Summer Seas

Hello readers! I’m surfacing from the ocean of work I’ve dived into, inhaling a few deep breaths to let you know I’m OK and so is our story. Mermaid Music will resume posting on September 9. Fear not, Maggie is having a good time on that life ring, so just consider it a summer vacation for her!

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on a book about the sea — I’m hoping to be able to reveal some of the artwork for this soon. I’m also working on a solo show to be hung in August that will be only cats — including a few catfish, so I’ll post those soon. In the meantime, here’s a scratchboard piece I did while working on the first drawings for the book, inspired by the paintings I was doing at the time:

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Scratchboard is a specially coated board from which you scratch the black surface, revealing the white underneath. It’s kind of like drawing in reverse, and often ends up looking a lot like a linocut or woodcut.

I spent much of July sorting, packing, and moving out of my long-time studio at Xchanges, an arts cooperative. After 23 years, I have all my art supplies under one roof! My little home studio won’t hold it all, so I’ve been playing Santa with all my artist friends. It’s fun, and kind of liberating, to be honing my artistic possessions down to just what I need for illustration and comics. No more large painting, no more big canvases to store… except the ones I’ve already done.

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My ex-studio, with stuff I gave away laid out on the tables before the move. I had a crew of wonderful friends who helped my schlepp what was left down the two flights of stairs!

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Much of what I kept is now stowed on the back porch (we won’t mention the chaotic pile in the music room). I think I’m going to have to have another giving-away party! My little studio upstairs where I do illustration and make comics is pretty much full and functions well already, so I’ve got my work cut out for me in organizing all this.

I treated myself to a vacation at a beach resort at Qualicum Bay for a few days after the move — oh boy, did I need that! My friends and I stayed in a camping cabin, quite a new experience for me, as I’m usually a tenter. We explored the local beaches, lakes and rivers for a few days; a lovely watery break (it rained, with thunder and lightning, so we even got sky water!) Here’s an adorable little crab from Parksville Beach:

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This little guy was one of a myriad of tiny crabs exposed at low tide on the broad sandy beach, their shells only about an inch across. The beach is also home to millions of sand dollars — a very rich place!

See you in a month, aboard The Mermaid once again!

Pushing the Pause Button

They told me so. Did I listen? Noooooo!

Common wisdom has it that one should have at least six weeks of buffer pages before starting posting a webcomic. When I started posting the first chapter, it was all pencilled, and much of it already coloured and/or inked, which let me post blithely first once, then twice a week into June. In my customary eternal enthusiasm and almost pathological optimism, I had planned to jump back in at the beginning of August with the next chapter, which I did, and unwisely.

Why? Because I. Did. Not. Listen! Common wisdom is common for a reason.

As you know from my last couple of posts, I’ve been struggling a bit (okay, a lot) to keep up with a regular schedule of pages. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in a couple of big illustration gigs (which I can’t post about yet, it’s killing me!) and life just keeps happening. Which is good, one wouldn’t want it to not!  But it can have a way of thwarting plans based on sheer optimism.

Looking at my workload, I’ve concluded that I’m going to have to back off and obey the Purveyors of Common Wisdom (not to mention the laws of nature that give us only 24 hours in a day): I’m going to pause the comic until I get a backlog finished so that I can keep up a regular schedule and not have to keep apologizing (really, if I have to keep being sheepish on a regular basis, I’m going to have to go live in a meadow)! Realistically speaking, based on the last chapter, this will probably take me a couple of months, so hopefully it will be back up and running in early November.

I want to be able to spend the time on this comic to make it the best it can be, out of respect for you, my readers, and my own vision, so that when I launch back into it, it will be the best I can make it. I’m finding myself slowing down and really putting the love into it; since this is my own project, a labour of love, I need to feel free to do that.

I won’t abandon you entirely, Dear Readers; there will be sketches and news (maybe even some tutorials!), and I’ll try to do that often. So I’m going to leave you for now with a teaser of the next page: Aunt Root returns in a “meanwhile” interlude back on shore. This is the inked version, which will be coloured as I have the others. The story will resume in a couple of months with this very page in full watercolour glory!

Aunt Root is back, and about to find out about that contract she mentioned to Sami back on page 20. The Redwing logo was fun to design, and I'll be playing with that a bit — might even make some jewellery!

Aunt Root is back, and about to find out about that contract she mentioned to Sami back on page 20. The Redwing logo was fun to design, and I’ll be playing with that a bit — might even make some jewellery!