Learning from Rough Drafts

I regret not having posted for the last two weeks, so I will leave you with this delightful site:

Living Lines Library

I particularly like looking at the production art. Sometimes the end product, while spectacular, is a bit too slick to really get a good feel for the work that went into it’s creation. And sometimes the rough lines are more lively.

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White Space (Using It): Clover by Clamp

(Clamp) CloverI wanted to point out Clover because reading  this manga was a revelation.  It’s about a girl with psychic (or magic) abilities. She is the most powerful of the “clovers” so she’s locked up in what looks like an arboretum without outside contact. An ex-soldier is assigned to her. It turns out that the girl knew his deceased girlfriend. And that summary does not do it justice at all.  I’m told it wasn’t finished, which makes sense. It lacks a wrap up at the end.

The art style is an antidote to the idea that there has to  be an explosion on every page. Each page in Clover has a few panels, and/ or perhaps a couple balloons of dialog and/ or one of the motifs (clover, baroque wings etc.) and not much else. Given the isolation of the main character, the layout seems fitting.

Sometimes the space is black or toned, or has a pattern, but the concept is the same. It’s like background music in a movie or TV show. It provides an emotional backdrop. The blank space can also give the eye a space to rest and let the impact of the words/ images sink in. Clover01

This is a not an unusual amount of white space on a page:

Going with this less-is-more, I have tried to absorb this aesthetic. Lots of action and detail doesn’t’ have to be crammed into each page (though sometimes individual panels are quite detailed).

 

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Delicious Rhubarb

ImageThis is sort of an addendum to last week’s  post.

I love rhubarb.  It has an ‘H’ as the second letter. It requires sugar to eat and super easy to cook. It is is sweet-tart with a delicate flavor.  The stuff sold in stores is usually red, but it can be red or green (or pinkish, or speckled). Technically, it’s a vegetable, but if Wikipedia is to be believed, it’s classified as a fruit in the United States.
When buying, look for firm, thin stalks.

To cook:
Cut any leaf matter off the top. The leaves contain much more oxalic acid than the stalks so do this before you do anything else. Trim the bottoms too.
Chop stalks into thick slices: about a centimeter long.
Put the rhubarb in a saucepan with sugar to taste. (or another sweetener, I guess, I’ve never tried it with anything but granulated sugar) Use several tablespoons of sugar. I used four tablespoons for two thick stalks. Rhubarb is pretty tart and largely unpalatable without sweetener, so omit this at your own risk. If you don’t want to add sugar, strawberries are often added as a sweetener.

DO NOT add water.
Cover and cook on medium low heat until the rhubarb is uniformly soft and a syrup is bubbling up. The ‘stew’ is probably going to be pinkish.
Eat over ice cream, with cookies or tea, or just by itself.

Tasty!

Other sources besides my experience:

The Rhubarb Compendium
Wikipedia: Rhubarb
Martha Stewart (Includes recipes!)

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Strawberries, Rhubarb and… Cheese?

RhubarbStrawberry QuicheI had a recipe from Mollie Katzen’s The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, (p129) called “A Quiche Formula”.  I did a lot of summarizing when I copied it down. Essentially:

You need:

1 unbaked pie shell
cheese (1/4 -1/3 lb) cubed or grated (Swiss types, or cheddar or something semi-soft)
filling such as sauteed vegetables, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, or fresh herbs (or steamed veggies etc.)
3 eggs
1 C milk
sprinkling of paprika

Spread the cheese over bottom of the crust. Place the filling evenly over the cheese. Beat eggs and milk and pour this over the filling. Dust with paprika. Bake 35-40 minutes.

SUPER simple and very versatile. From that model I made up a rhubarb and strawberry custard pie.

There were  couple things I did to the recipe that might changed the outcome, but I’m pretty confident in Mollie Katzen’s quiche, so I used her methods and times.

I baked mine with a water bath (it’s a long story and probably unnecessary). It’s common to do this for custard things, but usually the quiche seems to come out fine without doing that so I skipped it in my instructions. Also I pre-cooked the filling. Again it might not be necessary, but I did not want to chance the filling coming up uncooked. Cook or no- cook, take your pick. My creation came out a bit runny, but not inedible.

I used “Arthur’s Italian Cuisine” Parmesan which is a strangely mild cheese I had on hand, but most Parmesan cheese might be too strong. Find something milky and only slightly sour tasting ( I originally thought I might use cream cheese or mascarpone as a crust sealer. It might work…).

This is on the tart side. I didn’t add any sweetener besides strawberries. You might want it sweeter, if so, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the filling mix when you cook it or to the custard as you beat it.

If you make any of the changes I mentioned above let me know what you did! (And if anything is unclear or I left anything out, let me know that too).

Rhubarb and Strawberry Custard Pie

1 unbaked 9″ pie shell
Grated Mild Parmesan cheese (enough to cover bottom of pie crust)
a dusting of cinnamon

Filling
1 1/2 C chopped strawberries and rhubarb (about 1 1/2 stalks)
1 TBS butter (scant)

Custard
1 C milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375′ F. Keep crust in freezer until ready to use. Warm rhubarb and strawberries with butter, until butter is melted and fruit is wet.

Beat eggs and milk and add vanilla.

Pull crust out of freezer or fridge. Line the bottom of the crust with the grated cheese. Spread filling over cheese and pour custard over that. Dust with cinnamon.

Place the whole thing in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes.

FYI, I’m not a professional baker, and I’ve never even taken a baking class. I make no guarantees beyond my own meager experience (and I even wonder about that sometimes). Apparently I have some strange tastes, so I guess what I’m saying, bake at your own risk.

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April Alien

Taxaspi and Coffee

 

Here is a picture of one of the aliens I wrote into my Nanowrimo Camp. I know they are going to come to earth at some point and they are going to want coffee. The colors are anemic, so that have to re-think/ re-draw it at some point.

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Filed under Colors and Images, New Ideas, Projects - Writing, Projects-Pictures; Paintings; Drawings

Stumptown Round-up

Lennon SketchI spent the weekend at the Stumptown Comics Fest. Both days! I went last year and I had so much fun talking to comics creators and touching the comics they created. I’m a huge fan of comics in paper-space. I like the tactile qualities of screen printed covers, and glossy or laser printed pages. I also attended a bunch of panels and workshops to learn more about comics.

Some of the awesome comics I bought:

There were so many more I wish I could have bought. It’s like having a yearly kick in the pants to do my comics.

The image is mine. I the post just needed a picture. Guess who!

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Cat Drawing (Domesticlife Drawings)

 I made this drawing of Chester, who belongs to Megan of The War in My Brain Blog because she asked for drawings:

Sketch of Chester Cat

Done in ballpoint pen and pro-white.

Actually, I draw a lot of cats. Or a lot of drawings of one rather fat cat. I find as drawing and/or still life subjects cats have several advantages. They are plentiful (at least in my house). Unlike dogs, they don’t care that you are looking at them. Dogs will come up to you when they realize they have your attention, completely ruining the tableaux. Cats… don’t care. They consider the attention their due. Cats are also bendy and make  interesting shapes without being asked.  Aside from their graphic quality (especially with tuxedo cats, like mine), they are dramatic yet strangely relaxed. Ever see a cat stuff itself into a box and happily fall asleep, while you wonder if the angle of the head in relation to the body is really all that comfortable, but realize it must be or the cat would not be quite so relaxed? Yeah. There is a reason they are the mascot of he internet.

These are all of my fat cat, Theodore:

Theo2 (Bug) crop

This and the following done in Prismacolor brush tip marker and Pro White.

Theo3 crop  Theo1 crop

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