reflections upon a messy desk

I had not really thought about what would be at the bottom of the pile of assorted paper stuff I should Really Get Around To Dealing With Soon that has taken over the left third of my desk. But it does not surprise me at all that at its bottom, I find letters expressing their condolences for the recent death of my mother. Which was in 2015. I’ve been kinda useless ever since, in a lot of ways. The comedy option winning the Presidency of the US on top of all that hasn’t helped matters either.

Right now my apartment is a mess. I still haven’t really cleaned the kitchen up from when they opened it all up to replace a pipe in the wall and deprive me of the garbage disposal. There’s a pile of Nick’s books in the middle of the studio, next to the pile of stuff accumulating around the chair that needs to have its new legs put on by someone competent to drill big serious holes through wood. Laundry perpetually gets put off until it’s at a crisis point. I used to have an aspect of myself I called “Miss Fussyspider”, who wants everything to be neat and tidy and is quite willing to stonedly put in the constant low-level amount of work needed to keep things that way, and I haven’t really let her run ever since all these things started piling up. Because at the bottom of that pile there is some stuff that needs doing but is very emotionally painful to deal with.

I kinda feel like moving is going to be helpful in this. I’ll have to look at every single thing in this apartment and decide if it is something I want to bother hauling across the country. I’m sure I’ll accumulate more stuff but at least it’s a time to pare it down to what I really need to keep myself healthy and amused.

At least the pile of paper is neater now, and I’ve wiped about three years of ash off the corner of the desk the bong lives on.

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To Cartoon Adaptations

This morning I got stoned and decided that a galaxy-pattern catsuit under the bathrobe I still hadn’t bothered changing out of was a really good fashion choice for the morning. Then Nick said I looked like a far-future Arthur Dent who has truly become a hoopy frood who knows where his towel is. Because really, what is a bathrobe but a towel you can wear? He had it with him all along.

When he’s not travelling, that spacesuit is always with him. It probably converts into a useful backpack or something. Because after what he’s survived, there is no way Arthur would want to let that thing out of his possession. Ever.

 

In the shower I thought about this drawing as a pitch for a H2G2 cartoon adaptation.

 

* The spacesuit has invisibility capabilities; when Arthur’s not using it for that he has it just display whatever random imagery/video we feel like genlocking in there.

* The spacesuit can recycle his fluids into a substance almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

* Perhaps it is the latest model of the Guide? Compacts into an easy-to-carry box of roughly Gameboy size when not in use. It does NOT have a Genuine People Personality. Nobody wants that when they’re floating alone in the void of space.

* Every episode starts cold with Arthur in some tranquil setting (possibly wherever he finished last episode), when suddenly, disaster strikes and he is, once again, floating in the cold void of space. He sighs, dons the spacesuit, and begins reciting something similar to the Litany Against Fear centered around the words “Don’t Panic”. Cue “Journey of the Sorcerer” or some imitation thereof, opening titles are a montage of bits introducing Arthur and the main characters of this episode with Arthur still floating in space waiting for the Thumb to say something’s in range. As the opening titles come to a close, there’s something detected; Arthur turns on the Thumb capability of his suit via a closeup on his hand making a hitch-hiking gesture. Music climaxes, smash cut to episode title as the music fades, then we rudely drop Arthur into the middle of whatever mess we’ve thought up for him to muddle his way out of this time.

 

“You’ve essentially just reinvented Doctor Who”, said Nick when I pitched these ideas to him. Arguably yes, though I feel there’s a big difference: the Doctor is good at solving huge problems like “an entire universe has been converted into Daleks, who are now invading this universe with the aim of turning it into even more Daleks” while Arthur is good at averting problems well before they get to that point, or just not being where they are when they happen. His primary skills are being that super chill surfer dude who is really, really good at staying calm in the face of crisis and helping other people de-escalate. He does not necessarily solve the problem he’s dropped into in every episode; sometimes he just ends up running.

Also another way this is different from Doctor Who is that the Doctor is not costumed so as to look like she’s naked under her bathrobe. Arthur is. Because nobody really takes you seriously as a threat when you look like you’re naked under your bathrobe.

preparing for eye pain

I just spent two hours making this happen in Illustrator.

It’s the safe version of this. If you click on this image, or on any of the other ones in this post, you’ll see a higher-res copy. I am not sure I recommend doing this.

I can now use these flat-color Graphic Styles to draw a whole bunch of assorted shapes in something akin to three-point perspective. Which would involve following this grid that I built in Illustrator before building the previous two images.

And hell, let me try a quick test drawing. Just some basic shapes following these perspective guidelines.

Alt-drag twelve swatches around and…

Yep. This is gonna work. I’ve got a lot of drawing to do, and this won’t work for every single part of the image – but I should be able to lay down a lot of it pretty quickly like this. I’ll end up with tons of hatching that precisely lines up with the perspective I’ve drawn the shapes in. I had to do some funky stuff to set all of this up and part of me thinks I should write it up, but I also spent two hours in front of the computer and think I need to run around some.

Illustrator has a three-point perspective ruler mode. I’m really not sure I’m going to bother with it; I feel like the time I’d spend figuring out how it works is going to be really close to the amount of time I’d spend just doing it the “hard” way. I learnt how to do hardcore perspective years ago, and I’ve forgotten most of it, but I think I remember enough to fake this. Should be fun!

an epiphany

So the other day I was reading this article about a town in Iowa full of dairy farms and its inherent contradiction of going all out for Trump despite completely depending on immigrant labor. And during the night, something hit me, and I felt like the world turned inside out for me: All these “illegal immigrants” that rural white folks get so riled up over are the indigenous people of North America, pushed out by multiple waves of European colonists. When they come back they get to work at the shittiest jobs for slave labor rates, with the threat of deportation hanging over them should anyone speak up; it’s the people who just walked on in and waved guns around who’re the real illegal immigrants here, using the classic deflection technique of calling the other side what you are.

It’s, like, sure, I’ve had all the pieces to this realization, but it never really all came together until late one night when I was in my late forties and I kinda feel incredibly stupid and part of an utterly horrible system that I’m powerless to change and I kinda wonder if the world would be better off if the Black Death had wiped out 90% of Europe.

(I wonder if part of why it took so long to put this together was spending the first twenty five years of my life in a city that has deep scars around the history of slavery, and had gotten rid of not only its original locals, but pretty much all evidence that they even ever existed aside from place names and a weird Mardi Gras tradition. There were some “Hispanic” people around town, living the same middle-class life I was except for sometimes speaking Spanish to their parents, and that was just kind of… normal.)

There is a very high probability that I will choose to do absolutely nothing about this realization beyond what vague leftist waffling I already am, and that kind of horrifies me too. Just another day in the United States of Omelas, a place powered entirely by continual misery and suffering that I can currently afford to look away from.

Anyway. Hi, I’m a honky from the Gulf South and I just now realized wwhat Middle Americans and rural Westerers are really talking about when they talk about “illegal Mexican immigrants” and holy crap the entire history of the European expansion into this continent sure is a massive five hundred year old tornado of misery and pain isn’t it. I guess I never noticed that because I was a bit distracted by the massive four hundred and something year old hurricane of misery and pain started by the Triangle Trade that I grew up in. I am sure there would still be pain and suffering in the world if not for rich white people, but goddamn there we sure have caused a lot of it in the name of profit.

I wonder how stupid and naive this post makes me sound.

Needlemousevember 1-14

2018: Well look what I found in my drafts when I wanted to link to the big post I did about Needlemousevember last year. Apparently I never posted this. It’s been sitting in my WordPress drafts since September 21st. So I’ve added Needlemice 15-20, which covers all of the work I did for Needlemousevember. Everyone is talking about Inktober again and maybe I will do Needlemousevember again, because it sure is fun to start most days by making a really stupid picture of Sonic.


So back in 2009, a dude decided he was gonna brush up his inking skills by doing a drawing in ink every day for the entire month of October. He gave this the name “Inktober”. Since then it has grown into a Major Thing for a lot of internet artists.

This year, though, it started to get a little out of hand IMHO. I saw one friend debating which set of prompts they were going to build a buffer of Inktober drawings back in the middle of August. I started seeing this ongoing argument over whether you could do Inktober properly if you were working digitally. People will do these crazy, elaborate drawings for it; it’s become a big Thing.

One day, I found myself doodling a crappy Sonic, using none of my usual working methods in Illustrator. It made me laugh. It made me laugh even more when I posted it with the hashtag “#needlemousevember”. Especially because it was still August.

I did another one the next day. And another. And pretty soon I’d started drawing these things most days. There have been some missed days, but I don’t care.

Here’s the first fourteen. More to come, I’m sure.

The rules of #needlemousevember, if you care to participate, are:

  1. Draw a Sonic.
  2. Don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes drawing your Sonic. GOTTAGOFAST.
  3. Trying new tools, new workflows, and new methods is encouraged, but by no means mandatory. Making your drawings gleefully off-model is also encouraged.
  4. Personally I try to avoid using ‘undo’. If I make a mistake who cares? It’s just a stupid goofy drawing of Sonic.
  5. Stop drawing Sonics when it stops being funny. If it’s before the end of whatever month you have declared to be #needlemousevember then that is perfectly fine.

waste site RLYH

Late last night, I woke from uneasy dreams of apocalypses with an idea sitting heavy in my head:

R’lyeh is an ancient waste storage site, and C’thul’hu is the waste itself.

The weird “architecture” of the place is just a bunch of nasty spiky stuff the Elder Race put on top of the buried waste, to mark it as a place to leave barren, ala the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site. The seven-pointed Elder Sign? Their symbol for “radiation hazard”. Or for whatever kind of hazard can be found at Waste Storage Site RLYH, one of many such sites spread out across the galaxy wherever the Elder Race stopped.

Perhaps Cthulhu is just an abbreviation for something like the giant mass of corium known as “The Elephant’s Foot” that’s deep in the heart of the ruins of the Chernobyl reactor. Somewhere in the long chain of translations from the Elder Race’s writing to modern English, there was a language that required everything to have a gender, and thus a giant psycho-radiactive pile of KL5-LO got called “he” and had people trying to pronounce its chemical label as a word.

It is dead – it was always dead – but it still lays there, still has power, still can kill you with its invisible tentacles of radiation. Stay away; do not approach. “But in strange aeons even death may die” – its half-life is measured in billions of years, and eventually this remnant will be safe. Good luck, whatever creatures come after us.

I doubt I am the first one to have this idea.

Shared Wish

Today I wandered around with no real goal in mind. I had a book and I had my computer and I didn’t feel like working on the comics. Instead I drew some weird smut based on a fantasy that’s been kicking around my head.

NSFW art: explicit cartoon nudity, weird cartoon perversions, self-love.

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a terrible vixen

I drew a friend’s bad goth vixen last night. Very NSFW.

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summon bird, Type I

I go outside and put peanuts on the stump outside my door. There are no crows or ravens in sight. I whistle the little tune I always whistle when I do this, and immediately I hear a far-off AWK. A couple seconds later I hear the same AWK much closer. And when I get inside and look back out, there’s a raven perched on the railing, eyeing the peanuts.

I’ve been seeing the ravens more than the crows lately. It’s been weeks since I last saw 5-7 crows clustering around the stump; I wonder if a couple of ravens have muscled in on their territory?

division of labor

Here are two drawings of Olivia and Baron K. Nick drew one of them. Can you tell which?