Sunday, August 19, 2018


Based on actual observation of a species seen milling aimlessly about downtown. Original caption was a tad bit more condescending, calling them "stupid herd animals," which in all honesty includes your truly as far as walking dead while surfing.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

"Eraserhead Buffalo" + Iowa Sketches

Once upon a time there was a beautiful duckling who enjoyed a very sheltered & privileged life until it eventually grew older and gradually changed into an uglyass swan. There’s no moral to this fable, that’s just life. The image is from a quick (under 5-minutes) demo done in a student's sketchbook showing how to render forms using first using pencil, then bolding the contour lines with marker, and a touch of wash for value.

Another one of my demos during the same field-sketching expedition to the Museum of the North with my drawing class this summer. Somewhere during the pen + inking application the buffalo took a decidely Lynchian turn.

In retrospect it reminds me of one of the most impactful experiences from my youth with attending a midnight showing of David Lynch's 1977 black & white film "Eraserhead." The film department at Syracuse University used to put on alternative, classic and cult movies at a small cinema, and one of my highschool friends was involved with the group, and so invited me along to what became a habit for many years. This particular showing was eye-opening in that I'd never before seen the peculiar energy a passionate crowd can generate (these days what we would call geeky fanboys at a convention): the first movie ran a few minutes over and I was sandwiched up against the double doors by the crowd who were all chanting "E-head... E-head..." When the doors finally opened the ticket-taking ushers were bowled over by the mob that flooded into the theater - the one in front of me screaming "mongoloid pig-fuckers" before getting overrun. Many of my personal all-time favorite films were first seen at these midnight showings: Wizards, Quadrophenia, Excalibur, 2001, Mad Max, Night of the Living Dead, Breaking Away, Harold & Maude etc.

After returning from a vacation to Iowa, and during the normal reference sketching session in the campus greenhouse with my posse of students, I marveled at both the miracle of having successfully avoided drawing any corn (or barns, or cows) during the entire trip to the Lower 48, and then of all the different species available to draw from back in Alaska, what did I choose?

As part of our one-year anniversary + renewal of vows, the Significant Otter and I, over the course of eight amazing days, blitzed through twelve different hikes in these beautiful public lands:

Of particular note was a couple of trips to the Mines of Spain, which, among many other sweet little trails, hosts the EB Lyons Interpretive Center with it's excellent selection of mounts.

Note: Can't draw goats worth a dang, but, like everything else, who cares when you're having fun

Sunday, August 12, 2018

"Cat-ch of the Day"

Here's a panel that I initially thought whimsical and charming enough on its own to run as a doodle under the "Nuggets Sketchbook" header, then changed my mind and decided to pencil + ink it up for real. That never happened, and I accidentally found myself caught up short on the stockpile of material to send off to the paper, and this one was still in the holding file on the desktop. Afterwards I surprisingly enough actually got random, unsolicited feedback from folks around town that remembered it enough to point out "Hey that was a good one last weekend." It always mean an awful lot whenever that happens - makes my day.

And now I have an thematic excuse to include a bonus posting of the two cool kitty bowls recently scored from one of my favorite ceramicists in town!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Edits: "Discount Bin" + "Man Buns"

Looks like I'm on roll here with yet another "Edits" post. Now to be sure, these were self-edited: not on account of anything vulgar, just tasteless in context.

Meaning when I originally drew them, some truly tragic events occurred right in the community, and so I opted to pull them from the publication pipeline. Well, definitely this one:

Prudence aside, my own personal history of bear encounters when out alone in the wilderness, and while hiking with others, certainly has informed and inspired a first-hand perspective on such hairy encounters, to be sure.

In other words, file these under first-hand experiences tempering my own twisted method of therapy. Added to the heap of material that will get kickstarted into a collection of off-color panels done over the years.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Happy Anniversary

Image: Tim Hammond

She gets all my comics.

"Take now this Ring," he said; "for thy labors and thy cares will be heavy, but in all it will support thee and defend thee from weariness. For this is the Ring of Fire, and herewith, maybe, thou shalt rekindle hearts to the valor of old in a world that grows chill" - CĂ­rdan the Shipwright

Image: Tim Hammond

Sunday, July 29, 2018

"Nature Show"

What's sometimes amazing is how much stuff falls through the cracks: found out damn well almost two years after making this piece that it had neither been sent off for publication nor uploaded anywhere. That's as far as I know, which after excavating past posts I still couldn't find it anywhere. Yet again I'm kinda grateful I don't have to deal with the insane logistics of managing a daily feature, or else I'd be helplessly overwhelmed with the abysmal record-keeping system I've limping along with for all these years.

Incidentally while backtracking this cartoon I also inadvertently discovered how many old posts now have the dreaded "image not found" default icon in place of a picture: I suspect that this is on account of Blogger and Google abandoning the Picasa platform, which housed many images which one could just link to. As far as this panel specifically though, I think it may have been slotted aside as a submission to a poster competition and so was temporarily mothballed until it was rejected, and consequently languished in cartoon purgatory.

There's an interesting mid-course correction contained here that one can see in the initial pencil sketch above: evidently I wasn't paying attention to depicting reality, at least when it came to the architecture of the wall of the cabin where the bookshelf and a doorway to another room was sketched out. That was digitally fixed, but we'll leave alone the additional detail on the missing stove which one might logically think would follow from the chimney on the roof. Two things to consider though: one is that if I tip my head up from where I sit typing this post, and look directly up, there's an old stovepipe protruding from the ceiling, so hey - that's just the way it is. And two, animals don't watch television anyways, so there's that.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Letting It Go vs Throwing It All Away

A brief essay on the temporal nature of art within the context of mortality? No not really... just tired of hauling crap around after so much moving. I remember freaking out a friend around a fire by nonchalantly tossing armfuls of originals and consigning collected miscellany to the flames. A while back I undertook a massive purge, jettisoning anything in storage, and finally been getting around to unboxing crap and settling in to the new place (it's only been like four/five months two years now). Cases of paperwork, paystubs, receipts & business records kept from as far back as 1986, invoices from folks long since passed away + clients & businesses shuttered and forgotten (Cyrano's, Cook Inlet etc.) and hundreds of handwritten orders mailed from all over America. AT some point nostalgia loses out to the psychologically oppressive weight of all the accumulated detritus and flotsam being sucked along in your wake.

Exposure and success is fine, but still, if it's one thing that's remained consistent over all these years, it's knowing that the only gallery that really counts is the refrigerator. This is second only to being enshrined in the outhouse, followed closely by an office door.

And this attitude in turn makes it easy to let things go but more like seeing those precious, delicate snowflakes grow up and leave the cabin on their own.

As in the case of selling off originals: recently I had a patron pay the rent (again) by commissioning me to color in a few pieces that were showcased in last year's annual retrospective at the distillery.

"The Alaska Playground," "Goldfish Runs" and "Zinke" panels all underwent a watercolor wash, which never ceases to amaze me how much it transforms a work. And now they're gone, all that's left is the doodle in a sketchbook and these images.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

"Bear Tent" + "Hey Bear"

When I look back at all the years I spent hiking solo across the Alaskan wilderness, and think about how lucky I am to still be alive after all of the dumb choices I made, it's good, humbling fodder for the funnies. Grist for the proverbial mill if you will. This panel was part of a series riffing off the subject of bear spray, and was the only one to actually make it into print - the others having been relegated to upcoming appearances under "edits."

Also as a bonus since there's no supplementary material to accompany this particular panel, here's one from last season that never made it to the blog, and is tangentially related to the topic.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

"The Shamen"

Saw this hipster sporting their tribal insignia for fetishsized paganism. Ha - what a stupid joke. Er...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fairbanks Sketchers: Calypso Farm + Ecology Center

It had been an entire year since I made one of these outings... and rumor has it that there will only be one more scheduled meetup before this experiment shuts down (check their official Facebook page for schedule of final events).

This largely on account on there not being a consistent turnout, which in my experience trying to host similar opportunities for artists (a figure drawing group) is a frustrating exercise in futility. But it was fun while it lasted (see archives here), and all due credit to Elizabeth Eero Irving for herding cats.

This past weekend's gig was at Calypso Farm + Ecology Center, right in my backyard in Ester. I gravitated to the smithy and the wood-fired bread oven for a couple quick sketches using Sharpies, ballpoint pen + wash.