Someone on Reddit asked how to do a wireframe Möbius strip sort of thing. In the process of talking about how I might do it I looked up Escher’s “Knots”:

“Knots”, by Maritus Cornelius Escher, 1965. Three-block woodcut.

And then I decided it would be an interesting exercise to try and do this myself. I looked up some knots on Wikipedia for reference, and ended up spending about an hour and a half getting to the point of doing the image featured at the top of this post.

Here are all the brushes I made while doing this. Top to bottom: a brush with three colors twisting across it, only used for reference purposes; a black rectangle of the same size that I thought I might use for some masking, but did not; three brushes, each with two colors twisting across them, used in sequence on the upper left knot; a copy of the middle brush of those three that was used for construction purposes, and a brush that consists of grids masked into the shapes of that brush, with a few extra thick lines drawn on top of it to accent the edges.

And here’s an outline view of these brushes; I feel this should be sufficient for anyone with a decent understanding of blends and clipping mask to construct these brushes themselves.

The knot was originally drawn as one path, but ended up cut into three to create the overlap, and thus the three different brushes happened. I also made a duplicate of one of those three paths and masked off most of it to fix a couple places where the bottommost of those three paths needed to overlap the uppermost.

No 3D programs or effects were used in this.

six pieces of fanart

There was this template floating around. Six boxes. Six pieces of fan-art, as suggested by your followers. I spent three drunken hours filling this in today. I lifted the idea of having the biggest character sprawl through the background of all the panels from Chris Goodwin’s take on a similar template something like a decade ago, where he had Galactus looming ominously behind the other seven favorite characters he felt like including in that one.

The characters are Brooklyn from “Gargoyles”, Mok from “Rock And Rule”, Maleficent from the Disney “Sleeping Beauty”, Bob from “Animal Crossing”, skekSil the Chamberlain from “The Dark Crystal” (who has a terrible sticker of Krazy Kat on his phone), and Lupin The Third from the eponymous manga and its many adaptations.

And here is a closeup of Mok because he ended up tiny.

the leaderboards as of today

Today I got out of bed and spent a couple of hours taking Wikipedia’s lists of the largest movements of the Dow and adding which president it was under.

My initial guess was that most of Hoover’s percentage gains were when the stock price was bouncing off the cliff that began the Great Depression (1929-10/11), but it turns out all but one are later in his term. Part of me wants to add notes to the chart correlating each up and down with whatever was going on in the world, maybe a little mini-timeline showing where each entry was in the president’s term(s), and maybe add in another chart of the overall Dow, and maybe also overlay income inequity on that, but I already spent two hours on this thing and would like to get back to drawing comics.

All logos are traced off of campaign materials. Mostly auto-traced except for that totally fabulous McKinley logo and the FDR letters. I could have just autotraced a cleaner image in both cases but I really liked the look of those font choices.

White/black names and reddish/blueish colors indicate Democrats/Republicans. Older ones are generally more ‘faded’-feeling colors.

Berbarian Sound Studio: some thoughts

If you decide to make a career in the entertainment industry, there may come a time when you must make a choice.

A time when you must choose whether or not you will work on a horrible thing.

A time when you must choose whether or not you will remain silent about the things your bosses are doing because it is A Job.

A time when you must choose whether to leave, or to bury yourself in the Work, and the Craft, and to choose to quietly wall off the part of you that wants to leave and focus entirely on doing the best damn job with your skills on the part of this horrible thing you are charged with making.

This horrible thing may be obvious in its horribleness. It may be subtle. But you will know it is horrible. And you will know there is a choice.

If you are lucky you may see this choice looming in your future while you still have ample time to get out. If you are lucky you may see other people making this choice, or having this choice made for them, and see what it does to them.

I was lucky. Other people I worked with in the entertainment industry were not.

The protagonist of “Berbarian Sound Studio” does not know this choice exists, I think. Until he suddenly finds he has made it.

I learnt tonight that there is a wound deep in my soul from the time I spent choosing to bury myself in my work and thinking I was avoiding making this choice. I learnt this because the last act of “Berbarian Sound Studio” gently lifted up the layers of my soul atop it, with meticulous, surgical precision. And then it licked its finger, and ever so gently traced the edge of this wound, and then delicately replaced the layers of mostly-healed soul almost exactly where they were beforehand. I thought it was all healed but now I know it is not, and perhaps may never be.

I had to take a shower afterwards.

This movie is going on the same shelf as “Requiem For A Dream”: beautifully, compellingly made movies, which I never ever want to see ever again in my life.

Berbarian Sound Studio: a nebbish who is very, very good at making soundscapes finds himself stuck working on a horrible piece of torture porn cinema, and makes his choice.

greek myth storytime

so once upon a time there was this musician

he was the child of one of the Muses (demigoddesses of music/poetry/etc)

and, as musicans sometimes do, he fell in love with a woman

and then, as people who have fallen in love with musicians sometimes do, she died

and he started singing about how sad this made him

thing is, since he was, like, a quarter-divine, he was *really really good* at singing

rocks literally started crying because Orpheus’s song about being sad that Eurydice was dead was so damn sad

so one of the gods was all, dude, this is fucking everything up, everyone’s just sitting here listening to Orpheus’ blues

it was really good blues but, you know, other shit’s gotta get done, yknow?

so they showed Orpheus where the nearest entrance to the Underworld was, gave him a little advice, and said “go get your lady back, please, just stop making everyone for miles around wanna lie down and pretend it’s Seattle in the middle of the winter”

he didn’t have any money to get across the Styx but he sang about how sad he was and the ferryman was all “shit dude just stop singing, I wanna kill myself now, just, like, go away”

he just whistled a sad refrain when he got to the three-headed dog that guards the gates of the underworld and Cerberus just sat down and whined until he passed by

and then he was in front of Hades, the god of the Underworld

maybe Persephone, Hades’ wife, was there too, I can’t remember, it’s been a while

and he sang the low-down-no-lady-sad-boy-blues for Hades for a while

and, like, Hades is a force of nature, he’s the lord of Death and all, he’s inevitable, but that buy was so good at singing that he even moved Hades

or maybe he just made Persephone sad enough to get her to take Hades aside and be all “dude you are never getting laid ever again until this boy leaves this throne room, okay”, like I said it’s been a while

so Hades calls up this sad little spirit that’s all that’s left of Eurydice, and he tells Orpheus to go back, if he can get her all the way to the surface he can keep her, but there is one thing: no matter what, he cannot look backwards until they’re both in the land of the living

and the thing is this little ghost is perfectly, completely silent

so all the way back up he is wondering, is she behind me? he can’t hear any footsteps, he asks if she’s behind him and hears nothing

and then right by the entrance he finally just can’t not any more, and he looks back

and he just sees the ghost of Eurydice looking sad and disappointed and then she fades forever

and then he goes out and sings about how sad he is for a while until one of the gods kills him and turns him into a constellation or something


also I think afterwards his head got cut off and used as an oracle, greek myth is like that

We’ll Make You A Star

A butterfly-themed deity of music, manifesting in his rock’n’roll aspect.

Take care not to be blinded by the divine light of His Holy Area, should that zipper fail any further.

Commission, anonymous client. This one got pretty crazy.

some parades

Last week: ‘tit Rex. In which a bunch of dorks take the traditional New Orleans elementary school exercise of making floats out of shoeboxes and drag them along an actual street route.

Last night: Krewe of Freret, my first parade with Actual Floats since I’ve moved back here. Unless catching Zulu and Rex last year before looking for a place counts? I’m gonna say nope.

I said I was kind of in a shitty location for catching throws, and I was, but I still caught a ton more than I expected to.

All but a couple of those strands were snatched out of the air, too, something I could never do when I was a kid. I kinda quit going to parades in my early teens, so I was still, you know. Short. back then. Now I am a tall adult and I can just grab ’em. I’m pretty sure they have more magic in them when you catch them like that. I cannot even begin to imagine what kind of haul I will end up with if I get a better location for catching stuff.


I could have stuck around for Knights of Sparta and Pygmalion along the same route a little later, but I was tired, and out of phone battery, so I just went home. Today’s all day parades, looks like. Do I wanna go to the Quarter for the absurdity of Barkus, the Dog Parade? Or go explore a different part of the Uptown-to-CBD route and catch part of Femme Fatale, Carrolton, and King Arthur? Also why the hell is King Arthur uptown instead of across the river on the West Bank where it used to be? Never mind that Carrolton goes nowhere near the neighborhood it’s named for. Things have changed since I was a kid, there’s been a lot of route consolidation in the name of scarce city resources to manage traffic, keep the peace, and have emergency services handy…

Or I might just stay in. I dunno.

bat man

a handful of commissions

I needed to take a break from Parallax so I spent a couple of weeks doing some commissions instead. There’s at least one more in the pipe, but it won’t be done for a bit, so I decided to post these.

An unflattering portrait of Alicia’s cat Savannah, with some stylistic cues from Gerald Scarfe.

I could have probably gotten it a lot more Scarfey if all my real media wasn’t packed away, but I think I still managed to get some of his energy in this.

Crowyote: a tricky, distractable shifting hybrid of two tricksters.

Sometimes they can fly. Let’s hope this is one of those days.

“Peggy can you draw me and my SO as a pushmi-pullyu taur, dancing?”

Yes. Yes, I can.

The cover from an obscure cult classic of 90s sci-fi, wherein an androgyne from a society of dinosaur-like people discovers some worrisome truths about what powers their Sufficiently Advanced Technology.

This is actually book 3 of Malachite’s “Octahedron Sequence”, though not advertised as such on the cover. Malachite (generally thought to be a pseudonym, though nobody has any idea who for) vanished without a trace after the publication of the fourth book of what that volume’s concluding Author’s Note said had begun to look more like a hexology than the trilogy it was originally solicited as.

And finally here is a link to a smutty commission I also did as part of this batch.

New Orleans: a process.

A thought I keep on having as I move though New Orleans is that this place is not so much a city as it is a process. This is true to some degree of anywhere, but when the swampy ground is constantly sinking beneath your feet, creating majestic potholes, when plants are rapidly growing up any surface they can cling to, when pumps have to run every time it rains to keep the bowl of the city from filling, it’s a lot more obvious. Especially when the whole place is still showing wounds from a storm fifteen years ago; I’m a few blocks away from a former hospital that’s been abandoned since Katrina, and is still slowly rotting from inside.

It’s a constant fight to keep the place viable, and I feel a lot more aware of that now that I’ve lived in colder, more stable places.