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BHAHAHA PENNY IS A DOG AT HEART. #opossum #possum #cute #howto #travel #funny

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I was really excited to contribute a page to the latest issue of @unbeatablesquirrelgirl​ by my buddy @ryannorth​! (Issue #9, at your local comic shop now!) 

In the story, Squirrel Girl encounters the character Mole Man, who is super old. So, for a page where he’s recounting a flashback, Ryan and Erica thought it’d be fun if it had a correspondingly old-timey look.

If you’re familiar with my comic Wondermark, you know that I am ALL ABOUT  old-timey drawings of nonsense. If you’re not familiar, well, it’s a comic strip that I make like a collage, using illustrations from Victorian-era books and magazines! (Here’s a quick example of how it works.)

I’m really proud of how the final Squirrel Girl page turned out, and Ryan gave me the OK to share some BEHIND THE SCENES INFO with you. 

Here’s how the page looked when I turned it in to Marvel:

With an assignment like this, I try to keep the conceit that the image is an authentic Victorian-style engraving – which means, rather than draw any image I want from scratch, I have to find a bunch of Victorian engravings that contain pieces of what I need, and then build the needed images from them. 

It’s kind of like playing with LEGO® brand building bricks, except the LEGO® brand building bricks are drawings created by people who are now dead.

Here’s a close up of Panel #1:

Ryan’s script for this panel called for a “portrait” of Kraven, and as everyone knows, old-timey + portrait = ovals, baby.

At the top you’ll also see a little Russian crest that I found on a postage stamp. I left it off the final version because I figured it might get in the way of the lettering, but now, looking at the final, it wouldn’t have! OH WELL. It’s a bit of gilding the lily anyway.

I have a lot of Punch and Harper’s and similar general-interest magazines, and they are filled with illustrations of well-dressed people standing around talking with one another. Which is great for Wondermark, thrice-voted “Talkiest Webcomic That Isn’t ‘Subnormality’.” (Winston knows that I kid.) For this action-packed assignment, though, I knew I needed to tap a much more action-packed source, and I found what I needed in the pages of The Illustrated Police News.

The Police News was one of Britain’s very first tabloids (later spawning a Boston edition as well, which is where I pulled material for this project). It was a broadsheet that luridly reported on crime, murders, skeletons found in pits or in armoires or in wells, serial killers being put to death, fires in convents and orphanages, horses found mysteriously dead, houses of ill repute being set upon by ghosts, and the like.

And because this was before the time when photography could easily be reproduced in mass media, every picture they wanted to print had to take the from of an engraved illustration! (Often using photographs as reference, as in the portraits below, but not always.) Meaning, the pages of the Police News are full of drawings of fights and scuffles and escapes and all kinds of horrible things, making this the perfect resource for a Squirrel Girl comic.

Below, you can see a few of the pieces that I combined to create the portrait of Kraven. The muscular body is from a boxer (the other thing the Police News contained a ton of was boxing profiles, quite handily for me), and the head was the result of paging through quite a few issues until I found a murderer headshot that made me say “Yup, that’s Kraven.” 

I believe the tiger is from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, a London magazine. It has reared its head once before, in my piece on Mysterious Homicides.

Panel #2 features Doreen riding off “in an elaborate dress, riding a penny-farthing, while Kraven gives her a salute.” (Ryan’s script, paraphrased from memory.) This was the panel I was most nervous about, because Doreen is literally the star of the comic, and I had to figure out how to find a Victorian illustration of someone everyone would recognize, even though that person was not alive in the Victorian era and also is fictional.

Here are some of the scans I pulled. I’ve wanted to use that weird-looking bicycler for a while; he’s from Punch. I’m glad that some very small parts of him have finally found a home.

I found a lady’s head that I thought looked a bit like Doreen, and then set about trying to make it an even better match by reshaping her face a bit, redrawing some of her features, and of course adding in the necessary squirrel-ear and acorn accessories!

The final piece that really tied it all together was the bang of hair across her forehead. No one in Victorian times had that hairstyle, so to represent it, I looked at a bunch of textiles and drapery, and eventually found the perfect little wave in that cricket player’s pants. When I am on the hunt for shapes or textures I don’t care where they come from.

Panel #3 features Kraven fighting Gigantos, the whale-beast beneath the waves that Ryan invented in an earlier issue! This was a great panel to do because this character didn’t really exist anywhere else, so I could do whatever I wanted.

Now, I trust this representation of him is OFFICIAL MARVEL CANON. 

The submarine is made of some parts from a steam boiler and a locomotive grafted onto a ship’s hull. Kraven is built around another of those boxer profiles – more on that in a bit.

I knew the fun part would be building this crazy underwater whale-beast. For source images, I pulled a bunch of lizards and creepy creatures with scales, and I already had this sort of rotund boxer dude on hand (I believe this is a political cartoon of some kind; that may be a likeness of a specific 1870s politician) to build the body around. Even if not much of that actual body is visible in the final, it can be useful to start with some sort of skeleton or base reference pose so the body proportions don’t start drifting out of whack.

I asked Ryan if I could give the final version of the beast giant boxing gloves and he said YES.

Creating this illustration was almost more like sculpting than anything else – because it didn’t have to look like anything in particular, just cool, I would paste on a scaly wrinkle or a chunk of lizard meat as if it were wet clay on top of the image, and then blend it all together with soft brushes on layer masks. 

In Panel #4, this backwards lunge-dodge of Kraven’s is exactly the sort of pose that the Police News is equipped to provide in a way no other periodical of the era (that I have found) can match.

I also really lucked out in finding another lady’s face (a different drawing, from a different angle) that, when paired with The Famous Cricket-Pants Bang, ends up looking like the same character we already saw earlier on this page! Finding matching characters between poses can sometimes be really hard, since I work with a fundamentally limited pool of source material – that’s why most the key features of Kraven’s face in this panel are just redrawn on top of the original source guy.

Panel #5 is where those boxing profiles came in real handy. Ryan’s script called for Kraven to be in the same pose here as he was when fighting Gigantos, but it would have been fine either way because I now have a vast collection of people in old-timey boxing poses.

I cast these particular two boxers for this panel mainly because of their pants. I knew Kraven had to wear a leotard, and the reference drawings Ryan sent me of Mole Monsters all showed them wearing little loincloth things. These two particular fighters were wearing the correct pants for the needed roles.

You can see in this exploded view a dark outline layer (at far right). The engravings copied from photographs do a really good job of mimicking light and shadow, so they don’t always have the sort of edge definition we expect from line drawings. I had to go in and shore up the edges a bit.

Panel #6 called for a “big line of people throwing away various old-timey things” (again, paraphrased from memory). The detail’s a little small, and a lot of it in the finished comic is covered up with text, but there is a lady throwing away a box marked “MONOCLES”, and a guy with an open valise full of snake oil. The chair in the lady’s hand is missing a leg, and I presume the grandfather clock is cursed.

Landscape stuff is hard for me to do, because it’s hard to find really specific things in my source material. Creating something from scratch is easy, and making up whale-monster nobody has seen before is easiest of all, but making something very particular that has to fit a certain size and shape can take a surprisingly long time.

But it ended up being fine! 

Thanks for joining me on this trip down Mole Man’s Memory Lane. I hope you pick up Unbeatable Squirrel Girl at your local comic shop or on Comixology or wherever, or if you’re coming to this post from having read it already, I hope you check out Wondermark, where I do this same sort of thing every day! 

Many thanks to Ryan and Erica for inviting me to share their sandbox; thanks to Rico for adding great colors to the final product; and thanks to Bostonian boxers and murderers from a century and a half ago, for causing these artists to draw these particular pictures for me to use to illustrate a tale about an old man trying to marry a rodent lady.

Join us live this Monday at 6:00PM eastern for ‘Boozy Beauty’!

In this new feature, Time Out New York’s Things to Do Editor Jennifer Picht and Photo Director Melissa Sinclair will be teaching you how to successfully create popular beauty trends even after you pre-gamed.

How to mildly annoy your artist. Guide.


Maybe it’s not a common knowledge how to NOT annoy the artist. That’s why I want to make this list. Would be awesome if you guys can share this list to spread the message so it will make easier life for us, artists :)

The worst question/ messages you can send to artist a.k.a. ‘How to annoy your artist’

Message 1: ‘Can I be You friend?’

No >_<

Explanation: Would You pick random person on the street, come to him/her and ask this question? If answer is no then don’t ask people this people on the internet. Plus. Do you even realize what a term  ‘friend’ means? Friendship is earned, it’s not a matter of question. With time two people just start to realize they are friends. This question is just really, really awkward one.

Message 2. 'I love your art, I’m a big fan! <3 <3 <3 Can you draw me/ my girlfriend/ my dog(for free of course <3).’

No >_<

Explanation: This is innocent enough but after getting like hundreds of these messages artist is just tired. This person don’t want commission the artist but just think that being a fan means artist will draw for free. Well… no. Drawing is our job and if you really respect artist you would want to pay for work.

Message 3. 'Can I use your work for my own intellectual property/ Commercial use’

No >_<

Explanation: So you want to release something to the world that will be commercially, meaning you want to make a profit out of someone else work. Good that you at least asked (usually artist find his/her work on the internet without any credits). If you feel like you can use someone else’s drawing in your work - again - commission the artist. Pay some money for the product that will be made just for you. With the purchase you gain the rights to spread and use the artwork how you want.

Message 4. ‘Can I have you private phone/private mail?’

O_O ?! No! What for?! There are reasons why I don’t put personal data on the internet. It’s for family of people I know. Any other info will be available for clients.

Message 5. ‘Can you send me your photos/ Can I send you my photos?’

No! But even if I say no to second question, it’s not always possible to avoid getting some… interesting pictures. Ahem …

Lesson to be taken here.

We are all humans here on the internet. Not a persona or a robot that has some image. The thing that we have social profiles on the internet doesn’t mean that all rules of etiquette don’t apply. It’s the same savoir vivre like in real life but internet seems to blur the lines.

After some of these kind of messages it’s no more entertaining but really tiring.

Maybe it’s nothing new but I see that there is need for more awareness

Skipped A Lot of Class? Get Back on Track in One Day

I’ve decided to make my “Get Back on Track” post into a series! The original post about what to do when you’re generally behind in school is SUPER popular, is my post with the most notes, and I get tons of questions about it every day. I hope you enjoy the next post in the new series & find it helpful if you need to get back on track!

In University, most classes don’t have attendance. Going to class isn’t mandatory. You probably don’t live with your parents, who will make sure you’re out of bed & headed to school on time. So sometimes you skip class… and sometimes, you skip class over and over again until you have no notes, no idea what’s going on in the course, and no idea what to do about it. This post is how to deal with that.

1. Gather ALL Materials for the Course in One Place | Print out anything that is on a computer. It helps to be able to highlight & make notes on physical things.

  • Syllabus 
  • Any online notes and/or power points your professor has posted.
  • The textbook. If you don’t have it, you need it at this point. Get it from the library, rent a digital copy, borrow from a friend, or see if you can find it online for free
  • Notes you have from any lectures you have attended

2. Take Stock | See what you are missing & make a list or highlight the weeks on the syllabus

3. Fill In The Gaps | You need to get your hands on the information you missed when skipping class. 

  • Ask Classmates for Notes | If you have friends in the class, see if they will help you out. If you don’t know anyone, ask a few people sitting around you if they could send you their notes (the worst they could say is “no”). Students who attend class may not want to lend you their notes since you skipped (especially if you don’t have a reason), but you can offer to send them your notes from the assigned textbooks readings.

  • Ask Previous Students for Notes | If you know or know of anyone who has taken the class before, see if they still have their notes & would be willing to give them to you. Even if it was in a different semester, with a different professor, there will likely be a lot of the same content covered. Some courses even have standardized slides and lecture topics.

  • Check Note Sharing Websites | See if your course has a page on a note sharing website like One Class and try to find missing notes there.

  • Find Movies On-Line | If your professor showed any movies during class (it might say so in the syllabus or lecture slides), try to find them on YouTube, a streaming site, or download them as a torrent.

  • Instructional YouTube Videos | For any lecture topics you missed, try to find videos on YouTube which teach the same topic. Khan Academy is a great resource for this.

  • Get a Tutor | If it isn’t too late, hiring a tutor for the course to help you out with the trickier topics would be a great idea. You can also go to the TA after reviewing and reading up on what you missed to sort out any questions you may have.

4. Create Master Notes | Once you know what notes you can get your hands on from other students & the good ol’ internet, it’s time to make your master notes, which incorporates all of your sources. Using a computer will be faster, especially because you are compiling notes from many sources and will probably want to move things around. Doing it by hand will take longer. Here’s one way to create them, following steps 1-4 for each lecture you missed:

  1. Start with a blank Word Document. Add the Professor’s class notes or Power Point Slides in as your jumping off point.
  2. If you have any notes from students or note sharing websites, add these in under the proper headings from the Prof’s notes.
  3. Now crack open the text book and type up what the  textbook says on the topics your professor covered in the lecture. If there are things he or she covered that aren’t in your textbook, Google them and find the most reliable source. Add that information into your master notes.
  4. Lastly, add in anything you’ve learned from watching instructional videos or by asking a tutor/friend/TA for more detail.

A Note About Time | Depending on how many classes you’ve missed (and in how many courses), this may take you longer than a day. If that’s the case, I would recommend doing steps 1-3 for every class in the same day, and then creating as many master notes as you can, but realizing that will need a few days to finish. Also, if you send emails or texts to ask for notes but don’t hear back the same day, that doesn’t stop you from making your master notes using the text book & internet! Just add other students’ notes into your master notes when you get them. That’s another reason to make master notes on the computer.

Best of Luck!! Let me know if you find this helpful, and/ or if there are any other “Get Back On Track” posts you would like me to do. I’m currently working on one about studying for Finals when you’re behind in the course. If you have any specific questions or requests for that post, let me know by sending an ask :)

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How to find your Totem Animal

Everyone has an animal, bird or fish which holds a special meaning for them. This is not necessarily a pet or even a domestic animal; it could be foreign or even mythical

1. Take a walk in the woods just before dusk. Take the time to look at the trees and plants, to inhale the scent of the woods and listen to the sounds around you. 

2. Find an old tree and sit down beneath it. Close your eyes and lay your hands flat on the soil on either side of you and take a few deep breaths. 

3. Ask the Goddess to send you your Totem animal. 

4. Open your eyes and pick up the first thing you see lying on the ground near you. Take this home and place it under your pillow for three nights and your Totem animal will come to you in your dreams.

5. When you know what your Totem animal is, remember to look out for it in the world around you and to acknowledge this gift of the Goddess each time you see it

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10 Min Guided Meditation for Stress Relief via @MEME.TSUNG