Tag Archives: pencil

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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Perfect Failure

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At least my braids always look great. 

It’s about 4 years since I started drawing webcomics, and if you scroll through 4 years of posts, you can really see the progression of my ability to force the Wacom tablet and Photoshop Elements to do my bidding, but it feels like there’s kind of a limit to all that, because all week I’ve been staring at the blank panels for a comic book that’s been causing contractions in my brain for the last year without finding the confidence to start over again with a totally different style.  At this point, it pretty much looks like the crutch of a digital drawing tablet has caused my drawing skills to actually degenerate.

On the other hand, I think the therapist in this comic looks like the same character in both panels, which was the thing that really stymied my comic creation prior to the tablet.

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of ideas along these lines. The blog isn’t going to look as great as it could, but like my friend the Coyote always says, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I need to unplug more regardless. I need to hold a pencil in my hand. I need to let go of the anguish I feel when I want to delete something or move something or just copy something. I’ve got to practice the basics if I want to feel worthy of comments like the one I received today from a woman who told me her dad drew for Mad Magazine and that I was the “real deal” just like him.

I’m not saying this is good, but it exists, which is more than I can say for last week’s comics.

Oh, hey! I drew a therapy comic that wasn’t about couples’ counseling. You’d think I’d had way more therapy than I’ve actually had based on the number of therapy comics I’ve drawn. I wasn’t even the person receiving therapy in the above comic.

Laughing Deer

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I don’t know if that deer is laughing at me or with me.

You know you’ve spent too much time on the Wacom tablet when you try to control-Z a piece of paper.

This is just a quick sketch I did before I went to Florida (I’m back now) based on a selfie I took the week before. Although I still have some Dragon Comics to finish, I’m also working more in pencil lately, trying to be less dependent on the tablet and Photoshop. Been working on a big project that might take the rest of the year, but still trying to update this blog semi-regularly. Seriously, I drew this picture just to remind myself that I could draw.

The original photo was taken at a place called Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch, about 45 minutes north of Tucson. It’s a tourist attraction petting zoo where you can feed little deer, miniature donkeys, goats, sheep, bunnies, parakeets, lorikeets, ducks, and sting rays. I might be missing some creatures. Oh, yeah, the stupid ostriches, which I ignore, because the rest of the attraction is much more fun. You get a lot of joy for $10. The deer are my favorite, but the sting rays are pretty cool. And the bunnies are bunnies.

Work in Progress

words + images

words + images (don’t bother clicking on this image; I deliberately uploaded a low-res version because I’m not ready to share that much of it.)

I started a webcomic but for some reason–probably terrible sleep patterns combined with weird eating patterns combined with stress–I got light-headed and dizzy and cross-eyed and exhausted and had to lie down for an hour and now it’s late and I can’t even imagine staring at Photoshop for a couple hours; I also seem to be nursing a low-grade migraine. The Man told me to take it easy and skip a night if I didn’t feel well, but somehow that seems like a copout. Like, if I made this commitment I should be able to honor this commitment, or what’s the point? One piece of original art a day is really not that much.

So instead here’s a little peek at something else I’ve been working on when I have some time. This project doesn’t have a name yet. I’m thinking it might ultimately just be named after the characters, but they aren’t named yet either. Possibly, writing about it will jinx the project, which I think is about 25% sketched out. Who knows?

I’m still working on the Prince of Darkest Agola project but that’s a really big and complex one; this one is more medium sized. I foresee it as coming out in blocks of 4 panels, so that each line of panels is one webpage. Could also be a printed book. Already there seems to be a fair amount of nudity, as my characters are apparently opposed to wearing clothes at home, so I’m not sure if I even want to put it up on this blog. Not ready to say too much about the story, but it is a genre bit. I suppose you’d call it paranormal romance, in the sense that it’s about a relationship between 2 supernatural creatures, but it’s not about the beginning part of the romance; it’s a story about a crisis in a longterm relationship. Even without names, the characters are really unfolding themselves, and there is some interesting backstory coming out, too.

These are just thumbnails, of course. I want to start working on character design. It will be black and white, and I want it to look kind of simple and rough, like a woodcut. Lots of long lines, really making the most use of the black and white spaces: chunks of darkness, slabs of light.

In case you missed it, here’s the article I wrote this week for Panels, which is about comics and refugees.

Insomnia Comics Ah Ha HA ha ha ha

Heeeelllllpppp mmmeeeeeee....

Heeeelllllpppp mmmeeeeeee….

This is all I’ve got right now. Normally, I’m person who really requires 8 hours of sleep a night. Last night I got 0, with maybe a 2 hour nap in the mid-afternoon. It hurts to word. Eyeball my comic. Pencil erasers don’t really work in Tucson. Something about the dryness of the air, maybe. Like, upvote, whatever.

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 17

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Some monsters have a lot of chutzpah.

Maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but in general, I don’t think I’m the only artist who deals with bizarre distractions coupled with an attrition of art supplies. If I had a dollar for every time I had to stop what I was doing to figure out what happened to the stylus for the Wacom tablet, I could buy a new stylus every single day, and while I own literally hundreds of pens and pencils, laying my hands on one when it’s needed can become a bit of an ordeal. Poor Dragon has so much more to contend with.