Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. It is a very weird situation to try to celebrate the people in our lives that have played such vital roles during a pandemic when we can’t, or shouldn’t, be physically close. Whether it’s my own mother, my grandmother, my wife, my sister, my aunts…all the mothers in my life and my family have had a positive impact on my life, and it’s very fair to say I wouldn’t be here in one way or another without their love and support over the years. I love you all, and thank you.

Being that it’s Mother’s Day (or it was yesterday), that means it’s time for my annual Mother’s Day card for my wife:

My 2020 Mother’s Day card for my wife. Every year I spend time thinking about what the kid dragons look like and where they are going to be (they age alongside our kids, and their adventures reflect our own). Without much question, the most memorable event of 2019 for our family was our 4 day trip to Quebec in October. We had a ton of fun, it was really the first real vacation we have taken (most of our “vacations” are trips to places to hike, and while we did plenty of walking and we camped instead of stay in a hotel, this was a very different trip). One of our favorite spots was the waterfalls in the town we stayed in, Levis, at the Parc des Chutes de la Chaudiere. It was a beautiful place, and our family photo there was our 2019 xmas card.

I guess I’m somewhat pleased with the way this turned out. I mean, I’m never really happy, but in the context of the progress my skills have made, I like it. That’s one of the side, personal benefits to doing these cards for the last 16 years (only missing one year, I still don’t know what happened in 2008) is being able to look back and compare my skills and “style”. I notice a difference from just last year, which is uplifting, as I’m still able to make progress and get better.

I also enjoyed working in physical, traditional media again. It’s been a loooong time. All of the projects I’ve been focusing on are digital, which is fine, I enjoy that, too. But, I do miss working with actual pencil, brushes, brush pens, and markers. It reminds me I haven’t worked on IPMDT in far too long (which I do completely traditionally until I put the panels into a strip). I have been thinking for a long time that I’d like to start adding the Copic Marker ink washes to the panels, but since I didn’t start that way, I’m not sure how to address it. Part of me wants to have it be part of the story, part of me wants to go back and give that treatment to every panel so far. It could be funny if when PMD and I finally enter the labyrinth (where I last left the strip), we cross the threshold and boom, we suddenly have greyscale and we notice it. But, a big part of me wants to go back and “fix” all the other panels, too. Because consistency. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet.

In other art related happenings, if you’ve been following me on FB and Instagram, you know I’ve been splitting my art time between the next shirt design, Chicken-Squid/Squid-Chicken, and doing a drawing exercise whereby I have been drawing my head from 5 different angles making different expressions, trying to better understand the shapes and forms of my head so that I can more intelligently “cartoonify” myself and draw myself like I would any other character without the need for constant mirrors or photo reference. Part of my whole schtick as an illustrator is incorporating myself into my narrative works. I realize this could be viewed as vain, but from my perspective, it isn’t. I have spent my whole life being a daydreamer, fantasizing about everything from mundane situations and conversations that have never happened to going on epic science fiction and fantasy adventures. Trying to draw myself in these situations is my way of making my daydreams real, of getting them out of my head. If no one is interested in viewing them, that’s fine, but I need to do it anyway to stay sane.

Anydingos, I finished my little self-portrait turnarounds exercise and have moved on to some other related drawing exercise that I feel I need to do. I’m sitting on the new shirt design for a bit while I sort out both how I want the final image to look as well as some of the graphic elements (circular frame? No circular frame? Text? No text? Color schemes?…). I’m also in no rush to put out another shirt, even though I have set a goal for the number of shirts I want to release this year, since there’s a ton of economic uncertainty (as well as health uncertainty), and I figure not many people are looking to buy silly shirts (though to be honest, I have, like, zero sales even without a pandemic going on, so it’s not like I’m affected much). I’ve also put the release of my stickers on hold. I had a bunch printed up, and all but 3 looked great. I had the 3 damaged stickers replaced, but they were mis-printed. I had them replaced again, and they were damaged or mis-printed again. I finally got them replaced and looking like all the rest. I’m not certain why I had such issues, or if that’s something I’ll have to expect to deal with (the company assures me it isn’t). I’m just not sure if I want to take the risk or not. I mean, I want to get stickers out there, but if I’m going to have to field complaints about poor product, that’s a headache I don’t want. We’ll see. I’m in no rush at the moment.

I’ve also given some more thought to my next steps towards actually working on Revery again. I have some concept art I need to do to work out character designs and environments (rather than just making things up on the fly and hoping I will be consistent from page to page), and I know I want to tweak the flow of the story, maybe add a scene or two.

Of course, I still have a laundry list of projects screaming for my attention. There’s a few video game ideas, a few different PMD related books, more shirt ideas, inventions, more bags (I did finish my holster bags, which turned out okay, but they don’t quite function the way I want and are a bit bulkier than I’d like, so of course I have new ideas), more wool projects (I made my wool poncho, which I love. Based on it’s size and the belts I added, there are a ton of different ways I can wear it either be warmer or cooler, or for when I’m more or less active. I do need to finish some edges that are fraying, and come up with a plan for some strategic snaps and other tie outs to make changing it’s configuration a little easier)…

So, as always, plenty to keep me busy/keep me from finishing anything because I keep getting distracted by other projects.