Saturday, May 29, 2004

Drawing by Gaslight

I draw with a Rotring Artpen, guzzling six or more ink cartridges a week. I use the medium lettering nib. I've been using the same pen for the last few years -- I don't mean the model, I mean the pen in my hand, the logo abraded from too many handshakes -- and I'd like to replace it. But when I've uncapped a new Artpen, with supposedly the same nib, it's not. It draws a different line, and the nib feels too springy. Either Rotring has changed the model in sly fashion, or the store where I bought the pen is run by fans of Gaslight.

Jake the Snail Makes His Entrance

For those who missed Jake during his Yoda-like guest spot a few weeks ago.

He's the one on the right.

How Spot passed the time on May 26.

Your Chance to do Spot's Bidding

Children's Network

Or turn that around: your chance to bid on Spot. June 6 is the annual art auction for the Children's Network, a non-profit organization based in Virginia. Because of my scattered approach to drawing Spot -- in sections, which I assemble in Photoshop -- I redrew the May 26 strip as one piece, to save on the high-bidder's framing bill.

Kansas City, Here They Come

NCS - Reuben Central

Today I ignited a gas grill without scorching anything of importance. But in Kansas City this weekend you'll find more genial combustion when the National Cartoonists Society hosts its annual Reuben Awards. If you're not familiar with the Reuben Award, think Emmy, Oscar, Tony, or any other award with a casual name.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Even better than a sock on the head

Exploratorium: Frogs: North American Wood Frog/page 1 of 5

Not all frogs wear socks to get through the winter.

In a few weeks Spot will find a novel use for his party favors. You're welcome to guess.

Another drawback to working at home

I hear the door pounding and find a policeman. He was responding to a domestic distress call. I was working upstairs, uploading strips for the week of June 14. He asked why it took me so long to answer the door, and if I was alone. I don't know what I looked like, or what I sounded like, but I felt absolutely guilty, as if I'd just finished tamping the soil on a grave in the basement.

When he asked why I took so long to answer the door, I told him I was working upstairs. "You work at home?" he asked, with the usual skepticism of the employed for the self-employed. If I'd told him I was a comic strip artist, I'd probably be writing this from a jail cell.

The highlight: he asked if I lived alone. I told him I lived with my fiance. "Is she home?" he asked. "Umm, no. She's, uh, running errands. And then she's going to the movies..." Which she was, but I'm glad I stopped talking before I got to the part about her being out of the country for the next several months, and if you'll excuse me, I have to run to lawyer to pick up the new will.

All in all, more intrigue than usual when I upload a week of dailies.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Working instead of working

I should be working on a Sunday, and instead I'm working on a blog where I talk about what I should be working on.

Last night I woke around two in the morning. Thunder was shaking the windows. Our dog, Cuddles, has a bomb-shelter view of thunder, and immediately began hunting for one. While she shoved herself under the bed, I wondered how Spot would react to the storm. In an earlier strip he crawled into Karl's bed, tank and all, when thunder and lightning did their dance. Thinking about Spot and thunder gave me an idea for a Sunday that will appear July 4.

A sample of a frog with the usual arms. Or are they legs?

The visual inspiration for Jake the Snail. I couldn't remember which way the shell turned.

Spot and Buddy enjoy a special anatomy. They only seem to have arms when they need them. In my mind, where things like this are rationalized, I picture the arms tucked out of sight behind their legs. Posted by Hello