Bam. Right into the deep end. No problem. Tread water, and tell everyone the water’s not that deep. Right? Right?
Thank you, Proamericana, for the suggestion that I fill the silence of Thursdays with the now trope-y but totally workable THROWBACK THURSDAY!
This one is from 2012, back when Hubris was still gag-a-day, like so many comic strips are. There are a few comics featuring Hubris and Kara attending church or funerals. I can’t recall which early stage of development spawned this particular cartoon, but it was probably pretty late in the series of revisions for the syndicate. I was very lucky to have Amy Lago (first at United Media, then at Washington Post Writer’s Group) giving me advice about how to bring Hubris (originally called ‘Because It’s There’) up to scratch. One of the suggestions she made that I didn’t really care for, and didn’t do while I was still pestering her with new packages, ultimately resulted in both Lowell and Durnell- well after I’d turned the project into the webcomic you’re staring at now.
I wonder how Hubris would have done if I’d taken her advice, and taken the time to crank out a couple more packages, and gotten one of the syndicates to pick it up. It was late in the day as things were getting worse all the time for newspapers and syndicates, so I imagine it’d be… a lot like it is now, except I couldn’t have changed the format to the vertical form the way I did.
How many of you guys draw?
Here’s the thing- I learned to draw with a brush years ago, and it’s served me very well for a lot of reasons. And now Kolinsky Sable brushes are very hard to get. They’re the best brushes for inking with. Seriously, they’re great. Raphael brushes, Isabey, or Windsor-Newton Series 7s. Nice lines.
But like I said, they’re hard to get these days.
So, needing new brushes, you try out what’s available. Especially if your friends recommend them.
I think I’ve mentioned here before that I got a nice brush pen with ink cartridges that I liked quite a bit. Twenty bucks for the pen, and maybe 11 bucks for a pack of refill cartridges. It took some getting used to, but it seemed to be a good thing. Plus, without the ink bottles, and the little pads of paper for pointing my brush, and the careful cleanup of Kolinsky Sable brushes, the nifty little Pentel brush pen seemed so convenient. And it IS convenient.
But I got out the ol’ Kolinsky Sable brush again, cleaned it carefully just in case, cracked open a new bottle of Higgens Black Magic ink and drew the latest couple of cartoons.
And I realize that as nice and convenient and seemingly as slick as that Pentel brush pen is, the control and the line and the feel and the final product that comes off a good brush with good ink is far superior.
Honestly, for the past few months, I’ve been kicking myself and wondering why my backgrounds had gotten so… dull. I thought I was losing my touch, or my eyesight, or something.
But it was the brush. Using the sable brush again, I dived at the backgrounds and enjoyed the lines and appreciated the feel of the whole thing much, much better.
I think the last time I mentioned that brush pen, someone commented that they hadn’t noticed the change in the art. And that’s good news. But I think, unless something goes pretty squiffy, I’ll be happier drawing with my stupidly expensive, hard-to-get brushes.
And so, if any of you guys draw… there’s some mindless cartoonist trivia for you.
For everyone else… Hey, look! it’s a cartoon about eating a bug! Hahahahahahaha!
Why throw mere strikes when you can throw curveballs, right? Lowell is the man with something that looks suspiciously like a plan… except there’s no way he could have planned for it.
Lowell. Admit it. You like the stories he’s in.
I can fix that, you know.
Baby raccoon. Cuuuuuuute. But you should have heard the li’l guy when the service came to cart him away for relocation. The guy had to transfer the raccoon from the trap to the box in which he could be transported.
Up until the guy showed up, you’d have thought the baby raccoon would have gone quietly. Cute little scared fellow.
Nah. They sound like the Tasmanian Devil in a blender. You never heard such random, angry sounds that clearly translate into “I’d much rather you did not touch me. Go to Hell. Right now, if convenient.”
Snarling. That’s probably what it was.
Anyhow, the guy finally had to sort of upend the trap onto the box and wait for the raccoon to drop into the box, which he did not do.
One of my cousin’s kids suggested that they gently coax the raccoon with a twig to the backside through the bars of the trap. And after the guy said that might not do any good, it did.
One very angry baby raccoon, off to be relocated to some stretch of Wisconsin woodlands where six others had already been carted.
And maybe the ones that are left will be joining them before they eat any more chickens. Or not.
Turning up the heat a bit at Sportsmart…
Hope nobody minds the stories jumping back and forth. There’s probably some literary term for it amongst ‘real’ writers. I call it “jumping the stories back and forth to make everyone wonder what the heck’s going on.”
It makes the writing and pacing harder to do, but you guys are worth it.
You’ve noticed, right? I mean, you’re having a good day, the weather’s not bad, you have time to get things done… and you see someone else losing it completely- the guy in traffic, behind the wheel of his car, ineffectually squealing tires when you know he’ll have to slam the brakes on in half a block, cursing at everything from the other side of those car windows. -the lady at the grocery store, demanding to know why the tube of biscuit dough is thirty seven cents higher than it’s supposed to be, and not wanting to hear that it’s the generic store brand that’s priced that way, not the high-end organic non-gluten artisanal imported biscuit dough in the same kind of paper tube.
Apoplectic rage, when it has nothing to do with us in particular, looks suspiciously like an exhausted child’s hissy-fit.
It’s a shame, really, ’cause the energy spent in that kind of apoplectic outburst feels so darned important when you’re swimming in it yourself.
So let’s all remember both sides the next time it happens.
Nobody snicker at the jet powered spitwads flyin’ off of anyone’s… or our own… mouths.
Hey! I’m back.
I’ve already sent out some photos to the Patreon Patrons of Hubris, but here’s some more:
That one’s a color-enhanced photo of an eroded rockface. “color-enhanced”, in this case, is not the cool NASA kind where they combine visible light, X-ray, Infrared, and other kinds of photos into one super clear shot of a nebula a gazillion miles away. No, this was me sliding the saturation control over a half-inch til the colors reminded me of what we were seeing. This one wound up looking like a baked good gone very wrong on a damp shelf. It’s really a couple of feet of exposed rock in the middle of an otherwise pretty smooth boulder. The boulder was house-sized, and there were a couple of places like this were it looked as if a pocket of gasses or imperfections in the stone were knocked open. Pretty fun.
And here’s me, headed into the vast unknown. Not so vast that they didn’t build a footbridge into it, mind you, but I wasn’t coming back out that day nor the next, so it was plenty vast for me.
And this is the lookout just down from our campsite. This spot is pretty nice for sipping scotch while the sun goes down… except for the fact that, after the world around you becomes pitch black, you become very aware of how easy it is to become one of those stories people tell around campfires. You know those stories. They end with things like “And he took that one… last… step.”
So, let’s end this silliness of running off to do ‘research’ and keep me at the grindstone seven days a week, people! Be a Patron of this art. I have a new book out, you know. Would anyone like a new book to be part of the rewards packages? You just say the word. I’ll read up when I get back.