jack in the pulpit (two stages)

Two Jacks-in-the-Pulpit* at different stages of development, side by side at the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation last weekend.

*Jack-in-the Pulpits?  I am unsure of the correct plural, so I used the one I thought looked cooler.

(For camera geeks: Fuji X-T10 “Mischief”/Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro, 1/100 at f/4, ISO 200 -.667 EV.)

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second new fountain pen: twsbi eco extra fine

Immediately before last week’s brief blogging break, we saw the sketchbook sample page for my  new fountain pen, a TWSBI Eco broad nib.  In contrast, here is the page for the second pen I bought in the same order: another TWSBI Eco, this time with an extra fine nib.  If you look back at the other sample, you’ll see that this one is much more like a finished drawing, with notes, than the mixed notes-and-scribbles for the first pen.  The difference isn’t in the nib size, but in familiarity– this is my second EF Eco and I knew ahead of time what to expect.  Or maybe it was more of a hope.

The fine nib scritchy-scratchy pen is one of the basic tools for my work, both in the sketchbook and on the finished page.  Not only is a pen with a nib this size essential for inking fine details, particularly in drawings that have been blocked out with a brush, it is also the source of all that tiny lettering. And sometimes it is just delightful to ink an entire drawing, or even an entire comic with just one tool for that engraving effect.

For many years, my go to scritchy-scratchy was the Rotring Art Pen EF.  But over the years, changes in the pen body (the Rotrings no longer post, and that is tremendously annoying) and failures in quality control (inconsistent nib size and and wear issues) made me less and less satisfied.  And it was getting expensive, buying pen after pen to get one that continued to work well for a reasonable time after being broken in.

That first EF Eco I bought last fall was the first real alternative I found–a stiff, smooth writing and drawing nib of the correct size that broke in easily and is holding its quality, in a much more comfortable body with that vast piston fill ink reservoir. So when I decided to move that pen over to doing finished work this spring, I had high enough hopes for this second one to start drawing with it right away.  That TWSBI goodness is strong in this one too.

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back in time for prom

We’re back from last week’s blogging hiatus with a brushwork drawing of the day that’s appropriate for the season. I was never much for dates and dances when I was that age, but maybe if I’d met someone a little more …interesting, I might have been a little less shy.

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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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