new comic

So, what’s with the comics? I did this one the other day because it actually happened and I ended up going through a fast food drive-through and just sat in the van, enjoying my somewhat hollow victory of synchronized naptime. As I sat there, I felt the best way to explain how I felt at that moment was through an illustration, so I sketched it out on some scrap paper. I had an idea for another one the next day, and Phillip thought I should try for a web comic. I was suddenly flooded with ideas, and realized this was the perfect way to work on my story-telling/illustration skills with the  minimal time commitment I can invest. I’ve gotten my children’s book to a finished point that I just have to set it aside and come back later with a fresh look, so this is giving me a great diversion. Anyway, look for updates Tuesdays and Thursdays.

9 Doll

Just what every six-year-old wants for his birthday – a dirty, post-apocalyptic, burlap rag doll that can steal a piece of your soul. And since my sister couldn’t find such a doll, I volunteered to make it for my nephew’s birthday.
There’s a good tutorial here, but I didn’t follow it for some things because I wanted to use clay to model the hands, feet, and eyes. Some Premo! Sculpey did the trick.

9 is moderately poseable and has a zipper that opens and closes.

So that’s my version of the “9” rag doll from the movie. I have to admit I’m pretty fond of him, but I think Phillip will be glad to see him go. Happy Birthday Otto!

*Edit – 2/20/13 – I have had lots of questions about this guy over the last few years, so I wanted to make a note that no, he is not for sale, and I do not make these to sell. I don’t have any trademark rights to him, and I’m not sure I could re-create him if I wanted to!

Also, for those of you asking, I am sorry, I don’t have a tutorial.  I may revisit this project in the future and document my work, but for now I’m putting effort into new (and original) stuff. However, if you make a good tutorial, let me know and I’ll link to it here!

**Edit – 10/10/13 – Looking for more 9 Doll awesomeness? Check out these other versions. The first has crafted working parts!

Stitchpunk 9 Doll by Wirecase

How My Art Beats 9 Doll

Kiss it?

So John is now in the boo-boo kissing phase, and I spend an unreasonable proportion of my days finding and kissing injuries – real and imaginary.

Now that the kissing remedy is sought for every pain, I have been a bit stumped when my son comes to me because he’s feeling bad for an emotional reason and asks “Kiss it?” I say “Kiss what?” and he just looks at me with wide eyes as if I should know how to find the source of his frustration and make it better with a kiss.

With a little experimenting I’ve figured out the reflex locations of most of the problems, and thought it might be helpful to make a little chart in case anyone is having a similar issue with emotional boo-boos.


tiny train cake


My very first birthday cake (of any note) was a train cake in 1996 to celebrate my nephew Jonathan’s third birthday. I’ve worked on a couple of Thomas the Tank Engine cakes as well, so I wanted John’s second birthday cake to be a different challenge. I made the train set completely out of homemade modeling chocolate and the rest is just cake and frosting. Simple, and it looks just like his favorite toy, so he played with the cake longer than any of the presents last night. “Fun” and “dewicious”.


dragon cake


Jonathan’s birthday was last weekend, and since he seemed unsure about this year’s theme for his cake I convinced him to let me just come up with something on my own. Of course, I did have to promise not to make good on the Barbie cake threat I’ve used in the past. This was a little simpler than some of the previous cakes, but I thought it was more fitting for his sixteenth birthday. He seemed pleased.


The dragon and the lettering are all gum paste, tinted an ice blue with edible silver powder painted on. Dad suggested carving stonework into the side, and Phillip suggested the black sugar I put around the base later (see pictures below). Read More …

sari in ink

I’ve been playing around with inks lately, and this is something I was inspired to do by a new project. Obviously my technique needs work, so I’ll have to completely redo this design before I try to use it for anything.

artistic musings

So I’m working on an illustrated children’s book. Its an idea I’ve had for a decade that involves a story that was written over a century ago, and I’ve done no real work to see if its even feasible because I’ve never really believed my artistic talent is up to par for this sort of project.

Maybe it isn’t. But it isn’t getting any better – just worse from disuse-  so I’ve been making a concerted effort to focus and try to regain some of what I’ve lost, and at least give artistic pursuits a shot. I’ll go into more details about the book later, my current goal is to have a finished sketch for each illustration, and then (and only then) allow myself to buy a few needed supplies to take the project further. If I get some good sketches that are a fair representation of what is in my head, I’ll post them.

So, I’ve been working on that lately, and also challenging myself with as much sketching as I can fit in. One of the things I’ve started doing is playing along with DrawerGeeks! They do a weekly posting of themed art that I’ve been following for a while. I’m just picking and choosing from past challenges right now, and most of them have been so-so, but this quick sketch I liked:


Probably because it reminds me of my sister and a photo that my friend Catherine took of her a couple of decades ago. (She had goth style long before it became a fad in our little town.) Sorry for the poor image. Scanner is broken, so this is a photo of the sketch. (I told you I needed new supplies!)

The 2008 October Game

Today starts my new favorite part of October – The October Game! I’m not sure if I enjoy the paintings or the commentary of the paintings more, but since there is no way for me to leave my own commentary on his site and he doesn’t repost them on flickr or anything useful for sharing, I’m just going to have to do it here. (Of course, no one will see them since I weaned everyone off checking for updates on alturego long ago.)

Speaking of, I love the texture of Night Formation:

Night Formation by Bill Counts

Good luck, Bill!