look at me go

i’m already working on page 43. it helps when i already have the dialogue ready to go, the storyline. then i can get to work faster.

plus i need to stay off of facebook because i’m starting trouble over there. or that’s what it feels like to introverted me when i speak out about something i feel strongly about. well, my brother hasn’t unfriended me yet….

i love the way the page looks when it is all just clean little lines like this. my next step…who can say it with me? ink & then more ink! yes. i do ink brush shading & tones next. then i finish by roughing up & darkening some of those clean little lines.

so that’s what i’m posting today. the clean page 43 before i ink the crap out of it.

photo blue pencil

so you can’t tell how much work i’ve gotten done because it is all done in photo blue pencil. ha! but i have drawn some. soon to be inked! hint: it is a new page of moses jones! yes.

that’s exciting, right?

a homesteading, unschooling mother of four makes a pretty unproductive graphic novelist, as it turns out, but the urge to create (in all forms!) is strong in me. i miss art when i am not doing it. it feels like part of me is missing when i am not doing art.

i need a partner who likes doing hard labor, housework, enjoys chaos and anarchy, and who can be utterly supportive to his (or her) artist/homesteading wife-ish person. so, if you know anyone. must like kids & sheep & dogs. and rural life.

like the photo blue pencil, you have to be able to see what might not be readily visible…to be with me. that is required.

i’m here i’m here i’m here i’m here!

let’s recap.
last summer, a year ago this week, i was homeless for a month and a half while waiting for our new apartment to open up.
then at the new year, i packed up my four minions and moved two hours north of dusty to a different home.
then, this spring, my landlord/housemate asked me to leave so she could have the place to herself.
and i moved again.
this time to another state, to my childhood home, with dusty & the minions.
i wasn’t ready to live with dusty again.
but circumstances….
so now, though i think of moses jones & other projects every day, i have a new place to settle. land & house in serious need of care-taking. a yard & garden. a flock of chickens. two dogs who need training. four minions on hyper-drive as they try to adjust to the fourth move in a year….

i’m here though. never far away. treading water.

i am in the process of collecting all of my poetry from my other blog to put into a collection of sorts. then i will delete the bulk of that blog to convert it (once more) into a different blog. this time about the dysfunctional adventures of a homesteading family.

and i look at my barely started first page of just me and my lizard brain every day, sighing softly.

and i daydream about doing some fantastic & wildly popular chinese ink brush paintings of the central illinois landscape.

and mojo. i think about mojo. her humble beginnings, her journey thus far, and her future in the graphic novel world….

new look! (does this theme make me look fat?)

i am trying out new themes. i have been trying them on all afternoon. even as my children whine at my feet. ( i fed them. i did. but they won’t stop thinking i am a 24/7 diner….)

i have also been playing around with the dimensions of the world in which mojo lives. figuring out the rules. wondering how much the audience needs to know. and doing it in a notebook. with lines and everything. also, i wrote some dusty/mojo dialogue. i need to sit around with this notebook some more. maybe take it to bed with me (nothing weird–just osmosis.)

and doodling my newest character…dusty’s stalker chick. what should i name her? does she need a name? i could just leave her nameless….

i also started trying to take my art more seriously…and my job as a mom less seriously. wait, can i do that? i posted an update on linkedin even. a site i have been largely ignoring.

so that’s my day. how are you? what do you think of the new look? really? honestly–but not too much so!

words….

i am not getting much work done. living alone with four kids, i fall asleep when they do. i did get two pages of text started. mostly text. more words than pictures. i hope to work more on it today. but times are tough.

no time.
no money.
no dusty…except on the weekends.

i am living in a new town. a small town. a northern(ish) wisconsin town where the liberal/conservative balance i was used to in madison has shifted to the conservative. just one more change for me to get used to.

i am feeling a bit isolated. i even lived without the internet for my first 26 days here. that almost killed me. not doing art is having its effect as well. so i need to get busy.

tomorrow i am sending off a package to a literary agent a friend of mine suggested. fingers crossed that this will go somewhere other than the recycle bin!

& more mojo soon!
might be she will be text heavy. i need to get some story established. it’s a slow process in the comic form. let me know what you think.

 

so much to do!

so i am still working on the “epic” mojo. i think it will be a bit before it is done. a combination of finding the space & time and just the sheer size of it for inking, etc.

meanwhile! my critique was on wednesday. my professor kept citing me as an example (in a good way) to other students in their critiques. i felt a bit awkward about this…but it was flattering. for my critique he said, “this is great.” i thought he said, “this is gray,” and i was thinking, “but i added so much color!” he also told me i had a “good hand.” he seemed confused by the range of my subject matter–going from whimsical to grotesque. i think he suggested that i should sink into one style and steadfastly stay there–making it my own. so that when people were looking for that, they would come to me. he reinforced my belief that i should stick to my guns as a “luddite” graphic novelist. that my technique would eventually stand out among the digitized web-comics that dominate the scene. so it was all good. his one suggestion (other than not trending over into children’s art) was that i somehow combine it all. hey diddle diddle meets mama zombie slayer, so to speak. so i have been brainstorming that. then today, listening to the minions chatter, i heard the word “pirates” and had an “aha!” moment.

pirates! bluejean is a pirate. airships & monsters & pirates & zombie skeletons & color & chaos. i just have to think of a title…. but it is all there. mojo will stay mojo, & i will start a second graphic novel where it all comes together. wooly bear mammoths, squid, sea monsters, and lincoln trees….

i’m pretty excited about it.

and for mojo, i put the pages together, and all i need for my second zine is a cover.

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i will work on that in class this week if not before. then to the printers! for zine fest i will have episode one & two zines. plus! i will have prints of hey! diddle diddle, lincoln tree, bluejean, wooly bear mammoth, and moses jones banishes dusty. and i will find out how the public feels about my art. or not. either way, i am putting myself out there & taking a chance. and that is good.

waiting for keanu

i have a new laptop! and a new digital camera! (thanks student loans!)

and my drawing class is going great…(my digital art class not so much….)

my professor wants me to go epic with my graphic novelling. he gave me a rolled up sheet of paper to do a huge page with. meanwhile, my larger page is almost done.

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i totally should be done by now. but i had to go to court for a disorderly conduct charge & that had me too neurotic to draw for way too long. but, note to self, any dude who is going to put you in the position to get a disorderly conduct charge is not a dude who is worth getting charged with disorderly conduct over–especially if he also cheats, lies, and treats the mother of his children like poo. so new leaf turning time. i need to dedicate my passion to my art & children…not to their absent father. in my comic i have him physically absent–but in real life he is emotionally absent.

up top is an in process rendering of my very first comic venture as a child–hey, diddle diddle. i think i will do just the one page. or more. but more as prints than as a continuing story. but, as of today, i have decided to write a graphic novel about all the fucked-up-ness of all my relationships and title it waiting for keanu. maybe i will make that one epic as well….

(keanu, where are you? i’m waiting…come home!)

set backs galore! (or how i became a jerry springer show special)

okay–so i’m of irish descent….

(excuses! just the facts,ma’am!)

and though i am aware of most of the rules & laws & such of our society…i don’t understand them. like, if a person comes across the love her life making out with a brain-damaged pothead in broad daylight just a block from her house…shouldn’t one kick to the knee be allowed? granted, as the man cop alluded to, i should have kicked dusty as well…. but i kicked a girl. i lost my heart. and i broke my elbow all in the span of a few blurry rage-filled moments.

and now my pages aren’t done yet.

maybe i can work more tonight. or maybe i will take one or two of the tylenols with codeine that the kind & handsome dr. joe gave me for my elbow.

one thing is for damn sure. i need to stop finding new material to work with. enough already. keep the drama to the pages, mama.

zombie mama book reviews

so…getting a chance to work with wet, messy ink while being attacked on all sides by an invasion of creatures i created myself…getting a chance to make art while being cannibalized by toddlers (well, that’s what it feels like sometimes)…long story short–i haven’t been able to ink any pages because my kids are nuts.

however.

i did get to read this book, Sharp Teethby Toby Barlow.

sometimes while nursing incessantly needy babies, sometimes, i get to read. or sometimes i just hide away with a book and listen for the screams to hit that certain pitch that means i absolutely must return and take away any sharp or blunt objects.

i picked up Sharp Teeth at the library. i always check out the display tables–themed by bored librarians. this one was a table for an independence day celebration where they picked books that had red covers, white covers, and blue covers. nothing but the red cover put this book on a table where i had easy access to just grab it as i wrestled kids toward the check-out desk. i grabbed it, probably thinking something deep & stimulating like, “huh, i like dogs,” and shoved it in my bag where it hung out through a couple of relocations to temporary homes until i finally pulled it out and opened it a couple of days ago.

upon seeing that the text was all in verse form rather than prose, i almost put it right back in my bag.

for someone who dabbles in really bad poetry, i can be pretty biased and seem to have an aversion to verse.

maybe realizing this, i gave the words a chance to prove they weren’t going to be annoying. and they weren’t! they were a story, written like a poem, but still a story. and a really good story. this first book by Toby Barlow impressed the crap out of me. murder, intrigue, werewolves, some feel-good dysfunctional romance, and a somewhat complicated plot with a variety of characters that wasn’t too difficult for a mother of four to follow. i didn’t feel forced into liking or disliking any of the characters. i wanted characters to survive (i wasn’t rooting for their death like i was when i watched that god-awful film Blair Witch Project). at a certain point i was unable to put the book down & had to neglect my horde until i had finished the book.

oh! and it is a book with a werewolf theme that isn’t one of those annoying jump-on-the-bandwagon-and-write-a-book-about-werewolves-or-vampires books. it feels original. refreshing even.

in the “ps” of the book there is a conversation with the author. he comments that someone described the way his book was written as a graphic novel without pictures.

huh.

maybe that’s why i liked it so much.

also! i have thought about doing books with more text & less pictures (but still with pictures)…& my style of poetry is more like a story than a lyric…and i also like to dabble with mixing genres…. hmmm. maybe i can borrow some inspiration from this.

now…if my children would just let me create something other than more children!

history of the death of a pen

(current projects–doodling as i think about bluejean & trials of the moonfish. and i just started jonathan lethem’s the ecstacy of influence–i have never heard of him, though i gather from how he refers to himself that he is pretty famous. i am enjoying his writing style…but i have only read the preface.)

& back onto topic:

i use rapidograph pens. which i love, but i have heard them compared to keeping a pet in terms of upkeep required. if you don’t use them frequently, they dry up. then they are a bitch to clean.

but i love them. i love my high maintenance pens.

i got a full set of them back in the old century. when i lived in lexington, kentucky. i had just moved out of the house of my first husband. we had been married a month. i had known him for about two months. ha! another theory tested. another failed experiment in life. i decided to write a zine. i was going to call it “twat.” then i started working on the comic that would be featured in it. confusion perfume. a girl, her dog, and her neurotic dealings with life & relationships. the zine was forgotten, and i fell in love with writing & drawing comics.

backtrack to 1990. i decided i wanted to go into comics. i went to a local iowa city, iowa comic book store called “daydreams” to ask about comic writing and was directed to one of their employees, paul tobin. then a struggling comic writer. now a more successful comic writer. we became friends. but my comics were not taken seriously by me nor by him and were filed away. but i learned the comic process. pencilling , inking, lettering. & the tools. rapidograph pens & illustration board.

(as a side note, in 1992 i ended up dating a comic book artist named tim bradstreet, but he left me for this nasty girl who was apparently the love of his life. whatever. he also failed to take me seriously as a future comic powerhouse. however, i also was unimpressed with his comic art–though he was extremely impressed with himself.)

then, as mentioned, in 1998, i began my first real comic endeavor, confusion perfume. i used illustration board and a full set of rapidograph pens. my most used size–the red one–broke at one point when i lived in athens, georgia…what year was that? 2000? 2001? anyhoo. i bought a new red rapidograph with the birthday money from my grandma. and i sent her a gracious thank you note. i have continued to use that pen–reviving it when it dried up–up until yesterday when i said, “fuck it,” and put it in the pen holder with the rest of the set that i no longer use.

i had to buy new rapidographs as i started working on moses jones because i started working on smaller pages–watercolor paper instead of illustration board–therefore, in a smaller format. the smaller pens from my original set where too clogged & too tenacious in their death to be revived. so i bought new pens to work in my smaller format. my red pen just wasn’t getting the time. if i need bigger spaces inked now, i use my brush. a changing of the guards, perhaps.

rest in peace, red rapidograph.

ps. sometimes i wonder if i should revive…reissue? my comic confusion perfume. with packing to move, i still have all of those illustration boards. i’m thinking i should somehow mat & frame them & sell them. maybe i need to make a name for myself first? or i could just decorate my new place with them….

but! should i put them out there like on tapastic or something? maybe i’ll do that….who wants to read confusion perfume? speak now.

also, here’s a doodle from an idea that has just begun swimming around in my head.

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