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Entries in Cartoons/art/photos (36)

Tuesday
Dec272005

Holidaystuff

My dad took us out for dim sum at King's Garden yesterday. Yummm. My favourite dim sum is steamed shrimp dumplings. I could hoover boatload of those things. Hm, I probably did.

Afterward, we went back home to get the house ready for Jeff's gaming buddies. Since we put our First Christmas Decorations In Our New House, I've been so looking forward to having people over and doing the hostess thing. Certainly made our house feel even cozier with the crackling fire, Christmas tree all it up, tunes in the background, people chatting and playing games.

Gaming


We're still unpacking and putting up pictures, but the house feels much more comfortable than it did when we first moved in. I'm sure that part of this because it's starting to accumulate some good memories. :-)

Living room


Enjoyed hanging out my friend Cathy today, visiting from Calgary. We had lunch at Ho Su and then dropped by Loomis Art store (the one I raved about in my last entry). The store is having a 20% sale off ALL STOCK, yesterday and today! I bought some beading/wire tools like a wire jig and a crimper tool and nylon saw pliers as well as some fabric paints.

A week and a half left until GAfilk!

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Thursday
Dec222005

90 Seconds Of Dave Huth

Christmas tree


Ok, I was wrong when I said I probably wasn't going to be posting any more Blatherings between now and Christmas. This is the last pre-Christmas Blathering. Really. I'm serious this time!

I've finished my Christmas shopping. I've had a mini-breakthrough with my novel writing and am MUCH happier with how it's turning out. I'm having fun working ahead on my Will Write For Chocolate strips (the comic officially launches next month). After a snowstorm the other day, I walked outside and found that one of our neighbours had shovelled the walkway and driveway for us; Jeff is going to return the favour, of course. I LOVE this neighbourhood. I love our new house. I just got an e-mail from old friend I used to hang out with at the University of Toronto, who happened to stumble on one of my online projects.

My list of Things That Make Me Happy These Days could go on for much longer. I feel pretty lucky, and try not to take anything for granted. And I'm SO looking forward to spending lots of time with friends and family over the Christmas holiday. I'm seeing Allison and Jodi tonight!

But the real reason I felt compelled to post is because I've recently been perusing the online projects of Dave Huth, a friend of Rand's I met at Concertino a couple of years ago (photo by Allison):



Dave is one of the most talented and creative people I know. Do check out his paintings, sculptures and drawings at Iconville. And his incredibly creative photo collages of friends and family. And his amazing macroblog. Hey, and I just noticed he even has his own podcast!

But today I'm to going to mainly rave about Dave's video blog, which I only recently discovered. 90 Seconds of Dave is Dave's experiment in micro media. "Video blogging is a weird and unpredictable exercise. I'm translating ideas, moments, and bits of my life into 90-second chunks of video." Trust me...this is much, much better than what you might expect from a "home movie" blog. Most of Dave's videos require the latest Quicktime 7, which is available free from Apple's Web site.

Dave with cat


Cat lovers are sure to enjoy his most recent entry, for example, which includes a link to his Budget Gifts video. "With this many nieces and nephews, you gotta be frugal. You gotta be clever. You gotta put in the time for creative solutions. Mooch agrees."

Dave has also been posting installments of his independent film, Lorem Ipsum, online. Here's the intro page. "Lorem Ipsum is an independent movie shot and edited entirely with digital tools. It is being released serially through my videoblog. This page is where I will collect all of the pieces of the story, as well as where I will post the entire finished film once all the parts have been released." Rand Bellavia is one of the characters in the film, for those interested. :-)

Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone! Drink eggnog, hug your loved one(s), make snow angels. I'll be back after Christmas.

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Thursday
Dec152005

My Life In A Nutshell

My Life In A Nutshell: update at last


My friend Scott Snyder commented in Flickr about the strip above: "And that's a long time to be on the edge of your seat. I think I need some salve..."

:-D

For those of you interested, archives of "My Life In A Nutshell" are available online. I started this semi-autobiographical strip back in 1999; you can see the first one here.

Snow Girl


Saw the Narnia movie a couple nights ago with Jeff and quite enjoyed it. Lucy was PERFECT. Some of the scenes were EXACTLY the way I had imagined when I first read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a nine-year-old. Jeff and I stayed through the end credits so we could clap for Weta Workshop. I am a Weta groupie, not only because of the amazing job they did on Lord of the Rings, but also because of my Waiting for Frodo interactions with Weta Digital. :-)

Had a good writing day yesterday. Also got another confirmation of a small illustration project, and an inquiry about a combination tech writing/illustration assignment. I've started working on an online illustration portfolio. This is new territory for me but I've been getting an increasing number of offers for paid illustration work, so I figure it's about time I approach it as seriously as I do my writing.

I put Christmas lights up on my office tree! See below:

Christmas lights


I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I LOVE MY OFFICE. My new craft corner has been in heavy use with Christmas present wrapping; it's so great to be able to leave stuff out instead of having to put it away each time.

Hey, I have 78 people in my Frappr! map! It's great seeing seeing a sample of where my readers are from, including Japan, England, Ireland, Germany, Canada, U.S. and Scotland. And of course in yesterday's Blathering, I learned more about Liechtenstein (a small state next to Switzerland) and Malaysia (they sometimes hook Christmas ornaments into their backs (!)). Sadly, Frappr! doesn't seem to work with all browsers.

Last month, I launched an informal experiment to see how high I could get a page called "skimper" up on Google rankings. As of yesterday, I was surprised to find that I'm currently #1 out of about 13,000 results! Looks like "skimper.com" is offline for some reason, and there's no sign of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (or whatever his name was).

How people are finding me:



buckley's cough syrup: I'm #1 in MSN Search. Ha.
chocolate covered grasshoppers: #4 in Yahoo!Search. I've been getting a surprising number of people looking for these. Are they THAT popular?!?
Worst love songs: #2 in Google.
stacking firewood: #2 in Google.
too paranoid: #1 in Google.
ematei: #2 in Google.
cute librarian: #2 in Google.
How many species of wild guinea "pigs are" there: #1 in Ask Jeeves.


Snowman


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Tuesday
Dec132005

crafty

Penguin xmas ornament


The picture above is of a Christmas ornament I added to the tree yesterday. It's a penguin I made from Fimo some years ago but never got around to doing anything with. I got out my glue gun (also now unpacked, yay!) and stuck a paper clip on him...and voila, insta tree ornament!

Mary Bertke and I were recently talking in LJ about homemade Christmas ornaments, and came up with the idea for a homemade ornament exchange next year. A few months before Christmas, interested crafty-types would add their names to the list and we'd all exchange addresses; that way we'd each know how many ornaments to make, and we'd have a month or two to create and mail them. Too late for this year, sadly.

Hm...perhaps each participant could make one extra ornament, and each year's collection of ornaments could be donated to an Interfilk auction the following year. Probably OVFF, since that's the one right before Christmas. That would also give non-crafty types a chance at the whole collection.

(Update: Wow, looks like people are already willing to sign up now for next year! If you're interested, please see the comments section in my related LJ post.)

Less than a month until GAFilk! I've almost finished my contribution to the GAFilk quilt:

My GAfilk quilt square contribution


I ordered the materials (including the ready-made square with the music edging) from Margaret Middleton. To those interested in contributing a square for next year's quilt...it only costs $1.75 to order the quilt square kit from Margaret! See this page for details as well as photos of quilts from past years.

I originally envisioned the whole square to be embroidered but changed my mind as I was embroidering the "Dandelion Wine" text across the top; note how the text size gets smaller near the end...that's because my enthusiasm for embroidery was quickly dying with each painstaking letter and I wanted to get it over with. Even now, I'm cringing at the idea that I have to do more sewing, to fasten the squares and the batting together along the edges. At least I know I have a few weeks.

Stop laughing at me, Allison! :-D

I admit it...I SO lack the patience to be a good needlework person!

Anyway, I went out and bought some fabric markers to finish the rest. THAT part was fun, so I think I'll stick to drawing my quilt squares from now on. Might even do two next year.

Hm...looking at the square, I realize that I still need to colour in Tom's moustache and beard, but don't have a brown fabric marker. Hm, guess I'll have to improvise somehow. Dandelion Wine is the GoH at GAfilk next month.

I've started up a (very small so far) Flickr craft photos set, for those interested. The only other craft I have photos of so far is my first and only attempt at painted ceramics, a birthday gift for Jeff earlier this year:

Mr. Grumpypants mugMr. Grumpypants tile coaster



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Thursday
Dec082005

miss squarehead

Portrait of a Snowman


Above: I drew this NON-digital (*gasp) picture using my niece's pencil crayons. The carrot doesn't look quite right; I still need to work on perspective drawing.

I've been spending more time with my sister's kids since we moved into their neighbourhood. Jeff and I both have our own different relationships with our nieces; mine, not surprisingly, tends to focus on creativestuff like music and art and crafts.

Years back, I introduced my nieces to comics as a different way of telling a story. They were both fascinated, and I encouraged them to make up their own comics. On the fly, I made up a character named Miss Squarehead that was purposely easy to draw so that I could draw my strip quickly, and to show them that the drawing didn't have to be complex and sophisticated to tell a story.

Since then, both of them have come up with their own comic strip characters as well as experimenting with different drawing styles. They're obviously influenced by their mother's artistic talents; both can already draw better than many adults I know. :-)

I think I must have drawn at least 50 Miss Squarehead strips over the years, during comic-drawing sessions with my nieces. The three of us will sit happily drawing for 20-30 minutes at a time, occasionally peering over at each other's progress and finally reading each other's completed strips at the end of the session. Sometimes we'll do up to three or four strips in a row this way.

Anyway, I decided to keep the most recent Miss Squarehead strip and scan it for Blatherings, just for fun, before tossing it. Please note that there is pretty much NO planning ahead re: plot...much of the challenge and fun of these sessions is from making the story up as we go along. I drew the first panel below, for example, with absolutely no idea what I was going to do for the rest of the strip.

Click on the image below for a bigger version; it's one I drew last night in the most recent comic-drawing session with my nieces:

Miss Squarehead Meets Santa Claus


I've been doing comic strips for as long as I can remember. I did a four-panel strip about a somewhat psychotic baby called "Boppy" for our homemade family newsletter when I was a child. I got paid to do Bible-themed comics for a Sunday School newsletter when I was in high school, and also won a typewriter and a couple of dictionaries in a comic strip contest for a country-wide high school newspaper called Sunshine News.

Update on my newest comic, Will Write For Chocolate...it launches in January! The URL will be http://www.willwriteforchocolate.com. Wordy, I know, but wwfc.com was already taken.

Hm...I might scan some of those ancient comics I've been Blathering about and post them for fun. I need to unpack my scrapbook first, though, and I also reserve the right to change my mind once I actually look at them again.

:-)

I also need to get some kind of illustration/cartoon portfolio online. I'm starting to get more requests for paid illustration these days (and an increasing number of requests for free art which I'm having to turn down more often, sorry) simply because of posting stuff on Blatherings and Flickr, so I -know- that it would be worth actively seeking clients.

My focus will always be on writing, but I'm realizing the wisdom of spending part of the time developing another source of income. When my tendinitis acts up -and at this point I have to admit to myself that my tendons may never recover fully-, I can still use the Wacom Artpad even I'm not able to type as much. And having two types of arm-use activities reduces the possibility of over-use of one type of tendon.

I know...that's a lot of tendon talk. But it's the way I've had to learn to think. Everything is in terms of "arm points," which refers to how much activity I can do with my arms each day before my tendons get tired out. I have a lot more daily arm points than I used to, but I still have to be careful of how I use them.

Thanks to those who were kind enough to participate in my songwriting poll yesterday. I'll be compiling your answers into an entry for the Filking.net FILK FAQ. I'll wait another week, though, just in case others want to contribute.

From my Sketchbook archives:

Snow Clones




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