Tag Archives: kitty

All about Me

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You might think it’s about you. But it’s not. It’s about me.

Radical self care. For me it tends to take the shape of being incredibly selfish. Sometimes it seems like something I don’t get to do very often, but on the other hand, drawing webcomics is incredibly selfish in many ways. It’s absolutely all about me. My art has always been all about me. The difference is, it used to be novels that a half dozen people read, and now it’s comics that 100s or 1000s of people read. But they’re still about me, my life, my experience, what I’m going through. Even if they seem political or altruistic, even when I do something like the Patricia Jabbeh Wesley comic the other day, or all those Bonnie Jo Campbell comics, I’m still in it. It’s still about me.

My brother told me yesterday that my comics were getting very dark. I say the world is getting dark. The comics just reflect my perception of it. But actually, I’ve been taking great care of myself since the election.

Not, of course, as good as my kitty, Lupin (pictured above). We could all take lessons on radical self care from cats.

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Dragon Comics 152

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I don’t have proof that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I do know the pen is the only weapon I know how to wield proficiently.

There used to be this old joke about how writers, like squids, released vast clouds of ink when threatened, but, in the way of rotary phones and cursive handwriting, the idea that writing is linked to ink will fade from the collective conscious. Is there an animal that released warning flashes of light? Everything is pixels. Anyway, I’ve always done this, whether I felt that danger was imminent or not. Creation is a compulsion.

But I do feel threatened. The news reads like an episode of Black Mirror. And not the “San Junipero” one.

Ms. Kitty reminded me that making snarky webcomics is an action. Maybe not on the level of Nazi-punching, but better than rolling over and pulling the covers over my head. In fact, I’m not hiding anymore. By and large, I’m fully exposed. Kind of a risky strategy, but I feel like I can stick my neck out a little more if it seems to be helping others.

Purr or Scratch?

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The dilemma is real, the struggle eternal. Fortunately, the kitty flow chart is a simple one.

Apparently, my genius cat, whose terrible behavior has been documented elsewhere in this blog, decided to swipe at The Man because–get this–he stopped petting her. You can’t win with cats. And yet, just as I’m sitting here writing this, she politely tapped on my hip to signify that she wanted to sit on my lap. So I should change my posture to accommodate that fleeting desire. Which lasted all of 25 seconds. Now she’s sitting on the desk looking suspiciously like she’s going to knock a mirror on the floor. I should take care of that.

In the meantime, you can consider buying my book, supporting my Patreon,  or ordering my merch.

Dragon Comics 135

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That and some spare change will get you a cup of coffee. Good thing I don’t drink coffee.

I’ll be getting public assistance for the first time in my life, I guess. I’m losing my pretty-good insurance at the end of the month, and even the lowest rate on the exchange would be a hardship for a dragon who makes $27 a month. The Man went down to DES for me because he knows government offices make me go crazy and bite people, and he texted that he learned we really were probably eligible for $5 a week in food aid. And also that I still need to go to DES anyway to be fingerprinted, in case I am an imposter who doesn’t actually deserve medical care. Because heaven knows the world would screech to a halt if the wrong people got to see doctors.

I also did make about $27 last week, mostly from sales of my novel, along with a couple of stickers, but my margin on stickers is laughably low. So, 7 copies sold. Now, I just need to sell 865 more in the next 51 weeks, give or take, in order to reach my goal of becoming a professional member of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Today, the Owl was saying on Twitter that some writers find self-promotion gauche. I was always taught not to ask for things, but in a world where it’s totally normal for people to set up IndieGoGos and GoFundMes so they can take dream vacations, there can’t possibly be anything untoward about an artist saying, “I’m not famous but I am worthwhile, and you can acknowledge that worth and help me become self-sufficient by paying money for my art.”

So, buy my book, support my Patreon, order my stickers, because otherwise your tax dollars will pay for my medical insurance.

Black Cat Bulletin Board

A cat is watching

A cat is watching

Happy October! My funny little black cat, who has been the subject of at least two other blog posts, gets her chance to shine in the spotlight, or rather, glower in the shadows. I knew I wanted to do a black cat bulletin board this year, and I was trying to figure out how that would look on a black background. At the same time, after searching for relevant text, I found this Rainer Maria Rilke poem:

"Black Cat" by Rainer Maria Rilke

“Black Cat” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Ah, “invisible.” That was the key. I went in yesterday and blocked out the poem, then inked it with a silver metallic Sharpie, which died halfway though, so I had to run out to the nearest Walgreen’s and buy their last silver Sharpie, but even so, the text didn’t take that long. Maybe an hour. I went back in today to put it together. I had some big ideas about making the eyes sparkle with the gold and bronze Sharpies, but it didn’t look as great as I thought it would, and the bronze Sharpie was dying, even though it was new in the package. Anyway, yellow is more striking.

My kitty is fierce.

My kitty is fierce.

I used black construction paper for the ears, nose and mouth (the background is black butcher paper, so it’s a subtle difference) and the whiskers are the silver Sharpie again. Very minimalist, which took a lot less time than usual, but I did spend quite a while on the eyes.

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.

Dragon Comics 91

It doesn't work of course. Politicians are in your schools, your churches, and your police stations. They'll get your kids, one way or another.

It doesn’t work of course. Politicians are in your schools, your churches, and your police stations. They’ll get your kids, one way or another.

Presidential elections terrify me. Our American political process is so bloated and corrupt. Tempers run high. The country is too big; we’re all too different. No single candidate can satisfy even 51% of us, and for people like me, with political views so far out of the mainstream that no one ever represents us, it’s just a farce. The money wasted is just a slap in the face. How many people could be fed, clothed, and housed for the nearly one billion dollars that a couple of billionaires focused on increasing their own assets casually promised to their favorite candidate?

The worst part is the campaigning. It’s not confined to any arena. It’s everywhere, and you can’t escape it, even if you want to. In the last election, I literally couldn’t figure out how to make Google News stop showing me election news. I strongly believe in compartmentalizing, but it’s not possible in presidential elections. Everyone has opinions and everyone shares them everywhere. You can’t not hear the mudslinging and muckraking and empty promises and bombastic bloviation.

It used to be considered in poor taste to discuss politics outside of political gatherings. Now it’s considered ignorant to not constantly spew your views regardless of whether or not people care to hear them. When you ask people to change the subject, they refuse.

I’d like to see some actual degree of democracy in the political process. The way I see it, it would be most fair to lay things out like this: anyone can establish a candidacy with a certain number of signatures on a petition, but all interested individuals would have to attain their own signatures in the same forum. No advertising in any other forum would be allowed, and in the first round, only position statements could be displayed. People would have to go to this political forum to determine which candidates interested them. Then, there would be a series of run-offs to limit the number of candidates to a reasonable degree, after which each viable candidate would be allotted the exact same amount of money to produce whatever campaign materials they needed, all of which could only be distributed through the same political forum: videos, pamphlets, ads. Debates would all be held on the same forum. We could all vote there, online, as well.

It’s the only non-disgusting way I can see it working. Right now what we’ve got is something between an oligarchy and a plutocracy, and it’s not working. Right now, we’d be seriously better off running the presidential campaign like American Idol or Survivor. It would be far more dignified than what we’re going to be subjected to in the next 18 1/2 months.