new fountain pen: twisbi eco broad nib

Pen test!  I liked the TWSBI Eco with an Extra Fine nib that I bought last summer, so when the time came to buy more ink this spring, it was easy to throw a broad nibbed TWSBI into my shopping cart.  It was my hope that this smooth, fast, fairly stiff steel nib would be a good letting pen in a larger size, and I may have been right.  Regardless, it is a ton of fun to draw with, so it was a good use of the cartooning budget.

And of course, being a TWSBI, this big Eco isn’t going to suffer (as much) from the main problem of the broad nibbed pen– thirst.  Rather than using tiny and wasteful cartridges or fiddly converters, its whole barrel is a reservoir and it holds a *ton* of ink.  The bright lime green caps are just for fun– and handy for color coding should I end up with more Ecos.  Which is hardly unlikely.

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fifty superheroes: number 8

Every group (collection, legion, league, pack) of superheroes has a flying hero called “The Angel”.  Its sort of a requirement.  This guy is probably using the name ironically– his feathered, taloned , birdlike body hardly resembles the pretty-pretty take on the standard angel figure in folk culture.  Those rear talons in particular look like they mean business.

The Angel’s costume is, I freely admit, a copout.  But I think it is practical, too.  “Realistic” upper body clothing for a winged character is seriously hard to design and draw, and this Angel, being all feathery and modestly covered by nature, can just as easily go topless.  And at least I managed to resist giving him a Hawkman style body harness– that’s great for the Hawks but can be derivative on others.  His basic all purpose tights must be pretty tough to hold up against the mighty claws.

His wings are an exercise in drawing wing structures simply by suggestion, but in the superhero context these lines may represent power wings or energy wings.  This in turn might solve the problem of human powered flight.  “Meat” wings, like those of birds and bats, would never be able to carry the weight of even a small, lightly built human.   But superpowered wings … whether they are technical gadgets, a biological mutation, the side effect of a alien artifact, or a magical spell or mystic gift, they will always get you airborne.

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domestic haiku

  • Sleeping off a cold,
  • while the dogs in the kitchen are
  • shredding a dishcloth.

(I thought about adding an illustration, but the remains, spread out across an unswept kitchen floor, were not photogenic.  Unlike the perpetrators, but I don’t want to encourage them.)

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little psychic beings

Do you have a story with a science fiction bent?  Do you need some little psychic beings?  Here, I made these for you.  You can tell they are psychic beings by their big bald heads with dramatic veins and brain creases, and their simple robes and bare feet suggest that they are mild mannered and not inclined to use their powers for their own enrichment or to take advantage of others.

Of course, appearances may be deceiving, and just because they look like happy little psychic beings to me doesn’t make that the canon truth.  All beings are capable of sneakiness, and psychic beings are even more so.   Feel free to borrow the little psychic beings, but you do so at your own risk.


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with contrails

A lot of stuff going on this week, but there’s always time to pause for a phone camera sunset–this one with contrails.

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best of the drawing of the day: stub pen trio

Ashamed to admit (? maybe ?) that I am having a lot of fun with a fountain pen user group I’ve joined on social media.  In exchange for some good advice the members have given me recently, I decided to ink a drawing of the day entirely with a stub nib pen.  This nib  is usually used for fancy signatures and calligraphy, and while I often use one for shading and backgrounds, and especially for those tiny little plant forms that fill up corners, it’s very seldom that I do a whole drawing with one.

This pair of woodland readers and their scaly friend have a pleasing storybook quality, I think.   Keen eyed readers and fellow cartoonists can easily spot the improvised solution to a problem arising from wimping out on the penciling.  When you devise a scaled beast, draw all the scales before you start inking!

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announcing the new Official Pam Bliss Facebook Page!

Did you know that I now have an Official Facebook Page? (How modern!)  This is a public page– you do not have to be a member of Facebook to see and follow it.  It’s just another way to stay in touch with me for comics and art related stuff– it reposts selected entries from this blog and will have its own original content, too.  Visit the Official Page here:

And don’t worry–A Cartoonist in Kekionga isn’t going anywhere.  You can still count on me to be right here several times a week with all kinds of cool stuff from the Indiana of the Mind and the real world around us.  See you soon, in both my little corners of the Internet.

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fifty superheroes: number 7

Are we breaking the rules already?  Because I’m pretty sure High Pockets here is not so much a superhero … Maybe it’s his passing resemblance to that great cartoon bad guy, Sideshow Bob, but I have a feeling HP doesn’t always color inside the lines.

But he’s not exactly a villain either.  His domino mask, mess jacket, and white gloves suggest a classic Gentleman Thief, perhaps with magical abilities.   If he follows the standard pattern for that profession, his crimes are more like capers: directed at those who deserve the loss, especially those who consider themselves above the law or at least beyond its reach. He never steals from ordinary, decent people, even wealthy ones, and may in fact be an anonymous or pseudo-anonymous Robin Hood figure in his own community.

High Pockets is far from a clean cut hero, but he’s somebody the heroes can call on when they need his specific skills.  And when the stuff really hits the fan and everything’s at stake, he will come down on the right side, every time.

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fifty superheroes: number six

(For returning readers: last year, I challenged myself to draw 50 original superheroes in my drawing of the day sketchbook.  This year, I am sharing them with you.)

Superhero number 6 is The Foxtown Mystery.  Named after a local folk legend, the Mystery is a lightfooted, elusive and clever young Neighborhood Hero who walks (and climbs and tumbles) by night, thwarting the evil plans of polluters, developers who destroy history and/or the environment, corrupt politicians, etc. If he moves out onto a wider stage later in his career, it will be in support of the same ideals.

His fur boots are a Gadget: they surpress his own trail and can leave the tracks of the Foxtown Mystery cryptid, whatever that happens to be. His gloves protects his hands and saves him from leaving fingerprints, while his shirt may be some kind of changeable camouflage.  I have no idea what he carries in the case over his shoulder, but my guess is it contains a selection of useful tools, storage space for the evidence of wrongdoing he collects, and possibly a bright light, sound cannon or other non-lethal device he can use to cover his escape through the woods or over the rooftops.

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blue koi are hungry koi

Two squares of blue koi feeding in a local park during a March rain.

(Fuji X-T10 with the 60mm f/2.4, tweaks to contrast and saturation for that Japanese style koi effect.)

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