#14: Check out my art show

Back on my B.S. (Boring Substack)

April 17, 2021 • Day 400

Hi friends. I know, it’s been a minute.

I was gonna do a thing where I put in the datelines from all six or seven of my abandoned Issue #14’s scratched out, but while Substack (apparently) does support transphobia or harassment so long as it attracts paying subscribers, they do not currently support the scratching-out of text for comic effect. 🤷🏻‍♂️

That today is Day 400 is just a coincidence, but while we’re on the subject: at some point, it was unthinkable that we’d still be in “lockdown” or “quarantine” longer than a few weeks. But almost immediately after that, it seemed inevitable that we’d be in this situation for at least this long.

At this point, my wife and I are both fully vaccinated (with the oh-so-fashionable, not-blood-clot-inducing Möderná shot), as are her parents, who are coming to visit on Monday.

We both became eligible in January, when New Jersey opened up vaccinations to people with preëxisting conditions. Here where we live in Essex County, most vaccinations are being done at a network of county-run super-sites. The Livingston Sears site is friendly, professional, and efficient — a model of what government can be, of how it is in places that care about taking care of people.

Also on Monday: our 6-year-old, who is obviously not vaccinated, is returning to (part-time, hybrid-model) in-person school for the first time in over a year. Life is returning to normal-ish, but as always it’s uncanny normalcy. My daughter will going to a classroom, but bringing her Chromebook so she can do her virtual lessons in the same room as her teacher and classmates, while masked, distanced, and snack-less.

Despite the vaccination floodgates now being open throughout metro NYC, my office remains closed with no ETA for reopening. I feel safe doing my own grocery shopping, but it seems like no one else does — except the Amazon Prime delivery shoppers, of course.

Data scientist Youyang Gu, whose track record for predicting the course of the pandemic has been pretty good, projected in February that the U.S. would achieve high enough levels of population immunity by July for things to return to “normal,” which Gu defined as the point where most remaining Covid restrictions could be lifted.

Based on where we are, relative to where Gu thought, that seems plausible… but it’s fair to wonder whether the absence of mask mandates or the ability to go to the movies are actually “normal,” or just another new world we have to learn to live in.

A Demaree & Demaree joint

For a while my six-year-old daughter, June, has been into reading comics and graphic novels. Most of the ones she gets are way over her head, with teen-friendly storylines and sophisticated jokes. But she loves (and can follow) the visual storytelling. And, being six, anything she loves she will ask for constantly on repeat.

I went to art school and received training in drawing, painting, and sculpture, and then went on to spend most of my adult life doing computer and business things and hardly ever drawing or painting. Having built all the Legos, perfected my WFH desk, and made most of the cocktails in all my books, helping my kid achieve her (TBH) insane creative vision has been a great pandemic project.

June loves bunnies as much as she loves comics. For one of the first comic strips she demand—I mean, requested, she asked me to make a comic about a bunny that lost its egg. I decided to have some fun with the bunny’s reactions to the situation.

Much later she asked for a comic about bunnies at “Easter Club,” which on subsequent pages of this four-page epic was retconned to the “Easter Egg Academy,” the organization that sends Easter Bunnies around the world to deliver baskets and eggs. As you can see, it’s time to discuss EGG BUSINESS.

In another multi-page comic, some kittens’ naps had been disturbed by one of their friends making a racket. Here, the friend tries many ways to make it up to them, to no avail.

This week, she asked me — where by “asked” I mean she walked over, placed my lap desk on my lap, then silently handed me a PaperMate Flair pen and a stack of Post-It Notes — to make a “Unicorn’s Handbook” with all the lessons one needs to be a great unicorn. This was lesson number one:

For a recent bathtime drawing, continuing a deep interest in cats doing things, June asked me to draw a cat scientist creating a cat robot, with a control panel on its chest. (That’s it, that’s the design brief.)

Later, she asked me to do a non-bath-tile-based version, which I used as an excuse to try out Adobe’s Fresco drawing app for iPad. Here’s the level of mad-scientist-cat-drawing I can achieve with time and extra layers to plan out my work:

Most recently, she asked for a comic called “Gross, Carlos!” which is ostensibly about a Corgi named Carlos who does gross things. That said, she then named six or seven other dog characters — all with elaborate hairstyles, for some reason? — who she wanted to see first, such as Ellie English Bulldog, Greg and Greta Great Dane, and Naima Newfoundland. (The little scribbly dog peeking at the edge is Carlos Corgi, crowded out of his own comic.)

My other current project is moving my website and blog to WordPress, and with all this new practice drawing, I decided that instead of an uncomfortably cropped or color-graded photo of myself on my new homepage, I would try making a self-portrait in Fresco (with a guest appearance by my dog, Johnny Cash). Look for a version of this drawing on my site redesign, coming soon:

Anyway, I hope all your side projects are going well, and that if you’re not already part of the Pfizer Pham, Moderna Mob, or Johnson & Johnson Blood-Clot Crew, that you get your shots soon.

Until next time,

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