Category Archives: life

The Cartoonist Is Distinctly Grumpy with Broken Glasses

Poor man’s bifocals.

The cartoonist also sees his poor-man’s bifocals as a cursed, but necessary, evil.

As of three weeks ago, new glasses (by necessity sans bifocals) were two months backordered.

(singing) “One day my frames will come…”


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The Springwater ‘Autumn Equinox’ Studio Tour

I admit I was not relishing the idea of My SGAA Tour Displayearly mornings this past weekend, but the payoff was huge (coffee, bagels & doughnuts helped).

I got to hang out with Mike Guilbault & Lisa Harpell for two days & talk about art, marketing, philosophy, direction & innumerable other topics. I left with increased knowledge, a couple of potential leads, & some story ideas. I could not have asked for a more positive experience.

I also made my first sale!

But my proudest moment was showing Lisa’s eight (I think) year old son how to draw ‘easy’ hands. He has school chums who make comics, & he expressed mild interest. When I asked if he’d like to take my sketchbook page with him, he was super casual about it, like ‘Sure’ with a shrug, but when it was in his hands I heard him say under his breath


I cannot overstate the reward of teaching something of value. I’d like to do more.


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Fun with Self-Mockery

Broken Glasses: Ain't This Messed Up

Broken Glasses:
Ain’t This Messed Up

Broken Glasses: Douchebag

Broken Glasses:

The lulz never end. In today’s edition, it’s a strip of titanium that messes with my head; specifically, the right-hand Silhouette temple piece.

It snapped.

I’m not talking about the plastic pins that go through the plastic lens. A strip of titanium folded without any help from me, then fell apart. (Product history: The pins were once a weak point after the lens material–the previous weak point–was strengthened, which was fixed when consumers regularly claimed warranty repairs after over-estimating overall strength b/c the metal parts were ‘so tough.’)

Broken Glasses: Creepazoid

Broken Glasses:

Broken Glasses: Sexy

Broken Glasses:

It started yesterday, mid-afternoon, when my glasses kept going crooked on my face, & I needed to repeatedly adjust them.

They haven’t suffered any recent trauma (or any significant trauma, ever), so the strange, obtuse-angled fold confused me. It that shouldn’t have folded at all. B/c, you know, titanium.

I bent it back into place with my fingers (another feat that shouldn’t have been possible – it’s freaking titanium!), then put them to my face. I still had a hold on them when the temple piece disintegrated on that spot.

My optometrist’s staff assured me that, despite the material, I was lucky to get this lifespan out of my frames (purchased in ’03). I said I understood, in terms of lesser materials. Titanium is as strong as steel–& these strips are thin–but they don’t corrode, & witnessed/caused no previous damage. There is, as yet, no good explanation as to why the temple piece failed.

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The Separation of Mediums & the Artist

Finally, I made my way uptown to the brand new comics shop in town, Jack’s on Queen. I bought some bags’n’boards for the comics package I have planned for the Springwater ‘Autumn Equinox’ Studio Tour (PDF) later this month.

The plan is twofold:

  1. to offer some ‘market separation’ between my comics work & framed, gallery-worthy fine art prints, &
  2. to do my part to help the SGAA cross-promote with local businesses.
I'm so original.

I’m so original.

Local government encourages the latter; it–huzzah!–has been very supportive in recognizing local artists & artisans as vital to local culture & economic growth. I feel it’s an important part of social responsibility.

The former is a possible overthink in terms of my engagement with public. I’ve had three conversations during the past week about the focus of one’s body of work, & I don’t feel it’s a coincidence.

The first was with a fellow cartoonist with whom we share mutual respect for each other’s work. She declined a collaboration b/c the theme doesn’t fit into her overall theme, & she’s taking care to curate her projects & what her name is attached to. I contrasted that consideration with my aspirations to writing as my focus, with illustration as necessary byproduct, & my eagerness to indulge in a variety of genres, as a kind of jack of all trades – not out of desperation, though, but simply when projects interest me.

Then I enjoyed a brief conversation with a local painter; she was present when I picked up my latest framed piece. She had seen two other pieces of mine that were thematically similar & asked if it was the thread that ran through my work. This caused me to reflect on the idea of broad appeal of higher-ticket items (framed artwork) versus the (sometimes very) controversial nature of the stories I write & cartoon into comics.

Last came the convo with the comics shop owners. They, like me, find it encouraging that the Guild & government have embraced a cartoonist as a ‘fine’ artist. The graphic novel has made great strides toward acceptance as literature in larger centres, but I feel like a bit of an ambassador for comics in my rural area (er, not to sound too pretentious, eh?).

As an artist whose work generally runs contrary to convention, I’m encouraged.

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Humour When Drunk

How's your glass?

How’s your glass?

If you’re like me (I feel sorry for you), your sense of humour changes dramatically when drinking.

Once upon a time, I went into a DVD rental outlet with a buddy after a few drinks. I spend my brief time there reconceptualizing the film titles.

Out loud.



I was asked to leave. Upon our exit, I was chuckling (not so quietly) & my friend was apologizing for me.

Since I’ve been drinking this evening, that story is hilarious. When sober, I’m mortified.

Why did I share that? Tomorrow I get to blame it on beer.


The Truth!


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Lichtenstein Strip: A Follow-up

Me & fellow cartoonist/good acquaintance Leanne Riding had a brief FB/Twitter convo about my previous OpinioNation, Lichtenstein: Recontextualisation, Attribution & the Soul of Art. [dead link]

With her blessing, I distilled & cartooned it. (Check the bottom LH corner of Panel 2 for my homage to Leanne’s webcomic, Pillows: Homeland.)


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Fear of Art

…not of society’s fear of raw honesty, or of the ruling class’ truth-to-power, but of my own insecurities.

Sometimes the terror comes from an editing process out of my control; sometimes it’s in seeing a work executed by an entity I should trust, who comes highly recommended, whom others trust.

I once joined a band who’d just shot a music video. Eventually, it debuted at a party. I was unhappy with a key scene & worked very hard at trying to find a tactful way to critique it (tact was then a new concept to me). I was convincing & the volunteer videographer revisited the scene.

That was 2003. I have a copy, but still haven’t seen it, out of fear that I’ll be disappointed. There’s actually a pain in my chest right now, thinking about it.

Last week saw the delivery of a print job based on my work. I have full confidence in the entity that did the job, yet the terror is back. The strange thing is that, if I had been in town for the scheduled delivery, I’d’ve been there to see it.

But I wasn’t. And now it looms.

I’d planned to go up today to check it out, but kept finding little things to do instead.

Yet it’s no one’s job to reassure me. This is my problem; others’¬†reassurance will only be a crutch if I keep relying on gracious good reviews.

– – – – –

Sticks, by Margaret Shulock

Sticks, by Margaret Shulock

A naval-gazing, TMI post-script: This is one of several banes of good art–of good work in general. The praise before printing was near-gushing, & the approval of others was like a high. It helps–or maybe it doesn’t–that I’m very happy with my design job. But now, upon delivery, there’s only the public announcement of its arrival. See, I signed the proofs, & my money wasn’t spent. So, is it fucked up that there’s a little voice in the back of my mind that wonders whether it doesn’t live up to expectations? Sorry for the rhetoric; this, too, is my problem, & mine alone. I need to get off my ass &, whatever the printed result, get it behind me.

Making art for the judgement of others is…

So. Much. Fun!

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