Comics production of 2014

Usually I do this on December 9th, but I totally forgot about that this year. Not that it would have made any difference if I’d have done it then vs. now, since I haven’t been drawing anything in the meantime …

I predict that my comics production this year was abysmally low. Let’s see exactly how abysmally low:

Number of pages and panels I have drawn since December 9th 2013:

Insomnia: 1/2
– Dog Island page 19: 1/6
– The Slow and the Relentless (from page 30): 24/70
– Hourly Comics Day comic: 13/30
Five Years Sometimes With You: 2/13
China White: 2/20
Hotness: 1/1
Pärämäts: 2/7
Desolate piggy in a melancholy landscape: 2/4
Depression diary comic: 1/3
P.S. I NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN: 1/4
With comrade X and comrade S, as piggies: 1/4
Sweet Peas sample pages: 3/9
– Why I almost never buy any clothes, ever: 2/6 (stupid scribble comic, see below)

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56/179

(All-time total as of today: 995/4706)

Okay, it wasn’t quite as bad as it felt, yet I drew much more in the first half of the year than in the last. But maybe that’s a common pattern in my production – autumn and winter tend to be depressing and elsewhere busy downtimes, while in spring and summer I’m much more productive.

I’m really frustrated about all the unfinished projects, and maybe someday I will get my act together and finish or continue them.

Also, I’ve almost hit 1000 in the total number of pages I’ve drawn! Maybe I should do something special for the 1000th page?!!
V*(oo)*;V

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Bonus comic that I never posted before, because it was too stupid – Why I almost never buy any clothes, ever:

… because it’s a constant battle between the “badass/plain” tendency and the “weird/quirky” tendency, and in the end I usually just don’t indulge either of them. :<

Embarking on a piggy project

I’m making a little piggy book for the Swedish publisher Ordbilder. They called for pitches last summer, and now I found out that from all the book proposals they got, they chose mine. It will be published next year in time for the book fair in Gothenburg.

This is one of the sample pages I submitted (the only one without spoilers):

The book doesn’t have a proper title yet. The English working title was Sweet Peas, but it doesn’t really work in Swedish, and I hate puns anyway. V^(oo)^V

The story is set in the future, somewhere in what used to be Russia, after a great war that left everything poisoned. A small group of surviving piggies has built an Anarchist commune, growing food and recycling the remains of civilization, and we follow one day in the life of Organizational Secretary Andrei Lesnikov.

In the proposal I summarized it as “Hansu no kikan meets Yokohama kaidashi kikou, with an extra large serving of death-angst”, and thought that maybe it sounded a bit too whacked. But Ordbilder is using that exact phrase in their first promo for the book. Heh.

And now I actually have to draw it … V`(oo)´;V
It will be awesomepants to work in colour and especially to draw piggies.

Five Years Sometimes With You

Silly little piggy comic about brief moments of being impossible together with the impossible man who in various ways was an inspiration for most of my comics 2009-2014, and then fucked off. V^(oo)^V
I made it mostly so I’d have some shorter material for the next Plutonium Comics (it will be published there, in Swedish, in time for SIS14), since all my other brand spanking new comics were ~20-60 pages … V°(oo)°;V

(Read it behind the cut)

2013, you little $%&§#

I was contemplating whether to write any summary of the year at all, since so much crap happened, but then maybe it’s better if I provide the scoop on some things straight from the source instead of letting people speculate wildly behind my back, or having people only know other people’s perspective.

So, some fun things that happened this year, ordered top-to-bottom according to what I believe are the most interesting topics to presumptive readers of this post:

schlesi

THE WEATHER
The winter was extremely long and frustrating, so when my winter residence contract ran out, I had to shack up in two temporary apartments in Kreuzberg (right next to Schlesi, above) and Friedrichshain for almost two months until I could move out to my garden.

(Continue reading if you want to know all the juicy details of my depraved life …)

My garden in 2013

Me and my garlic (and goutweed)

Time to look back at what happened in my garden this year, the biggest successes and failures, and the new problems and innovations …

The ones who did the most awesomepants were definitely the tomatoes.

Tomatoes and strawberries getting started. :3 "No suckers get your love" ... This year I'm trying to do everything right with the tomatoes, including picking off the suckers (side shoots that grow out of their armpits). Seems to be paying off. This is a "supersucker" that I didn't notice for a while.
Cosmonaut Volkov is blushing :3 Barley with Cosmonaut Volkov, Black Cherries and pickled garlic. :3 The tomato harvest is exceeding all expectations ...

That’s because for once in my life, I started them as soon as possible, just after the last frost in early April when I moved out to my garden. Also, I made a serious effort at picking off all the “suckers” (the side shoots from their armpits), something I’d been lazy with before. And the summer had long hot and dry periods that the tomatoes liked, and I put several of them in the front part of my greenhouse, where they got maybe less headspace but definitely even more sun than at the back.

Unfortunately, the dry climate in the greenhouse that the tomatoes loved had a negative effect on many other plants …

Cucumber jungle

The cucumbers started out really nice, but then spider mites started to take over – first the beans, then the cucumbers, zucchini and groundcherries. Only after the season was over I finally figured out what the problem was and how to deal with it: create a moister climate in the greenhouse by spraying the plants with water twice a day or so. I like cucumbers more than tomatoes, after all, so if the tomatoes will be less happy it’s a small price to pay for not having spider mites wipe out most of the cucumbers.

The Habanero (in the pot front/center) is too huge to fit into any photos ... How will I transport it safely to our winter residence? Whee, two almost ripe cayenne peppers!

Something in the greenhouse that wasn’t harmed by the spider mites and also thrived in the dryer climate were the hot peppers. I have a Habanero and a Cayenne that I grew from seed two years ago. The Cayenne, for the first time, made two big, beautiful fruits early this summer. The Habanero gave up its fruits but grew huge. Maybe next year it will make fruit, too …

Beans blossoming outside :3 Beans in bloom

Outside, the runner/pole beans on the side of the trailer were happy as always.

Peas :3

I got lots of peas, until the nettles started to take over the patch and I didn’t cut them back enough.

The oregano (also 3 years old) has huge flowers this year. Lavender menace - I grew it from seed three years ago, and this year it's in bloom for the first time.

The 3 years old oregano grew huge and made lots of flowers. The lavender, also grown from seed 3 years ago, made little flowers for the first time.

Rice with yeast flakes, plum pie (made in a frying pan) with vanilla sauce, coffee on the way. Anybody who turns vegan just to lose weight is mistaken ... :3 Breakfast - epic plum kisel' and Finnish sour crackers with avocado and fake caviar. :3

The plum tree seems to have a biannual cycle going on, and every other year it makes massive amounts of fruit. This year was one of the massive fruit years, and for a week or two I ate plum kisel and plum pie every day. Mmmm … I even gave a lot of kisel away so it would get eaten before it went bad. (I made the pies in a frying pan so they looked too hideous to share with anyone and I was forced to eat them all on my own …
V`(oo)´V *sigh*)

Garlic <3 Garlic is looking good so far ... :3
Quite small garlic, but almost all of them actually survived till harvest! All of this year's garlic. The cloves are quite tiny, except the one freaky bulb that's one single clove. Last year all my garlic died in the spring, so this year has been a great success!

This was the first year when garlic has actually stayed alive all the way. Maybe because the summers before were wetter. I got several little bulbs that I tied into a horrible braid to dry. I’ve planted the biggest bulbs again for next year, since garlic apparently adapts to its environment over the years.

Feral mint Even more surprise blackberries?! This time from underneath the trailer. Some little animal must have pooped the seeds there ...?

Two nice plants that appeared seemingly out of nowhere this year were wild mint (above left) and raspberry. The ants unfortunately used the raspberries for grazing their livestock and did not practise holistic management, so they kind of ravaged them and I only got to try two or three berries.

New potato patch, reclaimed from the nettles after I concluded that I can't eat all the nettles that grew there fast enough ... Finally got a rhubarb plant. I hope it likes this spot. :3

I built a new garden bed, reclaiming it from the nettles, where I grew potatoes this year. And I finally got a rhubarb. First I put it in a too shady place where snails ate it too much, so I moved it to a sunnier spot. We’ll see how it does there …

Wtf, the slugs and snails are much more interested in nibbling the decomposing goutweed and nettle cuttings than the fresh potato plants right next to them?! This seems too good to be true ...!

Speaking of little creatures nibbling things … I made an insanely good discovery this year, namely that slugs prefer one day old goutweed cuttings to potato plants. (I wrote more about that in the special slug post.)

Up yours, Günther. My neighbour (Günther) has spent all morning pretending to do something right in his kitchen window, staring at me while I put up this bamboo screen. Better than TV I guess ... Jerusalem artichoke in the ground, aluminium sheet to stop my neighbour's poisons from contaminating my soil #upyoursgünther

Something that is a recurring issue in my garden is the gaping hole that gives my neighbours on one side full view of my garden. It got worse when a large bush collapsed in one of the storms. I put up a bamboo screen there that provides a little bit of shade, but it’s not perfect. It would be amazing if some day I could hang out in my garden and not have to see or be seen by my annoying neighbour.

Last winter was harsh and the deer ate all the green off the cypresses that I had planted there. So this winter I have cruelly covered them in plastic netting. Even so, it will be many years until the cypresses are big enough to provide a visual barrier. So my new, desperate innovation is to plant jerusalem artichoke in that area! We’ll see how it goes next year …

Cooking on tealights Maybe future mushroom colony ... though not created under the most ideal conditions: the wood was very fresh and not the best type. But we'll see ... :3

Another new innovation was to cook not on the sooty rocket stove and not on the explosive alcohol cooker, but on top of five tealights! It’s a bit slower, but simple, clean and unfussy. After a while I acquired a big stash of tealights without aluminium holders, too.
And next year I’ll find out if those logs will actually grow mushrooms.

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Bonus: cute little friends

Bumblebee from the front

Little bumblebee on the chive blossom

Little bee in the cucumber flower

Little Honeybee on the cucumber blossom

Little toad :3

Little Toadie in the pond

This mosquito agrees that I should probably not do intravenous drugs.

Little mosquitie on my arm

Wasp friend

Little waspie under the bean leaf

Hornet friend (who didn't want to let go of the cardboard) :3 Little froggie (actually as big as my fist)

Little Hornetie after I took her outside, and little froggie on the edge of the patio

I would post cute sluggie photos but they already got a whole post of their own. :3

Comics production of 2013 assessed

Every year on December 9th I tally how much comics I have drawn in the past year (because I’m crazy that way). In 2013 I felt like I drew very little comics. Was my impression correct?

I only count finished pages, so while I have several pages that are only sketched at this stage and will be inked or watercoloured later, I won’t include them. I’ve included one-panel gag drawings before, so I guess I’ll include them now, too.

Number of pages and panels I have drawn since December 9th 2012:

Dog Island pages 13-18: 6/31
Hourly Comics Day comic: 16/45
Springtime on the Subway: 1/1
SHu SHu SHu SHu: 1/1
Electric Tsunamis: 47/139 (Based on the printed zine edition. I could be evil and count each screen of the e-book version, including all the screens with just one word on them, haha, which would make it 213/213 …)
How to make sawing wood a more appealing chore: 1/1
Last night at Netto: 1/1
Lovely, Lovely Hair: 4/15
Spirit animals: 1/2
Post-apocalyptic piggy comic: 1/3 (lol)
The Slow and the Relentless: 29/86 (at the time of writing still unfinished ’24h’ comic …)

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108/325

(All-time total as of today: 939/4527)

“The kholy shit!”, as Tonya in The Slow and the Relentless would say. I felt like I barely drew any comics at all, but in fact I drew a pretty good amount of pages compared to the last couple of years. In 2012 I drew 111 pages, in 2011 – 102, in 2010 – 87!

It was just more concentrated in isolated bursts of productivity mainly on low-intensity comics (comics in smaller/weird formats and the hourly and 24h comics), with long periods of writer’s block and anguish over the bigger comics projects in between. This is also reflected in how the panel ratio has hit an all-time low this year, with just a 3.01 panels per page average.

V^(oo)^V

Watercolour piggy

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