Many Apo-Logies for the Continued Hiatus

I thought I was all settled in, ready to get back to this, but things have gone haywire for me in ways I am not comfortable discussing here. Other than that, moving is hell, and redesigning a usable workspace is a nightmare.

So, I'm probably going to continue hiating (is that even a word?), until such time as I can take some time out from other things and at least scan some older works to post.Expect weekly updates for now, and then I'll get back on schedule.

Thank you,
the overworked management


Day 72: Red Road


Red Road (2007) Digital photograph, digitally retouched, cropped.

Another incredible image taken on our trip, this one of a red dirt road in the Texas Panhandle.
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Day 71: Hiatus over


I return with a striking image of the sky from our trip. Cropped, uncorrected.
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PSA: Hiatus

We'll be offline for at least 2 weeks, possibly more. Expected date of return is June 18th.

I may post a few images in the meantime, but no promises or guarantees are made.

Day 70: logo design process


Here's a montage of my process in figuring out a nice signable logo/sigil. I got married to my husband 3 years ago and hadn't stopped signing my work with my maiden name or plain print initials. It struck me a kind of stupid, since my work isn't well known enough for me to cling to a name I've always found awkward to sign.

So I started doodling. I went through more literal letterforms with accent strokes, realized it felt too fluffy to do that, I wanted something easier, more efficient than what I'd been working with before. I didn't want clunky, forced and stylized, I wanted clean and simple. I played with combining letter forms into a little picture, and the five-stroke owl emerged.

I can even have him "stand" on the date, if I choose. And, it was a simple jump from the pen-stroke owl to a more formal version I can use for vector graphics if I want to sign those.

So, there's my owl.
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Days 67, 98, 69: Sketchbook Catchup


Untitled (2007)
postcard sunset view, doodled in my sketchbook for fun and played with in Paint Shop Pro.


Feet (2007) Pencil sketch


Study of my son (2007) Pencil sketch

There, we're all caught up. it's all quickie art, sketch book harvesting, but I wanted to get caught up, even if nobody reads this. Personal commitment and all that.

If you are trying to figure out your style, or where your style is going, draw. Draw what you see. Cartoon it, or draw from life. The first one up there is a cartoon sunset. the feet and the boy are drawn from life, but the boy is still a little stylized, a little not-true, just enough to be real at first glance.

That's my blather for the day.
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Day 66: Night (late)


Night (1997?) Digital, used remixed and custom PSP tubes. Windows wallpaper.

I got sick of the Windows(tm) clouds-and-blue-sky wallpaper. I wanted something for me, so I made this.
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Day 65: Lightning


Lightning (1995 or 1996) Technical pen and sharpie over pencil on paper. Cut out and collaged onto black bristol.

This is really more of a draft than anything. I never really finished it, because my heart really wasn't in it.

There are clear problems with the anatomy, especially in her feet and legs. I was concentrating on the head and arms, so the legs were just kind of afterthoughts. I'm looking at reworking her, too.

I was working on this, or some other random sketch around the same time, during slow patches while waiting for customers to come to the register at the comc shop I worked in. A guy I recognized form conventions came to the register, I rang him up, and he noticed my work.

"That's really good. Do you take commissions? I'll pay you ten bucks for drawing."
"Depends. What of?"
"Joan of Arc."
"In battle? Or on trial?" I know where the drama is in the story, so I figure those are the two most likely requested vignettes.
"At the stake." Okay, ew, but that's dramatic, too.
"Uh, okay, come back tomorrow and I show you a rough. Something like that I can't work on at work. Rory's not paying me to draw for you."

I work up compositions on the bus home, do a real rough with recognizable people in it at home, and bring it in to work the next day. She's standing at the stake, defiant, brave, etc. Some scumbag is leaning in to light the fire, there's nebulous crowd at the back, clouds in the sky. It's still mostly just blocked in, though.

Guy comes back, looks at the sketch, and says "That's not what I want. Can you change it?"
I don't even want to ask, but ten bucks would have bought me two meals back then.
"Okay, how do you want it changed?"
Smiling, he says, "Can the fire be lit?" EW! But, yeah, MORE dramatic...
"Okay, come back later. Like I said I can't work on this here."

I change it. There's flames, scumbag has moved back away from the heat, I've drawn in outlines of smoke. She's still defiant.

He comes back, a day or two later, asks to see it. I show it to him while ringing him up.
He says, "Uh, can you change it again?" Inwardly I am beginning to have alarms go off.
"How?" ...
"Oh, can you make her naked, like the dress had burned off and on fire and dying and (pauses) liking it? Like she's ... giving in? Enjoying it? Oh, and make the ropes more obvious, like across her front." My lizard brian is running in circles of disgust and anger (ewewGRRRewewewGRRRewewew...), but I just give him a blank stare. Someone gets in line behind him.
"NO. Keep your ten bucks. I don't do snuff pictures. You'll have to find someone else to do it. Maybe at a con? NEXT!"
"Please? I really wnat it, I know you can do it."
"No. There's a line. I'm working here." And, fortunately, someone came over and asked him to move so I could do my job.

That whole experience really creeped me out in a deep, deep way.

In light of recent turns in the industry, I'm creeped out even more. This is apparently the new target audience for comics. And he wanted me to, essentially, take this and make it into this. And they've given him, and everyone like him, what he wanted.


PSA: Epiphanies

I wrote earlier today, when submitting a link to today's art:

I struggled with posting it. I had to get angry enough over something to even put that picture out there. I have to say that I'm afraid of the backlash, that I might never get a creative job again, etc.

But, if it puts another voice on the side of the WTF? Maybe it's worth it.

And, reading that, when the reply came back to me, I had a chilling realization.

I've become afraid of my own darkness. My own sense of humor, which I thoroughly enjoy, my old attitude of "fuck 'em if they can't take my opinion," all of that has become a source of ... shame. Of fear. That's not right. What happened?

I think it speaks a lot to the state of our culture that, in order to become socially okay, to not have our kids taken away, to not be discriminated against, or be threatened in other ways, women (and minorities, and queer people) have to allow our independent spirits, our very souls to be crushed. In the name of adaptability, acceptability, peace. We compromised ourselves into corners. Well, I know I did. I'm certainly not alone.

That, right there, is what's wrong with the whole objectification of women in comics problem. It plays right into that. It helps create that atmosphere that causes the give-in-or-give-up mentality. Why do we have to be the ones who compromise?

I'm done with that. I quit. Things are going to get a little darker around here, maybe a little grittier. My style won't be different, really, but you'll see more of those pieces I've been sitting on.

Because I was afraid to show them.

I'll mark them as mature or offensive, but I won't hide them.

Not anymore.

day63: Angry Girl (objectionable content)


Angry Girl (1995) Sharpie over pencil on paper. Some digital cleanup because the scan was bad and I can't find the original right now.

I did this as the flier art for an Accustomed To Nothing gig, in 1995 or so when I worked with the band's manager at Comic Relief in Berkeley CA. Brian asked, I drew stuff all the time, so I did it, and I got to go to the gig too. The flier had a big chunk of text over the middle finger so people wouldn't yank them from where they got posted, but this is the original art, no censorship.

I struggled with posting it. I had to get angry enough over something to even put that picture out there. I have to say that I'm afraid of the backlash, that I might never get a creative job again, etc.

But, if it puts another voice on the side of the WTF? Maybe it's worth it.

I'm posting this particular piece today because things are getting weirder than usual with regard to how women are presented in comics. Like, hentai-weird, in non-brown-wrapper packages. Super girls have always been treated like the cheerleaders of the super world before now, but lately it's become ridiculous, and they are being treated, routinely, like softcore porn actresses in bad victimization storylines. It wasn't this bad in the 1940's.

Women of the comic world are getting more vocal than they had been, and it's not like the women who write, draw and edit comics have been exactly silent on the subject. The ire has always been there, but now it's getting more organized. I don't really count myself in with this, since I never wrote a comic, or got beyond storyboarding one, and working up character designs, but I've always been a reader. Since I can remember. I used to read comics at recess in the fourth grade. I loved MAD, I read Xmen and Batman and Sgt Rock. I didn't like the girly comics. I'm such a tomboy that some of my male friends would forget there was a girl around.

Hey guys? I like the gritty, real-life tone that a lot of comics have taken. I love satire, the worse, the better. HOWEVER - this is a big however - gritty does not equal violently porny. Ever. If you can't wrap your head around that, the gesture above is for you.


Visceral reaction on my part follows:

Strong women can be strong without the necessity of their getting spanked by some bad guy in spandex, honest. It won't make your dick shrink to read about it. Grow the balls to buy some hentai books and stop trying to make regular comics into porn. I swear nobody will laugh at you if you by a copy of Legend of the Overfiend.
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day 62: Design interlude


Splash image from 2000 incarnation of my personal web page.

Digital collage. Originally presented as a series of animations, beginning with a sealed envelope.
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PSA: It's not about me, it's about all of us.

I don't know if you know who Tom Artis was, but he died recently after a long illness. His family is destitute. He was part of several comic books I read and enjoyed.

There's a fund to help his family. However many people read this, please send a little bit.

Days 61 and 62: Clipangels



Both untitled (2001)

Victorian scraps, scanned and recolored digitally.

I made these for my christmas cards in the year 2001. This is more design than art, in my view, but they are pretty cool.
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Day 60: Net


Net (2000?) Digital illustration, done in Fireworks. Incorporates text of a poem as a design element.
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Days 57 and 58

Urgent personal business interferes with art. I was busy, and away from the computer all day.

Day 59: Creative Hands


Creative Hands (1999) Digital collage.

This was my favorite portion of an attempt to communicate the feeling of the creative process though symbols.
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Day 56: IF: Citrus


Limonade (2007) Digital. Mouse-drawn in Illustrator.

Another late-ish entry into Illustration Friday. Intended as a spot illo, to the theme "Citrus."
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Day 55: hiatus

Busy with non-computer things today. Art tomorrow.


day 54: Sky


Sky (2007) Digital photograph, retouched and manipulated in Photoshop
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PSA: day 51

There was no day 51 post. I plead hot, humid, awful weather that made my computer shut down, followed by a trip to the ER for my kid.

I was pretty uncomfortable, too, but I did manage several more sketches. I've been working on some copyleft illos for Wikipedia, and that's been kind of draining. But I'll try to get more art up.

I think I might even be able to pull something out for IF this week. We'll see.

days 52 and 53: Foodie Glamour Shots



(1999) Digital photographs, retouched and digitally manipulated.

Two glamour shots I did for the cookbook project I mentioned on day 9.

One's vegan, and one isn't. I can't recall now which is which.
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Day 50: Fashion


Fashion (1999) Quickie digital painting

Desktop background, done in a half hour or so in fireworks for fun. Liked it enough to keep around for 8 years.
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Day 49: Doubletake versions


Doubletake (original drawing) (1987)Gouache over technical pen over pencil on bristol. Pencils erased prior to coloring. Coloring done about 1990.

Double-negative (1995?) Xerox of uncolored original, cut out with an xacto and glued down to a black background.

I've always liked this image, so I've played with it a few times over the years. I colored the original inked drawing a few years after I made it, and had made xeroxes before that, in case I wanted to play with the image. The negative version is one of those playful versions.
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days 47 and 48: Sketchbook


Ink study of baby (2007) ink on sketch paper, no pencils.


Girl's face (2007) inked and colored sketch of a girl's face

Two small drawings from my sketchbook.

PSA: weekends I think I'll be posting both days at once, so I can spend time away from the computer.
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day 46: studies

(2007) colored pencil on paper.

Two small figure studies of my younger son.
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Day 45: Salamander

Salamander (2007) Colored character study. Pen, colored pencil. Scanned, cleaned and filtered for a watercolor effect.

This is a character study for the illustrations I'm doing for a children's story I'm writing. I'm still deciding on the format - graphic novel, picture book, or novel with incidental illos. I suppose it depnds on how much of the story I want to paint, and how much to write.
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Day 44: Green Fairy

Green Fairy (2001) Digital painting.

A simple little digital painting inspired by the shape of a peice of clipart.
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PSA: This Is Not a Spam Blog

Why am I posting this? Because, apparently, someone has flagged my blog as "objectionable". Just this one. Which begs the question: Why? I'm a real person, all the art posted here is my own (though I blog under a pseudonym to protect my family's privacy). None of it is obscene. I post once a day, maximum.

Seriously, if you have an issue with me, leave a comment. I'm fairly upset by this.

day 43: Wallflowers


Wallflowers (1999) Digital photograph.

Two of the dolls from the ragdoll project (CafeGirl and PonyTart), posed.
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Day 42: Wintermoon


Wintermoon (1996 or 1997) Digital collage using altered Paintshop Pro "tubes" (clipart brushes).

Intended as a desktop background. Done for fun, and I ended up being really happy with it, except for the black rim around the moon, which is from a "moon phases" tube I made without thinking what I'd really like to use it for. Not all night skies are black.

Plans to re-do in the future. Maybe.
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