Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 34: Wimpy Kid

Today's doodle is Greg Heffley, the Wimpy Kid, created by Jeff Kinney. Jeff and I have the same book editor, and very early in his career I gave him the worst, most wrong-headed career advice possible. He hasn't held it against me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 33: Moon Phases

Today's doodle pokes at a personal peeve. Artists, especially cartoonists, often draw a crescent Moon to signify "night time." Almost as often, they draw it in the wrong place or facing the wrong direction. Only one person out of a hundred would ever notice or care. I am that one person.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Authors Uncovered Podcast

I was scheduled to do two public book talks with Sacramento Public Libraries in April. Didn't happen. Instead, the library graciously offered to do a podcast with me for its "Authors Uncovered" series, which I was happy to record several days ago and was just released.

Host Casey Manno and I had a good chat, lightly edited here to 35 minutes. If you've seen or heard me speak before, you've heard some of these stories (I'm always aware that every time is most listeners' first time), but Casey also asked some new and good questions I haven't been asked before. Thanks to Sacramento Public Libraries, which I hope to visit in person soon!

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 32: Teenage Brian

For today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle I travel back in time to when I was 16 or so, to draw teenage me from a little zine I self-published in 2012, "The Adventures of Old Time-Traveling Brian."

(I only made 50 and they're gone, so you can't have one, sorry. However, you can read some of the comics by clicking the "Adventures of Old Time-Traveling Brian label in the column to the right).

The only inaccurate part of this drawing is there aren't enough zits.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 31: Batman

On today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle: the second most famous orphan in comics, Thomas and Martha Wayne's implacable baby boy, and a clear copyright violation on my part: Batman.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 30: A Hummingbird

I didn't grow up with hummingbirds. We didn't have them in my part of South Dakota. So when we moved to California when I was 10, I thought they were the most magical creatures in the world. Still do. Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is that hovering fluorescent fairy-flyer, the hummingbird.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 29: Snoopy

On today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle, my friends at the Charles M. Schulz Museum teach me how to draw Snoopy.

The museum offers a lot of fun homebound activities like this on its "Schulz Museum at Home" webpage. Check 'em out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 28: Trees

The joy of drawing happy little trees, on today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle. Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 27: Dr. Xandra

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is one of my favorite evil geniuses. No, not that one, the other one.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 26: USS Enterprise

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is a tall ship with a star to steer her by: the best make-believe vehicle this side of a Tardis, the USS Enterprise. Second star to the right and straight on til morning.

In today’s doodle, I call the Enterprise’s design “iconic” and say that a child could draw it. I want to explain that better. I don’t mean that a child could get the tricky perspective right, nor get all the fiddly spaceship bits in their proper places. I mean that any sketch of three cylinders and a disk arranged in about the right way will instantly read as “Enterprise” to a lot of people around the world.

Here’s an example I cropped from an old “New Yorker” cartoon by Jack Ziegler (no need to show the whole thing; suffice to say the gag’s set in a sci-fi fan’s room). That’s the Enterprise, everybody knows it, and a child could draw it. Iconic.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 25: A Minion

Juvenile, always cheerful, with the sense of humor of a 6-year-old boy. What's not to love? Today for your Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle: a Minion.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 24: Mom

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is a drawing of the person without whom I would literally not be here today.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 23: A Superhero

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is a bust--you know, a drawing of someone's head and shoulders. In this case, a superhero's.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 22: More Cartoon Expressions

You thought yesterday's doodle faces were expressive, just wait until we add mouths! Again, feel free to try this yourself: draw some simple circle faces with different combinations and permutations of eyes, eyebrows, mouths and other features, and see what emotions they suggest.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 21: Cartoon Expressions

The doodles are a bit more "How To" than usual today and tomorrow. If you're at all interested in cartooning, I'd encourage you to do this yourself: draw a bunch of circles on a piece of paper, add two dots to each circle for eyes, draw a bunch of eyebrows over the eyes in different positions and angles, and see what emotion that "face" looks like it's expressing. You'll probably surprise yourself.


Friday, April 10, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 20: The Easter Bunny

(A conversation with my wife, exaggerated for humorous effect.)
Karen: You should draw the Easter Bunny next Friday.
Me: I already have something planned for Friday.
Karen: But it's the Friday before Easter!
Me: Yes it is.
Karen: And it's the Easter Bunny!
Me: Curse your infernal Vulcan logic.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 19: A Daffodil

In case you've lost all track of time, it's spring! Which means the return of one of my favorite flowers, not least because it's a bulb that pops up year after year with no effort on my part: daffodils! Right now our yard is full of daffodils that we dug up after the fire and replanted around our new home. That's another reason they're one of my favorites.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 18: Karen

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle: my wife Karen, as seen in my graphic novel "A Fire Story" and not necessarily real life. Watch the one-minute doodle to see what I mean by that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 17: Return of the Robot

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle continues yesterday's appreciation of the Robot from my webcomic "The Last Mechanical Monster," a sequel to a classic Fleischer Brothers cartoon from 1941, which is still considered one of the most beautifully drawn and lushly produced cartoon shorts ever.

Here is that original cartoon, "The Mechanical Monsters," still considered one of the most beautifully animated and lushly produced cartoons ever. Among their other good qualities, these Fleischer shorts are credited with giving Superman the power of flight. In the comic books to this point, Superman could only jump great distances, but the animators couldn't figure out how to show him doing that without looking ridiculous. Very influential on generations of creators...

...including the animators who did beautiful work like this in the 1990s...

...and the filmmakers who made movies like "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" and other retrofuturistic fare.

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.