Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh, right, the blog!

Whoops! Sorry for disappearing unannounced. I'm doing another week in DC, and that means I'm mostly too busy with family things to do all the bonus stuff. I probably should have said something about that, but it totally slipped my mind. Sorry again!

Anyway, let me contribute something to this world: The *other* part of the Mothers Day card! Once approved, it will be copied and colored, making the world a better place. Enjoy!

If I was on the ball, I totally would be offering prints of this card as a donation incentive... but I'm not. :-( Oh well, I'll just have to kick the *next* holiday's ass instead!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Card me!

Work continues on the Mother's Day card. Here is the card front, sans caption, with the (hopefully) final line art. All the shading and details will be done in colored pencil. For my next trip, I will be finishing up the designs for the interior!

After the line work is done, I have to figure out how to make copies of everything for coloring. This has been made more complicated by the potential death of my printer. I'm hoping it can be revived, but otherwise I might have to take a trip to Staples or something.

Actually, wait. Before I copy I really do need to get that caption settled. Uh... any ideas?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Running in artistic circles

Ok, enough with the mouse tales! Let's do some of that promised art! (Yes, I forgot to post this yesterday... and now it takes up today's post instead!)

This piece of work is the one I've been playing with for quite some time - with very little success. Keeping with the tradition, my hours of work on this bugger ended up making the painting look... uh... exactly the same as it did when I started. WHATEVER, THERE'S MORE PASSION IN IT NOW!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back for more, eh?

As anticipated, the bold mouse found his way back into the house. As he did not anticipate, I AM THE GREAT MOUSE HUNTER!

Your folly came in your boldness mouse! I was reacquainted with him as he walked up next to me, having climbed to the top of the mini fridge to investigate some hot dog buns. I moved even close - so close I could have easily reached out and grabbed him - and he calmly backed off. No running; just a "Eh, I suppose I should move" thing.

Ok, fine! I had a bag of stale tortilla chips I was going to throw out, so the trap was ready. Hot dog buns and tortilla bag got switched. Five minutes went by. Mr. Bold came right back to investigate, hopped in the bag and became my captive again!

Just like before, he did NOT take it well - throwing himself against the sides of the bag, trying to jump out and doing his best to gnaw through the thing. No animal with that lust for freedom would make a good pet, so I had to release him again. Obviously, the wood pile wasn't going to keep him away, so I had to trek him out further! This time I went all the way to the edge of the property before setting him free. If he wants back to my house, he'll have to run a long ways to get there.

(He'll probably be back anyway.)

I should have some actual Precocious stuff to show you tomorrow, but tonight I felt my tale of aggressive vermin was fun enough for sharing. *I* think it's entertaining...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The classic feel

Oh, baby, my new tablet is not easily tamed. The reason you haven't seen any more digital drawing samples is that I have not succeeded in drawing anything remotely presentable in a while. It's rather frustrating, but an inevitable step on the path to greatness.

Still, I like to sketch to burn off stress and digitalizing the process is resulting in the opposite effect. Thus, I cheat on my tablet and go back to glorious traditional drawing in the sketchbook! I admit it; it felt good to have my lines go where I wanted them to go. I drew nice, safe material and I LOVED IT! Tomorrow can be for forging new frontiers. Today it's all about old friends and comfort.

Friday, April 16, 2010


In yet another triumph of man over nature, I have successfully capture another mouse!

It seems mice all have their hours of activity, and this charming fellow loves the midnight hour. The few nights since his first appearance have been full of mouse sightings, as he seemed to get bolder and bolder. Every few minutes, he'd bounce around the room doing mousey things. Cute! Last night, right on time, we started noticing a little blur darting back and forth. It was time to swing into action!

Going with the same method that netted me the last invader mouse, I grabbed a convinient Chipotle bag, threw a dab of peanut butter in the back and laid it where the mouse tended to hang out. Sure enough, he popper right out, skittered over to the bag and jumped inside. *swoop* VICTORY!

I dropped the mouse into an old cashew container to take victory photos. This was quite ok for the mouse - after freaking out a bit, he was happy to nibble on cashew crumbs! It was very adorable, and he was surprisingly tiny for what we had expected. Double cute! Once his capture was recorded for posterity, we took him outside to the back shed and let him go. (I'm sure he'll be back soon, but for now it's a win!)

Proud of ourselves, we returned to Chrispyland and settled in for a night of pokemon. One hour later, my friend looked up... "MOUSE!"

Remember how I said that one guy was crazy bold? Remember how I said he was smaller than expected? That would be because we had TWO mice tag teaming the room! This one was much bigger than tiny - and, unfortunately, a lot smarter.

The peanut butter bag went back out, and mouse2 again went for it. Once problem: He ended up approaching the bag from behind! Instead of going inside the bag, he tried to get to the peanut butter from the rear, pulling the bag around and freaking himself out in the process. Away he ran! I used the opportunity to change the direction of the bag, but all that did was alert the mouse that something was up.

He would approach the repositioned bag, peak in and RUN AWAY! Over and over he did this. Finally, he decided to take the bait, and tentatively slipped inside. It was my time to shine again! I snuck up, reached down... and my finger lightly brushed the bag while I was getting into position. That's all it took. FWOOSH! Mouse was gone in a flash and I had failed to clear my house of mouse. He'd return to the bag a few more times before his hour was up, but he made sure to stay away from the opening of the bag at all costs. I had tipped him off, and he wasn't going to fall for again.

I know your hours, mouse, so come 1am that bag is going back out. I'll try one more time. (I'm down to one bag.) If I fail, I'm calling him a pet and moving on with my life.

UPDATE: Chrispy:2 Mice:0

I can only barely take credit for this one. The dumb mouse trapped himself in my broken dehumidifier! Whatever, it's still a win! Once transferred to the cashew container, this one proved to be quite the fighter. He was not content to nibble on nut dust! Poor guy was bouncing around trying to find some way out, and being very rude about holding still for a photo. I let him go at the same place tinier mouse was released. Maybe they can form a support group.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More digital fun!

Oh, how I wish I was father ahead in drawing and scripting Precocious. I have commissions that need some working and - more importantly - I have a shiny new tablet that requires lots of play time!

Since I owe it to you lovely people, I took an hour to play around anyway. Forget my troubles; I've earned this!

I'm still - obviously - very VERY rough in working with this thing, but at least the drawing looks like who it's supposed to be! Now if only I could figure out how to color with the tablet. That seems to require a lot more control that I have at the moment. Oh well, more practice awaits me!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It must be that time of the year again

I have spotted another mouse running around my room! That means it's time to attempt another mouse girl drawing! It's my way of celebrating the fact that I apparently live in squalor.

I wonder if I can catch this one like I did the last visitor...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The dawn of a new era!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have gone digital!

Ok, so maybe not quite yet, but step one has been taken! I now own and (incompetently) operate a Wacom Bamboo tablet. I can draw digitally! You know, when I properly train myself. This is going to be a long awkward period of adjustment, and I am bound to embarrass myself several times as I develop. (digital puberty!)

I don't anticipate switching Precocious over to digital anytime soon, even if I did know what I was doing. I might do it for Copper Road when I get my skills up, but, again, that's a long way away right now. For now, I am going to try sketching on this with whatever free time I have. I WILL CONQUER YOU, DIGITAL WORLD!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Portfolio brainstorming

I apologize for clogging the internet with this, but this is the sum of my day! I had to come up with a portfolio of 20 strips to submit for my grad school application, and using the blog's preview function proved to be the best sorting option. As I have nothing else to show, here is what I came up with. These are the 20 strips *I* think sell myself the best. Why, yes, I *am* consumed with crippling self-doubt over my choices! How could I not be?

The first thing I was looking for was quality art. This is where I feel I am at a disadvantage, as the newspaper-style daily strip format tends to be rather simple in design. It's the nature of the beast. Any comic in which I had a chance to show off my artistic chops was automatically in. Next was, of course, humor. Again, my format gets in the way. I tell character driven stories. Many of my strongest strips are dependent on context. Those reviewing my portfolio will not have that context, so the strips I choose must be able to speak for themselves. That means no bake sale or school revolution strips, which is a shame. Those were funny STORIES, not funny standalone strips. The result is that I mined my gag-a-day theme weeks pretty heavily, with a lot of the early introduction strips as well. Finally, I threw in some Copper Roads for variety.

I'm proud of Precocious and I'm proud of these strips. They should be a nice taste, and clearly establish the kind of cartoonist I am. This is what I do, and I do it quite well. As long as there's still a place for classic-style strips in the world, then I should have a place in grad school!

Now comes to the agonizing task of arranging the strips so they flow nicely. Going in numerical order *almost* works, but I want to start with one of my grabber strips, like Rule #4 or Unrestrained Creativity. Ahh, it'll get done. It'd better! I have to submit this stuff tonight! (The numbers by the strips are for quick reference as I upload everything.)





Friday, April 9, 2010

Put on that dress!

It's been a while since Autumn wore her signature schoolgirl style, and that is a darn shame! Autumn is a weird anomaly in the comics world. She has more than one standard outfit, and she's not afraid to dress in one-off style. Why is this?

I suppose it's because the schoolgirl getup doesn't work in every occasion. If it's cold, she needs a jacket or her turtleneck. If it's a casual situation, she can get by in slacks and a tank top. The schoolgirl outfit is for Autumn at her crazy "I'm a master manipulator!" best.

In this case, the reason for being out of costume is fairly innocent. She was going to be sitting cross-legged on the floor, and a skirt was a no-no. Since the last few weeks were all part of the same day, she wasn't allowed to change. I do like the connotations, however, that Autumn has let her guard down around Kaitlyn. Now that Autumn's screwed up the situation, her schoolgirl outfit will reappear as defense!

Autumn is a fun character in that, as much as she thinks she's cool and collected, everything seems to affect her. She's enjoyably expressive, and I suppose that trait does lend itself to changing costume. Granted, I admit most of the costume changes were more of me testing things out than intentional mood draping, but it's still a nice touch!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Where have I been?

If you couldn't figure it out from the last post, I have arrived in DC and taken part in the massive birthday fest that is the fun side of my family. My birthday was the 24th. My grandmother's is the 5th. My aunt's is the 20th. About this time every year we all get together to massively celebrate. It's EXHAUSTING! But also much fun!

As is the case with most of my DC visits, blogging is going sporadic. All this family time means all my free time has to go directly to Precocious and making sure next week has strips ready to go.

Today was bonus Precocious work too, as my colorist was busy. Do you know how long it's been since I colored a Sunday? What a chore! I was so spoiled. A consequence of me coloring: Instead of every panel getting a background, only one does! Sorry, folks, but I'm just not fast enough to crank it out in time. If I go through with my threat and purchase a Waccom tablet, that may change. Those things are magic, I hear. While I don't ever see ditching traditional inking - I love having originals to hold AND SELL - many of my side projects would be made easier with a tablet. Once I learn how to use said tablet. Once I finally get around to buying said tablet. ONE DAY SOON! I SWEAR!

Tonight, all effort is going into inking.... whenever I get up the nerve to do it. I so want to nap instead. Bah! I will only allow myself to forgo inking if I can do something even more productive, like making a Copper Road or something. That's another thing that may go on hold for a week while I'm down here, but I'll make one if inspiration strikes. Anyway, I refuse to sleep until I've kicked the day's ass. That is all.