Sunday, August 19, 2018

Graphic Medicine Conference - Day Three

The final day of the Graphic Medicine Conference (next year will be in the UK!) Today went better for me than yesterday. Maybe because I blew off the evening events and went to see "Crazy Rich Asians" - laughter always helps me feel better! And - there was no Marketplace so I didn't get overwhelmed so quickly today.

There was an interesting exhibit up at the Baker Library about Graphic Medicine - in case you are looking for a better explanation that my sketch-notes...

Here are my Sketch-notes from today's lectures and workshops:

That last class was a little intense! And I was just a tiny bit loopy when I left - but My Guy was sitting out in the lobby and he'd brought me a Chai! And Snapdragons! 

I took him to see the final Keynote presentation which was by David Macaulay - one of my Super-Heros!! It was such an incredible funny lecture!
And that was that!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Graphic Medicine Conference - Day Two

Here are my sketch-notes from today's conference:

I was STARVING by lunch - which was also Day Two of the Marketplace. I stuffed bites of sandwich into my mouth between conversations. I did sell a few comics and buttons, but I think I spent a lot of it on other people's comics (there were more that I wanted but didn't get).

 I got it signed! Yah! It's nice to have so many famous cartoonists in one room.

I cleared my booth, ran to my car, tossed it all in and...

...then off to another workshop...

 This is what the group created for the Interconnected Energy Exercise in the "Cartooning in Education Workshop. Kind of like artsy dominos!

In case you were wondering - Sketch-noting a lecture is exhausting. Normally, you doze off and perk up as needed. But when you are Sketch-noting, you're hyper "On". You have to be listening incredibly carefully and FAST - almost like you know what's coming next. All the time. You LISTEN and interpret and draw SO fast... It's incredibly exhausting. These Notes are drawn in real time, scanned in an App on my iPhone, then I go to the next lecture.

I was FRIED. No other word for it. And add in all the talking and noise at Marketplace... F-R-I-E-D.

I was supposed to draw notes for one more Field Workshop and the evening Keynote. But I excused myself and ran. Actually I sat in my car trying to breathe for half an hour.

I decided to go to the Co-op and get some sushi to bring back to the hotel. I was standing near the deli, trying to remember why I was there.

The probably-also-exhausted-deli-lady said, "Can I help you dear?"
I almost burst into tears at her obvious concern - "I need a chocolate chip cookie!"
She said, "Of course you do. It's just about that time of day."
She understood! And pointed me toward the locally made cookies - where I took an oatmeal one as well. I deserved it.

My hotel room smelled like a florist's shop! The white and purple flowers smell like honey...

 I had to post two pictures because the flowers on the back are completely different! And there was even a VASE this time! :-) I think I'm getting spoiled...

I'm still thinking a lot about depression - all the talks mention it, the speakers suffer from it, and most of my head is consumed by it. I've been wondering if cartoonists become depressed... or depressed people become cartoonists? Either way - seems like a school for depressed cartoonists, and a conference that seems to be focused on mental health issues and cartooning - should be able to find another model for educating - other than sitting for hours on end in semi-dark rooms. And don't get me started on anxiety and stress!

OK. So, I'm fried, depressed and reaching the conclusion that it may be best to give up the studio in Concord (talked with a fellow cartoonist who is also considering it).
I'm going to a movie. I want to watch someone else's life and not have to talk Notes!

Graphic Medicine Conference - Day 1

While packing books to sell at the Comics and Medicine Marketplace... I had this overwhelming desire to create pins to go with my "We Will Never Leave You" comic. So I drew my favorite Demons and the Kid and I headed off to the studio and punched and pressed a bajillion super cool buttons!! Big and small...

It was fun today (at the Marketplace) seeing people try to decide which Demons were their favorites and then pin them onto their shirts and lanyards. Here's mine:

There are famous cartoonists all around me!

Here are some of the fascinating comics and artists I've met so far:

The crowds and the noise level in the Marketplace sucked out my energy, but there were a few folks I spoke with that got me all excited again.

In the evening, the first lecture was with Steve Bissette about the Process and Practice of Graphic Medicine at CCS (The Center for Cartoon Studies). I'm one of five (I think) Sketch-noters hired by the conference to record the lectures! Here are my notes from this evening:

There's a lot in this conference about Depression and Anxiety. Part of me is relieved to know I'm not alone, another part is repelled and horrified. And another part is a little ashamed... I try to make light of my issues, find the humor, and hide what I'm feeling so I don't scare people. "Protect" them. I can't imagine what would happen if I drew comics about what's really going on in my life --- the bad stuff. The stuff I'm not supposed to talk about. Would it be cathartic - or grounds for a lawsuit?

I truly, truly believe that "Thoughts become things" and when I'm enthusiastic and lost in the process of creation and brainstorming and imagining all the possibilities (I frighten people then too) - that I attract the most amazing things to me. Really weird coincidences happen. I meet bizarre, super cool people. People give me money. I get offered exciting projects, or go on an adventure! And I'm happy.

But when stuff goes wrong... it comes out of nowhere... and knocks me over. I can't think. More and more bad stuff bombards me. It just doesn't stop!!!? I start to drown. I forget what I want. What really matters. And I drag anything good down with me.

Tonight, leaving the conference, I was walking alone through White River Junction. Nothing new for me - but everyone seemed to be in groups. And there were groups in the outdoor cafes, with twinkly lights and laughter... I felt really alone - but also - didn't really want to be with people. As I walked, I noticed a dark shape sitting on a bench and recognized Kieran - a dark shape on a bench, even in bright sunlight! And I felt relief and excitement. One weird cartoonist in the shadows was just what I needed! Talking and laughing, I felt the positive elements of the day returning to me and I remembered WHY I draw comics of my Demons the way I do. Remembering WHY... having a purpose, even if it's to serve as a Bad Example - hey, it's still a Purpose.

The next few days will be a challenge. Long days listening to talks about serious illnesses and mental mishaps... and drawing the Sketch-notes that help to lodge the info in my brain - but.... this is a step on my Path. It feels really important to me. I have to do this, it's taking me somewhere I'm supposed to Be. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Let's Go With Plan... J?

I've got a bit of a mess that I need help sorting out. I apologize for the long post, and I understand if you don't read it - but if you do make it through - I would really appreciate any ideas, encouragement, suggestions, or large checks. ;-)

I'll try to break it down into the major issues.


The Great Idea:

Wingdoodle was a "Creativity General Store" that my mom and I ran for about 10 years, and then I used the space as my studio (The BeeHive) for a year until I went to grad school. There's an apartment upstairs that I rent to a couple of really nice guys, but the store had been empty while I was away. When I moved back from VT last summer, I realized I didn't want to open a store again and I really needed the money... So I decided to sell the building and start a new business in Concord.

It took quite a while, but I found a group of farmers/artists who wanted to open a Co-op Farmer's Market and Gallery. After months and months - they formed their business and we were able to work out owner financing. That would give me a small chunk of money to start my new studio and publishing company ("Bumblebat Books") and a little monthly income too.

By April, it seemed like we'd figured out all the necessary details - we signed a purchase and sale agreement...

...and the nightmare began.

The Problem:

The title company said I didn't have a clear title - the neighbors were claiming they owned part of the store's property. Turned out, when the piece of land that serves as the apartment's off-street parking, was transferred from the neighboring house to Wingdoodle, the town had not filed the paperwork with the title office - until more than 3 years later. Unfortunately, by the time the land lot line adjustment was correctly registered, the house had been sold, with an incorrect Deed.

By May, there was a corrected Deed and Title for the house and it looked like we could go ahead with the sale of the Wingdoodle building - but then the neighbors decided not to sign unless we gave them a Right of Way across the land in question. Then they wanted a permanent Right of Way. Then they said it was actually their land. Then they claimed the shared driveway was theirs. And the tenants were trespassing by parking their car there... and then... and then...

The Options:

Now it's August. No one can accept the "blame" and there's no compromise in sight. The escalation already has had serious financial consequences and now, legal consequences. I have no idea where this is headed, but the only thing my brain is thinking, besides "WTF?!" is "I don't want to PLAY!"

The options are - try to find a way to compromise about the Right of Way and the Easement, go to court for a quiet title (a LOT of money and time), or start suing everyone even remotely involved.


The Great Idea:

Last August, I rented a tiny studio space at the Concord Community Arts Center so I could work on a few comic and picture book ideas. The space was 5x14 feet! So - classes, meetings... were all out of the question. This April, I had a chance to move up to a HUGE (850 square feet) studio space in the same building - at the same time that I needed to clear out the Wingdoodle building for the new buyers. The Universe sent me a very clear message to jump on the chance.

I set up the new space, The BeeHive, with a gallery/shop space, a meeting space, a classroom, chalkboards, a reference library, a more private work area, a stocked supply area and a large die cutter. I put up the trees from my store, and started on new murals. There are huge windows and enough space to hula hoop.

The Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) Meetup group and the SCBWI Book Dummies now call the space home and there are some exciting programs in the works for this fall.

My Great Idea had been to create a place for my art tribes - building interactions in the real world. We're all so consumed by social media and I know that I disappear into my introversion without an actual public Studio to go to.

I imagined a space for CZTs to teach classes, and learn HOW to teach classes. Authors and illustrators could have shows and book signings and workshops. Groups could have meetings, meet ups, gatherings, retreats... all that good stuff!

The Problem:

The BeeHive space is leased by Wingdoodle LLC and is/was dependent on the sale of the Wingdoodle building. (See Above) That means that  - not only is the monthly rent and business insurance not being covered by the sale of the store building, but I haven't had the time or attention span to focus on getting the new studio rolling.

The Options:

The responsible thing... would probably be to break the lease, rent a storage unit and just put the whole idea on ice.

I'm not inclined towards being responsible.

I'd like to find someone, or a few people to run the studio - organize, schedule, maintain - get the teachers in, get it all rolling, earning money, making a difference in the world. I did look into hiring an assistant to run it - but as it is, there's no way to pay them to begin. Catch-22.

I'd like to find some sponsors to help pay for the space in exchange for.... ?

IF we can get this working, we could turn it into a non-profit, get donations and sponsorships (tax-deductible) and include workshops to provide artists with financial, legal, marketing, etc. information.

I don't want to run another business, I want to be a part of a cooperative studio space.


The Great Idea:
Beez Ink Studio is my own business - I've been doing freelance illustration and recently, more sketch note type work. I'd like to develop that more - an illustration-comics-sketchnote-zentangle fusion. Graphic Medicine, Science Comics, Picture Books, Online classes... and I wanted to publish more of my own books through Bumblebat Books.

OK, I admit it - when I start talking about these projects I get SO EXCITED!!! I truly LOVE creating these kinds of weird projects whether they are books, comics or stand alone pieces. The research, sketching, brainstorming, design... I get to use almost all my superpowers and different techniques. I LOVE DOING THIS!!!!!

The Problem:
The money for printing the books and running all the online pieces of the biz (Mailchimp, Teachable, Photoshop, etc .)... was going to come from the downpayment on the sale of the Wingdoodle building. So it's all on hold for the present. Also, I'm still trying to work out getting some of my rights back to my Zentangle books. The BeeHive was going to be the home base for Bumblebat Books as well as the place to sell and promote the books.

The Options:

If I let go of the BeeHive Studio, some of the money going towards running it might be used for printing books, etc - but printing is in the thousands. I could do Kickstarters too. Or take a home equity loan.

These three Ideas were all intertwined - the sale of the Wingdoodle building would fund the Bumblebat publishing and the BeeHive Studio. The BeeHive Studio provides the support (mentally and creatively) and the marketing venue for the books I want to create with Bumblebat...

Friday, August 10, 2018

Mauled by Pugs

My plan was to write a post that caught you all up with everything I've been working on and my recent adventures... but I've been whining a lot lately about how I really want to start drawing comics again... something like "Oh! That would make a great comic!? I really have to start drawing again!"

So, I started drawing yesterday's adventure to Rhode Island and I kept drawing. And drawing. And I forgot to eat dinner. And I drew... and now it's Tomorrow and the Adventures were TWO days ago!? But I did finally finish a comic!

I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Animation - The Rest of the Week

Again - I have all the animations up on my Patreon page - take a look!

I stayed up late inking the pencils and scanning them, then ruined the whole thing with a botched batch processing...

But this morning - I realized the black background actually looked better... so I cleaned it up and added the pink cheeks!

For the walk cycle project, I needed to reconstruct the basic walking form - to work with a large-headed stick figure!

Here are the pencil tests for this character - one of my daughter, Lilah's, comic characters - AMMI.

Here's the final version - I worked really hard to get it finished before her own cartoon camp finished today so she could show it to her class. 

She's got a little skip to her walk!

SPEED READER was my final project - but I only had less than two hours from concept to GIF! So it still needs some work, inking, etc. I like it even though it's rough. Elephant is a character from the picture book I just finished - "Ready, Set, GOrilla!"

Look carefully - a lot happens in just 14 frames! He uses his trunk to turn the pages!

I got a few questions on how this works. The very basics:

For the Flipbooks - 36 pieces of card stock are held together with a big binder clip. When you flip the right edge of the paper, the image drawn on the pages, appears to move.

For the other animations (like SPEED READER) - each drawing (14 or more) is drawn on a piece of copy paper with three holes punched along the top. The holes are to slip onto the peg bar and they keep the image and pages aligned. These get scanned into the computer and assembled in Photoshop into a GIF.

I had an amazing week! There are more details on my Facebook page, and more flip book animations on my Patreon page. Right now, I am seriously crashing - I am so exhausted that I am falling asleep as I write this! 

To sleep!!


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