Tag Archives: monsoon

More Monsoon Comics: Giant Bug Edition

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For some reason, some people don’t appreciate the beauty of a giant beetle flying into things and dying tragically in your swimming pool filter.

The ASDM webpage on which I found the reference photo of the larval beetle offers this statement of caution for desert motorcycle enthusiasts who don’t wear helmets: “Being hit in the face by a beetle this size can be quite painful.” That’s probably an understatement; one flew into my head earlier this month and I wasn’t even coming toward it at 60 miles an hour and it still felt like being hit by a rock.

Anyway, I think these creatures are fascinating, and, for whatever reason, they don’t feel like cockroaches to me. My response to cockroaches is visceral and immediate; if one crosses my path, I feel compelled to smash it as if it’s a vicious, carnivorous alien (even though cockroaches are harmless, vegetarian, and have been around longer than humans). My response to giant palo verde beetles is, “Cool! It’s a giant bug!” And then I take a picture and send it to my nephew or something. He’s at a prime age to appreciate giant bugs.

My first script had the final panel as some snarky remark about how maybe these insects had it all figured out and maybe we’d be better off if we spent our childhood and adolescence underground and then had thirty days to mate before dying, leaving the next generation to figure things out on its own. Then I thought I’d go for a straight biology story, with only a little snark. Then I finished the artwork and thought the panels looked kind of blank, so I put the snark back in, in word balloon form. That’s why the text doesn’t quite fit the space.

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Monsoon: Prayers for Rain

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Until you’ve known the pressure of summer one you can’t love the release of summer two.

Oh, god, I’m so pleased with this comic, especially the first and last panels, but also the sense of motion in the second panel. The guy in the third panel could look more oppressed by the heat, but anyway I drew this without any help from Photoshop or the digital tablet. Just pencil, paper, and a ruler (OK and some reference photos) (OK I fixed a few lines in Photoshop after I scanned it because I’d already lost my eraser). Somehow, just sitting down and committing to doing it is the hardest part, yet, it didn’t take me any longer than it would have had I used the computer, and I’m still happier than I’ve been with the more polished stuff you get with more advanced tools. The drawing part start to finish took about an hour. I never know how long it takes me to write things. My lettering probably needs work.

It’s monsoon in Tucson, and it rained intermittently all day, which is lovely and refreshing and also kind of heavy and bittersweet. The Girl, who is now a full-fledged teenager, said she had been wishing for a full day of rain. Can you even wholly appreciate the beauty of a rainy day until you’ve been a teenage girl?

Mandalas Are Magic Part 1

The first of 100 mandalas

The first of 100 mandalas

After my bulletin boards became a regular part of my life, I began to see how visual art made me feel, and how others responded to it. While it was work, it was enjoyable. While I might not be one hundred percent satisfied with the outcome, viewers derived pleasure from it. One day, on a whim, I purchased the Crayola telescoping tower (one hundred fifty colors!) and drew a mandala, something that had interested me in college, but that I had never made a serious study of.

A caddisfly themed mandala for an entomologist friend

A caddisfly themed mandala for an entomologist friend

Mandalas are sort of spiritual maps, or maps of the artist’s soul, if you like. Drawing fast ones had always given me an idea of where I was, balance and focus-wise, and taking more care in creating them helped me see when to take better care of myself, to add more art into my routine.

A monsoon mandala

A monsoon mandala

 

The Breezeway Part 4

Spring 2014, Here again I had the idea for the design first and then found an appropriate quote later

Spring 2014, Here again I had the idea for the design first and then found an appropriate quote later

It’s important to photograph these images as soon as they’re posted. The colors do fade very quickly, and every once in a while, the kids deface things. This one not only got sun-bleached in a week or two, but also got scribbled on by someone who clearly was too young to hold a magic marker. It’s still very beautiful to me. These letters were all cut out freehand.

Spring 2012, the teachers really seem to like the poetry boards

Spring 2012, the teachers really seem to like the poetry boards

More freehand letters, plus I cut every one of those leaves out by hand. Sort of wish I had planned the layout a little better, but it’s still fairly striking.

And here is my last bulletin board of the 2013-2014 school year. Anyone who lives in southern Arizona has seen the sky like this: during the monsoon, if it rains in the afternoon, sometimes it clearly slightly afterward. The clouds are all lined up like this, with sun tumbling through the breaks and spilling down over the mountains, which glow gold, red, and purple, depending on the time of day.

Summer 2014, the monsoon sky

Summer 2014, the monsoon sky

This sampling of a dozen images represents most of my favorite, and maybe about half of the designs I’ve done since 2009, when I first started. Looking back, it’s not an insubstantial body of work!