inktober update

I can’t believe Inktober is almost half over.  I gave myself a fairly steep challenge this year: to draw my entries at approximately the same size, using a template and to include both one or more spirit rocks and the new cat character in each drawing.  This in addition to my usual condition of keeping the prompt list as much a secret to myself as possible and using the first idea that comes into my head.

It’s going pretty well so far: I haven’t missed a day yet, either finishing the drawing or posting it online.  The daily posts can be found on the Official Pam Bliss Facebook page or search @kekiongacomics.  This is a public page and you do not have to be a member of Facebook to enjoy.  I will post a small sized album here as well, when the project is done.  And I think for the first time, I will get a real minicomic out of this one since a story seems to be assembling itself out of the fragments.

Here is my favorite Inktober so far from this year:  It’s a multimedia extravaganza!  Click on this link  while you look at the drawing. and think about the pressing question “What shall we name the cat?”  Is the answer to be found right here?

#inktober #inktober2019

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alexei leonov

On a rainy October morning, late in the second decade of the new century, I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of one of the great figures of the last, Alexei Leonov.

Leonov has always been my personal favorite character in the true story of the space race, and a major figure in the alternate history backstory of my comics universe.  Plus I’ve always been sure he was a pretty great guy.  How could you not love that face?

You probably know at least a little about Alexei Leonov, even if you don’t quite recognize his name.  He was the last of the original Soviet cosmonauts, and in 1965 he was the first human being to conduct an extravehicular activity (EVA), when he left the Voshkhod 2 capsule to walk in space for 12 minutes.

Ten years later, in 1975, he commanded the Soyuz capsule in the Apollo/Soyuz joint mission with the Americans.

And yes, that is his drawing of one of the American astronauts.  Leonov was a keen artist all his life and was noted for his colorful paintings of space travel and astronomical subjects.  “Over The Black Sea” is one of my favorites.

Alexei Leonov was close friends with Yuri Gagarin, his cosmonaut classmate and the first person to orbit the Earth.  Gagarin was one of the epic popular heroes of his time, movie star handsome and rock star famous; any time you see a photograph of Gagarin, look for Leonov, he is almost always nearby.

And of course Leonov is honored by alternate historians, because if the Soviet Union had won the very closely contested last lap of the space race in 1968 and 1969, he may very well have been the first person on the Moon.  The Soviet Moon landing plans featured a one person lander, and Leonov was widely regarded as the primary candidate for the mission.  Somewhere out there is a whole cluster of timelines where Alexei Leonov was the star of all those 50th anniversary documentaries last summer.  I’ve often wondered what he would have thought about that.

Hot jets  General Leonov.

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cat again- punkins

The saga of the cat continues.  So far he is still “the cat” or maybe “The cat”, and I thought I had his formula down as 1 part Bill the Cat, 1 part Fat Freddie’s Cat and 2 parts the cat you see in the art of Ancient Egypt.  Except that this drawing, which is the first full body drawing of him that I really like, also recalls Snowball from The Simpsons.

The general reaction to a sketch of his head and topline that I put up on the Official Facebook Page earlier this week seemed to suggest that the handbuilt scribble black was the way to fill him in and I agree.  It’s certainly more interesting to look at, though harder to do, than a solid black fill.

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has cats and/or draws them regularly– is there anything specific I can do to make The cat look more catlike without disturbing his simplicity and cartoony-ness?

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best of the drawing of the day: fainting couch

In September I do some themed drawings of the day as a warmup for Inktober, where I will be working to prompt list.  My usual September theme is furniture, with a different piece of furniture in every drawing. Hence, this fainting couch drawing.  I am posting it here because I like how it turned out in general, and specifically because of the cat.

My work is full of animals and specifically of dogs and doglike creatures, but I have never before drawn a cat that I feel is a true character in my own style, a cat that could appear in continuity in my comics.  Yay– I finally have a cat.   He definitely shares honorable cartoon cat roots in the designs of Fat Freddy’s Cat and Bill the Cat, but this guy is his own cat thing.  If you want to suggest a name, feel free, but I already have a working name for him that I am pretty sure I like.

(What all this means is Inktober is coming.  I’ll be posting a “best of” selection here, but look for every Intktober drawing every day on my Official Facebook Page at   This is a public page and you do not have to be a member of Facebook to read and enjoy.  If you are a member, you are cordiallyare invited to Like the page and see my posts in your feed.)


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hulk poem september, plus what hulk look like if you want see hulk.

Hulk under maple tree, make poem

  • When leaves not change yet
  • but ready to,
  • Day when looks like rain all day
  • but not rain,
  • Make Hulk feel
  • anything can happen.
  • Something happen.
  • Rain on Hulk happen.
  • Not bad rain.
  • World smell good.

(I have been writing poetry in the person of the Hulk for a few years now, and I’ve noticed that his persona inside my head has been diverging from the canon Incredible Hulk, which of course is the intellectual property of Marvel Comics and whoever owns them now. But soon after I wrote this poem I saw my own Hulk in my head for the first time and I really wanted to draw him.  So I did.  I drew him often enough that he now has an official character design. I don’t know if I will ever draw him in continuity, since I’m not sure about the legality, but if I ever put out a collection of his poetry, maybe I can get away with a picture of the author.  Unlike the “real Hulk” he wears a T-shirt with his tattered Hulk pants.  In color, his key line will be dark green, and he himself is mint or apple green and web safe tan.)

Anyway, we have a Poetry Hulk.

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pajama shark week bonus– shark week reruns

Remember how I promised you a bonus Pajama Shark cartoon to bring our Shark Week total up to seven (that is, a full week)?  I finally came up with an idea:  Thresher and his pals watch shark documentaries streaming on his laptop.  In this modern world, any week can be Shark Week.

And now it’s September, Inktober is coming, and as usual I am warming up with a set of themed drawings of the day.  It’s not quite working to a daily prompt, but it gives me a little more structure than my usual automatic drawings.  As usual, my go to theme is furniture, with a different piece of furniture featured in each drawing.  The article of domestic furnishing here is, of course, the classic crummy, tweedy American rec room couch.

Oddly, this is the first Pajama Shark drawing where I haven’t been more or less struggling to draw Thresher in various humanoid poses while staying faithful to his cartoonified shark anatomy.  Apparently a shark who is vegging out on the couch watching TV on a laptop is a shark who is doing what comes naturally– and he can be drawn as such.  Apparently the back of the same couch is also the native habitat of the toy megalodon.

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pajama shark week 6

It’s the last day of August and the first day of the Labor Day weekend, and frankly, I agree with Thresher.  Fall is on the inevitable horizon and a lot of us aren’t unhappy about that.  Grab your notebook, your cool camera in a cool old leather never-ready case, and a coffee and umbrella to your personal taste, and head out into the future in a spirit of friendliness and curiosity.

Thank you for celebrating Shark Week with us in single panel cartoons from the sketchbook.  Love from Thresher the Pajama Shark, O’Possum, and the Megalodon.

(And yes, I know a week is seven days– one of my “real time” Shark Week cartoons was a failure.  This happens sometimes.  I owe you guys a Pajama Shark cartoon, and I hope to make it up to you soon.)

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pajama shark week 5

Here’s a shout out to all of us who love those silly phone games.  Real gamers call us names, but hey, we are having some fun.   And having a faithful pal beside us, like our toy Megalodon, only makes it funner.

After yesterday’s comic, I’m pretty sure the ideal Pajama Shark Feeding Frenzy game would feature a combination of sweet and salty snacks to devour, from pretzels to cupcakes, and not just candy.  If I redraw this sketch cartoon for a finished collection, I may change up the caption a bit.

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pajama shark week 4

And of course, during Shark Week we can learn many interesting facts about sharks.  For, example, one of the worst things that can happen to a 12 foot long shark is a 20 foot long shark.  Translate that into the peaceful world of the Pajama Shark and it’s bad news for those shark-shaped sugar cookies.

Drawing Thresher’s shark-shaped cookie cutter was a fun challenge.  I think I captured the softened effect and rounded lines of a baked cookie compared to the shape of the cutter, but the relative sizes are probably way off.

I may bake some cookies this afternoon, but I’m too lazy to roll them out so I will probably just drop them.  The household sharks will almost certainly eat them anyway.

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pajama shark week 3

Among the fun things about Shark Week are all the special merchandising tie-ins at your favorite stores.  If you like shark stuff, this is the time to shop for it.  Thresher is, of course, a keen reader, and like any keen reader he loves used bookstores.  Trust the opossum (should we call her O’Possum?) to find the one joke book in the bunch.

Everyone who has seen even a few of my comics knows I love to draw shelves and piles of books.  What better symbol for both the search for knowledge and the pleasures of the hunt?  I had a lot of fun coming up with the titles of the shark-related books.  Some of them are based on the titles of real Shark Week shows.  (Shark Pie is not one of them.  It is a humorous children’s book.)

“Pelagic” is one of my favorite words.  It describes animals that live in the deepest parts of the ocean, furthest from land.



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