Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Redux

This Thanksgiving, I was given the fortunate opportunity to gorge myself on my mother's, mother-in-law's, and wife's cooking all in the same evening. This is the game I played:

I'm not usually one to brag, but I can say with near 100% certainty that you who are reading this did not eat as well as I did. Unless you were there...and some of you were!

There are, however, dangers in eating until your belt snaps. I have described the primary one in this comic I made over the holiday:

Be careful! You never know where the carnivorous aliens will be lurking, so don't give them an excuse to eat you!

The end of Thanksgiving always makes me a little sad, because I have in my family so many great cooks. I will now wax poetic, in honor of the food they so lovingly prepared. Deep breath...okay, here we go:

Sadly, Thanksgiving is over, and the desperate retooling of leftovers has begun. Uneaten drumsticks have been hacked into turkey salad sandwiches, and the warm pumpkin pie that graced the dessert table now turns up cold with our morning coffee. My lunch yesterday consisted of crumbling mashed potatoes and desiccated cranberry relish; old, tired, soldiering on to their final gastric destination. I blessed them on their journey through my lower intestine and, as I ate, recalled them as they were - the potatoes fluffy and moist, the relish juicy and tart. And as nostalgia's mellow sweetness bloomed on my palette, I thought, this is how we should remember our friends - in their prime.

Shedding a tear at this point, would, I think, be appropriate.

Later this week - a comic about cats! Stay tuned!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Eat Your Vegetables!

I hope y'all like to eat vegetables, cause I've got a bunch of 'em for you:

I started this drawing to practice my crosshatching and shading, and I have to admit I was pretty pleased with the outcome. I've got a lot of good-looking veg here - long-stemmed mushrooms in the wide basket on the right, "regular stemmed" mushrooms in the little basket on the left, daikan radish above the regular 'shrooms, burdock root that is mostly hidden in the upper left, and finally, a pumpkin way at the bottom of the picture, almost completely out of sight (wait, is that a fruit? Anyone? A little help here...?).

I drew this based on a picture from a coupon sheet, which is why the items look a bit like they are floating. I grounded some of them by adding shadows, but tried not to overdo it, because when all is said and done I don't really mind a floating mushroom. This would actually make it easier to eat. And it would be a relief, in general, if food could just float up to my mouth rather than sit lazily on my plate, so that I have to reach down with a fork or something to get at it. It's like, I'm doing all the work in this relationship - I get the money, I go to the store, I buy you, I boil you or whatever, I put you on a plate, and you just stare up at me. You never say anything. BUT DINNER, YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO: float up there. A little floating, I think, is not too much to ask.

Think about it, readers - floating pizza? That you could just lean forward and start chomping? Why has nobody patented this?? You heard it here first; floating food is going to be the next game-changer. Bigger than Facebook.

Or I'm completely bonkers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Fighties and Bities"

Many of you reading this blog may not be aware of the new phrase "fighties and bities" that has recently entered the cultural lexicon. This may be because 1) you do not live in my apartment or 2) you have never visited my apartment for an extended period of time. "Fighties and bities" refers to a higher state of consciousness only experienced by cats. It is characterized primarily by what is known in the vernacular as "biting" and in the high German as "fighting." I think it is best summed up by the following (very) short story:

Yes, sadly the unshaven, poorly dressed lout with glasses is meant to be me. Pathetic, I know. Especially in panel 6, where somehow my arms and torso do an impossible bend-y dance.

The middle section, with rolling eyes and ticking clocks, is not far from what happens when I scold my cats in real life. There is definitely comprehension. They respond to their names, and have a somewhat skeptical relationship with the word "no," but everything else seems to goes over their heads. For example, "Robin, NO! Do not eat my tuna fish!" probably sounds to them like "Robin, NO! blah blee blah blee blee bluh blah!" Robin hears his name, he hears "no," and he knows I'm telling him he did something he was not supposed to. But he is visibly clueless as to what that something could possibly be. Usually, I think the result is that my cats assume they're in fact innocent and that I'm just delusional, and so continue their bad behavior with clean, fuzzy little consciences.

If only they understood more English! I've tried to each them to spell, but, well you know how that goes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wood Knots

My wife is scared of the dark holes I drew behind this woman. She worries strange insects will come out of them and eat her (the woman in the picture, not my wife):

But I didn't really see the dark holes in such a sinister way. I guess I figured they were just wood-knots. Plus, the woman herself looks to be quite at peace - definitely not afraid of being eaten.

This is, of course, based on someone I saw on the subway. I got through about half her face while on the train, but had to fill in the rest afterward. Lately, I've been having some bad luck with my train-drawings. I'll start on a face, and will just begin to find my groove when the person gets up and leave the train or, even worse, some random airhead plants himself right in front of me! So I'll have to sit there like a chump with this person's gut in my face, while my drawing hangs around half-finished in my sketchbook. Very frustrating.

On the plus side, I'll have a comic for y'all this week, as promised in my previous post. It'll probably be up on...Thursday...Friday...something like that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Discipline: it's Tough

As promised, blog friends, here is an update with one of the short comics I recently dashed off. Literally dashed - where I would normally obsess over details and agonize over every line, I forced myself to put this down on paper as quickly as possible. From the initial joke to the final page, it took less than 10 minutes (a record for me). Hopefully it will all be legible when you click on the image!

I love comics, all kinds - superhero comics, indie comics, manga, webcomics, graphic novels. I even find myself drawn to those instructional comics they have on airplanes - whenever I'm in the air for more than three hours, they become suddenly compelling...those stoic faces, so calm in the face of their impending watery and/or fiery doom...What is that woman thinking as she slips on her own oxygen mask before helping her child? Do I see a frown, a furrowed brow, a small glimmer of guilt? Those instructional things are PACKED with drama if you are in the right mood (and by right place I mean hyperventilating from boredom).

I've made a few comics of my own, but I'm still an utter novice. I want to make more, but I cower under my bed whenever the time comes to actually sit down and map out a story, or even a short joke. To push myself, I've decided to draw up at least one short comic every week. I'm hoping that over time, the process will come to seem less daunting. You will, of course, see the results here, good or bad as they may be. Get ready, readers. It's on.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Choi De Vivre

A Sunday night. The laundry is spinning, the cats are napping, and I am blogging it up after a full day downtown. It was a good day, a day of comic-books and groceries, two of life's greatest pleasures. And it is with comics on the brain that I present you with two sketches, recently completed for a comic of my own (he admitted with trepidation). Hopefully it will not be long before the whole comic is finished, and I can post the fruits of my labor here:

The basic story is this: I want cereal and Robin, my cat, wants milk. Two opposing desires whose tension can only be released in a climax of milk-spattered violence.

These comics take me a long time to draw. This is mostly because my free time to draw anything is often limited to subway and bus rides, and it is a bit cumbersome to lug bristol board and my inking supplies (pens, brushes, ink bottles, etc) to these venues. I also get very tentative when drawing my own comics for some reason, and have actually begun forcing myself to dash off short one-pagers - no penciling, just inking, all in my sketchbook - so that these things don't feel so "momentous" to me when I put them on bristol. In fact, I'll be posting some of those this week! So stayed tuned, my friendly and patient readers. Your thirst for narrative art will be quenched soon enough.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's The Little Things In Life

Today's post is all about little details.

There are times when there is no single person to be sketched on the bus or subway. In lean times like these, I have to scavenge for the bits and pieces: hands, shoes, bits of lips and noses. And the occasional tough guy punching himself in the face.

Something else I like to do when there are no ready faces to put on paper is record details from my surroundings. The drawing below was completed while I was riding a bus from Manhattan into New Jersey with my wife, to visit Mitsuwa Market, a Japanese shopping center about 20 minutes outside the city.

On my way, I saw the following:

Glass blocks
Windows in various brick walls
The Empire State building
A nose
A baseball diamond
Letters on billboards and the sides of trucks
Signs inside a tunnel
Traffic Lights
An electric transformer
A child who would not stop saying, "Oh my goodness." I think he may have never been out of the city until that day. For him, New Jersey seemed to be a land of many wonders ("Oh my goodness, trees!"). Ah, to be young.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Drawing with Restraint

When I draw, it is not always easy for me to exercise restraint. I've ruined so many sketches through excess - I love the process of filling in space so much that I smother my drawings with shadows, textures, and distracting backgrounds. Every once in a while, however, I manage to lift myself from iniquity, and a drawing escapes unharmed:

There is something so fluid about this drawing, that looking at it makes me want to work on a whole series of them. Sometimes, detail is necessary for a drawing to come together (is this true, or am I just making excuses for myself?), but it's nice when everything gets described in just a few lines.

Embarrassingly, I almost filled in this whole thing! I had my pen to the page, ready to start hatching, when my wife saw the debauchery in which I was about to indulge, and literally yanked the pen from my fingers. Which means that she is really the one responsible for this drawing! Ah! I am exposed as a fraud in an inferno of shame! How can I face you now, my dear readers, when you know my most damning secrets, have seen the skeletons stuffed in my closet! If only I could run, could hide from your judge-y eyes!!! Alas, it is not to be. Look upon me, dear readers, the sketch-book damned.