Comic creator. Painter. Kaiju enthusiast. Nudist. Pan. He/him. 

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cookedbrett@gmail.com

haunted by the strains of human limitation

Hello. My mind has been as scattered as always lately and there are days where my body doesn't feel like my own, but here I am. Still present and accounted for.

Slimepunk slips further and further behind. I moved to posting a page a week last month to try and catch up, which hasn't really worked. I thought I'd plant myself and crank out pages, but that's not what's been happening. Here are things that have been happening instead:

This is a painting I did of one of my figure drawing group's frequent models. I took the pictures back in June and finally did the painting last month. The only other place I've posted it before now is on my Patreon, where you can see process shots I took as I went along.

I've been watching episodes of Ultraman and Ultraseven that were directed by Akio Jissoji. One of those is the tragic My Home is Earth, featuring the kaiju Jamila. There were shots in that episode that really reminded me of Neon Genesis Evangelion, so I tried to put that kind of spin on some fanart of him.

Back in mid-June, I decided to buckle down and study human anatomy in a way I previously hadn't. I started by going through my copy of Anatomy for the Artist by Sarah Simblet, which I'd bought after graduating from college in 2012 but never actually made any real effort to READ. It felt like a workout, studying a small section a day, working my way through the skeletal and muscular systems. After that, I went to my copy of the Art of Drawing Anatomy by David Sanmiguel, which is less intensive. Both cover the same ground, but in different ways.

I think it's been super useful for me to do this, though I can't say for sure yet whether it'll change my approach to figure drawing much. My understanding of muscles is still kinda shaky, especially the complexities of the forearm and back, but it's more than I ever grasped in school, at least. I did realize though, that learning these two systems isn't quite enough. They're incredibly important, sure, but when it comes to observational drawing, nobody really looks like a skeleton or muscular diagram. It hit me that neither of these anatomy books, nor any of the other half dozen or so figure drawing books I own, really account for body fat. It's especially notable that they all use fit, athletic models, men and women who'd be considered traditionally attractive, with very little bodytype diversity. I knew I wanted to study bodyfat, but didn't know what to do.

After a few days of being unsatisfied with cartoony guides found on Tumblr that don't really describe how fat develops and shapes the body, I stumbled upon a book called Morpho: Fat and Skin Folds, by Michel Lauricella. I ordered a copy immediately and started reading it when it came in this week.

It's been an almost daily practice, this studying: I've filled 42 pages in my sketchbook, and it's been good. The human figure is clearly my favorite subject to draw and paint, learning these foundational elements has been long overdue. And it's something I'm doing entirely for myself, which feels good. There have been more days than I'd like to admit where it's the ONLY drawing I did, of course.

There's an idea slowly developing in my head as I study: a possible revival of something like Reflected Gaze, but with more of a fine art approach to it, drawing and painting different people with different bodies in a way that illustrates their own feelings about how they see themselves. If I want to be a better advocate for body acceptance, I have to do the work at drawing and painting more marginalized bodies, because my own relatively fit, cisgender, white body doesn't get that message across at all.

We'll see. I want to do more pieces that are overtly about nudism as well, which is even more difficult.

Speaking of Reflected Gaze: the blog still exists, and just last month I posted the entirety of How I Feel Human: A Zine About Nudity and Anxiety over there. Which, yes, is all about me, my body, my mental health, but still. Go read it if you haven't.

And yeah, these things are partly why I'm so behind on Slimepunk, because that's where my interest is right now. But also, I keep getting down on just how much work I'm putting into a comic while being completely unable to tell if anyone is actually reading it. I don't get any feedback at all. I feel like I'm just throwing pages out into an open street, hoping somebody will pick one up. If they do, are they just leaving it where they found it, throwing it away, taking it with them to show others? I have no idea. I still want to do it, I want to keep making this comic and putting it out there, but it feels like focusing on it above everything else is not the best decision right now.

I've also finished some commissions, which I've only shared on Patreon and Instagram. I dunno, I'm not really keen on sharing things on social media much lately, but haven't been able to figure out why. I guess finishing something and then posting it EVERYWHERE all at once just feels weird and exhausting. That's another thing I've enjoyed about the studies: I feel no pressure to share all the work. I take a picture of each day's completed notes and sketches and post it to my Instagram and Facebook stories, just to show I'm putting in the work, but this is my first time really talking about the work itself. I dunno. The internet isn't as fun as it used to be, I guess.

Oh, things are happening in the real world that I should tell you about:

Next week I'm taking my first vacation since late 2017! Ashley and I are going to Charleston for our 7 year anniversary! I've missed beaches. A lot.

After I get back, August 24th is the Johnson City Zine Fest, one of my all time favorite shows! Literally the only new thing I'll have there that hasn't been available at other shows will be the Nodzilla stickers I had made last month. If you're a fan of my chinchilla, you should come get one.

On September 15th we're giving my minicomic class another try at the William King Museum. Hopefully people sign up this time!

Aaaaaaaannnnnnddddd October 19th will be FRAG's Halloween pop-up show! We're going for a sort of zombie beach luau vibe this year. It's gonna be fun! I think we're still hoping to do the Holiday Bizarre in December as usual, too.

That's all. Gonna keep feeling scattered and weird until something changes. Take care of yourselves, folks.

Back to Back

Hi everyone. We're halfway through the year now. I was lucky enough to end that first half on a high note, though there's no certainty that this second half will be any similar.

I had two shows these past two weekends: LibCon III at the Johnson City Public Library was the first of those. I gave a talk early that morning on worldbuilding for Slimepunk, which, well, was only attended by two people. I had two times to choose from, and I picked the earlier one because I knew there wouldn't be many people in case I screwed up, and because I knew that if I picked the later one I'd be sitting there at my table the entire time panicking. My plan is to post what I'd typed up for the talk, along with the slides I made, over on Patreon for people on all levels to read, so if that sounds interesting, consider throwing a dollar or two my way now!

I unveiled a couple new kaiju prints there. You've seen Hedorah already, but I did this psychedelic Space Godzilla too:

I also got to judge an art contest at the show with a couple other artists who were there. There were three categories we looked at: children, teens, and adults. It was the most difficult picking the three best out of the children's category because, holy cow, there were so many wild and different pieces, all extremely colorful and imaginative. That was definitely the highlight of the day.

Doing those two things meant I didn't get to spend as much time at my table, which definitely affected sales, especially when a storm rolled in shortly after the art contest judging. But it was still a fun time, and the thank you note I got in the mail from the library yesterday with handwritten notes from two of the staff members was wonderful. Libraries are awesome and you should absolutely visit and support the ones closest to you, okay? Do it.

After that was RobCon this past weekend. I was...concerned. Last year they'd moved to a new location and things were kind of disastrous behind the scenes, and not doing too well at LibCon made me wonder if it was a good idea releasing four new prints and the Faerie Ishee minicomic all at once. Those fears quickly dissipated though! I started selling stuff almost right away after doors opened, and ended up surpassing my scribbled out weekend sales goal within that first day, making this year better than the last two or three RobCons I've done! It was also super nice that we were set up next to our friend Gregory Dickens, who'd come for his first Tennessee show. After the first day, we kidnapped him and another friend to go to our favorite Thai place in Kingsport. It was closed, so we went to the OTHER Thai place, one that Ashley and I hadn't been to yet, and enjoyed the heck out of it.

The next day, I wore a dress.

I think I mentioned in the last blog post that I was leaning more into my feminine side, yeah? I'd gone downtown a few times in dresses before, always with friends, but this was my first time wearing one ALL DAY, and surrounded by loads more people. I was expecting my anxiety to be through the roof, but...I was fine! Even walking around and browsing vendor tables by myself didn't feel too strange. I got a handful of compliments from people, but the biggest thing for me was someone running up to me as I was leaving the restroom, hands clasped at their chest, to excitedly tell me that they support me and that they're trans. It was really lovely and cute, the awkward earnestness of the moment. I kind of just sputtered thanks a few times before they turned and left, but I wish I'd told them that I support them too. Or at least found them later to give them one of my Fuck Transphobia buttons. But still! I talked to a handful of other young people who were also queer, and probably more experienced in being out and open about it than me, and that was nice too. That it was the final day of Pride month made it nicer.

Sales weren't as good as Saturday, turnout dropped, but I still did better than previous years, and grabbed a couple Godzilla toys that I'd been eyeballing the day before. On the way home we stopped at Target so I could get Super Mario Maker 2, and I didn't bother changing into regular clothes beforehand. My anxiety shot back up in such a wildly different public setting, but I made it through and I feel a lot less sheepish now.

I'd also worn a different dress the Friday night before RobCon to see a favorite band play downtown, and that was a lot of fun. I actually danced! I dunno, wearing a dress just feels better and I feel more like I can be myself in one. It was good thing to learn this past weekend.

So what's next? I'm not sure. Right now I feel like crap, so I should probably rest. Issue 5 of Slimepunk has begun, but I do not have the kind of lead I wanted. I spent two weeks feeling sick, had to do lots of prep for the two shows, plus the pages keep getting more and more complex, so I'm not sure I'll be able to hold onto the current schedule. Still, I think the comic looks better than ever, so hopefully it's worth it.

I've got some commissions to do too, I've just scheduled July's figure drawing meetup, and for the past few weeks I've been studying my copy of Anatomy for the Artist, trying to learn more about the skeletal and muscular systems to improve my understanding of my favorite subject matter. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you've probably seen the sketchbook pages I've been posting in my stories. It's kicking my ass, it feels like a real workout, and I'm enjoying it.

There may be some other shows this year, but I don't know yet. We'll see. Until then, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. You do the same and take care, okay?

Maintaining stability

Hello. Things have been bumpy. Not everything, just a few things.

I've pretty much only been working on Slimepunk lately. We're more than halfway through issue four right now, unless you're subscribed to one of the higher tiers on my Patreon, where I posted the entire finished issue just last week, along with a process post this week for one of its pages. I've got some new prints coming soon for it plus some other things. I'll probably do what I did last time and take a break once issue 4 ends, especially since I've not really started on issue 5 yet, oops.

There's also the Faerie Ishee minicomic, being serialized exclusively on Patreon for now. It's, visually, a bit different from Slimepunk because I wanted to aim for a more illustrative feel with the backgrounds. I did make the first page free, so here it is:
I'm halfway through serializing it, too. I finished drawing the final page of it the other day, and I'm trying to finish coloring and lettering it this week so I can send it off to print ASAP. All Patreon subscribers will get a free PDF when it's done and people at the $10 level or higher will get a free physical copy mailed to them!

Oh, I should make some Faerie Ishee buttons, too.

I'm trying to hammer these things out quickly because next month will be kinda busy. I'm signed up for two shows at the end of June: on the 22nd I'll be a guest at LibCon III, hosted by the Johnson City Public Library! The show has a cosmic sci-fi theme, and that morning I'll be giving a talk on Slimepunk, focused on my worldbuilding process, inspiration, generating ideas, that sort of thing. And June 29th and 30th will be Rob-Con!

There was a third show the week before those, but I just backed out of it last night. It's never an easy decision to make, but a certain requirement for the show was just too difficult for me to pull off and it was causing me a lot of stress. I still feel pretty shaky about it, but I'm sure it'll be good for me in the long run.

It also means planning figure drawing for next month will be a little easier too. I'm excited for our May meet-up this weekend, though it feels like this year I've just kinda been on autopilot and not really pushing myself much. I feel dopey plugging my Patreon again, but there's a subscription tier where you get to see me post all of my drawings from each session with random commentary, if that interests you. That's kinda why that particular portfolio hasn't been updated at all lately.

Oh, I did find time to do another Social Justice Kaiju. This time it's Space Godzilla:

It felt particularly relevant and important for me to do this because this year I really have been exploring my more feminine side and trying to break away from traditional, masculine standards. I've taken up sewing, cooking more, and most recently have started wearing dresses. It's fun and cool and it feels good to be doing these things, although there are some days where I don't feel like I have as solid a grasp on myself as I used to. Going out in public has taken on an extra level of anxiety, too, which was to be expected. I'm figuring it out, though, and I'll hopefully feel a lot more stable about it before the end of the year.

I think that's it. Take care of yourselves, do what's best for you, and just keep at it.

Looking for patrons!

Hey folks! Lots going on, so I'll try to be quick.

First and foremost: I'M ON PATREON NOW! I just launched it on Monday, with 4 reward tiers available, all affordable. My first public post on there laying out some plans I have in mind (including serialization of the Faerie Ishee minicomic) can be read here. Please consider signing up for it, or spread the word! I think it'll be fun.

I've been thinking about making one since...probably 2016 or 2017, and even had it on my list of goals for last year. I kept getting cold feet because I couldn't think of what kind of rewards to offer and also figured nobody would support it. That's still fully possible, but at this point I was tired of being paralyzed with worry. Whatever happens, happens.

(There is also still my Ko-Fi page if you just wanna throw a few bucks my way, which is also much appreciated)

That and Slimepunk things are really all I've been working on lately. Issue 3 ended earlier this month, and I've been on a break from posting in order to try to build up a decent lead once more. Issue 4 will start next month! The cover goes up next week! Excitement!

I'm a little bummed that the comic workshop I was going to teach at the William King Museum a couple weeks back got canceled, but not enough people signed up for it. We're going to try again in September, I think. I had made three little example minicomics for it, which I've since made copies of and will be trying to sell at upcoming shows and things. The prep work and notes I made were super useful for figuring out how to talk about comics and my process, so it still feels like it was a good use of my time.

I haven't really felt like doing much other than comic work lately, but I feel that's about to change soon. I haven't painted lately and I'm getting the itch to return to that, plus I'm wanting to play around more with different media when Defining Bodies meets up. We got together Sunday and I tried pastels for the first time since college. The results...aren't too great.

(oh yeah, one of the reward tiers for my Patreon lets you see EVERYTHING I draw at our get-togethers, the good and the bad, along with a lot of rambling about figure drawing, so if that's something you're interested in, go sign up for the Figure Drawing Fan tier!)

If nothing else, I need to play with other things in order to keep burnout at bay. Buying new vinyl kaiju toys on eBay has certainly helped:

Those were done entirely in Clip Studio Paint, as I need to practice more with digital drawing. I'm getting better at it, I think. The Hedorah in particular will be released as a new print at an upcoming show!

I think that's where everything stands for right now. I've been able to keep a good flow going, chipping away at things every day, but I just know that won't last. It never does. I've been knocked off my feet by so many things this year, and I know it'll happen again. The important thing is getting back up and back at it more quickly than I have been. I've got a checklist now, a routine of sorts, things to do and motions to go through every day no matter what happens, and sticking to it has helped immensely.

We'll see if I can hold my form. You hold yours, alright? Take care.

Goals for the Year

We're just over a month into 2019 and things haven't quite let up. I'm getting things done, at least.

I was going to write about how tired I am, the way the holidays drained me and how every time I've had a chance to recover something else has come up, including some of the worst news of my life, new aches and pains in my body, and other stresses. How I've spent most of this year so far just being Not Okay, but...eh, no point. Everyone's going through stuff, right? If you know me well, you know what's going on, and we'll leave it at that. I don't have time for pity parties.

Every year I set a bunch of goals to try and achieve. Last year I wanted my own solo art show, and I somehow landed three. I wanted to move out of my apartment, and I wound up with a brand new house. I wanted new glasses, so I got an eye exam. I'm not quite so ambitious this year, but progress is already being made towards the things I'd like to accomplish this year.

I decided that, as far as paintings and figure drawing go, I need to do more portraits and focus on faces, because there's a distinct lack of them in my work from the past two years. I started, of course, with myself, for a self portrait contest that my girlfriend's mom sent me:

Followed shortly after by this portrait of my good friend and art sibling Maud:

I've got at least two more lined up to paint, one of which I'll be starting on this week.

I'm keeping track of how much I spend on a weekly and monthly basis to see if doing so will help me scrutinize my habits a little more closely. I'm doing good so far on the keeping up part! It's the spending part that was a little out of hand in January. Gonna have to dial some things back this month for sure. It's definitely a good thing to be mindful of.

One of my more unusual goals I guess was to be photographed nude by someone who knows what they're doing. It hasn't happened quite how I expected to, but I did have a friend and FRAG member take pics of me as I modeled for a figure drawing night last month, and the results are quite lovely. Turns out I look really good wearing thigh high stockings, who knew? You can read about that (NSFW) experience over on Reflected Gaze.

A goal I kind of failed on last year was to cook more, and to try new things too. I'm a little more determined this year, but off to a slow start: I've cooked for my figure drawing group once, and tried my hand at making stuffed baby bella mushrooms and chicken enchiladas, both of which were a success. The quesadilla I tried to make last night with the leftover chicken? Not so much. We've been watching Master Chef lately too, which has been inspirational.

I got back into exercising 5 or 6 times a week shortly before Christmas, but I've done some things wrong and pushed myself too hard, so I've slowed down and focused more on doing yoga and finding ways to relieve the various pains I'm dealing with. Still beats being lethargic, at least.

It's all slow progress, but it's progress nevertheless.

There are other goals that I'm working towards: some kind of social nudist stuff with friends, learning to be more emotionally expressive in person towards people (especially family members), maybe trying to buy a long desired kaiju toy if I can spare the money, and doing more to push my work.

I deleted my old Big Cartel page that only one or two people ever bought from and switched over completely to Gumroad. On top of digital versions of most of the comics I've done, you can also get physical comics and Social Justice Kaiju button and sticker sets! I'm hoping to expand it even more soon! I still contemplate Patreon, but keep seeing more and more lousy news surrounding it and wonder if I wouldn't be better off doing something else.

Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk is still updating every Tuesday and Thursday, to the delight of at least one person who's reading it. I haven't figured out how to get the word out to more people on this thing. What should I be doing to promote it? Are there press people I can reach out to? Should I (gulp) pay to advertise it somewhere? I have no idea! Add to it that I've fallen behind schedule once again thanks to the holidays and terrible news, and it's clear I'm not sure what the heck I'm doing.

But I'm doing it all the same. There will be a Faerie Ishee minicomic later this year too, just so you know.

As far as shows go, I won't be seeking out as much this year. There are a few people I'd like to talk to about having solo gallery shows with, but haven't really put in any work towards that yet. The Bristol Bizarre will be returning, and I'm excited to be a part of it. I'll try to be involved with whatever FRAG does, and I should be doing a couple local cons as usual, but I'm not going out of my way to pay and do any bigger shows.

OH! I'm teaching a comic illustration class next month at the William King Museum! I'll be showing people how to make little folded minicomics on a single sheet of paper! It's going to be cool, you should sign up for it.

So yeah! Lots to look forward to! Just gotta keep at it, right? Right.

December's Over

The year is at an end. It feels like it's gone on forever.

Over the course of 2018, I attended and sold my work at twelve different events. Seven were conventions, three were FRAG shows, and two were receptions for my own art. I had three solo art shows too, and my figure drawing group Defining Bodies met up eleven times altogether, including our public event at Bloom Cafe. I hosted seven of those meetups in my own home.

I did 34 paintings this year, more than half of which were done for those art shows. Over the course of those eleven Defining Bodies meetups plus one FRAG get-together, I did well over 130 figure drawings. I also got back to work on Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk and did my minicomic zine How I Feel Human. Between those two, I've drawn 42 comic pages this year.

I finished and released the first issue of Slimepunk in July. I made and released How I Feel Human in August, I think, and sold every copy I printed. I finally sold out of my remaining copies of Other Sleep and the Nation Mutation Coloring Zine, and nearly sold out of Debris Field. I debuted a bunch of new prints from the paintings I'd done, which sadly weren't too successful. I started making and selling buttons, with the social justice kaiju being the big hit there, along with the stickers I started selling.

Also, the Kickstarter for mine and Danny Djeljosevic's comic BattleArc 2088 was a real success, making almost twice the amount of our modest goal. I just got my own copies of the book in the mail over the weekend, which I'll start selling soon! It was a long time coming, and I'm so happy it's out in the world now.

Amidst all of this, I finally got new glasses and my dad built me a brand new house which my girlfriend and I moved into at the end of August, among other, smaller milestones with my life.

I'm exhausted. It was a pretty big year, all things considered, but it still doesn't feel like much here at the end. Feels like I'm still just spinning my wheels. I couldn't have done much more, but I feel like I could've done better, you know? Looking at how I did at those twelve shows, only two or three really stick out as hugely successful while the others were kind of middling, and I want to change things up a bit to try and sell more in the future.

Plans are already underway for next year, though. Slimepunk will keep rolling along, I hope, and I have some spin-off things in mind to go with it like a Faerie Ishee minicomic and maybe a coloring book. I'm still going to try to do fine art, though not quite as much as this year, and in a different direction too. I hope to keep Defining Bodies moving as well, and need to try to plan our next meet-up soon. I want to sell more online, and do more commissions and professional work for people. I'll be teaching a comic workshop at the William King Museum in March, and presenting at the Johnson City Public Library's LibCon in June. I'm not so sure about other shows yet, but I'll always try to be involved with anything FRAG does, of course. They're currently plotting a potential spring show that sounds like it'll be wild fun.

That's already quite a bit to be excited about. So long as I keep working and don't idle, things should be okay. It's been a long, rough year, but we made it to the end, so surely we can make it through the next one as well, right?

Bummed, but still working

I've been feeling kinda down lately.

Part of it was the weather changing: the moment it starts getting cold, my body and brain go haywire and I feel sick and lethargic and not much like myself.

Part of it is the bombardment of terrible news lately, just one awful thing after the next.

Part of it is personal family stuff I'm not going to talk about. Not yet.

Part of it is just exhaustion: doing three shows three weekends in a row last month, immediately after moving into a new house, was a lot of work.

Part of it is how those shows went: fine, but not great, which felt really disappointing after the amazing success of the Johnson City Zine Fest back in August. There were plenty of highlights, like my art sibling Maudlyn coming and staying with us the weekend of Frag-O-Ween, someone telling me at Conapalooza that Debris Field made them cry because it was exactly what they needed to read at the time, seeing some really good friends at KapowCon, things like that, but it's hard to shake off how underwhelming it felt to put so much work in and only do just okay.

And part of it was this past weekend's figure drawing party: it was the final meet-up for three of our members, who are all moving to Korea later this month. It was a short, kind of bittersweet get together where not much drawing happened. They've been a part of Defining Bodies since the very beginning, it was their encouragement that got things off the ground, and saying goodbye to them sucks a lot.

I'm tired, I'm sad, I hurt, but I'll keep going, because good things are happening too.

I updated my portfolio with some new kaiju art and paintings from the three shows I did earlier this year and never got around to sharing, so go look at those when you're done reading.

(and yes, I am nude in the new profile picture to the right. I feel like that shot does a pretty swell job of getting an idea of what kind of person I am? I dunno. I like it.)

I didn't do any daily art challenges for October, but a lot of my friends did, several of them trying it for the first time. It made me extremely happy to see them sharing their work, and I hope they keep it up even though the challenge is over.

Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk is back on track after some hiccups, updating twice a week. The first issue will be coming to an end soon, I've got the second issue nearly completed with some minor edits to be done, and I'm already drawing and coloring issue 3. Spread the word, I'm hoping to pick up more steam with this.

Last week I was emailed about two killer opportunities for next year that I hope to be able to take and had a friend ask if they could interview me for a class assignment on Appalachian artists. Stuff like that helps me feel like I'm not just wasting time, it's gratifying.

My best friend is home after traveling the world and I got to see him today! I missed that guy.

I think everything's ready to go for BattleArc 2088. I mailed buttons and sketches to Danny a couple weeks ago, so everyone who backed the Kickstarter should be getting their rewards before long!

Oh, and the Asheville Comic Expo returns this Saturday! This is my penultimate show of the year, with FRAG's Holiday Bizarre happening on December 1st. I hope to see some of you there.

Surviving just isn't enough

Hello! Things are about to kick off and get super busy, so I'm gonna try to make this quick.

I moved into my new house at the end of August and have been here for a month now. The closest thing we had to an actual housewarming party was figure drawing early in September, and that was when I stopped feeling out of sorts and it really started feeling like my home.

One of my paintings from the Emotive Environments show at Bloom Cafe sold! I took the show down on the 6th and mailed the painting to Georgia the next day. It's a nice feeling.

The Johnson City Zine Fest was AMAZING. It was my best show of the year, which is crazy to say. Things went well with the new How I Feel Human Zine, so much so that I've printed a handful more copies for upcoming events this month. I wrote a blog post about making it over on Reflected Gaze, if you're interested in reading that.

I spent most of September working on Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk and not much else. The website is up and running, and I've been posting pages from the first issue, so go check that out. I've got one page left to draw of issue 2, which is much shorter, a few pages left to color, and the whole thing needs to be lettered after that. I'm trying to get myself on some kind of schedule for producing finished pages, but between the move and several other things, work on the comic has been all too sporadic.

My brain's been a bit messy lately. A lot of tangled thoughts sending me in different directions, and I haven't yet worked out how to untangle them and talk about the things that have been going on. Parts of it are family related, and parts of it involve a friendship that ended right before the start of the year, things that have happened since, how things have been recontextualized recently, and how it relates to the recent horrific news revolving around that judge that I unfortunately share a first name with.

One day I'll be able to articulate these things and make some sort of art out of it, but for now it's just a matter of not letting any of it overwhelm me and keep me from working and seeing people and such. I dunno. I try not to get TOO personal when I write these things most of the time, but I figured I should let folks know that I'm even more scatterbrained than usual lately.

ANYWAYS.

I've mentioned before (I think) that I'm not participating in any daily art challenge for October this year. Six consecutive years was more than enough, and I no longer feel like I need to do it. I'm still proud of the work I did in previous years, which you can find in this portfolio here, along with the comic Shouting at the Void. I wish those who are participating this year, in Inktober, the Bill Counts October Game, or whatever else, good luck and hope they don't burn out and give up.

Not doing it doesn't make this month any less of a gauntlet, though. October 6th, this Saturday, is the first annual KapowCon at Virginia High School here in Bristol! The show is free, though donations are encouraged, as the show is supporting a nonprofit organization called Roots to STEM, put together by a couple of the organizers who I'm friends with. You should come check it out if you can!

The very next day I'm hosting figure drawing again, with a spooky occult theme in mind, sort of. I bought Batman underwear specifically for the occasion.

The next weekend, October 12th-14th, is Conapalooza at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport! This is the con's second year, and it's the final big multi-day show that I'm doing this year.

The weekend after THAT is Frag-O-Ween on October 20th at the Model City Event Center in Kingsport! This one will probably be the most fun of the three: there will be free food, drinks, and music, and about 40 or so artists are setting up altogether! It's gonna be a blast. You HAVE to RSVP to the Facebook event in the link as Going in order to get in, so DO THAT NOW.

I've been doing a lot of work preparing for all three shows since I won't really have much time in between to restock things. I'm cranking out more social justice kaiju buttons, I've gotten stickers printed to sell, and I reordered copies of Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk #1. 

I'll have two more shows left this year after these: the Asheville Comic Expo returns on November 10th, and FRAG will have their annual Holiday Bizarre in early December.

I'm tired, but this has also been one of my most successful years ever as an artist. I can manage five more shows, right? I think so.

I know things are rough, the news is horrible, people are ugly, and some days all you can do is stay afloat. But hey, you've made it this far. Nothing's killed you yet. Keep at it, I'm rooting for you. Take care.

Endless juggling

Okay.

Let's take a moment.

Breathe.

And take stock of everything I've pulled off lately:

My new show, Emotive Environments, is up at Bloom until September 6th. The opening reception didn't have a huge turnout, but I'm grateful to those who showed up, and I managed to sell a lot of books and prints, making more than I made on the first day of Rob-Con. I feel like Bloom is the best place for those paintings, and I'm so happy to have them hanging there. It's my third solo show this year, and most likely final because it turns out doing three solo shows and creating new paintings for all of them is an exhausting experience. While it was incredible, given how I wanted to have at least one show this year, I uh, don't recommend it.

Figure drawing at Mockingbird Listening Room and Gallery in late July was a lot of fun, and I can now say I've been nude in an art gallery, which makes my nudist soul happy. An August meeting isn't really possible, but hopefully we'll get to hang out and draw again next month.

Rob-Con was fine. Not my best year, but not my worst. I bought multiple Godzillas, the first Power Rangers toy I owned as a kid, and a Zeo Megazord, so that rules. I also saw some friends for the first time in years, which was also great, and got to spend time with other friends who I don't see too often.

The first issue of Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk sold pretty well both at Rob-Con and the art reception! It's also available on ComiXology if you prefer your comics digitally, and after the Johnson City Zine Fest next weekend, I'll put remaining copies up on my Gumroad page. The second issue is coming along. It's shorter, so I've already got it halfway drawn, but I'm behind on coloring and haven't even started lettering. I also haven't worked on the website much at all, and need to make buttons and things for that. For now, there's a Facebook page where I've posted occasional news and character profiles.

The Kickstarter for BattleArc 2088 was a success! We made $1300 altogether, almost twice our goal, with 78 backers total! Danny is waiting for the money to come through so he can order the books. I've been cranking out buttons to go to a large number of those backers, put together a PDF of concept art and process stuff, and have been getting ready to do sketches for certain backers as well! I can't wait for this comic to get out into the world and people's hands.

MY HOUSE IS ALMOST READY. I've been going over there after work about 4 or 5 days a week since the beginning of July to help my dad work on it and get things finished up. We ordered appliances and the plumber came this week. I'll be moving in around first week of September, I think! It's finally happening and I'm dizzy from it. I need to finish packing and clean up the apartment.

Finally, as mentioned before, Johnson City Zine Fest is next Saturday, August 25th! I just finished up a quick new zine for it called How I Feel Human. It's 8 pages, and it's all about nudity and anxiety. More specifically, it's about why I'm a nudist and how it helps with my anxiety. I put it together fairly quickly, in a style somewhat influenced by Ashley Wood's comic illustration, like his work on Zombies Vs Robots. It's loose, it came together quickly, but it was still tough due in large part to how intensely personal it is.

I doubt many people are going to want to read it, so I'm not printing many copies at all. I needed to make it though, if only to better understand how to articulate my feelings on these things. I'm really excited for JCZF regardless of how it sells, it's become one of my favorite shows to do.

And that's it. Still so many things going on, but it feels like a lot has slowed down since I made it through Rob-Con and my art show. I'm trying to take more time to relax while I can before moving into the house and getting to work on everything for the Kickstarter. I do have three shows in October, but I've got time before I need to worry about those.

Take care, stay safe, and I'll see you all again soon, yeah?

All at Once

Hello. A whole lot has been going on lately. In no particular order, here are some things that are currently happening:

Danny Djeljosevic and I launched the Kickstarter for the comic we did together called BattleARC 2088, and within a week we're already so close to meeting our goal! There's a lettered preview up, and incentives include getting older comics of ours in PDF form, attomachine buttons, sketches, and script reviews! We've been quietly working on this comic since, I dunno, 2016, I think, and we're so excited to get it out into the world. Please consider throwing some money our way so that we can get it printed and released!

You'll notice in the preview, there's a character who may be super familiar if you're one of the people who picked up a copy of Burst Reach, my very first minicomic, all the way back in 2011. I'm really pleased that doofus made it into the book.

We skipped figure drawing in June due to me packing up my apartment (the house still isn't done, I just got ahead of myself) and folks being busy and out of town, but one of our models offered to host at the beginning of this month. This is the third time we've had a psuedo 4th of July themed drawing party. And we're getting together again this weekend for a private session at the new Mockingbird Music Room and Gallery, which is owned by a couple cool friends! I'm not sure when I'll be ready to host our group again, hopefully sometime next month, but I'm grateful that others have stepped up to keep our get-togethers going.

Here's a big one: I've finished and printed the first issue of a new Slimepunk comic!!
THIS is the webcomic I've been trying to work on since last summer. I still plan on it being a webcomic too. I've got a domain and a site set up, but there's still a lot to do before that's ready to launch, and I just haven't quite had the time. But I was eager to at least get this first issue out, and it'll be making its debut at Rob-Con next weekend! Here are a couple pages to get you going:
Keeping this under wraps for so long was also kind of a pain, but it should be available on ComiXology before long, too!

Oh, and just a few days after Rob-Con will be my new show at Bloom Cafe here in Bristol, called Emotive Environments. I hang my work on August 1st, and August 2nd from 7-10 will be an opening reception! I'm working on probably the final painting for the show as we speak, but here's one that's a self portrait I finished a couple weeks back:
This one is titled the Friction Between the Soul and the Outside World, which is kind of butchered from a line from my favorite movie, Stalker.

Things will hopefully slow down just a little bit after all of this, especially once the house is finished and I'm moved in. The Johnson City Zine Fest will be August 25th and I have a minicomic in mind that I'd like to do for it, but we'll see if I'll be able to.

So, um, I think that's everything for now. Gotta get back to work. Take care of yourselves!