For the last week or so, Little Guy and I have been drawing with Wendy Mac before bedtime.
This was my peacock drawing from yesterday, made with crayon and ink.
For the last week or so, Little Guy and I have been drawing with Wendy Mac before bedtime.
This was my peacock drawing from yesterday, made with crayon and ink.
Last night I watched a rerun of Star Trek The Next Generation and couldn’t help but notice how bad the entire crew was at social distancing.
And I guess that’s how this works, right?
Our brains adapt and now movies and television, and maybe comics that were made before the coronavirus just looks, wrong, somehow. Star Trek The Next Generation, through no fault of its own, is ignoring this (new) social norm and now feels, wrong.
They will have been made before the time of coronavirus, and we will know just by looking at it.
It’s weird to think about. It’s weird to think about future art. Especially future sci-fi. How futur-y stuff can’t ignore social distancing, or pandemics, or how we all may have to hide behind masks.
Little Guy likes to grab a few bowls or pots and pans and some ingredients and ‘cook’ at the kitchen table. (Last time he did this, he said, ‘I need to cook this now, and slid the pan underneath the table, just like putting it in the oven.)
Saturday he made oatmeal soup. in the sketch above he’s getting ready to test it. he’s way more optimistic than i was about his dish.
Here’s the recipe, near as I could tell:
I think he and I both agreed that pretending to eat it was more delicious than actually eating it.
not sure why.
see for yourself
Hi, I’m Tone. I draw. I read. I write. I have no idea what I’m doing. Welcome.
This post is about me having no idea how to make homemade Not -Golden – Oreo cookies. It’s part 2 of a two-parter. Here’s part 1.
The cookies I made didn’t taste like Golden Oreos at all. But they were buttery and kind of…biscuit like. Delicious, especially with a cup of coffee, not cloyingly sweet, as long as you keep the fondant thin, which I didn’t do, more on that later. But, as it turns out, how they tasted was the least amazing thing about them.
You should make them.
You should make them better.
Here’s how to do it, in 7 – ish easy steps:
The part that I did get right in this cookie making process: was getting a 4 year old to help roll the dough and cut the cookies.
He was so thrilled to cut circles and to eat raw cookie dough, and to make dough balls, it was amazing. If you can find one, adding toddlers to your baking process is a must.
Note to everyone stuck at home who are excellent bakers: Right now would probably be the perfect time to start a daily instagram story show focused on baking with toddlers. It would kill. I am not the man for the job. Someone else please run with this.
I had no idea what to expect when opening the box of fondant. I’d never even heard of it before tackling this recipe. It’s a block of stiff, but maleable icing. The recipe called for 6 oz. The entire block of fondant was 24 oz, so I hacked off about a quarter of it.
From there, I just dabbed a little water and powdered sugar to ‘glue’ the fondant circle to the bottom of the cookies. They adhered beautifully.
The unexpected part, really. For about an hour all that mattered was making cookies. All that mattered was getting powdered sugar on our hands, and cutting cookie dough, and sneaking tastes of cookie dough, and working with the fondant. And laughing our heads off. A lot of laughing our heads off. (Especially about my powdered sugar hanprint pants.) It felt great.
If you can, take a baking break. Especially if you’ve never baked before. You don’t know how much you need it until you do it.
I can’t wait to try making these again. But do a better job of it.
I’ve got a cookie problem.
I love Golden Oreos.
But 2 cookies is 150 calories, and that’s too many calories, when I’m trying to drop a few pounds. (I’ll write about my weight-loss process in a future feature called MuscleTone, get it? Get it? See, it’s MuscleTone instead of Screentone…yeah, you get it…It’s just never very good…Now, I get it.)
The other drawback with Golden Oreos, besides them being addictively delicious with a very high calorie count, (I mean c’mon, who can eat just two of these?) is the list of chemicals in them.
So, I’ve decided to try and make my own version, even though the only thing I’ve ever baked in my life is a couple of loaves of bread, and they’re unlikely to be less caloric, they’ll at least be less…chemically.
Fortunately, I’m not the first person to have this idea. A quick google search later and I found this recipe. So last Sunday I dove in, and made my dough.
While beating the butter with my mom’s old mixer, I had no idea, I repeat, no idea, what I was doing. I made mistakes at every turn. First, I didn’t quite let the butter get to room temperature, so it clogged up the beaters and I had to scrape them off with a butter off. (I’m sure there were better ways than a butter knife) Not only that, but I also had no idea how creamy the butter should be. It wasn’t until after I’d stored my dough in the fridge to firm it up and tidied up the kitchen that I would discover exactly how creamy my butter should have been.
It was only when I gave Little Guy a beater to lick clean, just as my mom had done for me when I was a boy, and when I licked my own beater, that I realized my mistake. The cookie batter on this beater was thick and hard, too difficult to lick off with my tongue. I had to scrape the batter off with my finger. But my mom’s cookies, when I would lick off the leftover cooky batter, the batter was silky smooth, sliding easily off the metal tines of the beater on to my tongue, the tiny grains of sugar so crunchy and sweet. (My god, I miss my mom.)
My butter wasn’t creamy enough. It was too thick.
We’ll see how that informed the cookies themselves, when I post part 2.
Epilogue: This may come as no surprise, to you, but I was in no way prepared for the revelation, (even after studying the recipe first), that hit me while Little Guy and I made our cookie dough. It was only after I creamed the butter, added two types of sugars to the bowl, an egg and some flour, that I realized that cookies…wait, for it, because here’s the crazy part: cookies are really just butter, sugar, and flour. I know! Crazy, right?
update: read part 2
If you’re like a lot of people, you’re stuck at home, and maybe feeling a little anxious about the world around us.
Many, (most?) of us haven’t been in a situation like this before and we’re all just trying to get through it best we can.
So if you’ve got some free time, dig out the legos, and spend a few minutes with the kids, or alone as an adult, (there are a lot of adult lego builders out there) building something. Then try and recreating your lego build in Studio. It’s a lot of fun and easier than you might think.
Now that I had my model built, it was time to add some color.
It’s as simple as selecting a piece then choosing a color from the sidebar palette. Studio warns you if the color you’ve selected isn’t available for that brick. (If you don’t want to keep getting those warnings, you can toggle the controls so that the colors available are only in those provided by Lego.)
The process for making the instructions is a little more complicated.
When you first look at your instructions, there is only the one step.
I had to backtrack step by step and brick by brick to create all of the steps for my little spaceship, (which I’m now dubbing the ‘Escher’ an interstellar passenger ship with twin rotors that spin up wormholes to travel through interstellar space, and landing and retro thrusters for planetary visits. Not only is this ship capable of creating its own wormholes to cut down on interstellar travel time, it can also land on a planet with an atmosphere. Take that Enterprise.)
Once I parsed out the steps, Studio makes it easy to select different layouts for each page. I experimented with a few different layouts, ultimately settling on a six panel first page, a 4 panel page two, a three panel page 3 and a two panel final page. It’s also possible to select and move the individual elements of the instructions to make sure that they’re all visible to the reader.
To meet the requirements to upload to rebrickable, I’ve got to create a pdf of my instructions. More on that in part 3.
If you have any questions about working in Studio, feel free to drop them by in the comments. I’m by no means a Studio expert, but maybe we can puzzle through it together.
organizing the studio last week and dug up these marker drawings i drew about a year and a half ago of little guy while he was drawing:)
i’m writing this while sitting in the waiting room of a tire shop.
the valve stem on the front driver side tire broke.
i walked over to the grocery store while waiting for the tow. a lot of holes on the shelves. crowded. a nervous energy. i bought some canned goods.
Honestly, that’s a woefully misleading title. Grabby, though, ain’t it?
In January, comics writer Kieron Gillen teamed up with Project Art Cred to write a script, release it to any artist that wanted it, and bask in the wide variation in storytelling that resulted. You can check out the results that resulted here.
Amongst all the brilliant entries, you’ll find one that does not look like the others. Mine.
I did not adapt Kieron Gillen’s full script because I didn’t realize he had written more than one page. When I downloaded it from his newsletter I didn’t realize it was a multi-page document.
I adapted Kieron’s letter to the artist.
When Gillen mentioned in the letter that he was keeping this loose and minimal, I thought to myself, “No kidding.”
Here’s my final inked artwork. There’s another pass at the pencils below, as well.
Little Guy is in to Lego, so now I’m in to Lego.
And I’m probably more in to Lego than he is.
All of this began with me watching his sets that he had gotten for Christmas or for birthdays, and we had so carefully built together, slowly disintegrate back into the box of all the Legos. I wondered if there were a website where you can enter in all of the sets you have and find out what else you can build with your Legos.
Thankfully there was, because it is a fantastic idea and I am not the man to build such a thing.
Rebrickable is a near magical site, where you can do exactly that, enter the sets you own, and where hundreds (maybe thousands) of Lego builders worldwide upload their designs, or MOCs (short for My Own Creations) and you can see all of the marvelous designs that you can build with the Legos you have. They even provide instructions.
It is like making new toys from the toys you already have.
Did you go visit them? Aren’t they marvelous?
So inspired by these MOCs, I wanted to create a MOC, too.
Of course, you’re creating a MOC every time you freebuild with your pile of Legos, but I wanted to take it to the next step.
This weekend, while freebuilding with little guy, I built a little mini spaceship, shown in the photo above.
It seemed like a good candidate to recreate in Studio for my first build because it was only about 15 or so pieces. Perfect.
I dove in to Studio, (which does have a helpful tutorial) and built this little guy from the ground up.
This is my little spaceship (with twin interstellar rotors, of course) before I’ve added brick colors.
What took just a few minutes in real life took me a couple of hours to build in Studio, mostly because of my lack of familiarity with how it worked. (Don’t be daunted. Studio is remarkably intuitive, and you are much smarter than I am. My saving grace is a willingness to be bad at things.)
More on the instructions and brick color selection in part 2 of my first Moc, coming just as soon as I have a bit of time to write it.
The following lists are in no particular order and are by no means exhaustive. Consider them living and breathing to be added to and subtracted from as I see fit:
What’s on your list?
This past January, Little Guy, who is now 4, started to take photos with my phone.
“I want to take a picture of everything,” he said.
Here’s just a few.
I’m biased, of course, but I think they’re great.
They’re worth the price of admission simply because he takes photos of things I never would.
while organizing the studio today i found a couple of drawings from about a year or more ago.
the only time i can draw him is when he’s sitting still.
and he sits still when he draws:)
If you’re like me, you saw the new year (and new decade) as an opportunity to create some new, healthier, habits. If you’re like me, you’ve tried this before. If you’re thinking about starting, you don’t need a new year, a new month, or even a new day. You can start now. (You’ll note I didn’t even start most (all?) of these on the first day of the year:)
Whatever project you’ve been putting off. Go start now. Starting is the hardest part. I know. I’ve been putting off too many projects for years…
finished dune. the best book i’ve read in a decade and a half. some consider it the greatest science-fiction novel ever written and i think that still underrates it. i read the 50th anniversary addition with a beautiful cover.
starting leonardo da vinci again. my plan is just dipping in a chapter a day. no more than that. going to read it concurrently with these current and upcoming reads
It’s 630 am and I just folded a paper airplane for little guy.
He brought a page torn from a small activity book, set the it down on the desk and asked me to make him an airplane. There was a scribble of green and orange crayon, and a torn corner on the page that I thought could be trouble in-flight, not to mention the fact that I could not remember how to fold a paper airplane.
So I stalled, and bought myself some time by making the first fold.
The first fold is easy: lengthwise, dividing the paper in two.
I opened the fold, laid the paper out on the table, and bent in the top right corner, bringing it to a triangle. Then folded in the opposite corner with the torn edge, which turned out to be no trouble, tucked in safely in the middle crease. I had worried over nothing.
I turned the folded paper on its side. It was not an airplane yet, but a primitive shape, a long rectangle with a missing corner, a wedge. I had hoped that once I made those first folds, my hands would take over and I would know what to do next. That did not happen.
I had no idea where to make my next fold. Shouldn’t this be like riding a bike? Shouldn’t folding an airplane be a skill ingrained from a childhood spent making hundreds of my own airplanes? Shouldn’t I know how to do this?
I folded the top of the plane in half towards the bottom edge. It was a timid fold forming a crude wing impossible of sustaining any lift.
“How did you know how to fold that,” little guy asked, in something that sounded like awe.
I flipped the plane over and made the same fold on the other side, doubling down on the crude wings.
Not knowing what else to do, and faced with an expectant 4 year old, who assumes his dad is an expert in everything, because he is the dad, I folded the wings in half again.
It was done.
I held the plane in between my fingers and examined my (crude, clumsy) handiwork. The airplane was long and skinny. Narrow. An arrow of a plane. A dart? I remembered, or thought I remembered, probably from a paper airplane book I had read as a kid. The folds in the nose didn’t line up. One wing was wider than the other. Would it fly?
Little guy looked at me, smiling. Where I was all doubt, he was none.
I pinched the base of the airplane between thumb and first two fingers. I gave the plane a light toss, just a little wrist flick, fingers released and spread wide, and the plane was out of my hands, now, with more speed than I intended, but I had done all I could do.
The plane lifted just a little at first, and I thought it might glide gently out the studio door, but instead it quickly dipped from the excess speed nosedived into the guitar leaning against the studio wall. The plane din’t travel far, just a few feet –
“Whoa,” said Little Guy. The airplane had flown farther than he ever expected.
Epilogue: Later that morning in the living room. Little guy threw the airplane over the railing of the living room down to the entryway. I was surprised by how well it flew. He ran down the stairs and picked it up.
He carried the plane up the stairs and said, “Dad, I think it’s out of batteries.”
Right before bed last night I started thinking about Lego.
Thinking about how following the instructions and building the sets with my littel guy is a lot of fun, and an exercise in patience, for both him and me.
Of course, freebuilding out of the big box of random legos (that all of the sets eventually disentegrate into) is a lot of fun, too. (For some reason I find myself building a lot of vehicles when we are in free building mode.)
Then I started to think about how building from the sets with the instructions can inform the freebuilding. Not only do you get a lot of great pieces from the sets, but you get to see interesting ways those pieces are used. You get new techniques.
Building from the sets nourishes the freebuilding.
This year I’ve vowed to write 500 words a day. (More accurately, 540 a day, since I didn’t start right on January 1.)
I hope some of that writing will make it’s way to screentone, but a lot of it is really awful, right now.
Not only that, but those 540 words are a lot more difficult to write, it takes a lot longer to hit that word count if I don’t get in any reading that day, or if I don’t manage to do anything but go to work and take care of little guy.
Just as building the lego sets provides nourishment for the freebuilding of Legos, reading, and doing these provide the nourishment for writing.
And on some days I really have to closely examine my day to find something to write about. I really have to notice things to find that nourishment.
and drawing ornithopters and sandworms…
dune’s been on my to read list for awhile now
i expected it to be a slog, but it’s not. it really moves
the first chapter throws a lot at you, but after that it goes non-stop
star wars owes so much to dune, but elements of the novel seem to pop up a lot in other, unexpected areas of pop culture as well
(i’m thinking of metal gear solid’s sneak suit and skull suit owe a lot to the stillsuit of dune)
but maybe even more interesting than the influence of dune, are the influences on dune
i can’t wait to dig in there
i know so little about frank herbert, but he must have been off – the – charts brilliant
no one asked for chubby batman
but here it is anyways
as you probably noticed i’m behind. and skipping around.
inspiration for the giant book that link consults is the lindsfarne bible, which i’d never heard of before doing the research for this strip.
this is the first day this year that i used a wash.
i got lazy and tired this strip. it shows in the final two panels
made some changes to the way i worked on today’s inktober and it really helped.
the final piece looks more like i imagined.
here’s how it went down. (if you find this sort of thing just mindnumbingly boring, here’s the color version, colored digitally, of today’s piece
here is the initial sketch
then i hunted down a bunch of reference of alex honnold climbing el capitan
i didn’t really use any one image in particular, but it helped me refine my early sketches
for the dragon’s pose i just did an image search for sleeping dogs.
all of that reference helped me refine the drawing and make it more convincing…
i think the sketch, done digitally, has a lot more energy than the final inks.
the biggest change to my work came in the next step.
i haven’t been happy with my inking at all, this inktober, so i decided to draw bigger. i’ve been watching a lot of cartoonist kayfabe lately and somewhere in there ed piskor said ‘pencil small and ink big.’
i’ve been drawing each panel at 4 x 4 inches all inktober. last night i decided to go bigger.
i resized the panels to be 5 x 5 inch and worked on 11 x 14 inch bristol instead of 9 x 12 inch bristol
inking at the larger size made all the difference for me.
i was able to vary the line weight more than in every previous inktober. it took way longer to work, but it was worth it.
it felt like a breakthrough.
now i just have to do it again tonight…
i’m pulling a swerve and giving day 10 a miss because i have an idea for pattern that i need a little more time on.
so here’s today’s:
it works a lot better in color
the way i drew these snowflakes makes them look like potato chips, don’t you think? maybe i’m just hungry
(i know it’s the 10th. i’m behind.)
lately i’ve been doing the sketch digitally, and inking over that
here’s the sketch
my sketches are better than my inks, but i guess that’s the whole point of inktober, right?
i did splash some watercolors on the page
view the color version, where color reveals a little more information about one of our characters…
forgot to ink in her boots, and squandered link’s pose in panel 2, but this effort felt much stronger than day 7’s
the main thing i need to remember when working is just to slow down. all of the pressure is imagined…
inktober and linktober 2019 continue with day 7: enchanted