Darkroom Advice: Kodak Dektol Working Solution

Here’s a “classic from the archive”, written back in 2010, when I was doing a lot more darkroom work. I wrote and posted this little write-up partially because there didn’t seem to be much clear information about Dektol online, and consequently, I think it’s served as a resource to many people over the years, so I’ve prioritized it as a page to update to the more modern version of the site. Hopefully it will be helpful to you too!

As part of my day job, I maintain the darkroom facilities at Montana State University. For the most part, these are traditional black & white darkrooms, and we made a decision to switch back to Kodak chemistry at some point last year (we were previously using a different chemistry, which worked great, but the instructors like the classic contrast of the Kodak chemistry). For our film processing, that meant we switched to D-76, a classic powder developer, for which there is plenty of information on using. When one mixes D-76, one mixes a stock solution, which is a sort of “storage” solution, and then dilutes it for use 1 part to 1 part with water, to mix the working solution. Why not save the trouble and mix the working solution to begin with? Well, the working solution will expire quicker, whereas the stock solution is more stable to store. Also, it can be more useful to keep the more concentrated stock solution on hand for processing higher speed films, since trying to develop something like a 1600 film at a normal 1:1 dilution would necessitate something like a twenty-minute developing time. Using the stock solution shortens that time to around ten or fifteen minutes (varying, of course, on the film).

Using various film developers with various types of film seems to be very well documented, and it seems like one can find charts and advice all over the internet. The problem I encountered, though, was what to do about making a Dektol working solution– the working solution used for print developing.

Following Kodak’s instructions, both available online and on the packages of Dektol, it was not problem to mix a stock solution. The trick was finding information about the working solution, which proved to be more esoteric, which is what motivated me to put this page up– perhaps it will save you a bit of time! As I said, Kodak’s online materials sort of overlooked what to do about making a working solution, but the forums at photo.net yielded some recommendations. One fellow (or fellow-ette) indicated that he (or she) used Dektol mixed 1:2 with water, another reported 1:3. Someone also mentioned that he or she had heard that Ansel Adams supposedly used it 1:9.

The forums were a good starting place, but knowing full well that what one reads on the internet isn’t necessarily true, especially from the relatively anonymous world of “the forum”, I utilized an asset that many youngsters these days might not have ready access to: I consulted a real-life “elder”.

Dan teaches the university’s first-year black and white darkroom classes, and has a couple decades more experience in the matter of working and stock solutions, so I consulted him the next time I saw him in the darkrooms. Dan was able to confirm the forum information: most people use Dektol in a working solution that is usually 1 part stock solution to 2 or 3 parts water. So, what we’re using in the darkrooms right now is a working solution of 1:2, and it seems to produce fine results.

If you came to this page looking for the short answer, here it is: use Kodak Dektol in a working solution mixed from one part stock solution and two parts water, if you, like me, don’t have knowledge of how things were traditionally done in the darkroom. I know there’s a lot of old hands out there who just know this stuff off the top of their heads, but for us twenty-somethings just getting into it, we need this sort of information written down somewhere!

Come to think of it, maybe I should check Wikipedia for any information on Dektol working and stock solutions. If such a page doesn’t exist, perhaps it would be good for me to make one. As for “how Ansel did it” when it came to using Dektol, I didn’t ask Dan about that. Did the Mighty Ansel even use Dektol? Beats me– I think there are plenty of acolytes out there to ask, though.

— Charlie, on May 1st, 2010

Dektol Working Solution Quick Facts

  • Mix your stock solution 1 part to 2 parts water. That is, one unit Dektol stock mixed with two units water.
  • Developing times for prints will be between 2 and 4 minutes, but go ahead and let the prints sit in the tray for as long as you prefer.
  • Why not mix the working solution in the first place? Well, it has a shorter storage life, and oxides quicker. In the tray, you can expect it to be good for at least eight hours.
  • In most cases, used (conventional) developer can be disposed of into the sink, since it can be treated as normal waste in most sewer systems. This may not apply if you have a septic system, and check your local water regulations to make sure that you’re in compliance with the applicable guidelines.

UPDATE, May 27th, 2010: I’ve noticed, checking the web visitation statistics, that several of the search terms that have landed folks on this page have been for things like “dektol developing times”, and I realized I left out that somewhat important bit. In the labs, we generally develop the prints “to taste”, meaning that we usually just let things develop until they “look right”, which of course can take a bit of trial and error under the safelights. One also has to factor in paper characteristics, like “dry-down”, where things will look darker when wet than when the print is dry. Anyway, we usually recommend a 2 to 4 minute developing time for prints in Dektol. It’s sort of like making scrambled eggs or something– just let them sit there and agitate them a little until they seem to look the way you like them.

Personally, I usually let prints hang out in the developer for about two minutes, at least using when using RC paper (I haven’t had enough experience with fiber paper to notice if it needs to be treated differently). I think one of the main things is to be consistent, so that your usual (print) development style pairs well with your usual (print) exposure style. Generally, if you like the way it looks (after it’s dry, and in normal light), then keep doing what you were doing. If it works for you, then that’s what matters. Like film development, temperature can be a factor as well, but I think most people work in conditions close enough to “room temperature” that they don’t fret about adding or subtracting times. Still, if you have a hot or cold darkroom (or hot or cold developer, at least), you might want to plan for longer times if it’s cold, or shorter times if it’s on the warmer end of things.

ANOTHER UPDATE, June 2nd, 2010: Alright, one more thing to mention that I think I neglected to make clear in the above: the reason one makes a Dektol stock solution and then dilutes it into a Dektol working solution later, instead of just making a big batch of working solution to begin with, is that the working solution has a useful life of around 8 hours. I heard 8 hours from somewhere, but experience also indicates that, at least in a lab context (and with the volume of three gallons of working solution we use per tray) the life of the working solution is usually good enough to last us through the day and more to the twelve-hour mark… but your mileage may vary. As it is exposed to air, the solution will gradually oxidize, and in the case of the print developer, take on more of a cola-looking appearance. I’ve never really tested the solution’s longevity when stored in an airless container (like those compressing darkroom jugs), so I can’t speak for the working solution’s stability when stored that way.

And lastly, I’ll go ahead and add a little info box to the top of this page that will hopefully condense this narrative into a bite-sized nugget. I’ll also mention disposal real quick: first, check your local water regulations. Whatever they say is what goes, so don’t take this as gospel applying specifically to your city, county, region, state, principality or climate zone. ‘Round these parts, developer (conventional black & white developer) can be digested in our municipal waste water facilities, so we drain-dispose our developer. We don’t drain-dispose used fixer– we run that through a silver-recovery unit (silver isn’t good to introduce into the water system, and is toxic to microorganisms– even beneficial ones) before disposing of it, but the other stuff like stop bath and hypo-clear is also drain-safe.

Upcoming Site Changes!

I know it’s been pretty quiet here on the main site lately— all the action has been at Tyranny of Pants, and I’ve been otherwise nose-to-the-grindstone working on coloring the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which is still on-going.  There haven’t been many posts as of late, but it’s mostly because I’ve been keeping busy!  Between summer travels and side projects… well, you get the idea.  I’ve been trying to be more focused about making stuff, but it’s been to the detriment of communicating with you about it!  But I’m hoping to change all that, and soon.

The main purpose of this update is to let you know that some changes will be coming to the site.  It’s been a few years since the last redesign, and that time has come once more!  Sometime soon, when you navigate to either lens-capp.com, or charliecapp.com, or whatever URL you usually punch in to find me, your browser will bring you to a fancy new layout.  Theoretically, the old site that you’re currently reading, as well as all the various pages, galleries, and what-not that comprise it, will stay intact, and any bookmarks you’ve made of favorite things should still lead you there without error.  This version of the site will be “stored in the attic” in a manner of speaking, and kept living on the server mostly for posterity.  New stuff will begin to show up in the new layout, and old things will be converted to new formats, and so on… you get the picture, I think.

So, to summarize, I’m changing the website’s design, the principle URLs will stay the same, and things might be a bit confusing (for me more than you, I hope) as I make the transition.  It’ll be much easier to make slight changes and nudges to the new version of the site, so you might see things change and evolve on the fly.

If you’re interested in some of the nuts & bolts details, I’m going to be shifting the site from iWeb to WordPress.  This should be very convenient for me— iWeb hasn’t really been supported actively since 2009, and updating my website requires me to have access to a single, specific computer.  Additionally, since upgrading my operating system a couple of weeks ago, iWeb has picked up just a few little quirks that have made it a little more difficult to use… and what if my computer poops out entirely?  Shifting to WordPress should provide, among other benefits, access to a living infrastructure that will allow me to keep up with the internet’s changes, and the ability to update my website from virtually anywhere, with any web-connected computer.  The Tyranny of Pants has been operating on WordPress for quite a while, and I’ve been delighted to discover that I can write content and manage the site with little more than my phone, if needed.

Now, I gotta admit, there’s a chance I might erase all of the site in its current form during the WordPress install.  Whoops!  These things happen sometimes, right? But should that happen, rest assured that I’ve got local versions of everything I’ve written, so if you happened to be a big fan of the Dektol Working Solution article or something, I’ll rebuild it.

So, changes are coming!  It should be a bit of a project, but I’m looking forward to it.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Phase One Complete!

Just in case you haven’t heard, since I’ve mentioned it pretty much everywhere but this website, I’ve finished illustrating all the stanzas of The Rime of Mariner! I got it all concluded a day before New Year’s Eve, so I wasn’t even feverishly working on it in the minutes before the rollover to 2014. In many ways, I wasn’t ready for it to be done. Right after I finished, I found myself recounting and cross-checking. Had I really finished every stanza? Did I miss one somewhere in there? I’m chomping at the bit for the next project!

Before I can start the Next Big Thing in earnest, though, I need to finish the Current Big Thing, which means I’ve been coloring away since the calendar changed. If you’ve been following The Tyranny of Pants, you likely noticed a shift in the coloring style last spring, which was the beginning of “practicing” to get started on The Mariner. I’ve been applying that practice lately, and so far I’m pleased with the results. I’m getting my color palettes dialed in, and I’m really enjoying the look of the finished work. Now I find myself starting to wonder what it might look like in print…

In the meantime, I’ve also let myself get started on a smaller project that’s been an ambition for a few months. It’s not done yet, but I’m making a little football zine. I haven’t given it a formal title yet, but I’ve been thinking of it as “I Don’t Know Anything About Football.” The idea of the project is that it can serve as a tongue-in-cheek introduction to the principles of grid-iron football, for people who are as illiterate about it as I am. I know what a touchdown is, and who the quarterback is, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. What’s a fullback, or is that a soccer thing? Is there a difference between a wide-receiver and a running back? In the era of miniaturized technology, why do coaches wear those comically-giant headsets? I hope to answer these and other questions for you, in an entertaining but informative fashion.

I’ve been working on it more aggressively lately since Seattle has been in the midst of play-off fever, and now that the Seahawks are Superbowl-bound, the whole city feels like it has a little spring in its step. I don’t know if I’ll have it ready and available to read before the big game next weekend, but you can look forward to seeing it in a within a week or two… just in time for football season to be over! So, be sure to read it before the season starts again in the fall, and we’ll all be experts in no time, or at least able to blend in with out football-enthusiast friends and family a little better.

I’ve also been working on building a mailing list for a proper e-mail newsletter, primarily to help keep folks updated about the State of The Mariner, but it’ll also let you know about other projects I’ll be working on. My plan it to make it worth your while, and to not send it out with annoying frequency: it’ll be monthly at the most, but most likely every two or three months to start. You can find a link to the sign-up page here (via MailChimp), and you’ll hopefully be seeing the first “issue” of that in the next few weeks too.

And, before I get back to work drawing a bunch of football players for the zine, I’ve got one other bit of news: I’ve got a few drawings on display in The Push Pin Show at the Gallery at Town Center in Lake Forest Park, just north of Seattle. The show will be up through February 22nd, and the gallery is open from noon to 5 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. I’ve got four little sketches in the show, but there’s a bunch of work by all sorts of folks!

Alright, time to get back to drawing defensive linebackers, or whatever they’re called.

Running

Last week I mentioned that I haven’t been doing as much hiking since moving to Seattle. In truth, I haven’t been doing as much hiking in general since Lorie and I closed up our apartment in Bozeman just over two years ago, although I have climbed a mountain or two since then, and done a little bit of fishing when I’ve had the opportunity.
I haven’t been physically inactive since then, however: I’ve been doing plenty of walking all over the place, hither, tither and yon, and there’s definitely some weeks here in Seattle where I log way more feet-miles than car-miles. Since last spring, though, my principle "getting out into the world" activity has been running, of all things.
If you’ve been following the Tyranny of Pants side of the website, you’ve probably noticed it’s been a subject of a comic every now and then, but generally I haven’t made much mention of it since it’s not quite as "destination focused" as my hikes were. Perhaps it’s because the running outings produce substantially less interesting imagery than summertime treks past waterfalls and mountain meadows of wildflowers. Still, it seemed like it might be worth musing about as I sit down to post an update today, mostly because it’s what I was thinking about as I was jogging around the lake this afternoon when trying to think of something to write that wasn’t just another progress report on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
If you had asked me after the first time I’d run a mile if I ever thought I would one day think of myself as "a runner", I’d probably have given you an emphatic NO. Of course, I was in third grade at the time, and the entire notion of running for an entire mile seemed like a crazy feat that only a Marine would perform. To expect someone like myself, who was not showing any particular talent for sports, to perform the task with any sort of aptitude, let alone aplomb, was ridiculous. If I recall correctly, I finished that first mile with a time well over 12 minutes, and I know I walked for a bit somewhere in the there. I remember I wasn’t the last of my classmates to cross the finish line, but I sure felt like I was close. I was not the fast kid.
Time passed, I considered myself a solid non-runner bookish kid, and then sometime between my junior and senior years, I crossed some sort of invisible threshold. Running started to feel like something I could do. I don’t even know why I started– summer restlessness perhaps? For some reason lost to me now, I took it upon myself to take to the road outside of our house and head to the stop sign and back, a distance of just a little over a mile, or two miles round trip. And I did it again a day or two later. And again, and again, plodding along the route, hoping to do it just a little quicker than the previous day.
The habit never really persisted much past the onset of the cold weather, or my return to Bozeman for school, but I always seemed to return to it sooner or later. And that pattern was pretty much the standard until the spring of last year.
What happened to make it "stick" this time? Well, I agreed to run in a half-marathon with my family. Thirteen miles was quite a bit more distance than I had ever run before, although I had been on hikes of similar length, so I knew I could at least walk the distance. I hit the road at the end of March, and have been at it since. Seattle’s comparatively mild climate certainly helped me keep the habit through winter, but I’ve been finding it to be a very satisfying activity, and am sure I’ll stick with it for a while yet, even if this winter ends up being colder. In the grand scheme of things, I’m still not “the fast kid”– I’m no prodigy, that’s for sure, and am pretty much average for someone of my age, but I’m having a good time.
So what’s the point of this long-winded update? I suppose it’s just the notion of sticking to something, and never really knowing where the future may take you. My eight-year-old self would’ve never thought I’d be running four-miles as a "short" run. And now, at the age of thirty-one, I take a great deal of satisfaction in being able to accomplish a physical task that would’ve been a challenge for my eighteen-year-old self. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of re-invention over the last couple of years, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the best way to start doing something is to just start doing it. I know that’s silly, circular logic, but it’s true: no one is going to come by with a magic wand, tap you on the head and imbue you with the power to run a 5K. You have to get started on your own, and do the hard work to get to where you want to be, whether it’s running a marathon, playing a violin, or eating way, way too many hotdogs. Don’t be afraid to get started– no matter how many starts you might have.

Summer Update

Summer has been busy as ever, but work continues on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in spite of the diversions of the season. As we’re now in the month of August, some ways past the halfway point of the year, I’m also well past the halfway point for my page count, and it’s hard to believe that I’ve got fewer pages ahead of me than I do behind me. It’ll probably feel more like I’m nearing completion as I hit the 100’s in my page count, and as I hit the seventh and final part of the poem. But I’m not there yet!
I’ve also managed to pass the point at which I’ve made more Mariner pages than Tyranny of Pants pages, making The Rime my largest body of comic work, although I’ve still got all that coloring ahead of me. I’m not sure if that’s really all that significant, but it seems somewhat meaningful to me! Nevertheless, The Rime will be a bounded project, whereas the Tyranny of Pants is more perpetual in nature, so its size will one day eclipse the Mariner– but not for more than a year at the current rate.
During the past couple of months I’ve made two more updates to Studio360, one of which is another "appearance" on the radio show. If you missed the broadcast, it’s totally okay, as you can listen to it on their website here, or via the little widgety radio-player thing-a-ma-jig I’ve placed at the bottom of this page. They’ve got a little slideshow of some images too, and of course you can check out the gallery of work in progress on this site– I’ve just put some new images in there as well.
And speaking of image galleries, I’ve done some work over at the store side of the website, and made prints of the Papo’s shop body of work available for purchase. This is the same series of images that was featured in the Blue Sky Gallery drawers, and they’re available as 11×14 prints, window matted to 16×20 images. They’re digital prints I made myself, so they are guaranteed to have been made within my criteria for tonal balance and print quality. You can check them out online here, and if you like what you see, but would prefer a different image size, just drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do to make your dreams come true.
Otherwise, that’s about what I’ve been up to lately– comics & comics! Well, that and exploring Seattle during this spectacular summer weather we’ve been having. It’s been interesting to adapt myself to a new environment during the last couple of years: back in Montana, today would be just the sort of day for hiking up to the top of a nearby mountain, but this afternoon Lorie and I headed down to Gas Works for a picnic where we watched boats of all shapes and sizes and sea planes go by on Lake Union. I do find myself missing the mountains and wilderness, but I’ve been enjoying this new kind of exploration too. I’ll be heading back to Montana next month for my brother’s wedding, though, so I think the weather might support walking to the top of a mountain or two while I’m there… yep, I think I’ll have to make some time to do that.

Marinating

I’ve been hard at work on my “creative new year’s resolution” these last several months, but it seems I’m due for another resolution of sorts: I need to give you some more regular progress reports here on the website regarding how it’s going! My last mention of it here was way back in January, but I’ve sent in a couple progress reports to Studio 360 that have been featured on their blog (here and here).
My chief project right now is definitely working on the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but I’m pleased to have a few other ideas beginning to take shape, which is motivating me to get this project done (or at least sufficiently ahead of schedule) so I can start working on them too!
At present, I’m well into Part III of the poem, so I’m not halfway yet, but starting to get there. I suppose that puts me more or less on track to be done by the end of the year, but I’d like to pull ahead a bit so I’m not inking the last panel on December 31st or anything. It would be nice to spend the last months of the year focused more on coloring, marketing, and preparing the whole thing for publication!
I feel like I’m hitting a pretty good stride lately, though. I managed to have a couple “make two pages in one day” days this past weekend, and if I can get my output cranked up, I’ll have the drawings done in no time. My own working pace has definitely given me a whole new appreciation for Jack Kirby— he was a machine. I’ve read tale that he’d make eight or nine pages on some days– although I don’t know if he was inking them at that time too, or “just” doing the pencils (which are pretty thorough in Kirby’s case: a comparison here). And I don’t think he did that routinely or by preference, since that was in an era when he was basically working on six 22-page books a month, or some such. Anyway, I’m getting myself into comic-makin’ shape, and will hopefully be able to crank up my output over the summer.
I’ve found that working on the Mariner (or “Marinating”, as I’ve taken to calling it) has helped with my Tyranny of Pants production too. The weekly habit of making the comic has helped get me into shape to work on the Mariner, but at some point in the coming weeks, I’ll cross a threshold of sorts where I’ll have made more Mariner pages than Pants pages. I don’t know if that particularly means anything, other than the fact that I’ll have a larger pile of work for one project than the other, but it seems vaguely relevant.
Meanwhile, I’ve made a modest change to the art style of the weekly comic to give myself some practice for the coloring stage of Mariner. With the principle drawing for two parts finished, it would be nice to get started on the color process soon, since that aspect of the process might be something that’s a little easier to do “on the road” during the summer travels. So, I’ve been using the comic as a sort of rehearsal for that coloring process, testing out palettes, and getting used to “thinking in monochrome”– a case where all that black & white photography is coming in handy!
It’s also occurred to me that the Mariner isn’t actually very well-represented here on my own website, which seems like quite an oversight now that I’ve finished inking so many pages. Since you might be interested in just what it is I’m making, I’ve gone ahead and made a little gallery featuring some selections from the work so far. It will be a living gallery, with changes made every few weeks, so check in from time-to-time to see some work-in-progress!
Meanwhile, spring has come to Seattle, and it has been very pleasant here for the last several days. The sunny weather might be the biggest obstacle to the Mariner at the moment– I find myself eager to go out and to some sketching around the neighborhood, rather than sitting my derriere in my chair-iere and working on pages! Why, just yesterday I spotted some ducklings and goslings at the lake, and there’s still some pink blooms on the trees at the park– it just seems criminal to spend all day inside! But there’s work to be done, and these pages aren’t going to draw themselves. So, with that in mind, I had better get back to “marinating”…

New Year’s Resolutions

I didn’t really intend to make a New Year’s resolution this year, but it seems that I’ve done so. It’s not that I’m opposed to the idea of personal betterment or lifestyle adjustments, I just feel that there’s not really any good reason to start things on the turn of a new calendar year when, much of the time, they should probably just be done immediately. In my case, “immediately” for this effort just happens to correspond to a new calendar for 2013.
It also happens to correspond to a segment of a radio program I heard while Lorie and I were driving across Washington to return to Montana in the days before Christmas. Studio 360, a public radio program with a focus on arts and culture, wanted to hear about listeners’ “Creative New Year’s Resolutions.” Since the timing was right, and I was about to start a new project, I figured I’d call in and leave a message to tell them about it.
During 2013, I plan to make an illustrated version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Well, “illustrated version” might be too vague– I’m converting it to a comic book, or “graphic novel”, if I need to sound fancy. It’s kind of a simple proposal, really: using the poem as a sort of script, I’m going to make a page that corresponds to each stanza of the work. Coleridge subdivided the poem into seven parts, so I’ll be making a set of seven issues. Conveniently, each of these seven parts corresponds rather approximately to the normal length of a comic book: the longest one will be at least 26 pages, while the shortest segment will require only 14. So, I’ll be making at least 144 pages for the project, along with a few extras for titles and whatnot.
So, that’s the numbers, and to get this thing finished before the end of the year, I’m going to have to really be cranking. I’ll need to work at a pace of roughly three pages per week, so I’ll see how it goes. Fortunately, I’ve already had a bit of practice at all of this, since I’ve been maintaining a weekly production schedule for the Tyranny of Pants for nearly a year now. I think I’ll be able to do it, and every time I finish inking a page, I feel more reassured that I didn’t commit myself to some sort of mad, impossible endeavor.
As for Studio 360, it turns out they thought it was an interesting enough idea that they wanted to talk to me about it! I spoke with Kurt Anderson last week, and they’re running a little spot about it during this week’s show. You should listen to the whole episode, of course, because it’s a great show, but here’s a link to the segment in which I appear, which is just a few minutes out of full the hour of the program. It was a fun process, and nice to talk publicly about a project that’s really only existed in my head until I started drawing last week.
“Going public” has had another side effect too: I’m now accountable to get this thing done! Part of the intention of highlighting these endeavors is that the radio show will check back in on the projects throughout the year, so I’m now externally incentivized to continue to make progress. I’m not sure when the next phone call might be (a few months, presumably), but I’m going to be sure to have a whole pile of pages completed by the time they want to talk to me again. Just as being committed to running a half-marathon last summer created a situation that required me to be dedicated to a regular jogging regimen, knowing that someone is interested in seeing the completed work is providing excellent motivation to keep turning those blank pages into inked drawings.
And now I had better get back to inking those drawings, actually. It’s too early in the year to fall behind now!

What the Turkeys Don’t Know…

I seem to start each December with big ambitions for making work, but then quickly get waylaid by the other demands of the season. There’s always so many things to do, and they never seem time consuming when considered during the rest of the year!
In addition to the usual Christmas shopping, tree decorating, and other holiday stuff, Lorie and I also made a Christmas card, I wrote two holiday letters, and we helped the Fremont Art Council with their annual Winter Feast event. Then, of course, there’s the holiday travels, and the various dinners… it was a busy month! It was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to the quieter days of the new year to roll my sleeves up and get started on a new project.
I’m getting ready to have dinner with my family this evening, but before I do that, here’s a silly little video I made yesterday with some Christmas day footage. Wild turkeys have taken up residence in the yard during the past several years, and they seem pretty comfortable next to the house, but we have secrets to which they are not privy.
Oh, and speaking of video projects, I’m working on one from the Winter Feast that I should have finished in the next
few days, so it should be here soon. Watch this space, I suppose!

November Projects Update

I wrote a somewhat lengthy post a few days ago, but right before I was about to hit that button to publish it here, I hesitated. Although I was pleased with how it had come out, it still seemed like it needed just a bit more work. It didn’t seem disorganized, necessarily, but it felt just a little too stream-of-consciousness, and I worried that I had perhaps wandered a little away from my initial point in parts of it. It felt like it needed, in short, some editing.
Now, I know the impulse to edit, adjust, and straighten is not a particularly productive one for me (see “Better Done Than Perfect”), but some manner of finishing polish feels a little appropriate for most things. I think the internet era has created a sense that the fastest post is the best post, which has some obvious problems. To make an analogy to art, everything seems a little like a sketch, rather than a worked, reworked, and finished painting.
So, I’m going to take a little more time with this one, because I’d like to take a little more time with my writing to make sure I’m giving you something that might be interesting and well-crafted, rather than just dropped out as cheap filler.
Meanwhile, I’ve got an exciting new project floating around in my head that I’d like to get started on. I’ve been making this comic for a few months now, and I’ve got an idea to do something a little more elaborate and longer-form, so I’ll let you know about that as it develops. After Lorie and I went to Short Run, and the associated Handbound show last weekend, a few things that have been rattling around inside my head for the last month or so kind of clicked into place, and bloomed into that elusive nugget of inspirado. So, now I’m working on trying to fill that gap between something that only exists in my head, and making it a reality. It’s exciting, and feels like something that will push me a bit stylistically, so it should be a good way to grow artistically too.
As for other projects, I must to confess that my Drawing-A-Day effort from the summer ground to a halt during the course of the move in August, and hasn’t resumed since we’ve settled into a new apartment. I got just over 100 drawings made, which, when I think if it, was kind of my original numeric goal to begin with. I haven’t gotten all of the images posted yet, but I just put up a new batch from July in the the gallery, and will fill in August as I get those organized and scanned. The process was definitely a great exercise for me, but I think it served its purpose of keeping me drawing and painting during those mobile days of summer. I’m also looking forward to redirecting that daily time into other projects now. And who knows? Perhaps I’ll start another version at some point.

New Digs: Seattle

It’s weird how completely some projects can dominate your attention to the point you don’t really realize how quickly time can pass. I suppose that’s what the whole “time flies when you’re having fun” thing, and time has sure flown this summer. Was it fun? Well… yes and no. There were highlights and good times for sure, but it’s just been more busy than recreational. It feels like it comprised of entirely too much long-haul driving, and I’m looking forward to being settled for a bit.

So, it’s been nearly two months since I last wrote… what have I been up to? The move to Seattle has been the big project as of late, as it has, really, since July. But we’re here now! We’ve got an apartment, and we made the big cross-country (or cross-Rocky Mountains rather) drive with a truck full of our worldly possessions, so for the first time in over a year, all of our stuff is in one place. The quest for day jobs is still on-going, and while the process hasn’t been quite as fruitful yet as Lorie and I would like, it feels like we’re making progress, and we’re staying optimistic. There’s a lot of awesome places to work here in the Seattle area, and hopefully one of them is hiring someone like me!

One of the things I’m looking forward to most about having a place of our own again is the ability to make work once more. I’ve been keeping up with the comic each week, but I’ve definitely fallen off the art-making horse with the move this past month, as the drawing-a-day has gone into a dormant phase too. I’m getting fussy about it though, which means I’m going to start making something again soon, when we don’t have these pesky boxes around that need to be unpacked, sorted, etc. We’re mostly through the moving-in and unpacking process, but I don’t want to have a scenario down the road where I realize I haven’t “finished” moving in after a full two years and discover three still-packed boxes in a closet. I was doing a lot of drawing this summer, but as the leaves start to turn, and the season shifts, I think I feel a hint of a more photographic project on the wind. Of course, I don’t know what this project might be… but I feel like I’m being drawn to the camera again, so I might start making images and see where it takes me.

This whole couple weeks as actually been very reminiscent of our time in the Netherlands last year, actually, a feeling that’s been getting stronger as the season shifts toward autumn, and the leaves begin to turn. I suppose it’s something about the climate, latitude, and elevation being somewhat similar, and maybe dwelling in a more densely populated urban area again that’s evoking our time in Gelderland. Even walking around town, it seems there are spiders thriving on every bush and tree, just as in Amsterdam last September. I suppose my brain is in “new place new experiences” mode as it was in the Netherlands, so hopefully that will spark a flurry of creative output for the coming months.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to during this radio silence these last several weeks. I’ll endeavor to be a bit more chatty here for the future, and I’m looking forward to exploring the possibilities offered by a new and exciting place like Seattle!