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don't try this at home

This strip started with an interesting post by channingkennedy. I named the kid Bertram, kind of as a private joke with myself because the one Bertram I know is an extremely sensible kind of person.

It's Friday night and I am making comics and Stuart is reading a Russian newspaper and eating tinned peaches. We are old and boring but I think we like that way.

Today I had a really close call on my bicycle. Some guy threw his car door open just as I was cycling by and I slammed into it with my right hand before falling off my bike. It hurt like the blazes. I thought I had broken my hand, and then weeks or months of lost work flashed before my eyes. I wish I could say I handled the situation calmly, but I'm ashamed to say I gave the driver hell and said all sorts of words I hardly ever use. I think the guy was more scared than I was. Then I tottered off, had a colourful moan to the shocked but sympathetic looking lollipop man by the side of the road, adjusted my twisted brake, then cycled off to my first-ever appointment with Alex-the-shrink. (My hand is okay now, just a bit sore. I was SO glad I was wearing padded cycling gloves.)

I said in my last post that I was a bit worried that life coaching would be something really cheesy, and I'm sure that with a lot of people, it is. But Alex was great. I was mostly just curious to see what my former Camberwell classmate was up to, but we talked about some things that I suspect plague a lot of artists who work at home; namely time-wasting. I have this really bad habit, when I get to the hard part of drawing a commissioned picture, I go get myself a snack from the kitchen and/or check my e-mail. I've tried to set time limits, where I'm only allowed to check e-mail three times a day, and I'm always telling myself not to eat between meals. But I always break my own rules. Alex took a totally different approach with a system called EFT, where instead of trying to set rules for myself, he taught me how to identify exactly why I get frustrated and want to snack and go on the computer. Basically it boils down to being a bit lonely working at home, and food reminds me of cosy, good times with friends, and e-mails is me wanting to connect with other artists. And while I don't really want 'company' while I'm working (house guests can be a real pain if they mill around my work area and chat), I do want to work in the same room as other people who are hard at work on their own projects; a communal studio, in short. In the meantime, Alex taught me some techniques of things to do to identify exactly what I'm thinking when I hit the frustration points in my work, get distracted and try to salve the problems with food and e-mail. They seemed really sensible.

Alex is based in Camberwell in south London, and here's his website - Alex Buxton - if anyone's interested in booking a session. I liked how I felt I got a lot out of one visit and there was no pressure to book any more. (And I paid for my session, we didn't have any secret agreement that I'd get a free sesh for promoting him, I honestly think he's good.)

Artwork: I'll sell the original artwork for this strip for £40 + £5 registered mail postage (a little bit more for postage if you live outside the UK) via Paypal. The image is 28x11cm.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
Snacks. Email. Yes, hello.
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:39 am (UTC)
Well, I recommend the guy! ;-)
Oct. 24th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
God, that's beautiful. I love how the panels are separated without borders by the backgrounds; how the motion line goes from the glass in the first panel to the second, creating a speed you can almost hear. ("Ziiip!") The last panel makes me think of Daniel Johnston for some reason.
( )
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:40 am (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback! It's really interesting to hear you break it down; I'm trying to learn different ways of making panels work.
Oct. 24th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
Ha, I recently had a squirrel named Bertram in one of my comics!
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:40 am (UTC)
Crazy! There must be something about that name.
Oct. 25th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
You should get your hand insured. Then we can all sleep better at night knowing it's safe.
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:41 am (UTC)
Aw, bless you, my friend.
Oct. 25th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
My grandparents are old, but they certainly don't read Russian. So you can't be that boring .
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:42 am (UTC)
Hmm, I wonder what secret quirks your grandparents might have... :-D
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
Hmm...sometimes when my grandpa got bored he'd switch the light bulbs around so that a light that worked the hour before would suddenly be without a bulb. But he's quit doing that in recent years. :P
Oct. 28th, 2008 06:01 am (UTC)
Googly Eyes!
Great Comic!

And THANK GOODNESS your hand is OK! Take good care of that drawing hand! It's like gold.
Oct. 28th, 2008 07:57 am (UTC)
Re: Googly Eyes!
Thanks, David!

(Maybe like gold, but tastes like chicken!) ;-D
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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