HERE LOOK WHAT I MADE YOU!
“Hey, Mehra, where’d our last copy of Catcher in the Rye go?”
Mehra’s a big J.D. Salinger fan. She thinks he’s full of crap and his life was a wreck, but at least he knows that’s true of everyone.
I did a background! God, the last time I did a background…. I used paper back then, you guys. Actual paper. I even still have that one!
Anyway, just freaking look at this. It’s not even a background, it’s, like… an actual place. It has a name, even. This, my friends, is
the Gryffindor Common Room Granny May’s Bookshop, where Mehra works with Rainbow Dash Max.
So yeah. How’s this for having it together?
Editor’s note from a few years later (older, wiser, and bitterer):
I began using paper again almost immediately after this drawing. Also, the stairs are horrible.
Bri is not exactly fond of the whole apocalypse thing. She’s not fond of being hungry all the time, she’s not fond of any protection she ever had being stripped away while the dangers lose their manners, she’s not fond of sleeping on park benches. She’s not fond of the crazy people who used to scream about the end of days not seeming so crazy anymore, of everyone else in the world seeming more so. She’s not fond of not having seen her apartment in about six months, of knowing it’s probably torn apart, maybe even fallen over. She’d be a little bit fond of not paying for stuff if there was any stuff left not to pay for. She’s really not fond of fighting something or someone for everything. She can feel the gash on her hip from that runin with a bearfish yesterday when she was down by the river, but if she turns over, it’ll just hurt more. She’s a little bit proud she’s hardly even afraid of bearfish anymore, but she’s still definitely not fond of them existing, or any of the weird crap rising out of the sewage these days. Did these horrifying hybrids always exist, just out of the public eye, or are they new? Nobody recycles anymore, that’s for sure.
And just as she’s finally drifting off to sleep, a giant, animalistic shriek all too close shocks her awake with the sort of petrifying panic she’s come to associate with waking up.
A gigantic owl with a …slug’s? lower half. (Why are the mutants always so big? How is the streetlamp even holding its weight?) It doesn’t seem to care that she’s there and, god, she isn’t even scared, either. Just annoyed.
Yeah. The apocalypse thing is getting old.
Hoh god this is late. Sorry about that. But it’s finally happened: a colored version of the owl-slug that I actually like. It occurs to me that I finished the original drawing around this time last year. I’d spent weeks working on it, drawing rows and rows of what turned out to be biologically inaccurate feathers, doing the pattern on the right wing, repositioning the head, working out the kinks in the flow of the feathers around the eyes. I even put three little stripes (not included in the colored version because it would have given me carpel tunnel) on every single feather. It was that wonderful sort of drawing that never goes wrong and never feels rushed, I just worked on little bits of it when I could, and eventually it was finished. I remember that for days after I finally decided it was done, I carried it around in my backpack (as I did all my drawings, to be fair) and pulled it out to show anyone who would look. Oh, those days before I discovered the internet.
I really didn’t mean for this to get so sunlighty, but, god, I just love sunlight so much. Also, when I first drew it, I wanted it to be a three panel comic (one for Bri sleeping on the bench while the owl-slug lands silently on the streetlamp, one for the wakeup call, and one for her realizing it’s just another gigantic, indifferent mutant and calming down) but by the time I finished this, I realized there was no way I could draw the owl-slug again on that scale.
This, friends, is the failed post-apocalypse comic. Stained, creased, frayed, and torn, begun eleven months ago, abandoned (for the most recent time) nine months later, it’s traveled from Mr. Stucker’s Civics class to Lake Fairlee to Biddeford, Maine to my scanner to be here, before your eyes, on the internet. As you can see, it’s made entirely out of crap and a perfectionist’s desperate attempt to allow herself to suck. Which I think I succeeded at quite well. There wasn’t really any script, and you can see how her character design evolved as I drew. Still, I’m rather fond of it, and it gives a slightly better idea of George’s universe, so here it is.
This was done completely differently than anything else I’ve ever drawn. (Warning: this is where I stop being quirky and interesting.) See, I’ve been using the same image editing program, GIMP, which is incredible and possibly my best inanimate friend, for three years, and yet I haven’t exactly experimented much with it. I edit all my drawings the same way: mess with the contrast, using the dodge/burn tool, to darken up the lines (giving everything a dark glow made of originally-less-noticeable smudges from my greasy fingers), then go over each character and object with the paintbrush in color mode, because I can’t be bothered to color inside the lines. (Color mode adjusts the hue without affecting the value, meaning nice, black lines stay black, and you get that awful, shoddy, sketchy texture that I’m famous for.)
In short, I am a hack.
But this time, I actually tried new things. Stumble Upon had been making me feel bad about myself with all this gorgeous Photoshop art, and this was the perfect opportunity to defend my honor, since I really didn’t feel like shading it, anyway. Next, I decided to line it manually, and in color, because, why not? And while I was at it, why not try using layers, with which I had absolutely no experience, and which changes basically everything about the process of editing? I don’t really remember much after that, except that the next few hours were filled with evil cackling, Amanda Palmer, and repeated involuntary marriage proposals to a collection of beautiful, beautiful pixels, which you see before you now. So, yeah, I’ll probably do some more work with this style.
This was originally just a drawing of a girl on a street, but partway through, it became a self-portrait, since, you know, I’m a narcissist. (And no, it’s not that I decided to make the girl me just because. It’s worse than that. I realized I had been subconsciously drawing myself all along.) Related: it is both the most detailed and the most inaccurate self-portrait you will ever see me draw.
And for those familiar with the street depicted, if you think just because I walk down it twice a day, five days a week, I should be able to correctly remember any part of it, you overestimate me.
“Its nose keeps switching between crying out of laughter and sadness while he plays tea and drinks chess…” -Devin
Dominick had once had a complete chess set, as well as a proper hat, but he traded the hat to a nomadic musician during a bad storm (mostly out of kindness, the trumpet had been broken even when it was given to him), and he lost most of the chess pieces because of little things, like when Benjamin needed a horse to get somewhere on time and The Great Swamp Sink of Summer. He doesn’t really mind, but it’s getting harder to play chess properly… (That and, until Benjamin gets back, he won’t have anyone to play with.)
The book titles, in order: Pour Mademoiselle, Dealing With Depression, Creationism, and Canadians: They’re Not Like Us. The chess pieces are a Troll doll, a rook, an engagement ring, a pawn, a Monopoly top hat, and a di.