Here’s my Krampuskarten from last year. As always, nobody comes out looking especially like themselves, though I think my version of Krampus himself is pretty consistent from Krampuskarten 2015.
Taking Krampus in a bit of a different direction here. As I understand it, he’s really about punishing the bad kids. Here he’s just lech-ing out on the womens. But that seems like something he’d do. If and when Krampusnacht catches on in the US—I still can’t believe it hasn’t—you can bet that this will be added to Krampus’s MO.
Quick housekeeping note: I’m going to start tagging people by first name only, and I may even go back and change the tags of my previous posts. I got some unwanted attention/feedback when tagees from previous posts came up in Google searches (but I’ll admit to being pleased that my blog posts showed up in the search results!).
No bonus points for this idea—the inspiration for it has been literally in my face for…how long has Maia had her phone, now?
Still loving on my new Tombow magic marker set, so much so that I did something I haven’t done in a long time: gave a comic strip the Sunday treatment (that means “using color,” for those of you not hip to the newspaper scene). I don’t think I’m very good at coloring my drawings, by which I mean to say I think I’m lousy at selecting colors. I need to stick to much more subtle colors. These Tombows may get most of their workouts in the “collect ’em all” efforts.
As to the drawings, I like these. I don’t think I got the three later-year Maias down all that well, but I’m quite pleased with newborn and blankie Maia. Aged-up Jon and Lisa were fun to draw.
“Such a little crumbcake” is a line from one of the Skippyjon Jones books. It’s become one of many family catchphrases.
Oh, “‘poster” in “‘poster blankie” rhymes with “zoster,” as it’s a back formation of “imposter.” ‘Poster blankie was the backup blankie Lisa and I ordered (after much searching on eBay) once we realized blankie’s importance. Needless to say, Maia was NOT fooled when ‘poster blankie was swapped in on laundry days. (Thank you, Caughos, for that original blankie—truly a baby gift that kept on giving).
SRV is The School in Rose Valley, and the Sword Dance is the elaborate dance the Middle Circle (grades 3 and 4) performs at the annual May Fair.
Willow May’s Tex makes his second appearance in the comics page (such as it is).
No, Lisa and I don’t really have prints of all these pictures (and, yes, a couple of of these drawings are based on actual pictures—digital pictures).
The first panel was supposed to have a banner at the top saying “2034” (which is why my talk balloon is a little lower), but there wasn’t enough room at the top of the drawing to cut and paste the banner in. Hopefully, it’s clear enough from the various cues that this is occurring in the future.
Condensation from a pint of delicious refreshing Ship Bottom The Shack IPA dripped onto my drawing pad, smearing some of the lines between panels 4 and 5. Editing software helped minimize that mishap.
Here’s the last of the drawings I did in my Wacky Packages drawing session from February, finally colored in.
I once again used the flood fill feature of my photo-management software, which I am losing my fondness for. The program offers a lot of color options, allows for more even coloring, and saves me marker ink. On the other hand, the flood fill never seems to know what to do with the black lines, and it can yield a too-cartoony look to the finished product (which I know is a weird thing to say about cartoons).
Also, I tend to leave gaps in the borders of shapes and “balloon letters” (that’s what Maia used to call block letters), so when I flood fill an area—for example, to make the letters yellow in this drawing—I invariably end up having a whole area overfilled with yellow until I can go in and use the clone feature to close the gaps in the outline. This is something I consciously corrected for as I inked in the lines of this drawing, which was distracting and took some of the fun out of the exercise.
As far as the product and the parody go…I love Violet Crumbles, but they are hard to find (Amazon aside, but I’ve been trying to get the Amazon monkey off my back). They’re from Australia, and they are divine. The parody practically writes itself.
OK, so 3 down, 27 to go for my own Wacky Packages series. I’ve been given a couple of ideas (thanks, Beth and Robby), so hopefully I can get a few more of these out there. I don’t have any ideas for proper comic strips, so I can keep my hand in the cartooning/blogging game that way.
Content-wise, I have nothing to add to this cartoon. This is just the way it is these days.
Drawing-wise, I am pleased with this one. Not so much with the way it turned out (though I am happy with that, too), but mostly because I had something of an epiphany while I was working on it. I wanted to ink this one in and get it done quickly (I’ve set a goal of completing three cartoons a month, and I’m already falling behind), so I didn’t worry about making the character look like who she’s based on. The process went a lot faster.
It made me realize how much my concern about people saying “I don’t look like that!” or “[Person] doesn’t look anything like that!” slows me down. And that’s a microcosm of how I live much of my life: being so concerned about some largely unimportant consideration that I am tentative and apprehensive when I finally get around to what I need (or want) to do.
The depressing thing is that I take extra time to try to make characters look like the people they’re based on, and they never do anyway.
Trainspotter alert: barn cat is Willow May Farm’s Hazel. Couch cat is Kittyboy, the poor thing. First panel horse is (obviously) Tex, the one Maia rides regularly. The other horses are from Central Casting.
Also, I have no idea how to draw a saddle and didn’t bother checking online to see what they look like. So that’s what Maia is carrying in the first panel.
In 2011 I resolved to draw a cartoon every week. The resolution didn’t last very deep into the year—hopefully I’ll do better this time around. One of the cartoons I DID complete is this one.
Perhaps my greatest regret is that Maia and Mom never got to meet: they would have adored each other. This drawing was my attempt to open a window into an alternate present where I could close that unhappy gap.
Hard to believe I drew this six years ago. Maia would be 6 in this picture (I still remember the flowery fleece she’s wearing here), and it would have been Marts’s 79th birthday.
Today would have been Marts’s 85th birthday, which doesn’t seem as old as it once did.
This week marks the twentieth anniversary of my first visit to Koinonia, a Lutheran retreat center, former camp, and frozen deer carcass burial ground in Highland Lake, New York. It’s a tradition that dear friends of ours have followed for years and years, and it’s a tradition that I am touched, flattered, and honored to have been invited to share.
It’s also a tradition with which I have something of a love-hate relationship.
I love it because I love the people we go with, I love the peacefulness and closeness to nature of the setting, and I love how much Maia (and the other next-generation kids) looks forward to and enjoys the weekend. Those are powerful forces. And they need to be, because pretty much everything else falls…elsewhere…on the love-hate relationship-o-meter.
Well, I’m being a bit unfair here. Within the tradition of Koinonia weekend, there are many, many “subtraditions”—subditions, if you will—that are fun and funny and comforting and all the rest of it. Things like rocket launches; games of Balderdash, WhooNu, and Taboo (which hasn’t been played since Eric and I used our telepathic link to lap the field many times over)(for me, one of the goals of these games is to come up with answers that get Rafi to snarf whatever he’s drinking); gorging on cookies; making hourly treks to the local grocery store (Peck’s); and on and on.
But there is one Koinonia subdition that stands alone in importance and majesty. Well, importance. OK, maybe just longevity. I think it would be a violation of something or other if I explained any details of this rite. Suffice to say, it’s called Frosty Frog. It doesn’t look exactly like what’s depicted here, but it’s close enough.
Spurred largely by Todd Whann’s tradition of breaking out bottles of Southern Tier’s eponymous helles lager right about this time of year, there’s been interest in and amusement over the idea of Krampus (very loosely: the Christmas devil) among some of my friends. For the most part, the interest has manifested in nothing more than seasonal downing of liquid Krampus.
It mystifies me that Krampus hasn’t caught on in the US. Austria and Bavaria celebrate Krampusnacht (as near as I can tell, this is basically Christmas Mardi Gras) and Krampuslauf (described as an alcohol-fueled run of celebrants dressed as Krampus); all we in this country can come up with is Krampus: The Christmas Devil, a regrettable, plot-less, budget-less, badly acted “film” that didn’t even feature Krampus (note this is NOT the 2015 movie that got a theater release). (Though, to be fair, the writers of Venture Brothers—one of the funniest shows on TV, by the way—did drop Krampus in their Christmas special a couple of years ago).
Last year I took matters into my own hands and made a small effort toward establishing the proud tradition of Krampuskarten, the exchanging of (wait for it) Krampus-themed cards. How did Hallmark miss this?
Because my Krampus-mania was set into motion by Todd, and because most of my own “observances” of Krampusnacht have been at his and Beth’s house, it seemed only right that Krampuskarten should feature a Whann. So here, riffing on the tradition of Krampus hauling off wicked children, is Krampuskarten 2015.
Robby and Maia aren’t wicked, per se, and it’s rather easy to imagine that they would handle such treatment in the way depicted here.