Monday, December 5, 2011

a soft chuckle that says, "so there i am"

Click to enlarge.

Sorry if the writing on this one is even harder to read than usual. This is scanned right out of my sketchbook, so if any of it reads funny, it's because it hasn't been edited beyond the few crossed out words already seen. Perhaps some day I will write something that goes beyond the initial rough draft, but September 6th, 2011 was not that day. Here's the text:
You escape the room leaving the wildness of the party for a quick recovery
and go downstairs to get some water, maybe use the half-bathroom few people know about so you won't be interrupted.
You can hear the bass through the ceiling, the chorus, the shift of feet falling mostly in unison to the beat.
You know that you created the moment. Everybody contributes to the fun, but you are held responsible. The building feels smaller than usual tonight.
There's a ball of heat and everything feels close. You wonder how much noise escapes and can be heard from the street or next door,
but until it's an issue brought to your attention by someone with authority, you don't really care too much.
You finish pissing and check your face in the mirror, maybe you wash your hands and maybe you don't,
and in this moment influenced by music, alcohol, and opportunity, you catch yourself off guard with the face staring back.
You get so accustomed to being a voice in a head that sometimes it's still surprising to find that it's attached to this thing that people always see and remember you by.
If the night is going well, maybe you smile to yourself, a soft chuckle that says, "so there I am" and you're relieved to find that you have power. You look closer, still surprised to see yourself.
You have an obligation to make something happen. The night has been building toward a possibility that is always hoped for but rarely guaranteed. For a second, you forget you're looking in the mirror.
Then you snap back to attention and notice your eyes, milliseconds after dialating [misspelled- should be "dilating"], return to the pointed focus of control.
Everything is back and even stronger now. The music feels louder when it's not, the surfaces of
the banister and walls more pronounced when they're just as they were.
You return to the room recovered, grabbing the door to reveal faces pleased to see your face
the face you sometimes forget about until life commands you to live.

I remember liking the sentiment after writing it, but in rereading it for the first time since Sept 6th tonight, I can't help but wonder if it's a subconscious response to T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. If you haven't read it before and you're at all into poetry, it's short, pretty easy to follow, and worth your time (if my recommendation means anything, I have a hard time caring about MOST poetry but I've somehow managed to write two essays on this particular one).

I hate Prufrock. It's a fantastic poem and pretty crazy that Eliot, being the genius bastard that he was, wrote the thing when he was 23 years old. But I hate it mostly for the reason that I'm terrified of becoming Prufrock myself. The doubt, the bumbling anxiety of trying to find the courage (and failing) to live ones life to the fullest, all of it... The character stresses me out. I want to slap him in the face like Ryan Gosling slaps Steve Carell and be like, "come on, go dare to eat a peach, for the love of all that's worth living for."

It's entirely possible that my brain pulled the parts I like most in the comic as reactionary anti-versions of Eliot's poem. If there are any similarities, they were unintentional. Eliot's "to have squeezed the universe into a ball / To roll it towards some overwhelming question" answered with "the night has been building toward a possibility..." and my response to Prufrock's "there will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet" being "...reveal faces pleased to see your face; the face you sometimes forget about until life commands you to live."

I dunno. I'm not entirely sure why I wrote all of this, and if you're still with me, thank you for your patience. It's after 4 am and I'm gonna have to get back to stamping orders yet tonight, but for now I'm wondering if any more of my art will be little more than grumpy knock-off responses to classic works of literature.

If anybody's curious about the reading list in the bottom-right corner:
Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals is a fantastic and fascinating read. Non-vegetarians might shy away from this book assuming it's about why we should all be vegetarians. It's not. The author isn't a vegetarian, I as a reader am not, and it's not the book's aim. It's just a really interesting examination of the moral complications and accidental hypocrisy of human interaction w/ the animal kingdom.
Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You was pretty good too. I heard about Snoop from Some We Love... and it's totally worth reading.
I'm 60% through The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and my interest has waned a lot since I started it. If anybody thinks I really ought to finish it, I'd love to hear why. ...Which isn't to say that it's bad or anything. Adams is an entertaining writer, but I guess it feels thematically repetitive and I'm having a hard time caring about any of the characters.
Still chipping away at Great Expectations. Pip is getting accustomed to the big city, and I doubt I'll be able to get any more read before January.
Haven't read The Corner or Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships, but I'm excited to find the time later this winter. A Geek In Japan is like journalistic popcorn if you're at all into Japanese culture. I couldn't tell you how many books I've already devoured on Japanese culture, customs, pop culture, Tokyo, manga, etc, etc, but this one was thoroughly entertaining.

Back to work. Hope all's well!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

i'm hoping to come to a decision soon

If it's hard to read, here's a transcription of my bad handwriting:
"How much of your life was decided on a whim?"
Hmm. It's hard to say for sure. There's the obvious stuff- our friendship, for instance, but then there's the grey area where the whim was attached so early that it was just assumed the motivation was considered. Did I really want to go to school for what I did? or did it sound like a good idea once and I simply decided that was it?
How about you?
"Barely anything was decided on a whim."
That sounds difficult.
"It's excruciating. Have you ever been grocery shopping and you found yourself debating the pros and cons of two similar products? Like, for a while?"
No, not really. I just throw one in my cart like BAM!
"Okay, well- if you can imagine that situation, apply that feeling of frustration to your whole life."
"I've been thinking about becoming an alcoholic. I'm hoping to come to a decision soon."

Friday, November 25, 2011

so that's reason #2

Reason #3: we're gonna get drunk on Bacardi Breezers and then read Harry Potter Book 4 in Spanish.

There isn't a story or meaning here. I'm scared I might be the only person on Earth that finds the idea of a monster methodically filling cups with urine really, really funny.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

a place of amused detachment

Holy cuh-RAP, I can't believe how fast November is flying by. Holiday shopping struck the Etsy shop hard and early this year, so it feels like it was late October and then I sat down to stamp some buttons, and then I just looked up for the first time to notice that 20 days have gone by.

Anyway, I hate that I feel like I'm neglecting this blog. I'm sorry, blog. I didn't forget you. Are you okay? Here is a cat treat. Do you forgive me? (now be prepared, blog, for another 1.5 months of possible neglect.)

On top of the time woes, my scanner is kind of not good. It's the kind of machine that regularly inspires me to move it outside violently through a window, but that's between me and my scanner. And maybe the window. Here are the few pages I could pull into my computer before Mr. Hewlett had a seizure and failed to wake back up:

What time is the panic scheduled to start?

The Jay-Z quote is totally unrelated to the Catholic schoolgirl. Drawing it brought back memories from elementary school (I escaped the faith before high school), and I can spot 3 infractions at a glance: the smoking (obviously), her skirt is too short, and the shirt is partially untucked. Did I miss anything?

This page didn't have a point except that I wanted to draw a creepy dog. Click to see bigger.

My fingers are crossed that it's not December before I'm able to post again.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, November 4, 2011

three cheers for censorship

Hip-hip-HOORAY! Hip-hip-HOORAY! Hip-hip-HOORAY!!!

I know simply to never be scared ever again.

I used to draw lots of naked people in my sketchbooks.
Couple different reasons for this:
- naked people are super fun to draw.
- I was taking figure drawing classes, so it was inevitable that nudity would work its way into my non-class artwork.
- naked people are kind of timeless. Clothes give us a point of reference for fashion and history. As I've always combined writing and drawing, I liked the idea that my figures could break out of the feeling that "this was drawn sometime between 1995 and 2010" and to do that, I had to remove their clothing. But I took this idea a little further and decided that hairstyles date the human figure too. So for a while, you'd open up my sketchbook to any given page and there was a 70% chance that there was either a naked bald man or a naked long-haired woman saying something weird. Looking back now, this might've come across as extremely anti-social behavior.

Why did I share that? Oh, right, nudity. I'm enrolled in a figure drawing class this semester, so the waves of naked people have returned. Weee!! You probably couldn't tell from my sketchbook that I'm capable of drawing proportionally, but I'm not getting a grade in the class or my sketchbook, so balls to things like anatomy and accurate depiction.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, October 27, 2011

the romantic: two scoops of poetry

The fourth of four.

The first 3 were all 8.5 x 11 in. and this one was 18 x 24 in. Here's a poopy pic of them all lined up and smiling like neighbors. Click to Enlarge.

Etsy orders have been keeping me massively busy this past week and it looks like they're gonna continue to do so for the next couple days, but I'm hoping to post some new Nuggets strips this weekend. Two new buttons are ready and should be up today (Thurs, if the time stamp can be believed) or Friday.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

the romantic: preciousness of life

The second of four color drawings.

The guy in the lime green suit is Triste, which means "sad" in Spanish (kinda simple but I liked the way it sounded as a name, so it stuck). As the word and color scheme implies, he spends a lot of time being a sour depressive.

the romantic: it's my fate to bleed

Click to enlarge. I only just noticed that when Blogger pulls it up in one of those black pop-up zoom things, you can click on the picture link in the bottom-left corner to go straight to the full-size version.

This is the Romantic, a character that's made tons of appearances in my sketchbook lately. I just participated in my first non-student art gallery show this past Saturday, and the four pieces I submitted all feature this guy. I'll post all four over the next few days. The deal is that the guy is constantly euphoric and in love with life/people/etc, but he's also always bleeding profusely. Apparently some people don't quite understand what that's all about. Dunno, maybe it says something about my own personal experiences with love and happiness, but I thought the whole "romance-meets-horrific wounds" was completely self-explanatory.

More coming soon!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

the ache is a companion animal

Click to enlarge.
Text reads:
It hurts a lot when the horns come in, but after a while... okay, they're always going to hurt a little, but you get used to it. the ache is a companion animal that you pet and feed. inconvenient but it eases the loneliness.

Couple notes: the whole "we're-growing-horns" thing is meant more as a myth/fantasy vibe, not a Christian devil/evil vibe. Also, I owe the female horned person an apology. She looked okay, but then I over-worked her eyebrow and mouth and now she looks like a smudgy Neanderthal version of her former self. The lesson I learned in all of this was, "If you're going to work with permanent art mediums and no draft lines, don't fuck up."

A couple people have asked me what I used to get the grayscale effect in drawings like the ones above. I use these Pigma 2mm chisel tip graphic pens. They spit out a ton of ink, so I draw on paper with low absorption and then push the ink around with my fingers. It's a lot of messy fun, but since it's ink, it's permanent and easy to accidentally give people Neanderthal faces if you're not careful.


small obstacles are for the small

Click to enlarge.
Text reads:
Human: I guess that would be me, sir.
Human: It's not about having the 'right', sir, but you giants are strong and live your lives unimpeded by small obstacles.
Human: That's totally correct, sir, and because of my size, I am prone to trip and find harm from these things that, to you, are inconsequential.
Human: Yes, and even if I have to be affected by them, I don't want to worry about them any longer. My life is as short as I am, sir, and I'd like to spend as little of it as possible fretting over the hard parts. I figured if I thought myself a giant and nobody was hurt by my actions, life would be a little easier.
Human: Yes, and it's exactly that kind of life-affirming certainty that I'd like to bring into my standard of living.
Human: Exactly, "small like bug, squish all complication." This is good advice and I'm hungry to learn anything else you're willing to teach me.
Human: Thank you, sir.

Family portraits

Friday, October 21, 2011

the better to judge you with, my dear

Red Riding Hood...ish.

text reads:
Red Riding Hood: My, what vicious cold-hearted criticism you have of my life choices, Grandma!
Grandma: The better to help you see the error of your ways, my dear!
Red Riding Hood: I hope the wolf gets here soon and eats you.
Grandma: What was that, dear?

In other news, I've been working all this past week on artwork for a gallery show coming up tomorrow evening. I'll post pics of at least the art sometime in the next few days once everything settles down.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

perspectives of the respective parties

Blogspot tries to open a smaller than actual size pic in a pop-up thing when you click on it, so the full-sized image can be found here.
[transcribed because my handwriting is poopy]

Perspectives of the respective parties:

Family: "We loved that little house on the cliff. But when it'd storm, we were never sure if the god/monster that surfaced was there to kill us or keep us safe from the weather. So we moved."

Monster:  "I used to get really lonely when it rained. So I had a tendency to get drunk and seek out company. I was fascinated by the family that lived on the cliff. Such love. Such unity. The people that live there now are a bunch of pricks."

that's gonna start a war, kid

This is the last of the super old Nuggets strips previously seen on Myspace, I think. I hope.

It's funny to think about Myspace. Like all the drama of Facebook, but with enough glittery animated gifs to choke any respectable web browser. There were some articles a couple years back noting social networking segregation  (another one here) and how people were still dividing themselves racially, culturally, and economically between Myspace and Facebook. Is this still the case or have most people simply moved on to Facebook now, leaving Myspace for musicians and comedians?

Moving on...

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, October 8, 2011

but i think you know

If I was a superhero, I don't know if I could resist singing my own theme song.

The zombie-like creature below isn't a zombie. It's a splicer from Bioshock, one of my favorite videogames. If you're unfamiliar, the whole story is like an Ayn Rand novel gone terribly awry. A group of Laissez-faire capitalists build a utopian Atlantis in the middle of the ocean where they're free to live without the restrictions of government, and then everything spirals into chaos as greed and sociopathic entitlement consume everything. Weee!! But it's all wrapped up in a really fun and super creepy action/shooter game. You'll see a reference to the Fountainhead in the page below- I'm not gonna open that can of worms more than I already have here, but suffice it to say that I have strong mixed feelings in regard to Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Pointy Shoes

Thursday, October 6, 2011

at the mall

No? You wouldn't like to try the lotion? What about these all-natural bathing sea salts? They'll make you younger. How about this make-up to cover up your face? It'll make you younger. All I need is five minutes to play with your hair, spruce it up, put some curls in it or something. It'll make you younger. Spend $50 and I'll throw in the lotion as an added bonus, a $30 value, absolutely free.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

i watched cartoons in the beer cooler

this is what i'm doing

More Nuggets.

I was drawing a grim reaper nugget for a bit and while I'd like to say it was so I could explore complicated feelings of mortality, it was probably more because I thought the little guy with a skull head was adorable:

I can't tell if the impulse to draw morbid ghost creatures is a result of a Catholic upbringing, my own natural inclination, or a combination of the two, but here are the only 2 strips (I think) that ended up featuring the bugger.

It's weird seeing all these old strips again. While I used to think they were entertaining, I've grown so accustomed to them that I can no longer tell if they're worth a damn. So there's good news if they suck: there aren't tons left that I have to unload before getting to the newer stuff. ...which might still suck, but the excitement makes me less convinced of their awfulness.

In that optimistic spirit,

Thanks for reading! See you soon.


Monday, October 3, 2011

a fine time for fresh starts

Click to see bigger. My handwriting can be messy, so here's the text:

it's hard to go through the heaviest bits and walk out still feelin like an attractive human being, but we do what we can to smile and flirt, catch each other's glances through half-broken smiles and quick wincing faces.

but most of us are still here and there's this girl down the way groovin on a boy further down the way. And we got to talkin and she told me that faith was always a sticking point between them. And not that we've all been through a shared blanket hell, she said she doesn't want his god to die, but her fingers are crossed that his god has shifted in personality enough to let her sweet and sensitive crush be disappointed, and maybe reevaluate what god means to him, and maybe readjust his heart to allow room to love more than the contradictory fuckwad that lives only in the tattered book sitting next to the boy's bed.

It's a fine time for fresh starts. The water has receded and there are enough signs of life to lose count. Strangely there are no doves carrying olive branches. They are pigeons and native birds mostly, but we wake up early and we hug freely. There are callouses on every finger.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

press start to continue with a new philosophy in cold blood

The round character used as my Etsy profile pic and seen in the banner above is from a comic strip I've been doing since something like 2003 called Nuggets. They're supposed to be little chicks, but more important than what they are is the fact that they're super easy to draw. I absolutely love making comic strips + I don't have the patience to repeatedly draw something elaborate = Nuggets.

They started as a joke on a homemade greeting card, then they turned into something I drew at work to amuse myself and co-workers, and then they kind of spread into every other creative outlet I could get my impatient fingers on. I'm sure there are Nuggets cussing at each other on graded tests I've submitted to professors. I don't remember being penalized for that, but I could be wrong. Anyway.

Because I've been making them for so long, there's a large collection of strips. I posted a handful on a Myspace page way back when, and I want to flush those out before getting to newer stuff, but check back often! There are a ton more to come.

The New Philosophy

In Cold Blood

Press Start to Continue (EDIT- looks like Blogger resized the original because the image file was too long, so I'm breaking it up into 2 pages. If anybody is savvy with Blogger and can teach me how to tell it to leave my image files the hell alone, I'd be grateful. Thanks!)

to begin,

I keep a daily sketchbook/journal. The little thing is my constant, faithful companion, and it absorbs all the messy bits of mental stuff that come dripping, sneezing out of my brain and onto the page. If you yourself are creative, I highly recommend maintaining a daily sketchbook or journal. It's a ton of fun and it provides others with the chance to judge you when you just as easily could've kept your thoughts to yourself with nobody being the wiser.

I will now share some of my brain sneezes with you. These are gonna be all over the place chronologically, but dates (if known) will be stamped in the bottom-left corner.

On the plane to San Francisco. I don't have the steadiest hand to begin with, but if this seems super unsteady, it might be because the plane was taxiing long enough that I pulled out my sketchbook and fired this page off to relieve the boredom. Bonus for the day: the first time I probably ever spelled "San Francisco" correctly in my entire life:

I'm not sure how Blogger handles larger files, so if you click on the pic below and it expands but not big enough that you can see it well, right-click and select "View Image".
I usually avoid sarcasm, but in case anybody wants to try and pull this drawing out of context, I wanna be clear that Emperor Union is satire. Half of this nation seems to believe that there's a scary socialist boogieman out there that will obliterate the universe if the American workforce is able to fight for the rights won by our great grandparents. Which is silly.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I'm trying to iron out the kinks of this blogspot thing, so if you have any suggestions or recommendations on what I can do to make it run smoother, I'd love to hear all about it!