INKtober day nineteen–catapult?

i’m off. out of whack. my zen is broken. i started one inking today at misha’s speech therapy appointment, and it somehow ended up with a puppy in it?? then this one has a unicorn? i dunno. i’m not feeling it today. i just kept adding more & more ink until i didn’t absolutely hate it.

my zen is off. i’m a mess.

i had two birthdays in a row. poppy & then fidgit. i managed to bake cakes for both of them…but i still felt like i was somehow phoning it in.

i think i am exhausted by my non-relationship with dusty. i have asked him to leave. i have asked him why he is even living here in the first place. he said, “you are totally discounting my relationship with the kids.” i told him he can have a relationship with the kids while living somewhere else. other divorced people don’t live together. i really think we should try that.

so he is squatting at my parents house. not paying rent. not paying anything. not working. sometimes helping with the kids. he thinks mowing the lawn & burning things has given him some sort of helper status….

okay, this has nothing to do with my art other than the fact that i am letting his energy sapping ways drain my creativity.
or, i am going to blame him for my sucky picture today.
but inktober continues, and i refuse to miss a day.

so here is my sucky picture.

it is another ink blot test. and i resisted & resisted & resisted and then finally gave in to the sheep that i could see being catapulted at the dragon.

i blame dusty.

INKtober day 2: bed gremlin

so i’m on my journey to be a crone. not that i slept well before that…but now, okay, i won’t go into details. but sleep is rough & dream-saturated.

dusty & i have this on-going “game” to see who can stay in bed the longest. we have separate rooms here because i kicked him out of mine. and he hates that i like to sleep. i think, even though he is naturally an early-riser, he resents that i sleep in. so it is rare that i get to just lounge around in bed. normally, i have to get up & walk the dogs & feed the minions, etc. dusty will get up, but since they are my dogs, he will not take them out when he goes out for his morning smoke. so charming. and many mornings, the kids will insist i have to be the one to feed them or take them to the bathroom.

but this morning!
this morning i got to sleep in!
it’s like a holiday or something. dusty was generous and took care of the dogs & kids. yay.

so i stayed in bed as long and i could. sleeping in every different position i could find. every pillow on my king sized bed that usually has two to three kids in it as well. it was empty and i slept all over it.

i think i was supposed to stay in bed as long as i did. if i had gotten up any earlier i would not have seen the “bed gremlin.”

you know how sometimes you can see a picture in the clouds, in the wood grain of a door, even on a chalk board that has been erased of words. you know how you can see images anywhere if you look?

i found a bed gremlin in the folds of a blanket as i laid towards one end of the bed, gazing at the other end. there he was. grinning at me. giving me a present of a daily picture for inktober.

thanks, bed gremlin!

sylvia plath, lynda barry, and a sheep named tyler durden

i am going to get some pages of moses jones done. i really really am. i have been busy…a bit suicidal…depressed…and busy.

i would be lying if i said i had been working on this zine that i started by drawing the cover. although i have worked a bit on an essay about john irving and also lynda barry. but that is all. and i did this journal page thinking about doing some ink brush paintings of livestock:

journal-page-2

livestock!
so now i have ten chickens and four sheep. i have a tendency to just wing it in many areas of my life. like i never seem to get adequate directions, do not have a smart phone or gps, yet constantly set out on adventures saying, “we’ll find it.” so i got chickens before i had a coop built. i got dogs before making sure my chickens would not be harassed by them. and i got sheep before i had a fenced pasture. long story short. i have lost one rooster to an over-zealous herd dog and have poisoned one sheep by not researching very well and just thinking, “it’ll be fine.” strange that someone as neurotic as me would be so okay with winging it. but i am. another example of my oxymoronity.

we named our sheep after favorite characters from favorite movies. i got to name the ram. i really wanted to name him tyler durden…but decided on harold (from harold & maude) because i was afraid a sheep named tyler durden might be prone to fighting as well as challenging the status quo. but harold the ram got really sick after eating something (acorns? toxic lambsquarters? too much chicken food?) and was looking awful. so i re-re-named him tyler durden and “drenched” (which means to force liquids on–not to douse with a hose!) him with apple cider vinegar and began my journey towards being a holistic shepherd.

but it is my depression more than anything that has crippled my creative process. i read something recently that said that depression is “living in the past.” you know, with anxiety being “living in the future.” i can see that…but my problem is my depression is a current event. i am very unhappy–not with my homestead…but with my live-in ex-husband. aka dusty knickers. he is happy to live at my folks place, contributing only when he sees the whites of my eyes, and otherwise playing video games and being a pain in the ass. i don’t know how to get him to move on…move out…move! i have come to peace with some things–like that it is not my job to let him know he is an asshole…but i do not know how to find peace with him always here. always being dusty.

but i have not taken the sylvia plath route. mostly because of what it would do to my kids. i decided that suicide is something best done when you are young and childless. i passed my open window of opportunity in 1998 (the last time i seriously contemplated suicide but ended up marrying some guy i just met instead. marriage & suicide are on about the same level for me, i guess. ha!) now i have four kids and have to commit to being here no matter how painful it is.

yay.

so i’m putting together this zine. you can be in it if you want. right now it is in a very loose stage of development. but, you know, art–poetry–essays.
and i’m still working on all my other projects: moses jones, lizard brain, whimsy, one up on sylvia plath, space aliens & serial killers…. kids, homestead, survival, etc. you know the drill. and reading, always reading. i totally recommend david wong. but most recently i finally read lynda barry’s notes of an accidental professor. as you may or may not know, i attended uw where she teaches, but somehow i never made it into her class despite her being an early influence for my comics. self-sabotage? fear of my heroes? just plain goofy? we had a nodding acquaintance, mostly because i took my kids to her monthly drawing jams…but i never became soul sisters with her even though my inner geek dreamed of this.
it’s a regret i have.
so i’m sending her a postcard.
you know, a moses jones postcard.
(who knows, maybe she will be my best friend forever after all.) a postcard, and then i will close that chapter and open a new one.

page 3 of lizard brain

so i started this page weeks ago.
then one of my dogs tore up the page. i adopted two sisters of a cattle dog persuasion. they are only half grown and are so naughty. between their shopping on my desk and my kids’s shopping on my desk, it’s a wonder i get any pages out at all.

also,
depression.
even though i am doing a comic about the destructive voices in my head, it is still difficult to do said artwork when i am depressed. overwhelmed. generally ready to crawl in a hole and never come out.

i’m not sure what happens next. maybe i will get some moses jones done. i have been hankering to work on that comic for awhile.
also! i started playing with a story i started when my niece was like 4. that niece has now graduated from college. so maybe i should finish my story, at least.
i wrote it as a screenplay.
i am adapting it to be prose…with pictures. not a graphic novel. just, you know, an illustrated story.
strangely, the dynamics of the two main characters (written, like i said, 20 years ago?) are reflective of the dynamics between my ex & i. you know, dusty. the male lead even looks like him. i wrote it before i started doing more autobiographical fiction. he came out of my imagination. fuck, maybe i predicted him…or worse, maybe i wrote him into existence. yikes.

speaking of the topic of autobiographical fiction. i just finished reading john irving’s latest novel, the avenue of miracles. i love love love john irving. this novel, not so much. parts of it were amazing. other parts were half-hearted. but! he often discusses memoir fiction vs. fiction from the imagination. while reading it, i started writing an essay. i think i will eventually finish that essay that is not quite memoir…not quite pure imagination…but all me and how i feel while reading a john irving novel.

i think i had another point to make or story to share, but i had to stop typing to have a fight with my eight year old who seems to believe i am not allowed to live a life other than as his devoted and single-minded mother.

poop.

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!

page 41

page 41 with our waffling warrior.

(anxious to get the page out, i didn’t flatten it enough to easily photograph it–so it’s a little wonky…plus, minions kept pushing past me when i had my camera ready, as usual. whenever i need it to be perfectly still–minions start shoving. we are so zombie fodder.)

dusty emerges from the woods. smoldering looks & smoldering cigarette. what is a mother of four to do? she can’t just lop off his head in front of his children…though arguably it could be a good life lesson. “don’t fuck with a person’s heart if you want to keep your head, little ones.”

but with so much history, it is difficult for moses jones to forget the good times. especially when dusty is being all come-hither. especially when spring is in the air. especially when moses jones has been without a man for all these long months.

i like how this one turned out. i like the text mixed with pictures. some panels…some free space. i like mixing it up.

but i’m not sure what happens next? might be a jump shot to a different scene. either back to the house with the squatters…or to the past and some back story?  hmmm.  hmmm. i need to figure it out. i haven’t hung up pages in my new house in my new work space. i think i need to hang up some pages and stare at the wall a bit and figure out what happens next.

moses jones page 40

so the feedback i did get was in favor of the white tones on page 39. and everyone seems okay with the text-heavy pages.

i like the looks of page 40. and, for good or for bad, my real life is going through enough crap right now to ignite some plot. will he or won’t he? will she or won’t she? what are y’all’s feelings on mojo taking a katana to an “innocent” person?

just wondering.

valentine’s day, a day i gave up on after about 25 years of having crappy valentine’s days….okay, so maybe birth through five years weren’t exactly crappy, but once my heart was able to be neglected and abandoned and broken…that pretty much guaranteed  crappy v-days for me. but, forever an optimist and fatally romantic…i still loved the idea of romantic love (and a day celebrating it) until about my mid-twenties when i had endured enough fucked up shit to give up.

suffice to say that this valentine’s day went above and beyond the fucked up shit i am used to on valentine’s day.
fortunately, i have mojo to channel it all into.

stay tuned.

moses jones…the new episode begins

page 39 begins episode three.

it is a very light page, compared to other pages, and text heavy. i have used text heavy pages in the past…but i think there will be a few more in a row. maybe. this whole episode might be text heavy.

i usually cover the page with ink. grey tones. but i left this one white. i am trying to decide if i like it or not.
i feel like lately mojo always has katana, ready & cocked.
usually aimed at zombies…but now dusty has her wary.

which brings me to real life where dusty is romancing me again…and i am wary. life is weird. which is why i make comics….

do over.

so yesterday, with a bad head cold and a four year old personal assistant, i decided to ink in my page.
bad idea.
(i always ask my minions, is that a good idea? or a bad idea?)
it was a bad idea. moses jones ended up looking like the love child of fonzie & gary shandling. and somehow….was it me or the four year old? somehow ink got smeared in mj’s hair & onto fidgit & misha. too much ink for me to turn it into an artsy shadow effect.
poop.
don’t sneeze & ink, people.
when one is sick. one should rest. not try to catch up on all the things one is behind on.

so today i re-drew my page. i think the second one is better. so far so good. i might wait until i am feeling even better…tomorrow?…to do the ink & brush. that seems to be where things went all higgly-piggly on my first attempt at what will be…page 39?

39 pages.
it has taken a couple of years.
but i have 39 pages.
just think what i could do if i didn’t have the constant “help” of a two year old & a four year old!
i think about it all the time.

i will rule the world!

until then…page 39 should be ready soon…soon….

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.