Here are some things from my backyard.
My Mom was visiting us, back before they got rid of pennies. We were looking at a penny from 1968 and there was discussion of how pennies used to have more copper in them. We wondered if an older penny would age differently outdoors, so we set up an experiment on the Buddha. They do age differently. Though my younger brother later remarked that we didn’t have controls and such that one should have in an experiment. He is a teacher.
At my dayjob, an award was mistakenly delivered to us. The supplier didn’t want it back, so I thought I would set it in the backyard and see what happened as it weathered. Not too much really. The points of the star fell off.
As Manien worked in the garden, she kept finding pieces of glass, so she collected them in these jars. The legend goes that there was a drunk who lived in the house back in the day, and he would hide his empties in the garden. There was also one wall that got opened up and was full of bottles he had deposited there.
As we approached the end of the year, a lot of people kept bemoaning how quickly the year went by. I did not feel that way, so I kept saying think back to September – doesn’t that seem like ages and ages ago? The heat of the summer and eating my lunches by the ocean? Ancient memory! My trip to Ontario in the spring?! Their snow had just finally melted the week before, memories of long ago. Anyways, my suggestion is that when you get that panic, slow down and think of all the incredible, horrible and magical things that have actually occurred in that time that “flew by”.
Another thing I keep noticing, and well it is one of my favourite topics: cars. Manien and I watched season two of Treme recently, and then have been watching Gilmore Girls. On one of the Gilmore Girls, Rory took a city bus to the fancy school she goes to. And I realized the ONLY reason anyone would ride public transit on TV is to show “Oh goodness, look how poor she is. She doesn’t even have A CAR!!” Since I don’t think that way about cars it was a surprising realization for me. Similarly on Treme, Antoine is always taking cabs to get to gigs – because he is so strapped for cash HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A CAR!! It is amazing how much our media perpetuates these ideas of cars as a status symbol, a symbol of maturity, or conversely a lack of car as symbol that something is wrong with you. And then there is a car ad.
Anyways, ranting aside, I have been soothing myself drawing houses of North Vancouver. Since I am still building up to my next comic project and don’t have inking to zone out with and listen to podcasts, houses are a good alternative. And they also get me more in the mode of my next comic. Podcasts listened to while drawing these: Duncan Trussel Family Hour and Johnny Pemberton. WTF and Bret Easton Ellis. You Made It Weird and Peter Rollins.
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 was going to do a year in review type of thing, but I realized I have quite a few drawings I have done over the past month that I haven’t shared. Also when I looked back at a music mix I did in the spring, that seems like so so long ago! So many interesting books read too. Well I actually have the next two days off, maybe I will try to do a few best of items.
When I was visiting my brother in Ontario in December we decided one day to each do a small painting. It was great just hanging out, painting away. I was fixated on picnic tables that week, and a search on the internet turned up this strange and mysterious photo that I used as a basis for this painting.
I drew Mega-j fighting a giant robot.
Also in Ontario, I found this website that takes you to a random Google Street View location. Dangerously fascinating. Here is a house in Cambodia that it took me to.
I have still been drawing North Vancouver houses, getting myself warmed up for my next comic.
I have been trying to work out the town for the story. Where is the grocery store? Where is the high school? What is around that dive bar at the docks? Here is a drawing I did in Manga Studio, pondering these matters.
Well I was almost going to have an exciting link to buy my new comic in the store, but then I realized that I screwed up something with the resolution when I was printing and so it is not ready after all. Maybe for xmas?! You would think this is the first comic I have ever printed, and not the… 50th or whatever it is. To be fair, it is the first one I have attempted to lay out in InDesign. Here is the cover again. Now the cover is yellow.
Besides that? I have been drawing more houses. I did this one in colour thinking I would use it as a new header for my site here, but then I realized it is altogether the wrong shape. This is how things have been for me lately. Curious.
And here are the first few of some new bird comics I have done this week. It is sort of my version of newspaper strip, but you know. Without jokes, as such.
If you are a new visitor, coming over from Savage Chickens, hello! There are pages up there at the top where you can find plenty of my comics online to read for free. Also a store, where you can buy things.
You ever just want to stop using computers I have been experiencing technical difficulties. The new book was tantalizingly close to being ready to print, and it drifted further and further from getting done. Hopefully soon. Here is the cover as it currently stands.
If you aren’t one following me on Instagram (vinegar22), you may not have seen this thing I did the past couple of years. Every time I was walking up past the library at night, I would take a picture of this van that always sat in one corner of a parking lot, dramatically lit by the street lamp.
Then in September there was a notice saying the parking lot was closing October 1! And indeed on October 1, the van was gone. Discussing this with cartoonist friends, we thought some sort of commemoration of the van was in order. So I have started doing drawings from the van photos, as the Van Project. If anyone else is inspired to make art inspired by the van, please feel free to join in. The van photos can be found here.
While I have been struggling through my technical difficulties, one thing I did to sooth my aggravated soul was more North Van house drawings from Google Streetview. Here are a few of them.
Oh gosh it has been a while since I have updated this old thing. Back in the day, weekly True Loves updates at least compelled me to post here once a week. I have been busy drawing away the past month and a half. Why look, here I am doing a victory lap with the final page of The Adulation, just after finishing it yesterday.
So now I just have to scan it, do a cover, put it all together.
Here are some houses I drew.
And here is a super fascinating Paul Stamets talk I listened to in bits and pieces over the past week. Who would have thought fungi would be so interesting and have so many different incredible uses?
I guess I haven’t updated in a while. I have been plugging away on the new book. 22 pages finished, 10 or so to go.
On the weekend Manien and I were visiting her sister and family on the Island. Manien bought the kids some modelling clay and so we were playing with that a lot. As I made animals and things I tried to figure out how we might animate them using my phone. Vine turned out to work well enough, and we went on quite an animating run!
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.