Sunday, December 15, 2013

ORIGINAL ART : Santa & His Elf (the e-card version)

     This is a drawing I did last week, but I've colored it in Photoshop and added a cheery caption so it's like an e-card now.
     I was inspired to make the drawing into a card because I received a Christmas card from Bentley Little, who is one of my favorite horror writers. He always designs his own scary/snarky Christmas cards, and I feel lucky to be on the list of recipients. Here's a combined scan of the front and inside of this year's card:

     In case you have trouble reading it, the inscription says, "Happy Holidays! (don't tell Sarah Palin, but I am a major general in the liberal/gay/atheist/Jewish war on Christmas)"

Saturday, December 14, 2013

ORIGINAL ART : Big-Ass Reindeer With Playful Elves

     Did this last December, but forgot to post it on my blog. I still like it. ;)

Sunday, December 1, 2013


(Altered photo from Grand Canyon Railway's "Polar Express" pamphlet)

Friday, November 29, 2013

ORIGINAL ART : Old-skool Courtney Love

     I sketched this Thanksgiving morning 2013, before we went over to my mom and stepdad's house for dinner with everybody. Not sure why, just to pass the time I guess. Then later when we got home and I felt disgustingly stuffed, I felt compelled to color it. Finished it this morning. It's Black Friday. I wish I could go out and buy a doll of old-skool Courtney. One that smokes and vomits. With a lever on her back. When you press the lever, her arm throws a high-heel shoe at a Kathleen Hanna doll. (Kathleen Hanna doll sold separately.)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ORIGINAL ART : Skanksgiving

     This is my Thanksgiving card to the world.
     You are welcome.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


The NaNoWriMo site encourages you to create a cover image, so I made this tonight when I should have been at the grocery store.

     At first I thought I'd try to finish my middle-grade fantasy novel, "The Weirdling Woods," during November's NaNoWriMo challenge to complete a 50,000 word novel.
     Then I read the NaNoWriMo FAQ and saw that you are absolutely forbidden to use existing prose, and are supposed to come up with something original to start and finish all in one month. (I've already written about 7 chapters of The Weirdling Woods, so that's out!)
     A few days before November 1st I put together a quick outline for a supernatural horror novel. Why not, right? It's my absolute favorite genre. My inspiration was a weird Slovak nursery rhyme my Grandma used to tell us kids, accompanied by tickling her fingers up and down the insides of our arms so that we giggled. Little did we know, until someone finally asked her to translate what it meant, that the tickling down our arms was BLOOD running out.
     I've written 10,000 words so far of this thing that's not for kids, and it's not a comic book. I'm trying something new. Sort of.
     Before I jumped into making comics, I had written a slew of short horror fiction in my late teens and very early 20s, none of which saw publication. Not that I didn't try. But it was the comics that got me published, and that was a lot of fun.
     I would still like to come up with a horror novel manuscript that I feel confident enough to submit somewhere for publication.
     It's still like a big unwieldy lump of raw clay that is just beginning to shape up into something, but here's the initial brief synopsis for BLOOD RUNS BACKWARDS:

Seb, curator of a small art gallery, is preparing an installation of "blood poppets" made by his grandmother, who is currently incarcerated in a psych ward for attempting to poison Seb and his 2 cousins. As he delves deeper into his family's mysterious ways, a creature called the Blood Hound comes hunting those of his grandmother's bloodline. Is Seb as crazy as his grandmother, or should he believe the uncanny things he begins to experience?

     Here's a brief excerpt:

     In the dirty light from a buzzing security lamp near my truck, something moved feebly near my feet. I gasped and jumped back.
     I had almost stepped on it. A horrible, twisted creature lying on the gravel.
     "Oh, god!" I panted, gulping and pulling the coat tighter around my chest.
     It was about the size of a very small cat, but with a pointed pink snout, and matted fur sticking up in mangled tufts. It looked wet. It hissed weakly, showing tiny pointed teeth. There was red in its mouth, and red in its fur. Its body was contorted in such a way that I couldn't tell if it was even all there, or if some of the sticky wetness was exposed entrails. One skinny limb twitched. Naked toes splayed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

ORIGINAL ART : Go Ask Flower Bean

Go Ask Flower Bean: Page 1

Go Ask Flower Bean: Page 2

Thursday, October 31, 2013

ANTHONY'S BIRTHDAY (stuff I made for it)

     This is a way belated post, because Anthony's birthday is August 22nd. I sort of forgot I had started this post. Now it's Halloween, and we're waiting to see if we get (m)any trick-or-treaters, so I'm just sittin' here killing time.
     Here's the peanut butter and chocolate cake I made:

Recipe below, at end of post...

     Below is one of the presents I wrapped to make it look like a happy little birthday fellow. I feel this is something Martha Stewart might do if she had a sense of humor, or was human.
     (But don't get me wrong, I love Martha just the way she is. Stern, exacting, made of steel...)

     Here's another whimsical birthday fellow I made. Notice he even has weak little arms and legs made of glittery tinsel! He can't really walk with them. But he makes the best of his short existence. He will soon be torn apart.

My special secret for Anthony's cake was to substitute PEANUT BUTTER CHIPS for the regular ol' chocolate chips. Because Anthony is a peanut butter fiend, and that cake is loaded with chocolate enough already.
     Incidentally, the recipe card you see above is from a cookbook put together by a bunch of parents as some sort of fund-raiser I think, way back when I was in 6th grade at Cambridge Elementary in Orange, CA. (I'm 42 now, so that was, like, a LONG time ago.) We've kept that recipe in our family ever since because it's goooood, you guys!

Monday, October 28, 2013

ORIGINAL ART : Halloween 2013

     These three thingies are made of plywood and acrylic paint, including glitter paint and silver paint, and even some pearlescent paint on the moon. Anthony and I got a jigsaw so we could cut around the general shapes. The jigsaw is REALLY FUN. Plus we had to get sawhorses, and I tried to lay across them but Anthony stopped me.

     I did the drawings, and Anthony helped a LOT with the painting on the Jack-O-Lantern and the Memento Mori Bat. Plus he did a bunch of the sawing and the sanding. We're very handy.

     The Jack-O-Lantern is hanging on the porch post, and the bat will go on the garage, just below the big light that comes on at night. Not sure where we're putting Umbrella Girl, yet.

     This last line drawing is just a quick thing I did at work, because they asked me to do a Halloween drawing to put on the treat bags we're doing for the student helpers.
     In mostly unrelated news, I dressed up as a zebra for a costume party on Saturday. It was a pathetic attempt at a costume, and when I got home I accidentally peed on my tail.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

IN THE DREAMHOUSE : Wake Up Screaming

     Last night around 3:30 I was having a nightmare so bad I started screaming FULL-VOLUME, while still sound asleep, and my husband had to shake me awake. As you would expect, he was pretty freaked out, and said of all the times I've started screaming in my sleep, this was definitely the worst and loudest. He was very concerned, and I had to reassure him that I was totally fine.
     It was weird, because usually I wake MYSELF up with the dream-screaming, and it's usually sort of "sub-volume," which is still disturbing enough. But this time I could tell I was full-out screaming, and yet I wasn't waking up. It was like I was stuck in the nightmare.
     It was disorienting and freaky. The emotion in the nightmare was total anguish, not fear, which made it even worse. It's harder to come down from anguish, than from fear. Don't you think?
     When I was coherent enough to glance at the clock, it was exactly 3:33, and if you follow Satan on Twitter, you'll know 3:33 a.m. is considered the "Devil's Hour," by various different creepy interpretations. So I was like, "Shit!" (Because I saw The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and I know how that all played out.)
     As I lay there panting and waiting for my pulse to stop racing, I looked over at Anthony, who was lying next to me, wide-eyed, with one hand on my shoulder, and thought, "Wow, I am SUCH a catch!"
     Then I got a case of the giggles, and had to explain myself. What a freak. I kept picturing myself lying there in bed SCREAMING, and poor Anthony panicking and thinking WTF, and I couldn't stop laughing. So I had to get up and get a drink of water and read some comics for a while.
     I'm a very happy person by day! I don't know why I'm such a freak in Dreamland.
(P.S.- I'm kidding about Satan on Twitter. I mean, maybe he does have an account, but I don't follow him, and I have no idea if he's divulged anything about 3:33 a.m.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

IN THE DREAMHOUSE : Puppets, Aliens, Jan Brady, Bjork, and Separation Anxiety

     Last night I struggled to keep my head above a stew of disorienting dreams that all bled into each other. I'm not sure of the order of these things, but here are the various elements:

     I was hanging out with Jan Brady, and we were looking through a bunch of old photos of us together as children, at birthday parties and such. The photos were obviously from the 70s. They were square, and had that distinctive coloring to them. I wasn't sure if Jan was actually Jan Brady, or just a family member or friend who looked a lot like her, and I didn't want to offend her by the comparison, and not knowing if she really WAS Jan Brady or not.

     Bjork (or possibly Mimi, a longtime library friend I met when she was in charge of the children's room at the Santa Ana Public Library) and I were receiving help from eerie yet beneficent aliens in order to operate a large machine. The machine (like the photos of Jan and me) looked distinctly 70s-era. It was that gross tan/beige/Band-Aid color, very large and blocky, with reels and slots and lots of buttons. It also had color ink cartridges. Bjork (or Mimi) and I were trying to thread long strips of film through it, but we couldn't figure out which slots or trays to put it in.
     I don't know what the purpose of this machine was. It was all very mysterious and exciting. But the aliens' instructions were too complicated and confusing, and we just couldn't figure it out. My dad was hanging out nearby in another room, and wandered by to say, "Wow. It's amazing that even WITH alien assistance, that thing is still too complex to figure out."

The one in the dream looked kind of like this.

     Anthony and I were with a big group of friends up in L.A. at some sort of art/performance event. Lots of people performing one after the other. Everyone there was actually performing briefly at some point, even Anthony and me. There was an organized line-up, with Anthony and me following Matt and the rest of our group of friends. Anthony was last, so as I followed Matt into the performance area, Anthony was in back and I lost sight of him.
     I was involved with these big elaborate European marionettes made of papier mache. In the back of the venue there were shelves full of them, and they were totally cool. One of them was even a Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus. I discovered that they had hinged mouths, and their bodies unscrewed at the waist line so you could remove the lower half and put your hand up into the torso in order to work levers that opened and closed the mouth. The mouth made clicking noises that fascinated me.
     I guess it was designed with the detachable lower half so that you could convert the marionette into a hand puppet. The strings and crossbar must be removable.
     I did my brief performance, whatever that was (details not included in dream), and grabbed my Santa puppet and made my way past the curators in the lobby and out the front door. I joined my friends and we all waited for Anthony, who should have been right behind me.
     Other performers started coming out, and I grew puzzled, and then anxious. Anthony had been RIGHT BEHIND ME in line. I went around back to the rooms where the performers were all lined up ready to go, and searched for Anthony everywhere. No sign of him, and everyone I asked knew nothing about him. I circled back out to the lobby and asked the curators, who also showed no sign of knowing anything about Anthony.
     By that time I was getting panicky. I wanted to call or text Anthony on my cell phone, but of course it wasn't working and I was getting weird error messages I didn't understand. I stashed the Santa puppet in the car in the parking lot and went back circling through the venue. No sign of Anthony ANYWHERE. I could feel it in my chest, this horrible constricting ache.
     I noticed that there were a lot of former classmates from high school in the line-up waiting to perform. Not all of them nice. I started fearing that maybe some dangerous bully types had abducted Anthony. It turned into this awful cycle of me going through all the rooms of the venue, searching, asking people, then out into the parking lot, desperately trying to get my cell to work, then back into the venue searching...
     At some point I finally woke up, and went straight into the living room to find Anthony, who had woken up before me. I gave him a big hug.

Friday, August 23, 2013


(done during meeting while new boss was speaking. The dot in upper right corner was added by coworker on my right, and the lipstick coloring on tongue by the coworker on my left. Teamwork in action.)

(done between dealings with parents and students)

(done between dealings with parents and students)

(done during stupid meeting activity about personality types)

Friday, August 16, 2013


     Just finished reading PEACE, COURTNEY LOVE, AND UNDERSTANDING, Debbie Stoller's interview with Courtney Love from the June/July 2013 issue of BUST magazine.
     I'm an unashamed forever-fan of Courtney Love as a cultural anti-hero. Love all her music, love watching her, listening to her, and if there were a 24-hour Courtney channel I'd be glued to it. She's confusing and contradictory and complex. Like most truly great art, it's best to look/listen/watch, rather than judge/analyze/categorize. There's real energy and ideas there.
     I loved the article, and found Courtney's ranting and rambling to be mesmerizing, as usual. I chortled out loud several times, and felt like highlighting a few lines that resonated with me for various reasons. (I refrained, because I'd borrowed the magazine from a friend.)
     I'm also left with a nagging irritation that interviewer Stoller got some things wrong, and left some details blurry.
     For example, on the first page she describes Courtney thusly:

"In her babydoll dresses, combat boots, and smeared red lipstick..."

     When I read that, I looked up from the magazine and asked my husband, "Hey- do you remember ever seeing Courtney wearing combat boots?"
     He was playing Animal Crossing on his Nintendo DS, and was like, "What? I dunno. Why?"
     I read him the above description and was like, "I don't recall EVER seeing Courtney wear combat boots!" My pants were in a serious twist. I even marched in here to the computer and did a Google image search for "courtney love combat boots," and of course found no such thing. "Mary Janes" are the iconic Courtney Love babydoll kinderwhore footwear. Patent leather Mary Janes.

     I realize this all makes me sound like a crazy faggy lunatic, but seriously. If you're going to write about an icon like Courtney, shouldn't you get that kind of detail correct?
     Then, I read the part where Stoller mentions Courtney's forthcoming memoir for HarperCollins and some other projects:

"In addition to writing, she is also working on a fashion line called Never the Bride, and recently had a show of her artwork. (...) She brings out a bound book of her work and leafs through the pages with me. The images look to have been hastily created in watercolor and pencil."

     Stoller doesn't name the show or the book, so I had to do a little digging.
     The show in question must be 'AND SHE'S NOT EVEN PRETTY': THE ART OF COURTNEY LOVE, which I found info on HERE. I wish I knew if the book in question was something produced exclusively for that show. I searched "and she's not even pretty courtney love" on Amazon and couldn't find anything. Maybe Stoller was referring to DIRTY BLONDE: THE DIARIES OF COURTNEY LOVE. That's a big lavish coffee table art book with writings and drawings and photos, the 2006 publication of which was an event to us Courtneyfiles.
     I'm a little surprised that Stoller, co-founder of BUST, and feminist commentator, didn't clarify for us the title and availability of that "bound book" of Courtney's artwork. Is she just fucking with us? 'Cuz she makes a point to mention that Courtney autographed the book and gave it to her for keeps. GodDAMMIT.
     Maybe I should forgive Stoller for these oversights. At least she does tell us two specific song titles from Courtney's new band, which is now just called COURTNEY LOVE, instead of HOLE. The titles are WEDDING DAY and CALIFORNIA.
     In typical Courtney style, she tells Stoller,

"I've been offered money to do an oldies (tour) sort of thing," (...) "It's just not me."

     But on July 27th my husband and I saw Courtney and her COURTNEY LOVE band perform at the Grove in Anaheim and do exactly that. I don't care about the contradictions. I loved every minute of it. (But I do wish they would have played those new songs! Damn you, Stoller!!!)

Sunday, July 7, 2013


     I've made Duct Tape wallets before, and my last one finally got so grimy my husband insisted I replace it. So I tried something slightly different, using the same basic construction. I took some of my library comic strip art and reformatted it to be the right size and dimensions. After printing in color on photo paper, I laminated it with Contact Paper. Using a combo of clear packing tape and some Duct Tape, I made the wallet you see below.
     There are tutorials/patterns all over the internet. Here are a few:

(Ignore my fat Slovak fingers)
Open, with the exterior showing
The interior
     I used some old discarded library checkout cards to make interior pockets. One of them is from a book called NOBODY ELSE HAS TO KNOW by Ingrid Tomey, and the other is from TROUBLE ON THE TRACKS by Donna Jo Napoli.

The inside and interior are lined with plaid Duct Tape
The library checkout cards form pockets to stash stuff behind, plus there's a clear plastic pocket OVER them, so you can slip something like your Drivers License (or public library card) into it!
Do it!

     Next time, I plan to make one using the actual cover of a discarded paperback novel. The exterior would look like this:

     I like how cheesy that cover is. Of course I'd remove the remains of that barcode label.

Monday, July 1, 2013

SUMMER VACATION : Roswell Museum in New Mexico

This was one of the postcard images available in the museum gift shop.
I added the dialogue. ;)

     On our drive from Carlsbad Caverns to Grand Canyon we stopped briefly at the UFO Museum in Roswell, NM. It was hokey and quirky and I quite enjoyed it. Anthony and I got some good photos of some of the weird exhibits, including the life-size alien landing diorama. His photos are better than mine, but I'll share a few that I took:

Every 20 or 30 minutes the diorama "wakes up," and there are sound effects, the aliens heads move, the saucer whirls, lights flash, and fog gushes out. When we first arrived, the fog machine was going ape-shit crazy, and they had to turn it off. Which meant that we didn't get to take pictures of the diorama with spooky fog. :(

Anthony and me on the alien streets of Roswell

Alien autopsy diorama

Anthony and me in front of the alien landing diorama

Longshot of the museum interior. That horse is glittery, and has newspaper articles about the Roswell incident decoupaged all over its body. Don't see THAT every day.

Poor sad little alien in his cylinder


     On our road trip we stopped for the night in Tucson on the way to Carlsbad Caverns. I found a nearby used book store that sounded promising, and it turned out to be really cool. Bookmans has tons of used books arranged carefully by genre and author, with little reading nooks with comfy chairs. They also have CDs, DVDs, video games, board games, puzzles, and a weird "gallery" that is really more of a crazy gift shop full of consignment items.
     Their magazine section was huge, and included racks and racks of comic books! And they also had a graphic novel section. I've never seen a used book store with that many comic books/graphic novels.
     Here's what I got:
DEADFALL HOTEL novel by Steve Rasnic Tem
FOUR DEVILS, ONE HELL (Grendel graphic novel)
     Plus I picked up one of their genre reading lists, which are very much like the ones I make for the library I work in!
     As if I weren't already sold on Bookmans' quirkiness and broad range, there were also lots of people there with their DOGS! Really cute. I don't think I've ever been in a dog-friendly book store before.
(NOTE: Anthony and I discussed the missing apostrophe and the ensuing irritation, but I still loved this book store.)

     When we left, this weird, giraffy vehicle had appeared in the parking lot near our car:

     We stayed one night at "The Lodge On the Desert," and it was really nice and affordable. Would totally stay there again if we had a real good reason to be in Tucson, Arizona.

Giraffy : Adjective used to describe something that resembles a giraffe.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


"The Wrong Shoes"
pencil on sketchbook paper
Tommy Kovac, June 2013

     I should have paid attention to the pamphlet that said to wear shoes with good traction when hiking in via the natural cavern entrance. But I wore Converse High-Tops (Chucks), and as everyone knows, they have, like, ZERO traction. So I slipped and fell on my ass, then ALMOST fell twice more on our way down. I was unhurt, but shamed.