Four Talking Boxes 2165


I’ve drawn a bunch of ink cards over the last few days. They are baseball card size (2.5×3.5 inch cards) drawings that I make spontaneously with ink and a brush. I made twenty four of them over three days and over the last three years I’ve made over three hundred ink cards. The odd thing is that I really don’t know what to do with them. They don’t have a place in my process as the small ink drawings in my ink book do or a place in my “Drifting and Dreaming” comic strip as my regular art cards do.

I draw my ink cards in two different ways. One way is with my busted brush technique. That’s when I use a brush that is old and doesn’t come to a point anymore. The brush spreads out and has four or five points on it. That makes it hard to control but that’s the point of using it: to work in ink with a brush that’s hard to control is to give up the idea of making a perfect drawing. Of course I try to control the outcome of the drawing the best I can but it’s not like using a pencil and an eraser. I have to make the best of what marks I make. It’s a good way to loosen up my drawing and discover new ways to make images.

The second way is with a regular pointed brush. When I do this I tend to hold the brush straight up and down. That’s how Chinese calligraphy is done and if you ever have seen video of Eastern brush masters it’s amazing to see. I’m not quite that good. I usually hold the brush more horizontal and pull it across the page. That’s the European way. That’s how I make thick to thin lines but that’s not what I’m looking for with these ink cards.

It’s funny but I often have a tougher time making these cards when I use a good brush. With the busted brush I accept that things can be out of control and try hard to adapt to that. With the good brush I have to stop and think what kind of mark I want to make. That’s what I have to get over. That stopping makes me hesitate and I don’t want that. Usually the drawing that fail are the ones I do with the good brush. I make a few marks, try to make a decision, end up painting myself into a corner. Oh well, they’re small and I can start over.

One of the things about drawing this way, in a spontaneous style, is that you have to make a lot of drawings in order to get some good ones. Since the goal is not “To make a good drawing” but is “To make a drawing of a new image that I may no be able to consciously think of” good drawings don’t always happen. Out of the twenty four drawings I made, I’d say, that four of them are real winners. It’s not that the other twenty are terrible but they only succeed in part. It takes the ability to deal with frustration to draw this way.

It also always takes longer than I think it will to make a bunch of these drawings. Any individual drawing might only take ten minutes to draw but as a whole I can only get a few of them an hour done. That’s because things don’t always go my way and I often have to slow myself down and concentrate. It actually might be more like finding a place between concentration and distraction. It takes a mindlessness that’s hard to achieve. I have to concentrate on clearing my mind so I can try to draw with few preconceived notions and pull images out of the back of my mind.

Though I end up with many different types of images on these cards I can break them down into a few different categories. The first is tiny little full figures. I can do these with either the good brush or the busted brush. I draw a person or persons from head to toe and they’re usually an inch or two high. I also like to draw an environment around the figures. I’m torn as to which brush is better for this technique. I try to keep the figures loose and sketchy. Sometimes that’s easier with the busted brush but not always.

The second type is the waist up figure. This makes the face a little bit bigger and is all about the head and arms gesture. Though I’ve made plenty of them with the good brush I think I prefer the busted brush for these. It’s a little more gestural and that’s what I need. I sometimes tighten up with the good brush and end up drawing like I was working in my ink book . That’s not what I want. With the busted brush I can keep things looser.

The third type of drawing is the head and shoulders type. This one can be broken down into sections too. First is the monster heads. This is pure busted brush. I make my five by seven and ten by fifteen inch monster drawings with the busted brush so it naturally follows that I make these small drawings with it too. Lots of scratchy marks and crosshatching with the spread out bristles. The busted brush is good at scary drawing.

Finally there is the non-scary head and shoulders type. They might still be a little weird and scary but they’re not monster faces. The good brush works for this type. The busted brush can work too but I tend to want to make monsters when that one is in my hand. It requires restraint to make a regular face with the busted brush so why not just grab the good one? So that’s what I end up doing.

After I do the drawings I scan them into the computer in case I want to do something with them later. I still haven’t managed to turn one into a bigger drawing but maybe someday I’ll figure it out. Until then I’ll keep posting them on my Instagram and Twitter. What else am I going to do there?


I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got three new comics.

  • The Beauty – 21
  • Deadly Class – 33
  • Eternal Empire – 8
  • Thanos Infinity Gauntlet: True Believers Edition
  • Check them all out here:



    Spring has arrived even if it did come with some snow this April. So now I’ll take some time to look back at some of the TV shows I’ve watched this winter. There seem to be a lot of them (thirty one!) but that’s because almost everything has a six to twelve episode season. That means every show is the equivalent of two or three old shows that had full 24 episode seasons. I usually watch about two hours a TV a day. From 9 PM until I go to bead at around 11 PM.

    Mindhunter – A ten episode Netflix show in its first season. It’s a historical piece set in the late 1970s about the first FBI agents to systematically interview serial killers in order to figure out how their minds work to help them catch other serial killers. It’s not quite a police procedural. It’s more like a show about the police figuring out their procedure. It’s good. I haven’t finished it yet.

    Love – A half hour Netflix comedy that I just discovered in its third, and last, ten episode season. It stars Gillian Jacobs from the show “Community” which is why it caught my eye. It’s a romantic comedy about the process of our two main characters falling in love. It tends to be a bit raunchy too so if that’s not your thing then you might not like it. It’s been my workout show this winter. I either ride the stationary bike or do my dumb bell exercises to it. Haven’t quite finished this one either.

    Santa Clarita Diet – Another ten episode Netflix show that I discovered just before its second season launched. It’s a comedy starring Tim Olyphant and Drew Barrymore as a married couple but then Barrymore gets turned into a zombie. Not a mindless zombie but she does have to eat people ignorer to survive. Hijinks ensue. I just started season two.

    Agents of SHIELD – It’s season five of this show already? Hard to believe. I may not be a fan of the Marvel movies but I’ve enjoyed this show. It’s changed it’s basic premise a few times and this season they even got thrown into a dystopian future for a while. I find it fun

    Runaways – Another Marvel show. I’s about a bunch of teenagers who find out their parents are super-villains. I read the comic this is based on back in the early 2000s and this is a loose adaptation. They didn’t even run away all season. It was okay but really more of a teen show.

    The Gifted – A third Marvel TV show. It’s based, sort of, on the X-Men. Once again it was just okay in my book. This was as much a family drama as a super hero show. It reminded me of an 80s family show with super powers. Eight is Enough with mutants.

    A.P. Bio – A new show starring Glenn Howerton from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” who is forced into a new job as a high school teacher. Much like his Sunny character his character here is not likable. So far it’s okay but not spectacular.

    Alone Together – A ten episode comedy about a twenty-something man and a twenty-something woman who are platonic friends just trying to get through life except they are losers and things don’t go their way. It’s kind of a weird gentle comedy. Chris Delia shows up in some episodes and he’s the funniest thing on the show. It has potential but it’s not there yet.

    The Mick – Another “Sunny” alumni, Kaitlin Olson, stars in the second season comedy about a streetwise woman who has to take care of her blue-blood niece and nephews. It’s a raunchy comedy that twists the “Family comedy” concept around and looks at it through a distorted looking glass. Funny stuff.

    LA to Vegas – A first season comedy about the people who take the weekend flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and the crew that serves them. ‘Y’know, “Cheers” on a plane. So far it’s okay.

    The Simpsons – I still watch this show every week. The “Banacek” episode was my favorite.

    The Last Man on Earth – The fourth season for this end of the world comedy. Zany humor that still works for me.

    Timeless – Brought back for a second season this time travel adventure show is kinda fun. It’s not afraid to change the past and therefor the show’s present which is rare for a time travel show. I dig it.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Season five of this Andy Samberg comedy that was, at first, compared to “Barney Miller.” It’s still quick-witted and fun. The cast and writing are crisp and can all move fast. I like it.

    iZombie – This is another TV show based on a comic book. One from Vertigo/DC Comics. It’s in its fourth season and doesn’t follow the comic very closely. At first it was a police procedural and now that’s mixed up with living in a post-zombie city. I think this one might be growing a little bit stale. We’ll see.

    Scorpion – A goofy show about a team of geniuses who take on really hard tasks and solve crime. I’m not telling you it’s a great show but it’s amusing. Yeah, I surf the web a bit when this one in on.

    The Blacklist – Season five for this FBI special task force procedural. I guess it fits into the “Quirky Detective” genre that I like so much with the quirky detective being a criminal who is helping the FBI. I wasn’t into season one of this show but starting in season two I’ve been enjoying it.

    Man with a Plan – A middle-of-the-road sit-com starring Matt LeBlanc. I like him in it (I’m a “Friends” fan) plus Kevin Nealon is good too. Nothing special but likable and pretty well crafted.

    Superior Donuts – I wish this one was funnier. It’s on the bottom of the pile for me but I like the cast. It’s not the wittiest of shows but it has its moments. I do some web surfing during this one too.

    Lethal Weapon – A fun action police show in its second season. This one surprised me since I had no expectations for it. The two leads, Daymon Wayans and Clayne Crawford, are good in it. It has a nice action movie vibe to it.

    The Brave – A first season show about an elite team of soldiers who are sent to hot spots around the globate perform missions. I’d call this one an exciting action show.

    Seal Team – Another first season show about an elite team of soldiers who are sent to hot spots around the globate perform missions. I’d even get the plots of this and “The Brave” mixed up from week to week. But I also enjoy this one.

    Superstore – A third season sit-com about a bunch of people who work in a big box store. This show has always surprised me. It takes the mundane and makes it a bit witty. It’s two lead characters are fast talking and have good timing. All in all it’s a pretty solid sitcom.

    The Good Place – It was Kristen Bell and Ted Danson who originally got me interested in this show. After two twelve episode seasons it’s still a funny show. It takes place in the afterlife but is it heaven or is it hell? And does Kristen Bell even belong there? The show plays with these premises in funny and creative ways. Good stuff.

    The Big Bang Theory – Same as it ever was. You either like it or you don’t. I enjoy it. But I’ve always done a little bit of web surfing during this show.

    Supernatural – It’s season thirteen for this show and I’m still watching and enjoying it. What more can I say?

    Portlandia – This is the eighth and final ten episode season for this skit-based comedy about the crazy characters who live in Portland Washington. Sometimes it’s laugh out loud funny but most of the time it’s amusing. A fun bit of goofiness.

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – A zany hour long musical comedy. Not a show I ever expected to like but the lead in it, Rachel Bloom, is so good that it won me over. That and its crazy sense of humor.

    Comic Book Men – The show that most of my comic book friends have no interest in. But I like it. It may not be the wittiest show ever but I find it to be a bit of gentle fun.

    The Middle – The last season of this long running comedy. It’s as good as ever.

    Modern Family – Another long running comedy but this one is continuing for at least another season. They keep it fresh and I still like it.


    I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got three new comics.

  • Snotgirl – 10
  • The Wicked + The Divine – 35
  • The Walking Dead – 178
  • Check them all out here:



    As a comic book reader I’m always thinking to myself “I should sit down and reread those comics.” But then there never seems to be the time. After all I go to the comic book store every week and buy new comics. I read five or six new comics a week and usually I read them twice. Once the week I get them and then a second time the following week. That’s my habit. I like reading a few different comics in one sitting. Maybe a new issue of The Savage Dragon, then a Lazarus, and after that a Usage Yojimbo. I find the variety fun.

    I don’t usually buy back issues but I do occasionally buy collected editions of old comics. I have Marvel Masterworks collections of some of my favorite old comics like Starlin’s Warlock, Perez’s Avengers, and Ditko’s Spider-Man. I don’t always get to reading those right away and they can sit around for months waiting for me to get to them. I don’t know why except that I usually read my comics as periodicals rather than novels. Yet I’m always wanting to read them as novels too.

    Some people only like to read their comics as novels in collected editions. They often say they hate waiting between issues and like to read a big chunk of something. I find this explanation lacking because the single issues come out first and there is even more waiting if you’re only reading collected editions. You could buy the single issue, let them stack up, and then read a big chunk with less waiting than reading just collected editions. I think what they really mean is that they prefer the convenience of having a lot of issues in one one volume. There is less to keep track of. That makes more sense to me.

    I like reading my comics in the monthly format because I enjoy their periodical nature. The wait between issues is part of the enjoyment. A cliffhanger isn’t effective when you can just turn the page of a collected edition and see the resolution. When you have to wait a month is when a cliffhanger works. There is time to talk about and contemplate the comic. Time adds to the story experience.

    Another thing I like about single issues is the covers. Comic book covers are an art all to themselves and they are best seen on the actual comics. They usually print the covers in the collected editions but as inside pages they have less impact. Often the inside edge of the cover is eaten up by the binding and that makes it harder to see and ruins the composition. I especially like flipping through old comic book series to look at the covers. It’s like a little time machine. You can watch the months go past as you flip from cover to cover. You can’t get that from a collected edition.

    Whenever I actually do reread comics it’s a conscious decision to change my habits for a little while. When I take a break from doing work I sit down and play a video game or surf the web for fifteen minutes or so. Instead of doing that I have to choose to sit down and read some comics. I really have to do it consciously. Reading a pile of thirty or forty comics can seem like a large task compared to video games or web surfing which takes no effort at all. Reading those comics is really a pleasure and not a task but my brain doesn’t always think so until I start. Often after I start I have to tear myself away from the comics and get back to work.

    I actually got around to rereading some comics in the last couple of weeks. The first is a Crossgen comic called “Scion.” I’m a little nostalgic for Crossgen comics. There is a sort of lost world aspect of them for me. They were here and then gone. Crossgen was around from about 2001 until about 2005 and they made a lot of good comics. I have fond memories of them. Crossgen is probably the first company to get digital coloring right. It was better than Marvel and DC’s digital coloring at the time. “Scion” ran for 41 issues that were mostly written by Ron Marz and drawn by Jim Cheung. I reread all 41 issues.

    Overall I give the series a grade of B. It wasn’t my favorite Crossgen series but it was solid. The Jim Cheung art gets an A though. One of the reasons the series isn’t higher with me is that it’s about royal families. That’s a subject matter that I happen to dislike so if you don’t have that prejudice you might like it better. It’s about to kingdoms that are going to war with each other and the lead character is a prince of one of the kingdoms. It’s kind of a mash-up of sword and sorcery and sci-fi adventure. There are princes that hate each other, family power struggles, a little Romeo and Juliette action, betrayal, bounty hunters, and big battles. It’s worth a read if you never have.

    The second group of comics that I reread is Terry Moore’s “Echo” issues 1-30. This came out from 2008-2011 and I’ve meant to read them as a group ever since then. It’s only taken seven years but I’ve finally done it.

    “Echo” is a character based sci-fi story about a woman who witnesses a woman in a hi-tech flying suit of metal being shot down by missiles only to have the suit attach itself in part to her. Now she’s being pursued by an arms company that wants to keep her quite and get their weapon back.

    I say it’s a character based story because in any Terry Moore story the interaction between the characters is generally as important if not more so than the plot. It takes place in the Terry-verse as some of the characters from his long running “Strangers in Paradise” comic show up. A couple of Parker Girls make an appearance.

    I’ve never been disappointed by a Terry Moore comics and this is no exception. It’s an excellent series. Terry Moore’s art and storytelling are always on point. He especially good at drawing pretty women and great hair. Reading it from month to month there were some issues where things moved very quickly and it left me wanting more but reading it all at once I had the more at my disposal. I still remembered the feeling though.

    That’s one of the reasons I like reading comics monthly. I can experience them as periodicals with time to reflect between the issues and as a graphic novel. Reading them just in their collected form takes one of those experiences away from me. I like them both. I just have to make the time for that second one.