[VIDEO BLOG] Down the Rabbit Hole

Productivity amidst upheaval.

Please Support my Work
http://patreon.com/jinwicked
http://jinwicked.etsy.com/

It has been about two months since my last real blog post, though it feels more like two years now. After finishing the USPS video, I chopped off about two inches of my hair, with a little help from Steve to get all the back even. I have continued cutting both our hair since then, so add amateur barbering to the list of plague-acquired skills. I accidentally buzzed off a chunk of one of my eyebrows with the electric trimmer when I let my bangs get too long. It took me days to notice.

In May, my USPS video received over 18k views on Facebook, after it was shared by the American Postal Workers Union. Feelin’ the USPS love!

I finished up a fully-digital piece based on a mash-up of a scene from The Simpsons and Bill Sienkiewicz. Bill accidentally created the “butt challenge” when he posted a censored, nude photo of himself that was taken as a pose reference. I spent way more time on this than I should have, but I regret nothing.

Stupid Sexy Sienkiewicz

Last year you may remember my big office clean-up after getting on ADHD medication. Later in 2019, I finally completed all my backlogged accounting and incomplete tax returns. This year has been a further process of diving down the rabbit hole, churning up loose threads and unfinished projects to resolve. There are a handful of comics and illustrations. The painting below was abandoned in 2016, and finally finished up in mid-May. Etsy store link for the original.

Legacy

As everyone now knows, on May 25th, George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis. This is where time really begins to dissolve. I live in Saint Paul, across the river, about a fifteen minute drive away from where much of the rioting in Minneapolis happened. I am closer to where rioting broke out in Saint Paul. Not close enough to be in immediate danger, but enough for concern.

For a little more than a week, my sleep schedule shifted to wake up around dinnertime, and listen to Saint Paul fire and police dispatch throughout the night. My main concern was uncontrolled fire, and being able to quickly alert neighbours to evacuate if needed. I still have not unpacked my suitcase. Fireworks, gunfire, and sirens were near-constant background noise for several days. As was the smell of burning tires. Before it was over I was able to see some of the military vehicles in my area. I was never afraid, but the constant vigilance is exhausting. While the riots persisted I did not get much work completed.

I 100% support Black Lives Matter, and in the grand scheme of things, it is incredible to be so close to where the current wave of protests started.

At the beginning of June, I finished a new graphic design/logo that I originally came up with in 2019. It was intended as a T-shirt design, but in response to the changing economic situation, I scrapped any plans for new T-shirts. The design adapted serendipitously well to face masks, however, and perhaps my favourite piece of merchandise I have had made yet — an embroidered patch. I am waiting on one more item before launching to my Patreon, email list, and then the general public. Watch for those in the next two or three weeks.

Almost all of these items are Made in the USA. You will be able to snag this BRAND NEW design on black cotton face masks (Union screenprinted), 2.25″ buttons and magnets, 1.5″ lapel pins, 2″ keychains, 3″ vinyl stickers, and 3.5″ embroidered patches (Union made). I may also do a signed $5 print!

Its message feels more timely now than when I first envisioned it.

I am gradually adding my artwork to a selection of print-on-demand sites, including some choice older works, so if you have not already take a moment to check those out. Every Wednesday I offer a “design of the week,” for pieces that have been added to all storefronts. There are many print options, apparel, gifts, and home goods available that I could not otherwise offer on my own.

» Jin Wicked @ Fine Art America
» Jin Wicked @ RedBubble
» Jin Wicked @ TeePublic
» Jin Wicked @ Society6
» Jin Wicked @ Spreadshirt

You may also notice my websites looking a little fresher. The last time I did any significant work to my websites or their infrastructure was in 2014 – 2015 before leaving Texas. Much has changed since then, especially the ever-increasing usage of mobile browsers. Some database issues had also cropped up through user- and server-migrations. I could not edit old posts on my comic sites at all. So I am in the middle of nuking everything from orbit, and rebuilding almost all of my websites with fresh CMS installs and databases, optimization, etc.

Rather than rely on third-party plug-ins such as ComicPress, I decided to customize my own WordPress theme to handle my comics. Fixing the comic sites has been a major obstacle (both psychologically and literally) to moving forward on those. Every old task I manage to finally conquer is a victory, and gets me a little closer. My server speed and resources been upgraded as well.

The last thing I am working on at the moment are my several ongoing book projects. A hardcover 2015 – 2020 art book, a mini art book, and new upcoming comic collections. Expect me to run a small trial Kickstarter soon.

While digging deep on my desktop drives, searching for missing high-resolution art files, I ended up having to manually sort through almost 10k (yes, really) files that had been dumped on the Desktop or in a hodgepodge of “temporary” folders. ADHD! These are files I saved while working on projects, and things copied off of my mobile phone. During this process I found a lot of photos and mobile phone screenshots that I assumed had been unintentionally deleted.

I edited my #MeToo post for clarity, names, and additional images.

The traditional comics community has exploded with allegations of abuse and mistreatment in recent weeks. Each time this issue resurfaces, to some extent I end up living through many of my own experiences again. I posted a small Twitter thread about it. This year has been emotionally unrelenting.

…And, lastly. Sadly.

Thursday I attended the Celebration of Life for Mike Edmundson, who passed away unexpectedly on June 20th. Mike was one of the pillars of the MCBA/MCBF. I first met him on the morning of May 16th, 2015, when he picked me up from the Roseville hotel and took me to the MN State Fair Grandstand, where my new life really began. Big Mike’s warm smile and giant-sized hugs were always welcome and appreciated. He was one of the kindest, gentlest, and most good-natured souls I have had the honour to cross paths with, and one of the most dedicated supporters of the convention. Beloved by volunteers, creators, and attendees alike, Mike’s loss is one that will be felt deeply, forever.

Thank you for everything, Mike. I am grateful that I got to call you Friend.

CATEGORY:

Creator Spotlight: Drusilla Kehl

“Creator spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where once per month, I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This spotlight is on friend Drusilla Kehl, “The Illustrated Rat.” In Drusilla’s own words…

“I am, at heart, a commercial artist or illustrator, not a fine artist. It was the way I was brought up. My father was an art director, and my mother a fashion illustrator, and she endeavored to teach me drawing from a young age, something I didn’t really appreciate much at the time. My influences were the classic and Golden Age illustrators and gender paintings. I grew up with books by Howard Pyle and Andrew Wyeth, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) was my second home. All of these factors influenced what I do now. I did not attend art school, and in fact was the brat who hated every art class I attended. However back in the day there were lots of life drawing sessions offered, including those with clothed models geared towards commercial illustrators, and those I attended whenever I could. I graduated with honors in English from Connecticut College.”

Big Dog by Drusilla Kehl

“I worked as a storyboard artist for over 20 years, working in a privately owned agency in NY whose primary account was Hasbro Toys. While it sounds like fun, and there were times when it was, it was also sometimes horrendously busy and stressful. Hasbro (including Playskool & Milton Bradly) relied heavily on TV advertising and, because of their extensive product lines, generated vast amounts of work. On this job I learned to use markers (this was just before everything turned digital), and how to draw almost anything very fast and under pressure. These skills have stood me in good stead, and while hardly anyone uses markers any more, my experience with them helped as I taught myself watercolors. Both are unforgiving media.”

Faces by Drusilla Kehl

“Now I devote my time to watercolor and graphite illustration and take commissions. I do portraits and other types of gender art, often featuring pet rats and other creatures. I have some personal projects I am also working on including a rat themed tarot, The Rata Arcana,
and some book ideas. My website is The Illustrated Rat. I have shops on Etsy, RedBubble, and Zazzle.”

Rats are Stars by Drusilla Kehl

Learn more:
The Illustrated Rat
The Illustrated Rat @ Etsy
The Illustrated Rat @ Redbubble
The Illustrated Rat @ Zazzle
The Illustrated Rat @ Facebook
The Illustrated Rat @ Twitter
The Illustrated Rat @ Instagram

CATEGORY:

[VIDEO BLOG] SAVE THE USPS

“Hello, everybody!

If you don’t know me already, I’m Jin Wicked, an independent artist and performer! I’m dressed up today to talk to you about the United States Postal Service!

The USPS is one of the most beloved public institutions in our country, and is in need of our help right now due to the COVID-19 crisis. I hope you will consider contacting your representatives and urge them to make sure we have a stable, secure, and public postal service for many years to come!

In addition to employing over 97,000 military veterans, the USPS is the backbone for MILLIONS of small businesses like mine. I began selling my artwork online in 2001, and for almost twenty years the USPS has been there for me as my business has changed and grown. At one point I went to my local post office so regularly that I was invited and brought my home-made cookies to the party when one of the postal clerks retired!

The USPS provides so many vital services, including voting by mail, delivery to unprofitable rural areas, passports, money orders, and reasonably-priced post office boxes for people who may have trouble maintaining a permanent address.

When I ask you to help save the USPS, I’m also asking you to help save the artists, craftspeople, small merchants, and so many others like me that depend on the USPS to thrive. Buy some stamps — they have some beautiful “Year of The Rat” stamps available right now! — and contact your representative today! Demand they take immediate action to ensure the survival of the USPS!

Thank you for watching today! Stay home. Stay safe. Save the USPS!”

Learn more about the USPS here: https://facts.usps.com/

CATEGORY: