stark raving whimsy

here is the first installment/draft of stark raving whimsy, my newest graphic novel project. yay! i created the character of bluejean back when i was in a watercolor class. she was a side character in my story trials of the moonfish. however, i became more interested in her than i was in the lead character (gertrude buttons). so i have been playing with her image & story ever since. with my intermediate drawing class, i get the opportunity to work on her. when my professor suggested a more encompassing story to incorporate my images into, i knew it would have to revolve around bluejean.

the storyline is still peculating within my psyche & subconscious, but i have determined that she is a pirate. and a storyteller. and that her own world is dark & fanciful–as well as her stories. but that is as far as i have gotten. i like to give stories life & then follow them to see where they go. i am very excited to see where bluejean & her stark raving whimsy take me.

meanwhile…zine fest is on saturday & i still haven’t actually made my zines. okay, that sounds really bad…but! i have all the pages in my email. i just need to get to a printer. i loitered around in the uw computer lab…but then decided to go to my neighborhood cooperative press. so i will be going to class late today in order to stop & make zines on the way. i could go before class, but that would mean taking 3 or 4 of the minions with me. okay, my brain just exploded even thinking about that. so, i have to wait for dusty to get home–he comes home in time for me to go to class–then i will go make zines. then i will go to class.

and i am very excited about zinefest. it’s on halloween and i’m all like–would i be a geek to dress up for zinefest? then i’m all like…wait, it’s zinefest. i’m already a geek. and what’s one more nail in the coffin?

i’m so cool.

zinefest!

(ps. dusty came up with the name stark raving whimsyi was playing with calling it dark whimsy or the whimsical nightmare _________ …but fidgit & dusty vetoed both of those ideas…& when i googled them, they were already being used for other stuff by other people. then dusty suggested this when we were talking & the words were there, but not put together yet. so thank you again, dusty! the name feels perfect to me.)

less heartache…more art

i am keeping busy with art, which lifts my heart out of its sad place and gives me a feeling of purpose…and a way to express myself that is more widely accepted (though not necessarily understood) than me just shouting profanity at the top of my lungs.

i have a critique on tuesday and need to finish a couple of more pieces. but i have finished the picture of bluejean & moonfish where i used masking fluid to create white areas before splattering the fuck out of the paper. i am not thrilled with how the dog looks…but i like it overall.

also! i colored lincoln tree the same night, dripping colored ink onto a wet piece of paper. i like how it turned out as well. i just like my art messy!

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i am still working on the “epic” moses jones…here is a sneak peek at my progress/process there:

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and i am working on a picture of moses jones as the archangel michael banishing satan…. okay. so when i first created moses jones, dusty lamented that he was not in my comic. so i tried to include him, but my subconscious turned him into a bit of an unsavory character. dusty is not evil. but he is a thorn in mojo’s ass. she has a lot of angst she needs to work out. this is just one representation of that angst (first inking using a calligraphy pen):

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and, finally, a request from fidgit…first draft…the wooly bear mammoth:

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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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battling plague-infected zombies

okay, maybe it’s just a bunch of kids with chest colds, but with the minions randomly falling victim to a virus, all while having a sore throat & no energy myself…not much graphic noveling gets done.

i did work on some postcards. in the midst of quitting facebook, i promised a newsletter would happen. it hasn’t…yet. but! i made some postcards! okay, i had help. i let iggy & misha paint all over some card stock, and then cut them up on my new-used paper-cutter (aka katana) and then looked at the lines of the paint to determine the picture to be drawn. it was fun.

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i had more, but when fidgit saw what i was doing, he took off with them & did the rest. his look cool too, but i was all like, “dude, that was my art project.” oh well. i can just put the minions back to work to make me some more paintings….

so moses jones & the first page of trials of the moonfish are still half finished. if i can get my roller coaster of a personal life & the cranky & infected victims of this chest cold to behave, i will have something for you in the next couple of days.

stay tuned!

if you’re looking for moses jones….

i am working on a new page, as promised…but i keep wanting to draw on my new comic as well. the story keeps unfolding in my head as i lay and nurse a baby to sleep. so i’m also working on a page of moonfish. and i found myself at the art store, with blinders on, buying just one bottle of blue ink–nothing else. i have art supplies out my ass, but i still find myself fondling paper and pens and other pretty toys whenever i go to the art store. the blue ink is for moonfish. i am going to put blue highlights on my main character. maybe elsewhere…i’m still figuring it out. i’ll know more when i get to the ink & brush stage of that first page.

also! i have, as my signature on a forum for webcomics, this site. however, this site is more of a journal and a report of process and random thoughts & occurrences that go along with creating a graphic novel when you are me. this means, it is not strictly moses jones living here. which might be confusing to someone who is just looking to read the story–not know the entirety of what is happening in my head & life as i work on said story.

therefore, i have done two things. i have created a link to my tapastic site. it should be right over there somewhere—->

and in the category section right —> there, under the tapastic link, i made it so all you had to do is click on the category of “pages” to get all of the pages that are story pages. of course, on this site, you get more than just the story. you also get the story behind the story and other random ramblings of the such. so if you just want to read the goddamned comic already, go over to tapastic (click on the enormous picture of mj’s face asking you your post apocalyptic preference).

and just because i like to share some of the adorable obstacles to my progress as a graphic novelist, this is a photo shoot i had to do when i got my camera out to document the pages i am working on.

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doodlin’ the dog.

that sounds entirely inappropriate.

however! i spent some time last night watching old reruns of SNL while working on the characters for trials of the moonfish. so far, there is the girl, the dog, and the airship itself. i realized yesterday i was giving bluejean much the same dog as moses jones. seeing as there are already so many other resemblances between bluejean & moses jones (for some reason i tend to draw my heroines to resemble their creator…is this a god complex?), i figured i should alter her dog. (haha–inside joke with myself, i used to work in an animal shelter.)

so this is what i got.

i really feel like my style is improving. i am feeling a lot more confidant with my creations–and thinking things like, “i can do that!” rather than the contrary. i was really happy with this drawing…although it looks really familiar to me? am i channeling a drawing i have seen before?

the smudgy dog nose can be explained in last night’s post.

promise, next thing i do i will finish the next page of moses jones. i already have a thumbnail sketch done and have paneled out the page.

it could happen..any..minute..now….

so far i’m one up on sylvia plath.

this is why sylvia plath put her head in an oven. motherhood is so hard on the artistic woman. while she wants to be creating art…writing…music…painting, she is changing diapers, fixing food for kids who refuse to eat it, resolving arguments over who gets to play with that particular lego–no, that one!

sigh.

i tried to draw last night after wrestling kids into bed. i got that up there drawn before poppy woke up and pulled me back into bed. while in bed, i realized i was too tired to continue drawing, and i gave up for the night. i had grand plans to do several preliminary sketches. i drew bluejean once…i had to finish her feathers while the baby cried for me to come and nurse him…again. he’s teething. if you happen to be a parent, you know how much fun teething babies are.

sigh.

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these are some pages i put panels onto some days ago, hoping to (as i try to type this, misha is shoving a dora the explorer dvd in my face trying to convince me to hand over my laptop–see? see what i’m working with here, people??)

anyhoo. hoping to work on moses jones (the more rough looking paneled page) and to start some new comics. i was thinking about lisa the lion and hey diddled. however, after watching the airships fly as my kids used my laptop (my only connection to the comic world) to watch the legend of korra, i felt a strong pull to be working on my steampunk comic trials of the moonfish. i might sacrifice hey diddled for now…fuck! not like i am getting any of these comics done.

sigh.

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she looks pretty though, don’t she? my bluejean baby. rough as she is….

so, i need to use my time better. when the baby isn’t making me hold him or nurse him–maybe i could stand somewhere, pens and paper out of reach, and do some quick sketches as i cook food & do dishes (why are there so many fucking dishes??) maybe i could draw while my laptop is being appropriated for entertainment done by artists much more successful than myself, for instance, michael dante dimartino and bryan konietzko (creaters of avatar: the last airbender). that cartoon kicks ass. story & art. dora the explorer…not so much.

okay, back to me. i need to manage my time better, and i need to re-read the book mother reader. essential writings on motherhood–which has saved my life in the past by basically saying to me, “we know what you’re going through; it sucks. but stick with it. keep your head out of the oven.”

[sigh]

i finished, but if i had the time & energy & extra paper–i would re-do it.  i messed up a bunch of stuff, even photographing it for this post did not go smoothly.

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i feel “meh.”

i have my critique today.  hopefully it will go okay.  there are some very talented very stunning watercolor artists in my class.  i can’t help but compare my limited capabilities to their impressive ones.  then i have to remind myself of my strengths.  wait…i will think of one…later maybe.

this whole project has left me missing moses jones.  missing black & white.  missing my ink.  watercolors are cool.  i love the way they flaw and leave their mark, but my heart is in ink.  if i do continue this series, i will do so in ink.

maybe a watercolor every once in awhile.

almost done…

character profiles 016 character profiles 017 character profiles 018i finished the last character profile painting last night at one in the morning as my ex-husband held our wide-awake baby and glowered at me.  that was simon starbuckle’s painting–perhaps my favorite & the one i am most happy with.  maybe i should have my ex glare at me while holding the baby for all my work.  ha!

i finished.  despite depression.  despite thoughts of–why don’t i just drop out of school?  despite feeling like i’m a fraud to call myself an artist.  despite four kids and an ex plotting against my project.  i finished the four character profiles.  now i have one more of the big paintings to finish before my critique tomorrow at 1:20.  will it happen?  stay tuned.  meanwhile i have to give a presentation today in another class.  meanwhile i have the toddler hitting the baby.  the cat attacking the nine year old.  and the six year old screaming at me that i hate him.  dishes to do.  dinners to cook.  toilets to clean. diapers to wash….

my watercolor professor says i need the fabled “room of my own.”  yes, that, perhaps, and a visit from mary fucking poppins.

onward!

2nd installment of TotM

i did finish in class today.  just the second of a seven picture series though…due tuesday.  ay, i do love the pressure of a deadline!  i am doing one more like this one, in yellow, featuring simon starbuckle the third (my six year old loves saying this name over and over again.)  then on to the character profile watercolors.  i’m thinking they will be a simple ink drawing with a couple of props to establish character & some splashes of watercolor.  now if only the baby would sleep for more than a half an hour at a time!trials of the moonfish 009 trials of the moonfish 010

being sparse with setting & background, this one was a challenge for me.  you can probably tell i am not great at doing city scapes, but considering i don’t usually do them, it’s not half bad…right?  my nine year old tells me that this is the best sperm whale he has seen other than actual photos of sperm whales–even though he thinks my blowhole is a bit off.

i like it.  i’m very happy with it.  especially bluejean (who some may notice looks a bit like moses jones)–that’s not a coincidence or a statement on the artist’s inability to draw different faces.  bluejean, like moses jones, is a character based on some of me.trials of the moonfish 002(portrait of the artist as a very tired mama)