Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Arts Advocacy.. Yeah!

This is one of those things that gives me a jolt of happy, like, "Yeah! ME!"
The sketch notes I did for the Beyond the Statehouse Arts Advocacy conference (see Blog post HERE) are now on the Arts4NH website!
Take a look here:

Either click on the "Event Sketches", or scroll down the page about halfway.
Go ahead, I'll wait....



Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sketching... Beyond the Statehouse - Arts Advocacy

I was asked to sketch-note at a really interesting summit yesterday at the NH Historical Society in Concord. It was sponsored by Arts4NH. This was a whole new realm for me - so many organizations and projects I'd never heard of!

I'll put small versions of all the notes here, so you can see what you missed. ;-)

 If you'd like full-sized ones that you can print out, join my Patreon group HERE.

They packed a lot into four hours and sketching it was very intense. I was so exhausted! I drove home - wanting to crawl into bed with a movie and chocolate and Minou - but drank my lunch-dinner, and ran off to the Middle School to watch my kid in "Willy Wonka Jr." It was very good... but by the time it ended and I got my hyped up-singing-dancing-kid into bed... I just wanted to crawl into bed. And then... I started scanning all these pages and cleaning them up... by 3:30am... I just wanted to crawl!

I think... I overdid it. Today I just hid and drew a toy.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Let's Try This...

I've been venturing out of the house, a bit farther afield - first to Massachusetts, now I'm in Maine. When I get back home, I'll be working on the Studio space - electrician ("Let there be light!"), removing the piano, clearing out the toys, and setting up the work space.

Setting up new spaces, healing, taking risks and Begin(ning) Again - seem well timed for Springtime!

So, in that spirit, I'm revamping my Patreon and would love it if you would consider becoming a Patron!

Right now, most of my Posts are Public, so feel free to take a look and see what's been going on. You can click on tags - like Comic or Sketchnote or Lilah Bean! Soon, those posts will be visible only to Patrons.

I've decided to make new posts private so that I can post without worrying about getting into trouble and so I can post content that I don't want finding its way onto social media... such as downloadable PDFs and printables.

Also, I created new tiers so that you can decide what you want to see --- Comics, Sketch-Notes, or Zentangle? Or all three! You can choose what you want to pledge and you can cancel at any time.

I'd like to do more comics about life, mental health, parenting, and joint projects with my kid. I want to post Zentangle ideas I'm working on and tangles from the past, sketches and material from my books too. And I plan to do more sketch-notes! I'll post the scanned, cleaned up versions of the sketch-notes so you can print them out. Also, I can post sketch-notes from classes and conferences that I've completed in the past. Other printables too - coloring pages or other material from books I'm working on!

This is an experiment! I had made all the comics and other material on Patreon available to the Public... and I lost almost all my Patrons.
OK. That was a dumb idea.
Begin Again.
I work really hard on these drawings and sketch-notes, etc. so I'm testing out the idea that people might not mind paying to have first crack at new material or the privilege to see behind-the-scenes and influence a project or even, get exclusive material!

If you've never heard of Patreon, or don't know how it works --- it's a lot like a "subscription" for creative material (artists, writers, musicians). You "pledge" an amount each month and you get content (like comics, essays, printables, video, etc.) Your pledge is charged to your credit card at the beginning of each month and that unlocks the posts. You can cancel your pledge at any time.

You can also "Follow" Creators that you like. In this case, you only see public posts that they make. It's possible to leave Comments on the posts and that creates a sense of community. I really need to build/rebuild my Art Tribe, so that feedback and acknowledgement would be incredibly valuable for me. I often feel like I'm working, alone, in my Belfry with only my Demons, the Lilah Beans, and Minou (the cat) to talk to!

I need feedback and encouragement. Cheerleaders, Art-Tribers, fellow cartoonists, Tanglers, and folks who love reading comics and sketch-notes!

And, lastly, if you need more incentive - you know me - I always overdeliver! ("Anything worth doing, is worth OVERdoing!")

If you'd like to become a Patron, click here:

If you want to take a look at the current posts, click here:
You can Filter the posts according to Tags - on the left side of the page.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Graphic Medicine ComicCon

I was trying to think of how to sum up the past... month.
"Things went as expected, but not as I'd hoped."
That's the Optimistic-Pessimist in me. Truth is - the hormones, the surgery, the pain, the PTSD, the insomnia... things have not been going very well. I'm not exaggerating or looking for pity - just, it's been really rough.
An example? At the 7 week post-op exam:
Doctor: "Hmmm... that doesn't look right. Huh. Would you mind if I have my colleague take a look?"
I HAD warned her! I'm not like other people. The tumor wasn't "normal", my body doesn't react to surgery or heal like normal peoples', and my brain doesn't think like normal brains do.

What I really needed was a project. With other cool people. (And by "cool" I mean "total geeks"!) I needed a Purpose and Hope - something to look forward to and work towards.

A while back, I had signed up for the Graphic Medicine ComicCon to be held at the UMass Medical School in Worcester, MA. It seemed so far in the future - surely I'd be all healed up by THEN!? Well, THEN suddenly became NOW and I was in a panic about whether or not I could do this daring thing...
• Leave the house (it's been 4 months!!)
• drive
• be in a crowd
• talk to people

Turns out? Yes, I can.

Bill left a note on the door
My very comfy hotel room and recharging station
Room Service!! (My room even had a Doorbell!?)
Hot bread and sweet potato and crab bisque
Garlic sauce and calamari!

Seriously? It's been warm-ish and sunny for days, and now, it's 36 degrees and SNOWING for an hour!? And I have to walk to the far side of this photo, across a highway and behind a huge parking garage... maybe I should just stay in the hotel and go back to bed?

Hey! Did you know that fancy hotels have courtesy taxis on speed dial!? Awesome!

The keynote speaker was Rachel Lindsay, whose new graphic novel is called "Rx" and is about her hospitalization for manic depression. We were all given copies of the book. I was in awe of her bravery - and she's an excellent speaker too.

What made my day? During lunch, I went up to her to get my book signed and to give her a copy of my "We Will Never Leave You" comic and some Demon pins. She signed the book and drew her character in it. When I showed her my comic, she said, "I have your comic! I got it at the Graphic Medicine conference last August! But I really want a pin!" So cool!!!

I also went to the workshop about Creating Science Comics with Maki Naro. That was really interesting - his style is fun and I encourage you to take a look at some of his work online (

 To illustrate the importance of Accuracy, we played a comic version of the game, Telephone (see the upper right corner of the sketch notes). The image below is one of the examples...

Out in the lobby, there were tables with paper and colored pencils and idea prompts and big boards to post our comics on. The comics also served as entries for the raffle (the prizes were graphic novels of course).
The Self-Portrait comics
Close-up -- Maki Naro's self-portrait

My self-portrait! I also combined it with another challenge "What do you do?"
Marek Bennett's "What do you do?" comic
LOVE this one!!

I chatted with people during lunch and walked up to total strangers and said, "Would you like to pick a Demon?" How's that for an ice breaker?! That made it really easy to explain that I'm a cartoonist and illustrator and I draw comics about mental health. I really enjoyed talking with people. There was a mix of medical librarians, HS and college librarians, other medical folks, and a few cartoonists. I couldn't sit for the afternoon lecture, I drew my comic challenge (self-portrait) but ended up staying for the whole conference!

I walked all the way back up the hill to the hotel (hoping I didn't bust anything else internal or external!) and crashed on my bed.

Amazingly - I slept through the night (first time in many, many months) - and when I woke up for a few minutes, very early in the morning - I saw a gorgeous sunrise over the city! (Then went back to bed!)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Meanwhile, Back in the Studio...

Here's another behind-the-scenes for a different project I'm working on.

Starting on January 1st this year, I gave myself the goal of drawing a Toy Every Day!
Then I added a few more parameters.

First, I was aiming for 5 out of 7 days - it's not always possible to spend the time necessary since I always overdo these things. And the week that I was in the hospital - I didn't do any drawings.

Second, I'd work on 6"x6" cards, and use materials, like alcohol markers, that I needed more practice with.

Third, the toys (I have thousands) would primarily focus on figures. So, not a drawing of an American Girl bicycle, unless there was also an AG doll on it.

Here is the process for the toy I drew today:

pencil sketch


darker markers in the brown and gold shadowy areas

warmer browns and yellows, then darkest blues

blending the blues so it looks SHINY!

And then I post them to Instagram
It is very satisfying to see the collection grow...

...if I can keep this up, then later this year, we can do another Kickstarter and turn the toy comics into a book!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

You know you want THIS!

The Kickstarter only has a few days left (it ends at 8:30am (ET) on Monday, March 11! And we still need to raise about $1,000 more. We CAN do this!!

As extra incentive, I've added two super special, limited quantity, Rewards.

Boxes of Books and Goodies!
I have so many Zentangle books and tiles and pens and tangle cards and tangle tattoos... tangled everything!!! Help me untangle...

There are only five of each of these rewards available and they will have lots of really great, special STUFF in them - so go back the project right away!!

If I can get backers for these boxes of goodies, I will consider this Project a MAJOR success (and I'll have a bit more space in my Studio Shop) - and YOU will be so busy playing with your new art supplies and getting inspiration from all the books, you won't leave your house for weeks! But don't forget to feed your pets before you disappear into your studio.

Monday, March 4, 2019

READ! Behind-the-Scenes

In my QUO VADIS Kickstarter Project Rewards, I have an option for Custom Original Artwork. As I was writing the description, and trying to describe what I would actually create for a Backer - I wrote this:

To clarify, here's another example: Let's say you are a librarian and want artwork to hang in your elementary school library... you could ask for the word "READ!" with some Lilah Beans. I would create the R-E-A-D letters made from books and stacks of books with Lilah Beans sitting on the stacks and reading other books. You could also tell me if there are particular titles you'd like on some of the books. Hmmm.... that sounds pretty cool - I may have to draw that one for myself!

I really liked the image in my head, so I decided to draw it!

I start with a pencil sketch that I trace over lightly with pen

I clean up and clarify the lines with ballpoint pen

I love ballpoint pen because I can do shading with it as well

I like it simple, but I was determined to do a piece with more detail and color

I have lots of colored ballpoint pens too

I like this part with B&W and just pink cheeks

color is cool too...
I get most obsessed over the shading!

I was really excited about how it turned out! So I added it to the Rewards - you can get this original artwork or you can get a 12"x 8" print of it on heavyweight, archival paper. I also have the "BEGIN" art available as a Print too.

Please take a look at the QUO VADIS Kickstarter Project and scroll to the bottom of the project description to see the New Rewards added for this final week!


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