it’s not too late for you to participate too. Just follow the instruction above and mail your postcard out Monday.
Per usual, the very idea that I have to be up early in the morning turns me into wide awake wyrm, no matter how tired I might actually be. In fact I’m to exhausted to even bust out the tablet and draw a Dragon Comics that’s already written. All I could draw was this armless, legless, wingless wyrm while doing 12 other things and thinking about 27 ways I could forget something important in the morning. Today was really another artistic bust. It took 3 hours to fold the laundry; that takes a good chunk out of a dragon’s day. And soul.
The next 3 weeks are going to be even more unpredictable and out-of-reality than last weekend was. Blog posts may be spotty.
Whew! Busy weekend! The Man got a year older, which happens to people even when they’re so old no one really cares anymore, so I tried to jolly him up. Friday night we went to a carnival and Saturday night we went to a cabaret where he got to celebrate his birthday by being dragged onto stage by a troupe of belly dancers. I also accomplished 2 pieces of art in that time, but very few hours of sleep, so now I’m kind of goofy and unfocused, so I’m just tossing this slightly askew mandala up here and then trying to persuade my brain to turn off in the next couple hours.
Actually, I’m pretty pleased with the direction things are going. Sometimes I wonder if I can deliver on the things I promise but there’s no reason to believe I can’t. But then I wonder if that fear is the real reason I haven’t come as far as I wanted. Somehow, once other people’s money is involved, my self-confidence begins to question itself.
Today I had some very intensive conversations, one with the Rabbit and one with Misses Kitty, on the subject of marketing for artists. I have a fair amount of experience in marketing for other people. It was a huge component of my last real job, and I worked closely with the marketing people when I was in traditional publishing, but I never enjoyed it, or excelled at it. The Rabbit and Misses Kitty are sort of better at it than I am. But I’m supposed to try.
After all, the Owl, whose book coming out really soon, sold her house, bought a van, and swore to spend the entire year on a publicity tour. That’s a real commitment. And what have I done? Made some posts on social media? My books are good. I’m a good writer. But beyond that, the process loses my interest.
Also today I finished reading my next big novel to The Man (I have a slender kids’ book that will come out later this year, but it’s actually older than The Hermit.) This next book is science-fiction-y, and murder-mystery-y, and dystopian-y. It’s also about 800 pages. For quite some time I puzzled over how to cut it down to a manageable level, but the people who’ve read it don’t seem to think it needs cutting down. Still, it needs some editorial work. In reading it to The Man (800 pages, which took about 5 weeks) I found dozens of typos and a number of continuity errors and things like that. After this next book is published, and I have participated in some marketing-related activities, I will make about 2 more passes and then maybe start the entire agent-seeking process all over again. If I can actually sell some copies of The Hermit before then, it will help.
Now I’m writing a horror novel; it’s a genre I’ve barely touched on in my life, even though I read everything Stephen King wrote prior to 1996 and some of the stuff he wrote after it, and all of Clive Barker’s early stuff, and HP Lovecraft and other writers in that vein. I know I can write a novel; it remains to seen whether I can be scary.
Not that I’m scaring anyone with a crayon mandala in cotton candy pink and marshmallow Peep yellow. And I guess those are blue M&Ms and the green are those weird sour candies that kids like today. They didn’t have them in the ’80s, as far as I can remember, so I never got a taste for them.
Wrote a script for a comic that had been blooming in my mind for a few days and then started to second-guess myself and decided to check my sources, so to speak, before drawing it. Certain recent events weigh heavily. Anyway, I couldn’t have done justice to the subject matter in the time available.
Instead, I settled on something I used to do all the time, and haven’t done in a while: dragons in crayon. And still, you would not believe the tribulation. I wanted to sit on the floor, but had to adjust the lamp to shine on my workspace. But somehow, I knocked the lamp over, breaking the bulb. Fortunately, although it cracked and no longer emitted light, it stayed in basically one piece and was easy to remove.
Then I went to the closet and got another bulb, but it was so well-packaged that I had difficulty getting it out of the protective packaging. Eventually, I dismantled the entire box, but the bulb was still secured in the cardboard. So I gave it another tug, and it went flying across the floor, shattering into a million pieces. Now I had to get another bulb and install that just so I could see well enough to sweep and vacuum the broken glass in order to safely sit on the floor. Probably end up mad as a hatter anyway.
Finally, I was able to draw this majestic mother dragon guarding her precious egg atop a golden hoard. Classic.
That was another breakneck weekend. And now it’s over.
This mandala is stark and cold, like the snow icing the mountains, making the desert look like Denver. It being somewhat threadbare, here is some macrophotography to fill in any gaps the white space may have left in your visual pleasure receptors.
Humans have visual pleasure receptors, right? Feast your eyes on this:
This is the bud of an aloe flower. Tiny and pretty!
This is a detail of a small garden sculpture my mother bought me at a street fair. It happens to be the curly hair of a little fairy, a very specific fairy, in fact: the first year dance fairy. You can tell by how she holds her feet. It’s a long story. But a small detail.
There ya go. Happy Monday.