Thursday, August 15, 2019

Going SOLAR!

Bill was up at the Flying Goose Pub in New London, NH and texted me this amazing sight!

It's the poster I designed for Granite State Solar!

I had gone to a Solarize Kearsarge meeting this spring and decided this was the perfect time for me to solarize my house. I had drawn these sketch notes at the meeting:

...and I showed them when I signed my Solar contract. I got a better reaction than I had expected - and I got a project to work on!

The assignment was to design a large poster that would go on an iPad stand in the front entrance of the pub - and grab attention so folks would want to learn more about Solar panels. (The Flying Goose is solar-powered).

The original design I created was modeled after a comic book cover -- I was thinking --- bar, get attention, attract a younger audience...

But I think it was a bit TOO... all that. The central image was too controversial and they preferred something gentler. Friendlier. So I redid it like this:

The central image is basically what you would see looking out the pub's dining room window... a solar array and Kearsarge Mountain in the distance.

I like it. And now I have to go visit it in person! If anyone else needs an excuse to go to the Flying Goose, I hope you'll join me!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Comics Camp Day Five

The final assignment was to design our cover!?! That does seem weird to do the cover last, but now it makes sense.
I thought designing the last page was really hard, but this was worse. It took me two hours to think what it should look like and what to use as a title! I ended up using the same layout as for the Ostroboglin page and had the shadows of the Demons mimic the shape of the clouds in front.
As for the title... I searched all potential ideas on Amazon- that was illuminating! If I used a particular word in the title, what other books would show up when someone searched for it? Were those my potential readers? Um, no. I elimated anything with “Demons”. I eliminated all versions with “glitch,” “glitches, glitching....etc.” Also nixed “Begin Again.” Although appropriate, that belongs to my comic magazine series. I realized this story is ultimately about MY relationship with... myself.
FINALLY, I decided to use the original title from the first mini-comic, “We Will Never Leave You”.
We spent this last day of class in the rare book library at Dartmouth (one of our teacher’s husband is the librarian there) - comparing some very strange books and placing them on a chart - text to graphics, and fiction to propaganda. It was fascinating. One of the books we got to handle was from the 1500’s!
Leaving this workshop and group of people was really difficult. Coming home to my empty house was worse. All the grown up stuff I’d left behind (the stuff that makes me miserable and lonely) was waiting for me. Along with three different kinds of molds on the bread on the counter. Sigh. Yes, I could write a comic about that... but I will probably crawl into bed and watch Netflix until I pass out from exhaustion.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Comics Camp Day Four

Today's in-class exercise was about Dialog. We were paired up and given two characters and commanded to create a comic that used dialog to show the characters interacting and changing in some way. Part of the challenge was brainstorming and working with another person!

This first one is the one I did with Hannah. We were given "Worried Salesman" and "Enraged Astronaut"!

Morose Traveler and Anxious Cat (page 1)

Morose Traveler and Anxious Cat (page 2)

Panicked Baker (not sure?) and Confused Teacher

Angry Teen and Stressed Teacher (page 1)

Angry Teen and Stressed Teacher (page 2)

If you'd like to see the sketches I did today (actually, incredibly late last night!) for my Demons comic, take a look at my Patreon page here:

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Comics Camp Day Three

As usual - I'm not working on the project I thought I would. I've been working on the Demons, and their new friend(?) and other stuff from inside my head. I am so so so tired! But I don't want to go home and lose this momentum and unlimited possibility. I've been posting some of the group projects here on my blog, but I'm only putting the personal comics on my Patreon site.

Today's group exercise was a hoot!

We each folded a sheet of paper in half (the long way). Then wrote a sentence at the top, ie, I wrote "Mickey Mouse eating Nachos." (See the second strip in the picture below).

We each handed our paper to the person to the right of us and they drew a picture of what we had written.
Then that person folded the text part over so it couldn't be seen, and handed it to the next person.

That person wrote a detailed description of the image, then folded the image over so it was hidden, and handed it to the next person. This continued on, alternating between image and description until the paper was filled.

Here are all the strips, unfolded. It's a bit like that game "Telephone." A few of the strips stayed remarkably on track, most others went... wrong... in hilarious ways!

Comics Camp Day Two

This was a fun, exhausting exercise we did in class today! If you'd like to see what I've been drawing for my personal projects, take a look at my Patreon page.

Each student got a large sheet of paper that was divided into twelve sections (we have 10 students and 2 teachers).

Each person had two minutes to draw the beginning of the comic in the first box.
Then each paper was passed to the person on the right, who drew the next panel in the comic.
The process was repeated until the papers each returned to the original person, who drew the final panel of the comic.

Some of these got REALLY bizarre! Enjoy!

(I drew Box #11)

(I drew Box #9

(I drew Box #6)

(I drew Box #7)

(I drew Box #8)

(I drew Box #10)

(I drew Box #4)

(I drew Box #2)

(I drew Boxes #1 and #12)

(I drew Box #5)

(I drew Box #3)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Comics Camp Day One

It feels really good to be back in White River Junction, VT! There's so much inspiration all around the town. Even the alleyways have art!

I'm taking the Young Adult Graphic Novel Workshop with Tillie Walden and Jo Knowles. This is a very sketchy comic done in about 45 minutes that interpreted the first page of SPEAK by Laurie Halse Andersen.

I've been posting this kind of behind-the-scenes stuff, sketch-notes, and the more personal comics - on my Patreon page. It's a membership/subscription page, but that means I can post material that doesn't feel appropriate to let loose unsupervised onto social media.

If you'd like to see what I'm working on, I encourage you to become a patron here:

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!)


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