Chapter Two — Over the Waves

First Root's disdain for her brother's choice, then Bone's Jo's sneering, and now even Cook? What is wrong with farming?

Page 72 — First Root’s disdain for her brother’s choice, then Bone’s Jo’s sneering, and now even Cook? What is wrong with farming?

Hi everyone, welcome to the new posting schedule! Now you can face Monday morning with a brief break for a breath of bracing salt sea air aboard the Mermaid!

Schedule Change!

Hi Mer-folks! I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been up to lately — it’s been a busy time in my little world.

First: I’ve decided to move my posting day back to Monday. There are a couple of reasons for that; one is that the common wisdom of posting webcomics (I’ve been reading books on it!) is that Monday is the best day to do it in terms of readership (apparently people look at webcomics at work — really? I want that job! OK, I guess I take breaks to look at webcomics too, heh); so in aid of Monday procrastinators everywhere, I’ll bow to the pressure. The other reason is that my own schedule has had some changes, and this will now work better for my own work flow.

Root Redwing and the Thieves of Kettle Bay

Root encounters a young mermaid and her pet octopus! Like dogs, octopuses should be well trained.

Remember this? I posted last spring that I was making a comic about Root Redwing as a younger woman, which was published in the Kraken Komiks anthology “Cephalopods”. Kraken had a six-month exclusive on it, which has now expired, and I will be posting the entire story as a Mermaid Music special in between chapters of the main story (chapter two is drawing to a close) sometime in November! This will give me a chance over the holidays to catch up on my backlog (is that some kind of a verbal paradox?) as well as give me a chance to do some organizational changes to this website.

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Winding up the show at the Shatterbox  Coffee Bar (I’m all hopped up on good coffee here)— those are the mer-cats on the wall behind me! It was a delight having my art in the cafe setting rather than a gallery for a change; it feels more homey, somehow.

I’ve finished the children’s book I was illustrating, as well as illustrations for an adult-level educational book — what an intense summer and fall! And I can’t show off any of it yet (picture me dancing around in frustration, clutching my portfolio of top secret documents), but should be able to in a month or so, when the publisher’s catalogue comes out. The children’s book will be coming out in April, and I am very proud of the work I did for it, so I’m very excited about its release. It’s quite different from my comics work, much of it involving very detailed paintings and drawings of lots of sea critters, which had to be scientifically accurate. But there was also some narrative illustration, which gave me a chance for some storytelling and even some humour.

I’m taking part in Inktober again this year, which is a drawing challenge started by Jake Parker, which has spread like wildfire all over the art world. As with the Opus drawing challenge I did in February, I’m planning to make a little book out of it. I’m using a Moleskine Japanese Album again, which has accordion folded pages, just enough for a month’s drawing-a-day. It’s such a good warmup, I think I will keep going with it after this month — I think my next book should be mer-folk (and mer-cats, of course)!

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A drawing from my Inktober 2016 project. The little sketchbook is based on my nostalgia for old Mark Trail Sunday comics, and I think I’ll call it “True Animal Facts and Lies”. The drawings are 3.5 x 5.5 inches, about the size of a typical comic panel, and based on a prompt word for each day. Ink and coloured pencil.

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A tidepool Inktober cartoon. I did a similar (but more scientific and detailed and without captions) drawing for the upcoming children’s book. It was fun to do a bit of anthropomorphizing! 3.5 x 5.5 inches, ink and coloured pencil

See you on Monday with the next page of Mermaid Music!

Chapter Two — Over the Waves

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Page 71 — No wonder Bones-Jo is so crabby! Can it be a plot?

I’m celebrating! Last week I finally finished the children’s book project I’ve been working on since late Spring; the projected release date is this coming April, so stay tuned. Although I really enjoyed the work (which involved lots of sea creatures, boats, and big waves!), I’m so happy to be able to concentrate on comics again, and especially Mermaid Music. These pages have been in my head since forever and it’s a sheer pleasure to be getting them out onto paper!

Chapter Two — Over the Waves

Page 34 — more Mysterious Shadowy Figures! Oh, it's only Cook *whew*!

Page 70 — more Mysterious Shadowy Figures! Oh, it’s only Cook *whew*!

While I’m working on comics, I sometimes listen to podcasts (not while I’m doing the lettering!). This week I’ve been listening a lot to a guy named Will Terry, whose you tube channel has a lot of really good information for illustrators and comics artists. If you are one of those, you might want to check him out!

Chapter Two — Over the Waves

Page 69 — Bones-Jo is a touchy sort! Someone should just teach her to say "thank you" to a compliment!

Page 69 — Bones-Jo is a touchy sort! Someone should just teach her to say “thank you” to a compliment!

It’s been a busy week and a half — hanging a show of kitty art, off to Saskatoon Expo and back, and immediately into the home stretch of the children’s book project! I’m really looking forward to a quiet autumn (Happy Autumn, by the way — or Happy Spring if you happen to be on the south half of the planet!) with lots developing in the world of Mermaid Music.

Chapter Two — Over the Waves

Page 68 — Maggie arrives back aboard with a prize!

Page 68 — Maggie arrives back aboard with a prize!

It’s good to be back aboard The Mermaid! I’ve been working on two book projects for publication over the last couple of months, and while one takes place at the seashore (and under the waves) it’s no substitute for my own beloved comic. I’ve really enjoyed drawing Maggie’s little excursion (if you follow my other work, you’ll know drawing cats is one of my favourite things), and she will certainly have more adventures in upcoming chapters.

In other news, I’ll be at the Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo next weekend, September 17 and 18. If you’re coming to the event, look for me in Artist’s Alley! I’ll be right next to my friend k.d. prosser, of ThinkInk Comics!

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!