You thought I was going to let the punchline from last week go unaddressed? No, I cannot. I like the idea that Vincent has a pretty weird sense of humor hiding under his stoic exterior. First, bad puns in the library, now bad one liners. It’ll be a theme. I’m making it a theme. And never mind that like, ten pages ago, everyone was about to cry. We’re done with that now. You’re all gonna get whiplash from how quickly I change emotional tone in this comic, because I have the attention span of a

I’m not used to pushing facial expressions so far! It’s difficult, but fun. 99% of the time, it’s because of Elias making a stupid face, or Malaya being freaked out. (And if you vote for me at Top Web Comics, you can see Vincent’s lovely mug from tomorrow’s comic. He’s very handsome.)

It’s funny, because I always worried that my style was rather generic, and for awhile there, I think it was. (More in the early 2000s era than now.) Lately, everyone has been swinging so hard towards that kind of sketchy Pixar/Disney drawing style, that I don’t really worry about my own style anymore lol. I had tried to go more in that direction with my drawing style during college, because it seemed sort of required as an animation major. Unfortunately (or maybe not?), some part of my brain fought it HARD, and all I really did was fuck up my drawing skills for a long time. I like drawing things fairly solidly. I don’t like drawing in a loose, sketchy manner. I like when other people draw that way, but it has no appeal for me personally. After pushing myself to loosen up and get a bit floppier for so long, all I gained from it was better gestures (yay!) and hating to draw (um…boo). But hey, thanks to this comic, I’ve finally hammered out the stuff I didn’t like and have wound up somewhere I’m pretty happy with. Even from the first handful of pages, there’s been a huuuuuuge style shift in this comic. I still find my early pages pretty charming, so that’s good. They aren’t how I would draw things now, but I like them all the same. With the longer production time of this comic, when I finally print it, I can only imagine what people are going to think as the book progresses. Like wow, here’s a person’s entire skill progression from start to finish in like, 200 pages.

Sorry, today’s blog entry stuff is…completely off the rails. It’s been a busy week lol.

Anyway, my birthday week was good! I got to see Elle King at the Taste of Chicago on Thursday, and that was pretty rad. We got rained on periodically, and I got overheated every thirty minutes, but it was fun. I haven’t been to the Taste since it’s inception when I was in…middle school? I remember my dad got the lobster sample thing and was disappointed that it cost so much for so little food lol. Basically, you buy strips of tickets, and pay each booth in tickets. Even for the larger portions, it never feels like much food. I guess I ate pretty well, but I doubt I’ll hit it up in the future unless someone else wants to go. (I’m still holding out for xiao long bao in Chinatown, but no one wants to go that far for food with me because they’re tired or whatever. Boo hiss. Pro-tip: Hing Kee makes them fresh, along with their pot stickers. Can’t be beat.)

I’m also sitting in my living room/office (the other room is the living room/tv-watching location) surrounded by the various pieces for my future kitchen! It’s very exciting! To me. I don’t know how relatable kitchen remodeling is to most of you guys, but most of you also didn’t inherit a house that was falling apart at 19, so I’m not in a normal situation regardless. Anyway, this will be the first REAL kitchen my house has ever had. I don’t know what the kitchen looked like before my parents moved in, because my dad gutted it before I was born. Given the age and general theme of my house, I’d say it was probably an old school working-class kitchen. Back in the day, you wouldn’t have an actual installed kitchen with stationary cabinets and counters, etc. Usually you’d have a few freestanding appliances (which is what I had as a kid, an old stove from the 40s?), maybe a Hoosier cabinet for storage and a little working space. The sink was one unit, not part of a counter. Upper class homes had built in kitchens, but otherwise you’d make do with what you could cobble together. When I was little, we had some plywood boxes my dad had built to store things in, with some plywood on top for working space (very much meant to be temporary, but they lasted til I was like, ten), and the floors were mushy pressboard subflooring. (Like the stuff they build Ikea furniture out of, but without the laminate part.) Then, my aunt redid her kitchen, so my dad cobbled together the kitchen I still use now. It’s not bad! But it wasn’t meant to be permanent either. The counters are makeshift leftover pieces from her original 70s kitchen. Nothing quite fits right. SOOO, I’m looking forward to having a kitchen that’s meant to be there. I’ll be paying it off for the next…awhile…but that’s fine. Low-interest home equity credit line FTW.

Some fun history facts, because I’m a carpenter’s daughter: back in the 50s through the….eehhhh mid-to-late 70s, there was a pretty hardcore movement to “modernize” Victorian homes. There were even articles in home magazines about how you could take your traditional panel doors (be still my heart) and laminate wood onto them to make them totally flat, as was the style at the time. There was a massive purge of all things frilly and gingerbread, and aluminum siding was the new thing, so all that cool old detailing got covered up and smoothed over. You gotta figure, in the 50s, the Victorian era wasn’t that long gone. And if you couldn’t have a new! modern! home, with the clean lines and laminate counters and pink appliances of your dreams, then you could at least cull the granny style from your old creaky home. So really, in our current time, it’s quite a thing to find a house that has any detail left. Or any detail that can even be restored, because all that aluminum and vinyl siding covering all that lovely wood siding? Often destroys that wood siding, trapping moisture inside and rotting it. (Don’t cover up wood siding, kids. Don’t.) There’s a Victorian mansion a few blocks away from my home, and it is covered in garish 70’s mustard-yellow siding. The curved areas on the side of the house and the gable for the top window would’ve had layers and layers of decorative trim and siding. The little porch upstairs would’ve been done up to the nines. The giant wrap-around porch would’ve been grand as hell. Now, it’s all smoothed over, with an ugly 70s front door. It upsets me.

Anyway, my point is, most old houses now are pretty awful. They’ve been updated and modernized in fits and starts throughout their history, just a mishmash of popular styles from various eras, and it’s quite hard to find a house that hasn’t been fucked with too much. In this I’m kind of lucky! My house was never meant to be overly stylish. It was a utilitarian building, meant to be a school and a church, and added onto as need be throughout history. It was meant to be simple but stalwart and well built. Very German. It’s pre-Victorian, so all the decoration is does have is big but not ornate really. (There’s a solid foot of trim around every door and window, so that’s…impressive more than frilly.) Very long story short, I’m looking forward to this kitchen like I’ve never looked forward to anything else. I think I’ve struck a good balance between quality construction, a bit of detail to match the era of the house, the solid and massive German-influence, and the poshness of a high end kitchen. The cabinets are a dark navy blue, with brass hinges and hardware. So, a little fancy for my house, but I have to live here, so fuck it.