Sunday, December 6, 2020

"Hybrid" + "Stress"

A double-feature here at Ink & Snow! This first panel (scanned straight from the sketchbook) was the result of a long session spent shoveling an equally long driveway, while mulling over an answer to a "what if" prompt juxtaposed with hooking up a husky.  Is there anything that wouldn't work as a "dog-powered" sport? It's also worth noting how utterly crestfallen I get whenever anyone uses mechanical means to clear the snow, like a truck with a plow, a front-end loader, a grater grader, or even when my landlord provided a crucial end-of-the-year reprieve with a snowblower. Seeing firsthand how effortless such endeavors are after another Promethean struggle puts it all into perspective.

The second was a piece done during my most recent Cartoonist-In-Residency: I wound up giving the original to my host teacher by way of thanks for such an amazing experience, and it gives the kids a neat way to connect all the dots from doodle to demo to published panel in the paper and then full-circle back to the watercolored version.


  1. I clear my driveway and parking area with a snow thrower after years of unsatisfying service from plow trucks. It is hardly the zero-effort endeavor you may have observed. It's probably made worse by the increasingly humid nature of our lower-latitude snows that are further mutated by climate change. The snow is often dense and heavy. It doesn't throw very far, even with my machine. I'll often need to make multiple passes to move it a few feet at a time in an increasingly dense mass as the thrown snow lands in the snow I haven't reached yet. I suppose the age and decrepitude of my machine contributes to the grueling nature of the task. Yesterday I spent hours moving our first snowfall of the year. The storm began with at least an inch of rain, and changed only gradually. Under the dense snow was slush, water, and mud. Later in the winter the bottom layer might be ice. Down at the road cut, the town plowing contractor builds a Jersey barrier that I have to blast through. If the timing works right -- which it almost never does -- I can blow out the end of the driveway in multiple sessions during the storm and immediately at the end of heavy snowfall, blowing it out into the road for the town plow to push past my space and merge it into the roadside snow bank. I have to be subtle, though, because it's both illegal and heavily frowned upon to shove your snow into the public right of way. On the other hand, it is perfectly legal and completely expected for the public plow to obliterate my work in trying to clear an entry and exit. If I had to do it all by shovel alone I would just let it pile up and crawl out some time in May.

    1. One thing I do not miss about our brief tenure in New England was that heavy (and copious) snow - and that's coming from someone who grew up between Buffalo/CNY region known for lake effect.
      Also: LOL "Jersey barrier" (tho might mean something else if you're from dairy country)