Saturday, March 17, 2018

Editorial: "She-Devil"

 This is one of the pair of pieces that appear in the final issue of The Ester Republic (on stands everywhere local now).

The trouble with many editorial cartoons is not knowing the original context, or familiarity with the issue itself. In this case it stems from a statement by a(nother) Republican candidate regarding his views on feminism. Also in this case, it doesn't really matter anyways exactly who, when or why: chances are it could be any of them at this point. Or to generalize even more, any male.

As with most cartoons of this sort, there is an ironic danger in the very real chance that the intended target of the cartoon is so goddamned stupid that the satirical nature of it will fly completely over their head.
“… But there is significant research to show that it may well be true that the best cognitive defense against Trump era falsehoods is satirical comedy. We know, for instance, that those who consume sarcasm are smarter, more creative and better at reading context. All are useful tools to process lies.”

“Satire viewers enjoy using their reflective cognitive abilities, which are effortful, typically deliberative and require working memory, over intuitive cognitive abilities, which don’t require higher order cognition.”
- The Science of Satire and Lies - Sophia A. McClennen

Sunday, March 11, 2018

"AK Therapy"

Another in a recent series that sprang forth undoodled directly from the brain right out all over the paper. Kinda like the birth of Athena, but bucktoothed like a beaver. So no sketches exist, which in retrospect would have given me fair warning on what a relative pain in the butt it was to render another (comparatively) elaborate composition. I did get to use it as a demo in arranging visual elements within the panel as a subliminal way to guide the viewer's gaze through the clutter, using the speech balloons, linear perspective and gradations of value to emphasize key areas. Note: See the "Plea Bargain" post for even more insight on what goes on behind the curtain.

Visual blocks, pointers, and other framing devices

Speech balloons + text as directional cues to exit point at caption

Gradation of value scheme to enhance contrast

And at the time we were going through another prolonged cold snap - even up here on the hill it hit minus twenty, which translated into thirty-below at the bottom of the road and in town. Weird thing was the lack of inversion for a stretch of time... we normally have a much greater diversity and range between the highs + lows from hilltop to valley floors. But for some mysterious meteorological reason everything flattened out and the misery was equitably shared by the general population.

Speaking of therapy, this panel graced a background shot that illustrated a perfect morning at the homestead: ground up some fresh beans for a hot mug of coffee (souvenir mug from Two Cats Cafe back in Bar Harbor btw) + a slab of homemade cheescake.
Ahh... all better now.

UPDATE: For whatever reason this particular panel decided to go (relatively) viral as far as top three all-time record on the number of shares on Facebook. Indulging in some voyeurism I peeked at some of the places + people who reposted the image and by far and away (literally) the best one had to be from a dude stationed in McMurdo Station, Antarctica:

Seeing as it's -39 today... this seems appropriate.” Also see in the comments how cool these seemingly far-flung connections can sometimes be!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Slow Posting

Oh yeah sure there’s fame, fortune and friendship, but I'm tellin' ya all that ain’t nothing next to making it onto the Official “Sloth Of The Day” website. Just goes to show how the internet is full of very strange + wonderful places (and I have awesome friends one of whom - h/t Andrea - flagged this for me). Looks like I'm hittin’ the big time… very… very… s l o o o w l y.

Here's a link to the original post, which has a dead link for the image, so never mind. A lot of the archives for Ink & Snow are scrambled now that Google in its infinite wisdom killed off Picasa, which hosted a significant amount of my images. And speaking of sloth, I'm too damn lazy to overhaul everything except on a piecemeal basis as needed.

Jheronimus Bosch Table of the Mortal Sins (Accidia)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

"Arctic Turtle"

I always hafta smile whenever seeing us denizens of the arctic waddling about like a northern version of the Micheline man, swaddled in as many layers as possible.

Brings to mind the old "post turtle" adage...

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Tributary" (Greenhouse: Spring 2018)

I've been recently tasked with looking at, thinking about and talking about (which includes a written component) art more critically. So after waking up to another twenty-something-below morning it was sooo therapeutic to take the 8am Beginning Drawing class on the semesterly field trip to the tropical greenhouse… Gorgeous orchids were icing on the cake.

Bonus puppy snuggles from the adorable Nina-Schnitzel who was in-house for some training socialization. Just kidding, as I think everybody spent about as much time playing with the puppy as they did drawing in their sketchbooks (myself included). When not gamboling about the greenhouse she was quite the enthusiastic sketching assistant.

One of my demo sketches evolved overnight into a bit more than I originally intended. It'll have some commercial application in the near future I'm sure (make for a nice sticker or label or flyer etc.) and also gets some usage as a signed thank-you print for folks, and most importantly as a gift to the Significant Otter. But in the meantime here's a brief but wordy navel-gaze "artist's statement" where I reverse-engineered some observations.


From a field-trip for reference sketches to an upcoming critique piece due from Beginning Drawing students. We sharpened our observation and visual note-taking skills, practicing the “sampling/remixing” approach to creating a finished piece. Also a meta-point about the simple pleasures in finding a world of wonderful subjects to draw from when one focuses on the smaller everyday - and so often overlooked - details we are surrounded with.

Even though it is based on an in-class exercise that emphasizes contour line + composition (through the manipulation of fore/mid/background elements + use of a border as a cropping device), there are a couple other aspects that add more to this illustration.

The title suggests “tribute,” which this is, given the horticultural background and greenhouse experience of my partner. Both as an artist and a scientist, she has the eye and experience to appreciate the drawing and all the extra meaning that has been, uh, grafted on.

It’s all about the extension that branches off of the main stem where it was clipped. This focal point is a metaphor that deals with the bullshit my wife keeps having to put up with: when life deals her a hard hand somehow she always gets around such obstacles, and reaches even greater heights. It’s about growth despite any temporary setbacks. It also can’t be restrained by any arbitrary border or imposed limitations that try to confine and restrict.

Plus there aren’t any clich├ęd “four-leaf clovers,” symbolizing the fact that luck isn’t involved here at all – you make you own breaks in life.

The pen + ink portion utilized a thick, organic black line weight to set off against the thinner one for the background elements (atmospheric perspective). The gestural quality of the foreground plant is reinforced by leaving some negative space around it, which also doubles as providing some visual breathing room – empty in the top third of the panel.

Lastly the palette was restricted to one primary hue (4 different colors of varying brightness & intensity). Value was employed to enhance contrast in certain areas so as to help better differentiate between the layers.

The textured filter (Photoshop: Sponge) was the last step, as all of the other visual components were needed to provide a solid foundation to build upon, and, as with color, the digital effects should not overwhelm the core of the drawing. That still leads to the one, main criticism I personally have, that the subtle lighter highlights on the leaves of the primary plant are too muted, which was exacerbated by the filtering process. So lost some depth + contrast - this was really evident when I had a dozen prints made down at the printers on two different machines as in comparison the version as seen here is the best by far.

*For more backstory on the semesterly greenhouse field-trips see posts from 2017, 2015, 2013, 2010, and 2009

Sunday, February 25, 2018

"Fan Hitch" + "Lead Dog"

I dimly recalled reading somewhere about the technical term. Note to self: In the future, exercise prudence when using "mushing fan hook-up" in a Google search. The correct phrase is "fan hitch."

And it's a two-fur-one this week, as the season is rapidly ending for all things mushing-related. This next one was so much fun on account of the relatively obscure pun: I admit to feeling a wee bit childish + immature to drive personal satisfaction knowing full well how much of a head-scratcher some panels will be. Though there was some slight capitulation when an early reader that previewed the piece while at work had the excellent suggestion to include the periodic table symbol for lead on the dog-tag. Afterwards I was really quite impressed at just exactly how many folks keyed in on that hint - probably just as many science nerds as literary geeks out there.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Marveling at the Hype

Exhibit “A” in the difference between alternative independent comics + the clueless corporate mainstream = somebody at Marvel Comics is having a sad. Then again, them and DC are two sides of the same coin when it comes to diversity issues. Hopefully the execs will find a big enough cape to wipe the egg of their faces...

Been over all of this many times before, but still bears repeating how interesting it is too be getting sick & tired of the same old stupidass superhero shtick now for the second time in my life. Explosions, wow. Special affects, oooh. Insert chase sequence. Add another fight scene. Big + dumb = franchise fatigue. That covers both the printed page and the silver screen.

Another hilarious and ironic observation recently made was the equally amazing accolades Wonder Woman made at the box office, both critically + financially hammering home the message that appealing to half the population might be a savvy marketing strategy in the future. Note: while watching it I kept having the nagging suspicion that underneath the, um, super-ficial facade, the aesthetic was yet another predictable, formulaic blockbuster, like a regurgitated Zack Snyder fanboy fetish (turns out he was one of the writers and producers, so yeah).

My favorite part of 90% of the movies seen these days

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018 + Edit

The Xmas card was kinda gory this season, or at least that was according to the Significant Otter®™, and so I immediately set about demonstrating just what exactly entrails entails a truly sanguinary situation.

It turned out to be funny enough of an idea to merit publication - at least to those with any recollection of the specific scene in the beloved childhood classic Disney film that it references. But there was still the splatter matter of dialing it back just a wee bit so as to slip it to the newspaper: hence the PG + R-rated versions... one of which appears only here for your evisceration edification, dear reader.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Thoughts On Throwback Thursdays

Every so often over in Facebook land I participate in the "Throwback Thursday" thing, but instead of posting nostalgic photos I scan + clean up old cartoons from the Freeze-Frame era.
More below the fold...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

"Effective Versus Affective"

What with all of Mother Nature's mood swings (recently from thirty-five degrees above to thirty-five below) coupled with the onset of S.A.D. here's the perfect illustrated difference between the two extremes. Kinda sums up some folks' behavior in our neck of the woods, or maybe that's just while out & about just driving around.

Like an awful lot of material as of late I don't have any accompanying doodles, as more + more panels are appearing on the page straight from the sketchbook. The only editing that really happened here was switching from a vertical composition (the two panels stacked on top of each other) to a more print-friendly horizontal format.