from the garage sale notebook

Did the neighborhood garage sales/ found this in my notebook afterward.

Gourds painted to look like apples.
Apples painted to look like gourds?

Not one of the Deeper Questions of the Universe, but it’ll do.

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happy zip code day to coggon, iowa!

I have been sitting on this one for a while, since a Saturday a few weeks ago when I ate a rather delicious breakfast in a little restaurant in Iowa (where I was conducting Important Domestic Business) and found this card on my table.  I decided immediately that my blog would post on Tuesday May 22nd in honor of Zip Code Day in Coggon, Iowa, since I won’t be able to be there in person.  You very seldom encounter a real “one and only”. I don’t think I ever even suspected there was a place in the world that had a completely unique name. (The Wikipedia says so, so it must be true.)

We got rather royally lost that day in Iowa, and while we never drove all the way into Coggon, we brushed its outskirts, and on a beautiful Saturday in spring the business of the countryside seemed to be ticking right along there.  And the business of the nation, in spite of everything else that’s happening, is ticking along too.  The one and only Coggon in the world has gotten its own zip code.  (And it’s a good sounding one, too.)

Happy day to everyone in Coggon, Iowa 52218.

 

 

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best of the drawing of the day: feathered dinosaur

I didn’t give this drawing a title in the sketchbook at the time that I made it, so now I feel perfectly free to give it an ambiguous, if not actually confusing, title as part of a blog post.  Because if you like dinosaurs, or paleoart, or scientific illustration, or the history of science, or all four, the phrase “feathered dinosaur” brings up all kinds ideas about active debates that cross over between the realms of art and science in a very interesting way.  Now you’re probably expecting T rexes and velociraptors vibrantly (and to an older person, incongruously) befeathered.  And not perhaps, this happy one eyed brontosaurus thing 

with a feather duster crest on his head, being ridden by a “girl who looks like a young Iowa wearing glasses”* reading a book barefoot, and carrying a parasol.  And the parasol is almost certainly pink.

I hope this contrast between title and content confuses/amuses and entertains you.

*a common character in sketchbook world.

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best of the drawing of the day– quikket

Quikket is exactly what his caption says he is, an insectoid speedster: “insectoid” being fancy writin’ for “bug guy”, and “speedster” being a comics meta term for any superhero whose main super power is super speed.  DC’s The Flash is the most famous speedster (and I think also the original) , but there are many others.  What speedsters tend to have in common are names that are more or less horrible puns, and helmets, usually with stabilizing fins or wings on them.  Quikket’s helmet has both wings and a fin, and his name is a really terrible pun, so you know he is an awesome speedster and very fast.

Speedsters drinking coffee is a personal trope– they are a jittery bunch, with brains that go as fast as their bodies, so it seems logical that they pound on the java pretty much all day.  If I had planned this drawing more carefully, I might have given ol’ Quikket four more venti dark roasts (handful of ice, no room), one for each set of claws.  I also might have given him antennae, but they could just as easily be hidden under his helmet.

I try to keep digital cleanups at a minimum when processing drawings of the day for posting here.  These are unplanned sketchbook drawings, after all and their great virtue (often their only virtue) is freshness.  But this one hasn’t had even the little bit of tidying I usually allow myself– it was penciled rather carefully, but inked super fast, with a big brush for Quikket’s night black chitinous shell and two sizes of fountain pen for the rest of the drawing.  I left all the little stray lines and overlaps alone; they somehow suggest a character who even at rest is constantly in motion.

Notes:

  • I haven’t done a color version of Quikket yet, but I’m pretty sure his costume avoids the classic speedster red and gold or red and silver in favor of an insectlike bluish green and copper.  Pretty snazzy.
  • Quikket is currently competing with a human speedster, Silversonic, for a speaking part in an illustrated serial story you will be reading here later this summer (and probably into the fall).  I may have just had an idea for a way to write them both in.
  • As mentioned in the previous post, you will be seeing a lot of drawings of the day with accompanying notes here on the blog for at least the next couple of weeks.  We are training a new corgi (known as the Martian) here at World Headquarters, and the regular work schedule is has been temporarily modified to give this crucial project the highest priority it requires.
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best of the drawing of the day: lizbet, ron, and humberto

Three characters in search of a story.  I’m kind of distracted by the most major of major new projects (the initial training of our latest corgi, the Floofy One, aka The Martian) so it will take a while to get back to making more finished comics.  But the Drawing of the Day project goes on as always, so I’ll probably be falling back on the old standard of posting “sketchbook drawings and the stories behind them” for the next couple of weeks until the pup settles into a routine. (And then it will almost be time for the World Cup, but that’s a whole different topic.)

Lizbet, Ron and Humberto are clearly Very Important Sketches in Sketchbook World, since they have both a title and a banner.  For the record, Ron and Humberto are the two heads of a two headed being, but of course they insist on being treated as separate personalities for comedic purposes.  I am pretty sure they were initially supposed to be spiders, but they only have six eyes each instead of eight, so they are Something Else.  In more ways than one.  Lizbet is clearly a woman of great patience.  Her ears and nose are an attempt to create a chimera person based on a llama or other South American camel, perhaps a vicuna.

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movie time in iowa city– avengers: infinity war

Not only was it not Movie Time at the Cinemark, it was not even Movie Time in Indiana.  This review comes to you from a showing at  the Marcus Sycamore 12 in Iowa City, Iowa.  (Like all movie theaters except the Cinemark, the Sycamore smells funny, but the auditorium was admirably dark and the ticket prices very modest.)

I had a choice of entertainment last Friday afternoon, and chose seeing Avengers: Infinity War over a visit to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.  This was a very poor decision on my part and one I sincerely regret.  I am 100% sure that an in depth museum study of President Hoover and the Hoover Administration would have been much more entertaining than this movie.  It’s a bad one, everybody.  A real stinker.  And you know I say this as a big fan of the MCU and someone who is highly tolerant of its faults.  I wasn’t expecting this to be one of the good ones– the bigger the scale of a Marvel movie, the worse it tends to be– but I was not expecting it to be this awful.  I suppose I am glad I saw it, simply on the grounds that now I know what happened, but if you think you might feel the same, I recommend a quick run on pay per view or borrowing a DVD from the library– don’t waste a movie date on it, much less a chance to see Herbert Hoover’s car or something.

Details on why I thought this movie stunk, and acknowledgements of some quite entertaining moments that didn’t justify the whole bloated mess but were still quite entertaining, behind the cut.  Though I am pretty sure if you care about seeing it unspoiled, you will already have seen it.  But just in case. Continue reading

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on finding a dunkleosteous

Everybody who grew up in Cleveland, as I did, knows the Dunkleosteous.  He’s the giant Devonian predator fish that is pretty much the official giant Devonian predators fish of the city.  We all grew up visiting him at the Museum of Natural History on pretty much annual visits with school field trips, and some of us (smugly) still remember how to spell his name from writing papers.  People who follow me on Instagram (@kekiongacomics) will tell you that my IG profile pic is an image of the Dunkleosteus reconstruction at the Nature Center in the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. (For photographs and fun, see my previous blog post about my favorite Dunk.)

Or should I say my former favorite Dunk, because now I have a toy Dunkleosteus of my very own!  Somehow, back in 2016, the Schleich company of Germany, well known for their awesome toy animals, released a Dunkleosteus figure with a moving jaw without my finding out about it.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I went into the Rural King farm store in Decatur, Indiana and found him unexpectedly lurking among a wide assortment of Schleich farm and zoo animals.  For bonus delight, this is how he rang up.  Apparently Rural King knows how to spell “Dunkleosteus” too.

 

The other Fanta was an orange one.

For more Dunk science,  yet another Dunk link: Dunkleosteous is in the Wikipedia here.

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hulk go “small press and alternative comics expo”

Big room full comics:

Man in hat draw Hulk picture.

Use “artistic license”.

Today’s Hulk-ku (a real proper one this time) was inspired by this years SPACE show, another wonderful gathering of the small press clans presided over, as always, by Bob Corby.  I sat next to my friend and long time mentor  Matt Feazell and got this great little Hulk drawing, which I knew would please my inner poetry Hulk very much.  (“Hulk not interested in your graphic novel.” artist card convention sketch © 2018 Matt Feazell)

Hulk say: Really, me OK you tell about graphic novel.  But synopsis bore Hulk, Hulk smash.

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gale, with eraser crumbs

If you don’t hear much for me this week, it’s because I wrote an entirely new 8 page minicomic early last Thursday morning, and I hope to be folding and stapling it this Thursday for SPACE this weekend.  It’s about Gale, the Unfrozen Cave (Girl )Woman, and in it, she has a dream.  Yes, the first of the “Dream of” series in a long, long time– and the first classic 8 pager to emerge “all in a piece” in what seems even longer.  It stars Gale, of course, and here she is in her dream cave, complete with eraser crumbs.

This is the first time I’ve drawn her in a “real” historical costume rather than her “Unfrozen Cave Girl”* getup.  Now back to work on The Dream of Gale.

*Read Gale’s complete origin in a prose short story (with one illustration) right here.

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convention banner!

At last,  my convention banner is finished and ready to go.  Here is the final product set up in the kitchen as a test of the mechanism.  (Sorry it was a bit dark.)  My first impression is it is huge!  I have never seen one of my drawings blown up quite so large– the original art, seen below, was about 4 1/4 x 10 inches (brush and fountain pen over pencil) and it was enlarged 800% to create the 33 x 80 inch banner.  Representing for the rest of the cast are, from the top, Bud (as the Man in the Moon), Josef, Iowa, Ol’ Fourlegs the Kekionga coelacanth,  Professor Gideon Lykander, the werewolf librarian, in his wolf form that he calls the Mightly Moondog, the Small Feather Bat, and some Spirit Rocks.  The SFB isn’t so small here– I think he’s about three times actual size.

The original drawing shows how much work and learning went into finishing the design– cleaning up and fixing all the linework, adding the text, the chop and the fireflies, deciding on the colors and changing my mind about them about a thousand times, finding out the rocks were too big and figuring out how to make them smaller, and of course struggling with moving between the RGB color space of the computer screen and the CMYK color space of the printer.  I don’t think I entirely succeeded at learning all these lessons, but with considerable handholding from the good people at Postupstand.com and help from my husband the resident IT guy, I think the result is pretty credible for a first attempt.

Look for me at future cons under the sign of Bud as the Man in the Moon, starting at SPACE in Columbus at the end of the month.

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