Tag Archives: holiday

Quick Monster Box update

Everyone loved the Monster Box (they call him the Candy Monster) so much they didn’t want to put him away for the season (honestly where would they put him? He’s enormous and he no longer folds flat) so now he’s dressed for Thanksgiving and collecting donations for the canned food drive.

Edible Mandala

As always, symmetry gets a bit ragged around the edges when the center has any imprecision.

Usually I wouldn’t post food on this blog even though I’m considered a pretty good home cook and my food tends to be photogenic when I put forth the effort (I do post food pics on Instagram @hubris_and_smoke) but this one is a mandala so I totally have to share it.

Alas, the picture is all the remains after I fed it to my Mom for Mother’s Day. It was a big hit, and fairly simple to make. The crust is basically a sugar cookie and the sauce is a simple cream cheese icing. This one is gluten free so the cookie was a bit delicate but that’s why I made it in a pie pan.

Three Saguaros: Father’s Day in the Desert

The real desert shinier and pricklier.

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve posted something here that WordPress actually logged me out of the site. That never happens.

I have made some art, but most of it was for a book that hasn’t been published yet and the editors asked me not to share it yet. But also, the world is on fire (here in Arizona literally, and figuratively everywhere else) and it’s hard to focus. I’ve been reading a lot.

This card is for my father, who loves cactus, for Father’s Day. By the time this page is published, I’ll have given it to him in a socially distant way. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Happy Halloween!

halloween crafts

Spooky, Creepy, BooOooOoo! BooOooOoo!

My friend the Vampire Bat used to send really elaborate care packages on Halloween and Valentine’s Day, handmade cards, candy, little seasonally-appropriate presents, the whole megillah. They were pretty special, to be honest, and I loved receiving them, but over the years, reciprocation became difficult. I had a family and work and didn’t always notice when holidays were coming up, let along make time in my schedule to plan for them a month in advance. And I guess I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t show my appreciation properly, and eventually she announced that she wasn’t going to put forth the effort anymore.

So now, sometimes, just to mess with her, I do send her handmade holiday gifts.

These little images—the “Spooky” owl, the “Creepy” spider, and the “BooOooOoo! BooOooOoo” ghosts—are from the packaging of some stickers that came in one of her last Halloween gifts to me, and they were so cute that after I stuck the stickers on things (what did I stick them on? I have no idea) I save the boxes with the intention of using them for some All Hallow’s Eve crafts for my friend. That was years ago, but when I found a random pair of metallic silver skeleton mermaid socks at Target (Target really goes all out with weird sock designs) I realized this was the year.

While playing around with the pieces (too bad I cut them up before this idea came to me) I realized that I could make a tiny card (the Vampire Bat likes tiny things) and then I realized I could make tiny books!

Unfortunately, I had used up all the printer paper printing out draft versions of a new comic book and neither The Man nor I work anyplace where we can reasonably steal printer paper anymore, so I had to use heavy card stock for the paper. It was harder to cut and my notebooks would have fewer pages, which would be hard to turn, but I soldiered on. What you do is you line all your pages up, clamp them together, and then apply liberal amounts of glue on one side. When it glues, the pages are basically bound together. Then you glue a bit of ribbon over that glued edge, to reinforce it. I used ribbon to bind the covers together and shore up the cardboard, and then I glued the paged into the cover. Viola!

For the card, I just used a piece of manilla folder to bind the 2 sides together. Lately, I’ve been trying to use up, rather than hoard, the vast quantities of art/office supplies I have been carrying around the country for 2 decades. The ransom letters and all the other words came out of a single issue of The Smithsonian.

My friend liked the gift (of course!) so now I can share it here.

No Place Like Home for the Holidays


You don’t need that white stuff to have a nice December. I promise.

I don’t typically do Christmas-related things, except for making gingerbread with the kids, but I do like a nice holiday bulletin board that somehow celebrates the season of lights. I was thinking about home—my parents just bought a house a couple miles from here, and are in the process of selling the place I grew up—and how much I love where I live, so this is a quintessentially Tucson image: the big adobe, the happy cactus, the chili pepper bundles, and the tiny luminarias.

I meant to post it a couple days ago but it’s been a rough week and a half. First the power cable for my MacBook Air died, and it was a couple days before I could get a new one, by which time I had some mild but debilitating version of the flu. Now I’m 10 days behind on the comic book, but I can finish page 10 tonight and maybe I can do 2 more in the next week and catch back up. I padded my schedule a lot in case of emergencies/apathy/lethargy.

So, Merry whatever if you celebrate something round about this time. No matter what time of year it is, you should cherish your family and friends.

The Rockets’ Red Glare Mandala

Patriotism is a circular argument

Patriotism is a circular argument

Clearly, this mandala celebrates the raucous chauvinism of America’s Independence Day. Originally, I think I had bigger plans for it, but somehow, just like real fireworks, it was a short display that ended too soon. Probably I should hold it back until July but who knows what the future holds? Today we celebrate the glorious 4th mandala, and that’s that.

Yesterday, while I was still reeling from my personal crisis of can’t even, I received the official invitation to become a regular contributor at Panels.net. I didn’t even realize until I skimmed the contributors’ bios that there are a number of really accomplished people affiliated with that site. Illustrious company. Go me. I really do have a lot to say about comics, and I believe I say them very well, thank you.

Today was one of the days I read to kindergarteners because it lightens my heart. We read 2 Jane Yolen books. Talk about a gifted writer! How many people in the world could create a story about a little girl being extremely quiet in the woods and end up with something that would keep a room full of 5-year-olds in rapt, delighted attention (Owl Moon)? Plus, the hilarious Recess Queen, which always gets a lot of laughs, as well as a short book about cowboys. I started my new bulletin board but made the mistake of doing the picture before settling on the words. Now I have about 12 tabs open, each with a different quote that might possibly be usefully paired with an image of an exploding volcano.

Dragon Comics 44

And we’re back!

We all know that feeling. Thus concludes this treaty on gluttony as a cultural imperative.

We all know that feeling. Thus concludes this treaty on gluttony as a cultural imperative.

A couple years back, the Fox, The Man, the Cats, and I were driving to Tucson from Death Valley and I had the clever idea that we should stop for lunch in Las Vegas. Specifically, I thought the Fox, who had never been to Sin City, would get a kick out of the buffets. Stupidly, we chose the cheapest one on the strip, which, at the time, was Planet Hollywood.

I didn’t even feel like I ate that much much, but apparently I did. The Cats and the Fox were perfectly happy to nom all the things. The Man and I did not fare so well. The man literally threw up. I was not even so lucky as that. All I remember is lying on the floor of a casino bathroom crying because I wanted to throw up, but couldn’t, and then finally demanding that we leave Las Vegas immediately, so that I could vomit on the Hoover Dam.

Sadly, I was unable to effect reverse peristalsis on one of the greatest modern marvels of the 20th century. Instead, I spent 7 hours crying to myself.

Since then, I’ve only eaten myself into a stomach full of angry bees once. Typically, I’m pretty moderate about what I eat; even if I eat a lot, I rarely eat things that my stomach can’t tolerate. As I was completely sick this Thanksgiving with a perfect storm of what appeared to be 3 separate microbial invasions, I couldn’t have overeaten if I tried. We’ve been really conscious about not cooking too much food, not going overboard with the Thanksgiving meal, for some years now. Still, hanging out with the Cats and the Fox, I am offered a lot of opportunities.

Dragon Comics 43


Only in America could we transform a celebration of gratitude for not starving to death into a celebration of Dionysian excess ushering in a month-long period of accelerated capitalism.

Only in America could we transform a celebration of gratitude for not starving to death into a celebration of Dionysian excess ushering in a month-long period of accelerated capitalism.

In brief: after 9/11, although I have never loved New York and didn’t know a single person there in 2001, I was one of those Americans who sort of lost their minds. For 3 days I did nothing but listen to NPR and freak out. I had to leave grad school in the middle of the semester to go home to my mom for a week. I was treated for PTSD. And then one day I woke up and said to myself, wait a second, I’m a fantasist. I can escape this world any time I like; I just need to go back to my novel.

We live in trying and complicated times. All QWERTYvsDvorak can offer is a moment of (hopefully) comedic escape. This is my first attempt at a purely visual gag. This Thanksgiving, I will offering gratitude for myriad blessings, and remembering those less fortunate and those whose lives, by a trick of fate, are so much more difficult than mine.

QWERTYvsDvorak will be taking the week off to enjoy time with family and recover from whatever bacteria has settled in my lungs. Comics and updates resume Wednesday, December 3rd. Be good to one another, people. We’re all we have, really.

The Breezeway Part 3

Spring 2011, a Tree of Knowledge

Spring 2011, a Tree of Knowledge

I’m interested in the idea of dimensionality. Some of the previous bulletin boards used layers to create depth, but I experiment with other methods of making the images pop. For this tree, I actually constructed a number of little books and then attached them at various angles to showcase the third dimension.

Summer 2012, a Sonoran Desert Mandala

Summer 2012, a Sonoran Desert Mandala

Here, I used multiple layers and curled the edges of the flower using the blade of a pair of scissors to create the 3D effect. The species represented in this image include saguaro, prickly pear, ocotillo, palo verde, yucca, fishhook barrel, cholla, and bird of paradise.

It’s always a challenge to create holiday bulletin boards that reflect our local culture while remaining nondenominational.

Winter 2013, Another Ofelia Zepeda quote, paired with my take on the beautiful Mexican tin lanterns. I used layers and string for dimensionality here.

Winter 2013, Another Ofelia Zepeda quote, paired with my take on the beautiful Mexican tin lanterns. I used layers and string for dimensionality here.