A Coming Out Story – The Zen of Tacos
…in which our hero discovers that knowledge isn’t necessarily power.
A Coming Out Story, Episode 22…Here.
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February 5th, 2017
A Coming Out Story – The Zen of Tacos
…in which our hero discovers that knowledge isn’t necessarily power.
A Coming Out Story, Episode 22…Here.
December 27th, 2016
FYI – A Coming Out Story Episode 20 Coming Soon
I’m on holiday vacation for the next couple weeks and I’m using my time at home to work on A Coming Out Story. Hoping to finish up the pencils and inks and scans on Episode 20 by the end of the day today. After that it’s mostly just adding the text and the texturing, getting the HTML pages made and uploading all of it. Probably get it all done by Friday
June 18th, 2016
Trying to get the creative juices flowing so I can get a cartoon out by tomorrow for my newspaper. Sometimes it helps to just draw any random subject that might help motivate you…
April 25th, 2016
How To Draw Pictures Of Sexy Guys Wearing Glasses In 3 Easy Steps – Lesson 2
Continuing in our learning path, here’s another of our handy guides to drawing sexy guys. As Bach famously said, Playing the organ is simple…you just hit the keys at the right time and the instrument practically plays itself! Be assured that drawing is just as easy. Simply drag your pencil over the paper in the right places and you never go wrong!
Step 1: Start with a couple of circles for the glasses. In this lesson we will draw simple round frame glasses…
Step 2: Connect the circles together to form a frame. Add some lines for the temple pieces…
Step 3: Now add the rest of him…
Next: Drawing a distinction between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz!
April 18th, 2016
How To Make An Episode Of “A Coming Out Story”…
Sketching in preparation for work on A Coming Out Story, episode 20. It begins another short story arc with me having been tasked by the student newspaper to cover one of our home games…and then I stumble into the object of my thoroughly confused affections and try to strike up a conversation. Little teenage geeks don’t do conversation well however, and especially while the butterflies in their stomach are fluttering up a storm…
I’ve been posing myself a bunch lately to get the posture of my figures right. I do that with the digital SLR on a tripod, and a remote shutter release with a long extension cable. Then I scroll through the images on the camera’s lcd display to find a good pose and work from there. It doesn’t matter that I’m no longer that lithe (scrawny) teenage boy I once was, all I need is to see how the anatomy works, how the hands and arms reach around to the camera, how the body stands while I’m busy with the camera, legs, torso, head, how the camera bag hangs off the shoulder. Once I can see it I can draw something that gets the look right.
I still have the camera I did most of my student newspaper and yearbook stuff with, but as it turns out I also still have that camera bag from back in the day. I’d almost forgotten how it was to have both the camera and that “gadget bag” with spare film, filters, flash, batteries, light meter, and several lenses, hoods and lens cleaner in it slung around me. It was Heavy! Nowadays when I’m a working photographer I have a smaller, lighter bag that just holds a few essential things because with the new DSLRs and modern zoom lenses you don’t really need much extra.
This next story arc is a lot funner than the last one…
October 7th, 2015
I just now finished the last of the pencils, inks and line art scans of A Coming Out Story, Episode 19. It’s been like pulling teeth getting this one out of me, but now that I have it to look at completed (except for some texturing detail), I think I understand better why. I had to pull out of myself and present to the world a part of me I really wanted to keep private forever, to make this story make sense.
I’ll have it posted by the end of this weekend at the latest. But check in if you’re interested between now and Sunday evening because I’ll probably have it up before then…I just won’t notify anyone until I’m satisfied it looks right.
September 27th, 2015
Back To Work…
Finished the pencils and photoshop scan and some line art work on another three panel strip for ACOS episode 19, and got three more panels of a four panel strip done. It’s only been what…about a year and a half now since the last episode…
Six more (about) to go. I need to do some more pencils to finish that four panel one. Hopefully I have the energy for it tomorrow after work. One problem is, and has always been lately, that I have to be in such a state of concentration all day long at work that when I come home I’m so mentally tired I just want to veg out until bedtime.
The biggest problem however…since oh, about 2008…is how a certain someone down south screws with my head whenever I tell him I’m working on this. But he’s staying in his comfort zone lately so that gives me some space…and energy…to resume work on this thing. And to continue the storyline the way I’d originally planned.
January 24th, 2015
No porn…porn is obvious and I don’t do obvious…just your basic male nude figure study, plus another in our series of beautiful longhaired guys that wear glasses reading books while naked.
I sketch on layout paper because it’s easier to draw and re-draw over and layer other scraps of layout paper over it and strongarm the lines around until I get them where I think they’re good. I have no college level or above formal training..am a self taught, hunt and peck kinda draftsman. So smudges and foundational pencil lines are all visible. These are just things I’ve been doodling at the drafting table this week…something to keep my mind from gnawing over Valentine’s Day coming soon. Not sure and don’t particularly care whether I’m assuaging grief or wallowing in it.
Maybe I’ll make one of these into a finished work someday. What I’d like to do is get my oil paints back out and start working in that medium again. But I have very little heart in anything I can do creatively this time of year. It hurts too much to look inside. I try to distract myself with simple little sketches but everything keeps coming back to that empty place inside and I have to step away from it.
NSFW below the break.
February 13th, 2014
A Coming Out Story – Episode 18
A Coming Out Story – Episode 18, now posted! Wherein our young hero learns the Truth about homosexuality. Sort-of…
January 20th, 2014
A Coming Out Story – Episode 17: What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 1)
In which it is made clear that our young hero is growing up in the 1960s, not the year 2014…
This is part one of a three part mini story arc about the horrible sex ed class I had back in junior high, and why it badly skewed everything I thought I knew about myself and about all that sex and love stuff. The rest of the story going forward will touch back on this repeatedly, as I begin wiggling my way out of the straightjacket of what I was taught in this one week of sex ed.
September 29th, 2013
Drafting Table Time…Getting It Out…
Pencils done on the cartoon for the next issue of OUTLoud…finally. With enough time left over to spend the rest of this lovely day inside carefully doing the inks and charcoal. I am not nearly good enough at this that I can rush it and expect to produce anything other than crap.
One of the great masters of the political cartoon art form British cartoonist David Low, once said each of his cartoons took three days, “two days in labor, and one day removing the appearance of labor.” Mine take about that long, mostly because I spend a ton of time redrawing and correcting. But I can’t put in full days on a cartoon like a full time professional artist can, so I need to have about a week to do one and that’s really putting it behind events for something that’s supposed to be as topical as a political cartoon. I’m doing something about an event that happened earlier this week that won’t appear in the newspaper until next Friday. Hopefully it’s good enough that it won’t matter too much that it’s old news.
September 28th, 2013
There Is A Reason Why The Ungentlemanly Art Is Ungentlemanly
Cartooning. I’m trying now to get back into the routine of regularly producing my political cartoons, at least biweekly for Baltimore OUTLoud. This next issue’s cartoon will be the first I’ve done in nearly a year. It’s topic is the Met Opera’s giving the stage to several Russian opera stars, putting on an opera by Tchaikovsky, and refusing to condemn the horrific outbreak of anti-gay violence in Russia. In its way it’s similar to what the International Olympic Committed is doing. They’re all looking the other way to protect their profits and their access to power.
But in order to do this cartoon I needed to go online for images I could reference in the cartoon, images we’ve (most of us paying attention) all seen from the wave of violence in Russia. Images that will stick in the collective memory of our people for generations I am convinced. And that is reminding me now why I needed to take a break from doing the cartoons. Looking at all those pictures makes me so angry I keep having to walk away from the drafting table.
I keep telling myself it’s okay if I can just channel that anger into the cartoon. I keep telling myself that this kind of thing is Exactly where the political cartoon art form can be at its most effective, and that I need to get this out because it’s necessary. But it’s difficult trying to work when I’m this angry.
When you gaze long into an abyss…
September 23rd, 2013
From cartoonist Howard Cruse I bought one of the original pages of artwork to his amazing graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby. It’s page one of the story and I feel kinda privileged to have it. That novel is an amazing, powerful work…if you haven’t read it yet you really should.
Howard posted a note about how the artwork contains a correction patch to resolve how he’d initially drawn the story’s main character, with how he’d drawn him as he continued working on the story. It took him years to finish it, and when he got done he could see there were some changes he needed to make on the pages he’d drawn years before.
That’s normal in artwork that’s meant for publication, and those of us who buy originals of this sort of artwork do (or should) value it for precisely that wonderful insight into the artist’s process you get from seeing how the work was made, corrections and all. And I, just a happy amateur, know how it is to look back on what you did years ago and see everything that’s wrong with it. Look at my early strips of A Coming Out Story and compare them with the most current ones and you can see my drawing technique on the series improving pretty drastically. As they say, practice makes perfect…especially when you have no idea what you’re doing. If I wanted to make those early strips look consistent with the new ones I’d pretty much have to redraw them all from scratch.
My work does not have the polish a formally trained and really good professional can put on it. I am a hunt-and-peck draftsman at best. But grant me this at least: I am doing my best. Sometimes I look back on what I’ve done previously and I cringe. Hell, sometimes I look at what I’ve just done and I cringe. But I keep telling myself that if I give up I will never improve, so I keep doing it.
And…I have the need. If you feel it too then you know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. The drawings, the photography, I get no reward for any of it other than that feeling of fulfillment when it’s finally out of me, and, surprisingly, a very small but devoted readership for A Coming Out Story (some of whom keep nudging me from time to time to keep working on the damn thing). So when I sit down to my drafting table I give it everything I have. But I am no professional artist. I know this. Hopefully the story I’m telling makes up for the skills I lack.
I began A Coming Out Story in 2005, (spoiler alert) still not knowing after more than thirty years what had become of the object of my affections, still yearning to see him one more time. I was convinced then that I never would. Some days when I thought of him I was afraid that maybe he was dead. Some days I wondered if he’d found and settled down with his other half, some other better guy than me. Perhaps they were living a happy life together somewhere in the South American land of his birth. Perhaps one day I might find his panel there among the Names Quilts all laid out in rows on a grassy field under a clear blue sky. I had no idea. I needed some way to get it all out of me, and hopefully make some sense of it all in the process.
So I began A Coming Out Story. And then along the way I finally crossed paths with “T.K.” (not his real initials) and so my past came forward and collided with the present and I was spun ’round and ’round and ’round. I’m beginning to think now that this is the default state of my life. I know…I know… I’m hardly alone in that. But it really slowed down my progress getting the story out.
I had no idea how I was going to end my cartoon tale. I figured I would find the end when I got to it. Well…I know how it ends now. Hopefully this will make it easier to resume getting the thing out of me. It isn’t the ending I would have wanted…but it’s the one I have, and oddly, it’s not as bad an ending as it might have been. I can see a truth here, finally, beyond the ones I had in mind when I started drawing it, that is worth telling.
March 26th, 2013
Second Thoughts That Tend To Come A Bit Too Late
Today is going to be murder to get through, but it’s my own doing. I let my depressed state screw me over. I should have planned to go down to the Supreme Court marriage Proposition 8 protests/counter protests regardless. I actually took the days off well in advance. But then I cancelled because I have been down ever since Valentine’s Day and I just didn’t want to deal with that part of me. Ironically, that not wanting to deal with the emotional creative part of me is what got me into computers, and making the very nice living I am making now. But there was a big drawback to all of that. This path I chose, has led me to a cliff. Now that the day is here I really want to be down there with my cameras photographing it but management wants not. Ever have one of those conversations with your boss, where the boss looks at you, smiles and says “It’s your call” and you know goddamn well what the call is supposed to be? It was one of those.
Maybe that would have been the reality anyway. So many things are happening at work now. Launch is in 2018 and while that seems like a long way off, there is a lot of up front work that needs to be done. A lot. Probably, it’s no fooling, I really have to be here and stay on top of my work. Maybe making it up on the weekend really just doesn’t cut it. Maybe it wasn’t a question of my boss telling me I could not have divided loyalties in his workspace. Put that artsy fartsy stuff away, you’re an adult now, live in the real world… But this is really stabbing me in the heart now.
Sometimes I wish I could just surgically remove that emotional creative part of me that keeps wanting to make imagery. I hear this thing inside of us drives other artists insane too and it’s been this way all my life, particularly as it’s become lonelier and lonelier and because of that, sometimes I really don’t want to look at what comes out of me. And while it’s had its rewards it cuts me to ribbons too. It is right now. I could have done without it. Life as an emotionless cog in the machinery wouldn’t be so bad.
So now, at fifty-nine, I think I know why the stereotype of the starving artist exists. It isn’t because they can’t find decent work, it’s because they know what will happen when they do, so they stay in their little slumtown lofts and hovels because any work that pulls them away from the creative urge makes their inner lives a complete mess. Well…more mess then what would be normal for them anyway. In the end the choice isn’t live a very low budget life but get to do your work whenever you want to, verses get a good job and appease the creative urge in your spare time…it’s follow your heart or slowly go mad, pick one.
Wish I’d been brave enough to take the poor scrappy starving artist path. Who knows, maybe the boyfriend would have been somewhere along that way. But nerve was always something I had trouble with having enough of. Just ask Tico.
Anyway…to those confronting the haters today and tomorrow…be proud. You are writing new lines in the history books. Wish I could be there with my cameras to get some shots of it happening.
Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com