Yes, and…it’s a crow in an army helmet

October 3, 2023 | Blog
Crow in an army helmet smoking a cigarette.
I love the smell of garbage day in the morning.

I was writing about how I had nothing to write about, so just enjoy this silly illustration of a crow in an army helmet, but then that reminded of something to write about and so now I’m writing about that.

This drawing reminded me of how important going one step further is to an illustration. This drawing is made of three things: a crow, an army helmet and a cigarette. Individually they are all boring props. Together they almost tell a story. I could have just drawn a crow. But I went one step further, and added a stupid hat and a bad habit and made it passably interesting.

It’s a bit like “yes, and…” thinking from improv comedy. There’s a crow. Yes, and… garbage day is like a war zone. Yes, and… he likes to relax with a smoke after tearing into a big bag of trash.

Anyway, enjoy this silly illustration of a crow in an army helmet.

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Little voices can suck it

September 9, 2023 | Blog
An alien satellite spies on a tiny bug on a mushroom.
I already have a subscription to The Galaxy Gazette.

I started a new story a few weeks ago. I’m waist deep in roughs and writing, and it’s coming along. It wants to exist, so who am I to stand in the way? Come on little story! let’s find you a nice place to live!

I’ve been afraid of this story for a while. The idea came to me in 2018 when the family moved back to Ottawa. Maybe a little before then, when I was here alone for a few months. But the little voices kept tearing it down. It’s amazing how convincing those little voices can be. They don’t even exist! How do they have so much control over my creative output? “It’s too long,” they said. “You can’t write,” they said. “Nobody will read it,” they said. Miserable little voices pissing on everything.

So the little voices are getting a sound beating behind the barn, an oily rag stuffed in their blathering yapper, stuffed into an old gym bag and dropped over a bridge. Metaphorically. Because they don’t exist. That’s a violent mix of visuals. It might be time for a nap.

If there’s a lesson here, it’s that you gotta make what you gotta make. That’s all there is.

Also this week, the kids went back to school. Cracker Jack started high school! I can’t be certain but I think I live in a time anomaly, because I’m fairly positive she was just born yesterday. I mean, she was just a wee baby on my arm, and now she’s a mostly grown person doing mostly grown person things and it’s all just too wild for me to think about.

Lastly, I’m currently diving into Cable Ties. I didn’t know they existed until a few days ago. What else don’t I know about?! They’re brilliant!

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Art and sausages and probably aliens

August 28, 2023 | Blog
Weird cat stalking you over the blanket.
Everything you’re doing is bad.

This year for my birthday I decided to not be a depressing sack of gravel and actually enjoy life. I took my favourite people to the National Gallery of Canada for a much needed art infusion, and it was exactly what I needed. It’s a beautiful space, with lots of beautiful art. There’s too much to see in one visit, but we were strategic about it, and left very happy.

Equally as impressive – we were able to navigate to and from downtown Ottawa without getting lost, angry, or convinced we would spend the rest of our miserable lives stuck in the car because how do you even get out of downtown Ottawa without a military escort or a sherpa? I know you’re thinking “data plan, and gps” and you’d be technically correct, but I haven’t got either of those things, and I like to think life is much more interesting because of it.

Anyway, besides the thankfully bland commute, excellent art, and my favourite people, I also grilled sausages, served them with very old cheese, and that was the end of an all around great day.

Except the part in the morning when Omega accidentally let Hazel the cat escape the house, then proceeded to live her worst nightmare while the rest of us tried to find the dumb cat. I walked up a couple streets, and by the time I returned, in typical cat fashion, Hazel was sitting nonchalantly in the back yard like nothing had happened. Nobody knows where she went, nobody saw her return. She was just there.

My best guess is she took the opportunity to check in with her alien supervisors, upload all the data she has accumulated over the past several years, maybe she ran a few interstellar errands, and then returned to her post. You know, usual cat stuff.

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Firing on one cylinder

August 12, 2023 | Blog
Francis the sheep in her astronaut suit holds a ridiculously oversized laser gun on her shoulder.
Sheep go boom.

Creative malaise creeps in with cat-like efficiency, a million tiny unseen movements by a living statue, completely unnoticed until it’s suddenly asleep in your lap. Then you want a snack, so you try to get off the couch, but you can’t because this clearly overweight feline has claimed your legs, has no visible intention of leaving any time soon, and you’re like “How long has this thing been here?!”

I have a story I’ve dragged my heals on for nearly 6 years, and the only way past this current psychological hijack is to bring it to life. My brain has been given permission to work the problem. It slowly circles the idea. Tiny lights on the console flicker to life. Fluorescent lights illuminate the room. A whirring of gears, a humming of mysterious electricity deep within the grey goo.

Anyway, here is a lovely drawing of Francis the sheep holding what can only be considered a very large weapon. Maybe? It might be a culinary device. It might make donuts holes. Or sausages. You never can tell what the future holds. Or space-faring sheep, for that matter.

Arthur C. Clarke said “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This isn’t that.

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Spin a sprocket win a prize

July 20, 2023 | Blog
Pig riding a robot scooter wile eating chips.
Powered by snacks.

I spent several days trying to fix Omega’s bike last week. I sacrificed my Youtube feed to bike repair videos explaining how to tune a derailleur. I learned all about smooth shifting and adjustment screws and cable tension. The chain would slip off the front sprocket whenever the bike was shifted into the first gear. At first I thought it was because the old bike was missing the chain guard on the front sprocket, but the job of the chain guard isn’t to keep the chain on the sprocket, and more importantly I couldn’t find a replacement that fit, so that wasn’t the problem. All signs pointed to the derailleur being out of adjustment.

I located my screwdriver, and my wrenches which was no small feat since I don’t own a proper toolbox. What tools I have squat in whatever corner of the house they like the best. The screw driver for example lives in a cardboard box in the mud room next to the mini fridge, under a half empty bag of chips. The wrenches live on the bottom shelf in the corner of the garage under some gardening pots. It’s a terrible system and I hate it and I can never find my measuring tape.

So I spent several days learning about how derailleurs work, how to adjust derailleurs, pleading with derailleurs, swearing at derailleurs, but nothing would keep the chain from slipping off the front sprocket. And so finally my brain, clearly exasperated because I just wasn’t getting any of this, let me in on a little something it noticed days ago, that might be relevant, I don’t know, maybe, did you see how the front sprocket is slightly but obviously bent?

Anyways, I always know where the hammer is, and now I’m a bike repair hero of some very low calibre. At least to Omega. For a hot minute. It’s since passed.

Hey! This piggy doesn’t have sprocket problems. My guess is that his scooter doesn’t even have sprockets. It has chips, though, probably from my mud room. Chips, I think we can all agree, are way better than sprockets.

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Missing thoughts no reward

July 10, 2023 | Blog
Crows and a garbage bin.
We’ll be fine so long as we’ve got snacks.

A thought occurred to me a couple days ago, and it wasn’t a complete thought really, but a bit of a thought, a seed of a thought to be sure, a possibility that might grow into a something. It was accompanied by another thought which was “You should write this down before you forget it” but I hear that thought so much I only barely acknowledged it and then promptly forgot the first thought.

I didn’t even realize I had forgotten the original thought until much later that night, as I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, enjoying that brief moment of calm before trudging off to slumberland. That’s the time the brain does the bookkeeping. It came up short. “You had a thought of great potential but you neglected to write it down and now you have forgotten what it was,” it said “goodnight.”

Anyway that was days ago, and the search party is still out.

Hey! If you dig this dumb sketch, you might also like the comic it turned into. It was called Future Tense, and while longer than this tiny postcard, I’m not convinced it was better. Just different. Certainly less colourful, in the literal sense.

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Avoidable

July 3, 2023 | Comics
Avoidable - thumbnail

Robot and Francis are stuck in a Totally Avoidable Situation Field!

Robot and Francis are thrust into a pocket universe of situations that could easily have been avoided if only better choices were made. It’s all Robot’s fault, naturally.

Read the comic!

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Crazy week time has no meaning I’m fine

June 30, 2023 | Blog
A robot and a sheep hide behind a rock from a tentacled alien.
Maybe it just wants to be friends?

9 brains and still no sense of personal space

The last couple of weeks have been a blur. The kid’s elementary school had a bbq on the 22nd. Spare and Cracker Jack are in the school band, so we watched their performance for the first hour, then starved for the second because they ran out of food. We came home and grilled hot dogs. Omega had a 10th birthday party on the 24th. Cracker Jack graduated grade 8 on the 26th. Lizzy had a birthday on the 28th. Today we celebrate the previously mentioned graduation with a buffet lunch, then later this evening continue celebrating Lizzy’s birthday at an escape room.

Wait! There’s more! Omega’s actual birthday is next week! Only after that can we rest. 🙂

While I search for my calm, please enjoy this watercolour sketch thing of Robot and Francis hiding from a space octopus. I’m sure they’ll be fine.

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Strange space t-shirt

June 17, 2023 | Illustration

The universe is really big. And unimaginably weird.

An adventurous young astronaut discovers things can get very strange (and fishy?) in space.

You might ask “Ryan, what’s the point of this?” and I’d reply “I don’t know!” Because that’s what happens when you go into a thing with no real purpose, and no real reason, just a kind of wistfully floating along until you decide it’s all completely wrong but just add fish and a weird light source and it’ll be fine. Like life.

Shirt mockup with an illustration of an astronaut in a space helmet and alien goldfish over the words "Strange Space".
It is very strange in space

Set phasers to stylish, yo

Unique science fiction and fantasy shirts like this one are available on my Etsy shop.

Mrs. Maisel on wanting a big life

May 26, 2023 | Blog

I want a big life. I want to experience everything. I want to break every single rule there is. They say ambition is an unattractive trait in a woman. Maybe. But you know what’s really unattractive? Waiting around for something to happen. Staring out a window, thinking the life you should be living is out there somewhere but not being willing to open the door and go get it. Even if someone tells you you can’t. Being a coward is only cute in The Wizard of Oz.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Four Minutes (S05E09)

Her entire 4 minute set was superb, and the lead in adds more context, but this is the meat of it. A superb finale. Excellent advice all around.

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