Monday, December 27, 2010

I got a rock... :(

So after being talked down from the roof by those nice people in the fire truck the other night, it has come to your humble doodle wrangler's attention that I am not actually Santa Claus. Even if I was holding a little sleigh at the time. As well as some other stuff my lawyer tells me it would be in my best interests not to disclose.

Well, live and learn, that's what I say.

Speaking of holiday traditions, here's that time-honored favorite, the zombie snowdog:

Also, Nugget's found his way to the clicky box again, so check out the Twitter feed to catch up on his big city trip. Or, y'know, the Nugget Online section on the main site, if you're some strange kind of Luddite who still goes to websites but just not Twitter, I guess.

(PS: Bad Luddite. That's not how it works.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Currently between days 5 and 6 of a week of 8-hours-and-up shifts at the retail job. May or may not be dead right now. Not sure.

But that doesn't give you any excuse! Go look at the new Gag Strip in the main site's Comics section! And know that, in this holiday season, I am thinking about all of you. Each and every one of you.

For you see, I am...


no wait


I think


So everybody shh, now. Let's keep this info on the down-low here. We jolly? Cool.

Monday, December 13, 2010

what's that on the horizon? Could it be PART TWO OF SERIES BIBLE NOTES?

oh jeez you guys I think it's headed this way



One more thing on Amnio:
* He doesn't grow up (as in, into a teenager/adult). When they made him, his parents understood the concept that humans/families had children, but not that humans actually aged over time

* A mermaid-sockpuppet who sparkles faintly, and can float (swim through the air?) when she wants to, which is pretty much all the time
* Wanted to see the human world, but could only come back to her home in the Diamond Fields (a nearby dimension humans used to go when they were hallucinating) when she convinced 1000 humans she wasn't just a figment of their imagination. Was about to convince her thousandth human when the Apocalypse hit, and is now stuck in the Afterworld
* Has no knowledge that Amnio's parents are the ones who've indirectly stranded her where she is, and is friends with Amnio because he understands what she's saying; the only thing she says is "bumblemuffins"
* Is motivated almost entirely by whim. She's not happy she doesn't know any way to get back to her home, but the Afterworld is enough of a change of pace from the Diamond Fields to keep her occupied and content for the time being, so she's not too troubled by her predicament
* Has met many critters/characters before Amnio's heard of them, even if she couldn't talk to them
* Hangs out with Mister Bitch and Nugget mostly just because Amnio does; Amnio's ability to speak with anyone doesn't extend to her, so Nugget is (to her) a mute who smells bad, makes nauseating sounds, and runs around a lot. She occasionally messes with Nugget when Amnio's not around, and doesn't feel guilty about it; she views most others as casual playthings
* She DOES have a heart for the few stuffed animals in the Afterworld who were loved enough to give them sentience, only to have their humans disappear. She can hear these abandoned toys, feeling sympathy for anyone who's only had one or two people think they were real, and seeks them out, to gather them together in a safe basement she calls the Velveteen Underground (a name that nobody gets but her)
* Is the only one of the cast who can see in color
* Isn't harmed by radiation/fire/temperature; doesn't need to eat/drink/breathe
* Smells like gummi worms
* Has an extensive hat collection, nabbed after the humans were gone. She makes sure Nugget doesn't know about it, because she doesn't want him trying everything on and stinking them all up. She prefers her fez, so that's usually the only hat she wears
* Has 41 brothers and sisters, all of whom look exactly like her (minus the fez). This is one of the reasons she's not in a hurry to get home. There's not many places in the Diamond Fields where she can be described as "unique," and she at least likes to be thought of as such
* She doesn't know it, but there IS a way to get to the Diamond Fields from the Afterworld. There's an amusement park out there somewhere with a teacup ride that'll send you over if you ride it, though it'll make you throw up (rainbows). Riddlyn doesn't like to barf, so it's uncertain whether she'd take the opportunity if she knew about it

* Amnio's pet ex-poodle, killed off by radiation poisoning six days after Amnio brought him home, and re-animated by pure loyalty
* To Riddlyn/anyone else who sees in color, Mister Bitch's fur fluff is a pastel pinkish-purple
* His bones can be disassembled and re-attached, provided it doesn't get TOO gruesome (whole limbs/tail, nothing partial like eyes or teeth). Kinda like a bone LEGO dog
* Has no real motivations besides making sure Amnio is safe, and to eat food-- not for survival, more a hazy instinct that he remembers if food's nearby. Any food he finds just falls through his ribs, though Nugget's getting really tired of it by now
* Can still drool, and does so. Copiously. Sometimes when there's no food around to drool over
* His name came from Amnio listening to some gangsta rap CDs he'd found. Having no context to go by, he took a "bitch" to mean "somebody who's fun to have around"
* As he's already dead, isn't troubled by radiation anymore, though if he's close enough to a bomb blast, he'll get his fur burned off (it'll grow back to normal(, and the blast force'll scatter him around a ways. It doesn't faze him any. And, yes, he's been near enough to some of Amnio's more well-armed playtimes to be blasted bald a few times
* Can tell exactly where Amnio is at all times, and if he's safe or not. This is good for the very few times Amnio's ties to his parents isn't enough to keep him out of danger. Downside: it's pointless to try playing hide and seek with him

Hm. Sure is a whole lot of information about how everybody reacts to getting blown up, isn't there? This calls for a sketch...


There! Facts you can carry around in your wallet, in case anybody quizzes you. Don't anyone say this site doesn't deliver.

...What's that? Something about 'I promised a comic about Amnio's mom'? Sigh. Well, kids, think of this as like when you asked Santa for a pony for the holidays, and instead, he got you a Turbo-Graphx 16, or whatever it is kids are disappointed in nowadays. Sure, it wasn't a pony, but eventually you found out IT PLAYED "SPLATTERHOUSE." THAT TURNED OUT TO BE AWESOME if you could get past the first level of the game without dying.

What? Nobody here played Splatterhouse when they were a kid?

Tch. I don't know you people anymore.

Monday, December 6, 2010

this brief entry brought to you by the Suckerpunched By This Week Foundation

New gag strip's up in the main site's Comics section! Also the first-ever strip done entirely in Photoshop. Not one dead tree involved. TASTES LIKE FUTURE. (though for serious I think I'll stick with mostly drawing them by hand, 'cause dang, look at all that blank space I wasn't sure how to detail.)

Also, The Source is having a big sale event soon, Saturday the 18th. Grey Bouquet merch AND free caffeine, folks! Mark those calendars now!

Next Monday? Amnio's mom and her unique gardening methods. Or her pet. Not sure which yet, but she'll definitely be in there. More series-production-manual stuff typed out for you, too.

...insert awkward closing "Yup." here

Monday, November 29, 2010

Grey Bouquet Series Bible Stuff I Typed This Week: Part 1

What Grey Bouquet IS about:
The adventures of four creatures, all of whom are varying levels of alive, in a post-apocalyptic world (the Afterworld, to be precise) where humans are gone, fantasy critters are given free reign to roam around, cities are for the most part nuclear-bombed-out/irradiated craters, and where the farty noises a chicken's neck makes are a legitimate source of humor.

Vegetation/animal life is mostly still around, just none of what humans would have to cultivate. At least part of it has mutated into some of the fantasy critters mentioned earlier.

Ash covers enough of the ground to blanket anything outdoors in shades of grey. (The fact that three of the four main characters can't see anything in color doesn't hurt for giving the Grey Bouquet series its name, either.)

What Grey Bouquet is NOT about:
* a religious-themed apocalypse
* a cautionary tale, re: the environment/nuclear weapons
* struggling to survive in the wasteland
* lol it's random, that means it's funny
* lol cruelty to animals/frying ants with a magnifying glass, that's so edgy
* anything from the POV of humanity
* slick societal commentary
* military strategy or plague devastation specifics
* themes above a general 'PG' rating

Notes on our four main characters:

* Child of two of the Riders of the Apocalypse (War and Pestilence, now calling themselves Warren and Lindsey Horsemann). Has only the vaguest idea of why everybody in the Afterworld knows his parents-- doesn't know they gave up their old job as planetary species destroyers and took on a human-ish form, just that they made something called "humans" who used to live there go away
* Wants to be famous, like his Mom and Dad, and figures the best way to do that is to make as many friends as he can
* Doesn't need to eat or drink, though he can if he wants to. Assume his body vaporizes it when it reaches his 'core'
* Is heavily radioactive, enough to poison any organic insects/birds/mammals around him to death within days, and scald any of them he tries to hug
* Looks crusty to the touch, yet if you could ever hug him, he's actually squishy
* Glows in the dark-- specifically, his 'heart,' and the light reflections off his eyes. Otherwise, his eyes are shiny, wet-looking oily black
* Is left home alone with his zombie dog Mister Bitch most of the time. His parents, being essentially alien life forms, have never heard of "babysitting"
* Isn't cruel, but is very, VERY clueless re: empathy, or whether he's endangering others around him
* Loves exploding stuff, and has accidentally vaporized his family's last two or three homes/surrounding towns with the odd spare nuke his father Warren's been able to find. He now recognizes that Mr. Bitch and Nugget would be gone if he tries blowing up anything big again, so he holds off on doing so... begrudgingly
* Can talk to anybody and have them understand him, and he them. This means that he can understand what a headless chicken and a floating mermaid-sockpuppet are saying, among many other creatures


And because I promised unicorns last week:

These are the three unicorns who live down the street from the Horsemann's house in the suburbs. They're the ones who taught Amnio's parents how to use their TV/DVD player. How the unicorns keep their house's appliances and outdoor hot tub running smoothly, they won't say, besides "Unicorn magic." (SPOILER: they make the tiny one run on a treadmill for their generator in the basement. That's one of the reasons Tiny Unicorn is so angry all the time.)

They're the only ones so far to outright refuse to be Amnio's friend. They won't say why.

Unicorns are kind of jerks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Afterworld has no monster truck rallies. What they DO have is way more awesome.

Yo! Get in line-- newest batch of comic's out of the oven! You can check it out on the main site's Gag Strips section. All you hermit crab fanatics out there should enjoy this one. (In fact, you can stop writing me letters about it, thanks.) Shotgun shells, bombshells... they're all shells, right?

It's been brought to my attention that, so far, Grey Bouquet doesn't really have much for a backstory, other than what's lurking in the yet-unreleased picture book. What fun is that? So starting next week, get ready for a bunch of Afterworld factoids that you don't have to know to enjoy Amnio and the gang, but that'll hopefully shine a light on some stuff that might've had you making one of those crumply-eyebrow confusion faces, like "How can Amnio talk to a chicken who doesn't have a mouth?"

Plus, there'll be unicorns. Frat-boy unicorns. Oh, yes.


In seasonal news, The Source is currently the only place that still has the Nugget birthday-slash-Thanksgiving greeting card in stock. Know I've mentioned it before... the one that featured Nugget with what was supposed to look like peacock feathers, but everybody thinks it's a turkey tail? Tomay-to, tomah-to. Either way, it works.

So, if you're the type who sends cards to folks for holidays other than the one with the fat guy and the reindeer, or just wants to see everybody's favorite headless chicken with a rockin' butt design, stop on by!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The word of the day, kids, is UGH

Okay. So. This is the slumping motion my shoulders make when work has been so crazy that I really have nothing to show for the week.

It has been a great week for comical head injuries, though, so in an effort to provide you fine folks out there with SOMEthing of interest, please enjoy this dramatic re-enactment of one of them. (You'll all just have to picture me getting punched in the face by a falling price display at work for now.)


Why you gotta be a jerk, sky. :(

Sunday, November 7, 2010

whatever you do, don't use crayons in his books.

Not much on the homefront this week, but figured I'd drop a peek at one of the critters that'll be in the picture book...


This is Library Anne. He's one of the smartest folks in the Afterworld, as far as Riddlyn knows. (He should be, for all the books he lugs around with him-- which he carries very efficiently, might I add.) If there's a book you need, Library Anne is the one to find.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Amnio's house gives the best candy, 'cause Amnio's parents are the only ones in the neighborhood who know what Halloween is.


Now now, Nugget. It may not be chocolate, but it's good for your gizzard.


More layouts sketched out since last time, too! OooOOOOOOoo scary


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

walk of shame. and cake. mostly cake.

What happened to this week's Monday update? you might well ask. Well, rest assured, this should be the only oops in the GBQ update machine; your humble doodle wrangler was busy turning 30 years closer to dying, as the greeting card goes. Would've had an update right from the birthday party, if the rainstorm that decided to settle over us that night hadn't knocked out the Internet, too.

Enough explainin', though. Have some special-edition "drawn while roaring drunk" birthday update! Just stick it in the microwave a minute, and you'd never know it's stale.



Next Monday for sure: another peep at the picture book layout update chart! More Xs over page numbers equals more good.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back from FallCon, with fresh hellos for all of you first finding your way here because of it! None of those stale, left-on-the-back-porch-overnight hellos. Nope-- nothing but the best for you folks!

Between this con and the Art Crawl last week, your humble doodle wrangler's never been more happily surprised at how many people recognize these wacky Grey Bouquet critters when they walk by, whether they've seen somebody wearing a t-shirt or sent cards out to somebody themselves.

Can't say it enough: no matter how long you may've known Amnio and the gang for, it's an honor and a joy to have been able to meet each and every one of you. Even you. Yes, YOU, sitting right there, blinking and wondering how I can point at you through the computer screen with my mind.

Even if I happen to have an unfortunate-for-conventions knack for forgetting what people's faces look like if they're wearing different clothes than the last time I saw 'em, believe me-- if I come off as distracted or distant at these meet-and-greet events, it's because I'm trying to jog my memory of where I saw you last, NOT because I don't give a damn. If it weren't for nifty folks like you, Grey Bouquet would still been languishing around as sketchbook doodles, and I appreciate your help, enthusiasm, and snickering sounds more with every con I'm at.

Also, to the kid dressed as a skeleton who came by and politely asked if he could have one of the gummi worms, then saw the Amnio "Happiness Is..." shirt and said, "Oh, I'm sorry... I can't look at violent stuff," before excusing himself to the next table: I only wish there was something better I could've given you than a plain ol' gummi worm, 'cause the "d'aww" smile you gave me was worth way more than that.

Also also, to the fella whose mom has the obsession with collecting chickens: I hope the Nugget postcard does its wakeup-call duty well. And I wish I could see her face when she gets it. I really do. :D

So, what better way to celebrate a day of unrepentant comic book nerdery than with a good ol'-fashioned origin story?


Oh, Nugget. You'll never get to an Issue #2 that way!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hey, all! And an extra heapin' spoonful of welcome to those of you dropping in from this weekend's Art Crawl festivities. This week had some exciting news pop up regarding the picture book, which I'm gonna be keeping under my hat until some more solid negotiations get hammered down. You might notice how your humble doodle wrangler is making giddy bounce-up-and-down motions and trying to keep from saying "hee-eee" out loud. Please ignore this for now.

As for what I can talk about, how 'bout the new gag strip up in the main site's Comics section? There's that. It's probably the only time this week you'll see a sockpuppet wearing a sombrero, but I'm not making any promises.

Also, thanks to the on-and-off free time at the Crawl, there's a couple more lines showing up over numbers in the Picture Book Layout Report:



Next on the agenda: FALLCON! It's this Saturday only, 10AM 'till 4PM, at the State Fairgrounds, so make sure you swing by to the Grey Bouquet Designs table while you're there and say hello! Or stare from a distance, then come up and ask questions about the doodle wrangler's 3-D glasses. That works just as well.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

job still kicking my free time's ass

but if you head over to the Nugget Online section on the main site (or Nugget's Twitter feed itself), Nugget's got a bone to pick with his beloved clicky box regarding a certain raccoon kicking his ass. Silly Nugget... Pet doors don't play favorites when it comes to who they let in!

PS: Does this week's update mean Nugget's dead? Undead? Plugged into a stunningly inefficient chicken-only version of the Matrix?

Y'know, I'm not sure. He won't ever tell me.

Glibness aside, I keep thinking of Nugget as just having really, really good luck when it comes to surviving, and godawful horrible luck with everything else.

Monday, September 27, 2010

awww puppies.

Hey all! Guess who started a new job this week?

Which... yeah. Having money again is cool, but retail's a harsh mistress when it comes to sharing all that free time that was lying around. So, not much progress on the picture book front-- this week, at least.

but, witty stuff later

comic now


Gift comic for the makers of Poe the Goodbye Puppy, another local creation that features a zombie doggie. I figured it was high time Poe and Mister Bitch got to have a play date together. Of course, zombies aren't generally known for their pep...

No means no, Mister Bitch. No means no.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good news: There's a new display piece up for the Grey Bouquet card rack at the Source! With new art and the Nugget postcards for sale, even! Hit those fellas up sometime. Can't say it enough-- they're a keen bunch, them and their geek mecca of a store.

Bad news: Only half the art done for the display sign actually fit on the sign. Which is good news for you, 'cause you get to see 'em all here!


Print 'em out, if you like! You don't have to stick to the same boring coloring-page idea, either. Get creative! You can use them as seat placeholders for very small movie theater seats. Or stick 'em to the ends of dogs' ears with some tape, for a few minutes of free entertainment. Leave them at crime scenes and see what Batman-villain-style name the press starts giving you. The possibilities are endless!


Speaking of picture books, how's the progress chart coming along? GLAD YOU ASKED.


Lookit! See? Lines appearing over a bunch of numbers! Lines over numbers is good.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

night of a thousand tennis balls

Every day, you learn something new, eh? For instance, today I learned that I'm allergic to shellfish. (Or maybe mushrooms. Or tofu. Trying new Chinese food combo dishes are tricky like that.)

But don't think a little thing like various body parts going numb would stop me from this week's update! In fact, there's a new gag strip up in the main site's Comics section RIGHT NOW, so you should go check that out. Continuing the "favorite toys" theme from last week, this one gives you the heads-up on how Mister Bitch gets his entertainment.

NOTE: He can do that all day if Amnio lets him.


Hey, that's right, I can add some more to the picture book progress chart, too!


As it turns out, my numbering fail means there's only 40 pages to the book, not 44. I'll spiff up the original chart lines to something less edited-in-Photobucket-at-the-last-minute soon enough.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One last Not A Card Yet design for y'all today. Here's the Get Well card, which might've had "I'd Keep You Around Even If You Were A Case Of The Plague" on the inside. Or maybe not. Never could figure out a good saying for it.


And with that, your humble doodle wrangler has officially burned through the entire backlog of pics saved up for this blog, so updates are going to be scaled back for the time being to MONDAYS ONLY.

You'll still get your cool stuff here, so keep checking back. I'll just be setting to work on the picture book that much harder in the meantime!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

dem bones.

One thing savvy folks might've noticed about the gag strip this week is that it features, GASP, the first example of correct human-style bone structure since the whole Grey Bouquet series started.

Talking about the pelvic bones, in particular-- ie, the big butterfly-shaped part of the skeletal system, where your spine ends and where the tops of your legs connect into. Especially the obturator foramen (the holes on either side near where a person's butt would be). I swear, your humble doodle wrangler cannot seem to pin down where the holes in pelvic bones are supposed to go.

This only became an issue once I took Human Anatomy grad school courses early this year and realized how bad a track record I had on the hole-placement thing. Seriously. Had no concept of what was going on in that area when I was doing the greeting card art, and it shows.

Actually, that's a cool idea for a game to play whenever you see Amnio or Mister Bitch: SPOT THE HOLES! Sometimes there's four there. Sometimes two, but they'll be in the wrong places. Sometimes Mister Bitch's legs are coming from mystery holes that don't exist, and the rest of the pelvic bone'll have more holes past that. MADNESS I SAY.

Doing a bit better nowadays, as seen in this doodle I sketched out to quiz myself for class:

(Done from the feet up. I kinda got bored by the time I got to the head.)

At least for Amnio, I can claim it's because of shoddy research on his parents' part. They didn't see examples of human bone structure for very long a time, after all.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Where do they get those wonderful toys?

New gag strip's up in the Comics section, complete with a cameo from the A-bomb plushie Amnio's seen cuddling in the Miss You greeting card design (for those of you on the lookout for trivia extra-credit).

Speaking of obscure trivia: the 'gingerbread voodoo doll' idea came from a tattoo design I made for someone a few years ago. They asked for "a voodoo doll," and... it somehow never occurred to me to look up what a voodoo doll's generally supposed to look like before I started drawing. (Pausing here to state the obvious: this is NOT A GOOD THING TO DO when you do commission work. Just sayin'.) Lucky for me, the commissioner loved the icing/lava(?)-spewing result.


It also happened to look like precisely the kind of stuffed animal you'd find in a place people go when they hallucinate. (Or so I figure, uh. cough.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another day, another greeting card design scrapped 'cause it featured Amnio's parents who hadn't been introduced anywhere yet:


...One without inside text this time, either. Hm. Never could pin down a line that felt just right for this one.

Anyhow. New gag strip on Monday, and your humble doodle wrangler's got more promo stuff to work on in the meantime.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hey, so now that you're up to speed on who Amnio's folks are, that means I can dig out the card concepts for Mother's Day and Father's Day! Cool!

Three guesses for which one this design's for:


Sunday, August 29, 2010


Hey! What're you still doing here? Didn't you know there's a new gag comic up on the main site? Check it out, yo! (Plus, there'll be another comic next Monday, so don't go tossing your fork right away after you're done! Save that sucker.)

But what's that I hear you asking? Who're those strangers in the new comic? Why, my dear rhetorical audience I'm replying to, you didn't think Amnio's mom and dad weren't ever going to show up in the Grey Bouquet world, did you?

Yup, those lovebirds are Warren and Lindsey Horsemann-- aka, former Riders of War and Pestilence in that Apocalypse shindig that wiped out all the humans, thus shooing in the Afterworld as Amnio and friends know it.

True, they've changed a bit since the first concept sketch of 'em, especially Dad and his helmet-slash-bronze-feathers-or-something-I-don't-know mask:


But if you want to see some real design changes, just check out how the Riders looked before they were done with that Big Job of theirs.


Left to right: Death, Pestilence, and War. Pestilence is stretching for a semi-human form here; usually it'd be a formless ichor blob covered with eyespots. Famine's not in this pic, but trust me, it'd look like sort of a saggy inflatable-windsock funnel critter with button eyes on top.

...Okay, so this is a bit of a cheat. The drawing above is from a comic project I tried briefly in college called "Second Horse," told from the POV of an alien from a protozoan-level ocean planet who's brought to Earth for an unknown purpose-- until that purpose turns out to be destroying the humans the blob's grown so fond of, by the time it catches on.

Thing is, I see the Riders from the Grey Bouquet universe as pretty much the same deal: four alien beings roam from planet to planet, taking out whatever they're told is the local pest that needs quieting down on that world, and off they all go to their next assignment. They have such abstract forms simply because 1.) they have no concept of humanity to copy themselves after, and 2.) they're avatars of friggin' elemental destruction. They don't need to look complicated. That'd be showing off, and they have a job to do.

But then there's Earth. And for whatever reason, War and Pestilence were smitten with the place. So much so that when they were done with that particular assignment (read: us), they decided to quit their cosmic temp job and strike it out on their own to emulate what they figured the dream life of the planet's former natives used to be-- that is, settle down in the suburbs and start a family.

Now, it's true, Warren and Lindsey don't have all too clear an image of what humans were actually like, besides the mishmash of videos and advertisements left behind. The forms they've adopted to look "more human" still don't look exactly like the perfect Hollywood couple, and Amnio's some real proof of how secondhand their ideas are for what "the perfect child" is supposed to look like, but... well, for a couple of galactic endbringers, I think they've done well for themselves.

PS: In today's gag strip? Yeah, that's not really how pre-Amnio life worked at all. But he's just a little kid, right? He can learn all the icky details when he's older. Just be glad his folks never heard about those mythic creatures, the "storks."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Postcards! Get'cher fresh, buttery postcards he-ah!

That's right, baseball's own timeless crunchy snack favorite can now be delivered right to your door THROUGH THE INTERNET! Check out those photos in the link, 'cause there's art on the back, too. Plus a spot for a stamp in the shape of, get this-- an egg. Boy howdy, huh? What'll we think of next?

Also available in the third dimension at Sacred Paths Center, and (a few days from now) at The Source.


No sketch today, folks. Sorry to disappoint if you brought your plate. But don't fret, 'cause this next Monday, there'll be a super-sized update to make up for it! How big is it, you ask? Oh, only 'bout as big as THE END OF THE WORLD.

...'Bang' kind of end, not the 'whimper' kind.

Just... trust me, it's plenty big.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

sockpuppet fields forever

Still working on stuff that's not done enough yet to put up here, so... how 'bout I round out the last of those character/flower logos from the backs of the GBQ greeting cards, eh?


Hoping the basic character/flower parallels came through well enough for all of 'em. Amnio's wilting a flower with seeds inside an oval center that kinda looks like his mask-nose holes; Riddlyn's melting out from a flowery acid-trip sort of jumble; Nugget's sitting on a tree stump; Mister Bitch is gnawing on a poodle-puffy daisy and everything's covered in dog drool.

Didn't catch some of the pair-ups the first time around? You can go ahead and check the others. S'not like I'm gonna end the post and run away while you're out double-checking or anything. Except for the part where I'm totally doing just that.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

An idea so nice, I did it twice. Bask in the knowledge!


Also, thanks to all who came to the Minneapolis Indie Xpo this past Saturday! If you ran into me there, don't be alarmed-- I don't tend to be nearly that sweaty. (Seriously, what was up with that? I had a movie-popcorn-butter glaze going by, like, 11 in the morning.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

KNOW YOUR NUGGET: an educational film for today's youth

New picture I whipped up to help a buddy of mine with reference for a certain somebody...


Yeah, so he's off-model from this in some of the GBQ merchandise. Just consider any stray neck scruffs retconned from this point on.

By the way, said buddy pointed out a possible glitch with the html I should mention a quick fix for: if your browser window's only showing you the left end of these pictures, you can click the pics to show the whole image on its own!


Last-minute awesome news! Looks like I'm gonna be sitting in for the Minneapolis Indie Xpo this weekend, thanks to fellow Black Hatter and creator of the best nerds-in-rest-homes-of-the-future webcomic out there, Abby Lehrke! Check us out at the Soap Factory Saturday and Sunday, yeah? Admission's free. Just think of it: all the comic books you can eat!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

GBQ plus BBQ equals.. something... BQ

Entering the dog days of summer, so you know what that means!

...Gah! NO! Not that. Where'd you even get one of those?! You put that away before the cops see you.

Jeez. Kids these days.

I meant it's BARBECUE TIME!


PS: Calm down, that's not Nugget. Amnio's folks don't talk about what happens to all the squirrels and rabbits that get sleepy after Amnio hugs 'em long enough for the radiation poisoning to kick in, is all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

For the record, this is totally me not stalling while I try to scrabble together enough reference photos to do the next sketch for the blog. Totally. Nope.

Right. ONE MORE KID PHOTO! (...And I can't find the first sketch I did of Mister Bitch, so this really is the last one. For reals this time.)


So I've had a few friends over the years who, on occasion, were known to command: "Hey, you! Draw something. I wanna see what happens."

If they were lucky, I'd do more than just give a dismissive lip-flappy noise in reply, and actually do what they ask. If I was lucky, I'd have something like these lovely ladies appear on the page when I was done. Much like how Amnio showed up, really, though Riddlyn the mermaid-sockpuppet happened to arrive with a chaperone.

"Missusymbiote" (the deer critter, there) was later renamed, streamlined down to a form that made my drawing hand not want to gag, and put into service as a character for a 24-page comic I did layouts for in 2006, none of which I'm going to show online unless I finish it, 'cause I'm a paranoid so-and-so like that.

FUN FACT: Riddlyn doesn't only have that one hat, you know. She's actually got scads of different hats stashed around in her collection. The fez is just her favorite.

She doesn't let Nugget know about this, 'cause... let's face it, he kinda stinks hats up once he borrows 'em. Talk about awkward.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

He's put on some weight, but only 'cause roly-polier chicken equals FUNNIER chicken, amirite?

Not much on the docket for today. Workin' on a couple more picture book sketches, so the checklist should have a couple fresh Xs on it before too long.

How about another first-appearance pic? Seems to be Nugget's week so far, so let's go with him.


I still raise an eyebrow at how little's changed between these first sketches and how I draw him now. Considering Amnio, Mister Bitch, and Riddlyn all had a few years of weird-looking development quirks... just had one of those "right place, right time" moments, I guess. Nugget's my Athena. Sprung fully-formed from the forehead of Gerbil. Love it when that happens.

Gives him a really boring baby-photo story, though.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


First off, guess what came in the mail today?


If you guessed the postcards, THAT IS CORRECT


So, rather than toss off another hit-and-run entry like Monday's batch of sleepwalking and fail, figured I'd make things up to you by doing here what I didn't do last time: walk you through how I made the darn thing.

Everybody ready?




NOTE: this assumes you have already
(1) drawn the headless chicken postcard art in question, which involves a Bic-clicker pencil and a very thin piece of dead tree,
(2) gone over the pencil lines with a .005 Micron pen, and
(3) scanned the end result into the magical porn picture box we call a COMPUTER to save it as a file.


Boy-oh-boy! Here's your brand new baby, all wide-eyed and excited and... looking kinda hangdoggy, to be honest. Blechh. Look at those mistake lines where your hand shook tracing with the pen! Those untrimmed borders hanging off the lines! The weird angle that word balloon's got, compared to where Nugget's neck is supposed to be! And those triangles you pasted into the background from a different scan... those aren't working like you thought they would in your head.

Not a bad start, but this thing needs some work done if it's gonna face the Printshop Crew in the final round, 'cause believe me, kid, that team plays hard.

Enter Photoshop CS and its Erase tool!




After a thorough go-over with Erase, some doctoring to the pen line oopses, and a quick Rotate to fix the word balloon angle, we make a new solid-color layer to plop behind the original. This way, you can see which parts of the background (ie, the paper that was originally drawn on) didn't get erased from the part of the scan we want to keep as the image. See the flecky bits in the circles? Almost got 'em all. Time to erase 'em for good. Kids, cover your eyes. I don't want you crying about this later.




Now comes the tricky part. Remember all those pen lines? The ones that were the exact same thickness for the entire drawing?

Well, grab your Wacom tablet and pen-shaped stylus, 'cause it's time to go over the whole thing again-- only this time, we're adding line weights. No more scrawny, nine-pound-weakling lines on THIS sucker! Now it's gonna look like it can stand up to a heavy breeze.




The Paintbucket tool's a wondrous thing. One click, and the whole area you're working with-- bam! Colored.

...Or so you'd think. There's a lot of zooming in to make the picture huge, gaping in disgust at all the tiny pixel bits that don't get filled in 'cause they aren't exactly the same color as the pixels you Paintbucketed, and frantically smoothing over those edge bits with the Pencil tool set at 1 pixel. [PROTIP: difficulty of this step may vary, depending on how unforgiving any OCD reflexes you might have are being today.]

The color squiggle in the corner is for our next step...




Adding those background triangles! On their own new layer, of course. Don't want all that work you did on Nugget messed with, right?

Oh, and Nugget looked weird with feathers, so off that white color went. He's actually plucked, so if the Afterworld was ever in color instead of ashy greyscale, this is what he'd look like. No foolin'.




Buckle yourself in, 'cause here comes about fifty versions of color swapping. "But that one looks too DARK! No, that one's too neon, it's drawing attention off of Nugget... Ew, not that green! That one's icky..."

Let's skip past the rest of this step, eh? It takes a while.




Oh yeah. Hahaha. Ahah. Heh.

Remember the print guidelines the place printing your postcards told you to follow? Would've been a good idea to make your original image THAT SIZE. Just a note to the folks out there like me who don't remember stuff like that. Makes things run a lot more smoothish in the eleventh hour.

Still, once that scrambling horror's done with:




Colors've been picked, for the most part. Let's add a brighter green to these three triangles, though, shall we? Last-minute fix. Makes 'em pop out from the rest of the dark triangles.

There we go. Lookin' good there, sweet thing! ROWF.

Submit images. Pay printer. Bake for 13 days (or local ship times). Serves 250.

And... dig in.

Monday, August 9, 2010


[EDIT - You know what? I'm going to leave this post, where I have no idea what I wrote for it, here as a cautionary tale for anybody who knows what Ambien is: be sure to take your sleeping pill for the night AFTER you write your blog post, NOT before. Friends don't let friends blog while technically asleep.]

Seeing as how the Nugget postcards are next on the docket this week, figured I'd offer some snapshots of the first couple stages where we go from point "A" (ie, empty paper and pencil; computer's on, but nobody's using it yet) to "B" (line cleanup and inking via Photoshop CS and a Wacom pad/stylus" and then to "C" and beyond, which we'll come to in another post, 'cuz we sure don't wanna explode ALL your heads with this primo Colombian-grade knowledge, here. Trust me, it's not pretty like it is in the movies. You ever done seen a man tryin' to claw the smarts back into what now passes for their brainpan, gooshing it all down in there like sloppy wrinkle soup? No? Well, count yourselves lucky. Now what was I talki-- ah, right, taking a design from paper to computer image.


Step A: The original pencil drawing, inked over with a 0.05 micron pen and scanned. A line of triangles had this done to them as well. Both were ported over to Photoshop CS, where the triangles (still without having the background of the original scan's paper erased away; that erasing gets done once posing the three scan parts around on the new document background: the chicken scan, the emote scan, and the line of triangle scan pictures, each given their own layers.

So once that cleanup/posing is done, here's STEP B:

I go over the lines with a Wacom pen stylus to make them look more thick and dynamic. Go Wacom pens. Woot. NOT YET. At this point I've just gotten rid of the flecks/blurs/mistake spots of the pencil/pen on the paper.

Afraid to say but the Ambien I took for tonight kicked in and is cutting me off here before I devolve into something with even more no language skills besides hooting and scent marking so I'll catch you all again until I wake up later today and figure out just what of this typemash I have to fix. Shouldn't happen often.

but yeah, thanks for coming, now you kids get off my lawn (for now)

Friday, August 6, 2010

bask in the awkward: more photos of somebody else's kid!

One more! Just one more, I promise. This was the third sketch Amnio showed up in, I think. I remember shoving my notes for history class over the page as I drew it. Sneaky, yessir. That was me. (Not sure why I was so convinced that ringworm only shows up on the legs, but in all fairness, I was drawing instead of paying attention in Biology.)


Ah, life without sedatives. I remember you.


Oh and hey! So the first batch of Nugget postcards are on their way through shipping. Should show up in a week or so, and then it's to the Etsy site with them! ...As well as letting you know which local distributors'll be carrying it then, once WE find out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

He's got his daddy's... uh, lens sockets.

So remember the other day when I mentioned those first few drawings of Amnio from Ye Olden Times?

Yeah. I'm about to do that thing where I open my wallet and pluck out baby photos to shove at you and make annoying parent coo noises. LOOKIT THIS WIDDLE GUY-EEE. ISN'T HE THE CUTEST. LOOKIT THAT WIDDLE FACE.

...Actually, look at those little ribs. Didn't I ever feed this poor kid back then? Sheesh.


There you go-- first documented proof of our main fella, originally sandwiched between sketchbook pages of a gerbil in a storm being eaten by raindrops with teeth, and some vulture-head-looking thing spitting bullets that I remember thinking was totally deep and stuff 'cause I drew it after seeing Pink Floyd: the Wall for the first time. [shrug] Yeah, I dunno either.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

good grief.


Being that San Diego's been a mere week and some change ago, AND seeing how one of this year's con themes was how "Peanuts" had just hit the big 6-0, I figured today's update would be a good time to touch on just how much Snoopy and Charlie Brown ended up being inadvertent grandparents to the Grey Bouquet gang at large.

Now, this humble doodle wrangler honestly has no idea what Charles Schultz would've thought of Amnio and company, if he'd had a chance to see them. I doubt he'd have a bad word for them, as he seems the kind to never hand those around too much.

One thing I DO know is, my dad is in absolute hetero love with good ol' "Sparky," and has been before I was old enough to open my eyes at the Sunday funny pages. In fact, I daresay my father's admiration for Mr. Schultz has only ripened over the years, like a fine wine, if that fine wine also wore Schroeder and Lucy ties to work several times a week. "That Charles Schultz... I mean, wow. You just don't SEE that kind of genius around anymore, you know?" was not an uncommon phrase to pop up over the family dinner table at the slightest provocation.

Which, I should add, is a sentiment I'm behind one hundred per cent. Sure, I could've picked "hating on Peanuts" as an easy path for teenage rebellion-- much easier than, say, picking up the odd recreational drug habit, or voting Green Party-- but I couldn't ever bring myself to dislike the series, even now. All things blockheaded and fussbudgety have simply grown on me far too much.

It especially fascinated me to read Mr. Schultz's family members claim that he often acted as though he was actually seeing the Peanuts characters in his mind-- like he was writing down their lives for the rest of us to peek in on. Not to mention how he passed on right when he stopped doing the strip... If he really did have such an insight into a whole family of his brainchildren, how lonely would that be, having to say goodbye to them all? The idea dogged me so deeply that my first minicomic, The Strange Tale of Charlie Dickenson (a timid-lined, cobbled-together-in-three-days attempt to pass something around at Wizard World Chicago in 2001) was pretty much created whole-cloth from such a scenario.

(Interesting to note: a couple mermaid-sockpuppets showed up in the background of few of Charlie's "vision" panels in the story, both of whom were dead ringers for Riddlyn. Right down to the snazzy fez. Relatives of hers, maybe? Mermaid-sockpuppets ARE kinda hard to tell apart...)

When it comes down to it, it was having my dad call the notebook sketches of odd critters I'd do "not like Schultz's stuff at all" that got the ball rolling towards the Afterworld in the first place. If I remember right: "You'll never see any money drawing scary stuff like that. People want to see nice drawings, like Snoopy! Snoopy makes people SMILE. If you want to keep drawing, you should go into making greeting cards. Something cute. Fun, you know?"

...which kinda paints my dad in a curmudgeonly light, come to think of it, so I should stress: he really did have a point. Those first gasmask-fetus sketches of mine weren't done to make anyone happy-- hell, the fetus in question looked like he was downright miserable in half the drawings I put him in. But a couple months wandering around in my head later, I was trying to stitch together what a little gasmasked fetus kid MIGHT be like. He'd be like any other kid, right? Even if everything around him was as gloomy and toxic as he looked, he'd still want to run around and play. He'd still have fun. And before long, I had a whole cast of critters there to enjoy the ride along with him-- first on a handful of greeting cards, and THEN THE WORLD! well, you know the rest.

Since I started this shindig, I've been thrilled over and over again to see just how many folks agree that something can be creepy and heartwarming at the same time. And every time I sit behind a table with my Grey Bouquet stuff, I couldn't be more delighted-- because even though Amnio and the rest may not have such inviting surroundings as a bright red doghouse, a nickel-psychologist booth, or the old baseball mound, I can still show people what Happiness Is through those in the Afterworld, a little bit at a time.

And that's awesome. :D

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Doodle Wrangler's folks are due in town tomorrow morning, so any rushed feeling to this post can be chalked up to having to scurry around hiding anything in the apartment that probably should not be left lying around in front of said folks. Which should be interesting, given the fresh slice of awesome I picked up at SDCC that's currently hanging on my dining room wall.


Update. Update... what DO I have for y'all today?

How about the linework for the Sockpuppet Love T-shirt? Might be able to print that puppy off for some color-in-or-outside-the-lines-as-you-see-fit funtime, right? Yeah. I'll go with that.


Lesson One in coloring: eating the crayons does not allow you to cross into another dimension where the colors look WAY brighter. Trust me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remember that picture book thing I mentioned? Well, I whipped up something for you all to keep tabs on where I'm at with it. Shoulder-snoop to your little heart's content, 'cause here it is:


It's like those advent calendars! If instead of chocolate, there was only SUSPENSE

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Now that I've had my nineteen-hour-long nap to recharge... LET'S DO THIS THING.

Based on a true story. It was either this, the Galactus hats, or the Adventure Time caps they were handing out.

Seriously now: everyone I met at San Diego Comic Con was AWESOME. And I swear, hearing Jhonen Vasquez, Jill Thompson, Phil Foglio, Tavi and Rikki of Studio Tavicat, and Tessa Stone / Shaenon Garrity (the creators of two of the best webcomics out there) say MY stuff was cool is going to have me skipping in ecstatic slow-mo like somebody in the latter half of a medication commercial for the next seventy-four weeks. At minimum. I hope everybody I met had as rockin' a time at Con as I did there Friday!


NEXT ON THE DOCK: Oh yeah, the Nugget postcard's all ready to send to print, isn't it? I know what I'm doin' once I get up later this morning.

Plus, I started layouts for three of the 44 picture book pages on the plane ride over Thursday.

...Yeah. This week is gonna be cool.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

it's ALWAYS playtime here.

So! De-Comic-Sansed the main site, if you're into that sort of thing. (Poor Comic Sans MS. ALL IT WANTED WAS YOUR LOVE)

This Friday will not have an update, as I will be schmoozing in San Diego and hopefully kicking up some buzz for the picture book, if not for the main characters/series in general. Freebie tables ahoy~

To tide you through your loss, have a bigg'un for a picture post. If any of you've seen the freebie fliers for Grey Bouquet scattered here and there around the Twin Cities this past year and a half, this here's the sketch used for the puzzle image on the back of those fliers. (If you've got a flier and don't know what I'm talking about, chase it down for a second and flip it over. See that number on the corner? If you've got all four of 'em, voila, you've got the picture below as well!)


If you don't know what those shadows on the wall they're dancing by are, here-- look it up. Then feel free to chuckle, or shift and say "oh..." a little awkward-like, or demand to know what I'm doing in your living room, or whatever else folks do when they 'get' it.


You know what time it is again? Time for PROOOMOTIONS!

Y'all need to drop in for a look at this comic called Godseeker, by two of my peeps right here in the Cities. It's got pre-Babylonian-era romance! Intrigue! People getting eaten by crocodiles! Whirly plant vine things that look super cool! Boobies! (Kids these days like boobies, right?) ...And art and story and stuff that is WAY better than I'm probably making it sound!

You know what it DOESN'T have? Chinchillas.

Blah blah blah chinchillas are on a whole different continent when this story's taking place, there's an ocean in the way. NONSENSE. You need to tell these fine people there's only one thing that could make this comic any better, and that's for this to happen:


Scuba chillas.

I rest my case.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Are you my mummy? No? Well, you DO look like family...

Found out today that it is possible to finish off the first season of Doctor Who AND finish up the back side of the first Grey Bouquet postcard in the same night. Unfortunately, the sheer hypnotic power of Christopher Eccleston on a flickery screen for these past few days means that Nugget usually would've gotten around to visiting the Clicky Box by this point in the week, and he hasn't yet. As the kids say nowadays, my bad, yo.


Amnio shirts are indeed now available at the Source, along with the usual full assortment of niftyness! If Dinkytown's more your stomping grounds, I'll find out tomorrow whether Magus Books will be offering 'em or not, too.


Keeping on the 'greeting card logos' theme, here's Nugget's version. His logo is kind of the odd duck out, compared to the other three. Only one card's ever featured Nugget-- and apparently, most folks who saw it thought it was supposed to be a Thanksgiving card, not for birthdays, like it was intended (though given the peacock-style tailfeathers Nugget's got on the front of the card, I'll admit it's not a big logical leap to make). It was never reprinted past the first run, so unless you've been checking the Source's greeting card racks for a while now, your chances of stumbling across this one are on the slim side.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Woo! So. Shirts. The new design's now available at Sacred Paths Center, and will be available at The Source this Thursday afternoon.


How's about another one of those flower logos, eh? Ehhhh? Come on, you know you want more crosshatched plant stuff in your life.


Mister Bitch likes flowers. Flowers very seldom run away when he tries to eat them, and as his top speed doesn't get a whole lot faster than "zombie shuffle," every little bit helps.