This collection of art blog posts is all Throwback Thursday, all the time. Well, not all the time. Thursdays, primarily. Old stories from the Survival Anxiety Comics archive, dusty, but good!
This is the last of the journal comics from 2016, titled The Job Hunt. As I mentioned last week, this comic has a predecessor called The Layoff. They helped me destress at the time. They also make me uncomfortable.
Part of the discomfort is reliving a very stressful time. These comics don’t tell much of what happened then, but it’s enough to return me there when I read them. It’s a time machine. Another is something akin to airing my dirty laundry. Part of me wants it to be forever private. Mostly I think I just want it all to go away.
And the truth of the matter is, over 3 years later, we’re still feeling the fallout from the decisions we had to make during that moment. That’s how life works, I guess.
Anyway. It’s a comic. There it is.
More importantly, I’m not sure why I included the black currant bushes in this story. Perhaps I was trying to get them picked before the birds got them. Maybe I just liked the sound of the words “black currant bushes” in the script. Either way, everyone knows gooseberries are the superior berry when avoiding the job hunt.
I hesitated reposting The Layoff. Old wounds, and all that. If you’ve ever been let go from a job, you know it sucks. It sucks for years after.
I tried to deal with the experience by making a comic about it. I made two of them, actually – there’s a follow up to this one called The Job Hunt. Then I decided I had enough with journal comics. I don’t like talking about myself.
Of course, here I am talking about myself. Not to mention Pity Party, which is also talking about myself. If I’m going to write journal comics about me, I should write about when I’m feeling happy. It does happen.
Kurt Vonnegut had this great quote about acknowledging when we are happy.
“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
Between Kurt Vonnegut’s “if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is”, and Ted Lasso’s “be a goldfish”, I could be a whole new man!
Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
In all seriousness, if you are going through some kind of job loss, do get the help you need to take care of yourself. Do it sooner than later. If you wait, by the time you realise you need help, you could have already done lasting damage to yourself. And that’s no good.
You deserve to be happy. Onward!
Happy Throwback Thursday! This weeks art from the archives is Crows Be Prepared, an evergreen story I feel is just as relevant today as it was when I wrote it. Mostly I just wanted to draw a crow in an army helmet. Mission accomplished!
It’s Throwback Thursday at Survival Anxiety Comics! Remember the Zika Virus? The Crows remember in this week’s archive gem Crows and the Zika Virus.
The Zika epidemic was a hot news item in 2016, and mosquitoes got most of the (deserved) flak for spreading it. The Zika virus was a big concern for pregnant women, who could pass it on to their fetus, potentially causing brain anomalies. Adults could suffer rapid muscle weakness. There was also concern for the athletes participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Simpler times, am I right? Mosquitoes ruin every party.
When working on the character design for the crows, I had envisioned one crow to be kind of dumb, while the other was smart. It’s a common setup. I got bored with it. The smart one became kind of condescending, at least in my mind. I wondered why they would even be hanging out together if that was their dynamic. The crows are supposed to be friends, with differing points of view and experiences. So I eventually eased off on dumb vs smart characteristics, and in more recent comics especially, they compliment each other better. I feel like they’re becoming a bit more like an avian Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets. Judgemental about human behaviour, but certainly not without their own flaws.
I used Clip Studio Paint for this comic, although I think it was called Manga Studio 2016. I’m going to stop saying that every time I mention Clip Studio Paint. A comic lettering process I used at the time was to lay out all the dialog text with the Text Tool, then I traced the letter characters with a lettering brush. Something akin to a tech pen. I still use this process for digital illustrations. It feels a bit mechanical here, because I was just figuring it out. The goal was to have comic lettering that visually fit with the cartoon art, and was more unique than a comic lettering font. And tidy. Very tidy lettering.
Of course, today I hand letter all my comics, and it’s a glorious mess, but that’s a blog post for another time.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome to another Throwback Thursday, here at Survival Anxiety Comics! Today, it’s the first full page crows story, called Crows and the Mosaic-Tailed Rat. I was going for a different look in 2016. I like it, but couldn’t sustain it.
In real life, I had to contend with crows getting into our garbage bags on garbage day. Those birds would rip into my garbage bags, even toss the lid off the garbage can, and make a real mess of the trash. One would show up, then call all their friends to join. They’d drag baby diapers all over the road. What a prize!
I’d run out out of the house to the road, waving my arms like a lunatic, yelling at these feathered bastards to get outta there! They’d just take a hop backward, and indignantly caw back at me. As if to say, the garbage is on the side of the road! We have every right to it! Caw, caw!
And so all that filtered through my brain into this idea – a couple of crabby crows, opining, and judging about people things.
Around the time of this comic, the mosaic-tailed rat had gone extinct due to climate change. A tragic story, to be sure, and also a suitable discussion for these two crows.
Side note – I avoid 9 panel comic pages these days. My panel template allows for it, but if my story is more than 6 or 7 panels, I’ll try to spread them out over two pages. I’ll leave 9 panels for the pros.