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The Last of the Summer Stretch

August is shaping up to be a busy month, though I've penciled in an extra day for myself between comic pages - and for good reason. Though I clock in a lot of hours these days drawing comics, planning comics and editing comics, I spend a lot of my leisure time...also drawing. As you can imagine, this can grow pretty taxing on my decrepit little wrists, especially given a bit of chronic pain in my dominant hand and arm. I write this on a day where I really can't draw at all because I overdid it on coloring what began as a cool-down sketch at the end of the day.


Although I boasted a rather mechanical work process in my first update, I'd also like to preach about the importance of stopping and taking care of your health. It's like the beginning scene in that classic film, Cars, where the race car version of Owen Wilson continues to refuse a pit stop during his big race and eventually he blows out all his tires and has to finish the race by sticking his tongue across the finish line, except I haven't figured out how to hold a brush pen with my tongue yet, so that solution is off the table.


Instead, I have a trusty arm brace and some B-12 gummy vitamins that I've sort of started to swear by, even if they're barely a placebo. They got recommended to me earlier in the year by Emil Ferris, that brilliant and monstrous woman who created My Favorite Thing is Monsters, when she was visiting Michigan State for the annual Comics Forum. I will never forget her aura, her advice, or her presentation on the vesica piscis. Since then, I've been faithfully stocking up on vitamins, trying to build up muscle mass in my arm and drawing my share of sexy werewolves in my off-hours (see below).

All this to say, the August calendar has a (hopefully) sufficient amount of time set aside for sitting and chilling, juxtaposed with a pretty daunting two-page spread that I was rather coy with myself about in my original script and thumbnails. "I'll figure it out, trust me," is not the line you want to read from your past self about what you hope will be the crux of your third volume of work. I start that spread this weekend, so those of you out there reading this, wish me luck.


In the meantime, I figured I would post a bit of the pages I've been working on, though I do still need to go back and give them their tweaks and touches later on. Below is a bit of page that I've had tacked up on my wall for a few days to keep referencing back to, having originally drawn it with reference from a house I have saved in the Sims 4. House exteriors are a lot less daunting when you whip them up in a video game yourself, even Macbeth's Midwestern, pseudo-chateau seen here, and decorating the inside all on your own with the sensibilities of the fictional king of Scots on the brain is pretty fun.

Macbeth's house is one of the buildings I had to design from scratch, because I wanted something kind of ridiculous and daunting to suit the man himself. Hamlet's house in the comics, however, is based off of a vacation home on Hilton Head Island that I stayed in for a high school spring break trip, because it was, to me, very fancy and the kind of place a bougie, up-and-coming family like Hamlet's might live in. Forget the fact that it was partially a beach house and this comic is set in mid-Michigan, okay? Horatio's house is local, at least, having been modeled after my Grandma's place so that I can go back and reference it whenever I pay a visit. It may or may not be because I always imagined Horatio living in a place with the faint smell of cats and old people being an omnipresent factor.


Whatever the form, references are something I consider just as important a tool as all the pens and arm braces and B-12 gummies in the world. I was hoping to go to a local orchard soon and take more reference shots for some upcoming pages, but I'm thinking the whole 2020 situation is going to prevent me from doing that, which is a bummer. I have Google at my fingertips, but a walk in nature might have been a nice perk to an otherwise work-related task. In the spirit of a true tragic Shakespearean lad I say alas. I also say if you have any good pics of your favorite apple orchards, send them my way; I'll look through them while the joints recharge!

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