Tag Archives: water

Storm Warning

american salvage 12 storm warning_edited-1

Do you think there’s enough blood in panel 2? I’m not sure there’s enough blood in panel 2.

This is the heartwarming tale of how toxic masculinity is purified in the crucible of life-threatening injury, and, combined with fear in the alembic of loneliness, transmuted into the burgeoning crystals of the ability to express actual love. What’s hilarious here is that Doug, upon realizing that he loves Julie, immediately tries to convince himself that he doesn’t really care for her, because, I guess, it’s not manly to have feelings? And then, as it happens, once he’s wholly dependent on her, he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he even likes or respects her. Only when he’s got less than nothing does he finally admits to himself that Julie is kind of a peach if for no other reason than she puts up with his ridiculousness.

I wonder how the story would have gone if Julie had been the one injured and Doug had to choose between nursing her through her convalescence or running away.

This comic was a lot of fun to draw. It took 10 days because my power cable broke and then I got the flu, and some of the images were pretty challenging, but I love the results. Probably the wounds would be worse in panel 2, but then it would have just been a cloud of blood, and that’s less interesting to look at. In panel 6, I realize that Julie is likely supposed to be wearing a jean jacket with no shirt underneath, but let’s say that she went home and changed before she came back. Probably, she left the bar still mad at Doug, then went home, then realized that she left a basically paralyzed guy alone in a lake house during the storm of the century and started to feel bad as she sobered up and then went back to babysit his crabby self. That’s love.

This is one of the happiest stories in the book, I feel.

I was telling my friend the coyote about how I had to draw a picture of a girl coming into a dark house during a power outage and he said, “That sounds hard,” and I said, “Not as hard as getting up early and wearing a tie 5 days a week for 30 years,” and I meant it. Hallelujah, making webcomics is the best job I’ve ever had.

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Be Grateful for What You Have

Happiness is a choice.

Happiness is a choice.

Somehow it can be easier to feel jealousy about what other people have and frustration over what you don’t have than to rejoice in what you do have. Yet, the more you feel gratitude for any benefits to your circumstances, the more you realize how much you have to be grateful for. Allow yourself to see the bright side and there always will be a bright side.

I’m guilty of obsessing over shortcomings and imperfections in life, when really, I have a lot. Like, for instance, I don’t have to sit in a kiddie pool in the summertime. I have many friends and loved ones, a safe place to live, and so much food that I am more in danger making myself sick by overeating than ever suffering from hunger. When you start thinking about what you do have, every advantage is something to give thanks for.

Dragon and the Whole Day of Collaborative Navel Gazing

Oh, my goodness, no, I did NOT go to the beach. This is still one of the cold places of the world. But I drove *past* the beach. And I *thought* about the beach.

Oh, my goodness, no, I did NOT go to the beach. This is still one of the cold places of the world. But I drove *past* the beach. And I *thought* about the beach.

Today I met up with an old friend and we somehow spent 10+ hours talking: past, present, future. When you have been friends with someone more or less continuously for decades, you have a lot of things you can talk about. You can talk about hilarious things you did in the past, and people you used to know, and you can talk about what you are doing now, and what other people are doing, and you can talk about what you want to do in the future. You can get really introspective and deconstructive. You can talk about what things meant, then and now, and what they might mean later. You can cast the eye of experience upon your own innocence, and you can laugh about things that were once terribly serious to you. You can parse out what’s important, and you can articulate why it’s important. You can compare and contrast past and present, and you can compare and contrast each others’ lives. You can visit places you used to visit regularly but haven’t seen in years. You can contact other old friends and repeat the entire process in a smaller space, either by video chatting them from a meaningful spot in the old neighborhood, or by meeting up with them someplace new in the neighborhood where they live now.

As a bonus, if you don’t visit the old neighborhood very often, and your friends are reasonably successful adults, and you are as cool as Dragon, your friends will insist on buying all your food and drinks, which is super nice when you are unemployed.

Of course, if you spent the entire day doing this, you will have very little time to do the things you usually do in a day, like draw comics and write blog posts. And you can come home and ask yourself how important it is that you honor your own commitment to yourself, particularly after you’ve spent the day explaining to your old friends why you quit your very lucrative job to start a project that ultimately pays about $1 a day. And you can realize that it’s really, really important. So you just do it.

Also today The Man was sad to be far away from Dragon and one of the Misseses Kitty had to go to the hospital but will hopefully be OK. So send love to The Man and Mrs. Kitty because Dragon cannot be there to take care of them.

Johnny the Australian Shepherd

On our recent sojourn through Arizona, we met a lot of friendly dogs. Johnny was the first of many canids to make our acquaintance on this trip. As we drove up onto the beach at Roosevelt Lake, Johnny was desperately trying to interest his human in a rousing game of fetch. His human was participating half-heartedly while trying to get his paddleboard gear organized. As soon as he saw us, Johnny came running down the beach, ball in mouth, to determine whether we would be his new best friends.

After we spent 45 minutes repeatedly heaving object into the lake for Johnny to joyously chase, catch, and return, his human called him over. Johnny jumped up onto the paddleboard and floated off with his human as I snapped the source image for this digital painting.

Johnny the paddleboarding dog in sticker form.

Johnny the paddleboarding dog in sticker form.

The original and the prints would be in a much higher resolution. It’s a small design, so some of the details are lost in a screenshot of this low res image. However, I’m pretty pleased with it, although it is little.

The reason there haven’t been any new T-shirts in the shop lately is that I started a large digital painting of a peacock a couple months ago. I’ve probably spent more than 30 hours on it so far, and it’s probably 1/3 of the way done! (In comparison, Johnny took me about 2 hours.) I’m sort of bummed out because there was another T-shirt design that I started a while ago and really wanted online before Friday, but that’s not going to happen. So it’s nice to add Johnny to the gallery. I will probably add a couple dragon panels this week, too, but we’ll see. I’m still sick and now my mom’s here.

You can acquire Johnny the Australian Shepherd Dog on a variety of fine products by clicking the link embedded in this anchor text.

Eilat, Coral Reef Nature Reserve, August 1999

 

Under the sea, under the sea...it's the Red Sea, in case you were wondering.

Under the sea, under the sea…it’s the Red Sea, in case you were wondering.

I was living on kibbutz in the south of Israel, and a guy that I liked took me to Eilat to go snorkeling. He had bought a waterproof disposable camera and he was determined to get his money’s worth. The results were unspectacular. The reef was crowded. I was sexually harassed in French while standing in line (my French was not sufficient to defend myself, but the guy I was with was a native speaker, and when he came back and saw what was happening, he cheerfully chased my offender off and stood a little bit taller afterward: “I called him ‘tu’ and he answered me with ‘vous,’ he said, a little bit dreamily, as he was a small guy and not used to coming out on top in those situations). The reef was, sadly, dead. No one else seemed to notice, but I’d seen enough nature documentaries to know a dead reef when I saw one. There were fish, but hardly any living corals and no anemones, sea stars, urchins, or any of the fine little creatures you expect around a reef. 

My friend wasn’t confident in his ability to take good pictures, so he gave me the camera, and I did my utmost, but the only really interesting shot on the roll was the last one I took underwater, as we were about to get out. Approaching the steps, we saw hundreds of these beautiful striped blue fish swimming around the legs of the people who were about to get in. It was a magical moment.

As for this drawing, I have mixed feelings about it. If I had another 10 hours to mess around with it, it would probably be as interesting as the original. The perspective is OK, but the light was crazy hard to work with, and capturing the light on the water nearly impossible. I managed to get something there by lining the brushstrokes up, but overall it’s too dark and heavy to really give the appearance of water on a sunny day. However, just completing the exercise taught me a lot, and analyzing the piece now helps me learn even more. I could definitely revisit this at a later date and smooth all the light and shadows out, even if the ripples and bubbles in the water are kind of hopeless from this perspective. 

The thing is, I tried to commit to this blog for the purpose of seeing things through. Otherwise, I’d probably just chuck this image, give it up as too hard and feel like I hadn’t done anything creative today. I might tell myself I’d finish it later and probably not follow through. Promising myself to post something new every day gives me the freedom to suck. I don’t think this picture sucks, per se. It’s just that my skill doesn’t match my vision, and I’m impatient, and learning new things feels new and unusual still after spending almost 30 years obsessively focusing on learning one skill.

So I guess this picture isn’t completely done, but it’s after midnight, so up it goes.