Amazing Artists – Rachael Smith!

One thing I love to do is look at what other people make. I love seeing artists post their work on Twitter and Tumblr, and I love finding new artists via Cool Hunting, High Fructose, The Fox is Black, and other online journals.

Most recently, I saw some cover art for Titan Comics’ Doctor Who comic book (the Ongoing Adventures of the Ninth Doctor). I feel in love with the artwork instantly, and made sure to let the artist, Rachael Smith, know. Most of the Doctor’s adventures involve lots of running, being chased by aliens, escaping from certain death, etc. So I loved seeing Rachael’s cover, because it depicted something that was quite different and yet a little closer to home for me. Basically, Rachael drew the archetypical scenario of the family road trip.

This one hit home with me because I had recently dealt with a difficult road trip made even more difficult when my car broke down at the halfway point. Yes, this was the trip to get to my parents’ house when my dad had his heart attack. My sister flew, I drove, and we both ran into one problem after another as we scrambled to get to rural Arkansas, wondering all the way if our dad would still be alive by the time we got there.

When a car breaks down in the middle of a trip, there’s not a lot you can do. You call a tow truck. You get to the nearest service station. And then you wait. For hours and hours and hours. I lost an entire day of travel waiting in Nashville for my car to be repaired. The guys at the service shop were very nice, and worked as fast as they could, but there was already a long line of cars waiting to be serviced when I got there. I couldn’t call my dad – he was in surgery. I couldn’t call my sister – she was flying somewhere over the country. I didn’t want to worry my mom. So all I could do was sit there and wait and do my best to pass the time.

The “road trip” break-down that Rachael depicted is much happier than mine turned out to be.

Rachael Smith 9th Doctor Cover

Rose may be losing the game, but she’s having a much better time than I was!


When I look at it, I get a sense of calm, the kind that comes with the peaceful laziness that happens when you’ve got nowhere to be in a hurry. The colors in Rachael’s artwork are bright and soothing, and I can just feel the late afternoon sun on my face. I also love the fact that Jack has more than a few aces tucked away in his pocket, behind him on the sand, and who knows where else!

Rachael was kind enough to send me a couple of autographed copies of the comic, along with information about her Patreon and Etsy shop. I highly encourage you to stop by and take a look, and please consider supporting her! Artists are amazing people, and generous artists are even more so. Rachael’s gift of these comics to me was such a wonderful kindness, one that allows me to look back on a difficult event in my own life and feel a bit better about it.

If you want to find more of Rachael’s work, or catch up with her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Etsy, here are the links you need 🙂

Web: www.rachaelsmith.org

Twitter: @rachael_

Ask Flimsy: askflimsy.tumblr.com

Shop: etsy.com/shop/FlimsyKitten

(Please note, the trademarks and copyrights for Doctor Who and Titan Comics belong to their respective owners, not to me! Please do not grab the photo of this cover for your own personal use. Again, the comic books were a gift from Rachael Smith to me, and yes, she is very, very wonderful!)

I’m not dead yet!

And no, I won’t soon will be.

I apologize for being quiet for so long. This year has been overwhelming, between volunteer work and taking care of my parents after my dad’s heart attack. However, I am working on getting back into the swing of things.

I’ve gotten back to work on the webcomic, writing scripts and pencilling comics. I’ll probably start inking the first new comic later today. I’ve also been doing a lot of other drawing, so you should be seeing that soon as well.

So I’m coming back! I’m dragging myself back out of the grave and into the light. I hope we’re all prepared for this 🙂

Three quick sketches of me

Three quick sketches

ACW Episode 301 – What the heck happened?!

Webcomi!

Click on the image to see it full-sized!

Just in case you were wondering why I haven’t been posting here very much, this is why.

Every time I think I’ve got my schedule under control, something else rears its ugly head to completely mess up my day… week… month… year…

I am working to take some of that time back, but the recent snow storm in the area has delayed the start of our Girl Scout cookie sales, so now we have to spend more time going door to door. And that’s okay. We’ll work through this. Just keep in mind, if you see some Girl Scouts selling cookies, considering buying some. Or even consider just making a little donation. Every penny a troop makes during cookie sales counts!

Now, I’m going to write some scripts for upcoming episodes and just keep plugging along!

ACW Episode 300 – FINALLY!!!

Cynical Woman!

Click on the webcomic to see it full-sized!

FINALLY!!! FINALLY!!!!!! FINALLY, I HAVE POSTED THIS BLOODY WEBCOMIC!!!!!

I’m sorry. I’m having a frustrating night… week…month… semester… life.

I think it’s ironic that as I was drawing the episodes for this particular story line, a lot of this has actually been playing out in real life. I had horrific insomnia and night sweats all summer (two of the more fun symptoms of menopause). Then just as I was coming to grips with all of that, the school year re-started and I got clobbered with all the turmoil that goes along with that – parent-teacher meetings, volunteer work, after-school activities, volunteer work, Girl Scout recruiting, volunteer work, troop meetings, volunteer work, eighth grade and the associated looming graduation from middle school, VOLUNTEER WORK.

It just never stops. Seriously. And I am doing my best to embrace the madness, but all the volunteer work has just killed my work schedule the last two months. I am hoping to fix that now that we’ve gotten past cross country season, but I know there are more opportunities for VOLUNTEER WORK just around the corner.

Seriously, if I didn’t need my right hand to draw, I’d cut it off at the shoulder to keep myself from raising my hand every time someone calls for volunteers!

Anyway, the comic above is a pretty good representation about how I feel these days, right down to the blowzy old broad in the final panel. I swear, I will have that hair AND those pants one day, and I will look FABULOUS!

ACW Episode 299 – The Apples and the Tree

Cynical Woman webcomic!

Click on the image to make it bigger!

Sooooooooo… I’m a little behind schedule.

My apologies for the delay in getting this episode posted to the web. The first month of the school year has been hectic to say the least. So far, we’ve had 6 weeks of cross country practice, two 5K races, an all-day service project at a local convent (yes, I spent a day at a convent; the sisters were very nice), a Girl Scout recruitment meeting, a Girl Scout troop meeting, and Girl Scout service unit meeting, two sick kids, one sick mom, and one Hubster out of town on a business trip. Plus the usual homework, housework, and other daily chores.

Did I mention I crocheted seven Pokemon this month for my Girl Scout troop to hunt for in my yard?

So, we’ve been busy. I am trying to get back to a schedule where I work for at least an hour every day on the webcomic, but it’s a bit tough to do during cross country season. Practice is four days a week, for two and a half hours, after school. That doesn’t leave us much time in the evenings to get stuff done. And with the start of the school year, my mornings are taken up with Girl Scout work (which has to be done) and exercise (which desperately needs to be done). If I’m lucky, I find a bit of time to wash and fold the laundry and clean the dishes.

And I tell you all of this as a way of explaining that yes, I am going through a sort of mid-life crisis in real life right now. Well, I wouldn’t really call it a crisis. But I have been looking back a lot to the days when I was younger and my time was my own to do with as I pleased. And yes, it’s still my time to do with as I please, but how I choose to spend it now is vastly different from how I used to spend it. I no longer spend my time on me. I spend it on my kids, on my friends, on volunteer work. And I don’t think that’s a bad choice. Just a very, very busy one.

Anyway, enough chit-chat. I’m posting this now and getting back to work on the next episode. Hopefully episode 300 will be up within a week! If not, you know what’s going on. Life, that’s what’s going on 🙂

ACW Episode 298 – Some things are unforgiveable

Webcomic!

Click on the image to see it full-sized!

I apologize for the delay in getting this strip up. I know I don’t keep the most regular schedule, but this episode was posted much later than I had intended. Unforeseen circumstances and all that.

But I have finally posted this, and I hope you enjoy it. The other posts I have planned for this week – Drawing Practice and Alternate Mii-ality – will show up in a couple days.

Thank you for your patience! The kids are back at school, so hopefully I’ll be back to a somewhat normal schedule by next week.

ACW 296 – What was the future supposed to be?

Cynical Woman!

Click on the image to see it full-sized!

Did you ever have a clear idea of what the future was supposed to be like? I never did, to be honest. I can’t think about the future and say where I’ll be in five years, or even in one year. I’ve never been able to do that. I can make plans, sure. I make plans all the time. But I have learned from hard experience that nothing ever goes the way I plan it.

So over the years, I’ve tried to learn to just roll with whatever happens. As a teen, I never could have imagined myself serving in the military, but I did – 11 years in the Army Reserves. As a college student, I couldn’t see myself married with kids, and yet Hubster and I celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary last June, with our kids in attendance. And had anyone ever suggested that I would become a Girl Scout troop leader and cookie mom, I would have laughed in their face. Yet now I am gearing up for my fifth year as troop leader and my seventh year as cookie mom.

I never had any idea what I was going to do with my life. I had no plans for what kind of career I’d have, where I’d live, what I’d do. And yet somehow, it all turned out pretty well. I still have no clear idea of where I’m going with my life, beyond the fact that I want to do a lot of drawing and crafting and take care of Hubster and the kids. And I think that’s okay. I think if I’d ever had a plan, it would have all somehow gone horribly wrong, or I would have died of stress from trying to make it work. I am not a planner. I am a “seat-of-the-pants” kind of person. Good thing I have tough pants!

ACW Episode 295 – Enjoy the ride?

Webcomic!

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Seriously, I can’t even ride on the swings anymore without getting queasy. It’s so sad the things I can’t manage to do anymore. Although being married to the Hubster is still a lot of fun and adventure! Twenty-three years, folks! Twenty-three amazing years 🙂

Some updates coming to the Cynical Woman blog

I know I've been very quiet on the blog the last several weeks. It's partly because life gets so busy, but it's also partly because it's been a while since I've written and scheduled blog posts in advance. There was a time, a long time ago, when I would spend all day Sunday writing a week's worth of blog posts, based on notes I had written during the week. In some cases, I could get two weeks worth of posts knocked out with no problem, so there was always something up on the blog.

Problems started, however, when I started getting bored with what I was blogging about. I ran out of ideas for certain regular topics and never found anything new to replace that. And then life started getting busier and busier and I just let the whole blogging thing slide. Occasionally, I would rally back and put out posts for a month or more, based on a theme for that month, writing a new post every night before going to bed. But even that petered out after a while when I realized I didn't like writing a post before bedtime every night.

So what to do? I've decided to go back to pre-scheduled posts, picking all new topics that I like. I've also decided that about three months, I need to spend a day reviewing those topics to see if it's time to change them up. And I'm going to start writing down ideas for new topics in a notebook, so I'm not stuck for new ideas when I need them. But what topics to start with now?

Well, I need to do more drawing practice anyway, so I thought I'd start there. I've got a number of books on drawing and doodling that I can work through, and as I do so, I can post the results here. I can also do a sort of review of the book in question as I go, to let folks know what I like about a particular art book, and whether I think it's effective.

Another thing I may blog about is some of the activities I do with Girl Scouts, specifically the DIY and craft activities. I've had some fun making stuff with the girls, and there are some great how-tos out there that I'd like to try with the troop. I can take some time to try this tutorials and blog about how they work, and hopefully other folks who have kids or volunteer with them can benefit from that.

Finally, I will continue to work on “The Adventures of Cynical Woman” webcomic. After the current story line wraps up, I may make some style changes to the artwork which will hopefully allow me to get it produced faster without a reduction in the quality of the art. And I may introduce a new comic for a bit, a single panel webcomic that's been sitting in the back of my mind for a while. I'm still playing with the idea, so we'll have to see.

So that's the plan to kick the blog back into gear. Hopefully this all works out and you guys enjoy the new posts 🙂