Monday, April 13, 2015

Book about Bison - and Other Things

Bison sketch
Been thinking about this concept for a while. Here's the first rough sketch, marker noodling and first watercolor wash:

It's obviously the Paleolithic New World bison. There's a reason for that.

It's always complicated getting a project started. Children's Book? I don't think it's a comic book.

I know people say it looks like I don't even pencil before I draw, but there's a lot of background research before I get into a book, and I can move forward quickly.
Watercolor bison

Here's a more completed watercolor with marker detail:

I'll probably do a digital version, too.

There are a bunch of stories with a specific theme, with different animals and people. Don't quite know if I'm going to stick to one style - or fool with several. These days, there's so much artistic freedom, anything can happen.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Clallam Bay Comicon Guests

Since I have no admission fee, and tables are only $25, there's not much we can offer "guests."

Roberta Gregory, comics legend.
Since I've been in the biz so long, most of my friends are noted authors. This little convention is attracting fun professionals I wasn't asking to do anything - but being pros, they want to give panels and host sales tables, too! No Rest For The Creative. So here is the first guest for the 2015 Clallam Bay Comicon! At least I can pay them with fireworks and (if we're lucky) my home-smoked salmon.

Roberta Gregory

Last year's Clallam Bay Comicon best seller.
Legendary comic creator Roberta Gregory will attend with a good selection of her decades-long career, including several Bitchy collections, Winging It and everything in between. If you are not familiar with her work, you will find something for almost every taste in comics. Every book you buy gets a drawing by Roberta inside. Featured is True Cat Toons, her comic collection illustrating the true cat stories of ordinary folks and their less-than-ordinary cats, and if you buy a book from her at the CBCC, you will get a color drawing of your own kitty inside. So bring a photo! For more info see truecattoons.com and Robertagregory.com 

Linda Medley - her own best model!
Linda Medley

Creator of "Castle Waiting," Linda is presenting not only a fascinating panel on how to care for your pens - and wait until you see her shiny inking toys - but may just be sharing previews of her latest project! 



She says: "I'm going to bring my big chest o' fountain pens and various supplies and have them at my table;people can come by and try 'em out (I have "demo models" so there's no worries) anytime they want, ask questions, etc. I'll give a talk about inking, a little history of pen'n'ink illustration, the economical and ecological benefits, etc. etc. Also, how about I use one of the drawings done in either your horsey talk or Roberta's catty talk to demo the pens on...?"

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Emerald City 2015 - Bestest Friends

Proof I was at ECCC 2015
In my Ka-Blam shirt, again. Told other artists at Emerald City Comicon about the $10 print deal for wearing and promoting the shirt. They liked.

Wow, what a show. Four days next year? Madness! But in a good way.

Had an infection that ALMOST canceled the show for me, but the right antibiotics for the strain of nasty I'd contracted finally put me on my feet for the 4 hour drive and the load-in. I don't count the ferry ride from Bainbridge Island - it's too relaxing. It's just the Road Trip.

So wasn't quite together a lot of the time. Those of you who saw me bouncing off the walls in Con Mode were watching the last sizzles at the bottom of the battery before I crawled back to my table - and at one point, under it. 

But I got to meet a lot of old friends and make new ones. Roberta Gregory was sharing the table with me, with her new "True Cat Toons." Bruce Taylor shared her half of the table as author AND booth babe, so we weren't so locked down. He was really in sales mode, and moved some books. Then again, he always is.

Didn't make a lot of sales - but that's not really what the shows are for any more, are they? Especially now, with the internet. And I was concentrating on promoting the Clallam Bay Comicon (CBCC). MIGHT we be honored with the presence of Linda Medley, author of "Castle Waiting"? We have Roberta Gregory ("Naughty Bits," and many others), of course, who is always a splendid addition to any show.

My "How To Draw A Horse Correctly" panel went well. I was a bit confused by the new overhead technology, and kept sliding out of the screen - tape the pad of paper in place next time! - and trying to remember how the old panel went. 

The original was called, "How To Draw A Horse Right, Damnit!" but ECCC Familied it up. 

I'm planning on holding it again at the CBCC, and if all goes well, it will be filmed and loaded onto Youtube, so you can all watch it.

At the end, those who stayed - most of 'em, I think - came crowding up to remind me I'd promised to pass out the sketches. And I gave them the "passes" to the CBCC - you know, the one with no admission fees - and wished I'd remembered my comics for the panel. 

One young man said, "This is the best thing I've been to all weekend!" which surprised and pleased me. A woman showed me her sketchbook, and it looked like she'd been xeroxing my sketches from the air! Not to give away the farm, but expect a comic book about Rome.... with the horses drawn correctly.

I should point out that my riding chops are nothing to write home about, so thanks to audience members who ACTUALLY know how to ride. As a kid, I just jumped on whatever woods colt was going and went off through the woods, while the pony's owner looked out the back window and said, "Huh. No horse. Must be off with the kids in the woods again." Rope bridles and hanging onto a mane are no substitute for the Vienna Riding school. 

I had SOOOOO much fun being able to yack with Michael McAdam (old friend and former Peach Pitt)​ at ECCC 2015. However, I apologize for making the man go red as a balloon in his face and almost choking to death laughing. He said, " 'I'm bored" should be on my tombstone, and I said, "No, I want the line from Desert Peach #3: "The slut used duct tape." 

New fabulous smart friend Meghan (booth babe and sound design) for the people by our table said the most dangerous words in the world are "I'm bored." Because I'd said, "I got bored and learned to crochet," while pointing out my new beret.

Damn' infection. I'm making all kinds of health changes THIS year, to keep me moving for upcoming years. The girl is 63 this year, but I'm not quitting. Not yet. Us artists and writers die at the drawing board and the keyboard, you know. When we're not out clearing potato sprouts out of the kale beds or catching the chickens trying to scam us.

Next year: Emerald City made purring noises about my presenting the horse panel again - and possibly, "How To Hold Your Own Comicon." Cross your fingers.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Goodbye, Leo

In 1995, some kids in a Bremerton street were playing with kittens like they were toys. Let's leave it at that. Animals are not toys.

Leo and Fearless
Leo was one of them. Tiny, skinny, white, with wispy soft fur and sore sunburned ears. Got him home, and he drank and drank water, ate as much as he could hold, and passed out on the couch asleep. 

Reason for name: He had a charcoal upside-down V on his head, a "mark," and St. Mark's animal is the lion, so, of course - Leo. I'm a Leo, too. The mark faded over the years, until he was completely white.

We had a lot of desperate rescue cats underfoot. Food and water sat on the kitchen floor. We were busy. By the time anybody noticed what had happened, Leo had ballooned up into the Fat Boy he'd be the rest of his life. In his last days, he was called regal.

Leo and Bluebear
He was with us for 20 years.

Many of you remember the lordly, bossy, white - and possible - Turkish Van who purred up at you from the couch or floor when you came in the door.

As a half-grown boy, he terrorized a block watch meeting with great glee and verve. And an obviously long-dead robin chick, that came apart more every time he dashed through the back cat door and came flipping about its increasingly disarticulated and lengthening carcass, throwing feathers and panic, before tearing back through the door with a great clack.

Fearless and Leo
The third time he stormed in, he was swinging the appalling leg-waving bird like a golf-club. It was the end of the blockwatch meeting, as everybody jumped back to miss the pair of them.

One woman - a nice church lady who would never swear - leaped to her feet and roared, "Get your nasty-ass dead bird out of here!" Leo romped back out, swinging his horrible avian toy like a victory flag. His work was done.

He was mother to all the new cats, especially to two tiny kittens nicknamed The Potatoes - Fearless and her brother Shadow. He even let Shadow suckle on him. Shadow and Fearless kept him warm and snug until the end.

Shadow and Leo in the Snuggery
Bluebear, a stuffed toy found at the mouth of the Clallam river, showing signs of having come from Japan the hard way, was cleaned, re-stuffed, and soon became Leo's best toy.

When Leo was diagnosed with failing kidneys in January, 2015, I began to pet Shadow a lot more. Shadow was always shy and scary, but Leo was his best friend. They snuggled and hugged themselves to sleep a lot. I knew Shadow would miss Leo badly before long, so I made a point of petting and holding the reluctant Shadow. He got so he liked being petted. This worked when the time came.

Last summer, Dan and I got very sick. Some kind of 'flu. And could do nothing but lie in the sun in backyard, or sit in a chair and read.

Leo sleeping in the yard.
When the neighbor's dog came down the yard and Leo got up to hiss him away, I finally got the materials to built a backyard fence, and put it up quickly, sick or no. Then I let the cage chickens loose and they joined us all, Leo making sure they stayed off his plastic carpet. He loved having his family out in the sun on a blanket, under the California Lilac's dappled shade.

After the sunny days ended, in October, we never thought Leo would get another day in the sun, but this year he did, and grumped when we made him come in out of the evening cold.

On March, 2, 2015, Leo passed from us in front of a wood stove, on an old Marine blanket, after a year of fluids and medication and treats. He got a last summer in the sun in the back yard. A local store drained beef-liver blood so he could have it to lap up in a bowl. It did him good.
Big Mo, Leo, and Jim in the yard.

He probably died as the sun topped the ridge. His blanket was still warm. His right paw was curled in contentment. His last moment had been a good one.

So many people in social media  - old friends and new -  wished Leo well, and genuinely helped with suggestions and instructions. 

We miss him so much.

Maybe more later.

Goodbye Leo. Goodbye, sweet man.


Leo in bed. Red is his color.
Vampurr!
Beef blood drained by a local store for the old man.
Note the tiny red Van Dyke.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Little Comicons Spreading on the Peninsula

Took me three hours driving each way, and in the dark, but Steve Strout's Comic Swap Meet in Chimakum was worth it. Check out that link to see the guest list.

This is Steve's second event - if I don't miss my guess - and took place in the Tri-Area Community Hall. There was plenty of space for local artists and publishers, plus a separate gaming room.
My Ka-Blam tshirt, and one of the books -
helping me get comics-sized reprints (with extra
color pages) into the hands of the readers!
Get 'em at Indyplanet.

Steve's show is more traditional comics and gaming, while my Clallam Bay Comicon is more like the more modern Short Run in Seattle. None of them charge any admission, and tables go for very low prices.

The small-show local model allows costs to be kept down, and local people to enjoy a comicon. This is important, these days, when people can't get to or afford the bigger shows like San Diego and Emerald City. The pace is less frenetic, and people get to really talk to readers, buyers and other artists. 

I have to admit I started my comicon because I wanted one I could literally walk to. Since I do most of my shows online, mine is about bringing comics out to a rural area, where people can learn and love. Now Chimikum has their own show, and we all need to get the word out, not only to us - and we're willing to go the distance - but to the local folks.

Small towns go from suspicion and fear of nerds, to welcoming all these nice people who bring money into the economy. This is why it's important to mention to any business you patronize to buy food or gas, etc., while attending the comicon, that you're with the comicon. They'll want you back! And you'll support local nerds against the bullying that is slowly beginning to crumble. 

Because: we're nice people, we bring money - and we don't move in, like a bunch of tourists or retirees. We're city people, we go home - and we come back to towns that are nice to us.

See you all in July - check out the 2015 link above!

Note: I believe Steve has another show in Summer, which I'll attend for sure. This winter show and its night-driving is way too hard on my weak eyes, especially since all the oncoming cars have such awfully bright headlights, now. Unless somebody wants the bottle of fancy beer somebody local will take to let me crash on the couch, just for that night. :P

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ShortRun Hooked

Me and Mark.
I am so going back to ShortRun, the Seattle Indie comics, zines, blah blah festival. It was a chance to see old friends again, like Mark Campos, here. 

Roberta Gregory shared the table with me, and wished she'd brought more of her Cat Toons books. She had to leave for work after a couple hours, but I could have sold a lot more of those books. Unlike my books, which take a lot of marketing - and cough drops - Roberta's books sell themselves.

Got to see Gary Groth, the surviving owner of The Comics Journal. He'd just written a long article talking about webcomics, so I clued him in that webcomics are like the old periodicals - but free or for low cost - that build a market for hard-copy collections. He'd never heard of ProjectWonderful, and after hearing my description of the micro-payment ad-bidding format, said he wanted to look it up, so there's more grist for the TCG mill. Maybe a more up-to-date article in the future. Always love seeing Gary, old buds from way back.

The show was held in Washington Hall, a handsome building from what looks like the turn of the last century, or the 1920's - someplace in there, when women wore a lot more beads.

Speaking of "wearing," everybody stepped it up for the show. They were dressed in their best. And unlike so many fan groups, it's a place where the question of the safety of women and children never even came up. When I mentioned it, people were, "Oh - yeah. You're right." Everybody's treated as an equal. 

Of course the show is run by three women, which makes it like my Clallam Bay Comicon. Us girls aren't in love with the process. We just want to put on a good show and enjoy ourselves. Like my show, ShortRun has no admission fees.

Wonderful books and art and people. And the bake sale - which includes gluten-free goodies. And that hot coffee you need to keep going for a Seattle show.

Ka-Blam!
This is me in my Ka-Blam Tshirt. Earning more printing money. The Indyplanet reprints were a great hit, and I walked out of there with a much skinnier bundle of $1 bills - they'd been exchanged for a great run of sales. 

ShortRun, as I understand, was originally for zines and hand-bound books and pamphlets. But as the show has expanded, so has the definition. Since print-on-demand can turn out any number of books - even though there is no end to the number itself - it's technically a short run of books. Again, girls aren't in love with any process, but the show itself.

After the show and a supper break, everybody was back to watch The Shivas perform their infective version of punk surf-rock. I know I kept warm, bouncing up and down. Couldn't stay for the whole show, but it was sold out, so I could give my place to a young woman who was next in line.

For those of you who need a near-by place to eat supper, Seattle's R&L Home of Good Bar-B-Que is just up the Yesler Hill, on the north side of the street. But when they ask which sauce you want, say "Mild." No, really. There's no reason the place shouldn't be packed for ShortRun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coloring Afterdead

Coloring all the black-and-white Afterdead stories for use as webcomics.

The color files can then be used on Amazon's Createspace for full-color books at a decent price.

Here's the second page of "Keeper," and the Desert Peach discovering that, wherever he may be now, there be harpies.