Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Little Book of Stupid Questions

 I'm not sure this qualifies as a mini-comic but it is a mini-book. And it puts to rest that false chestnut that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Click on the graphic for a link to the PDF on Dropbox.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Lessons From 2020

What lessons have we all learned from 2020, the year that exceeded everyone's expectations of how bad things could get. To be honest, I never thought it got so very bad, maybe because I always image how much more worse it could be.

That said, there are still life lessons that can be gleaned from this year, and I thought I'd use my current interest in kawaii to highlight what those lessons might be in comic form. Some more serious than others. I present them below for your review.

It's nice to feel needed!

Sometime things stink. And that's OK!

You can be both strong and fragile.

Sometimes life looks like a chessboard...

You rock!

Even a nut like me...

Know your rights!

A good idea...

Love is a mug of hot tea!

Are emojis up to the challenge?

No one said there would be math!

Too much perspective?

I know it is here somewhere!

Wait. We were supposed to plan?

Yay music!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Drawing Kawaii in 5 Simple Steps!

Ever since I subscribed to The Pheonix weekly comic I've been a big fan of the Squid Bits segment and its author/illustrator Jess Bradley. First off, Squid Bits is hilariously funny. But also, like many of the artists I enjoy and admire, Jess's style seems simple but belies a skill with lines that few can match.

So, of course, I figured I'd try.

One of Jess's many books is Draw Kawaii in 5 Simple Steps from Sterling Children's Books. I bought a copy and decided to try my hand at recreating the kawaii characters in the book with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, since my hand drawing is atrocious.

Below are a number of the "very serious STEM comics" I made following the examples and steps in the book. I've been posting them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and tagging them as #STEM-ish because of their dubious science content. Eventually I'll get back to doing my own doodles, but this is a fun way to connect with an illustrator whose work I admire.






Ghosts (No STEM content at all!)

Cacti & Succulents

Llama Boy

Happy 'Shroom

I like big hearts!

The price of love

Friday, August 28, 2020

All About The Airctopus

The airctopus is a non-existent creature that I doodled one day at work and eventually used as a form of creative procrastination. I made up little facts about the airctopus, its habits, behavior, etc. and posted them to social media. I did all this when I should have been writing more stories. But it was fun, and was kind of like writing little stories so I'm not going to feel bad about it. In fact, I'm telling myself it was good practice! I am however not asking myself what exactly it was good practice for.

So here are all my procrastination social media posts gathered together in one blog post. Not necessarily in order.

Although I'd doodled airctopuses before, this was the first one that led to creating fun fact posts about them. My tweet said: "I'm supposed to be writing so I drew some airctopuses in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. #amprocrastinating"

Airctopus Fun Fact #1: The airctopus is much more closely related to the jelly fish than the octopus for which it is named, but airctopuses just think airctopus sounds cooler than jelly bird.
Airctopus Fun Fact #2: The airctopus can modulate its internal body temperature allowing it to rise and fall in the atmosphere as if were a miniature hot air balloon.

Airctopus Fun Fact #3: Airctopuses were originally thought to be a form of fungus as they reproduce via spores. Further study has shown that airctopuses are not a fungus, and frankly they did not appreciate the implication at all.

Airctopus Fun Fact #4: After their spore phase, airctopuses enter their fry stage. They are no longer dependent on the whims of the air currents and can be seen engaging in simple air play which prepares them for the aerial acrobatics adult airctopuses are known for.

Airctopus Fun Fact #5: Airctopus elders are revered and loved by their pods. But airctopus coloring fades with age and elders find if harder to constantly stay afloat. They will perch on tree branches for support where they are regularly mistaken for stray plastic grocery bags.

Airctopus Fun Fact #6: The airctopus usually moves slowly and deliberately, however when the need arises to make a swift exit (or when performing aerial acrobatics) the airctopus can inhale a large quantity of air (Fig. A) and quickly expel that air (Fig. B) to make its getaway.

Airctopus Fun Fact #7: Airctopuses do not make good pets. Highly social, they must be around their own kind and they enjoy their freedom too much to allow themselves to be held captive for long. Also due to their dietary habits they should not be kept in confined spaces. #poot

Airctopus Fun Fact #8: The fossil record has revealed an evolutionary predecessor of the airctopus known as airctolopithecus. Below is an artist's rendering of this early airctopus relative.

Airctopus Fun Fact #9: Airctopuses have been observed capturing fireflies inside their body hollow at dusk in order to make themselves glow in the dark. It is not known if this display is designed to attract a mate or just to tick off the fireflies.

Airctopus Fun Fact #10: Airctopuses can be very smart, but individual IQ levels span a wide spectrum. For example, an airctopus that has temporarily taken on the shape of a triangle may have an interest in geometry, or it may just be trying to make friends with a traffic sign.

When Airctopus pods cross paths, they will sometimes form impromptu choirs and compete against each other in displays of dominance. The choirs will sing songs of ancient airctopus lore, mating call songs, and their favorite, doo wop.

The usually solitary Spider-Eyed Airctopus is a rare subspecies found in temperate deciduous forests. Their multiple eyes are thought to have evolved to see in multiple directions in dark forests. They are the only airctopus subspecies with eight tentacles.

It is thought the extra tentacles evolved to help the Spider-Eyed Airctopuses travel through the trees from branch to branch, unlike the Monkey-Faced Airctopus found in tropical rainforests which only has four tentacles but did evolve a prehensile tail.

Usually found in small family pods, Monkey-Faced Airctopuses use their prehensile tails to travel the understory of the rainforest in search of fruit. Scientists believe their facial markings evolved to help them more easily make friends with real monkeys.

Monkey-faced airctopuses have been observed interacting with monkeys and sometimes lemurs. Usually offering joy rides above the rainforest canopy in exchange for food.

Before being identified as an airctopus subspecies, Spectral or Cave airctopuses were thought to be the ghosts of spelunkers that died while exploring caves. Their translucent bodies, large red eyes, and moaning vocalizations did not help to dispel this myth.

It is now known that their vocalizations, which sound like moans and shrill screams, are a startle reaction that occurs when they find humans trespassing in their domain.

Jellibyrd Foods, a snack food company, is the only business to ever use an airctopus (known as a Jellybird in some regions of the world) as its logo/mascot. Sadly, they went out of business after a competitor started rumors that airctopus was an ingredient in Jellibyrd products.

The Jellibyrd Foods mascot was named Hungry the Jellybird and was depicted with its mouth wide open ready to eat more snacks. Hungry's catch phrase was YUM YUM! I'M HUNGRY!

A real airctopus was originally hired to act as Hungry the Jellybird but after it had a very public and very bad reaction to their Shrimpee-Shrimp snack chips, Jellibyrd Foods decided to use a costumed-human mascot instead.

And that is it so far as of 08/28/2020.

Monday, May 11, 2020

A Quarantine Reading of A Rather Round Alphabet

For some reason I decided to video (and post to YouTube) myself reading Francis S. Poesy's A Rather Round Alphabet. Maybe during the lock down parents and teachers will be able to use it to teach their kids how not to make YouTube videos. Enjoy!

A Rather Round Alphabet by Francis S. Poesy as read by Tim C.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Making booklets from packaging paper

I made a quick how to video for making booklets out of packaging paper that comes in some of our deliveries. It is one big long strip of craft paper that can be flattened out, folded, and stapled together for a bit of quarantine family fun. The video was originally longer but I ran out of space on my phone (lesson learned, delete all un-needed photos, etc before filming). There are also some things I'd change if I were to do it over again, but I think the idea comes across. Let me know what you think and if you make some booklets of your own.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Kidlit in the time of Corona Virus

The KidLit community is showing up with bells on during all the social distancing and self-isolation called for because of the Corona virus with all kinds of great book readings, talks, and activity sheets. So, far be it from me to not hop on this fun band wagon. I am periodically posting a page from my alphabet book, A Rather Round Alphabet, on Twitter here:

Also, I'm making the PDF of the self-published book available for your reading/printing pleasure. I'm not expecting a huge response as I'm not a well-known name but I figure I should do what I can. If there is any response, I may start a  collaborative effort to write and illustrate the other books I thought of doing in this vein, A Totally Triangular Alphabet and A Simply Square Alphabet. We'll see what happens. Until then, feel free to download the PDF of A Rather Round Alphabet here:

Friday, February 28, 2020

Quick and Dirty Screen Printing

I recently became a member of Second State Press in Philadelphia and took their Quick & Dirty Screen Printing class. The above picture shows one of the quick & dirty two-color screen prints I made during the four hour class, featuring a couple of my 2-Bit Overlord sprites. The instructor, Ash Lim├ęs, was engaging, patient, and very knowledgeable. The class was tons of fun, I met a great bunch of fellow art makers, and I can't wait to schedule some time for a new project.

Now I just have to decide what that project is. I have so many ideas, including printing a mini-picture book!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Introducing another doodle guy

Another doodle character that might become more. Might not. We'll see what Mr. Dirty Sock Head Guy tells me about himself and if he's more interesting than he seems. I'm thinking he might be, as there is a lot of room for brains in that dirty sock head of his, you know, since he basically has no body whatsoever. Maybe he'd be a good tech helper character in the Wiener Man universe.