Tag Archives: mandalas

Delicate Mandala


Reminds me of artichoke flowers, and pea flowers. 

Monday again. This weekend I finished up a T-shirt design I’d been kicking around for a while, a fairly simple one based on a comic panel. There’s one more 1/2 finished comic panel T-shirt in my files, and another T-shirt I started years ago that I’d like to get done before Thanksgiving, but I first have to write a lot of book reviews and get the cover for The Hermit finished. And some other products. And I saw the uncorrected proof for the comic book, which I should have in the next couple weeks.

Right now, I have got to get off the internet.

Amethyst Mandala


The crosspieces look like a Chinese finger trap. Today I learned that the Chinese finger trap has a medical application and can be used to straighten human fingers with traction.

Another weekend draws to a close, and I confess that I didn’t start crossing things off my “imperative to do today” list until one hour to midnight. In fact, this month is drawing to a close and I have barely scratched the list of “things I must accomplish before autumn to justify my existence and create even the slightest possibility of personal success.” Maybe I need a manager.

This weekend, in addition to the above face about Chinese finger traps, I learned that one of the things authors are apparently supposed to do upon uploading their books to the Kindle store is get 25 or 50 people to leave Amazon reviews. Maybe some part of me understood some element of that concept, but it literally didn’t occur to me that I was supposed to be asking random, non-writer friends and relatives to give me 5 stars. In a general sense, when it comes to Amazon reviews, it turns out that it doesn’t matter if half of them are written by your mother’s friends from folk dancing and the other half are by the people your Aunt Hattie played canasta with during the Nixon administration. According to my reading, it’s just a numbers game. So any time I spent thinking about how to ask successful writers for endorsement was wasted when I could have been demanding my relatives do the job for me. Although that might necessitate teaching my relatives to leave Amazon reviews, which wouldn’t save me any time in the long run.

What else…got to hang out with the SFWA crew on Saturday, for another thrilling and productive writing party at the Historic Y. It’s just as glamorous as it sounds.

Oh, August, give me strength. And determination. And concentration. And focus.

And, as always, the confidence of a mediocre white guy.

And if you can’t give me that, please consider buying my book, supporting my Patreon,  or ordering my merch.

Purple Haze Mandala


Getting sleepy? Dizzy? Disoriented? Are you sure you don’t feel like lying down? ‘Cause I do.

Apparently, updating my operating system rendered my scanner drivers obsolete, and I can’t even begin to deal with that situation; I still haven’t installed the new Photoshop drivers. I. Can’t. Deal. I don’t even care if my smart house refuses to let me eat junk food and my self-driving car always goes the speed limit; I’ll be very happy when computers can program themselves. You know what you need, computer. Why don’t you just get it and run it yourself? Fortunately, the app that pulls images off my camera came with the OS, so that works at least. I was even able to easily crop the image. So: mandala.

There were myriad other interesting things I intended to write about in this post, but they all seem to have slipped away. It’s midnight. My head hurts. My lungs now seem to require a vast quantity of medicines in order to perform their basic and previously involuntary function. Rather than dropping pithy creative wisdom bombs, I will be sucking on Ventolin with a Nyquil chaser and marathoning  Grace and Frankie until I pass out.

This mandala is fairly pleasing, though, in its wabi sabi way.

Triumvirate Mandala

Next slide, please.

Next slide, please.

Reddit is so unpredictable. I can put the same comic into 2 different subreddits, and one link will get 2 upvotes and the other will get 147. Come on! Do I suck or not, people? Make up your minds. Friday’s comic was not my best work, I don’t think, but it’s gotten almost as many views in 24 hours as my bullying comic, which has been getting steady traffic for weeks. But neither of them got much play in /r/comics, which leads me to believe that people who read /r/sadcomics and /r/webcomics are simply more intelligent and discerning readers.

I like today’s mandala, which is unusual in that it is based off a 3-pronged symmetry, and also looks like something you would use to summon demons, or a portal into HP Lovecraft’s brain.

Posted my article on Tucson Comic-Con and am halfway through tomorrow’s comic. Sold a T-shirt. Also: paying work this week. Still scratching away at some bigger projects and…um…thinking about novels.

Blue Lotus Mandala


Sometimes you just have to lay it on thick.

If you are interested in reading the unvarnished truth about my spiritual beliefs, someone has been inquisitive enough to interview me about it and industrious enough to type up the interview and post it on her blog. The timing is great, because it’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and a lot of the interview is about why I don’t practice Judaism even though I was raised in a traditionally observant household. Or perhaps because I was raised in a traditionally observant household. There may be a comic in there somewhere, although that might prove even harder to write about than the chronic pain disorder.

Clouds are my religion. Mountains are my religion. The bulletin board in the breezeway of the elementary school where I hang my cut paper projects is my religion. All these mandalas are my religion.

As for other people’s religions, there’s really only one thing that interests me, and that is their mythology. But there’s only one thing that’s really important, in the long run, and that is whether or not you follow Wheaton’s Law. If you think your divine creator is telling you it’s OK to be a jerk, you might want to examine whether your beliefs are spiritually uplifting or merely self-serving.

Look but Don’t Touch Mandala

Nature isn't interested in your idea of perfection and neither am I.

Nature isn’t interested in your idea of perfection and neither am I.

I get the sense that if you saw this plant in nature, your first instinct would be to reach out for it, upon which it would probably secrete some kind of digestive fluid on your skin and try to eat you. At the very least, it must be covered with a rash-producing oil. It’s fancy in order to lure you in.

It probably also eats bugs, and small frogs, from which it acquires the necessary chemical to produce its poison.

Obviously, it’s very late or I wouldn’t be sitting here making up stories about drawings of things that don’t exist. I think I had an article about comic book scholarship on Panels yesterday, but I don’t have the link as I’m writing this. Also, I received an ARC of Bonnie Jo Campbell’s new book, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, which I’ve been asked to review for the Fondulac Library’s website, which is sort of strange considering I’ve never even been to Fondulac and don’t live anywhere near East Peoria. I do know a lot of people, many of whom are librarians and/or authors, though.

If you haven’t read Bonnie Jo Campbell, you should consider it. This book isn’t being released until October, I think, but her other work is most likely available in your public library.

An Off-Kilter, Interlocking, Pointy Mandala

Careful with this one; it's sharp.

Careful with this one; it’s sharp.

Tuesday was my best day ever for traffic on this blog; Yesterday’s comic got some traction on Reddit and over 400 people visited. My second-best day was also due to a boost from Reddit. I am not on Reddit, of course. Maybe I would be more popular if I was. It just seems like a massive time suck, and there are already enough of those in my life. Maybe if I could just upload comics to Reddit without reading any of the site, but my understanding is that you need karma before people take you seriously, and you can’t get karma unless you basically live there.

I posted it to Tickld but they are pretty fussy about comics there and the last time I posted a comic they just removed it, apparently because I didn’t sufficiently prove that it was my original work. Considering what percentage of that site is screen grabs from Tumblr, their editorial policy confuses me, as does the criteria for things getting on the hot page. It used to be a hilarious site; now I find that 90% of the stuff that gets upvoted is old, or boring, or stupid. Why the hell did I want to cross post there anyway? I’m being downvoted into oblivion even as I post this.

Marketing fail. Story of my life.

Today I never got around to drawing because I had house guests, and when I wasn’t hanging out with them, I was cooking food for a bunch of people, and finishing reading a PDF of The Book Thief so the Boy knew I meant business about him finishing his summer reading, and nagging the Boy to finish his summer reading. I cooked 11 eggs today. That is important. Also, I have an aggressive headache from reading that massive PDF on my laptop. My brain is angry with me.

Cookie Cookie Cookie Crumble Mandala

It's a pentagram of deliciousness!

It’s a pentagram of deliciousness!

When I look at this mandala I see a plate of artfully arranged ginger snaps, and little pink frosted cookies, and some other cookies, as well as cookies broken up to make symmetrical non cookie shapes. Also, I see cream. Or possibly custard. It’s like a very upscale version of one of those mud cakes that are made out of chocolate pudding and crumbled Oreos with a few gummy worms sticking out. You serve it in a plastic bucket with a shovel. But this five sided display of decadence belongs on the dessert table of an autumn themed wedding banquet.

A Lively Mandala

Life...don't talk to me about life...

Life…don’t talk to me about life…

Complexity. I really, really want a macro lens for my camera so that I can take pictures of minuscule insects; they tend to have really complex patterns on their little carapaces. So much of the world is not merely beneath the notice of human beings, but beneath the ability of human beings to notice. Yesterday, while helping the girl with vocabulary words, I helped her understand the difference between a telescope and a microscope. Telescopes show us things that are big but too far away to see, while microscopes show us things that are close but too tiny to see.

“But not germs,” she told me. “They’re too tiny for microscopes.”

But of course, they’re not. “They’re too tiny for the microscopes in your school, but not for scanning electron microscopes.”

Those pictures are amazing. Have you seen these high rez images of tardigrades swimming along like the kings of the universe? How about simple viruses and bacteria? There is an entire alien world living in your bellybutton. And smaller than that, photos of atoms: like, the actual building blocks of matter atoms. I remember having my mind blown by this 25 years ago. And then tinier still, subatomic particles whose existence we can observe only in partial glimpses, whose physicality we possibly couldn’t even comprehend even with visual perception.

Extremely small things really demonstrate how large the universe really is. We can’t even sense its superlatives.

Anyway, this mandala looks to me like something a scientist in a movie based on an HP Lovecraft story would observe when asked to magnify small sample of an alien organism. And the pallid, bespectacled academic explorer who’d acquired the sample, which was discovered 100 years ago buried under the Antarctic tundra, would bemoan the fact that the species was long extinct and the world would never know this beautiful creature, but then the scientist would notice that the cell was only dormant. Awakened by the heat of the electronic equipment, the cell would begin rapid mitosis. Within twenty hours, the scientist would be dead and the wild-haired, wild-eyed explorer would be ranting in Arkham Asylum about the ancient menace waiting to devour the world.

Natural Geometry Mandala

Classically beautiful...

Classically beautiful…

I’m in love with this elegant purple mandala. It’s really regular in symmetry and even thought it’s limited and color and shape, that simplicity opens up a greater complexity in the overall design.

Flowers are their own kind of mandala

Flowers are their own kind of mandala

Today was a nice day as far as being an artist goes. I read fairy tales to kindergarteners, repaired books for the school library, and took a rambling walk in the park, mostly for the purpose of take photos of roses. I also spent a lot of time swinging on the swings, for the purpose of giving little dragon some air. How many hours a week did I spend swinging when I was a kid? Jumping rope? Skipping? I mean, seriously, I probably jumped rope a couple hours a week, every week.

Here’s when I stopped swinging a lot: I was probably about 12 or so. I had a Walkman (children…it’s like an MP3 player, but it only holds one album at a time) and I was swinging with my eyes clothes and my headphones on and a toddler ran in front of me and I kicked that little sucker right in the head. I don’t remember the kid’s reaction, but I do remember the mom freaking out. She wanted to be mad at me for swinging with my eyes closed and my headphones on, but she knew it was her own fault for letting her baby run in front of the swings.

So today I didn’t close my eyes. A little girl came over and swung next to me. I could tell she wanted to strike up a conversation–I am a colorful person, after all–but she was too shy. Instead, she tried to swing as high as me. I decided that I was going to outswing this kid, that I would keep going longer and higher than she could. Trying to keep up with kids is better than a FitBit. So I ended up pumping for way longer than I would have otherwise. Eventually, the kid had what sounded like an asthma attack and stopped swinging. Which means I won!!!

Then The Man and I went out with the Missesses Kitty and ate a really unreasonable amount of West African cuisine, which I have been obsessed with all month. Fufu! Peanut sauce! Goat! Good stuff.