Friday, April 10, 2009

Spread In Twenty

Spread In Twenty

A Call To Simpler Times

Sometime last year, I decided to take a break from intensively drawn and painted sketchbooks and get back to more of a crude, quick-and-dirty book. I even got a Moleskine Notebook rather than the normal sketchbook, the notebook being comprised of thinnner, less-expensive paper to emphasize the "I just need to get this stuff out of my head and onto something made of pulp" look of the book.

All in all, it's been a refreshing change. For one thing, now I no longer have to hold a meeting with my brain to decide whether some new bit of information is worth sacrificing page space. Meetings with my brain are time-consuming and stressful, because he spends so much time at the beginning of the meeting talking about his weekend, and about how slow his neural synapses are in this weather.

But let's talk less about my brain and more about Beach Ranger Ferd.

Beach Ranger Ferd

I created Beach Ranger Ferd about two years ago (I think?) for a webcomic experiment1 I was doing with Sutter and some other humor-laden friends. Essentially, each person took a different day to advance the story, which was a fun and intriguing approach, but it led to a lot of disagreement on how to treat the characters. For instance, barely a week after creating Ferd, he was killed off. This made developing his character harder. But it did free him up for work like the comic above.

Jeff Washington

The other side of this spread most prominently features Jeff Washington, Middle Management Monster, a character I created a long time ago2, back when I had a real job. One of the things I liked the most about Jeff Washington was that he always seemed pretty overworked. Even being a creature of depthless horror doesn't free you from the stress of delegating responsibility, and delivering the unsavory mandates of the executive office.

Stan (coincidentally pictured on this page as well) was a fan of Jeff Washington. I think because I never drew Jeff with a closed mouth, leading Stan to believe his mouth hung open all the time, and when you stood near him you'd just get blasted with these hot, heavy breaths:

Jeff Washington Breathing

1This comic shall remain unnamed here, mainly because it took us a while to work out the kinks, so it's difficult for the reader to get into, and I believe with just a few changes it can be more presentable, so I don't want to spoil it now. That being said, I'm sure someone will link to it anyway and make me look like a Jerk. Well... maybe my capitalization is a little harsh. Let's assume I'm a lowercase jerk.

2Jeff Washington is featured on a few pages in 100 Bearskinrug One-Offs. Specifically pages 7, 30, 51, 73, 98, 99 (by a guest draweree), and 101. And hey, Stabby McKnife is number 116...


You know what's a great feeling? When your art makes someone else so much more money than it could ever make you.

Okay... now I'm a capitalized Jerk.

Comments on this Article

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Terry T.

Wait... Stabby McKnife on Threadless isn't yours? How did they let it pass through? I thought all the work done there had to be owned by the person submitting it!

Elsewhere: I actually like the texture of the Moleskine Notebook's paper. I mean, I don't do watercolor or anything cool inside of mine, but I sure love the way the paper feels after graphite or ink break down that thin stock.


No - I did do the design - my friend Tom (Springfish) did all the footwork of translating it to a shirt, so that's why it's under his account name. My sadness stems from the fact that if I attempted to sell a Stabby McKnife shirt it wouldn't be near as popular. But obviously, there's plenty of good reasons for THAT.

And as for the paper... it does have a certain appeal. But I wish I COULD watercolor on it. Or I wish it could withstand licking. What good is a drawing of a popsicle if you can't lick it?


Hmm. I've struggled with the stock of the moleskine sketchbook. It feels like sketching on thinly sliced skin; but I continue to do it. I hope Ranger Ferd didn't die because he fell through the paper!

On the flip side, the moleskine sketchbook is more compact and portable in some odd way.


I'm glad you clarified: I was this close to sneaking into Springfish's smug-looking quasi hardshell'd backpack and giving him a piece of the ol' mind.

And by "piece of the ol' mind" I mean peeing on his socks and leaving a loaf in his shoes.

glindon marten

I love that the boat gets a tombstone.


I love how cheerful ol' Ferd is as he watches those folks go down ... and later on, at their funeral; it really brightens the proceedings when one of the mourners is so jolly. And so kind of them to give the boat a proper burial, too - most would only be willing to do a ceremony at sea for him.


My friend's roommate has a meatball addiction, no lie. It escalated until for an entire month he ate nothing but subway's meatball subs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eventually he had to go to the infirmary for intense foot pain. We theorized he had the gout, but he vehemently denies this. Meatball addiction, he'll admit to, but gout seems to cause him great shame. He claimed the two were completely unrelated, but they put him on a strict diet for the high blood pressure he'd acquired. Jared would be proud. For a while he had quit the meatballs cold turkey (and lots of vegetables, etc.) but now he's backslid, as his other roommate found an empty bag of what was 200 meatballs the roommate got from some wholesale store like Sam's, intended to last a family of 10 the whole winter.
Heh, sorry for the long story, but your drawing reminded me of it, as I'm pretty sure that's him in the bottom right corner.


Glindon - Well, to be honest, the boat cost WAY more than the kid did.

Phyllis - See, funerals don't always need to be a sad affair! That's why when I die, I want to be buried in a giant Snoopy costume.

Victoria - I've never heard of anyone so addicted to one particular food... this could very well qualify as a Nova special!


I'm glad I'm not the only one who bought a moleskine notebook (instead of another sketchbook one) to try and get rid of "Moleskine fright" (or something like that). This post inspired me to get back to it. Thanks!

In the future, I think I'll also try one of those Derwent Journals. Do you know if they're as good as moleskines?

Keep up with the good work!


Alas! Poor Snoopy! We knew him well ....

Diane Faye Zerr

Can your next post PLEASE be a visual of you and your brain having a meeting. I almost fell over laughing from just the idea of it. PLEASE?!?!?


I'll see what he says - thought I HAVE illustrated one of our meetings before.

russer butter

I have to sympathize with Ferd. That advice was pretty much all the training I got before I went out on the ocean and while it isn't much it is sound advice.

On Chet though, if he likes reading his paper in the nude, then why is he wearing a shirt?

And yes Kev I to have had many a conversation with my brain as you did in that last link. Normally my brain wins as it is smarter than I am, and has a very thick skull surrounding it.


Um, I don't think Chet is wearing a shirt, there, Russer, looks like only a tie to me .... you can see his belly button and a tiny smidgeon of belly fur, though the absence of nipples or chest hair does seem disconcerting. Perhaps that explains why he looks so downcast?


I have to sympathize with Ferd.


Heh. The same thing happes to me with the Moleskine sketchbook. I got a notebook and managed to use it all up in a couple of months, while my three sketchbooks -bought years ago- remain mostly empty, out of sheer fear that my drawings are not worthy of the paper.

By the way, Ferd is awesome.


I like how Ferd is so darn cheerful in the face of his inability to help. I like think that sort of persistent optimism would help the drowning victims and their loved ones feel a little better about a difficult situation. And at least he showed up for the funeral. That's got to count for something.


Dang. Someone else made essentially the same point... (i.e. Phyllis). I need to read all the comments BEFORE I just jump in and start typing comments all willy nilly.


Are they buried in the boat to save space or do they all have individual graves?


Chet is, in fact, wearing a shirt. And it's not just any old shirt - it's a buttoned sweater, much like Mr. Rogers used to wear. I think that's the real reason he looks so downcast.

But back to the issue of nudity vs. non-nudity: he is half nude, which is pretty much the same as nude. I mean, you wouldn't go to your front door wearing a Mr. Rogers sweater and nothing else, would you?


Well, not since my arrest, no.


jeff the mouth-breather.

so, hows the back, kevin? your doc related to "i-cant-help-you, ferd?'

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