Sunday, February 5, 2023

"Alaskans on Vacation" + "NOW?!?"

A double-header here as both panels were sketched out on the same page initially, and as a pair they do effectively bookend the commonly held experiences of both Alaskan snowbirds and vacationers alike. 

Flying anywhere in the Lower 48 usually entails running across fellow citizens of the frozen north, particularly in SeaTac. At some point a field guide to identifying species of traveling Alaskans will be in order.

As of late across some other social media platforms I've been dropping provocative little teasers of the "Sundays" edition of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, where there are many other features besides "Nuggets" well worth supporting with a subscription - thanks!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

"Woodstove Heat Gauge"

On a more meta-note here this panel illustrates a simple pleasure I have in stubbornly refusing to succumb to the temptation of taking digital shortcuts and simply copying a scene where nothing changes but for a one or two foreground elements between the panels. The most obvious offered excuse for the rampant laziness I see across the industry is that it "saves time" (a similar line over using computer fonts as opposed to hand-lettering). I've got news for you if that's a going concern: as a cartoonist artist there's a very real possibility that a significant portion of your creative life has already been and will continue to be "wasted" (art teacher pro-tip: nothing's ever truly wasted per say, but that a philosophical point left for another time). At the core I draw for the aforementioned simple pleasure - if it's that much of a pain in the artistic ass to spend a little more extra time doing it, than maybe a career in the brave new future of using AI is a direction to explore. Rant aside, cartoonists ought to be the absolute last craftsperson worries about taking shortcuts... my drawings wouldn't look the way they do without me being in such a hurry all the time to get these stupid ideas out and also make the constant deadlines.

There are many times over the course of the winter season that I really, really miss living with a woodstove: aside from the aesthetic aspect of woodsmoke, baking in direct heat (which is the only surefire method of thawing out after an extended cold-snap) and the health benefits - maybe some therapeutic mental help as well - of whacking away with an axe all winter long, there's the existential stress of being dependent on a vulnerable electrical grid for power.
There has been some notable extended outages that required using our propane stove as a temporary backup, and the threat of a blackout when it's forty-below zero for several days in a row is like constantly being on thin ice.

Of course the critters don't really care where it's coming from, they'll just cozy right on up to the source whether it be a stove, heater or a convenient warm body.

MoochieBear as Puss In Boots

Sunday, January 22, 2023

"(Sub)Consciousness" What Lies Beneath/Sleeping Dogs

I rarely, if ever, remember any of my dreams - unless they are nightmares and are bad enough to wake me up (a common panic-inducing image is one of my kitties wandering towards an open door), or my sleep cycle gets so outta whack I keep getting woken up during the REM phase. 

Regardless, based upon the brief glimpses into my personal subconsciousness I have absolutely zero interest over delving any deeper: as far as I'm concerned it's "sub" for a reason, and I have more than enough to try and deal with the conscious crap in my head when I'm awake as it is without shaking the tree any harder to see what psychological nuggets turn up.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Meta: Already?

Huh, well howabout dat: This little notification popped up today otherwise I would have missed the auspicious and humble beginnings of this continuing on-line experiment. Just a quick note of appreciation that you stopped by for a visit... thanks!

(Pretty much what a screengrab of the way my consciousness loads in my brain)

Much like measuring ones relative progress in making art, looking back over all the posts serves somewhat as a benchmark for how my writing skills have evolved over the years, which is to say not a dam bit.

(no relation)

Stats as of this posting: 785,601 all-time unique visits (approx. minimum one hundred daily/a few thousand hits a month), still not monetized, still not representing the views or policies of any of my employers, all still only using two-fingered typing. Above all else, also still employing the best-ever editorial review committee dedicated to ensuring only the most humorous + highest-possible quality uploads + original content.
Stay safe folks...

Atticus the Omnipresent Editor & MoochieBear

"Honest Alaska Vacations"

This one probably shoulda been labeled as part of the long-running "Sketchbook" series seeing as how it was literally scanned straight off the page of an omnipresent sketchbook, but there was also enough Photoshop treatment to merit the piece standing on its own. Also it was originally rendered with Microns (or Copic Multiliners) as opposed to a ballpoint pen, so there was more of an archival quality to the initial doodle. These recurring themes were common to hear from visitors over the years spent as an Interpretive Ranger while based in Alaska at a visitor center no less. So I have first-hand knowledge of managing tourists unrealistic expectations. Some of it is based on manipulative marketing tactics. One would almost be forgiven to expect any sortie into parks up here will be the equivalent of a zoo, given how you're led to believe most residents have to dodge wolves, bears, moose (okay sometimes that last one yeah) just on the way to work every day they're so thick in this neck of the woods. And don't get me started on the numerous myths of the aurora borealis - aside from the fact that the nature porn could have us believing that's actually what we see.

For sure though either way it resonates with many residents of Alaska who "get it" - all four scenarios are relatively common enough sights for locals, and are highly coveted bucket-list experiences for visitors. Well, excepting the smoke from wildfires, which were awful again this past season... as the pair of snapshots taken just down the road from the cabin illustrate what a slight shift in the prevailing winds will bring. This summer was also incidentally the first time I began using a new app called Purple Air with real-time air quality monitoring data that helped gauge the impact of smoke at a variety of locations around the Interior, which was bracketed by some big blazes. It bookends perfectly with my seasonal obsession with monitoring inversion temperatures at the opposite point on the calendar.

Sunday, January 8, 2023


"One person's trash is another one's treasure" or something along those lines. Many years of dumpster diving will reinforce such a utilitarian perspective, before transfer sites metamorphosing into dystopian pre-apocalyptic staging areas where the outcast and downtrodden members of society scrabble for survival amongst the scrap heaps of humanity. It's humbling to see the extent and spread of homelessness even here in the subarctic, far from the mass media focusing on sprawling tent cities in the Lower 48.

Whoah now that was a hard turn off over the edge. Critiquing on a more functional level, the element of utilizing cursive script was a stylistic choice to give an aesthetic feel of intimacy, a literate expression of intellect & insight. Forgetting the fact that an ever-increasing segment of today's general population cannot actually read, let alone use, cursive, rendering vast areas of knowledge undecipherable.

Okay nevermind then. It's just a joke. Dam it all, don't let these toothsome thoughts gnaw away at you inside.

Friday, January 6, 2023

"What the Duck" 8th Annual Retrospective/Best-of 2022 Cartoon Show

Today's the day - actually the art is up all month. But there's an official 1st Friday opening tonite from 3-8pm. As with the previous seven years experience for a guide I can safely assume I'll be the resident artist for the rest of January. Ursa Major Distilling hours are 3pm - 8pm Tuesday - Saturday. Here's a link to the official event page. And special thanks as always to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - please consider supporting with a subscription, and thanks for reading.

The warm-up band for tonight's gig is former student and rising star Shayla Sackinger (Bird Ninja). Super excited to have her amazing works up in the entryway.

I feel so bad about not having everything done in time for this show - like pins, stickers, tshirt, mags etc. Like in so many other areas I feel so far behind and overwhelmed. At least the work is all done and it's all up on the wall. Also gonna stick with the "individual openings" from earlier post-covid years.

The poster was created under the in-FLU-ence of horrid medication + illness that lasted almost two weeks. For working artists the hustle never, ever stops: there's no such thing as time off, sick days, or taking a holiday. Living the dream though. Like living inside a comic strip, jump right into the Sunday funnies.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Cheers: Out With the New, In WIth the Old

Here's my most favorite one of the whole year. Likely it'll never progress into a print version as I both like the simple sketchbook aesthetic as it melds with the concept, but also a somewhat tacit acknowledgement that it's kinda so personal it wouldn't be particularly effective as a feature for the funny. 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Xmas 2022: Slay Ride (aka "You Better Watch Out")

As of this writing I'm still unsure as to whether or not this particular panel was published on the actual date of Christmas this year seeing as how it falls on a Sunday, so the newspaper might not be printed + distributed in time. So on the offhand chance it doesn't hit the streets I'll break with my long-standing tradition to not post anything that hasn't already been printed yet and sneak in the festive holiday piece just this one time. Besides, it's my birthday - and this is my gift to you all etc.

A love-letter to my background in pulp fantasy, this is a ridiculous homage to Frank Frazetta’s 1972 classic “Silver Warrior” painting, which adorned the cover to one of my favorite authors’ series as a teenager, Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion cycle, depicting John Daker/ErekosĂ« - reincarnated here as Count Urlik Skarsol (aka “Phoenix in Obsidian”). I also made the command decision as Head Editor here at Norwolf Design/Nuggets®™brand humor to not pursue the initial inspiration of a very hairy Nicholas (another gift to you all).

It was also pointed out by a faithful reader the apparent lack of any leashes which earned an appropriate rebuttal. Though personally I am reminded about how grateful we were to receive any lumps at all when the cabin had a coal-burning stove.

Despite the design's logistical failings, it graced the cover of our annual festive mailings to friends and family. And as an extra-special present to you, dear reader, here's an exclusive, unedited sneak peek at next year's panel: "Makin' a List."
In the meantime folks, Peace & Love... please take care of yourselves and look after one another.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Safe & Warm Solstice Etc.


A brief note here from the hardworking editorial board members and support staff hard at work behind the scenes here at Norwolf Design and Ink & Snow: Please have a very safe holiday season... hope we all remember to keep laughing, and thank you for dropping by.  

... and MoochieBear

PS: This is the very first-ever tree Christmas tree for me... a really nice little fir. The only ornament adorning it from me so far for the season is this little fellah...