Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Follow-up

This is a doctored version of last years christmas strip. Here's the original.

I skipped any updates last week, in case you didn't notice. We had a CRAZY run-up to the holiday, including taking Sophie to the hospital twice to be treated for dehydration. She's fine now - but it was a rough week for us. I've written a multi-parter on that, which I'll serialize here next 'cause that's what I do when my kid gets sick, i guess.

And that'll take me into the next year.

Hope everyone's holidays are going well, and best wishes for the coming year...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I save the day!

Going through my files, I came across parts of a graphic that I was working on in preparation for a Webcomics Examiner article.

It was a take off on Phil Sandifer's concept of the infinite gutter to be written jointly by Phil and myself. It was an argument on the unique properties of space that the web brings to comics.

Traditionally, comics are restricted to two dimensions; x-axis width, and y-axis height. Much of comics' mechanics takes place in mentally bridging the gap between panels in the x/y-axis (the gutter). Phil argues that webcomics feature an additional axis in terms of their available archives. Your eyes naturally traverse the finite x/y plane and the forward/back links traverse the "infinite" z-axis. Phil argues that as much mental activity is completed across strips as is between panels in one strip, hence the term "infinite gutter."

I don't completely buy into Phil's theory, especially with regards his (apparent) definition of space itself. While the x/y plane is quantifiable space the proposed z-axis is purely conceptual in nature. Can it still be called space? Do the same mechanics as x/y panel transitions apply? These questions and the resulting discussion would have been the basis for the article.

It pretty much looks like the article is a dead issue by now, as I haven't even heard from Phil in about a year and the Examiner seems pretty dead anyway. So I guess it's okay to publish these here.

So, there. It's kind of a comic and I posted it on Wednesday, so I'm still on track for the week! Hooray for me!

For the record, I do think that something happens between strips (mentally). And I also think that the archives offer under exploited potential for monkeying around with narrative.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

world changes, slowly

Apparently Tuesday is the new Monday. Imagine that.

Lotsa overtime at work - wearin' me down...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Son of Stupid Cat

There's just something I like about drawing these stupid cat cartoons.

Friday, December 01, 2006

What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation - Part Three

So that's it. I spent most of my holiday just eating and smarting off with my siblings, so I didn't get any drawing done. Took me all week to tell you what would normally take just a few seconds of conversation. Ah, the magic of comics.

We did have a nice Thanksgiving, though. The whole family met at my parents' house in Illinois; Aunts and Uncles, Cousins... my brother flew in to Cleveland and drove the rest of the way with us. My sister even flew in from England (sans husband, however). We don't have a chance to all meet like that very often, so we all had a good time, I think. First time driving ten hours with Sophie and she did all right. The worst part was getting stuck in the traffic heading out of Cleveland from the Browns/Bengals game last weekend (after dropping my brother off for his return flight). Two and a half hours to drive what would normally be a less than one hour drive! Other than that things were great.

The other thing we did this Thanksgiving is go around telling everyone that Rachelle is pregnant with our second child.

Because she is.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation - Part Two

I'm thinking maybe the time constraint on these blog-comics and the size I have to draw them is putting a cramp on the device I'm playing with. The visuals carry the weight and I think they have to be used in just the right way for it to work. Not sure i'm pulling it off.

Still, I'm feeling better about this one than I did the first part. The lettering is more legible (which is good - the dialogue is slightly more important her than in part one). The panels are a little less muddy. I started to get into a working groove toward the end of this strip.

One more to go.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation - Part One

Back from Illinois where we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, food, fun, and food. Gonna take a little bit tpo get back into the swing of things.

This here's part one of my vacation report. I'm playing a bit with a kind of narrative device. Not sure how well it'll work.

Hey! While I was away Steve Harrison and Adam White finished off their long-running story arc at Fabricari. Now you can read the whole shebang in one sitting (or two) from the beginning. Congratulations, guys!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sometimes space = space, dammit

Don't strain your eyes too much on this. It basically amounts to a thumbnail for an infinite canvas comic I'll draw some day (maybe). It's a sketch comic that just got out of hand - needs some refinement...
Not all that bad, really. I figured It might give you a little more something to chew on as I'll be out of town, after tomorrow, for the Thanksgiving holiday and won't be posting anything elsefor a little while.

I hope you enjoy these tiny pictures.

Now, I'm not a big fan of the space=time equation that some use as shorthand for "comics," but I see where these people are coming from. Linear narrative defined through spatial relationship (panel to panel) is the primary focus of so much comics storytelling. This comic uses the linear-narrative, space/time relation quite a bit (though there are some "cheats" to that rule) but the thing I find more interesting, here, is the straight-on spatial relationships the narrative uses. This is one thing that I believe the infinite canvas concept could excel at - using relative spatial relationships to tell a story as much as panel to panel narration. Not to say this kind of thing isn't possible in fixed-ratio, page-through storytelling (some do it very well - Chris Ware, Tom Gauld... you know, the design-y, artsy types. Some of the old newspapermen, too; Herriman, McCay, King... but I digress ). I just think the expanded space give more opportunity to explore that relationship. I'm not saying that it's always been put to good use - PoCom UK, once you get past the novelty and all the pretty pictures (some by Ware and Gauld, actually), is a pretty boring way to use the space - it just brings up some interesting possibilities. Sometimes space can be used as just space, and an infinite canvas has plenty to spare.

But, oh wait... nobody even cares about infinite canvas anymore.

oh crap...

If you want something else to chew on, go check out the newly ressurrected Webcomics Examiner. Nobody does webcomics review like the Examiner, and it's return has been a long time coming.
Go welcome it back.

Friday, November 17, 2006

more stupid cat

I tried to check out a Mountain Goats cd from the library, and got They Might Be Giants instead.
I'm sure that this is some type of omen, I'm just not sure of what.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Two Nights, Two Shows

I have kind of mixed feelings on the Joanna Newsom show. Her performance was amazing - and I would definitely recommend seeing her live - but their were a lot of little annoying things to deal with that night (waiting forever for the show to start, sound problems at the beginning of the set, and I'm ashamed of the audiences behavior - especially toward opening act Billy Birdman)
I was already a huge fan of Joanna Newsom's music, however, and I found her performance worth muddling through the other stuff for. Really amazing, with the orchestration. Her new album is out now too. Incredible. Cannot recommend it enough.

Cloud Cult's show, on the other hand, was the kind of show that would make you a fan - even if you had never heard of them (and I suspect that was just the experience many in the audience that night had.) It was a near perfect show - the band was great, the sound was great in that little room (I hear that room is magic, or something), and it was just an excellent experience. Cloud Cult has 4 albums available and they said a new one is coming soon. I heard some of their new stuff at the show and it sounds pretty good!

All in all, it made for a memorable weekend. The whole thing was well worth all the shit I got at work for not coming in this weekend when everyone else had to.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Some days you got it, and some days you don't

Today I don't.

Yeah, so i went to two concerts this weekend. Cloud Cult and Joanna Newsom.
Both were excellent. I was working up a comic thing on them for my post today but, well...

Maybe for Wednesday.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Stupid Cat

Comics are capable of some pretty complex symbolic and narrative expression, but there's something satisfying about the simplest articulation of relative motion in sequence.

or something...

I saw Cloud Cult in Columbus last night. It was awesome.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hi. How are you?

Just playing around with a micron brushpen (what I had on me at the time). This is all I've drawn today so far. I think I may be coming down with something.

Now, look at some pictures of my cute kid:

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Anniversary and the Halloween comic that almost was.

Today is my wedding anniversary (and, conveniently enough, my wife's as well). For my sketch I drew the very first anniversary gift that I ever gave her. It was for our six month (dating) aniversary (yeah, cute, I know...). She had recently said something to the effect of "I could listen to that Modern English song, Melt With You, over and over and never get tired of it" (or something - I'm probably misremembering) So I took her at her word and made a tape of just that one song, over and over. Five times on each side (I taped over a short promotional cassette. Looking at the cover I made for it, I realize now that my design skills really haven't improved all that much since High School. Certainly my hand lettering is no better.
Anyway, Happy Anniversary honey.

Also today is the deadline for submissions to Jon Morris and Manning Krull's BOO! Halloween Stories 2006 I already told you about my one submission, but I was working on another as well, a proper story this time. Alas, once again I bit off more than i could chew. I'm about two pages short (out of six pages) and there's noway I could churn that out tonight. Maybe next year, huh?
Here's a sample, what would be page three of the story:

And there's my crappy hand lettering again.

Anyway, Happy Halloween everybody. And (again) Happy Anniversary Rachelle!

Friday, October 27, 2006

not a sketchless day without sketches

First of all, I've had a new piece up at Jon Morris and Manning Krull's BOO! Halloween Stories 2006. Actually it's a really old piece that some of you may even remember from my art skool daze. Or not. Whatever. Go check it out anyway.

I had a story that went with that once, but all I could find was an old photocopy of the first page:

Next order of business, check out this lady's seemingly grotesquely large hands (picture from the front page of our local paper today):

For some reason this photo struck me as really, really funny. Maybe I'm starting to lose it.

And, lest you may think I did not sketch anything today, we also have this:

I am not yet sure what all of this means but I am open to suggestions.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

R.I.P, Fishstick

So, I walk into the office to scan in this sketch of our goldfish, Gus (aka Fishstick) and what do I find but said fish floating face up. Eerie coincidence? Some magical curse that kills whoever i draw?

Maybe it'd be a little more creepy if it wasn't already clear to us that he's been on his way out for the past few days. It's one of the reasons that I even drew the sketch (that's why he's floating kinda' sideways in the picture.) For whatever reason, I never chose to try and draw Fishstick until he was one foot in the grave (not counting my life with pets*). Turns out that fish are kind of fun to draw.

A funeral service will be held later today around the toilet bowl.

(* - I've been meaning to add updates to Pets for a while now. Interestingly, this is the first change in our animal parentage status since I originally posted it. That was one long-lived fish!)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

just sketchtastical!

Another quick sketch towards the same comic as the last one. This is mostly for layout purposes and will look somewhat different if I ever finish the comic (*sigh*). For example: this is meant to be a subway station so I may throw a train and some more people in there. Also, the graffiti wil not actually spell out "graffiti."

but anyway...
this strikes me as kind of a crappy sketch, but it pretty much gets the layout that I want here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

it's kind of a comic

So I've been taking advantage of my break from deadlined strips that no one cares about to work on my non-deadlined strips that no one cares about. These panels are from a story that's been written for over a year now and it's just waiting for me to draw it. I actually started this one as a fully painted comic (presented in IC) but I may have to re-think that plan or else it'll take me for frickin' ever!!. Maybe I'll go all digital with my new tablet instead. Still trying to get a good feel for that, though.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

but this one goes to eleven

Did some more jamming with Chris and Jeff this weekend.
For those of you that don't know, I've been playing viola on and off since grade school (mostly "off," lately. I used to be quite good, i guess, but now I'm mostly just reallllly rusty.) Chris and Jeff are both musicians (I don't know if they have anything from their band up on the web but here're some tracks that Jeff did on his own) and they've let me play along and basically drag the two of them down on a couple of occasions now.

Fortunately for posterity's sake (or maybe unfortunately), Chris has had his recording equipment running for these noise-jam sessions. This here is an older one that I've had up on my webspace for a little while - I think I may have even directed a couple of you to this one already. Fair warning: it's long and dissonant and without discernible structure. Listen at your own risk.

And speaking of which, here is another nasty little gem that Chris and I recorded, a cappella (w/ overdubs), one drunken night. This one is definitely NOT work safe and the jury's still out on whether it's safe anywhere else.

Anyway, you've been warned.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

popcan and the most boringest tangents in the world, ever

If you could draw anything, anything in the world, would it be a pop can? Well, I did.

I just couldn't leave well enough alone at that. I had to go and throw a bunch of rambling text in there. Wheeee...

This sketchblog thing is sure off to a good start.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Because Fabricari demanded it. Mostly Banal is temporarily turned into a sketchblog. A new sketch every few days or so, maybe even a little comic here and there (but probably not the autobio/diary/journal stuff for a little bit.) 'til I can pull it together.

Enjoy what you have wrought, Fabricari, enjoy...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I guess I'm on vacation

So, as i mentioned last week, I draw most of my "Mostly Banal" strips at work during break time. We're allowed two ten minute breaks and a twenty minute lunch by OSHA regulations. As a result of my cartooning preoccupation, though, my breaks were becoming a little - shall we say - extended. Well, somebody finally noticed.

My break times become a bit more restricted now and I haven't been able to compensate at home. Until I can work out some alternate drawing timetable, I can't keep up with the three-a-week schedule. If I can't do that then I don't see a point in these diary strips - as I see it they only work as a concept by regularity and accumulation. So Mostly Banal is going on haitus for a little while.

I'll, uh... see you when I get back. Whenever that is...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Your Guide to Finer Living:
Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas

I meant to post some more on the other books I got at the sale, but - whadya know - no time.
Maybe later - I did get some interesting books.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Book Sale Book: A Cavalcade of Clowns

A Cavalcade of Clowns
Illustrations by Bill Yenne with text by Laurence Senelick.

I passed on this book several times before picking it up. It's just so ugly. But there's something that really drew me in.

It purports to be a children's book (as far as I can tell), covering famous clowns throughout history. The text conveys an obvious affection for the art of the harlequin and the research seems genuine (though I am no clown expert). But, of course, it's the art that called me back.

That a book is made for children is often used as an excuse for bad artwork, it seems, but this book appears to go out of it's way to be ugly. The design is clumsy, the rendering is flat and amateurish and the colors...

But i think that's what got me. the clashing primaries, the intricate linework that recedes behind walls of flat color, and the mishmash of similar shades vying for the same attention on the page. At first I thought it was the "train-wreck" quality of the design that got me, now I'm not so sure. After all the exaggerated figures and two-by-four to the face color schemes have a certain fitting echo to the garish caricature of humanity that' s represented in the best of clowns.

Visual subtext or just bad design, there's still something to be learned from a book like this. Either way it's made a place in my collection (and maybe burned some images into my retina).

You can find some wierd stuff at a used book sale...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

goin' to the booksale

The anual AAUW used book sale was this past weekend. I look forward to this every year. People donate books throughout the year and they are resold at deeply discounted prices. The second to last day is half price day (half off the already low "used book" price) and the last day is bag day, where you fill a grocery bag with books and pay only five dollars for the lot of them. Seriously, FIVE DOLLARS for a bag full of books!

Every sale in the past four years I've found something comics related that was worth buying. That's not an easy task in this town, and this year it took the combined vetting skills of myself, Rachelle, and Shannon too, to find something like that (Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe collected Volumes one through seven for four bucks! - a good find). Maybe in the next few days I can share some scans from some of the other books I bought there too.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I usually draw these strips on my breaks at work. Today we had our big year-end inventory, so no time to draw. I'll probably just do two strips this week. We'll see...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Your Guide to Finer Living: Dinnertime

It's been so long since I've done a "Your Guide to Finer Living" comic that I'm probably the only one who remembers them.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Biting off more than I can chew

Originally I had some text to go with this comic but it was all annoying whiny stuff so I plopped it in the "title" tag. I think the image can stand enough on it's own with out the detailed specifics of the text.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rated PG for Cartoon Violence

Watchin' cartoons with Chris and Lauren.

With this one I wanted to what would happen if I extended the comic for one panel past what would be the punchline.

Not much, huh?

(BTW: Sophie's favorite seemed to be this one)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tymothi Godek Presents:
Copout Comics Volume One

This is not the comic I wanted for today. I found myself unable to draw the "real" comic - it just came out looking like crap - so I dashed this one off instead. When in doubt, do a comic about how you can't do a comic.

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