Sunday, December 31, 2017


And the same exact sentiment goes for fireworks, since this post falls between Xmas + NY's celebrations. Neither of which I'm particularly paying much attention at all to this year. Except it's awful hard to ignore explosions, which more and more these days makes me think of people in other places around the world who are traumatized by real ones as the war pigs play with their toys. Here in 'Murica we call it entertainment. Really there just isn't anything man-made that doesn't pale in comparison to what's already in existence out there in the natural world. Except maybe cheesecake, I'll give us that.

Done ostensibly as a classroom demo, this panel underwent a few revisions: obviously having the lights on while unplugged was an issue, and the inclusion of the thought-bubble seemed in retrospect a bit too much, and so both were edited out of existence in the final print version.

And yes, while most of our Xmas trees are down, most Alaskans still have their lights up. Let's hear it for one of the subtle benefits to taking leaks off the porch at subzero temperatures during the long darkness of winter: having indoor plumbing would mean missing out on so many opportunities to just simply take a moment to revel in the wonder.

UPDATE: A hat-tip beaver tail-slap to Wickersham's Conscience for making my morning with a perfect addendum to this panel + post

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Distilled Nuggets 2018: The Most Interesting Beaver in the World

Raise Your Spirits! For the third year in a row at Ursa Major Distillery (see posts from 2017 + 2016) for next weekend's 1st Friday I'll have another annual retrospective featuring the best panels of the year from the Nuggets feature along with editorials, doodles and the infamous edits (always seem to be the real crowd-pleasers).

A note that this is also distinct from the exhibition currently on display up at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, as that collection covers the best-of material from 2011 - 2016.

Tangential to the opening reception - on-site but technically not located in the distillery proper - original artwork will be available for purchase along with the usual merchandise such as books & close-out tshirts.

Mind you, all of this is unfortunately subject to the short-sighted and capricious whims of the State of Alaska's Alcoholic Beverage Control board which is mulling over the limitations on what defines "fun" at these establishments.

Contact your local representatives and let them know what complete and utter nonsense this latest effort to regulate & cripple local businesses into non-existence is.

Granted I have a vested interest in the issue, but my bias is obviously grounded in many, many years of developing a symbiotic relationship with local, independent shops, from ice-cream parlors to cafes and bookstores to breweries. It's absolute bullshit - straight-up, no chaser.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Safe + Happy Holidays

Everybody take care out there... it's been a really crazy semester, but at last the season's on the upswing now what with solstice lighting the way.

Lots more on the drawing board, and in the proverbial pipeline, and some more upcoming special events - for one of which this particular piece will be the tentpole for all the other exhibited works. I aim to catch up on writing some posts on the museum show, another Artist-In-Schools residency, and recapping the drawing classes, along with some sorely needed political rants.

I recently went back East for a short trip (more on that with an upcoming post), and almost ten hours of time on a plane was as inspiring as always. While in Western NY I had crashed on a kind stranger's couch for a few nights, and helped cat-sit a very friendly kitty, who started out understandably wary but eventually relented, and we shared some pleasant snuggles. My theory was that I probably smelled at first like a walrus, then a moose, and maybe at last a big ol' bear.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Okay this one definitely fell under the category of "Why didn't I ever think of this one before?" But what's obvious to me doesn't always translate into reality, or at least enough for the average reader to get. But I did bounce this one off enough numerous innocent bystanders ie ad-hoc editorial review committees for it to make the cut. On a side-note, as of late I've really been enjoying previewing my cartoons out in meatspace, as watching folks work their way to the "a-ha" moment is worth the price of admission. As in, the admission one makes every so often that you need to go back to the drawing board.

As usual these days, a slight modification between the published print version and the original, which after scanning the line art, was hit up with a simple wash in the sketchbook. Far from being a waste of time - though it involves doing the same idea over and over as doodle, a pencil, an ink, a digital image and a wash - such deviations in the process serve as A) a value study which in turn better help the digital shading (or vice-versa) and B) enhances the aesthetic of the original pen + ink piece in the event of it's sale.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


Wrapped up another fantastic season working with the great staff + visitors down at the Morris Thompson Center: cheers to the fabulous folks at FAPLIC, Explore Fairbanks, Denakkanaaga, Alaska Geographic & TCCMaasee’

This evolved from one of the many doodles done while working the counter: inspiration comes from all sorts of random directions and can hit at any time, and constant exposure to folks from all over the country and visitors from around the world are a never-ending source of ideas. But the very best ones always seem to come from the locals right here at home.

As a cartoonist with a weekly feature I'm well acquainted with resisting the constant self-constraint of sitting on a good joke until after it's been published. But it was still a temptation not to drop this image taken early on in the year - on my first day of the season in fact. Though it was funny enough to see my co-worker's expressions when A) I showed up looking like a bear recently emerged from hibernation and then B) returned from lunch freshly molted.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Bed-Head for 'Bous"

One of an upcoming series dealing with both antlers + caribous. Also the unwashed truth of any artist who works from home, or whose basic hygiene isn't the highest priority when it comes to public appearances. I swear it has absolutely nothing to do with inspirational moments of domestic tranquility shared over the kitchen table.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

"You've Changed"

Not that cartoons ever make for good therapy (laughter maybe, but certainly not the drawing part), but anthropomorphized critters do help in better understanding different aspects of human behavior. Or maybe that's why I'm a better artist than boyfriend.

I grew up having this soap running in the background, which was in turn an inherited habit passed on from my grandmother to her four daughters, one of whom was my mom. It's been seven years since As The World Turns ended its fifty-four year run, but it's such a stereotyped phrase it'll probably be at least that long before it fades from the public's communal consciousness. At any rate, more folks will get that reference regardless of its obscurity than knowing basic biology of the Snowshoe hare's seasonal pelage.

Bonus wash variation below...

Friday, December 1, 2017

UAF Museum of the North: Opening Tonight!

Been sitting on this one for quite a while, but now it's official... twenty-four framed pieces were hung yesterday, and it looks absolutely awesome. I'll have a much more detailed process post to follow, but wanted to announce it here along with a teaser image of the installation.

Opening reception Friday, Dec. 1st 6:30 – 9pm (show runs through March 2018)
Selected panels from the beloved “Nuggets” cartoon feature by local artist Jamie Smith in the CafĂ© Gallery.
See the official Facebook event page for more information!