sketch diary, Sat. 12/16

December 17th, 2006 | Uncategorized

Actually, before I did the Friday cartoon posted below, I did another one based on something that happened to me today.

But before I show you that, let me just say that the main rule of the sketch diary is that I can’t spend much time on it. I can’t do any photo references, or look anything up at all. I can only draw stuff that comes right out of my head. Well, I can do one quick pencil sketch. But that’s it.

So I went out for a hike this afternoon after putting up the Gentle Reader post, and it was while I was hiking that I got the idea for this little story. And then later on during the hike I got the barbershop idea.

I don’t know if I’ll keep this up. I might not. But it was really fun to do these little stories. (NOTE: I’m having some trouble getting the art to display properly. It might take a while to get that figured out. Sorry. )

31 Responses to “sketch diary, Sat. 12/16”

  1. Andrew O. says:

    This is hilarious! Do enough and you’ll hhave another book!

  2. Ellen O. says:

    Hey Alison,

    Looks like you are shaking things up. Essential for the creative spirit and good practice for the year to come.

    The drawings are wonderful. They feel very free.

  3. McAuliflower says:

    regarding Sketch book rules: the freedom that comes of limits… good set of rules. I admit to having a difficult time letting my mind go without the crutch (or Leki Poles) of external reference materials.

    regarding picture / blog layout: its just a space / fit problem of your blog content space (where you have your post write up) being defined as 500px wide, whereas your image is 771px wide. Somethings got to give…
    too bad flickr doesn’t give an option for image output that is 500 wide. However:

    If you change your image source code to read:

    <img src="" / height="664" width="500">

    it should fit fine with out problems.

    hope this displays fine in your comments, I’ve got weird code stuff in there!

  4. Josiah says:

    These sketches seem like a great artistic exercise — a bit like Scott McCloud’s “Morning Improv” (which eventually morphed into a more-or-less standard comics blog, but was a cooperative sketch diary for a couple of years).

  5. tallie says:

    i like them…. and do they really come with a blowdart!?

  6. NLC says:

    This is wandering pretty far into Geek-speak, but:

    McAuliflower, your suggestion is a good one, but unfornately there are other problems as well.

    For example, when the image overflows into the right-hand column, different browsers handle the situation differently. (e.g. Netscape or Firefox either widen the center column “properly” or print the image “under” the text of the right-hand column; OTOH, IE pushes *all* the text in the right-hand column to the bottom of the screen. To make matters worse, different version of different browsers also do different things.)

    I’m going back to enjoying the sketches however I see them.

  7. Deb says:

    I love it. It feels free and fun.

  8. Deborah says:

    Lovin’ it!

  9. Duncan says:

    “I don’t know if I’ll keep this up. I might not.” Whatever you decide to do is fine with me, and evidently with the rest of us. That seems to be the whole point, that you are doing this for your satisfaction, without structure or pressure. You have enough of the latter with the strip, and with the results of Fun Home’s publication. So just enjoy.

    (It’s interesting for a lazy, disorganized, unaccomplished person like me to see how a self-employed working artist/writer like you keeps going. It’s a little scary, but I’m learning from it.)

  10. Lydia says:

    I love that you’re taking some time off, Alison. The aphorism I’ve heard is that a successful career in the arts requires 98% hard work, 1% talent,and 1% luck, which may very well be true, but I think it is really important for artists to take a breather and spend some time looking at the clouds as well. Success be damned!

    I’m constantly amazed at how wonderfully expressive even your little ditties are. Thanks again for everything you do, including this interactive blog thing.

  11. shadocat says:

    Our girl looks like she’s having fun…and these are fun to read…kind of a nice break for us too.

    This is definately off subject but if I may: After all these years (I’m pretty old) of being a carnivore, I’m toying with the idea of becoming a vegetarian.It’s mostly for health reasons (I gotta tell you, those scenes of Alison hiking through the wilderness sent a pang of envy through my heart!)

    It’s just that I don’t know the right way to do this. I don’t want to become anemic , which would be disasterous for me.

    Is there a good book out there for getting started? Sort of a “Vegatarianism for Dummies?” Since there’s a broad (no pun intended) spectrum of dykes blogging in here, I thought my chances of finding a knowledgeable vegetarian would be pretty good.

    And Alison, keep on truckin’. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m enjoying your break.

  12. G in Paris says:

    Hi Shadocat,

    becoming a vegetarian is so easy. First you can use the numerous references to the lentil stew and other veg things in DTWOF to get inspired. Pulses are well-known, as you must be aware, for their nutritive quality and they are full of iron, but must be cooked for quite a long time to be digested easiy, so that’s a good choice to avoid anemia.
    Here is a good address to get started, Above all you should use the vegetables that you like (not to mention the spices, cumin and curry are very good ones) and a pinch of imagination to cook tasty vegetarian dishes. Right now, I’m cooking vegetarian lasagnes with fresh spinach, mushrooms and black olives.

    Getting back on track, I love the sketches. The only thing is that this blog is addictive!

  13. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    Shadocat, there’s always multivitamin and mineral suppliment tablets.

    Probably a good thing for all of us, given the wretched nutrition most of America has. (“Hmmmm. I’m exhausted, I’m home late, and I have the choice between cooking for an hour or ordering in a pizza. Where’s that pizza joint phone number?”)

    Myself, I get the BIG bottle of vitamins/minerals at TARGET twice a year. I take two tablets a day, along with the rest of my morning pills (diabetes, hypertension, chloresterol, arthritis)

    Among other things, having enough vitamins in your systems helps you digest and assimilate the nutrients in your food, both animal protein and vegetable proteins, carbohydrates, et al.

    You also need a certain amount of fat in your diet. You see, you really ARE a fat head, in that there are a lot of lipids in the brain, and a certain level of lipids are required for optimal brain goodness.

    So some dairy products are a good thing for the beginning vegetarian. You can get the needed lipids from non-animal sources, but one step at a time. You need to determine if you LIKE being vegetarian.

    The minerals are also helpful in promoting bone health and keeping the thyroid gland happy, for example.

    Best of luck to you with your quest!

  14. shadocat says:

    G and Chris,

    Thank you so much for your suggestions! I don’t think I’ll ever be totally vegan, so I do intend to include dairy in my diet, at least for awhile. I didn’t even think about the lipids-so much to learn! But I’ve already scheduled a trip to Target for suplements. Fortunately, I’ve always loved lentils and G’s lasagna sounds delish…

    oh and yes, this blog is more addictive than chocolate (can I still eat that?)!

  15. Ian says:

    Hmmm, wouldn’t that be fab? A DTWOF Veggie cookbook? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in merchandising? Reader’s recipes mixed with AB’s irreverent cartoons! I’ll share my Chocolate n Bailey’s Irish Cream recipe. Plus I do a mean Veg Korma and a lush, pulse-rich veggie lasagne.

    But, if in need of further inspiration, try I found so many good recipes from the British Vegetarian Society.

  16. Ian says:

    That’s chocolate n Bailey’s tart recipe actually … veggie doesn’t necessarily equal healthy, at least not in this case, but it does mean fun …

  17. I have to confess that about a year ago, I ended my 22 year career as a vegetarian and started eating meat again. I feel compelled to tell you this because apparently my comic strip has a vegetarian reputation that is now unmerited.

  18. shadocat says:

    Nope,nope,nope, it wasn’t the srip-actually, I was thinking of keeping fish in the mix, so I guess I’d be what, a fish-a-tarian? No it’s all because I have a particular “condition” and several other people from another blog have claimed eliminating meat from their diet has caused their incidence of flares tp sharply decrease. For that to happen, I’d try ANYTHING!

    But I like the cookbook idea: and thanks for the link, Ian–if you’re ever so inclined, i’d love to have that recipe…

  19. jmc says:

    First: WOW, more accolades! Do let that get to your head!

    I’ve been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for almost 15 years now. The idea of eating meat has recently begun to make me squeamish in a way it never used to. (I wish I had some sense of where that change has come from. All I know is that in the last year or so the idea of hamburger brings to mind the mental image of somebody chewing on my bicep. Why now? Why the bicep, which is always what comes to mind? The bicep isn’t even a particularly meaty part on my animals, is it?) At the same time, I miss the specific chew of meat more and more, so I find myself eating greater numbers of fake bratwurst…

    Anyway, Diana Shaw’s _Essential Vegetarian Cookbook_ might be good for new vegetarians who are especially concerned about nutrients since there’s a long section at the back with nutritional information.

    As for the question about what we do with our time off, I have no, absolutely no recollection of what I did with the two weeks after finishing my prelims a few years ago. Today, though, as I’ve graded papers for hours on end I’ve been checking this blog like a maniac. (More generally I’ve gotten into reading those Cleis reprints of ’50s lesbo pulp novels and have finally started reading Nancy Clue books, which have been on my radar, but not in my hands, for several years.)

  20. jmc says:

    Oops, “the bicep isn’t even a particularly meaty part on *most* animals…” Not on my animal, either, though I’m working on improving that.

    (I do read regular literature, too, it’s just that the pulpy stuff makes for such delightful and quick excursions away from work.)

  21. jmc, that’s a funny coincidence. As part of my recent work meltdown, I set aside the biography of William James I’ve been reading, and picked up “The Not-so Nice Nurse,” one of Mabel Maney’s Nancy Clue books.

  22. jmc says:

    Yes, Nancy Clue is perfect for just that situation. I read _Not-So-Nice Nurse_ one day last October when I needed to check out from the diss writing-adjunct teaching grind for a few hours. _The Good-for-Nothing Girlfriend_ is on my bookshelf, waiting for grades to be submitted.

  23. shadocat says:

    JMC-I just remembered a part I left out of wanting to be a vegetarian! I recently had a surgical procedure were a sizable chunk of my body was cut out, and all I could think when I saw it was a huge chunk of meat(and lemme tell you, my head was swimming)… and now when I look at meat; well it’s just not as appealing. Pluse I really did read there have been several studies done with people who have what I have and they have 50% fewer flares when eliminating meat from their diets.

    Alison I hope you didn’t think I was trying to follow you or imitate Mo in this decision. But now I’m curious: If you’re eating meat now, is Mo eating it too? Just wondering…

  24. Laurie says:

    Hey, Shadowcat,

    One thing you might think about is cooking as much as you can in cast iron pans, especially when you cook tomato-based dishes. The iron in the pan leaches into your food. 🙂 It’s a nice way to increase your iron if you’re worried about it. You might also increase iron-rich plant foods like spinach and raisins. Good luck!

  25. srl says:

    Hi, Shadocat, I’ve been a near-vegetarian since 1982. (I occasionally eat seafood when I’m out – I don’t cook it at home.) It turns out to be easy to get all the nutrients you need on a veg. diet. My doctors have been consistently impressed with my blood tests every time I have a physical.

    Supplements may or may not be necessary, depending on your particular situation. I do take a few to supply nutrients that I’m not sure I’m getting enough of from my diet, but the best thing for the body is to eat lots of vegetables, some fruit, and whole grains and legumes. As you may know, the essential amino acids that make up protein are available in different amounts in lots of plant foods, especially grains, legumes, and seeds. Combining foods such as grains and beans, for instance, balances the amino acids that are lacking on one food with the ones that are plentiful in the other.

    Dairy & eggs are okay in moderation, but their saturated fats are not the kind of lipids you really need; olive oil is your friend! (Canola’s good too.) And Laurie’s right about cooking in cast-iron pots. Acidic foods like tomato help get the iron into the food. It’s not that hard to get enough iron – most meat-eating Americans actually get more than they need.

    I had a substantial part of my body–the right colon, which is perhaps a third of the large intestine–cut out 3 years ago when a large (fortunately benign) polyp was found there. I don’t know what effect having a “semi-colon” would have had on my ability to digest meat, since I haven’t tried it, but fish seems to work just fine. I got a couple of good pieces of advice while recovering: “ambulate” (go for a walk, or at least get up and move around) after each meal to help digestion; chew food thoroughly to get the digestion process started.

    If you want recipe ideas and cookbook recommendations (after my last two assignments of the semester are finished), let me know.

    Oh, and you might want to check out the Nutrition Action Healthletter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Website:
    This newsletter reports nutrition and food safety news based on scientific evidence, and does a great job of sorting out food misinformation from facts.

    Good luck!

    P.S.: Glad to see Alison getting mainstream recognition and taking time off when she needs it. I’m a straight ally who’s been enjoying the strip for years, but whatever I can think of to say, someone else says more eloquently in these comments. I enjoy the digressions but could imagine a system where comments get tagged to help people who really want to find them by topic.

  26. mlk says:

    a thought about vitamin supplements — they’re more effective if taken with a meal.

  27. shadocat says:

    So much good advice! And Laurie, I’m way ahead of you on the cast iron pans-I’ve read the studies that link aluminum with Alzheimers, and Alzheimers runs (no, GALLOPS!) in my family, so I replaced most of them with cast iron. Also got rid of the teflon, because if it can kill a bird, think of what it’s doing to you and I!

    Ok, right now y’all are saying I’m a little obsessive, and…well…you may be right..

  28. judybusy says:

    Hey Shadocat, some of my fave vegetarian cookbooks have been those by Deborah Madison, Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood fame), and the rest of the Moosewood genre. I also think the various Asian cuisines tend to have many more vegetarian dishes, and are so delish! Madhur Jaffrey is a good Indian source, with tons of books, and True Thai by Victor Sodsok is my Thai cooking bible, with a chapter with just vegetarian options. Enjoy the exploration of all these new foods!

    Special to Quaint Irene: Noted you on the blog last week. How are things in Tilling? Any news? I would just love to have the recipe for Lobster a la Rhisolme if you could snare it–without getting swept away, of course….

  29. Kat says:

    shadocat–whatever you decide about supplements and vitamins and all of that, it may be a good idea to get your vitamin and iron levels tested a few months into your trek. I thought I was doing everything right as a vegetarian, but found out about 10 years into it that despite all the iron-rich veggies and vitamins that I was taking, my iron levels were still rock-bottom. My particular needs weren’t being met…..Knowing exactly where your own numbers lie may help you make a smooth transition into veggie-dom! Good luck!!!

    Alison–I’m loving the sketches. If you keep these up (even if you don’t post them here), it looks like it could be the beginning of a next book…..something less meticulous but still wonderful and expressive!

  30. Em says:

    Shadocat, while I’m not a vegetarian myself (though since i started living on my own, I’ve eaten alot less meat cause 3 minutes for ramen beats thawing and washing and cooking meat products any day of the week) I remember this stuff called Seitan from when my brother gave up meat a while back. It was mentioned in DTWOF when Sparrow cooked a steak for Digger and Stuart ate it thinking it was the Seitan. It does have a damn good meaty flavor, I rememebr the teriyaki was particularly delicious. I wonder if they still make it though, I haven’t seen it around and I always forget to ask about it. Oh and Boca burgers are wonderful, good for lazy people like me:)

    Though my brother isn’t vegetarian anymore, he recalls fondly how when he became one in high school he’d get “health advice” saying that it’s not healthy cause he wouldn’t be getting enough protein… but those so concerned about his health are the same people who rely on a diet of fast food every single day.

  31. hyla says:

    A few months ago I started eating meat (after about 12 vegetarian years) after reading the book Real Food by Nina Planck–perhaps my second or third favorite book of the year (Fun Home of course. Winter’s Bone and Omnivore’s Dilemma right up there, too)–I feel terrific. Was never a very good vegetarian and could not tolerate soyfoods at all.

    But: My favorite vegetarian cookbook is/was A Taste of Julie Jordan. And having a good pressure cooker (like a Duromatic) makes cooking/eating whole grains and vegetables much easier, especially when you’re starting out.