Messy Monday – Painted Skulls and a Broken Nose

I had an epic fail on Friday.

Pixie and I were jogging on a local trail, anways behind Princess’ cross country team. The trail in question is steep, with lots of big tree roots crossing it, along with the occasional heavy wooden beam to shore up the steeper parts. Pixie was jogging with the coach’s dog, while I jogged along behind her with Gibbie. I was doing pretty good, jogging faster than I have in a while. I was feeling pretty good.

Then I caught my foot on a tree root and slammed face first into the ground.

The good news is that I did not plant my face into a wooden beam. I hit that with my ribs, instead. The bad news is that I hit the ground HARD, and I knew that as soon as I hit, I had broken my nose.

Apparently, my crash landing was so tremendous it scared the young lady running ahead of me. After checking to see if I was okay (I was laughing as I sat up, despite my smashed nose), she ran off to get Pixie and the team coach. I told the coach I was fine and sent her off to keep track of the girls still running. Pixie stayed with me. According to her, I walked over to a nearby bench, sat down, then tumbled over ass-over-tea-kettle as Inpassed out. I don’t remember doing that, but I do remember having a very brief, pleasant dream that ended with me waking up staring at the grass and Pixie asking me if I was okay.

“Uh, yeah. I’m fine. But why is the world sideways?”

I was able to pull myself together after a few more minutes, and Pixie and I walked a mile back to our car. My nose bled the entire way. As soon as the cross country team came in, I grabbed Princess and we drove home. It took me an hour to clean up. I was covered from head to toe in dirt and dead leaves, along with blood, bruises and scrapes. But I was still laughing, so I was okay.

Later that day, Princess and Pixie asked why I had laughed through all this. I was a real mess. In addition to breaking my nose, I also tore up both knees and one elbow and I broke the big toe on my right foot. Why would I laugh when I did all that? Good question. I’m not really sure of the answer, but I hope it’s because I chose to laugh instead of cry. Yes, it all hurt like hell, but I think crying or even just complaining would have made it much worse. Laughing as soon as I got up seemed to make it feel better. And I think I chose to laugh because I knew that, but I knocked myself so silly, I can’t be sure I actually made that choice.

In any event, I have a couple of photos of the skulls I’ve been painting. I’ve gotten farther along, adding dots of white paint to make patterns. Over the white, I’m adding a bit of metallic paint, and then I plan to add some jewel-tone paints on top of that. What do you think?

Blue skull

I tried making the dots with a paint brush, but found a stylus works better.

Pink skull

This one is my favorite so far!

Yellow skull

This one’s a bit messy, but I’ve gotten farther along with it.

 

And there you have it! This week’s mess. Yay!

Messy Monday – life is messy and so is my drawing but I love it!

I am doing my best to blog two to three times a week, but things are pretty crazy, as usual. Both girls are home all day, and we’re working all day long to train the puppy. On top of that, Princess has cross country practice Monday through Friday, at 7AM, at a different location every day. Our schedule is such a MESS!

But life is always messy, so I am doing my best to draw everyday and to get at least two blog posts out every week. And they may get posted a little late, but that’s better than not at all!

For this week’s Messy Monday, I thought I’d share a drawing I’m working on. 


It’s a mermaid! I’m drawing this one in Concepts on my iPad Pro. I decided to do this drawing in a deliberately messy style, using Concepts’ filled area tool to draw all the lines as well as other shapes, because I get the best results in Concepts when I draw that way rather than try to create very controlled lines and shapes. I started out using my Apple Pencil when I began working on this piece, but I wasn’t happy with how the Pencil was handling. The tip of the Pencil is so slick, it was just skidding across the screen of my iPad, causing me all sorts of problems, especially lots of stray marks. I mean, I wanted a sort of messy style, but not that messy! 

Desperate to get some sort of control over my stylus, I put my Pencil away and pulled out my old Wacom Creative stylus. Yes, it’s older. Yes, it has the fatter tip. But that tip is made of rubber, and it grips the screen so much better! So I decided to keep working with the Creative stylus.

Then, one evening, when I posted an earlier version of this drawing to Twitter, I happened to mention I was drawing it in Concepts and using my old Wacom stylus to do it. And you know what? The folks over at Concepts saw that tweet and asked me which old stylus I was using. After a bit of conversation about my old Creative stylus and the problems I was having with my Apple Pencil, they asked me if I might be interested in getting the newer Wacom Bamboo Sketch stylus. Uh, yeah I would! And that led to Concepts talking to Wacom, who just happened to be looking to give the new Sketch stylus to a few folks, and whaddya know?! Less than a week later (today, as a matter of fact), a brand new Wacom Bamboo Sketch stylus showed up in the mail!

I’ve been working with the Sketch this afternoon, and used it today on the mermaid drawing above. I like how it handles! The tip is definitely smaller than my old Creative stylus, but it still has a nice feel to it, gripping the screen of my iPad just enough to keep from skidding erratically all over my artwork.

I will post an actual review of the new Sketch stylus sometime in the next week. For now though, I just want to play with it for a while. I have a little free time tonight, which I’m going to take advantage of right now. Because with my messy schedule, you grab that free time whenever you get a chance!

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!