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

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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.

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