Monday, December 24, 2012

Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes

Merry Christmas! This weeks recipe comic is up a few days early in case you need some ideas for a holiday dessert. Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Here's my yearly holiday card:

Hope everyone had a Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Roasted Root Vegetables

This weeks' recipe comic is for a winter favorite: Roasted Root Vegetables!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Minestrone Soup

Another cold weather classic: Minestrone Soup! Check out Cooking Up Comics for the whole recipe comic and a call for guest comics!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

What to watch

I'm pretty excited that Netflix now has some Disney movies in their queue...

Friday, December 07, 2012

My Standing Desk

Over the years, working at my desk has given my back and neck multiple problems. I've had chronic back, shoulder and neck problems since high school and they only got worse in college. At the time I was on the swim team and was seeing the physical trainer for my shoulder issues. He blamed my long hours at the drafting table for my art projects and said swimming would only help. After I transferred to art school in New York, my swim workouts basically ended. But I found some relief in taking a yoga class my senior year.

Every few years I would get back in the pool for short stints or do my yoga routine more frequently. But the hours at my desk and computer always outweighed any physical activity. I started seeing a chiropractor again about 2 years ago and the physical therapy and massage definitely helped. However, I let myself get into bad habits again and daily found myself slouching over the computer. This was my desk setup in 2009 after I moved into my current apartment. (Woo check out that old second monitor I bought at a house sale for $5! And the all-in-one printer scanner that stopped working at some point.)

My chiropractor suggested trying a standing desk. It sounded like a good idea, but when i started to research standing desks, the top of the line ones were in the $1000s. I decided to modify my desk at work first. They were moving their space around at the office and I spotted a tall shelf that I thought would work well as a standing desk. I set my cintiq on top of the shelf and put another shelf underneath to extend the keyboard out. It seemed to help for a while, but then I was getting incredibly sore feet. The office got me a thin mat which didn't seem to do much in the way of cushioning, so I ended up folding it to make it thicker. I also began wearing sturdy shoes to work, the Merrells that I bought 2 years ago for walking around Europe. My body was getting used to using certain muscles again and I was usually exhausted by the time I got home from standing all day, but my back felt better!

After work, I was also putting in 2 to 3 hours on my comic per night. Eventually I modified my home setup as well. I put a cardboard box on top of my desk and a plexiglass sheet on top of that to stabilize it and extend my keyboard out. On top of that cobbled together desk, sat my cintiq. Not the best solution for an expensive piece of equipment, but it worked for a little while. I folded up my yoga mat and stood on that barefoot but my calves and feet were killing me from standing so much during the day. The angle of the keyboard was also not optimal, a little more than 45 degrees, so I was having wrist problems.

After much research, I finally found a true standing desk where I can adjust the keyboard shelf and the top shelf to the height I need. This is the desk I ended up getting. It's not something you can adjust on the fly, but I measured beforehand and where I set the desk top and keyboard works fine. The only thing I wasn't thrilled about was that the color of the desk I received didn't seem accurate from amazon. I thought it would better match the shelf next to it, but I don't really notice that now. Most importantly it is the perfect size I needed to fit in the space and has a nice spot for the scanner. Prior to the new desk, I was using the scanner as a purse rest and the cats were using it as a bed. Because of course, everything is a bed to a cat. Here they are trying out my new drafting chair, before it's even out of the box.
As you might imagine, some assembly was required on my new desk. But I managed it mostly on my own. Allan helped drill the holes for the keyboard since the ones that were pre-drilled were too small. I always loved Legos as a kid, and it's been way too long since I've assembled anything from Ikea. So this was a fun afternoon for me.

Here is the desk assembled and ready to go! I was researching all kinds of anti-fatigue mats but haven't settled on anything yet. I like to work barefoot, so I want to find something that isn't coated in chemicals and is environmentally safe. For now I continue to stand on a folded up yoga mat. It's also easy to move out of the way so the cats don't claw it when I'm not working.

I found that sitting all the time wasn't good, but neither was standing all day. I started to research some adjustable drafting stools. Most wouldn't reach to the height I needed. I finally found a chair that worked and looked like it was a bargain. It only took about 20 minutes to assemble and looks pretty sleek. I find that I tend to sit when typing and switch back to standing to draw.
And what would my setup be without some work buddies?

I also took some time to swap out some of the art I've had hanging over my desk for the past 4 years for some new prints I picked up at conventions over the past year or so. Voila! New art space. You can also see the kitchen peeping through the doorway to the right of my desk.

I've had the new standing desk set up for about 3 months now and am pretty happy with it. I had the makeshift standing desk at work and home for about 3 months before deciding to purchase an actual standing desk. I feel like I generally have more energy and am less likely to procrastinate online if I'm standing. If I'm invoicing, emailing or writing, I tend to sit to give my feet a rest. Recently I've been working from home full time, so I can also take stretch breaks more frequently. Something about laying on the floor while working at an office doesn't quite work out. The bottom line is that even switching between sitting and standing throughout the day isn't my full solution. Although I take walks around my neighborhood and do some yoga, I really need to start a more serious exercise routine.

If you're thinking of transitioning to a standing desk, remember that it will take a little time to get used to. I still think the overall benefits to standing outweigh my sore feet. Do you use a standing desk? Are you thinking of switching to one? Let me know in the comments! I love talking about work spaces.

Here are some other artists who work at standing desks and helped inform my transition:
Chris Oatley
Michelle Kondrich

There are also lots of Ikea hacks and other low budget solutions if you google standing desks!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

French Toast

It's new comic time! This week's Cooking Up Comics recipe is for French Toast!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Brave

Guess what I finally watched the other day? Yes, I am a terrible animator. I didn't get a chance to see Brave in the theater. But honestly, I'm glad I waited so long to see it. So many people were critical of the story when it came out, it was nice to wait until that had all blown over to enjoy the film for what it is. And I really enjoyed it!

The visuals were stunning, of course. As a kid who grew up running around in the woods herself, I loved the light treatment and compositions of the forest scenes. The mother-daughter relationship was also well done. I managed to not have the plot twists spoiled, so I won't reveal them either in case some others haven't caught the film yet. Pixar has really knocked it out of the park in the character design department and I was squealing with delight at tiny Merida whose hair was bigger than her body. I know without a doubt that if Brave had come out when I was a kid, it would be right up there with Little Mermaid and Lion King as my inspiration.

I would still have loved to see how the film may have been different had Brenda Chapman been able to direct it fully to her vision, but at least Pixar didn't bury her name in the credits and try to gloss over the obvious love and hard work she put into Brave. Any film that makes a cynical artist like me want to draw its main character (and several secondary characters too!) well, I'd call that a success.

Here's a wee Merida I painted on Tuesday:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cranberry Citrus Relish

A little late for Thanksgiving, but just in time for holiday dinner plans, this weeks' recipe is for Cranberry Citrus Relish. Man, I'm proud of how that orange turned out! See the rest of the recipe at cookingupcomics.com

Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday sale!

I'm having a sale this weekend in my online store : FREE shipping in the continental US and 1/2 OFF international shipping! If you buy a comic, it will include a small ink sketch inside. Sale ends Monday at midnight. Happy shopping! Here's a preview of what's in the shop:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Recipe Comics

TWO new recipe comics are up at Cooking Up Comics today. Mashed Potatoes and Vegan Mushroom Gravy! An explanation about the turkeys below and some grateful thoughts over on the site. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mermaids

Thanks to Twitter, I found out it was Mermaid week! I doodled some mermaids yesterday as a warmup and cleaned these two up last night. It seems like it's been a while since I've taken anything that's not my comic to completion, so this was a fun exercise.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

This weeks' recipe is for Butternut Squash Soup! There is some other news on the site below the recipe, if you want to check it out. The next two weeks will be more Thanksgiving themed recipes, so be sure to check back next Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Vegan Herb Biscuits

These Vegan Herb Biscuits were a hit the last two years when I made them for Thanksgiving. Check out the full recipe comic and some of the delicious food I ate in Arizona this past week at Cooking Up Comics.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kitchen Essentials

This weeks' comic is a bonus for the extra Wednesday in October and talks about some essential tools to supply your kitchen with. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

What would October be without baking pumpkin flavored things? This weeks' recipe at Cooking Up Comics is for Vegan Pumpkin Muffins! You may have noticed I gave the blog a little makeover. I also started using Big Cartel to sell my print comics. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

City of Refuge and Kona Airport

On the advice of our guide from the horseback ride, we spent our last day in Hawaii at Pu`uhonua O H┼Źnaunau National Historical Park. Known as the City of Refuge, if you had broken a sacred Kapu law, this was the only place you were exempt from the death sentence. The giant lava wall was still in place around the site and several buildings had been reconstructed in late 1800s style. It was another beautiful afternoon and fairly low on tourist activity in the park since most tourists were snorkeling off the beach just outside of the park.
One of the giant carved ki'i that stood near the reconstructed temple.
I'll go ahead and say that the outdoor Kona airport is the neatest one I've ever been to. The gates were covered, but most of the courtyard was open air.
Allan and I had a wonderful time visiting the Big Island of Hawaii and look forward to going back to explore the other Hawaiian Islands someday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spaghetti Squash recipe

This week, learn a bunch of ways to season spaghetti squash at Cooking Up Comics. I also posted some photos from New York Comic Con and started a Pinterest board for my recipe comics.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kealakekua beach and a parking lot tree

May 3rd was an awesome horseback ride along the Kings' Trail, in southern Kona. I didn't attempt any sketching from horseback, but I did a sketch when we broke for lunch and snorkeling at the lava beach of Kealakekua. It was my first time snorkeling and a really cool experience to float and watch the schools of colorful fish swim around. It was an amazing secluded location, just Allan, myself, the guide, the horses and two dogs along with the beautiful landscape. I couldn't have dreamed of a more wonderful place to accept a marriage proposal. :)
May 4th was a relaxing morning and a late afternoon tour up to the top of volcano Mauna Kea, the highest peak in Hawaii. I sketched this while waiting outside of a bakery called "Buns in the Sun" for our shuttle bus to arrive. There are several observatories on top of Mauna Kea where we stood to watch the sun set. On the way back down the mountain, we did some star gazing with the help of the tour guides and powerful portable telescopes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Creamy Potato Soup and a mural project

On today's menu is Creamy Potato Soup like my Mom used to make when I was a kid! I also posted some photos and thoughts about the mural project I helped Allan and his coworkers complete over the past two weeks for kids in Long Island City.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Homemade Granola and some site updates

Today's recipe comic will tell you how to make Homemade Granola just how you like it. Yum! I also made a new header for the Fall and a few other little updates to the Cooking Up Comics website. Click the link above to check it out!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Some more Hawaii sketches

After maneuvering the rental jeep over the rocky, unpaved road and walking across the lava fields, Allan and I spent a lovely afternoon at Makalawena Beach near Kona, Hawaii in May. Some parts of the beach were covered with sand and at other parts, black lava fields reached all the way to the ocean. Only a handful of tourists were there, so it was quiet and a great place to sketch. (Click to make the images larger.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Lumberjack Day!

Happy Lumberjack Day! Wear plaid and have a big stack of pancakes.

Free Form Fruit Tart

There is a nice fall recipe this week at Cooking Up Comics!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hawaii sketches and a watercolor

It's been a while since I've posted any sketchbook drawings, so here are some hourly comics I did back in May on the way to Hawaii. They were done directly in pen mostly at the airport and on the plane so they're pretty rough, but I always like seeing other artists' rough pages. Click to make them larger.
The moist air was great for watercolors and I painted this one the first morning in Kona on the Big Island. I'll post some more sketch pages next week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stuffed Shells Florentine

Here's the second part from last weeks' Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe: Stuffed Shells Florentine! My Mom makes a guest appearance since I learned this recipe from her. Check out the full recipe here!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fresh Tomato Sauce

It's a two-part recipe comic! This week: Fresh Tomato Sauce (it's vegan!) Next week: Stuffed Shells Florentine. I also got a nice mention on a review of another cooking comic book. For the full comic and other news, check out Cooking Up Comics.


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Plum and Fig Flognarde

It's new recipe comic time at Cooking Up Comics! This week is Plum and Fig Flognarde. Don't know what that is? Click on the link above and read the whole thing!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Sorry the recipe update is a bit late this week! I'm really happy with how it turned out though, so I'm glad I took the time to perfect the recipe and the art. I wrote about a bunch of stuff like art injuries, comics I bought this week and a cool vegetarian kickstarter you might want to check out. It's all over at Cooking Up Comics!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Not quite a recipe this week...

...but you can check out the whole painting and my thoughts on ParaNorman over at Cooking Up Comics.


Thursday, August 16, 2012