Olympia Comics Festival

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything, the main reason being that I’ve been preparing for the Olympia Comics Festival!  The exhibition is this Saturday from 1:30-6:30.  If you’re in the area, I would love to see you there!  Check out the other events, too!

Preparing for my very first festival has been a huge learning experience for me.  Trying to figure out which of my materials make for good “stand-alones,” how/where to print (my god who knew what a trick pagination was!), pricing (thank you M.K.!), etc. etc.  But I feel excited (though nervous) about the event now that it is here.  Getting my work out there is one thing—but I’m especially excited to meet other comics people in the area. The festival feels like a big step on this new path I’m on (though I am trying also not to get my expectations high—big steps, but slow steps; slow but determined steps).

One of the biggest issues that I’ve encountered over the last couple weeks has revolved around a small comic that I made specifically for the event.  The story went through a number of iterations (at one point, it was about a robot!).  What I realized was that I was making the comic to be sold rather than allowing it to come out of me because it was something that I needed to put on paper and needed to process.  I decided not to make it (to stick with the two I already had) and, as often is the case, once I turned my mind away from it, a new story appeared.  One that I believe in strongly.

I’m still not sure about how the story maps out.  I was convinced that I was going to sit on it, reconsider, and not bring it with me tomorrow.  But after talking it through yesterday evening with good friend Mandolin over chocolate-battered peanut butter cups, I’ve decided otherwise.  Yes, they were delicious!  Here it is:

More comics coming soon.  <3


Based on a dream I had Thursday night.

Drawing Lines

I originally made a version of this set of pages back in October.  As I’m thinking about printing a few of my strips (possibly for a regional comics festival/expo in June!), I returned to this one since it works well on its own.  What do you think?  The printed version will be small … pages measuring probably 4 x 5 inches or so.  I did a pretty crappy/haphazard scan job here (there should be more shading in some of the drawings, for instance).  Sorry!  :-)

Also … this drawing emerged while I was revising the strip.  A little self-portrait that I kind of like.

Unidentified Fluid Object

Part II of this:

I had a great deal of fun hooking into my geeky sci-fi side for this one.  Affectionately naming this alien race “The Splats” (though I suppose the form that my affection takes is suspect …).

Thanks to Sarah L. for making me doodle.

Small Steps

This memory (based on an experience that happened just a few days before my mom died) is a very tender one for me—tender in terms of endearing, yes, but more in terms of very very soft … painful to the touch .  I still tear up when I see people, strangers, especially strangers, taking small steps.

My mom was a force—incredibly strong-willed, independent, stubborn—and depicting her this vulnerable became a challenge.  Initially, the images looked very different from the way they look now (I completely scrapped the initial set).  Even after I became comfortable with the direction in which I was taking them, I revised several of the words and images (some over and over again).  I’m still not sure if it’s clear; maybe it needs a little more context?

Too, I remain uncomfortable with the limited perspective I’m giving.  I was not my mother’s only (or primary) caregiver, for instance, and do no want to give any false impressions (or piss people off).  But I also do believe that this story is not about comfort—not for me and not for what it has to say about death.  So …

Okay. I am going outside now to enjoy this rare sunny day in Seattle.  :-)

Bad Reaction

I’ve been working on a few more memories over the last couple weeks.  I kinda like how this one turned out (though I’m not sure how it “reads” and, too, I need to be careful of taking the meta aspects of the story too far).  Thanks for visiting.  :-)

Memory One

These pages feel a little unkind.  What I want to make sure of in creating this story, though, is not to idealize my mom as a patient-victim.  We had a complicated relationship—and she was often unkind to me.  I, in turn, often rebelled against her.  Her illness brought us together in ways that confirmed our mutual love despite all that; it brought out the best in us.  It also, though, concentrated the years of tension that existed between us.  I want to capture a series of memories that will tap into these complications as well as address the difficulties involved in confronting them.

This whole creative process can be so isolating and self-indulgent … so I want to give special thanks to MK and Ian for an amazing visit to Chicago last week.  Hearing them speak a couple times on Graphic Medicine, being around them as they collaborated, and just spending good time with good friends helped remind me of the bigger picture at play in what I’m working on here.  Hearts.

The Door cont.

Actually, continuing from a couple of earlier strips …

The Door

This strip was hard for me … partly because I was sick during much of its making (a stomach bug that wiped me out), but also because I’m getting into “the story.”  I’m having a hard time getting my bearings with the narrative—shaping the experience so that it reads clearly, as well as compressing emotions and events.  It’s not something that’s entirely comfortable, is it?  But I suppose that’s one of the issues I’m taking on here.  I didn’t compose that version of myself out of changing newsprint without reason.  It’s strange … becoming text.  Writing yourself into story but then letting that story take on a life of its own.

It’s funny, too:  I don’t think of “her” as “me” once she’s on the page.  In fact, I’m very aware of the things that I’m putting her through … and it gets to feel just a little sick and twisted.  I feel a little like I’m punishing her for what I went through—making her go through a grief that is so concentrated and intense.  I do want to be careful not to end every segment with her on the ground immobilized!  Good storytelling is hard.  Being honest with your experience plus good storytelling—very very very hard.

Sill, I am enjoying it all immensely (though I realized I prefer cutting to drawing!—at least this week I do …).

Unidentified Feeling Object

Three pages.  A different narrative thread from the last … but I have an idea of how they will connect.  I think the only “word” too small to read is on the first page.  It says “MZZZZ” (but you can click on “permalink” from within the gallery to make the image bigger if you’d like).  For maximum effect, say all UFO sound effects out loud!

Found it very difficult to provide a bird’s eye view of the trees.  Any suggestions?  I think maybe if I had drawn and then traced and then cut them out, I could have anticipated the “look” a little better. Still, hoping I can get away with a lot for setting the story in “magic-land.”  Also, at some point I will stop writing elaborate prefaces.

Thanks for looking. :-)