Duly Noted

1. As of this morning, I’m officially a board member of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. (Hi Dani! See you there! Let’s do lunch! Call me!)

2. My Salon of Shame debut is next Tues., Dec. 2, 8pm. (Yay!) I’ll be reading from my super-secret 1978 summer camp diary, sharing insights into important things to pack (Body On Tap), notes on puberty (I had a few things in common with my bunkmate, Hillary), and tales of beating boys at arm-wrestling (“the little weaklings!”), all accompanied by drawings via their spankin’ new digital projector. As always, tickets are already sold out, but wait in the stand-by line and you’ll probably make it in.

3. Extra-curricular teaching activities: I’ve done a few comics workshops for teens recently, three for the Seattle Art Museum and one for the Seattle Girls School. I’ll also be teaching workshops for fifth-graders at Lakeside School next week, as I’ve done for the past four years. (Other teaching news: I just applied for and received funding from Cornish to attend the AWP Conference in February. I’m going to escape the dreary Seattle winter for a long weekend in… Chicago??)

Amy tries to make sense of my thumbnail sketches, and Angela checks out Erin’s drawings of Janet Jackson. (Teen Advisory Group at the Seattle Art Museum)

Rosebud Robert’s Calico Cat

My newest commission was a portrait of the dearly departed cat of Robert Sondheim, co-owner of Rosebud. Erica kept him company for twenty years (!!) and he still keeps her two favorite toys where she left them on the floor. (Picks them up to vacuum. Puts them back.)

He asked me to draw her on a Persian rug, and to include a tiny bit of turquoise (to match his decor). Interestingly, he only had three photos of her, and I needed more for reference, so I asked him to find some other cats online that reminded him of her (the one on the far right is “Ingrid”):

He loved it and said the portrait looks just like her (whew!).

Mo’ Jiu-Jitsu Drawings

My “triangle choke” Stranger cover will appear in a few weeks – serious! In the meanwhile, more sketches…

Darren pointed out that there is a big BJJ gathering in a couple of weeks. (Hopefully my Stranger cover will coincide with that!) A few world champions will be there, including Fabiana Borges, and he suggested I look her up. (Actually, I’d asked if she has an awesome Brazilian accent and he directed me to an entrevista (interview) but I watched a couple of her bouts, too.)

She uses the same technique in both videos: leaps at her opponent and gets in full guard, and works her legs up to a choke. Expedient! Both times it took her about a minute.

Free Badass Wallpaper!

These days, whenever someone asks me what’s new, I blurt, “I just started taking Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!” and I usually wind up on the floor trying to demonstrate some move. BJJ is a lot like wrestling, like a constantly changing human puzzle. SO COOL. Interestingly, I’m finding that drawing has helped me figure out some of the positions.

Here’s a triangle choke:

I liked this one so I inked and colored it, and I’ve been using it as my wallpaper. Then I figured I’d make a few different sizes and post them just for you, and here you are! Free BJJ wallpaper, of various sizes, including for your iPhone. Who loves ya?!

Click on the thumbnail to download (and Ma, you’ll need to drag it onto your desktop!):

1680 x 1050:

1280 x 1024:

1280 x 960:


Respectful bows to Ballard BJJ, my teachers Micah and Darren, Slidey, and their teachers, and their teachers’ teachers.

The Absolutely True Sequel!

Sherman and I did a reading today at Top Ten Toys, and I brought him a present, the very first drawing I did for Diary. Four years ago, he emailed me to ask if I was interested in doing cartoons for his next novel: “I’m thinking it’ll be something like this: ‘I was born with water on the brain. [cartoon of a fish tank with a brain floating in it, with a confused fish] Okay, so that’s not exctly true. I was actually born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull.'”

As I told the audience today, I figured, “show, don’t tell,” and instead of replying, YES PLEASE, COUNT ME IN!!!!!!!!!!!!, I did the drawing right away (on tracing paper. I’m not sure why. It was in close grabbing range?), inserted it into his text, and sent it back. He replied right back and said, you’re in.

Today he told me he had a gift for me, too. He just signed with Little, Brown for the next book in the series, The Magic and Tragic Year of My Broken Thumb, and I should expect a call from the editor soon. Wow! I grabbed his sleeve and kind of hyperventilated when he told me. Hooray!!