Tag Archives: ink

How and Why by Robert Graves

how and why

How and Why by Robert Graves

This is sort of a repeat, in the sense that I’ve posted the image before, but sort of not, due to the way I started blogging, which was to create 6 months’ worth of posts in a week. It always seems so sad when someone’s just started something like a blog and you go there and barely find any content. So I decided to backdate the entries to make it look like I had been blogging for 6 months before I started publicizing new posts in any way. Consequently, there’s some wonderful content that’s been viewed by about 6 people.

I love this piece; it’s always been my intention to clean it up in Photoshop and, if I can get permission from the estate of Robert Graves, to sell prints. The original hangs beside my desk and has for years, and yet only now I’m noticing a missing apostrophe. There’s a few higgledy-piggledy lines. Ink used to make me more nervous than it does now. It’s weird that the text isn’t straight even though this was all penciled out before inking, and I used a ruler and everything.

My hand is getting better; next week comics will return. Originally I wanted to post a picture of some kids wearing QvD merch today, but apparently it’s not a good time to get permission from the family so I’m waiting to see if I can’t get a photograph of some different kids in my clothes. Otherwise I’ll share another of my favorite Trickster’s Hat projects.

Hip to Be Square Mandala

If you've got the curves, baby, I've got the angles

If you’ve got the curves, baby, I’ve got the angles

Gentle pastels, like the ’80s when the ’80s weren’t flashing eye-gouging florescence as they so often did.

This weekend I probably had too much fun. Party on Friday, party on Saturday, long nature hike with the Fox on Sunday. Obviously, I got nothing accomplished. My new T-shirt design remains in my head, as do numerous comic strips, graphic novel panels, short stories, and novels.

I wrote a sonnet in honor of a friend’s birthday. A sonnet is something I haven’t written in years, but that’s what the Fox does for special occasions and it seemed appropriate. Constrained forms are actually easier for me. Then, I thought, why not write it out with pen and ink? But it had been so long since I’d used the materials that it didn’t work out as planned. I ended up doing 3 drafts, none of which were especially pretty. The best version still ended up with fingerprints and smudges all over it, and the handwriting was nothing special. Also, there was ink all over the floor, and all over me. My friend loved the poem–I knew he’d rather have a personal present that I made–but after thanking me for it, he said he was going to frame it. So now everyone will see my lack of command over my materials.

Everything requires dedication.

Long Hair Kitties for the Fluff!

Soft kitty, crazy kitty, tangled ball of fur...

Soft kitty, crazy kitty, tangled ball of fur…

The problem with painting from live models when you want to paint a cat is that cats make terrible models. They have no trouble posing themselves; effortlessly, they assume all manner of provocative positions, seemingly begging to be capture for posterity. And then, just as you start to get the outline of a decent sketch, basically the moment they notice that you are looking at them, they move.

So I don’t know about this little painting. I did it about a month or so ago and of course it’s not quite right because the cat was done long before I was. You can sort of tell what it’s supposed to be…but it’s not great. Can’t recall my original motivation in using so much red in this painting. The cat in question, my current cat Lupin, is a real Halloween cat, almost completely black except for a few white hairs and a little charm on her throat. She does spend a lot of time lying splayed out in the sun, so her belly is bleached brown, but she’s generally hard to capture visually because she basically sucks light into herself like a black hole.

While I was working on my original painting and trying to make it into the one I published (and also covering up a lot of the red and some of the silver) the cat just randomly sat down in front of me in almost this exact post, but I decided to just ignore her, knowing that if I tried to make any serious study, she would immediately move.

Suna was a princess, or possibly a queen.

Suna was a princess, or possibly a queen.

Even though they look similar, this is a totally different cat, Suna, who passed away a couple years back. She was actually a tortoiseshell, even though here she looks entirely black. I knew Suna as a kitten, when the Bear and I went to school in Ohio, and then many years later as a mature cat when I came out to the Sonoran Desert. I can’t remember which moment in time this sketch is from, but it’s either 1997 or 2005. I suspect the former.

I was looking everywhere for this picture when I first started the blog; I wanted it for another post on cats last year, but it was just nowhere to be found. Friday night I ditched all my friends who wanted to go to a bar and randomly started cleaning some of the clutter in my office. This sketch was stuck in a transparent plastic report cover along with the design for my second tattoo and a bunch of Winsor McCay reproductions. Makes perfect sense.

The Trickster’s Hat Part 9

How and Why by Robert Graves

How and Why by Robert Graves

Exercise 29: illustrate a quote. But not just any quote. It was supposed to be something with a bit of humor to it as well as depth. I struggled with this assignment for days, perusing Bartlett’s, surfing web pages full of inspirational quotes. I didn’t want to put any effort into illustrating a quote that wouldn’t be deeply meaningful to me, and most of my favorite quotes are fairly serious, primarily about writing and creativity.

Just as I was about to lose hope, I noticed a little scrap of paper tacked to the wall behind me, where I had written out this Robert Graves poem, “How and Why” from (I think) the book Ann at HIghwood Hall: Poems for Children, published in 1964. (It’s entirely possible it’s from a different book of poetry for children by the same author, but I think this is the one). I had long been fascinated with the light-hearted, but also sort of provocative rhyme, and he long intended to illustrate it with almost exactly the precise designs I used here.

It took several days to create the lettering (I made these up rather than using a known typeface), sketch everything out, and ink it in. I’d still like to do some further digital work to touch it up, but this is probably my favorite finished product; It’s framed and hanging on the wall, just as I’d imagined it for about a decade.