Honeymoon!

Wed 5/20/2015

Today I finished painting the last of my 100 Watercolors, after seven years of working on the project. The remainder of these paintings will continue to auto-post every Tuesday and Thursday over on my illustration blog, but for me the project is pretty much wrapped up!

This is one of a few such big projects that has recently come to a close, including a busy semester of teaching. It's shaping up to be a very busy summer for me as well, with two weeks of June spent in Vermont teaching Summer Workshops at The Center for Cartoon Studies and three weeks of July in San Fransisco teaching the summer intensive at the California College of the Arts MFA Comics program.

It is in this moment, as a lot of things are ending and a lot of new things are about to begin, that my wife Claire and I are finally going to take our much-delayed honeymoon! It kind of feels like it's now or never, so we are heading to England for two weeks. Neither of us have ever been before and we are both extremely excited. We leave tomorrow.

I am going to take lots of photos so I can write a big post about our trip upon our return, but for now, this post serves as an official notice that all Phase 7 and Drop Target orders will not be sent out until I return, and I don't plan on answering too many emails on this trip either. You have been forewarned, internet!

To England!!!

Broken Age is out!

Tue 5/12/2015

As a follow up to my 2,000-word post about video games from last year, I just wanted to say that Double Fine released their new adventure game Broken Age last week, and I have played it, and it is FANTASTIC.

I loved the story, and the characters, and the writing, and the art style, and all the puzzles. The simple addition of being able to switch between two characters felt like a huge leap forward for adventure games. Whenever I was stuck on a puzzle, I'd just switch over to the other character and make progress on their storyline.

Since my last video game post, Double Fine has also made the documentary about the making of Broken Age available to the general public, via YouTube. It's an amazing glimpse into all the hard work that it takes to make a game like this.

Now that they have an adventure game engine built, I hope this will be the first of many such adventure games that Double Fine puts out. I guess time will tell!

Carl Barks Historical Tour

Tue 5/5/2015

Last week I flew up to Seattle, where I emptied my parents' house of all my remaining childhood stuff, and then my father and I drove it all back down here to California.

As we were planning out our route, I noticed that we would be coming very close to Grants Pass, Oregon at the end of our first day of driving. I happened to know that this was the final resting place of my all-time favorite cartoonist, Carl Barks, so we decided to plan our trip so that we could visit his grave to pay our respects. We also decided to swing about two hours out of our way the next morning to visit Merrill, Oregon, where Carl Barks was born.

I called the Hillcrest Memorial Park beforehand because the cemetery is over 30 acres in size. They very helpfully gave us a general area to search. We arrived around 4pm and it only took about 15 minutes to find his grave site. He is buried under a beautiful pine tree, right next to his wife, Garé. I never got to meet Mr. Barks while he was alive, but his work has influenced my life in more ways than I can say. It was very moving to pay my respects to this great man.

I've created a Flickr Set with photos from this trip and specific directions for finding the grave site, with the hope that other Barks fans who may want to pay their respects will be able to do so more easily.

The next morning we headed to Merrill, Oregon which was just two hours East, over a winding road that went up through a mountain pass. We managed to find the local library in the basement of the Merrill Civic Center building on main street. There, a very helpful librarian dug up a special edition of the Lost River Star (Merrill's now-defunct newspaper) published in 1995 all about Carl Barks. I've created a PDF of the document if anyone would like to read it - it's got some interesting history about Barks and his relationship with Merrill.

Based on some vague directions we attempted to find the original Barks family homestead, which was "falling apart" on "the edge of town" but after criss-crossing Merrill three or four times we're not sure we ever found it. Anyway, it was very interesting to see the area where he grew up. It really put a lot of his early stories into perspective.

We made it safely back to Alameda, though I've been sick with a nasty cold since we returned. I'm slowly on the mend, which is good because I've got a lot of work to get done in the next couple of weeks, before Claire and I head out on an adventure. But more about that later, for now it's back to my various projects and teaching assignments. Everyone is working hard as the Spring semester comes to a close. It's going to be a busy summer!

 
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