Sunday, November 26, 2017

Edit: Turkey Shoot

You'll notice an irreverent them over the holidays, well, more than usual... this particular panel didn't grace the pages of anything anywhere else other than here as a special bonus to you, faithful reader. "Only shoot what you are going to eat" and "Use every part of the animal" and other noble platitudes don't excuse the slob "hunters" that unfortunately abuse and tarnish the tradition of subsistence. And don't get me started on the horrors of modern factory farming (we go the Alaska grown route). Anyways, the cartoon's not overtly violent (after the edit), since all the action takes place off-panel, though there is a lot of gratuitous gravy. Mmmm... gravy.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I got this idea while just driving around. Happens a lot, and it's pretty cool to live in a town where there are any number of establishments I can pull a pit-stop and duly record the concept in the omnipresent sketchbook. Usually involves libations of some kind, and having any number of conversations with folks. Also this works as an early Thanksgiving panel too.

h/t Houlette

Time and time again I’ve seen random, spontaneous and unfinished doodles rate far, far more popular on social media than when I post what I think is pure genius. It’s all funny. Also you know I think the reason I put those little darker pads on the bottom of their feet is has been a subconscious thing: just connected the dots and realized they be traced back to wearing footsie pajamas as a little kid. Man did I ever love the red suit I used bum around in.

Sometimes simply amazed at the random, weird + wonderful paths to ideas. It's not so much where you get them (a question which gets asked a lot) but more like it's the process, the "how" you come up with ideas that's always a marvel to me. The trick is in trusting to let go and letting the mind wander, off the leash, sometimes with absolutely with no connecting threads: the untethered mind roams, and bisociations form in the mental Jacob's Ladder.

Remember that it’s what doesn’t make sense that’s funny – so when you think about coming up with new ideas, like during a brainstorming session: stop making sense!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Threat Display" + Inky Goodness + Checkered Demon

Recent panel for the newspaper feature, and another installment in the growing beard series. Doesn't really matter what the implement, there's something so inherently satisfying in rendering lots and lots of hair. I'm living in the right place it seems.

Speaking of textures, I really love pen + ink, and to be able to let that come across in a classroom studio setting is always a real treat.

Seeing results in the work of students just feeds right back into the loop and inspires in turn. Posted here are some sample excerpts from the critter spot illustration assignment, a favorite time of the semester.

And what could I possibly add to the years of posts on how simply awesome it is to see it all channeled into comics. Just outstanding and wonderful.

Not to mention the pure practicality and relative cheapness of the medium. Nothing like sharing living space with, say, a potter for example, to make one have a keener appreciation at the logistics and convenience of being a cartoonist - at the least when it comes to storage of your art.

Besides also being a great place to hang out and draw, conversations can sometimes be thought provoking. No shortage of issues and opinions in the art world, especially as of late.

Recently busted a student working on her math homework while it art class. One way to get a gold star.

Been thinking lately about one of the underground cartoonists I used to collect (The Checkered Demon comix), S. Clay Wilson.
Referring to his and the Zap crew's status in art circles, S. Clay Wilson himself said:
“If you’re not good enough to be a cartoonist, maybe you can be an artist.” It’s the same old dirty coin. There’s all this snobbery involved in both directions. People want everything in neat, safe categories and have things explained to them, like this interview.
So you think being a “cartoonist” counts against you?
No, I think it’s favorable. Artists? Who ain’t an artist? But you meet a cartoonist. “Oh really?” Art can be anything, right? - The Comics Journal

Sunday, November 5, 2017

"Gotta Clean Up the Yard"

We've had (another) unusual winter in this neck of the woods: for the second time ever in as long as I've been teaching up here I actually cancelled classes on account of - of all things - rain.Now after a couple dumpings it's beginning to look more seasonally appropriate. At least the yard is all fresh & new again.

And here's an amusing juxtaposition: never thought I'd see the day that my work appears on (Update: no, not in) the New York Times Bestseller List!

Saturday, November 4, 2017


At the start of this blog the focus was on teaching Beginning Drawing, and documenting all the adventures that take place behind the scenes. Taking note of how classes would evolve over time – on both sides of the podium and desk - helped to develop a long-term perspective on teaching + art. I also used to post little artsy-fartsy quotes that shored up my observations and go hand-in-glove with the assignments and imagery.

So once again my classes migrated for the semesterly field-trip up to the Institute of Arctic Biology's greenhouse on Troth Yeddha' to harvest reference sketches for our upcoming critique piece on organic composition (see backlinks to 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2015). And in prepping this post I revisited Google to search for appropriate quotes about “art” and “planting” and, aside from some extraneous blurbs about Robert Plant, couldn’t find a damn thing that even came close to what it was I had in mind.

"I think that one's art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows." - Emily Carr
Eh, no, not really. The “dissecting a balloon” fallacy doesn't really have any merit in an academic setting, as one is supposed to experiment + explore how and why these thing work. Art is no different in this context, and it's the time + place to study the roots of the matter.
"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed... Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." - Henry David Thoreau
Nope,  not quite right either: one would certainly hope it's the responsibility and role of an educator to plant seeds along with the cultivation of talent.

The proverbial fruits of our labor

So here's my own:
"So much of teaching art is found in a greenhouse or a garden. Underneath everything is making the mental mulch-pile: loading up a good compost heap with manure + garbage… all for fertilizing later in the season. Then there’s the clearing, the tilling, the planting, the watering, the weeding, pruning, not to mention plotting & ordering from catalogs. Eventually, maybe, there’s a harvest to share, to sell, to eat, or to preserve for enjoying later. Nobody sees any growth all at once - in the meantime, you just keep getting your hands dirty." - Jamie Smith