(The Indie Art Blog of Comic Artist LitNEO / LittleNeo / Littleoutrageous)

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WCC – Life in Middle School – 2022 -10 -09
comics working out

Indie Art Blogs are fun! Check out my Covid Blog & Freebie Zine Collection.

WCC - Life in Middle School

One Miro comic. The prompt was “Imagine” and we got an inspirational quote by Maya Angelou before that. The second prompt was a picture. I it more because it’s actual fiction, with characters and voice and all that good writing stuff. Plus I’m pleased with myself for drawing it out in 15. 

WCC comic artist
life in middle school comic

I like the 3 panel set up with a silent establishing shot and then 

WCC - 2 More Miro Comics

Two 15 minute writes (but I coloured for longer). The themes were threads and weaving. As usual, I ignored the poetry and went with the simplest interpretation.

Kept it to two 3-panel comics. Last two panels are not Miro. One of them is AI inspired. Can you tell which?

WCC - Miro Comics

Made some quick Miro Creatures and then turned them into comics with the WCC.

The first prompt was a poem I didn’t bother to listen to (I don’t generally like WCC poems). I went with their prompt: “Write about what October means to you.” Believe it or not, I actually put some thought into this one. It’s supposed to be a joke.

This was a 3 pager. The prompt was a pen breaking through some rocks. It made me think about inspiration and muses. It was a 15 minute prompt but I added an extra page after hearing everyone’s reaction (poor little artist).

The last was a 5 minute write on “Courage”. I already had the bird creature ready to go, so I gave him an opinion on the subject. 

The last was a 5 minute write on “Courage”. I already had the bird creature ready to go, so I gave him an opinion on the subject. 

WCC - Space Comics

Writer’s Collective of Canada – 2022 08 18 – Prompts: Write about your feelings about the end of summer (Life on Mars), an Image of a storm from space (Class 7 Planet)

Click images for larger view.

WCC - Green Light

Writer’s Collective of Canada – 2022 08 15 – Prompt: “When were you given the ‘green light’ to get something done?”
Click images for larger view:

WCC - Sun & Moon

Writer’s Collective of Canada – 2022 08 12 – Prompts: Write about the effect the sun has on you (10 minute write), Write about conversations with the moon (15 minute write)

WCC - What are you working on?

Writer’s Collective of Canada – 2022 08 08 – 1 Icebreaker and 2 prompts today for the comic blog. A really fun session. I think I’ll send my work in to the WCC Instagram page this time as nothing is too mean spirited. The host was just such a nice person I ended up writing about finding a lost puppy.

Read Aloud Comic Video

Writer’s Collective of Canada meets ALL THE TIME. I don’t know if the workshops are actually daily but they are pretty close. I haven’t had time to go but now it’s the summer and here we are. Printer/scanner broke so I did this post as a YouTube video. I made a book for the session, so I guess it makes sense that I read it and turn the pages.


Went to Starbucks. Inspired by their in-store marketing.

Lynda Barry - Character Jam

Just a solo character jam for this entry. This isn’t really very modified. Pretty much just the exercise without the passing around a group. First you make 16 squares with caption boxes. Next you fill in the captions following a list. You can make your own but I used Barry’s here. It has things like “childhood teacher”, “profession”, “Title + Fruit”, and “type of person.” You fill in your answer to each with a word or two. Then you go through and draw the image that goes with the caption. 1 minute per caption. I coloured mine in after because, well, it’s nice to do.

I’m partial to “Mrs Beck”, “Lord Apple”, “Ugggu”, and the bottom row. It’s a very indie comic blog kinda row.

A Collective Night in the Life of...

Just trying out Lynda Barry’s structure with Collective portraits. I drew them at the pub after and then documented the subway ride home, and then the ride to work the next day and a few teacher notes.

It doesn’t really read as a story but I like it as a journal entry.

Bad Mood Comix 2

Another bad mood comic… I was walking along the subway platform and I heard, verbatim, “Oh, Micromanagement is a PUN-ISH-MENT. If I have to micromanage you, there is a PROB-LEM.” I agree and am grossed out at the same time. Maybe it’s the word “punishment” that grosses me out. I think it’s reasonable to say that a good manager could have to micromanage a weak member of their team. It’s just not your job to punish someone. Correct their behaviour or fire them for it, yes. Punish though? Go away. That’s a creepy powertrip move, right there. And someone who is using that language is not someone who I would trust in a leadership position. Eh. What do I know? Anyway, I drew a bunch of different faces because I didn’t want to put the lady’s actual face with the phrase. That would have made ME feel creepy. 

In true indie comic blog style, there is a second, totally unrelated drawing in this slideshow. Mwa ha

Lynda Barry Monsters

Is there anything more ‘indie comic blog’ than drawing a Lynda Barry prompt comic? Yes. Drawing TWO Lynda Barry prompt comics and then colouring them in with pencil crayons in a Japanese Foldout Moleskine. I am actually pretty proud of this one. I used colour theory and everything!

I’m thinking these would be super cute lessons for grades 6-7. Oh! I can’t post the picture but my grade 10s made comics and they are super fun. I posted them around the corner, at the end of the hallway. I figure the school can show them off or ignore them on tours. If I were a kid, I’d be pretty pumped about them.

Teacher Comics 2

I suppose this is why it’s a comic art blog, not a digital comic book… this one doesn’t have a story. I was working on a lesson and this little fellow popped out. 

That’s happened a few times now. This guy came out of an egg lesson. Maybe teacher comics are a work in progress? I could make a comic zine out of this lesson, I think.

Bad Mood Comix

So, unfortunately, I am always in a sour mood on my way to and on my way home from work. These two comics are definitely biased takes.

I really had no reason to dislike this woman. She was talking on the phone to someone and complaining. People are allowed to do that. In my head, she was this awful human being but, I mean… her “crime” was pretty minor here. She was supposed to wake up some people and she didn’t wake up to her alarm… or didn’t remember to set it. Either way, hardly evil. I couldn’t see her hands and have zero evidence she was rolling a joint but even if she was, who cares? I’m not anti-weed. Honestly, I can be so judgmental sometimes and my takes on people are so mood dependent that it really makes me question my ability to read people. I will say, when I like people, I’m usually on the ball. But I wonder how many people I have disliked because I needed a nap.

While I prefer Teacher Comics (see post below), I’m pretty sure there will be lots more Bad Mood Comix. I’m in a good mood about teaching a lot more than I’m in a bad mood because I’m sleepy, but students aren’t material for comics and adult strangers on the GO definitively are fair game so… I expect these types of comics to come up again before the school year is up. It helps that I’m also free to draw when I’m sitting in a nice, comfy GO seat (with my feet anywhere BUT on the fabric.)

Teacher Comics

Supervising the High School Art Club. They’re super creative kids and super well behaved. I have to push myself not to try to run things. I did manage to get a materials list out of them though… always good to get student input before we buy art supplies. The pencil and ballpoint pen on the page came out of Art Club but the black ink is my trip home. No matter how much fun I have at work, I end up in a bad mood for my commute home. I’ll post some of my indie comic blog Bad Mood Comix later today.

One of my grade 10s worked out a fantastic method for creating a quick archway by rounding a cube. I tried it out here and thought I’d add the page as a reminder. I’ll probably turn it into a lesson at some point. 

And finally, a indie art blog comic devoted to lessons I can’t teach… I’ll probably find a way to teach the duck lesson though. They’re capable! I just have to have faith that the Perspective lessons have stuck. They killed their perspective quiz so I don’t know why I’m reluctant. I think it has something to do with not being confident in this skill set myself so I’ll have to get some more practice in turning 2d objects into 3d renditions in the next 2 weeks before I teach this one.

And that’s it… 3 teaching comics is a lot! I make lesson notes in a different sketchbook, so I doubt I’ll make too many more comics about teaching. I don’t want to discuss children or the job so I can’t see it happening. But maybe I’ll be inspired by something in the future.

Stairs in Perspective

Took a break from comics to work out how slope operates in 1 and 3 point perspective. For 2 point perspective, the slope sits on top of one of the vanishing points (VP-2 in this configuration). In 3 point perspective, all vertical lines are redirected toward the third vanishing point (VP-3). I speculated that this would apply to the slope point and moved my slope line onto a point on a line between VP-2 and VP-3. 

Playing around in confined space pushes angles to the ridiculous, like the odd piece on the left. It definitely doesn’t track to proportion and scale.

Tried to fix that proportion issue back in 1 and 2 point perspective. Ended up concluding that I should first figure out the staircase I want and then pick my points. That way I don’t end up with weird, elongated tops of steps.

Materials: Paper and paint (cover), (tainted) off-white paint, wax thread, lotto tickets, computer paper, various markers and pens.
Comic: computer paper, black sharpie, various pens.

To and From Work - 2 comic Pages

Missed my stop Wednesday morning. I’m reading books of The Wheel of Time that I didn’t read the first time. Book 8 is miss-your-stop-by-four-stops AWESOME. I hear book 10 is boring but that even that one is worthwhile… Bit of a non sequitur for the bottom half of the page but I really do need to sit down with Dre’s Chronic 2001 some time soon. It’s an absurdly excellent album. And the next page is more Covid observations. 

Cover, Materials: file folder (halved), wax thread, computer paper, various markers and gel pens.
Comic: computer paper, black sharpie, green pen.

(Covid) Transit Comics

Apparently, I’m taking this indie art blog thing seriously and making multiple ball point pen comics a day… here are two more. Click for a better view.

Cover, Materials: file folder (halved), wax thread, computer paper, various markers and gel pens.
Comic: computer paper, black pen that bled through pages, yellow paper to fix the page, duct tape because it fixes everything, more white paper, and blue ball point pen.

New indie art book

What’s an indie art blog without handmade books and radial symmetry? I don’t know and I don’t want to find out. I dig the way file folders look but I mostly just have this because I needed some paper to amuse Eddie. Turns out they make pretty good soft cover books if you’re into office supply chic, minus the chic. I added some doodles and filled them with computer paper. Probably use these as a comic journal but they would make an okay gift. Well, maybe not. I can’t imagine this is anyone else’s taste but mine.

Materials: file folder (halved), wax thread, computer paper, various markers and gel pens.

Internet Pets Part 2

These are so stupid but I amused myself so life is good. Rogan/Harambe represents the most popular of all internet pets. I Should I put him on the cover? I made Shapiro a puppy because that man lives in the internet’s doghouse. He’s definitely got the views to support the ‘pet’ idea, though I can’t find anyone who admits to listening to him. Well, aside from me. I find him insufferable on some topics and pretty on point on others. I think this set needs one more… a lobster. 

Once again, these are manipulated photos that I’ve printed and decorated. I get a kick out of this zine style.

Internet Pets

Working on April’s Zine… Internet Pets. Not sure what kind of story I want to create with these weird creatures. I love making Fusion Beasts but I don’t think that’s going to be the final take this time. Trying to give it a full month to develop into a weird comic. We’ll see.

These are manipulated photos that I’ve printed and decorated. I get a kick out of this zine style.

The Met Sunflowers

Working on a new zine. Should be up pretty soon but you never know if these things are going to make it all the way to “production”.

Sunflowers vs Existential Dread. I’m copying images I find in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET). Doing this on Shrink Film for no apparent reason. It has all sorts of limitations that make it annoying to draw on. AND the shrunk image always warps. Poor Sir Anthony Van Dyck gets Jaundice and a square head! I think I’ll have to muck about with the font size too. Oh well. I’m going to try to finish it today but who knows… my March Break is almost over. It would be nice to have a zine a week to show for it.

Drop Shadows and Cover Art

I made a TAPE ZINE in February but I’ve been obsessing over tape ever since.

I spend quite a bit of time teaching my grade 10s about shadows for their sketchbook and their perspective drawings. It’s a useful skill set. But for their collage assignments, a 10 minute drop shadow lesson is much more helpful. Drop shadows are simple. They give a sense of dimension and distance but they don’t require much in the way of calculations.

The Lesson

The lesson is simple. Take 3 pieces of tape. Overlap them. Draw simple shadows. We do this with shadows that are slightly offset (a partial border, a little to the left and a little below) and shadows that are placed at a distance to give the impression that the tape is floating.

These pieces are simple variations of that exercise with a lot more tape. I use markers and gel pens to add dimension. One of them will give some texture to 3 book covers for Writers Collective of Canada, which makes them cover art! I’ll have 6 mini comics in one of the books as well, so updated CV, here we go!


Thinking about teaching form. Looking at this exercise… not going to be teaching this to Middle School students.

Teaching Barry

Just a few disjointed images sketched as trials and examples stitched together from some reliable Lynda Barry lessons. First, some Ivan Brunetti style portraits. These are supposed to take 2 minutes. They’re tons of fun and they set the kids up for a nice 5 minute Daily Diary Draw.

Next, some quick draws. These are for the kids who like drawing from their imagination. Just 60 seconds for the first image and then progressively less time for the next 5. (45 seconds, 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds, and 5 seconds.)

This one is unrelated to the Barry/Brunettis. It’s for the grade 10s. Near the beginning of the term, they had to do an Apple project. Honestly, I don’t think it works. So this is me trying to figure out a way to make it into a simple, messy, low pressure exercise.

And that’s it. I’ve got Covid and I’m exhausted. This is the best I can do!

Covid Picasso

Sketch Journal for 18 Dec 2021. Kinda hitting zine length here, so I broke I made a full length and then broke it down into sections. Obviously, the Picasso section has the best stuff.

Jumped on the subway and went to see the Picasso show at the AGO. As per usual, there was some friction when I asked to draw. They said no. Various people had to be walkie talkied. And then they let me because somebody realized what they always realize – you have to pretend to give a shit about artists if you’re an art gallery. I stood to one side to get my draw on because I am not a crazy person. But this time, I drew that into the pictures. I like these a lot.

Picassoed Out

I ran out of energy before I ran out of Picassos, so I’ll try to get back and draw some more. After Picasso, I headed to the visiting Contemporary exhibit. Video is big in these days. The exhibit I sat down and drew was called “Three Kings Weep” by Ebony G Patterson. It featured three black men with tears in their eyes. You don’t see them start crying, so it feels a little artificial, but the men good actors and it has some emotional resonance. The video is reversed, which works really well. The men “put on” clothes… I don’t know. By the time I got to the last man, I was pretty tired. He’s more generic than the other two.

Click for larger images

And, of course, I drew on the way there and the way back…

Write On III - 6 Pages

Submission Pages for Write On! III

The format length they gave me seems really, really long. Not sure why they wouldn’t be more specific with margins and instructions. I have the feeling someone is going to get hold of these and absolutely chop them up to “edit” them down to size when they could have just started with clear instructions. Bah!

Write On III - The Unfinished

Another Page, Theoretically for Write On III

I am trying to write an intro to a 6 page entry to the Write On III publication. I have until September 27th to submit them so… I don’t know. I don’t have enough time to polish them and, because everything I do is super meta, that has become the focus of the work. I… like this.

Sketch Page

Write On III!


What a cute certificate! Write On III was great fun. I’m definitely going to apply for the next one! If you’re looking for a place to write, the Writers Collective of Canada is awesome!

WCoC Certificate

Inspiration is a Dirty Word

Everything I do is a Rough Draft

I made three pages today before the Collective. This is the best of them but I’ve titled post after another page. It was the best thing on it. See… it’s almost like I’m editing but then I don’t. I’ll likely take bits of this page and rearrange them for Write On. I can submit 6 pages and I like bits of this one as an intro.

Everything I do is a Rough Draft

Bending the Boring in Transit

Permission to Alter Reality

As art blogs go, I really should offer some more insight, shouldn’t I? I suppose this is more like an annotated journal than anything else. I benefited from someone else’s insight today. I was reading some articles while I’m making a program for middle school art. This fellow, Austin Briggs had some useful insights for the kids and, what do you know, he ends up giving me permission to bend the boring metal on the GO. He wrote that his his sketches from a trip to Charleston “started out to be objective and factual, but in some ways they became sort of fanciful. I can’t stick to the factual for long without personal reactions setting in and changing the objective facts. I’d probably be a very poor reporting artist…” I really loved bending the metal on the GO into more organic, interesting shapes. I’m sure I’ll do it again.

Aug 27

Try, Try, Try Again

I’m too tired to be making good art so I’m making less than perfect sketches in transit. I’ve never been one for titles. This series is called “In Transit” because it’s stuff I’m drawing in transit. Hey, at least I didn’t start a new blog…

bank with Buzz

Stupid Pencil

Sketches for Write On III. I liked these so much and then they got smeared because pencil is stupid. 

Bank with Buzz

Try, Try, Try Again

I’m too tired to be making good art so I’m making less than perfect sketches in transit. I’ve never been one for titles. This series is called “In Transit” because it’s stuff I’m drawing in transit. Hey, at least I didn’t start a new blog…

Bank with Buzz - In Transit
On the Way Home

Life-Fail #204289

I've done this multiple Times Now

Presenting: ME, TRY TO USE MY KEY FOB TO OPEN THE SUBWAY. Note the typo for “trying”. Sigh. I am very tired.

Nicole Little Art Comic

Monster, This is Your Life!

Lesson Planning Proofs are so much FUN!

I’ve done this exercise before but I couldn’t find any proofs… so I got to redo them! I am pretty sure I like this version best anyway.

From left to right, top to bottom, this is the monster as a newborn, kid doing an activity I did when I was little (swimming), as a teenager with a special object (he has an earing and he’s shading some circles… rebel), as a young adult partying, as a middle aged monster at work, and dead. Love this exercise! The results are always solid and it only takes 12 minutes!

Write On! Day 4 - 2021 -08 -02

I don't think I can get down with positive affirmations

Positive affirmations are just so… generic and bad. This prerecorded lady really did tell us our stories have chosen us and we’re all part of a stream of energy. Dude. The thing is, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to play these things for aspiring writers. It’s not a big deal if it doesn’t work for you and I’m sure it’s quite helpful for people who just need some encouragement and don’t have the resources to get specific encouragement. The big thing to come out of this session for me is that I got to remember that scene from The 13th Warrior where our hero learns a language. That was it for me this session. Just kinda exhausted. I did hear some strong writing from other people, so that was dope.



Went to the Reference Library today to meet a friend. Drew on the way there and then took a picture and drew it on the way back. I actually spent some time verifying the spelling and sizing of VARYING before I wrote it down. But I was Printing D’s t-shirt between St.Clair and Eglington and would you look at that! I MADE A KNOCKOFF T-SHIRT DESIGN! Anyway, not a terrible face for two subway stops worth of work BUT not a likeness.

Panels of Varying Sizes

Audible gasp when I forgot my sketchbook. And then, of course, the lotto ticket stand was there, as it always is. Honestly, The potential of the panels is really interesting for long trips. The natural break of 5 is good. Could do words, scenes… the template is fantastic.

Write On! Day 3 - YOU CANT HEAR US

Coffee doodle creature

So. We had a Zoom moment where one of the participants could couldn’t hear us. I made a sign. And then we had a prompt and I did that. But this piece… oh! I love it. It’s so stupid. I admit, the coffee stain was super intentional. I’ve been meaning to make a coffee doodle for a while now and the space was right on the page. I even like the bad writing and the creases on the page. I don’t think I’m going to be able to submit work for this publication because, presumably, it’s all words. But if I can, this is going right at the top! Maybe someone will tell me to shoot my darling though.

LitNeo Art Blog Write On

Defining Moments (Synonym Trauma)

Ok. So, once again, I’m asking my reader to follow arrows instead of the natural progression of panels. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing so long as the piece is readable when read conventionally (left to right, top to bottom). It wouldn’t be an indie art blog entry without the panel-by-panel breakdown below.

Panel 1

This is just my initial reaction to the prompt and some of what came before in the meeting. I think maybe it’s too much of a non-sequitur but I do think opening with a face, especially a self portrait, does give the piece some interest.

Panel 2

Well, that’s not how you spell training. Or AND. Also, as the writer, I know what I’m talking about but I don’t give the reader specifics, so it doesn’t really make sense. What would work? A little parachutist? An old lady on the last panel? People at various life stages holding ladders for each other or pushing each other off squares? Ohh… That could be it’s own comic! And I could spell training correctly for it!

Panel 3

This is really the force of influence here. My friend Francis made this incredible comic where sometimes, instead of spacing the words to the speech bubble, he wrote out the conversation bit formatted to a rectangular space and then used the speech bubble to cut off areas of speech. It gives the effect of a person rambling or ranting. You pick up some of what they’re saying but it’s not about the content. I love it so much.  He did such a good job. I didn’t realize how much I wanted to try it out until I did a variation of it here. As to the sentiment… well, I’m just defaulting to meta here. I don’t mind it and it does flow from the last panel, which is deconstructed. But there are so many ideas so far, it’s very ADHD.

Panel 4

This is clearly here because I like doing this. The stolen idea it refers to is Francis’ speech bubble but the direction arrows make that unclear. The eye came later and I’m actually okay with it. As filler goes, it fits.

Panel 5

This one makes sense in my voice when I read it but I don’t know if it translates for others. It reads: “You don’t have to pander to fetishists but you can if you want to. Just don’t do anything that makes you feel dirty if what you’re wanting to feel ain’t dirty.” It’s a bit clumsy at the end. That’s not the way most people talk and I haven’t used the same voice throughout so I think the “ain’t” is clutter.

Just a Page of Notes

Lines I like:

What do your doodles have to tell you?
There’s too much Valley in my voice. And I make too many mistakes to be valley.
“The rhythm and stillness of flowers” ~ M.N. This is not an exact quote, even though I’ve put it in quotes. The idea is M.N.’s though.

Advice (I copied these... badly)

Advice (I copied these (badly).)
1. Reading: learn from those who have done.
2. Pick Time
3. Clear Mind
4. Create ‘Write-log’
5. Share
6. Make yourself commit
7. Write without judgement

The Snail Creature

The Snail Creature

So, I watched a video of Picasso drawing/painting something. He went through several iterations. It was a chicken at one point and ended up as a dark face. So I did not like this doodle but I gave myself permission to keep working on it and let go of the original design. It was very freeing. Is it a Picasso? No. But it’s better for Picasso’s influence.


I talk more than any other participant. That’s very typical of me in groups. But I honestly think I’m adding value. If people are annoyed, well, I’m annoyed that I don’t get back half of what I put in so… yeah. Actually, it’s really not okay for people not to EVER give any kind of feedback but then share their own work. I really resent it.

How to Hold a Pencil

Three Hands

These are just notes from a lesson but I like the way they look on the screen. One is a copied drawing. One is traced from a video still. And the other is copied by eye from a video still. Nothing special but I like them anyway. And that’s what indie art blogs are all about, right? Drawing stuff you like and then sharing them with the one nice friend you have who always checks your links. 😉

Covid Subway and Doodles (TP)

Covid Subway

Went to visit a friend and had some time on the subway. Before Covid (so March, 2020), I was drawing subway images by creating disjointed faces. Now, suddenly, I am situating my figures in a setting. For the trip back, on the bottom, I included way more text – a kind of heading with that “Subway Home”, a snippet of overheard conversation (“I don’t have any money but…”) and the subway stop recording for Summerhill. Not much happened on the trips (people sat down on subway seats), so it’s not an exciting comic. But it does feel like a comic.

2021 07 25 Trip to See Kimberley on the Subway with Masks during Covid

Doodles Teaching Proof

I suspect I will bring this category over to a new page. But, for now, I’ll keep it here. This is a proof for a teaching lesson. I like the top 2/3s of the page but the bottom third doesn’t fit. Below are instructions.

Panel A1
1) Cut the panel in two with a horizontal line at the halfway point (demonstrate and have students copy).
2) Instruct students to use the top half of the panel for this exercise. They will repeat the exercise on the bottom half when we are finished.
3) Students will bisect the top panel. To do this, create a vertical line, from top to bottom, at the halfway point. (Demonstrate and have students copy).
4) Students will bisect the right half of the panel. (Demonstrate and copy).
5) Let students know that their lines are electrically charged. If they touch, the drawing stops. 
6) Ask students to continue bisecting the panel on the right until they are “electrocuted” when the lines touch. Their “score” is the number of lines they are able to complete before being electrocuted. They may write down their “score” in the left panel.
7) For the bottom panel, students should repeat the exercise by bisecting the left panel. They are permitted to turn their pages upside down if they wish.
Extension: This is a game and may be played with a friend by taking turns.

Panel C1:
1) Students must be instructed to skip panel B1. They will create this doodle in panel C1 (top right corner)
2) Instruction: fill the panel with a “Branching” style doodle. There are two rules to creating this doodle. (Demonstration on request).
Rule 1: All lines must touch at least one other line. Panel walls count as lines.
Rule 2: Lines must be added together as either Vs or Ys. They may be upside down. 

Panel B1:
1) Students are instructed to look at panel A1 and panel C1 for inspiration. They must think of a way to combine the two concepts. 
2) No demonstration! Each student will make their own decision and create their own piece!
3) Remind students that this is a doodle, not a masterpiece. They may try out different ideas until they find something repeatable and enjoyable to draw.
4) Give students 3 minutes to create this doodle. If their doodle is incomplete at the end of the 3 minutes, they will be able to come back to it at the end of the exercise.

Panel A2:
1) Students are shown a series of line-based and geometric doodles. 
2) Students are instructed to copy a doodle that they like, following the rules of that doodle.

Panel C2:
1) Students are instructed to skip panel B2 for now. 
2) Students are shown a series of oval and organic style doodles.
3) Students are instructed to copy a doodle that they like, following the rules of that doodle.

Panel B2:
1) Students are instructed to look at panel A1 and panel C1 for inspiration. They must think of a way to combine the two concepts. 
2) No demonstration! Each student will make their own decision and create their own piece!
3) Remind students that this is a doodle, not a masterpiece. They may try out different ideas until they find something repeatable and enjoyable to draw.
4) Give students 3 minutes to create this doodle. If their doodle is incomplete at the end of the 3 minutes, they will be able to come back to it at the end of the exercise.

Panel C1, C2, C3:
Panels C1 and C2 do not work. They are too complex and story-based.
Panel C3 has some promise. For this last set of three. Students should choose their doodles based on a list of ideas, which they then interpret. As with the instructions above, the first and third panels should follow a rule that is given to the students. The middle panel should allow students to creatively combine the two outer panels.
Another idea… students should create their own first panel, based on a simple doodle idea. (Perhaps they must write down the steps to creating this doodle on an index card. They should put an example of the doodle on the plain side of the card.) For the third panel, they should copy the doodle of another student, their partner. The middle panel will combine the two doodles, creating a hybrid. This idea needs to be developed but I love it.

Demonstration sheets for a) line-based/geometric doodles b) oval-based/organic doodles, and c) list of doodle ideas.
Large Paper & Stand (for Demonstration.)
Sharpie (for demonstration.)
Student notebook (or paper)
Student pen
Index cards (lined on one side, blank on the other)
(Spare pens and paper)

Alien Proposals & Stay'n Alive

An Alien Proposal

Prompt #1 was a poem that I didn’t end up really listening too because I was too busy writing down the last bit: Write about the moonlit night, the sweetness of animals, or perfect beauty. I was tempted to subvert this but, I’m glad I didn’t. The last panel is my favourite! I wrote down mini-prompts on the right side. These are ideas or quotes from other WCC writers. I wish I could credit them because they really are strong phrases. Even if they were eager to be featured on an indie art blog, I don’t think it’s cool to ask. So, for the record, “egoless nature” is not a LitNEO original. I wish it was. What a good phrase.

Permission Slips for Artists (the comic)

Prompt #2 gave me an opportunity to rethink my Permission Slips for Artists. I’m liking this combination of pens and markers. The grey is awesome for shadows.

WCC Writing a permission slip to be an artist

Permission Slips for Artists

Write On! Homework

Our homework for the Write On! workshop was: What will you do for yourself this week? Do it. Take a picture. So I made these Permission Slips for Artists. I like them so much that I gave them their own mini-page: Permission Slips for Artists. I’ve also made some instructions in case people want less “first draft” versions of the permission slips, or just to go through the process of making something themselves. Is there are more indie art blog post than this one? I very much doubt it.

Guilty Zoom Portraits

Consent, Permission, and Drawing Strangers

Today I attended a Zoom meeting for a program. Very quickly, I figured out that the program wasn’t something I am interested in. So what did I do? I did these quick drawings. And then I had a great conversation with my friend Liz over the phone. We talked about the moral question of drawing strangers without their consent. She’s solidly in the NO camp and I’m, well, my heart is with her but my pen is a thief of souls. 

I think maybe for the first time, in this set of three, I quickly drew face shape and then filled in the details. This is a different approach for me and I think I like it. It seems to help me with proportions – I draw the eyes and then work out where the mouth should be relative to the chin. The nose and other details seem to fall in place much better and I don’t run out of room and lose out on chins and foreheads.

Write On! Day 2 - 2021-07-19

Prompt #1: If you could relive a single moment of your life, which would you relive

9 panels. If I rewrite this one, it will be with clearer language: “A friend told me I should try making comics about sex.” It would be fun to add tons of extra panels playing around with the setting… tweaking each image before moving on to the next. Like, maybe an extra panel making the bed sexier, and one making the outside setting evening. And the underpass could be moved around here. I think the idea is to keep teasing details that hint at sexiness but don’t actually reveal anything. The last panel needs better phrasing as well. But I like this as a first draft. I think I’ll develop it.

Writers Collective of Canada Write On III 3 Prompt comic

Prompt #2: The Power of Faith (poem about paths)

I got an insanely on point critique for this in the form of a compliment. Someone said they liked how I, essentially, rejected the prompt and that the last line hits. This reminds me of the critique I got from the art residency where the mediator said that my work plays with contradictions between things. I’m not articulating this well but I think it’s the heart of what makes my work unique. At any rate, this piece feels finished to me. The drawings could be better, certainly, but I don’t know that they need to be. Sidenote: James is clearly the basis of this little character and I kind of love it. But this is fiction and the lady isn’t me. 

2021 07 20 Prompt 2 Write On Journal Prompt 10 Minute Comic Journal Prompt about Paths

(Leftover Prompt)

I got the second prompt for Day 1 on day 2. Email mix-up? Anyway, it was a picture of a ladder. I liked the prompt so much, I did it twice. I copied it into the first panel for the first comic and the second panel for the second comic. The text for the second comic is below the panels. I hadn’t decided on the text for the last panel though, so there are a bunch of options.

Note: They ended up liking the ladder theme a bunch. Amazing what a good piece of clip art (translated to indie art blog style, with any excuse of a story) will do.

Crumb Writing

I doodled some notes as she began the next meeting. Check out the lettering for SHARE! I dig it! 

A Day in the Life of

Checker Style

This is a pretty simple exercise. Divide the page and then fill in each square with a moment from the last 24 hours, starting from the first event and moving left to right, top to bottom to the most recent. In true indie art blog style, this make more sense to the artist than the audience. Oh well. I love my kids. Maybe they’ll read this one day. 

Online Comic Journal - A Day in the Life of Me Checker Diary Style

Including The Worst Moments

The thing that surprised me here was that I felt like I could include the worst moment (being a jerk to my kids) because I had 7 more panels to make the argument that I’m not a monster. On a personal level, I like that because it helps me think through a personal flaw instead of either feeling endlessly guilty or ignoring it. Artistically, I like the exercise but I added the captions. I think this tells a more meaningful story if I include words, especially since a 3 minute panel is not necessarily going to contain enough clear drawings to make sense on their own.

Farm Animal Sketches for Toddler

Animal Page for Edward

Edward loves farm animals. I draw them (in this order) all the time! Mostly, we just throw out the drawings because they are just quick ones taken from google search images. But I’ve been thinking about them in a different way. This time, I played around with panels and I kind of like the effect.

Mr Sun (WCC)

Rise Up

Another page out of a WCC writing session. It took me 15 minutes to write the first 4 panel comic, Rise Up! WCC prompt was “Rise Up” by Andra Day. She repeats this line about rising up a thousand times quite a bit and that got me thinking about the repetition of the sun coming up every day. I’ve been playing with Kawaii so I went with that style for this comic. Well, a very simplified version of that style. I moved the grumpy personality from the hill in the first comic to the sun in the second. “Grumpy” is pretty easy to write.

2021 WCC Writers Collective of Canada comics Nicole LitNEO The Sun Comics

Im Taking the day off

The second prompt was “Today” by Mary Oliver. I stole the line “I’m taking the day off” and ignored the rest of the poem. 10 panels in 15 minutes is a bit of a stretch. I regret that I didn’t have room for “anymore” at the end of panel 5. I’m not sure about that last panel line either. He could be saying almost anything here. It feels like a missed opportunity for a zinger. But I ran out of time.

Simple Abstract

Drawing With James

I’m making my 8 year old hang out and do art with me. It’s been okay-good for his fine motor skills and it’s been awesome for my art skills. James is super creative. He’s also very free with his critiques so I usually get some feedback. We also have some nice art related conversations. We talked about foreground, middleground, and background while looking through a big art book of the Barnes Collection. I applied some of what I learned to this picture, blurring the “background”.

Simple Abstract

Pencil Crayon Potential

This comes out of a very simple drawing exercise. I’m enjoying pencil crayons. For the first time, I can see that they have the capablility of producing vivid colours and complex textures. Mixing colours is definitely fun but it obliterates texture when I apply pressure. Hmm.

Write On! Day 1

Write On!

The Writer’s Collective of Canada runs workshops. Can you think of a more fitting place for an indie art blog artist? This is Write On! III. The workshop runs under the same rules as the regular WCC, so no real critique. It’s a little different because feedback is encouraged. I find this somewhat difficult because I do really want to know what is NOT working with my work. I’ll do my own critiques below the works. 

Trauma Tips - Critical Reflection

 The “TRAUMA TIPS” come out of a writing prompt. I feel like the best compliment I got for this was that they liked the panel placement. That’s something I’ve been working on in my visual art group (aka “The Collective”). The tone is dissociative, which I like. I think it might actually be more effective at speaking to the intended audience.

For me… I like this but I wonder if it is clear enough. In the second panel, does it look like she’s pushing a stroller? Is it noticeable? In the last panel, are the little foot and those action lines too small? Too obscure? I’m not sure if the reader would really see them. In terms of writing, should it be “child(ren)” rather than “infant(s)” to make it more universal? 

Frumpy Underground comic Nicole Little

Frumpy: An Underground comic

An Underground Comic in an Art Blog… can’t get much more Indie than that! I was hoping that we’d get our second prompt today but we didn’t. So, in this page, I speculate that the prompt automatically becomes “Procrastination”, do a 26 minute 30 minute workout, and then avoid confronting the real issue until the very last moment in two very tiny panels.

Believe it or not, I’m exhausted. But I’ve snuck my Big Life Accomplishment in there too: a couple of my comics got published in an underground zine … underneath a stolen R.Crumb! Truly, I am the most self proclaimed of indie, indie artists. Unfortunately, it’s stupid, delusion-inspiring shit like this that keeps me doing this… and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. That’s kind of the problem: What is my obligation to my talent? This is the big question for me. It’s about identity and it’s about family. They don’t always have the same goals. 

Kawaii Farm Animals

What is Kawaii?

Kawaii means “cute” in Japanese. The Kawaii style emphasizes the cute in everything. I picked up the book “Draw Kawaii Cute Animals Step-by-Step” by Isobel Lundie. It has some good information but I didn’t follow the step-by-steps. I find copying someone else’s designs only takes me so far. Instead, I wrote out the general direction and then practiced. Sidenote: a few of my students had this same idea. They didn’t use farm animals but they did divide their page into 16 and fill it with kawaii. Pretty adorable if you ask me. I’ll drop the indie art blog angle and remind them that they can use references to jazz up their pictures.

Farm Animals

Edward is obsessed with farm animals. Their hierarchy of importance is: horse, cow, pig, sheep, rooster/duck/chicken, goat, turkey. I’ve been drawing them for him for months now so it made sense to play around a bit with farm animals in this style. I spent some time colouring these in because, honestly, this feels like something a kid could produce. On the flip side, the exercise isn’t supposed to produce a finished piece. It’s supposed to produce a few characters you can work with. I’ll try to make a comic with a few of these but I can’t say I’m exactly inspired.

2 comics: New Beginning & Toddler Retelling #1

New Beginnings - WCC

This was my first WCC (Writer’s Collective of Canada), but not THE first WCC. I bet this was their first comic though! For the 10 minute write about new beginnings, I thought about a plant growing but ended up with this super tame silliness. I like it even though it’s so simple. Like the TWC before it, the WCC only allows compliments. People liked “uprooting”. Interestingly, my enthusiasm for Lynda Barry’s Making Comics is having an influence. A few people are buying the book or taking out a library copy.

Corduroy, The Timeless Children's Classic, as told by my 2.5 year old

For the 7 minute write, I did a sort of memory recall of Edward “reading” Corduroy. It was fun to perform and received the usual sort of Writer’s Collective praise (they don’t do critiques and everything gets praised.) But I don’t know if it makes a lot of sense to people who haven’t seen Edward reading Corduroy. I’ve called it “Corduroy, the Timeless Children’s Classic, as told by my 2.5 year old” on the page but renamed it “Toddler Retelling #1” because I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up using this device a few more times. It’s a little like taking pictures of your kid… everything they do seems so important to you as a parent.

17 minutes isn’t enough time to write! So why don’t I carve out more time? Something about writing in a group on a timer or working out with a group… it’s knowing you’ve got an audience and some friendly competition that keeps you pushing forward.

All of Human History and The Last TWC

First, The Last TWC. The Toronto Writer’s Collective is renamed Writer’s Collective of Canada. Today was my (and possibly THE) last TWC. So that was an influence. Despite the tryhard, indie art blog feel to this, it really is near and dear to my (half) Armenian heart.

The comic above came out of a 20 minute TWC prompt about reconciliation. It made me think about Anahit and the annihilation of the pre-Christian Armenian religion. I noticed in that people complimented the language but definitely did not “get” where I was going with this. I’m treating my audience like they’re already familiar with the story, which is pretty stupid. Still, this is progress!

The comic below is one of two circle panel comics that I did today. You can use the arrows to rotate the page.

And below, the other Circle Panel Comic: All of Human History. This one is also readable if you click the arrows on either side. I actually made this thing a couple times. I am very, very sleepy right now so those didn’t work out for the same really silly reason… I got the panel order wrong! Duh!

This final set of comics were actually the first I drew today. Honestly, they are pretty badly drawn but I like the concept okay. BAD ART LESSONS. I think I might do a couple videos under that label on YouTube… if it isn’t taken already. Maybe I should just call them indie art blog lessons. Keep expectations low. 😉

Comics: 2nd Shot and a Truly Stupid Origin Story

First time on the subway in over a year…

Ew! Starbucks! Hating on Starbucks is SO indie art blog. I don’t mind them so much in real life though. They treat their employees better than Tim Hortons and they’re only tangentially connected to Nestle/child slavery. Hating Nestle isn’t so much Indie Art Blog as Having a Soul. At any rate (fuck Nestle), I grabbed some grub right next to the vaccination site at 1:40. Kinda like this set of drawings, even though my lunch egg is unrecognizable in that first panel. 

Did a 2 hour TWC camped out in the park behind Starbucks. The comic is called THE GREAT FLOOD. A TRULY STUPID ORIGIN STORY. 

And then in line at 4:10 and out again by 4:49, vaccinated.

And back on the subway. Got some compliments for these because I was drawing really quickly and intensely. It’s pretty easy to draw people when all they are is eyes, hair, a mask, and maybe an ear or two. Plus, I was super warmed up. Anyway, it’s still nice to get compliments from strangers on the subway, even though it feeds my delusions.

Here are the first few comics again on their original page. I like them all together but it is a bit hard to read like this.

TWC Comics!

More fodder for the indie art blog – Made this page today during a TWC workshop. For legibility, I’ve divided up the comics below.

HANDS: This was a 15 minute comic. The prompt was about hands and creativity. I went quite literal. 3 minutes a panel. 

This one is called “Spotlights on the Forest Floor”:

10 panels in 6 minutes! Woot! It was a 5 minute write but I stole the extra minute to get it finished. My mom and partner both read it and then walked away without saying anything. That means they’re in awe of my talent, right? I submitted it to unavoidable disaster (which will hopefully survive forever as an artifact. It’s a great indie art blog/zine/cultural artifact).

Rest - Notes

What Works? Not Much

What works? What doesn’t? Conceptually, I’m okay with DOWNTIME, SLEEP, NAP (kinda), MEDITATION, and maybe BEING IN NATURE. The proportions on the figures are… inexact, but these are very quick, no reference drawings. I’m uncomfortably okay with the mistakes. Well, not totally okay.  DAYDREAMING, INTROSPECTION, and EPIPHANES don’t work on any level. INTROSPECTION as it is could be CONSTIPATED. DAYDREAMING makes no sense. She’s out on a walk but she’s dreaming of being at a concert? She should be at work or something. And I need to model an epiphany face for myself and then learn to spell epiphanies. How very indie art blogger of me.

What I like

But, still, I thought I should post this. I think it’s because I like the DOWNTIME image, even with all its obvious flaws. Also, I think I will keep MEDITATION headless as a quiet tribute to Sam Harris & Richard Lang’s Headless Way. That’s kinda cool… I should add a quote!

Posting Failures

(Follow-up, 2021-07012) I intended this piece to help me generate ideas for my June Zine but I went in a totally different direction. In retrospect, I think this was the better concept. Rest for the Wicked was just much simpler to convey in 8 tiny pages.

2 Very Short Comics

“Daydream” is a very quick drawing using the prompt “Daydream”. I thought I didn’t like it but then I found it again in a mess of papers and discovered that I like it quite a bit. Obviously crudely drawn but it conveys lots. 

“I Am Not A Guesthouse” is a 15 minute response to a TWC prompt. I found the prompt piece online. It’s exactly the sort of thing that would be very natural in many indie art blogs but I can’t say it’s a piece I like or admire. I suppose that has something to do with it being introduced as a prompt. Here it is (comic below)

The Guest House
by Jalauddin Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Oops! Maybe Next Time a Minute to Plan?

I set the timer for 3 minutes per panel. Looking at it now, I think the first panel is the most effective. The character of the house with the door between her legs is the strongest image in the comic by a long shot. I like the second panel okay. The text is clear and the image frames it okay. The third panel is a mess. Even I read it “The walls are covered in ivy. To a closed door. I do to knock. Brick. They are the path leads door. A locked not invite you no solicitors. No junk mail.” Of course, it should read “These walls are brick. They are covered in ivy. The path leads to a closed door. A locked door. I do not invite you to knock. No solicitors. No junk mail.” That kind of confusion throws off the flow of the whole comic. The forth panel is okay but it doesn’t really work as well with the last panel. The last panel needs editing. There have been break-ins and robberies? Aren’t those the same thing? 

Repetition - The Only Tool in My Toolbox (so far)

I like the repetition of the doors being locked and “not a guesthouse”. So far, repeating the first phrase of a piece at the end seems to be a tool I use a lot in my writing. I like repetition. I think it has something to do with my inability to focus. I sort of need the repetition to keep me on track.

How did Other Writers Respond?

I was interested in the other writers’ responses to the Rumi piece. It inspired a LOT of work about boundaries and I was not the only person to completely reject the notion of the body as guest house, in particular for women. There were good works that accepted the idea but talked about regulating emotional guests or of accepting a guest but not certain behaviours or luggage. I really liked those. There was also a particularly strong piece that dealt with issues of trying to eject unwelcome tenants successfully (false friends) and unsuccessfully (physical pain).

I think the comic format limits how much writing I can get in and I think it will tend to create overly simplistic responses. However, I don’t think writing and drawing separately worked. I did it for the Xanadu zine and I don’t like the integration of words and pictures in that zine as much as I like them here.

Triangle Diary

I like this exercise because it encourages drawing from memory so much.  In true indie art blog style, the drawings are FULL of mistakes but they still tell their stories. I love drawing people and I love drawing what I see so much but I really lack confidence when it comes to drawing places and things from memory. I was genuinely afraid to do this exercise the first time but now I’m really into it. It’s a good feeling to know that these places do exist in my mind and I can put them on paper.

Click for larger images

Non-Sequitur Comics

More Making Comics exercises. For this one, I kept a journal for a week and drew an animal from memory for each day. You’re supposed to try to draw animals you don’t know how to draw so… um… yeah. These are them. Each animal is saying the first sentence from their journal day.

Click for larger images

Mom, I've been Shot

New Beginnings

Finally got my first Covid shot. A fitting way to begin my very first indie art blog. Coincided with a day that I kept a picture diary, following the Lynda Barry style. This is actually a 40ish minute exercise in her Making Comics called “Triangle Diary”, (page 132). I went to upload it into my Covid Reflections blog and it just didn’t feel right. Like I said to my mom, “I’ve been shot.” I know we’re not through yet but it just feels good to start fresh.  And this doesn’t feel like a Covid Reflection. It isn’t a post-Covid either.

Relearning Imaginative Drawing

So this is an entirely imagined page. I drew it from memory. I know there are a lot of flaws but I’m actually pretty pumped that it turned out this well. I think I might need to specifically target perspective and proportion in my drawing exercises. I really have not spent enough time on either of these and it shows. In terms of storytelling, I feel like I’ve made some real progress  with the Toronto Writers Collective and then just following the instructions in Barry’s book. I just sent in an application for a workshop with TWC so… I guess wish me luck because I really want to make this work… whatever “this” is. I think it’s my Super Unofficial Masters in Fine Art.

You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to find some mentors.

Click for larger images

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