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hourly comics day, somewhat later

April 4, 2015 at 4:06 am

I haven’t written/posted here in a long time, yikes. Here are the “hourly” comics I made back in early February, to try to kick it off again. FEATURING: the official dirtiest apron in the world* (which I drew as completely clean), John Cage chance composition processes, canceled plans, Scøtt’s pink camo bandana, a delicious frittata, crippling trans body feelings, leftover lentils, weird sleep schedules, and my bike parked atop a snowbank (and this was only the beginning of the epic snowfalls that kept us all imprisoned this Feb & March!).

These comics were drawn directly ink-on-paper, no pencils, with some truly unacceptable lines razored out & replaced with another piece of paper. Slight photoshop, mostly to correct for the way that ink-warped photocopy paper scans on a crummy scanner. The one “error” that I would fix in hindsight is to change Jacob’s narrative in comic 9 from “and then… [RIFF]” to “and then… [YARN]”: Jacob can occasionally be heard riffing, but more frequently (and more accurately, in this instance) he will have a yarn to share with you.

James Kuo made hourly comics as well on the same day: here you can find a literal alternate viewpoint on some of these same happenings, some introspection & some intense blanked-out conversation, and — dare I say it? — a cute drawing of me. ;)

















For long-time readers of this blog, some sad news (and part of why I haven’t posted stuff here in a while, I guess) is that my sweet cat Buio, of whom you’ve seen lots of pictures here in the past many years, died on November 17th from kidney cancer… which is why he doesn’t appear in this comic. Tiger, who provides the comic relief above, is chilling with us for a while cause he needed a place to stay for a bit… He’s a fine cat, a high-quality purrer, but not a true friend to me like the Boo was… I miss that guy a lot!

*n.b. my apron did actually win the only Dirty Apron Contest that I have ever heard of… and I’m still using (and continuing to dirty) it so I can only assume that it has kept its top-apron status. ???

“in the new year” part 1 — drawy drawy draw draw

February 20, 2014 at 2:36 am

architectural drawing of roof beams under construction

I haven’t been posting things here recently, I’m not sure why, maybe because it feels somehow weightier than putting something on tumblr or facebook, or like something has to be more “finished” to post it here? Which is absurd because this has always been all about process and things in progress.

Also I was really hoping for some “break time” in the new year, but turns out I’ve just been really busy with three big projects that haven’t been commercial print projects (as in making prints that people might purchase), but instead have been three challenging personal projects in response to assignments or calls from other people (for exhibition, publication, etc). So… kind of a break? at least a break from my regular print work? but all of the projects have been on tight deadlines (and/or just really late because I was supposed to work on them in the fall and didn’t because the fall was such a busy non-stop season for me…), so there’s been a certain level of stress / “I can’t do anything till I finish this project! aaah!” feeling to the past six weeks…

… and also some guilt: “if I post something on my blog, the people who are waiting for this work will think I am procrastinating…” :C

(Update: after finishing this post, I think the main reason is that when posting stuff here I feel like I need to write things about the images and tie them all together / explain somehow… and that writing takes a while…)

Anyways! Here are some images from the thing I am working on right now (the last of the three projects, will post next about the other two). Pencil drawing, gonna try to print it as a tri-tone made of halftone layers. This should be difficult, but not impossible, to print well. I’m trying to glean lessons / avoid pitfalls from printing the duotone hands on the Recycle-A-Bike poster

It is a drawing of an imaginary building that is simultaneously falling apart / under construction, and it will have some text in it (spoken by the person on the right in the below image) but will mostly just be these people exploring the building…

drawing of two people standing under a sloping roof having a conversation

Drawy drawy drawy draw draw, keep drawing, draw all the lines:

drawing of broken lath-&-plaster walls with the plaster crumbling & the lath sticking out at odd angles

Will I someday remember to remember that drawing is easy and fun and the best part of everything? It’s so easy to get intimidated by it, before I’ve started…

When I’m drawing people from my imagination, I feel like I’m still in middle school. I remember the specific feeling of revelation, in early high school, where my drawing practice switched over from “oh I drew that face really perfect, even though it’s in the wrong place in the larger drawing I can’t erase it because I could never get it that perfect again” to “if I need to, I can draw it again, go ahead and erase & make it the way you want it!” But I still feel a little like the lines coming together “right” on a drawing of a person, especially the face, is a magical, accidental thing that I don’t quite have control over…

…and apparently I’m still channeling my favorite characters from elementary school:

illustration from the book

in-progress partial drawing of a child

(the color illustration is from Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain, by Edward Ardizzone, great author/illustrator/graphic-narrative-maker/hand-letterer, staple of my childhood… I didn’t realize that he wrote & drew the “Tim” books over the span 1936 to 1977, that is a long run! I also didn’t realize that I haven’t read them all… gotta get on that. Also he made a bunch of paintings and illustrations of harsh scenes that he witnessed as an official “war artist” (!) in World War II… many things to seek out.)

Okay here’s some images from me testing out the tri-tone effect on the computer, to see if it will work with the scale of printing / scale of the details on the drawing… I think so? I hope so!

three-color separation of a detail of the drawing:

halftone image of a section of pencil drawing

lightest tones:

lightest color halftones

medium tones:

medium-value color halftones

darkest tones:

darkest color halftones

These are only test images, the separations will change… After making these, I looked at the Recycle-A-Bike prints compared to their transparencies, and made the note to myself that in shooting the screen, the smallest “positive” (ink) dots do not block enough light and are often lost, and then in printing, the smallest “negative” (blank paper) dots often get obscured by ink bleeding into them… so I will adjust the “curves” that determine where these colors fall in the image, to try for the most descriptive image possible…

Here is a detail of the combination:

combination halftone image in super close up

If you click through & zoom in, when you look at the full-size image, that is a screenshot & shows the image at 100% PIXEL size… that’s 27 lines per inch, at 600 dpi… you can look at the ruler at the top of the image to see what a ruler-inch is for comparison.

I hate to do this, so blog-typical (and I’ve done it before for this same thing! augh) but I need to get back to drawing, so I will say, “I will do a serious process post on how I make these halftone tri-tones / duotones sometime soon!”. And I will follow through with that! (After the thing is printed & mailed out… sheesh.) Is learning about that process something that’s interesting to anyone that reads this blog? Does anyone read this blog, in the age of facebook & tumblr? Hmmmm.

Here’s some sneak-preview multi-layer dazzle-camouflage-pattern blip-blops on clear acetates for one of the other “new year” projects, that I finished last week… I am under orders not to talk about it till the publication that it is for announces its contributors… so I have to wait to give out more specifics! But here are some cool/weird/accidental colors to tide you over:

a bunch of different color geometric patterns printed on clear plastic

Also it is Buio’s birthday sometime in February, he has been my good friend for almost 10 years! (I found him as a kitten in June 2004…) Here’s a nice picture of this companion in front of a cool Katrina drawing:

a black cat sitting on a table in front of a drawing of two women and their little dogs that says 'I stop the world and melt with you'


“master printer” / collaboration

July 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I spent the past week or so working with Noel Puello (friend, artist, fashion designer, New Urban Arts alum, and future student at MassArt!) on making a super-epic, four-layer, 12-color collaborative screenprint.

We made this print to fundraise for Noel’s college expenses: zig has a gap of about $8000 to cover for their first year of art school at MassArt. Read more, see more pictures, buy a print ($30-$100+ sliding scale), or donate just a couple of bucks, right here: http://noelpuello.net !!!

This was a whirlwind project:

  • about two weeks ago, we decided together on a size for the poster, based on paper I had around the studio
  • I gave Noel some wet media mylar (transparent plastic that’s been treated to allow it to accept ink & markers) and we talked about different layers & uses of color, looking at examples around the house
  • Noel went to the store & got some black paint markers (the easiest way to create solid black on plastic)
  • Noel flew to DC for a six-day national youth student leader conference and got about four hours of sleep every night and thought about the poster
  • Noel came back to Providence and made most of the transparencies for the print in one day (!)
  • we met up that evening & talked about rubylith and what text should go on the poster, organized the transparencies, talked about colors and added a rubylith “background” layer

  • by the next day, Noel had decided on the text, we finished the first layer transparency, shot the first screen, & mixed ink colors
  • two days later, Noel mixed the colors for the first & second layers, & we printed those layers on about 75 prints, with the help of CJ Jimenez…

  • the next day Noel mixed all the rest of the colors, and we printed the last two layers, including a final layer with glitter, with the help of Anne Reinhardt who also made us all an amazing dinner that we ate after midnight…

  • that was a very late night, but then we were done! BAM!

It was super interesting to work with a less-experienced screenprinter to help them realize their vision, as opposed to creating or setting out my own vision — I was definitely in the realm of “master printer assisting an artist” as opposed to “artist-printmaker” on this one. I also wasn’t in the realm of “teacher”, because I wasn’t “teaching” Noel a process that zig could then reproduce on zig’s own — rather, we had a joint goal: to create something excellent together.

In experiences that I’ve categorized as “teaching”, I’ve often stepped back and stopped myself from imposing my aesthetic opinion on the scenario, to let the learner follow a course I might not agree with. In this case, I was happy to have the occasional possibility to step in and offer a thought or opinion that I might shy away from talking about with someone who didn’t feel like as much of a creative peer as Noel does.

I was so psyched to work with a friend who was excited about learning and open to my ideas, but confident in the validity of their own vision & aesthetic sense as well. Noel & I were working together to do what was needed to make a beautiful and meaningful object. It’s been really fascinating to make something that looks nothing like anything I would have come up with out of my own imagination — but to still be extremely proud of what we made, and to feel a strong sense of my own artistic identity with it……

You think you’re a grownup & have felt or thought all there is to think & feel, but then there are these new complexities of feeling & understanding that come up, all the time, and demand to be paid attention to & not get generalized into prior experiences. !!!!

Buio stole my leopard-print bandana that I made (by ripping up a pair of pants I found in the trash) for the Feral Summer queer dance party last Friday!

but you just can’t be mad at a person-face cat.

less busy; briefly

November 28, 2008 at 5:17 am

cityscape postcards

Well, [most of] my stuff for Craftland is done! If I didn’t explain Craftland before, it’s a seasonal art & craft store, that opens in December and features lots of (mostly local) handmade stuff, ranging from the OMG-cuuuuuute to the fine art/craft, and combinations/in-betweens of the above. You can visit their website here, and you can (should?) also visit the store itself: 235 Westminster St, Providence, RI, Dec. 5-24 (7 days a a week!) 11am-6pm. Yeah, that’s my one blatant shill: come buy stuff! it rules, it’s made by awesome folks, and it’s cheap (at least my stuff is). If (yes, “if”) you need holiday presents for people, this is the place in Providence to get them. I also just sent a bunch of stuff up to my friends’ store Eli Phant in Portland, Maine, so that’s another good place to look for rad prints (and other crafty/arty stuff). All right!… advertising moment over.

more of what I got done in a crazy marathon last week:

cat postcards:

cat postcards

cat print (only one layer, but hey, it looks good!):

one layer cat print

little coffee maker print:


What I did not get done yet, but is gonna be done soon:

  • reprinting the Mill City print
  • printing more than one color on the cat print (or maybe I’ll just leave it…)
  • printing the bread-making poster
  • fully thanking the people that helped me out last minute in the rush time: thank you!!!!!
  • responding to emails and calling people back from the many days when I was working in crazy mode, sorry friends and strangers!!!

In a brief hiatus from busy-ness, I’m helping my parents blow-in insulation to their attic, trying not to sleep too late while staying at their house, and trying to get some work done on finally filling in the missing years of the main secret door poster archive area (I’ve had the images for a little while now, there has just been too much other stuff making demands on my time…).

I also scanned in some process work which may or may not show up in the College Hill Independent in an article on artists’ processes. To usher in what I’ll be working on in the next months, here’s one of the scans; a drawing I made in… August? which was the beginning of the house that will be on the next print series print, as a way to show instances of different kinds of connections between spaces. I’m super psyched to have most of the other stuff out of my way, and be able to work on this again. It is very exciting to pull these drawings out again, to remember what I was thinking… and, um, to try to decode my own handwriting…

(click on the image for larger version)
private shared house plan

. . . In the “tools” updates category, and making any and all computer image manipulation much sweeter, my major birthday present last month was a little wacom tablet. It was somewhat awkward to start to use, but now it just feels like my computer is (either) my friend (or just) exponentially more an extension of my brain/hand. Since I don’t really work on the computer all that much or do my primary work on it, to feel much more directly connected to it is really interesting… and great! Streamlined somehow, less interference blocking the way. Thank you AGP!

Oh yeah, and at the end of October I got to be 30 years old! Crazy.

almost too busy to write

November 15, 2008 at 9:03 pm

buio cat rubylith

… but here’s a preview of an unfinished transparency for a small print that will be ready for Craftland. The transparencies for this print are now done, this photo is from a week ago. This print is actually gonna be tiny, the cat image is a little more than three inches high…

I’m working on about 8 things simultaneously, all in various stages of completion, and it’s nice, I can switch off between projects and tasks if one gets too tedious. Right now, it’s making me a little crazy to sit at the desk all day… but it feels really good to be working hard, and I think things will come together in good ways, at the appropriate time!

here’s the craftland website, it’s charming and informative! … all right. back to work!

craftland banner!

some things are still up in the air…

November 5, 2008 at 4:22 am

… but I think that now I should stop obsessively refreshing the election results pages (mostly here and here) and get back to work. Tonight was good. I biked home from picking up transparencies (and hanging out with S. Reiter!) in Pawtucket feeling optimism in the air, passed the civic center downtown which was lit up with voting booths and lots of activity, stopped at PriceRite where friendly strangers were asking each other if they’d voted yet… it was cool but not cold, perfect biking weather. I made pizza dough while Magic The Gathering was played at our kitchen table, then Scott got home and we made & ate the pizza together, and drank soda (pizza party!) while listening to the returns and speeches on the radio… in mostly quiet except for me occasionally wiggling around and making excited squeaking noises, and S. cracking really tasteless jokes, and then shaking his head and muttering, skeptically, “History… hmm!”

Here is preliminary goings-on for the three small prints I’m making for Craftland sale. I totally can’t seem to keep perspectival construction out of these drawings, despite my intention to make “really simple direct images”. Oh well, just wait, someday I’ll be making blobby abstract stuff & these days can be looked back on as “when she was all uptight” or something like that!

preliminary work for small prints

Thanks to xkcd for summing it all up.

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