Monday, April 6, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 16: The Robot

From my webcomic "The Last Mechanical Monster," based on a classic Fleischer Brothers cartoon from 1941, today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is a deadly engine of destruction (or unexpected compassion): the Robot.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Future Memories

A few friends have done something I really liked: they've written Facebook posts describing how they're doing, with the idea that in one or two or ten years, when Facebook suggests that post as a "Memory," they'll reflect back on what this whole pandemic/quarantine experience was like.

Here's a status report for posterity from the Fies Bunker.

We're fine. I've worked from home for 20 years and am used to solitude. Karen's an "essential worker" but still able to work from home about four days out of five. We walk the dog. Our daughters are hunkered down at their place, one of them very busy working and the other furloughed. They'll be all right.

We eat well. In the Crock Pot this morning I put a chicken breast, crushed tomatoes, white wine, bell pepper, celery, onion, garlic and spices. It smells fantastic. We'll throw in some spinach at the end, spoon that over rice, and probably get two meals out of it.

I miss going out to lunch.

To inject a little color into the day, I am trying to wear the most colorful, gaudy shirts I own. Today it's rainy so I put on a robot sweater. I smile every time I catch it in a mirror.

I don't know anyone who's died from COVID-19, but I know people who know people who have. I expect that degree of separation will shrink from two to one in the coming months.

I have posted videos for 15 "Sixty-Second Sticky Doodles" and recorded another five for next week. We'll see what happens after that. They're a lot of fun to do, although they take more time than you'd think.

I am not planning to make a graphic novel about COVID-19.

I sliced the tip of my finger with a kitchen knife a few days ago. It's healing fine but I wonder if the little divot will be permanent.

We're getting a lot of reading done. I read David Sedaris's "Naked," and while his darkly funny essays with heart are usually right in my wheelhouse, this book wasn't entirely satisfying. "Darkly funny with heart" didn't mesh with my mood. I'm currently reading Joan Didion's "Year of Magical Thinking," a memoir of her grief and mourning after her husband died while her daughter was gravely ill, and wondering if I made a terrible mistake. I think after this I'll go back to "darkly funny with heart."

I've had to cancel three book-related appearances but pulled off one, a keynote speech for a graphic medicine conference, via Zoom. Funny how we've all become overnight experts at Zoom.

I'm impressed that our local grocery store has taped off the floor to keep customers six feet apart as they line up at the register. I hear they're installing plastic shields to protect the cashiers from us.

Karen and I wore face masks to the supermarket for the first time yesterday. We have a small stock of N-95s left over from the fire. I've been joking that COVID-19 is not the scariest thing I've ever faced; it's not even the scariest thing I've faced in the past two and a half years. But I think that joke is tired now and I should retire it.

Spring is coming. The roses are budding and the hummingbirds are humming. I'm looking forward to sitting in the sun and watching the flowers and birds find each other. Maybe next week.

Take care. Wash your hands!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 15: Feet

Nobody asked for it. Nobody wanted it. Well, that's not true, one person did ask for it, but I think they were being sarcastic. The subject of today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle: feet!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 14: Superheroine Part 2

Finishing the superheroine I began yesterday on today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle. Plus some additional references below! (No, I'm not giving you homework.)

Here's a superheroine I recently drew. She took more than one minute.

An illustration of what I was talking about re: heroic proportions. On the left is Christopher Reeve, about 7.5 heads tall. On the right is Superman, more than 8 heads tall. No matter how good the costume, it's hard for real people to look like superheroes because superheroes don't look like real people.

The ancient Greeks gave their gods disproportionately large bodies and small heads.

The Hulk is really, really, really strong. Look how small his head is. His fists are twice the size of his head! It can get pretty ridiculous when you learn to look for it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 13: Superheroine Part 1

Honestly, what I usually doodle when I'm bored and my hand is mindlessly sketching whatever it wants are superheroes. If you looked into my recycling can, you'd see a dozen little scraps of paper that look just like today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 12: Cap Crater

On today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle: the Galactic Guardian, the Boy Scout from Betelgeuse, your spacey best buddy--Cap Crater, from my book "Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 11: Lillian

Not a hand in sight today, as my Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle features Lillian, from my webcomic "The Last Mechanical Monster" and one of my favorite characters ever.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 10: Hands Finale

If you're new to the blog after reading about it in the Press Democrat or elsewhere, welcome! I'd suggest scrolling down to the earlier, more entertaining Sixty-Second Sticky Doodles further down (they're numbered), then working your way back up. And thanks.

Today is the last day of Hands Week (Karen: "Thank goodness")! All I'd add is that if you want to get better at drawing hands, most of us have the perfect model sitting right at the end of our non-drawing arm. No excuses.

 Also, I end this Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle with my fundamental advice for any artistic challenge: do whatever works for you.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 9: Hands and Other Useful Appendages

I'll be honest: today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is my favorite of the week. I just think the subject matter is really cool. Hope you do, too!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

An Excellent Finalist

Neat! "A Fire Story" has been named a finalist for Pop Culture Classroom's Excellence in Graphic Literature (EGL) award in the category of "adult nonfiction." I share the category with excellent creators, including my former friends and now hated nemeses Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick for their book "Hawking" about some obscure math professor.

This nomination is particularly sweet because I was a guest of Pop Culture Classroom at last year's Denver Pop Culture Con and had a great time. It's a unique combination of educational non-profit and flamboyant comics convention that I found pretty interesting.

Winning titles will be announced in early April and honored with a beautiful trophy the evening of Saturday, July 4, assuming the con isn't canceled or postponed. The nomination is a great honor, thanks!

Above, the EGL Saga trophy for Excellence in Graphic Literature.
Below, some photos I took at the 2019 Pop Culture Con.

On a panel with Schulz Museum Education Director Jessica Ruskin
and very popular young adult graphic novelist Nathan Hale.

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 8: Hands, Balloons and Mittens

A conversation I had with Karen, exaggerated for humorous effect:

Her: How many days are you going to draw hands?
Me: Every day this week!
Her: Why?
Me: It's Hands Week!
Her: I mean, Why? Nobody wants that.
Me: Viewer request?
Her: They didn't request it every day!
Me: It's cool?
Her: (facepalm, sigh)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 7: Hands and Hot Dog Fingers

Man, whoever asked me to talk about drawing hands is probably really starting to regret it now! Here's another one. No regrets.

BTW, "hot dog fingers" is a call-back to an episode of The Office (US) in which the Dunder-Mifflin employees list it among the mock diseases they want covered by their new health plan. My comics are full of little references meant to amuse no one but myself.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 6: Hands

By viewer request, here's a Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle about drawing hands! If you don't like this one, come back tomorrow. Spoiler Alert: you won't like tomorrow's, either.

Warning: do not take anatomical advice from cartoonists, unless they also happen to be MDs or RNs or something like that. I am not.