I felt like I haven’t been drawing at all, but hey look I just started this sketchbook a week ago and I already have a few drawings. And tonight I pencilled four pages! This is the first comicking I have done (except for Hourly Comic Day) in way too long. So that felt good.
The first page in a sketchbook is always tricky. I went with a Mega-j.
I have been enjoying drawing stuff in pencil, for the first time in… years? But it is doesn’t scan as well. I ran into the 7-11 Gnome last week, when Manien and I were staying in a hotel for a couple of days. Yeah, a lot going on. Maybe I will draw comics about it.
I was trying to draw some people I saw when I was out walking. Pencil again.
I have been going through a lot of boxes of old stuff. Oh look, it is my receipts from my Queen Street bachelor apartment from 1996. $425 per month. At that time I made $800 per month, working 3 nights a week at Shoppers Drug Mart. Paid $100 per month on my student loan. Yet I went to movies, I hung out with friends, I went out dancing at least a couple of times a week. Different times.
This morning I got lost reading old diaries. Whew, angst much early 20s Jason? He replies angst much, 40s Jason?
Years ago, late 90s I guess, I did this big painting, in four different “states”. It was huge, and I thought maybe if I just cut out a piece from each state, maybe I could find a nice way to display them. This did not occur. So I will commemorate them here.
I just burned my spring music mix for this year “Springing Into Action”. It is kind of a funny assortment of the bands that have been on every one of my mixes for the past year (Future Islands, Frightened Rabbit, Edward Sharp) and oldies like Tubthumping, Tesla Girls and some songs from the Robert Altman Popeye. Here is a song I only discovered recently that went on the mix.
As I said, the music I was listening to in the spring already seems like ancient history. But a few bands kept cropping up in the mixed cds I made (An Early Blossoming, A Summer Survivor, This Birthday’s on Fire). I have no idea when any of this stuff is from, it is just stuff I’ve been enjoying this year. So here are a few.
I found myself really intrigued whenever songs from Grizzly Bear’s “Shields” album came up on my itunes. Here they are doing a song live.
I was all about the Future Islands, all year. I came across their song Tin Man and got a few of their albums and they have not left the phone since. Here is another good one.
I guess I heard first heard Father John Misty on the Duncan Trussel Family Hour. His “Fear Fun” was another that just stayed on my phone all year. Gosh his videos are kind of freaky.
Frightened Rabbits “Pedestrian Verse” didn’t quite grab me immediately as “The Winter of Mixed Drinks” but gradually it grew on me. Also there was a great conversation the singer Scott Hutchison on You Made it Weird.
I read something about Ben Lee’s “Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work” somewhere, got intrigued, and really dig it.
I came across Adam Green and Binki Shapiro somewhere. Probably Accuradio. And I like their album. One of these things I know nothing about, but I like how it sounds like something out of the 60s or something.
A band I became fairly fixated on late in the year are the Echo Friendly. I seem to be enjoying groups with a male and female singer this year. I worried that I cursed myself by putting this song first on my birthday cd.
I watched a documentary on Bob Marley that was really well done and that got me listening to old ska and the first few Wailers albums and some Peter Tosh beyond Bush Doctor.
Okay one more. Matt and Kim’s “Lightning” album. I kept thinking I was tired of it, but the songs kept popping up and making me happy.
I came across a link to this Michael Moore thing on bookface. How he started walking every day and feels better. Not walking for a cause, not walking to lose weight. Walking because it makes him feel better. Because walking is free and awesome.
If you have been reading my comics for long you probably know I love walking. I don’t have a car. I actually don’t know how to drive. I just love how walking let’s you actually see what is going on around you. If you walk the same area you see things change and grow. You see the other people who walk. So there, I encourage you to get out and walk. Not to go anywhere in particular. Not for exercise. Just for the joy of being in the world. I should talk, I don’t just walk nearly enough these days! But I do walk at least an hour a day coming and going from work.
Fun aside: Werner Herzog calls it “travelling by foot”.
And this all reminds me of the ecstatic revelation Duncan Trussel had this year when he got a bike. It changed his life, opened his eyes to the joy and freedom of riding a bike. Another thing that you can do and explore and see your surroundings without having to pay
Here is comic I drew about my walk home today.
And here are some thematically appropriate videos. I suspect I have shared these before, oh well.
I guess I haven’t been updating here lately. Mostly I have been working on my comic “The Adulation” and don’t feel like posting it online right now. But look, comic pages are gradually being produced!
I recently had a lovely offer to go see Nick Cave next week, so I am going to be looking forward to that. He always puts on a great show. It just happened that I was drawing him on the first page of the Adulation right around then.
For some reason the Flying Lizards version of “Summertime Blues” popped into my head after dinner.
Which then got me thinking of their great version of “Money”.
Which reminded me that long ago I named a superhero the Flying Lizard. He was based on a wrestling outfit I made for myself. The mask was the sleeve of some old pajamas that I cut eyes, nose and mouth holes into. The nose and eyes tore and became one big hole. I don’t believe the Flying Lizard had any powers, he was a wrestler who became a superhero.
On a recent trip to Guelph I discovered a box in storage that contained the binder of superheroes my brother and I drew back in the 70s. Also the binder of revamped versions of many of them for the Marvel Superhero roleplaying game.
Another month slips by. I have been drawing, just not anything to post here. I have 20 pages of this comic pencilled and have just this week started inking it. Strange to be at that point of trying to figure out how I want this comic to look. With Farm School, I had a clearer idea of what I wanted it to look like. But it is good to feel it trundling forward. I got fairly derailed by STUFF in March and April, so unfortunately I won’t have it ready in time for VanCAF.
Let’s see, what have I been enjoying lately? Last week I read a fascinating article by Michael Pollan about plant intelligence. Plants are doing crazy things you have no idea about! It being spring, the garden is bursting into action and we’re eating lots of kale and asparagus. Thinking about plants got me thinking about my plant comics from the Year 40 Project.
At the comic jam a couple of weeks ago Brian Fukushima was showing me his latest comic, and it is one of those times when someone’s art seems to have taken this leap! It is this amazing stripped down style, tiny drawings with pencil crayons. It is a fantasy adventure type of thing and you can buy it here.
In anticipation of throwing out all my cassette tapes, I have been listening to mixed tapes I’ve made over the years. I put one on the other morning and the first song was “Stay 19″ by the Wet Spots. And I very well may have been 19 when I made that tape, which would make it 24 years old. Sometimes I get lost in a fog of the past.
Here is a drawing of some people. It is me thinking about the cast of my next comic, whenever I get finished this current one. Much like the current one, it is weird to try to figure out what to do with the next one. Do I really want to start a project that may take years to finish? Should it be in colour? Should I print it or just have it available digitally? Decisions decisions. Finish the current one first! Anyways, who are all these people?!
I’ve been enjoying Father John Misty lately. No matter how dire my mood on the hill, it seems to work for me.
I suspect this song by Oberhofer may go on my next mixed cd.
And tonight I was listening to the WTF podcast talking with Wayne Kramer of MC5. I really don’t know their music, but it was quite a good chat, interesting all the ups and downs he’d been through. AND holy crap watch this band tear it up!
Oh hey look it is Valentine’s Day. Now would be a great time to remind you of what a perfect Valentine gift True Loves would be, right? Gretchen is much better than me at this, and has had True Loves as part of her Valentine’s display at Gretchen’s Here and Now Bakery.
I finished off one sketchbook, and jumped right into another. Let me share some drawings with you.
Here are some angels and devils. Once I thought to make the angels angry they were great fun!
Manien and I went for a great walk in a different neighbourhood and it inspired me to draw some more houses.
Somehow that led me to looking at Iceland in google street view, and drawing houses there.
And my traditional deformed looking self portrait as the last drawing of my sketchbook.
I wasn’t sure about how I felt about that drawing, so I tried doing another drawing of myself from a photo. Mostly I got fixated on the shadows on the wall.
And another house in Iceland, with colour.
I love this Moby video, even though it tends to make me cry.
As I dance up and down the hill lately it has made me think of this scene from Mauvais Sang.
Back around the start of the year I was reading this article about how exercise is great as preventative medicine. The author is a real exercise nut and discusses how hard it is to motivate people to exercise. But a few times he used the word movement instead of exercise, and I thought “Now that I can get behind! That sounds so much better and more fun than exercise.”
A few times this year we have had spontaneous dance parties in my living room. Just Manien and me, and my brother too one time. Dancing away for hours. I love to dance. And I enjoyed it so much I thought I should really just dance more. For the joy of it, but also for the movement, since I spend so much time just sitting at a desk. I often dance around the kitchen while I’m making food.
Thinking about this stuff, I wondered how much extra movement you could incorporate into daily life without people noticing. Reaching for something on a shelf and you just throw in a bit more of a flourish. Stretch as you’re walking down the hall but it becomes a bit more of a gesture. Do some extra moves walking down the hill. Enhanced Movement Techniques.
Anyways, so these are the things I think about!
And then on Sunday I was looking for something to draw for a warmup and I thought of this video series Girl Walk / All Day. I just love the way Anne Marsen moves, the fun and joy and variety and goofiness. Very much in the spirit I dance!
So I started doing little straight to ink drawings of her, pausing the video every few seconds. Not worrying about getting it perfect, just trying to capture something of her moves. And it was so enjoyable, I just kept coming back to it. All these are just from this one chapter of the series. There are twelve.
That time of year when I make a new folder on the computer, called “2014”. The folder doesn’t have much in it yet, just a few drawings, see below. Retrofit comics are now available for digital purchase, so you can get Farm School there. On the other hand, Webcomicsnation is currently down, so there are a bunch of my comics that are not available right at this moment. I guess I had better get on a solution. But you know, when I am already finding it hard to get down to the business of comicking, the last thing I need are internet issues to distract me.
Here is the last drawing I datestamped 2013, drawn from a photo by Steven Brooks.
The first thing I datestamped 2014 was a comic strip for an upcoming Taddle Creek comic special. Here is the first panel.