Tag Archives: art

Son of Dustinland

As I continue to recover, this week my six-year-old takes over the comic.

Well, I mean, he’s not literally taking over the comic, but I did mine his drawings for a few gems.

20 Years

This new Dustinland comic is not so much about my new book (which you can now buy here at Amazon!) but rather inspired by it. It’s about the thought process behind it, and the hopes, fears, dreams, and paranoia brought on from discussing it with people in the real world. So really it’s more about success, as an artist and as a human.

It’s a topic I’ve touched on before and probably will again, but I felt that this 20-year milestone was the right time to dive into it.

Also, I was inspired by my trip last night to the Society of Illustrators for a goodbye party for MAD Magazine, as they are moving from their classic NYC home out to the west coast to join the rest of their DC Comics companions/overlords. As an occasional contributor, it was an honor to be among great like Al Jaffee, Tom BunkHermann Mejia and basically a huge room full of some of the world’s best cartoonists. I’d like to thank all the awesome MAD editors and staffers (especially Jonathan Bresman and Ryan Flanders), who were so kind to me over the years, and who brought me into this amazing family of talented artists and creators. It’s a bummer to see the gang split up and such a NY institution leave town, but hey, the times they are a changin.

Color Therapy

Despite the feel of this week’s Dustinland comic, I love the whole adult coloring book thing that’s been super hot the last year or so. It’s like monks making those sand tapestries or whatever they’re called. Very eastern. Mindless meditative art is awesome. Hey, that’s one of the things I love about drawing comics. Yes, the first part of it is anything but mindless. But once it’s written and pencilled, the inking and coloring is relaxing. And mindless doodling, that’s even better. Just getting lost in your art… I love that more people are doing it, even if it’s “just” coloring.

But it is funny to see my wife using coloring books more than my kid.

Off Color

This week’s comic is not really a comic. Just a drawing. Sunday night I just wasn’t in the mood to espouse about anything, probably because I was hungover after a night out with some dudes (and dads) seeing High On Fire and Pallbearer (metal—lots of metal). But I did feel like drawing. So this is really just an exploration of color and mood. I figured I’d try drawing something intense and coloring it in cool blues, then draw something mellow and color it in firey reds. It’s interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing. It would be fun to really go to town on something like this and make it super detailed but I think my days of super detailed art are behind me at this stage in life. I mean, it’s hard to ever believe I had that kind of time. That would be my advice to young people. If you have a hobby, totally commit. Because you’ll have less and less time over the years to spend on it. Maybe one day when you’re old you can come back to it but that’s different.

Pages From My College Philosophy Class Notebook

I was lazy on Father’s Day and didn’t feel like drawing comics, so I dug out these masterpieces. Honestly, I could spend days going through my old college textbooks. They are so intricate in their doodles and little jokes… I wonder how I was inspired to work so hard at not doing what I was supposed to be doing. Maybe class is just that boring. Maybe that’s how I learn. I was actually a pretty decent student. Not always A but not too far from it. Solid B+ for sure. Sometimes A if I really cared. It was hard to care though. School… you know, it can be interesting with the right teacher/professor, but so often it felt like being forced to sit in a room for no reason. It really could be torturous at times.

I did have some great teachers though. And once I took a course called The History of Sequential Art. AKA comics. A class about comics! Amazing. Believe it or not, the guy teaching the class (grad student) probably taught me more about writing college papers than anyone else. We were all freshman and we gave in our first papers and he handed them all back and said they were too bad to grade, and he spent a whole class explaining what a college paper really should be. Nice guy. I wonder what he’s doing now.

But yeah, anyway, my notes are ridiculous and there are zillions of hidden gems in them — jokes and drawings — so maybe I’ll edit it down and publish some highlights one day. High five.

How To Nurture Your Creativity

This week’s Dustinland comic is about nurturing your creativity. That means giving it love and helping it mature and develop. This is not about “making it.” It’s not about success or any of that. It’s about having something you enjoy, a creative form of expression, and figuring out how to give it the time and attention it deserves despite your busy life.

I know as well as most people do, that between work and family, once you have a few free minutes to yourself, it’s hard to use that time to be productive and artistic. Play music? Write? Draw? How about Netflix. But if you care—and a lot of people do—you have to try. That’s why I drew this week’s comic. It’s for all the people out there who have asked me how I do it. Week in, week out. 15 years. I draw comics. Why? I don’t even know anymore. It’s gotten to the point where it’s just part of my life. A part I couldn’t imagine leaving behind. You don’t have to be as devoted as I am, but if you enjoy photography, go take pictures. If you like to sew, go sew. It doesn’t have to be every day. But it has to become a routine. Otherwise all the distractions of modern life will eat away the few minutes of free time you have and one day you’ll wake up and the decades will have gone by and you’ll wonder why you stopped  _______.

Draw The Line

This week’s Dustinland comic covers my thoughts on the Charlie Hebdo killings. The comic is pretty much an illustrated op-ed piece, and I think I covered all my thoughts in there, so I’ll leave it at that. It’s a sad, scary world we live in, and I don’t see it getting any better, at least in terms of this issue.

Why

This week’s comic is not a solicitation for props or support. I’m not fishing for compliments. I’m just working out some issues I’ve been having lately. You know, it takes a lot of time and effort to draw comics. Well, at least some comics (don’t worry, I won’t get into that whole thing again). And for me personally, I have been struggling to make time lately. Between parenthood and holding down a career, finding a few hours a week to spend doodling can be difficult. And when you’re watching your traffic slowly wane away, you start to wonder… is there a point to all this? 

Now, I don’t have an answer. And there’s no reason to repeat myself here. Basically, I’m just trying to work it out. And maybe that’s what my comic is for after all. Maybe that’s what all true art is for. Not expressing yourself, but understanding yourself. Figuring out what matters, what drives you, what you really care about and enjoy. And if other people happen to enjoy watching you do so—hell, watching me do so—then great. Even better. 

Call it what you will. Psychological crutch. Fantasy world. Pipe dream. Therapy. Whatever it is, I’m going to keep doing it, whether Reddit likes it or not. Maybe the time will come when I call it quits, but I’m going to try to put that off for as long as possible. Preferrably as long as Charles Schulz did, even though we work/ed under somewhat different circumstances. 

How to be Popular on Instagram

I’m relatively new to Instagram, so perhaps this week’s Dustinland is a bit late to a subject other people have already touched on. Or maybe it’s totally original. Either way, I actually love Instagram and I’m not trying to poop on it. It’s just fun to find trends and patterns that people seem to obsess over—or really ways people game the system. I feel like everything about the Internet / social / mobile today is about gaming the system. “Best practices.” Tricks to get more followers. Maybe I’m just too cynical but it seems like for so many people, the fun is not in the doing but in the receiving of approval. I’ve touched on this before, and I’ll probably touch on it again, maybe because I feel the pull of vindication just as much as anyone else does. Otherwise I’d be drawing comics in a sketch book instead of posting them online, right?

White Whale

There’s a ton of Moby Dick inspired art online and I just happened to come across some recently, and that’s what inspired me to create this week’s comic. Which was really fun to draw, by the way.

You know, most successful webcomics stick to some sort of theme, some kind of subject matter. I don’t. And I’m sure it turns some people off, people who find the site by reading some comic I did about boobs might not enjoy coming back the next week to see a political rant, and someone who likes my comics about the environment might not be into weird mini-whale on man love strips. But the nice thing about doing comics for fun and not for money is that it’s not a job. I do it for fun, so I can do whatever I want. Whether it’s “marketable” or not, meh. Basically, things are usually way more fun to do when you don’t have to worry about them paying the bills.

But back to Moby Dick. Great book! Really, it’s a bit of a slog, I know, but the good parts are incredible. It’s almost like a work on non-fiction at points, in its description of whaling. Man, next time you complain about your job, learn a little about what it was like to work on a whaling ship in the 1700s. It was probably even worse than being a whale.