Sunday, September 20, 2020

"Frost Heave"

Long a ubiquitous hallmark of modern subarctic civilization, these "organic speedbumps" are nature's way of reminding us to slow down a little as we careen about our daily lives at a headlong pace, not to mention exceeding your limits. Last year it got so bad around this neck of the woods it merited special mention in a panel, and this season I have been thinking about the state fair, which has plenty of situational topics ripe for ideas. I remember a long time ago during the Freeze-Frame era doing a panel about an Alaskan cowboy riding a moose bull at the rodeo (it just kinda stood there unaware of any rider, placidly chewing it's cud). I honestly never paid any attention as to whether or not there's even a mechanical bull available in the rides, but such details don't concern cartoonists.

Earlier this year a local auto repair shop posted a hilarious meme about a particularly notorious section of road out in the Goldstream Valley that everybody knows all too well. Utilizing my mad Photoshop skills I offered up a different solution to the seasonal asphalt affliction.  

Sunday, September 13, 2020

"The Alaskan Facepalm"

This is an outhouse knee-slapper fur shure. I will admit to having done this. Not this early in the spring, mind you. These are the first wave of slow-moving bombers that you can reach out and grasp one-handed from the air mid-flight, as they are large and cumbersome having just crawled out from overwintering under bark.

It's the next assault - the first hatching - that gets ya good up around these here parts. Aside from running across the tundra or hoping for a siff breeze, the only respite is better living through chemicals. The smell of pine tar for me is an olfactory trigger to my youth spent tromping around the woods of Western New York, everything saturated with Ole Time Woodsman bug dope.

But seeing as how I tend to sweat incredible amounts with such activity, any anointing will rapidly prove useless, and so the other tried and true method of gritting your teeth for a couple months works as well.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

"Nugget AF"

Based on true events. As in, one of the first times emerging from isolation and encountering a friend and engaging in actual conversation.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

"He's Legal"

Here's another angle on how to cartoon: When creating a scene, a background setting for your characters and their props, first sketch out the composition relying purely on memory, as opposed to the majority of the time when we use photo reference and/or Google Image. This forces you to use a visual shorthand and render only those readily remembered elements that add up to give an impression of - in this instance - a corner store.

So in a way cartooning dovetails quite nicely with stereotypes and icons - components of residual, shared memory + cultural symbolism = short-cuts. Ho-ho's, gas-station quality coffee and ubiquitous creamers + sugar, the overhead a cigarette rack, newspaper rack, an ice-cream cooler. It's a puzzle where you also have to design and draw each of the pieces. Some assembly required.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Castor Canadensis: Gnawing You Away Inside

Time to assuage that gnawing feeling deep inside you for more Castor Canadensis. Join me after the jump for another installment of toothsome material.

Friday, September 4, 2020

2020 Faculty Exhibition

Insert wry observation on how going to a gallery show (on any non-opening date/1st Friday) is probably one of the safest spaces to inhabit during a pandemic. I mean, not like there’s ever going to be a crowd.

I’m not even sure for how long this annual exhibition will be up for, and it’s pretty much hit-or-miss on the gallery doors being open, but on the offhand chance you’re in this neck of the woods drop on by the art department.

2019 pieces

On a personal note, I’m always humbled and secretly amused at the incursion of cartoons into one of the most scared inner sanctums of the proverbial ivory tower, not withstanding the advent of postmodernist aesthetic sensibilities. But seriously, it’s always awesome to share the same space as some of the greatest artists in the Interior (or at least the ones who entered pieces): Da-ka-xeen Mehner, Jim Brashear, Wendy Ernst Croskrey, David Mollet, Jesse Hedden, Jason Lazarus, Teresa Shannon, and Miho Aoki.

 On a related reactionary note, I’m currently researching the work of the French illustrator Amédée de Noé - known better by his pen-name Cham - who created over 40k drawings, including this whimsical doodle of Manet “seized with a nervous breakdown the sight of independent painting."

Sunday, August 30, 2020

"Blueberry Wolverine"

This one is a straight-up parody piece that only local Alaskans would get. Come the summer season, folks around this neck of the woods tundra will grab the ubiquitous tools of the trade and head for the hills, to rake in the bounty of the land. We subsist in so many ways - most of all the sun will return in the smallest, most delectable way possible with every savory bite of blueberry jelly or jam. Toast up some thick slices of homemade bread slathered and dripping with butter, and grab a comic book - preferably one drawn by the great Romita.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

"Baked Alaska" #17-20

Time to harvest another strain from the series of carefully cultivated cartoons for the Alaska Cannabist magazine (follow them on Facebook here).
(more below the fold)

Friday, August 28, 2020

Smurphy Dome

While out scouting for berries on the tundra at one of the local spots, I burst out laughing, because I had a vision. Even when asked it's been a good idea my whole life to keep such things to yourself.

Sourdock/Black spruce/Rock harliquin

And I've also opened up another avenue of expression: the Alaskan Andy Goldsworthy, the next undiscovered folk artist of the North


Sunday, August 23, 2020

"Weighted Blanket"

Synonymous with every critter we've ever had is the snuggle. Snugs. It's all about the snugs. I haven't the faintest idea of when the security blanket became commodified but it seems we are the generation of nostalgia. Or maybe that's just my age showing.

Presumably the precise moment of bisociation occurred while surfing with a meatloaf fuzzball nestled in next to me on the couch with me pinned beneath the covers as usual.

"Where do you get your ideas?" Just take notes. At all times, everything all around you is trying to tell a story, to let you in on the joke.

The sequence of snapshots illustrates the core concept of setting a stage for the characters + props. Methodical layering of basic, simple underlying shapes as the composition begins to coalesce. Then ink is employed with an organic line to create a contour drawing. Then time for snuggles.