Finish Line

As I go back through old A&J comic strips, looking for something to post, I’m more aware of whether a particular cartoon was drawn with a felt-tip pen or a traditional dip pen. This is, of course, because of my recent comments here. I have professed a preference for dip pen and India ink, and I have not changed my opinion, but I have wavered. I will admit that sometimes I have to look closely to tell, myself. And I must say, the lines drawn with a Micron 08 felt pen have more weight than lines drawn with an Esterbrook 048 pen nib. This is a plus with me, because I have always felt my line work appears somewhat anemic, partly because I don’t use a lot of blacks or shades of gray, probably. Still the pen nibs do allow a varied line, and they glide so much better. By that I mean, the feel when I draw is one of fluidity and control. To me, drawing with a dip pen feels like Sonja Henie on ice, and a felt pen feels like, well, me on ice. Of course, with a dip pen there’s always the possibility of the disastrous ink blob appearing out of nowhere which is the inking equivalent of falling through the ice. There’s a little more to say on this subject, though not much. I’ll try to say it next time. This cartoon, by the way, was drawn with a felt pen.

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76 responses to “Finish Line”

  1. it was pretty obvious this cartoon was drawn with the felt tip pen. The lines are heavier and darker in general. I also prefer the look of the nib pen, the lines look more varied and expressive IMO. Human drawn.

  2. I agree on lines. These are just too heavy. I can tell but I was raised on “real” cartoon art from 1940s onward.

    You can really see the hard lines in Janis’ hair.

  3. It is a red bird day here in my gardens. Bulbs are peeking out and birds are the only sounds except the wind and the music.

    Dickens and I sit on a stone bench and I am a peace.

    Yes, I am crying for all of us. But my soul is more at peace than it has been in a long time.

    Have decided to plant an iris.bed in pinks for Ghost’s sister mom and friend
    They will return each year and bloom.

  4. And the shading is not really necessary in a talking heads cartoon—instead the “shading” comes from something like Janis leaning, or like Arlo running. (I will never forget “There’s gold in them thar hills!”) Arlo has run, on occasion. In a panel. In our sight. But when you do shade, Jimmy, making, say, an atmospheric scene outdoors, it is good to admire. Only what is necessary in a cartoon, nothing superfluous. Supreme concision, more than in any other art, maybe. Thanks for the post! Interesting!

  5. Ghost, I hope that this morning has been everything your best friend and you have wished it to be.

    Terry and Mark in TTown and Steve in RO, I am paddling in your canoe.

  6. Jimmy, forgot to say the comparison of an ink blot to falling through the ice after the Sonja Henie reference is marvelous. Did you grow up watching her movies?

  7. I remember reading The Brass Ring, by Bill Mauldin. When he was a boy, another cartoonist told him that speed was important, and that instead of trying to scrape off a blob, make it into a daisy.

  8. Steve, definitely no standing. A friend and I were canoeing in the Clinton downriver of Yates Cider Mill. He grabbed a cup from the picnic basket to bail a bit, dropped it overboard, lunged for it, and flipped the canoe. We saved each other, our glasses, the picnic basket, and the thermos. We lost the cup, our shoes, and the fried chicken. P.S. Where are you now since not in RO?

  9. Smigz:

    I am near Dequindre between Warren and Madison Heights. It is a Warren address. I moved on New Years last year, but it took 6 months to sort and pack for the journey. We had not really planned on moving, but sometimes events happen that make that choice rather obvious. This way we could move on our own terms and into a house that really doesn’t need any work. I wish it were bigger about 2 days a year, but after having Christmas this year, we plan to put a tree downstairs so that we will have room to mingle before dinner. When we are ready to exchange gifts, there is plenty of room down there as well.

  10. It is done…a wonderful service for a wonderful person, performed under an azure sky that seemed to me to be identical to the one the morning the wild geese crossed in front of me as I drove to see my sister. My deepest thanks go out to those of you who were there with me in spirit. I could feel you not only supporting me but lifting me up.

    Special note to Jackie: I too am now more at peace than I have been for the past week, and perhaps more so than for the last three years. Strange that we both are feeling that at the same time. Or perhaps not.

  11. And Jackie, if you have room in your iris bed, put a purple one in there for my grandmother. She had many purple iris plants lining the road in front of her house. Because of that, I have always been partial to them.

  12. Ghost, it’s not strange you are more at peace now. You are not under the stress of watching someone you care deeply for leave this world. Now you can take a deep breath, slow down, and think about what made them special to you. Wishing you many happy memories, peace, and the strength to keep on going.

  13. Dearest Ghost, I have lots of room. On way to buy roots. I will do a bed of pinks and one of purples for you. Mark has asked I do one in lavendar for his mother and grandmother who raised him.

    I think this is a wonderful idea, to plant flowers in memory of those gone. This way they bloom on. That was idea when people were allowed to plant flowers in cemeteries.
    So many of those heirlooms live on.

  14. Thank you, Mark.

    As y’all may recall, last spring I bought three urn planters to place in front of the three windows of my mom’s living room, and planted them, from back to front, in Foxtail Fern, Coleus Alabama Sunset, and Snow Princess. I am certainly no floral designer, but it was a combination that worked. She loved them and spent much time sitting on her porch, looking at the plants and watching the birds on her feeders.

    The urns now have a similar setting at my place, but due to the change of season and the recent hard freeze here, all the plants are now dead. But this spring, the urns will be replanted and will blossom with new life. (There may be a bit of symbolism hidden in there.) This time, one urn will represent my mother, one my sister, and one my friend. Each of them loved flowers, and each urn will be planted to reflect their favorites.

    I can’t wait…and that from someone who has never ornamental gardened before in his life. I may have discovered a new passion. Or perhaps I’ve just been hang out on-line with Jackie too much. 🙂

  15. I turned my truck driver helper into a gardener as well. He doesn’t want a “real” job. There is nothing unmasculine about gardening.
    The best have always been men. Thomas Jefferson loved gardening, both flowers and edibles, kept a daily diary.

    There is just something about a living thing.

    Just got five pounds of red potatoes to plant for new potatoes and lime to treat them. Ordered forty sacks of composted manure.

    Gardeners spend more time on their knees than a saint and have as much hope and faith and prsyer.

  16. Ghost: Whether or not it becomes a passion isn’t really material. Those three urns will always mean something to you and a way to connect to those 3 special people in your life. I had a lilac tree and lilies of the valley at my house in Royal Oak. I meant to plant a lilac tree last fall, but forgot. It is amazing what the aromas from those flowers or from food that they made can bring the lost ones alive in our hearts. Let me know if a Cardinal shows up. If you get 3 Cardinals chirping at your window, you will be a lucky man.

  17. When I lived in Kingwood, Texas I was only gardening female in a fifty house loop cul-de-sac. The husband’s and I had a great time discussing planting, mulching, mowing, etc.

    This caused some hard feelings with women but they still did not get out into yatd.

  18. Steve in RO: “… aromas from … food that they made can bring the lost ones alive in our hearts” This is why I think it’s important to keep and pass down family recipes. I started by sharing what I called “edible holiday heirlooms” with my nephews, who were both very young when my parents died. Here’s part of what I said in my introduction –

    It is said that our most vivid memories may be brought to mind by the smells that are associated with them. The Christmas season in particular brings so many wonderful smells that recall some of our fondest memories.

    A special feeling of “connection” comes when you are following the recipes passed down to you – sometimes you feel like all the mothers and grandmothers are there in the kitchen with you, surrounding you with their love.

  19. Okay, I’m going to go ahead and ask the dumb question that’s on my mind.

    You talk about “dip pens” as the kind that you use with liquid ink and a real metal nib. But aren’t there pens that provide that, without requiring frequent dipping? By keeping a supply of ink in a little rubber bladder or plastic cartridge, mounted on or in the pen body?



  20. Ruth Anne: My wife makes sugar cookies with a recipe and the same cookie cutters that her great-grandma used. Someone in her family has made them since about 1930! Last year I asked her about it and as we moved right after Christmas, she said “Oh no, I don’t have time” I told her that I would make them when our daughter came home. By the time I got home from work, there they were together in the kitchen making them. All we had out last year was the manger, no tree or any other decoration. My wife gave me a nice hug and said “Thank you. This was well worth the time that it took to make them” Oh are they good cookies.

  21. Jimmy:

    Although I am not very handy, I understand completely your comments about the tools that you use as you draw.

    If you ever have any free time, you might enjoy reading Neil Postman’s “Technopoly.” His view about tools and the effect that they have upon the user is intriguing.

  22. Stray, random thought of the day:

    So there I was, sitting at my desk, working on an audit when this hit me:

    “Things did not go well for Bubba when he tried to give his comfort crocodile a kiss on the nose.”

    Yeah, I think I might need another vacation.

  23. Small point, Rick: If “Bubba” was kissing the nose of a crocodilian, it would more likely be an alligator than a crocodile. Not that the results would have been appreciably different, of course. 🙂

  24. Galliglo, long time no see. How is the job and everything going?

    Lost in A**2, welcome back to the Village. Glad to see you. And I loved the blog about sketching with fountain pens.

    Dearest Ghost, I’m so happy that your friend’s service was beautiful. It’s a consolation after the sorrow and the shock of loss.

    Jackie, I love iris and would have said there are no pink ones; what a mistake! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pink iris — guess I don’t get around very much. Those colors are lovely!

  25. Thank you, Sweet Charlotte.

    Jackie, as well as others of the Southern persuasion, will probably appreciate this. After the graveside service this morning, family and friends gathered at the activity hall at my friend’s sister’s church, where a dozen or so of the church ladies had prepared lunch. (For those of you who do not know, Southern church ladies can do some seriously good home-style cooking.) I imagine this or something similar is done in other parts of the county, but I know it is a long-standing tradition in the South, and one that seems to cross all racial and socio-economic class lines. In my opinion, it is one of the finest features of Southern, if not all of Americana, culture.

    As Jackie has noted, it’s what we do at times like this.

  26. Ghost, Charlotte, Jackie, et al.:

    Can speak only from experience in N. MN. As a kid, attended only one or two funerals in NYC, and was not involved in any gathering afterward. There was none after Dad’s funeral in White Plains, NY, but circumstances made that unlikely, I think.

    Post-funeral gatherings w/ food are common among various denominations here. Sometimes it’s only coffee and goodies, but more often a light meal. If in a funeral home, it’s generally light, and that’s often true in a church if the ceremony was definitely after lunchtime. Sometimes it’s at the Eagles, another eatery, or a BSU gathering place. I was unable to go to my college roommate’s recent funeral in Palo Alto, but the ceremony involved a chamber concert. He is one of the many unchurched whose salvation I’m not worried about.

    Once in a while, an obit in The Bemidji Pioneer will note that the deceased specified ‘no funeral.

    Somebody noted above that he’d lapsed into vernacular and neglected to name himself as the subject of a sentence. I do it often, and it’s actually pretty standard informal English. E.g., “Beats me.”


  27. Ghost, I have cleaned out both Walmart near me and Lowe’s has no iris. So I added one more variety called Batik which is purple and white. You can Google the iris name. I am using lots of pink and you can choose the purple you want me to use for your grandmother.

    Miss Charlotte the peach iris are great favorites of mine. My mother loved iris, the peaches and purples she loved best I think. Those are complimentary colors.

    My grandmother I associate with white iris. I will plant a bed for my aunt and uncle, parents of my guardian cousin. They loved iris too. He is to tell me which to use.

    Plan is I will put name of iris and who it is for in bed.

  28. Ghost, I have cleaned out both Walmart near me and Lowe’s has no iris. So I added one more variety called Batik which is purple and white. You can Google the iris name. I am using lots of pink and you can choose the purple you want me to use for your grandmother.

    Miss Charlotte the peach iris are great favorites of mine. My mother loved iris, the peaches and purples she loved best I think. Those are complimentary colors.

    My grandmother I associate with white iris. I will plant a bed for my aunt and uncle, parents of my guardian cousin. They loved iris too. He is to tell me which to use.

    Plan is I will put name of iris and who it is for in bed.

  29. As an adult about 3/4 of the after service doings were by “The Church Ladies”
    some quite elaborate others just coffee and cake & cookies. The rest were at home or
    a restaurant. I do not remember any that did not have a gathering after the service.

  30. Jackie:
    Lime Green for safety. Seriously-
    Black for class (for a lady like you)
    Burgundy upholstery (of Corinthian Leather?)
    Charcoal Gray mats (to hide the salt) (That’s right you do not have that much[?] salt.)

  31. Ghost:
    Glad things when smoothly – I have seen signs at graveside ceremonies – they are there if you are receptive. Sometimes of a very appropriate nature.
    Remember the good times – all else is inconsequential.

  32. Jackie, I’ve been doing some research to help you come up with a name for a black Mustang. Red Ryder’s beautiful back horse was named Thunder, but I’m not sure about that. “Thunder From Down Under” rolls off the tongue rather well, but “Thunder From Eufaula”, not so much.

    Interesting factoid I found during research and something I did not know: Cowboy movie star Buck Jones made 50 films with a white horse named Silver. Buck died in a tragic fire along with 491 others in the 1942 Coconut Grove fire in Boston. A party was being hosted at the club for Jones.

  33. Mark, I LOVED the iris catalog! Thanks for the link. Jackie, the garden plots sound just beautiful. To both Ghost and Jackie—gratitude for the blessing of peace that you have felt. Love, Nancy K.

  34. Bear: Tonight I was invited to have dinner with my friend’s sister, her two sons and daughters-in-law, and two of her grandchildren at the home of one of the sons. (All the adults are long-time friends of mine, as well.) We did a lot of “good times” remembering. It helped.

    I think tonight I will be able to get a decent night’s sleep for the first time in a week.

  35. Ghost did you notice the pink iris is named Cherub’s Smile?

    Mark thanks for the iris catalog. It is hard to call flowers porn. But addiction, yes.

  36. Allstate is still being absolute snot, even with a lawyer and now my agent hammering them. I want them to settle this because the Ford money on Mustangs ends this month and I will have to get to Tulsa and get a deal while there are incentives and rebates and discounts.

    Guardian-cousin-lawyer plans to file formal complaint with insurance board on handling.

    I will send a photo and specs on car as soon as I verify it is still on market and not sold.

  37. I’m sure your guardian-cousin-lawyer is using the term “bad faith” in every communication regarding this case.

    Glad to hear your agent finally seems to have awakened from her snooze.

    Did you decide ragtop or hardtop Mustang?

  38. Convertible. You missed my message. I wanted to make sure it didn’t interfere with your ten gallon hat cowboy. Of course hats don’t stay on well in convertibles.

    I am thinking of hair extensions so my hair will whip wildly in the back draft. It is only chin length now.

    My cousin says that was always part of the experience, being flailled by my hair.

  39. Black, black top, black leather because that may be all they offer. Do you think any bling would improve one? Better wheels, tires, extra chrome? Any after market add ons?

    So it is after midnight and I need to throw those pork bone in roasts in the slow cooker with some Caribbean jerk sauce of some kind..

    Actually everyone can eat leftover food but pork roasts shot out of fridge onto my foot. Don’t worry, still wrapped.

  40. Well, my headgear is mostly operator caps these days, worn SEAL-style. Of course, for top-down wear I could reverse it, American Sniper-style.

    And believe me, there is a “SEAL-style”. Just ask any Army SOF guy. 🙂

    Let me consult the on-line Car Porn site about bling for the ‘Stang.

  41. Sounds totally appropriate.

    You know Texas Big Hair had so much teasing and hair spray in it even convertibles at 100 plus mph didn’t phase it. This new skinny flat ironed natural style is gonna require caps too just like boats did.

    I wonder how you keep them on? Boats are a lot slower.

  42. Jackie does your nearest big city TV station have an “Investigative News Team”?
    They may be interested in a insurance company that is putting upon a
    “Little Ole Widow Woman” and the trials and tribulation they are putting you through.
    Just don’t mention “Thunder” (“Diablo”?). Then there is always “Black Beauty”[Anna Sewell]
    or “The Black Stallion”, known as the Black or Shêtân [Walter Farley]

  43. I will call Debbe again tomorrow. She was having a hectic day today but still very upset for Ghost’s loss. She promised to have a prayer at 10 a.m. for him. I called her around 7.30 a.m. and woke her up I think.

  44. Ghost:

    Interesting that you should mention that.

    In my first imagining of the joke, I used “alligator,” but I decided to switch to “crocodile” because I like the alliterative effect.

    “…kiss a crocodile” hits my ear better than “…kiss an alligator.”

    However, I’m afraid that your observation has left me befuddled. The U.S. has crocodiles and not just in D.C.

    Were you saying that we don’t or just that alligators are more prevalent than crocodiles?

  45. Some of the best meals have been after funerals. When my Mom left us so suddenly, I did not eat much but when it is for Aunts or Uncles that have lived long, the meals not only featured good food, but great fellowship. I have been transported back in time, almost picking up the same conversation that I might have had 10,20 or 30 year before. Bittersweet.

  46. Rick, I was comparing the range of the American crocodile with the range of the American “Bubba”, and since they overlap almost entirely in the South Florida/Everglades area, positing that your Bubba would be much more likely to have been kissing a gator than a croc. Still could work your way, and as I said, there won’t be much difference in the outcome, 🙂

  47. Jackie, I’ll look at the Mustang when I have more time. Meanwhile, when you speak to Debbe, tell her I felt her presence with me yesterday along with others, and give her this message for me: “Thank you, hon. I miss you and I love you.”

  48. All this talk about crocodiles and ‘gators made me think of three things:

    I was told as a child that Florida has the ‘gators and the Nile has the crocodiles.

    For some reason he never understood, my father’s first name was Crock. He went by him middle name.

    I’ve heard the Barney songs too many times and will keep hearing them because my 3rd daughter is extremely autistic and also has Downs:

    The Crocodile

    She sailed away on a sunny summer day
    On the back of a crocodile.
    “You see,” said she, “he’s as tame as tame can be,
    I’ll ride him down the Nile.”

    The croc winked his eye as she bade them all goodbye
    Wearing a happy smile.
    At the end of the ride, the lady was inside,
    And the smile was on the crocodile!

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