Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So cute an innocent

Doesn't that face make you want to cause it pain? No? Just me? Crud, I need counseling. Oh well, good comics don't come from stable minds...

Monday, June 29, 2009

I am not a techie

On paper, I'm a genius. I'm, like, super smart. REALLY! That being said, I'm a complete idiot when it comes to techie things. It doesn't interest me either, so that means I'll probably never learn. I can try and do the research when I am forced to look up techie stuff, but research doesn't always replace know-how.

You've seen my fail when it came to the DVD player. Witness the ultra-fail of my new monitor! Do I actually need a second monitor? Not really. I wanted it so I could split my photoshopping and webdesign duties between settings - or have a second screen for movie watching while I work. When I found a wonderfully-priced monitor on Costco.com, I decided to give dual monitors a shot!

But problems exist. My laptop doesn't have a HDMI port, which means I have to go VGA. That's not a problem with me. I can take some fuzzy letters. It's really dumb of this model to not have HDMI, but that's my ignorance at work. When I ordered it, I didn't even know what HDMI was. (As I said: Not a techie.)

The other problem is *how* to hook up dual monitors. I did some research and I read that a splitter was needed. I looked 'em up, found a cheap one and bought it. I did not think my cunning plan through. What does a splitter do? It does not split one VGA port into two. It splits one VGA *signal* into two. I've mirrored my display! All techies can laugh now, because this should have been obvious. I was misled by the internet, OK?

Now I'm at a loss. Can this bugger even *do* multiple monitors? The other port I have on this laptop is svideo, so maybe I can use that. (Y'know, if I *had* a svideo cable...) I fear I am royally boned due to my technical ignorance. (Reading through some Dell forums, some got the svideo thing to work, others claim it's impossible. I'm more confused than ever.)

Just to make this a total disaster, the new monitor has a HORRIBLE flicker. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if I couldn't have two monitors - There's always a use for an extra HDTV - but if I can't use this monitor as my main monitor, what good is it? Research online says, "oh, just set it to 75hz!" Um, the only option is 60. What can I do?

I fear it's about time to see how good Costco is about handling returns....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fear and Loathing in the Basement

I couldn't figure out what to share today, so I stared at this blog in despair. Then I started sketching my face. Do I do the ego and cartoonify the Chrispy? (That's right, THE Chrispy!) I don't exactly sit around doodling myself that often, so my Chrispy drawing is primative and raw.

Anyway, this is not a story about doodle Chrispy, this is a story about a near disaster that would have wrecked my life and destroyed my faith in the universe. My DVD player went on the fritz!

This might not seem like a disaster to you, but I only work in two ways: With sports in the background, and while playing DVDs. I need stuff in my TV to distract the stupid part of my brain so the productive part can get things done! Without it, I am lost. Music puts me into a trance, where I sit for hours doing one thing. Stuff on the TV has a finite lifespan, and the constant shifting keeps me moving along. DVDs with me: Serious business. My DVD player is the only one that can satisfy me: A 5-disc darling that was built to sync with my Sony Bravia HDTV! It was perfect for me. During a productive streak, I can burn through TV on DVD discs like no one's business, and it's much more preferrable to do it with a few clicks of a remote than constant disc shuffling.

Last night, put in Tropic Thunder and got out what I needed to ink some comics. BAD HAPPENED. It would skip a bit, the audio would cut out and at one point it was just static. Um. Next disc? Same thing. I pulled out the discs, turned off the player, let it sit, then tried again. NOTHING. All it would do would shudder and blink helplessly. No inking was done that night. Panic and despair took over instead. I had to watch Tropic Thunder on my computer, and all joy was drained from it.

The player was under warranty, but it would still cost me $33 plus time and effort to get it replaced with a refurbished model. Y'know, a machine that already sucked once enough to fail. I was not pleased.

Today I was resigned to suck it up and try to hook in the Bose speaker/dvd system I "borrowed" from my family. This meant lots of switching out cords, and my brain has no desire to do technical stuff like that. So I gave the player another shot. Nothing but that blinking light. The HDMI light. Hmm. I have a spare HDMI cable lying around, maybe I'll try swapping that...

And the light stayed on! I watched a movie! It was the blasted CABLE! A $4 solution is far greater than a $120 solution.

Anyway, this isn't remotely interesting, but I SHARED, DAMMIT!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Karma or Weekend?

Man, where did everybody GO? My family, my friends, my readers - seems everyone's gone out of town for the weekend - perfect timing for my FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GIVE ME MONEY push. (Check my fine art site.) I'd like to think this is just a more severe than normal weekend drop-off and not everyone fleeing for the hills once I start passing the collection plate.

Anyway, no special stuff today. I did lots of webdesign earlier and I *may* do some inking tonight - none of which makes for thrilling blogging. Man, I gotta step it up.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My wall is awesome!

I felt leaving my bite-sized paintings stacked up did not do them justice, so why not throw them all up on my wall! It's like a gallery designed by a mental patient! (Click the image for a larger version.)

Also, note bite-sized paintings #13 and #14 have been started! I CAN'T BE STOPPED!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Because I care for you

Today was mostly working on the comic. (Actually, it was mostly relaxing, but that doesn't sound as dynamic!) But I need something to share, so I went and fixed the remaining unfinished tiny painting. It is now time TO MAKE MORE!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What to do today?

It's my first full day back home and I'm inundated with options! Do I work on comics? Do I practice sketching? Do I work on much-needed website updates? Catch up on e-mail and approving Precocious transcripts? Paint some more? Eat? And what about background? Do I catch up on TV, fall into music or watch the pile of DVDs that is building up? So many options and so little time!

But, hey, my daily comic, incentive and blogging obligations are out of the way. I'm free to do what I want!

(I think I'm going to work on new comics while catching up with True Blood, then color Sunday's strip while watching DVDs. But I never make promises!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is it bedtime yet?

I'm back from DC and totally not in the mood to be all artisty and stuff. Productivity resumes TOMORROW.

But isn't bedtime Autumn cute?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hey, baby, I'm FLEXIBLE!

I paint crazy modernist stuff AND cute cartoon animals. What about you?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Double Play

Today was fun. Took my grandfather out to a Washington Nationals game for Fathers Day, which also happens to be his birthday. To honor that doubling up, here's Bud and Jacob turning a double play of their own. It doesn't matter that the team lost horribly and my skin is now a crispy red; it was still fun.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Take me out to the ball game

I'm going to see the Washington Nationals play tomorrow, so baseball is on my mind! (In as much as what the Nationals play is baseball.) Ok, ok, the Nats have a winning streak going. (Which is in danger as I type.) Either way, I am going to jinx the heck out of SOMEONE tonight. (I'm sorta rooting for the Nat's opponents, the Blue Jays, because Blue Jays are cool and Canada is cool in other ways.)

In Precocious baseball, it seems natural to have Suzette was the catcher. Problem with sketching her as a catcher - How does one draw a catcher's mask on a muzzle like that... without, er, muzzling her too much. I finally had to to Schroeder from Peanuts to get a catcher's mask I liked for her. What other strip does baseball better?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Feast-Sized Paintings!

I've been working small for so long, going big again is rather jarring. This ginormous bugger isn't going as fast as the other giants, and that does bug me. Ginormously.

Oh well, it's going someplace fun and I have faith we'll get there in style. The big question is whether I can get there during this current visit to DC, or if I'll need to finish it next time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bite me!

Tonight may be the night that the bite-sized paintings finally make it to my fine art site! (This early-stage one is #12 in the series.) I'm going to take a different approach to this one and eschew the thumbnail approach. After all, they're little paintings! This cuts down some time in updating, so yay! If only all my series were tiny and consumable...

And note I said "may be" - I MAY BE working on a GIANT painting instead. All I know is that either project will take me past midnight and I need to post something new and fun every day! Bite me!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who the heck are you?

Is this kid somehow important? No, not really. Is this kid even a character? I won't say! Is it the baseball bat that matters? Let's find out!

The sketch represents some thoughts I'm mulling over about Precocious... but I don't wanna share them quite yet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Artist's block (the good kind!)

Enjoy my block of 12 bite-sized paintings! Last night I put the finishing touches on this group, so now it's on to more! First I'll be working on Precocious paintings, and then it's back to fine art in an affordable size! Eat 'em up!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I don't like the drugs, but the drugs like me

If you've read my bio on the Precocious website (or ever met me in person) you'll know I have the brain-addling despair that is ADHD. When I was put on Ritalin, it really did save my life. Precocious wouldn't exist without it. Currently my cocktail of choice is 20mg in slow-release form in the morning and regular Ritalin in small doses throughout the evening. When prepping for my trip to DC, I packed my pillbox with my morning pills. (No I am not a walking pharmacy. There's TWO, both of which are optional!) Guess what I forgot? Oh, right, EVENINGS! When I do ALL MY WORK! For this week, instead of firing up at 5pm, my brain will be melting down. Dumb dumb dumb. This has been a stupid week for me, hasn't it? (OK, so it's not a huge deal, but I wish I had the option available to me if I needed it.)

I chose Vincent for this illustration because, spoiler alert, he's got an undiagnosed ADHD problem - which leads to much merriment for all of us! Y'know, whenever he shows up. Which is not for a long time. Yes, this means he wouldn't be freaking out over meds, as he doesn't know he needs them. Shut up! It's close enough to be apt anyway!

Oh, anyone who thinks ADHD is fake just because it's often misdiagnosed can preemptively go fuck themselves.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


If I am going to sell out properly, I must have lots of wonderful little things to sell! Work on painting continues, and I'm mixing in some adorable Precocious characters. Once a suitable horde of paintings is finished, I'll increase the attention whoring. For now, enjoy the process!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Consume my bite-sized paintings!

These little guys are kinda fun to make. I got so used to working large, that I needed the change in scale. Here we have a pile of bite-sized paintings (actually 9"x12") in various stages of completion. You know you want one. Gobble them up! OM NOM NOM! (Click the image to embiggen.)

I just bought a bulk box of canvasses, so I have lots to play with now. I have another box if 12"x12" canvases too, so I can branch out into the land of SQUARE. Oooooooh!

All these art supply purchases are putting a hurt on my wallet, so I've gotta start selling something. Anyone interested? Or are you all waiting for more Precocious paintings? I can do those too!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The day the music died

In today's "I'M AN IDIOT" moment, we feature Chrispy and his new iPod speaker!

I listen to music constantly. Without it, I get all twitchy and panicky. I had been using my old desktop to play my music through iTunes. It worked fine, until everybody died. The desktop is unreliable, the speakers are aging badly and I knew I couldn't keep relying on the aging system. I decided to go with an ipod speaker system in anticipation of me upgrading to an iPhone soon.

I was a good consumer, doing my research and narrowing down my choices to match my need. I thought I was going for Altec Lansing Inmotion mini player, but I was worried the sounds wouldn't be full enough for my needs. I'm not a music stickler, but fuzziness drives me insane. That's when I spotted the higher-end model on sale for only $10 more! It was the top-rated player on CNET! The reviews made it look perfect, as the features it lacked were ones I'd never use. I bought it!

Oh wait, NO I DIDN'T! I bought a lower model that looks almost exactly like the higher end model. WHOOPS. This one... not so good reviews. For insance, it won't change iPod Nanos. IT WON'T CHARGE IPOD FUCKING NANOS! This was a feature that should be assumed in ALL MODELS OF IPOD PLAYERS.

So, earlier today, the music goes off. The battery is dead. I am confused. I pull out the manual. I look for the product name. I curse. I curse LOUDLY. I'm an idiot.

I can work around this, of course, but it requires me remembering to charge my nano during every moment I'm not listening to it. Aside from that stupidity, it works fine for my needs. Doesn't stop me from stewing over this, though. Can't believe I screwed up like this. I can only hope it charges the iPhone when I get it. If it doesn't, I can't be held responsible for my actions.

Edit: Salt in the wound: It is now on sale, so it cost me an extra $10 to screw up too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Restrained Creativity

Since this is the most popular design, I pulled out the original and went to work on making it more t-shirt-ish. It's set up now as a one-color print with a gray shirt as background. This would be the cost-effective approach. Is it acceptable? (Click the image for a larger version.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Still playing with shirt ideas.

Good feedback so far! As it stands, the first shirts I'll be offering will be SCIENCE! and Tiffany's unrestrained creativity masterpiece. Don't go salivating yet, though, as I haven't solidified anything, much less found a t-shirt provider.

But I'm not done yet! Let's keep throwing out more ideas!

(click the image to embiggen)

The top one is a Ghostbusters line applied to a cast group shot. (The sketches were lifted from past vote incentives, if you're wondering.) EVIL is an attempt to combine some universal appeal with Precocious. Dunno if it's successful. Man, why must my comic be so insular? Finally, we have a sample from the exceedingly cute strip. Who wouldn't want to wear that?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Try me on, I'm very you

Alright, I'm doing it. I am starting to think about merchandising Precocious. It's scary! What in my strip is truly shirt-worthy? I present to you the first wave of ideas. Help me shape them into successful designs! Also, PLEASE tell me what you want to see! Since it's the fans that will be buying the shirts, the fans kinda need to let me know what they want to buy.

I know I want to do a Dr. Oven shirt, but what slogan does he get? A nice, happy SCIENCE! is all-purpose and lovely...

...the full bake sale line is more comic-specific, but it is still awesome. Actually, this would make a good bumper sticker just by itself.

Dionne's heart shirt is a perfect vehicle for a Dionne heart shirt! (You heard me.) I like this design a lot, even though I doubt many will want the shirt. If I can pull it off, I am also contemplating a Tiffany button shirt.

Other ideas I have come directly from the strips:

"If I give off the vibe of sweetness and innocence, it can be quite disarming!"

Unrestrained Creativity

"From chaos comes creativity; from creativity, chaos"

Eh, who knows? This whole merchandising thing is still at the "glimmer in the eye" stage. Let's find out what works!

Monday, June 8, 2009

More downsides to productivity

Today is an inking day! The goal is to finish two weeks' worth of dailies and keep going into July - ignoring Sundays all the way! (I'll get to them LATER!) Anyway, this is my task for the day and you'll have to deal with the artful arrangement of strips I've presented.

Another downside of productivity: I consume supplies at an alarming rate! I cracked open a fresh pack of 50 templates for this current session - and realized I already knew what was going on 46 of 'em! I'm moving too fast! I bought hundreds of these buggers when I stocked up, and it's getting close to ordering time again. For being what I feel is unproductive over the past few weeks, I sure am consuming all available supplies rapidly. I don't want to restock! I just splurged on other stuff! I HAVE NO INCOME!

Of course, if I move *that* fast, I can take a month off from drawing the strip and use that time to play hype machine!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Buddy Christ

He thrives from your sins! Or something like that. I never paid attention in church. Anyway, this Dogma-inspired sketch came about from one of my readers concluding my Sunday strip depicted Bud as Jesus. I am entirely for this interpretation!

(The odd color is a side effect from the new GIANT SCANNER. It does comics great, but has no setting for sketches. Maybe I need to go with two scanners at the same time! Again: Aww, yeah.)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Large and in charge

Guess who got a new large-format scanner? I can scan ALMOST TWO TINY PAINTINGS AT ONCE! More importantly, I can scan two strips at the same time. (Aww, yeah!)

If this bugger keeps working, then life will be excellent. It will cut soooo much time off of tedious scanning sessions. Yay!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Precocious in five strips? Unpossible!

Alright folks, I am putting the finishing touches on my submission to the SpiderForest webcomic collective. (If you're from SF, should you be reading this?) All I need now is to write a conclusion and choose my five comic representatives. I've settled on four, but the fifth is causing trouble. I'm not going to repost the strips, as they're all three posts down, but I will review the choices.

1) Strip #43 ("Rule #4")

This may be the most Precocious-esque strip I've done. We have the kids up to no good, a parent catching onto the semantics and the revelation that a "no dynamite" rule is NEEDED - and it still only the fourth most important rule! What could the top three be?

2) Strip #62 ("The infinite canvas project")

Tiffany's painting exploits are adorable, exactly her style and overall is a nice, strong Sunday. I also like the non-malicious misbehaving going on. While my kids are at their best when at their worst, I worry about submitting five strips all with the kids being insane. That being said...

3) Strip #100 ("Paddle-battle boats")

I love this strip because it's funny and shows that I *can* draw backgrounds if I want to. It also does a great job in establishing the Sapphire set as uniquely demented.

4) Intro Strip #30 ("Now We're Getting Somewhere")

Another example of what the kids are about. They're at war, but it's still play to them. The "current gemstone war" hints that they do this often, and the dramatic speech closing with the announcement of a water balloon right... yes, "war is awesome" indeed!

5) Hmm...

What do I do for the last one? Do I choose a favorite of mine? Of yours? Do I choose another color strip? Do I look for another "this sums it up" strip?

Strip #45 is one I love. With an evil mind, a simple game can turn into something less than family-friendly! It's also based on a real game played with my friends, so it has sentimental value. The downside is that it dances on the edge of acceptable. (Which, of course, is the point of the strip - but still...) If I include this, am I playing the evil card too much?

Intro Strip #98 is a reader favorite and allows me to show the best-drawn color daily I've done.

Strip #14 hangs a lampshade on the over-the-top evil thing, which is nice. It's also another color daily that shows off the kids' creativity with costuming.

The dark horse here, which wasn't even in the initial group of finalists, is strip #55. It's a color Sunday in which Autumn remarks on the kids insular nature - before deciding their world is much better than the real world. It's a sweet take on the kids, and it might balance out the rest nicely. As of now, it might even be the leader for the last slot.

I'm making the decision later tonight, so if anyone else is a loser at home on Friday night, come and offer your opinion.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Just one of those days

Yes, this is a cursed day. So far everything I've touched has crumbled and failed on me. Can't draw a strip to save my life. Can't sketch to save my life. Can't write (in any form) to save my life. Can't really paint to save my life either, but here we go anyway! This one is going in a different direction than intended, but I think it can be pulled off in the end. I worked on two other mini canvasses today, but one was raw and one isn't changed enough to merit scanning.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Size doesn't matter!

Yes, it's time for more bite-sized paintings! These two are in the early stages, but are progressing nicely. I'm down to three tiny canvasses left. Do I make more fine art, or do I paint the rest of the Precocious main cast so the Tiffany painting doesn't get lonely?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Supporting cast parade!

Do you know how hard it is to draw a bunch of characters together? (Wait until you see the nightmare that I faced for Sunday's strip.) Oh, I wish I was a simple, talking head comic some days...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pick your fav 5

I'm trying to narrow my strips down to the five that best convey the tone, humor and awesomeness that is Precocious. Here are my choices for the final ten, which may not match yours. If you have your own favorites, here's your venue to let me know. I may not listen to you, but you can still cast a vote!

No original artwork today, as I'm working on the strip TO THE EXTREME. I'll be back to my daily supremacy tomorrow.

Strip #43

Strip #62

Strip #45

Strip #97

Strip #100

Intro Strip #16

Intro Strip #86

Intro Strip #30

Intro Strip #98

Strip #14