drawing of the day– poison ivy and baseball

drawingoftheday-newnumbers-magicalitemsWait.  This drawing of three young girls, maybe sisters (or cousins, like you meet in so many old children’s stories), with their “Magical Items” seems to have nothing to do with either everyone’s least favorite horrible-rash-inducing plant and/or our national pastime.

Except that I do have poison ivy, fairly badly, on my arms and a bit on my fingers and one place on my chin which is just driving me crazy, and I was so fed up with being encrusted with calamine lotion and still itching after about three days of misery that I ended up watching an entire baseball game this afternoon. And so I didn’t feel that I was entirely wasting my time, while I watched I put a lot more ink on this, yesterday’s drawing of the day for all kinds of special effects. You’ve got tweed, you’ve got pleats, you’ve got decorative brushwork.  And you have the dress of the oldest girl, the one standing on her tiptoes on top of the Magic Trunk, which was originally a fairly elaborate floral print.  Which I decided looked too American so I whited it out and replaced it with a nice tartan frock with white cuffs and collar, ever so popular in the vaguely Victorian/Edwardian dreamscape that makes up so much of sketchbook world.

The girls are inked primarily with the scritchy-scratchy pen, while the Magic is inked with a brush, because Magic.  The Cubs beat the Indians 2-1 on a walk off home run after an extended pitcher’s duel.

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sunday threes–cat edition

The internet is all about pictures of cats, and so is the shadowy network of matchbox label designers.  Who are, as always, equally obsessed with the number three.efbba92763d9ed8b41c27cf05c142365e0164f2db4733a32e29ac1e51b7102f9a0a7125f7fd6459a58ca5ad48a4cbb82

(That middle one is one of the reasons I don’t keep cats.  Dogs generally can’t get up on the drawing table to knock over the ink bottle. Generally. )

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the cartoonist’s notebook: lumberyard at lunchtime

Never knew that behind our big box Menard’s home store is a huge working lumberyard. You enter through a gate “guarded” by an equally huge but fairly lethargic security man who checks your receipt to see that you have already paid for the boards, shingles, fenceposts and bags of rocks that you are there to pick up.  The yard is home to a half dozen fast moving forklifts driven by manic youths who play dodge ’em with the pickup trucks and vans of the confused customers looking for “door 11”.

From the notebook: Workingman’s Lunch= forklift operator bipping around the lumberyard at Menards.  Hot Saturday.  Beside him in the forklift: giant bottle of yellow Gatorade, open bag of Cheetos (crunchy), open bag of sour gummy worms. Probably alternating swigs and handfuls, never slowing down.

A great detail for a story sometime– maybe for a shipyard in a space opera.  Until then it’s fun to remember being young enough to eat like that without keeling over on the spot.  My workingwoman’s lunch would have been grape Gatorade, nacho cheese Doritos and peanut M&Ms, but to each his or her own.

Those who are picturing me let loose in a lumberyard at the controls of a forklift are excused a mock expression of terror.

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butterfly blue



IMG_20150821_153519~2The Phone Camera Butterfly Project continues.  Today’s butterfly is … a blue one.  On concrete pavers, with a half-rotten apple it was really enjoying and the first of late summer’s fallen leaves.

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not a hulk-ku

It had to happen: poetry in the voice of the Incredible Hulk has ventured out of the haiku-like limits of the traditional Hulk-ku.

  • Mighty bellow: Where?
  • Where Hulk iPod?!?
  • Where Hulk bossa nova music?
  • Where Hulk podcasts?
  • Where Hulk game Bejeweled Diamond Mine?
  • (Just getting good. Hulk leave on pause.)
  • People say: Where Hulk leave iPod?
  • Where he see last?
  • (Where music, podcasts, shiny game Bejeweled? )
  • Much smash! Everything wet! 
  • Hulk hands dirty. Dirty with wet dirt.
  • Hulk put iPod somewhere safe. 
  • Hulk put iPod on windowsill in kitchen!
  • Hulk go kitchen.
  • Hulk iPod on windowsill.
  • Hulk feel silly.
  • Never mind.
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unusual find at the farmers’ market: the photos

Judging from the stats (Yes, I’m watching you reading me, but only in terms of raw numbers- I am not tracking you individually by means of some kind of blogging platform software drone.  Really.) the audience is quite interested in my new fountain pen* from the Farmers’ Market.  So am I.  I’ve been playing with it some more and it’s really pretty neat.  Here are a couple of phone camera images– this camera really excels at this kind of “product” shots of objects, although the lighting in this case could be better.

newpen-farmersmarket-both-blogFirst, the pen as a whole, showing its long body and non posting cap. If you’re not a pen person, this means that the cap does not fit onto the end of the body and you have to find something to do with it when you are working.  Luckily there is a pocket clip, beautifully fitted, so you can use your pocket.  Or if you, like me, already have a few non posting pens, you probably already have a place you always keep the cap.  It’s actually good that this pen doesn’t post because it balances well just the way it is and putting the cap at the end of that long body would probably make it end-heavy.

newpen-farmersmarket-nib-blogAnd a tight closeup showing the F nib (including Ebony Green ink smears) and the marbled resin of the cap and body that resembles bits of mother of pearl floating in a matrix.  I’ll admit that this resin was just catnip to me, with its resemblance to the complex patterns of the celluloid bodies of those great classic pens that I admire but can’t afford.

In addition to details about the pen, this photograph also reveals that my artistic backdrop is actually an old T-shirt with dog hair on it, but such revelations are hardly unusual around here.

*Samples and story yesterday, just scroll down. Pen made by David Tipton of A&D Penworx at adpenworx.com.  (The last should have been in yesterday’s post.  Sorry.  I temporarily misplaced Mr. Tipton’s card, which turned up this morning in my T-shirt pocket.)

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unusual find at the farmers’ market

Went to the Farmers’ Market to take pictures and buy houseplant cuttings and maybe a taco, but I ended up with something rather unexpected.  farmer's marketNote that I consistently misplace the apostrophe in Farmers’ Market throughout the sample.  There was more than one farmer there.  And a guy selling fountain pens in hand turned bodies.  But no taco truck.

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a welcome sight

glasses for blog-blogA welcome sight, from left to right: street/general purpose glasses, studio glasses, bifocal shades.  My new prescription has been made up, and I can see again in all three modes.  Plus my street glasses are in an old favorite set of frames I haven’t used in probably ten years.  They fit particularly well and I think this is the third set of lenses I’ve had in them.  Glad to see them back.  In fact, glad to see just about anything at this point.

For me, this means the beginning of a few days of extra eye fatigue as my eyeballs twist back into the optimal shape for clear vision.  For you, this means more big camera photographs, scanned original art and new complete comics on the blog, plus less whining from me about typing posts on the phone keyboard.  I am back at the Ancient XP Computer behind my new studio glasses and even the Ancient ViewSonic Monitor is looking pretty good.

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the sunday threes (#2 in a series)

Continuing our weekly exploration of the historical obsession of the world’s matchbox label design industry with the number three.  This week: “The Three Something”.




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on snoopy and peanuts

Like many cartoonists, I have a complicated relationship with Charles Schultz and Peanuts. I loved it as a child in the sixties and early 70s, both in the newspaper and in the book collections that were everywhere at the time.  It’s certainly the first comic I ever understood as a comic and the first “real” literature I remember reading. (It’s a big step, moving out of dedicated children’s books into the stuff that everyone reads.)

In my “sophisticated” teens I lost interest, and by the time I was thinking seriously about comics as an art form, it was pretty clear that the strip had lost more than a few steps.  At the same time I discovered/rediscovered the Peanuts that I loved, first the comics from the mid 60s through the early 70s that I had read as a kid, but then, with shock and delight, the strips from the 50s and early 60s that I had never seen before.  As a child I’d been vaguely aware that there were “old fashioned” versions of the strip where some of the kids were younger, everybody looked different, and Snoopy was really a dog, but I’d never had a chance to really read the material. I ended up a great lover of the old Peanuts, which I saw as stronger, both in writing and in art, than the late material I was reading in the papers at the time.  But I liked that too, and not just for nostalgic reasons.  His output was much more uneven, but Schultz was still turning out the occasional excellent comic right up until the end.

This is a long winded leadup saying that I read with great interest a long essay by Kevin Wong, “How Snoopy Killed Peanuts“, published today on Kotaku. I’d even say I agreed with many, though no all, of Wong’s opinions and conclusions. Regardless of your position on the history of Peanuts, and pehaps even more if you’ve never really thought about it, this essay is a cracking good read, as are some of the more thoughtful comments. Highly recommended.

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