#lebacklog I’m getting messages (okay, just one–thanks for watching after all this time, Jeremy) about the concerning emotional content of the recent backlog posts. It’s alright, guys. I’m fine. Drawing is fine. But. As I’m now drawing in VR and with a few old and perilously faithful friends, I think it’s time for some honesty. I am grateful for all the work that I get. To have this job is a privilege. There is nothing like it. We need every job we get when we say yes, from the $100 trade pieces to the cover work. We are thankful to live and to draw. And I will do anything for money. As an illustrator, and sometimes as a person. But that I feel this way, that “anything” is anything is problematic. And when I make mistakes, I’m interested in them.
This piece was done for the Talented, Hardworking, Dedicated Deanna Donnegan. She is kind enough to give me work still, even with my schedule and with me being me. It was for a piece about FLEXN at the Park Ave Armory. Tell me if you can tell the difference between these images. Then, discuss. This is about editors. Also, that hat placement I don’t like anymore. My bad.
#lebacklog This one, I like. Of this one, I approve. Ink and digital combo. For Erich and Medium/ Matter. I loved this job. I love Erich. I loved this piece. Clifiction. The earth is hurtling into the sun and all I can do is flirt and draw.
#lebacklog Dartmouth Alumni with Wendy. Boys cutting up and robbing a train full of beer. Long time ago. Lots of revises. This and many others last year marked this period in which I did revises on almost everything I submitted. I needed a change, obviously.
#lebacklog I fucking hated this job for Baltimore Magazine. Spiritualists are supposed to be fun. Everyone knows. I did a million versions of this pandatampon of a concept. I must have done this to myself. My boyfriend at the time kept saying “tell them you need more money”, which was what he said every day after we woke up and I made coffee wrong. All I could think was “only 350 dollars of these 500 clams are mine”. I had to lie to myself about how much I was making. I lied. To myself. Bad compromise. Bad.
#lebacklog Backpacking Magazine. I’d do this all differently now. The girl scout could be much better for the aspect ratio, especially. But I found I preferred to use the cintiq exclusively at this point. I remember Yuko said something on instayams like “New style?? <3” and I said something like “<3″, meaning: “I cede the field, woman. Ink is not as important to me as line. I will draw with anything. Anything I feel like. Tradition is for people who come from somewhere. I am too young to come from any place. Do I sound defensive?” Yes.
#lebacklog Garden and Gun. I did this one over Thanksgiving last year, when I met my ex’s family after knowing him for a month. The way I avoided social situations with work there was for sure foreshadowing. The girls are white and the sky is nuclear. This piece is about a fixer-upper. Themes. The moral of the story is not to buy haunted houses. Think about it. This wan’t printed till April of the next year. It’s on vellum with a brush pen, for speed. Thanks, Marshall. Marshall was one of the nicest ADs I’ve ever had. Just, purely rhetorically speaking and with intention, too. I think about him often.
#lebacklog These are different clients. But I am so bored with myself. Just, the spiral. This was a death spiral. I can barely put this on the internet. Good thing I’m all about chaos now. I needed it, but oh boy what a bad job. That dirt, though. I like that. And the pig’s ear color. No one gets to make you draw a flying pig, and you will not choose to do it. Pigs already do fly. It’s already easy to imagine. Hell is cold, too. Are we completely clear here?
#lebacklog This one was good, or it began that way, but look at the horrorshow at the bottom. Chimamanda I bet would hate it too. This was during a period where someone decided that I could depict race “sensitively” (me?), though honestly the bar for that is pretty low and confused. Notice that the pregnant woman’s dress is chockablock with vaginas. I don’t know. People look like people. Sometimes even your general color scheme can seem racist, sometimes you don’t understand what your AD is saying in words, clearly, in an email. Sometimes you’ve just taken too many naps in the sauna at the Greenpoint YMCA. It’s luxurious. But your sense of form and color gets all out of whack after a long steam with 15 Polish children and their grandmothers. I got sleepy. This was not the first time I worked for Medium/ Matter and Erich. Not the last, either, too.
#lebacklog How stupid can you be? This is killing me. But I’m putting everything up. I won’t lie. Boston Globe. That sleeve is the only thing keeping me from throwing myself into a volcano when I look at this. Seriously, where am I? WHERE. Really feeding the zeitgeist with this one. Look at that sausage. Greg was there. He knows. Needing the money plus politics always makes me do this. I’m like, follow the rules, or else no more gravy train. Or no gravy train minus the 25% caboose. Anyway. To the future. The last 1.5 year continues.
#lebacklog : Runners World Germany. This one was, I think, about the importance of a strong female running community. Every year, some time near my birthday, Grit Bruggeman sends me an email, and I work for Runners World again. I don’t really do it in the states anymore. Am a blacklisted? Are there cameras in my bathroom? Only time will tell. It’s always a turning of the tides. I’m midway to a partial abandonment of ink. Can you tell?
The Boson Globe’s Book Review, almost a year ago, with some old Sennelier ink. It was in that place where it dried and reflected light and was horrible to scan. I might like the screenshot better. Or maybe I don’t like either of them. Yes. That’s it. For Rebecca Makkai’s Music for Wartime. It said in the book review that this story collection was like John Irving, and honestly I think that’s what did it. No offense, John Irving. I have just terrible flashbacks of of Hotel New Hampshire. You’re one of my mom’s favorite authors. I stopped reading about tragic men when I stopped going home. And what you did with Franny was straight up gross. Yes, I’m single. Anyway. Thanks, Greg! You are always a pleasure to work with.
So, it’s been figuratively lightyears from my last post, which is traditionally how I’ve chosen to begin every blog post for all 8 years of my career. But, this time I have a good reason for having at least 2 months of silence to account for. There’s much more absent work from practically the majority of the past year. Yes, I was working on comics with Barrie, falling in love, shacking up, moving, again, busy, working on comics with Barrie, breaking up, getting swept off my feet, and then moving, again. But those aren’t really excuses, except for comics, and this is:
I am very proud to be able to announce to you all that I’m working with the A+++ team at Oculus Story Studio to create the look of their VR movie, Dear Angelica. I’m going to leave it to the press surrounding our Sundance event to provide further details about the project, and about our incredible new production tool, Quill. For now. Suffice it to say that I’ve been working with a team of some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, drawing in space and time, and loving every second of it. Saschka, Edward, Inigo, Angela, Yelena, Matt, Robert, Akin, David, John, Chris (Horvath), Chris (Horne), Ian, Max, Ryan, Christina, Kory, Andy, Jess, Ramiro, Goro, Kendall, Todd, Bernard, Pete, Ron, Phillip, Collum, Brian, everyone at the studio, thank you for making me feel at home in this new place. Thank you for making me feel free to make work that’s been and that will be unlike anything else, so far.
Long time no see, with lots of holes in between, but here’s something relatively recent. A cover for David Herter’s Islands Off the Coast of Capitola, a Tor.com original. The prose in this one was pretty stylistically unique and unnerving. It reminded me of that feeling you have as a child when adults are completely opaque, and you feel both helpless and certain that, under the right conditions, you could control the weather by magic. Continual and specific thanks to Irene for this piece.
Another one about ineffectual university justice for rape survivors. For the Sunday Opinion page, by Jenny Wilkinson. When something like this happens, you feel exactly how little a person can matter. It’s unfortunate that we still need words like these to push back against that. Thanks to Aviva Michaelov, my AD. Thanks also to Eric Carter for picking up the paper.
More on the impending apocalypse in yesterday’s NYT Op Ed. Woe betide the southwest on account of the traditional, natural megadrought, exacerbated by human side effects. #tensionsintexas Many thanks to the spectacular Mr. Matt Dorfman and Richard Parker.
My thanks to Gray Beltran and The Atavist for hiring me to work on this fantastic piece about William Seabrook and the illustrious introduction of the Zombie to western culture. Check out The Zombie King, by Emily Matchar. As a fantasist and a fraud, I feel a big kinship with this guy. It’s fantastic.