Friday, June 2, 2017


Float off into nothing, it's Sick Little Suicide #33, "Helicopter," in which we witness actual, global evil.

This image was inspired by the lyrics from Motion City Soundtrack's "Hello Helicopter," believe it or not, but the main theme was the "US" withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. I was thinking specifically of these lyrics:
In several years no one will care
They'll be rich and dead
So let somebody else devise a cure for it
The withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is nothing short of an evil, global act of spite. And for what? For the personal flight of fancy or vendetta of a vicious minority that either refuses to heed wiser heads, or is simply that bent on being as foul to as many Others as possible.

Assume nobody knows if climate change is real. Why would you gamble everyone away on the stubborn (or ignorant) assertion that you are right and cannot possibly be wrong despite your track record of being grossly, perniciously wrong on just about everything hitherto? What if you're wrong? If you take precautions and are wrong, what's the penalty? You get to lead the world in a new movement anyway. Isn't that good for a power fix? Why not excel in and lead the new industries that open up? Let's also assume you make less money from taking climate change seriously. You'd make slightly less money indefinitely into the future and command prestige and leadership versus make slightly more money for a finite period and experience deteriorating living conditions, prestige, and leadership. It's like the schoolyard hypothetical where a guy comes by every day to offer you a choice between a nickel and a dime. He laughs when you choose the less valuable nickel, but comes back every day with the same offer to see if you've learned your lesson; when you finally choose the more valuable dime he no longer comes around. Make a dime once or infinite nickels?

Let's assume all the experts are right. That makes this even more of an obvious choice: follow the advice of people who know what they're talking about. It's not any more complicated than that. In the same way you listen to what the doctor says without yourself having gone to medical school, or the electrician without having studied electrical systems, or the IT guy, or the skydiving instructor.

Fun Facts: With the Paris withdrawal in mind, I started this image by just throwing down slabs of color on a single layer since I only had about 40 minutes to work on this, but fortunately this illustration sorta emerged on its own. It was originally going to be a skeleton drowning in a flood of water, reaching futilely to the empty sky, but when putting on a final yellow-orange layer for more warmth (it was a little too arctic/blue) and toggling through layer styles, I got this neat, radical neony version that I thought looked pretty striking.

Easter Eggs: The skeleton is basically us eroded away into bare nothing and begging for mercy while being overwhelmed with the ocean. I imagined more literally in the scene that the skeleton's reaching for a helicopter to pull him up to safety, but not even that is there.

Full disclosure, I don't actually particularly care about climate change, but I have sense enough to understand the sheer magnitude of the consensus of scientists warning of danger. Not to mention the presented evidence is simply unassailable. I would not presume to know more than them, and that they're all warning of the same thing means any reasonable person should take the precaution and listen to them. Plus, it makes no sense to doom future generations if we have the chance to preclude their ruin now at no real detriment to us in the present and with the possibility of simultaneously opening new industries (and leadership opportunities) as we phase out the old, destructive ones. I see it like recycling: does my individual recycling actually benefit anyone or make a dent in any environmental problems? Who actually knows. But why not? If it's meant to be good and be part of a greater mission to help others and future others, why not do it?

And at the most gut level of rationale, if that Orange Fraud is staunchly anti-climate-change, that should be compelling reason enough to think the opposite--supporting the Paris Agreement--is the more humane, rational, and just position.

Not normal,


Monday, May 29, 2017


I wanted to draw something for Memorial Day, and this WWII scene suddenly leapt to mind with only about an hour left on the clock.

I took scarce glances at references for the vehicle and rampart things, but tried to keep it as gut-fueled as I could from imagination...I believe that's called a "mood painting."

Plus I'm trying to get more comfortable drawing from imagination, since I tend to rely on references almost as a crutch.

This is how it actually looked with "my" colors, before tuning down the saturation and adding all the blur effects.

Side note: it sickens me that soldiers and civilians around the world are dying for and because of that Orange Fraud. What greater shame is there?

Not normal,


Friday, May 12, 2017


I once worked with an artist who said that even though he puts out a regular amount of art, each with a little hype cycle to it, truthfully, he really doesn't like some of the stuff he puts out.

He said that despite his distaste for a particular piece he's not proud of, he still has to pretend like it's the greatest, hottest new thing, just the same as if it were one of the pieces he takes great, legitimate pride in.

The trick, he said, is just to treat it like any other piece, despite whatever you're feeling about it. Let people who like it in spite of the flaws you see in it like it, but keep your hatred of the work to yourself, try to learn from it, and move on to the next one.

This one was sorta just splotching non-green/blue colors on the canvas to see what would emerge, turned into an underrepresented desert scene, and then ended with plopping an aerodactyl-style creature in there. It didn't make any more sense at the time, apart from just wanting to paint stuff I tend to avoid, and avoid stuff I tend to gravitate towards.

Not normal,


Wednesday, May 10, 2017


I saw a photo of a placid lady dressed in white standing in an utterly, overwhelmingly vast jungle, and wanted to paint something similar.

The red dot represents Japan, or love, both to be held close to the heart. I love using negative space, and this felt like an excellent opportunity to try some out--the person here is the absence of being, anyone can be here, overwhelmed, but clinging to what they love.

The version posted to Twitter and Instagram is just passable, but the final version for Removal features some additional post production: with these color sketches, I usually stick exclusively to Steve Ahn's Ultimate Brush on a single layer of drawing, but for the post production I used additional drawing layers for some "star"/dusty brushes for the jungle sparkles, and the KNKL Chalk brush for additional lighting effects.

I'm trying various blur combo effects, too, such as the motion blur at a totally vertical angle to give the trees more height, and a zoom blur to give it a slightly eerie feel, or at least so it's less strictly comfortable or peaceful as a happy-go-lucky forest scene. Another change up was when RGB shifting, I set the blue layer to a unique layer style from its cohorts.

Tangentially, I was also kinda inspired by Dance Gavin Dance's latest release, apparently a cover to a pop song called "That's What I Like." The idea of whisking someone away and making them happy is quite captivating. I mean, that's sorta ultimately the goal with art--take people away and make them happy.

Or something like that, at least.

Not normal,


Monday, May 8, 2017


I just wanted to try drawing something on super loose lines, almost jumping to overpaints asap, and this was inspired by the recent French election, where at long last evil lost.

So I just sketched in a super rough skeleton of a drawing and flatted it, then went to coloring and collapsing! the two in short order.

I then dropped some filtery layers over top and generally tried to keep it as straightforward as possible, with allowance for roughness and sketchiness.

I wanted to try drawing a darker skinned person, as I think it's kinda neat when you think about how much we abused and disrespected black people here, meanwhile when they went to fight in the war, they felt welcomed in France.

And now here we are looking to Germany and France, etc. to be the heroes, and we're stuck as some trollish villain for the time being.

But we'll get there. Related, I also wanted this to be a female here because I was also inspired by Sally Yates's utterly heartening, unflinching patriotism in the Senate.

Not normal,


Friday, May 5, 2017


Just pull the plug, it's Sick Little Suicide #32, "Glow," in which we witness the evil of apathy.

They just passed that orange fraud's new healthcare bill in the House (I'm writing this on 5/4/17), and it's simply abominable, the evil that voting yes means. Among the frankly unreal list of horrible aspects of the bill, one of the most intolerable factors that should have been a deal-breaker to any reasonable human being is how cruelly it determines and handles pre-existing conditions. The most heartless consideration being how this label manages to strangle rationality to include under its hideous reach domestic abuse and personal violations. This spits in the face of no less than half the population, and forces women into the unthinkable situation of having to tolerate and suffer through domestic abuse for fear of reporting this and having their situation taken as a pre-existing condition, which would then preclude coverage.

What nightmare betrayal do you invite upon people in such unthinkably dire circumstances? How evil do you have to be to tolerate any bill that allows for that? Our very partners in existence, our co-pilots in humanity are not worth decency--basic, human decency? What third world country is this?

Anyway, I was inspired to draw this response by Nancy Pelosi's speech denouncing the bill, where she mentions towards the end that even if the bill is defeated in the Senate and people vote yes in the House just to get it into the upper house so they can iron it out, a "yes" vote means you approve of the bill as is, regardless of how it ends up in its final form. "Yes" means you not only condone but affirm what the language of the bill says right now, that the people who stand to suffer and/or die because of this or any successor of this bill are not worth any further consideration or due protection. The extended quote is as follows:
This is one of the best civics lessons we can engage in. Because of what happened following the election, the American people are engaged. They are paying attention. I'm not saying in a political way, I'm saying in a personal way. A former Speaker said, 'All politics is local." In the case of healthcare, all politics is personal. And so, this civics lesson will teach the American people a number of things. As special as we think we are when we come to the floor here, most Americans don't know who their member of congress is. But they will now, when they find out that you voted to take away their healthcare. They will know when you put an age tax on them or undermine Medicare, Medicaid, and the rest. Oh yeah, they're paying attention, because it's really personal with them and their families. So, I think we have to get ready for that.

Our colleagues who have the mantle of being a "moderate," you vote for this bill, you have walked the plank from "moderate" to "radical." And you're walking the plank for what? A bill that will not be accepted by the United States Senate. Why are you doing this? Do you believe in what is in this bill? Some of you have said, 'Well, they'll fix it in the Senate." But you have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead. You will glow in the dark on this one. You will glow in the dark. You will glow in the dark. So don't walk the plank, especially unnecessarily. Our responsibility to the sick and the hurt is biblical. It's fundamental to who we are.
-- Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, 5/4/17

Drawing this goon kinda reminded me of this old SLS, but this guy was just drawn to look evil--though I recall that being their motive way back in 2010, too, are these people existing? That old comic was about denying 9/11 first-responders. Anyway, I wanted this character to be an old white guy, because that is precisely who is behind this. Look at the self-congratulatory photos. You'll see an old white lady on occasion, but it's these people who refuse to show kindness and openness to their fellow humans and who are simply dead-set on making the many suffer for the benefit of the few, encapsulated in this "health" care bill that serves to release funds from health so that they can cut taxes for super-rich people who in no way need the help. That is why the character also had to be fat. It's greed driving this.

Greed is the basis of everything here (and so much more in the world in general, come to think of it). Greed makes you unable to tolerate giving up anything and you just want more and more. A life-changing quote came from early Bill Burr podcast episodes, where he unwittingly outlined a succinct life philosophy in his question, "how big do you need your yacht to be?" That sums it up quite neatly: if you are doing well, great, that doesn't mean you need to dominate. Just accept that you are rich or otherwise well off, and stop questing for even more obscene reaches beyond. Be happy with being set for life. It's like in Magic--there are so many "win more" cards and effects that are pointless once you're already in a winning position. It's not only pointless to win with overkill, but then when you develop a need to do so, then you're just jumping off into dangerous, evil territory that inevitably will clash with the greater good. In Magic, you start cheating or dirtbagging to assure domination, in life, you mistreat people to assure you get every ounce of everything you feel is or should be yours.

For the art direction on this piece, I thought of Tyler The Creator photography, and that haunting Childish Gambino album cover, which I first encountered on the plane back. I wanted the piece to be basically monochromatic, but with a reddish tint for the Republican party's official color, as well as to reflect the diabolical nature of these evil, cruel monsters--the hair even spikes up into horns, along with creepily pointy ears. Freaky, freaky stuff.

So, I guess it comes down to: how freaking evil do you have to be to vote yes? Every single Republican representative from my home state voted yes, which was further disgusting. Some would even hang up on you if you called their office, like the infamous Darrel Issa. Ring ring click. These disgusting un-human villains must be voted out in 2018. People will die because of their pettiness, ignorance, and greed. We must never forget the betrayal against our own people that they condoned and applauded. All for what? So that already rich people get to be even richer. You disgusting, shameless monsters. Great calamity upon you, least of which should be eviction from your seats in 2018.

Not normal,


Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Not quite an SLS, but I wanted to do something vaguely political, and then thought it might look interesting as a magazine cover.

It's vaguely inspired by the leaks inundating that Orange Fraud, but particularly for the text, I wanted to keep it just general enough to apply to almost any time plausibly.

Easter Eggs: Some of the names come from Yale classmates and our Freshman Year dorm; Watergate source Deep Throat; and John Oliver's old podcast, the Bugle. The headlines are vaguely inspired by Flynn's firing and the impending Comey testimony (I'm writing this the Tuesday before his scheduled 6/8/17 testimony). The sky is orange and horrific for obvious reasons. The faux mag's motto means "Understand Everything in Time."

Fun Facts: Yale offered bus service to go see President Obama's first inauguration, but I passed on it as I felt it wasn't that big of a deal; I don't regret the decision per se, but I do feel going would have made the current situation feel a little less disgusting. I fully intend to be as politically apathetic, though perhaps never again as much so, as pre-2016, once all this idiocy is over and we have adults in charge again.

Anyway, the idea was to have some vile flood invade vaguely Washington, DC-esque buildings with dramatic perspective. The liquid started as water but eventually went to something like blood. This is again drawn on one layer with the SAUB, and then stacked with a bunch of post-production.

Not normal,


Monday, May 1, 2017


A super random color sketch, again,falling into the same old water pitfall, I should note...

I was originally just laying down random colors and shapes to see if I'd "see" something in the splotches, I even rotated and warped the entire canvas at random intervals to push the image into new directions.

The piece started vaguely as a mountainous landscape, but after the first rotate and warp, it looked like an ocean wave with a stack of frogs and reptiles rather than colorful mountains.

The coloful blobs merged into a giant frog-turtle after the next rotation, and from there, we stumbled on this grassy foreground, ocean background scene. I wanted to get reckless with this one, hence the strange colors of the creature's body, and the markings, to boot--I was thinking of how poisonous frogs get really outrageous colors. It's unclear if the creature's a threat or just curious wildlife.

I liked the little guys hanging out, though it was originally a campfire (still had the one loser standing apart from the group in that version). I rapidly had to change a bunch of these last few details from the single-layer base sketch cuz I was minutes from deadline and can't really draw as effectively when people are watching, and it just wasn't looking good.

Not normal,


Friday, April 28, 2017


Since I too often hide behind oceans, I thought I'd mood-sketch something more architectural, a city even, with a dash of Spider-Man.

I drew the city first and then thought I should try adding something a foreground ledge, and then I thought I should put a character there, too.

Spider-Man on break sounded more interesting than a cliched ledge-brooding Batman, cuz I've always loved "real-world" superhero moments.

This is the Twitstagram draft, done in a record sub-1-hour(!), but I decided to fix the prominent building and add some lighting effects in post.

Not normal,


Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Frantically trying to do these "mood paintings" I've heard so much about after all this rather dreary training.

I sorta default to water/oceans because it's so forgiving. You can just go nuts with it.

But I'm trying to incorporate more fantastical stuff, like the old floating island motif.

I squeaked this out in about an hour, which is fast for me...just trying not to think too much and just go with the flow/SAUB.

Not normal,


Monday, April 24, 2017


I always draw with Steve Ahn's Ultimate Brush or KNKL's Chalk brush, but I thought I'd try using this flat brush, directly to the right of the Chalk brush. I was just free-sketching planless, and this curious scene emerged.

I often see artists using a square or rectangular brush, so I thought this might get me in that ballpark, but gotta be real, the whole time I felt like I'd rather have the Chalk brush if I'm going for a pressure-sensitive sketch brush.

SAUB's great for non-pressure-sensitive drawing, but the Chalk brush feels so much more expressive. I presume I'm using this square brush incorrectly, though. It was neat nevertheless, and I got this out in about two hours, which is pretty fast for me.

Not normal,


Friday, April 21, 2017


A drawing for Mother's Day.

I've always wanted to make a fake film still, and this is my closest swipe at it, but here's the plain version, too.

The idea for this came from random sketching, when I suddenly thought of a motherly pokemon and her pup/cub/dingobaby.

Additionally, I love how those realistic snapshots of everyday pokemon life, for instance, like during the ending TV credits or during the movie openings: you see pokemon just existing in the real world, as opposed to "normal" scenarios like being in a battle.

So, what if you saw a pik in the wild, not in a battle context, but like a wild pikamom trying to keep its kid from running off into the middle of the street?

It would be gruff, as moms tend to be when they've had enough of their kids' nonsense, so the neck-scruff grab seemed like a great pose.

I wanted to make it feel like this is just an everyday encounter, like how you sometimes see stray cats just wandering around.

However, I was thinking more along the lines of a raccoon while drawing this. I also went overboard with drawing the dirt under the grass...

Bonus early, simple Twitter/Instagram version.

Not normal,