Happy Bloomsday!

Years ago, I sat in the archives of The New York Public Library and drew a picture of Vladimir Nabokov’s copy of ULYSSES. When they brought it out to me it had so much life to it, it seemed to glow. Every single page was heavily annotated and marked up in mostly red pen that the book was soft like a pillow. As you can see, Nabokov had even written the date of Bloomsday on the cover in pencil. It was a wonderful object to spend time with and to look at. It was a wonderful object to draw.

Happy Bloomsday!

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Sketchbook Spread

Happy post Thanksgiving to all! I hope those who observed this American tradition had a good one. I heard that it was the 95th anniversary of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and instead of watching it, I decide to draw floats from its earliest years. I swear I could have drawn pages and pages of these amazing incarnations of “upside down puppets” as the original creator Tony Sarg thought of them.
Can you believe that they never brought back this Pinocchio again?? Amazingly, there is some footage of this painful looking schnoz floating down Broadway. You can view it here & here.

I don’t think I’ve watched this televised event for 30 years, but if I had a time machine would watch the parades from the 20’s and 30’s in a heartbeat! In the meantime, I’ll just keep drawing them.

Vacation Birding Spreads

We traveled to California to see family and I did some birding and drawing while there. The top spread was birds I actually saw, while the bottom spread was inspired by all the Acorn Woodpeckers that were teaming in the backyard of my in-laws’ house. Woodpeckers are among my favorite birds by far and it was astounding to sit on their back deck and see an entire community of these striking woodpeckers nesting, calling and flying from tree to tree. I lost count at 15 one evening!

The trip home was hellish with canceled flights and motel rooms and panic and stress galore. It was nice to half listen to a movie and finish the woodpecker spread on the final flight back to New York when I was too tired to read or do much else.

Lately, my diary comics have been filled with nature and bird sightings, which is making me wonder if a bird themed issue of Paper Pencil Life might be a good idea. As I write this down, I worry about how boring this sounds, but the great thing about having your own comic series is that you can do whatever the heck you want! As it is, this has been such a pleasure to do–a way to be and see as I make my way in this world.

My World


In the dustbin of “Least Important News Items” comes this latest bulletin: I just finished this drawing for my “about” image for my web site. I’ve always loved drawings like this that illustrators and cartoonists do of themselves to somehow capture their world.  This was fun to make because I liked thinking of all the influences and interests that my comic work is made from which includes art and writing, but also memories and basic life stuff. I actually have that rug with the turned up corners in my studio. Gus isn’t usually so happy reading comics under my feet, but he does love some Calvin and Hobbes (as do I). Gye Smiley comics in the lower right hand corner was the comic book series I made as a kid. The portrait on the left is my grandfather. I drink lots of water out of that water bottle. The drawing taped to the lamp on the right is a picture Gus drew of me.

(You get the idea.)

It feels like an accurate depiction of how I do my work–balancing the needs of my home life with everything else. None of it is very organized and yet it somehow amounts to something.

Now back to more important things…



Dear Diary

April 2 2013

I’ve been making one page “diary” entries off and on since I came back from my last visit with my mom in February. I don’t make these every day, but I am making them with more frequency. I am having a hard time writing these days, but for some reason drawing a comic of little moments throughout my day has been deeply calming. Sometimes the pages stretch throughout the day. Sometimes they talk about things I am thinking about (like my coffee habit). Sometimes they are just of the morning (like today’s). It’s something I can do in little spurts through the day when I am with Gus or alone.  They help me feel connected to what I am living in this little town with my big loneliness.  They help me know I am alive even if my life is very quiet.