Letters to Holly

Friday, April 8

Mixed Signals

Turns out Your Sister's ENT appointment was in Asheville, and she discovered this when she arrived at the local office instead. She'll now go to the right office Monday, and I'll keep the sidekick at my office while she get a lookover. She was able, however, to make a school meeting to interview principal candidates.

The county doesn't know what the next school year will look like until the state passes a budget. The town is warning employees that school staffs may be cut, but the local board members are on record as opposing teacher cuts. That's reassuring. The state is also debating a bill that would let homeschoolers and private school students play on public-school teams. Our county already allows this if the students take a certain number of public-school classes, but the new bill, as it stands, would allow them to play if they otherwise never step foot on a public campus. And that's the shit of horses.

If the jersey says "Ox Hoof High," how can someone not attending Ox Hoof High be on the team? How do they represent the school? If one need not attend to play, then I assume I can sign up. No, playing on a team (and ultimately competing for athletic scholarships) is a privilege offered for following that school policies, including attendance and grades. If you reject the school, you also reject its afterschool programs. In for a penny, in for a pound. Otherwise, stay home.

Picture of the Day
This is where I am so far with the museum artwork. It's tight in some places, weak in others. I'd like to have the pencils done by this weekend so I can ink. I 'm still working on polishing the comic and want to take that to the printer by next weekend. That will give them a month to do the job.

I'll bet money that the museum asked for original art donations assuming they'd get whatever was lying around the artists' studios. Maybe a portfolio piece, maybe an elaborate doodle. Now that I know this is an auction, I want to give them art that can bring in the most money. I think some folks will make the mistake of donating material with limited appeal. I mean, I could give them a sketch of eMMA or Focus, but who knows who they are? Why would they spend more than $10 on that?

However, if I use established characters, there's a greater chance the fans of those characters will pay top dollar. Hence, the Avengers. Also, the piece features the four Avengers movie franchises -- Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America -- and Hawkeye, who appears in at least one of those films. That could attract even casual collectors of original art or those who want to bank on the success of the two films this year and the Avengers film next year.

So what we have here is a classic Avengers line-up facing the first Avengers foe, Loki, Thor's brother. He's holding a Cosmic Cube, one of Marvel's cosmic-level thingamabobs that make big messes. Marvel loves these things -- the Ultimate Nullifer, the Infinity Gauntlet -- but the cube is the simplest for comic fans to grasp. It's a cube, and it makes wishes real. It's not good for bad guys to have, and Loki is about to bust it out.

Here's the original sketch and the artboard drawing as it was this morning. It still needs the tweaks.

Drawing Hulk doing the Hulk thing is a singular joy.

Thursday, April 7

New Projects

We're still doing daily notes for the sidekick. We chart diapers and meals and small achievements. We've done this since she went into labor. You might remember that I grabbed a pad and jotted down the time since her water broke, and those notes grew through the delivery and recuperation, and just never stopped taking the notes. Your Sister is considering using these to star a book on childrearing. I have two initial reactions:

1) I know she loves writing nonfiction, stretching back to her university research papers. She's got documentation at hand. The boy is content to play by himself for an hour at a time. She has opportunity and motive. If this was a criminal scheme, she'd be Ma Barker.

2) She's ready to go back to work. I think her brain is starving for projects beyond the routines of cleaning and feeding the deputy. Her recent dizziness didn't help.Now that it's fading and he's more self-contained, she's got the itch to get to work.

Not that the childrearing books we have are bad, you understand. But they're dry. They also constantly mention all the ailments a baby might suffer, and it makes us paranoid. We think a baby book can prepare parents without panicking them. We fell victim to that a few times and felt like schmucks when we realized we were paranoid.

She asked if I knew how to get a publisher, and I mentioned the various magazines for wannabe writers at bookstores. I also said some pitches to publishers or agents involve forwarding the first chapters of a book proposal. That way the people who decide to buy a book know the writer is serious and capable. And I think she should sit down and find her tack and voice to see if she wants to see this to the end. She might burn out. I know I skirt that line when I work on projects.

The boy is starting to imitate. He can approximate small words like "belt."

I sketched out the museum art on an 11x17 board, and it went fairly well. I intend to make a detailed pencil drawing before tracing and inking that on another board. So far, this looks pretty good.

Picture of the Day
This is what 25 comic pages on art boards look like.

Wednesday, April 6

New Additions

Memo: If you want to make yogurt in a crockpot, and the instructions tell you to insulate the pot with blankets, you must turn off the pot first. Otherwise, the plastics on the pot shell melt, and the yogurt burns onto the pot glaze.We now have a new crockpot. Yogurt was successfully made last night.

We also have a new printer. I was tired of questing for the cartridges for the Epson, and I got an HP printer that appears to use commonly found cartridges. Now I can make comic proofs at home. It's allegedly wireless, but seems to require a connection to a computer that's on for the wireless to work. That doesn't sound wireless.But it prints, as a printer should. And now I must dispose of a printer in addition to other old hardware. Like the crockpot we chucked yesterday.

Your Sister feels good enough to drive now. We see the ENT tomorrow.

Picture of the Day
I contacted the museum, and the requested original artwork will indeed go for an auction, and the bidders become eligible to win a trip. This is a really nice promotion for the convention. I've got my artwork idea roughly sketched. This is the classic Avengers lineup taking on Thor's brother Loki. Now that the party is an auction, I'm getting competitive. I want one of the high bids.

Monday, April 4

Earth, Give Me Your Nutrients

Your Sister is better but still a bit woozy. The medicine made her sleepy(-ier), and I minded the deputy for most of the past four days. He's eating meat which we mix in his veggies, and his milk intake is much reduced. He has begun bouncing to music, whether it be a steering-wheel toy or Lady Gaga (that was this morning). He is also waving on command. As he becomes more mobile, he's falling more as well. He's constantly bruised or scraped despite our best childproofing efforts.

I started the garden this weekend. The tiller I rented was cheaper and weaker than the one I normally rent, and I shan't get that one again. It was useless. I mixed in 14 bags of manure on the soil, totaling 700 pounds of poo that I threw around. I also earned my first sunburn of 2011. After four hours and a long shower, I discovered two seed packets I forgot to plant: snow peas and pumpkins. I'll save them for later in the year, when it's cooler and I am recovered. I gots the aches, but they are valid and worthy of hanging on my mantle. This is my first real workout of the year, and I intend to build on it  now that the comic is all but done.

Speaking of which, I learned the museum hosting the convention next month is holding a party the night before and it requesting art donations from those selling books at the show. Including me. I have until May 6 to give them a piece of artwork, and I'll make a new one for the show. I suspect the art will be auctioned for charity, but at least for a time, I'll have art hanging in the local museum.

Just as I try to make proofs of my comic at home, my printer is virtually kaput. I'll be looking at new ones this week. It's gotten more difficult to find ink for this one too, and I've been looking at an upgrade for a while.

Last night was WrestleMania, the biggest wrestling PPV of the year, and I drank the pint of Winter Ale you gave me last year. Twas good.

We started watching The Tudors, Showtime's series on Henry VIII. Netflix Streaming is marvelous.

Picture of the Day
This is the costume for the new Wonder Woman TV series. Pants make sense, but these don't look right. Maybe they're cut too high. Also the eagle breastplate is much too small. Still, a new WW TV show!