Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category.

ARCHIVE DIVE: Five Wondermarks Based on True Events

Over on Patreon I’ve posted a long article that takes a closer look at a handful of Wondermark strips from the past — this time, “Five Wondermarks Based on True Events”:

Patreon is a sponsorship site, but this particular post (and its predecessor in this series, “Five Wondermark Firsts”) are free to read!

Patreonauts who choose to become sponsors, however, have been known to get occasional and capricious rewards, such as downloadable goods, early access or discounts for various new releases, and of course at the Cast Card subscription level, a unique monthly commemorative plaque. Posts that I make on Patreon are irregular, but exclusive.

I plan to write more of these “Archive Dive” posts; it’s fun to try to dissect moments in time that led to specific decisions being made! And to interrogate the process. There have certainly been things, at times, that I’ve noticed about my own work only in retrospect, with the perspective of time and distance.

I’ve done some similar writeups focusing on individual Roll-a-Sketch drawings, as well — that particular series is available to patreonauts pledging $5 or more.

If you like that sort of thing, well, that’s where you can get it!! Irregularly but exclusively!

A ‘Postmortem’ about the ‘Ghost Post’

About a year ago, reader Sara Thacher (of the above tweet), who works at Disney Imagineering R&D, contacted me for help on a Haunted Mansion-themed subscription box project called the “Ghost Post”.

It was a mystery, a sort of alternate reality game that involved people getting weird things in the mail and using them, plus interactive experiences in the park, to tell a story.

Here’s one of the mystery-solvers receiving and examining his first batch of “Ghost Post” artifacts:

(There are a bunch of unboxing and walkthrough videos of all three boxes on YouTube, for the curious.)

All the artifacts in each box — such as a reflective teacup; a papercraft “radio” with a magnetic dial that interacts with an app on your phone; a music box; Haunted Mansion tarot cards; a bunch of different things each month — were exquisitely designed by Sara and her team at Imagineering R&D.

And they have now won a Thea Award (stands for the Themed Entertainment Association) for the project as a whole, honoring their outstanding achievement! Congratulations to them all.

And to…me??????

All three Ghost Post boxes included an issue of the Grim Gazette, a newspaper for spooks that chronicled the unfolding mystery and offered clues. Sara tapped Cory Doctorow to provide the text for each issue, and had me put it all together with an old-timey design aesthetic.

I did the layout for the papers and created Wondermark-style illustrations and advertisements. (In the video above, the subscriber pulls out the newspaper at around 3:35.) Here’s another subscriber’s pictures of the contents of the first, second, and third box if you want to see more of the cool stuff!

I’m honored to have offered a small contribution to the whole project. Many kudos to the team at Imagineering R&D on a fantastic job, and thanks for thinking of me to be a part of it!

FEED THE BABY – 3 days left!

I’ve had a great response to the (UPDATE: NOW ENDED) FEED THE BABY super sale:

To celebrate my baby turning 49 days old today, you can get 49% off orders of greeting cards, stickers, books, and puzzles in my in-house store!

Just what I have in stock at the moment, and just for a few days, I think…

Use code FEEDTHEBABY at checkout to get the discount! All proceeds go directly to feeding my baby.

Thanks very much for feeding my baby!! I’ll leave the 49% discount active through Sunday the 28th, EVEN THOUGH he will ACTUALLY be 59 days old by then. (I won’t tell him we’re doing this if you won’t.) UPDATE: This is over now! Thanks to those who participated!!

 

FEED THE BABY Super Sale!

To celebrate my baby turning 49 days old today, you can get 49% off orders of greeting cards, stickers, books, and puzzles in my in-house store!

Just what I have in stock at the moment, and just for a few days, I think. // UPDATE: This is over now! Thanks to everyone who participated. You can still patronize the store, of course, but this sale in particular is over.

Use code FEEDTHEBABY at checkout to get the discount! All proceeds go directly to feeding my baby.

The same discount code also applies over on Gumroad for my downloadable, print-at-home greeting cards!

Also, I forget if I ever mentioned it here before, but I made a cool Wondermark wallpaper; that’s on Gumroad too.

Teaching My Boy the Family Business

To those I often see in the Bay Area around this time of year, I’ll be missing Maker Faire this time around. I’ll be staying home with my little dude, who cannot fend for himself and must have everything done for him.

I grew up in a family business. I was raised behind the counter of a store; I was stocking shelves by the time I could stand; I was making change by the time I could count.

Most of my childhood, I was surrounded by adults doing work. I think it taught me a lot.

I bristle somewhat when I hear people say “don’t define yourself by your work,” because I like my work, and I think I occasionally do good work, work that feels like an authentic expression of something I care about. And I do not feel entitled to any sort of success without doing work, so I feel like work must be worth something.

Work must be important, otherwise I would just do no work and wait to be successful, and that math doesn’t compute, to me, based on my mindset or my lived experience.

So when my own son was on his way, I pictured myself perkily doing my regular work with him hanging off the front of me in one of those little carriers, cheerily observing and absorbing everything in order to become a creative person of his own one day.

It has not gone quite that way. It may still, but not yet.

He’s here, now, and I don’t know whether he’ll be a creative person, or an entrepreneur, or not; he’s got plenty of time to figure out what those words even mean, much less what to do with his life.

The first thing people ask when they see him is “Are you sleeping at all?” Like it’s a big in-joke that babies will wake you up in the night. Yes, thank you, I’m sleeping. (In little two-hour bites, but yes.)

Our boy is six weeks old — or just one week and change if you correct for his premature arrival — and as of yet he’s basically a houseplant. He stays where you put him, wiggling around like he’s imitating a skydiver. He doesn’t yet understand “objects” or “interaction” or “operating his limbs purposefully” or “responding to anything”. He lives in a world all his own, population one.

We’re also packing up our life to move to a new house, quite unexpectedly as it turns out…and we’ve got a sick kitty who requires a lot of attention…and projects and tasks are stacking up at work. I’ve been trying to wrap up a bunch of complicated projects that I started months ago KNOWING academically that they were going to be impossible to maintain once the baby arrived, but not quite anticipating just how fast the days would slip by, just how hard it would be to accomplish basic tasks in this state of mind.

This will be old news to many (you parents out there) and of little interest to others, I imagine. Remarking on the capital-C Change that the arrival of a child brings to one’s life is so mundane an observation as to be a dull cliché.

I think because of that, I figured it would be different for us, somehow. We would be smarter; we would figure it out.

And we have, so far — but we have withstood it, not bested it, which I understand one never quite does.

I’m grateful that I have the flexibility to stay home with my wife and the kitty and the baby, for a little while at least, and I will beg your forgiveness for the occasional lapse here on the site. This is my conduit to you, and I want to keep it alive, so I will try my best.

I want to make more fun things for you to take home, but I don’t want to shill products more than I provide new comics. People email me every day offering to cram my site full of terrible ads, and I turn all of them down, or ignore them entirely, because that feels gross to me, and disrespectful to you.

I will get back to work soon enough, I hope, with the baby hanging off of me or not. I will imagine myself teaching him all sorts of important things about Business and The World and Adultness, when in reality he will probably be teaching me things. Already, at his knee I have learned much about the subject of Wiggles, and we are working now on a new effort called Groans-And-Moans.

He is issuing creative product of his own, daily, but so far it kind of stinks, and I throw it away in a special can.

I need to become okay with not doing as much work, at least for a bit. But this is also my job, and I have to do some work, or else I don’t have a job.

The solution, of course, is obvious, as my own parents knew: child labor. Work hard, little one, and learn fast. Someday, this will all be yours.