Category Archives: Sort of serious

War Artists…

Ted Rall is an American political cartoonist and writer whose work I follow on and off. In all honesty, he’s far more left wing than I am (and I consider myself fairly left wing). So some of he’s view points sometimes leave me shocked and thinking “he’s gone too far.”

Still, his work is often great and he makes his points clearly. Plus, I think it’s good to be shocked by someone who is, generally speaking, on your own side of the political spectrum.

Mat Bors is another political cartoonist and illustrator whose work I only discovered a few months ago. I’m looking forward to seeing his graphic novel, ‘War is Boring’ which should be out now, or very soon.

Why am I explaining this? Coincidently, I was just watching a story on ABC2, ‘The Quarters’ about Australian ‘Official War Artists’ being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. It explained how they spent 6 weeks travelling with Australian soldiers.

Currently, Ted Rall and Matt Bors are travelling with Steven Cloud through the north of Afghanistan. They are not travelling with soldiers. They are not sticking to the safe areas. It’s just the three of them.

Ted Rall has been to Afghanistan before. He’s stated one of his goals from this trip is to try and find the translator who in Rall’s own words, saved his life on the original trip.

This is apparently Bors first trip outside of the US.

They both have stocked up on the sketchbooks and are regularly sending back drawings, with Rall keeping a dairy in comic form.

I really recommend checking both of them out. You can find Rall’s at his blog, and Bors at his.

I’m intrigued about the images, despite the difference in mediums, I’m intrigued what sort of imagery and messages are sent back from a couple of American political cartoonist and the Australian official war artists.


Monday Project Bravery…

Yeah…. See here is where I normally see the latest pic for my Monday Project submission.

And here is where you’re going to be disappointed….

[note; I’m not expecting Soph or Kate to turn up at my doorstop holding lead pipes saying things like “so, we understand you’re a little behind on your Monday Project submissions..”, This is more a little rant about the disappointment in myself, for not getting something together in time.]

Alrighty, this is how it went…

Honestly, I drew a complete blank on bravery. What people want to read that into me, I leave that up to the amateur physiatrists out there…

Then I was working on this picture, for a friends story. I had this whole image worked out in my head. Then I had the idea, since the story had to do with water, what I’d do, is trying to draw a complete picture the submerge a corner in water, to see what kind of effect that it would give. The bravery part being the fact I was willing to risk a drawing on the chance the effect would turn out how I wanted.

But, there was a problem, I had an idea of a more ‘subtle’ picture for another picture. Which in some ways would require less work and stand out less. I found I was more attracted to this idea, simply because, it suited the story more. But I had my own motivations for this drawing… more on this after the next two paragraphs…

So then I had a second idea, which was sort of similar to this cartoon from tom tomorrow. (Who personally I think is a fantastic cartoonist. This is from his series of  American political cartoons (here is one of my favourites). He also blogs here and has a children’s book which you can see bits of here.)

But I could get beyond the first draft and when the weekend came around I just didn’t have time to put it together…  So long story short; “I got nuthin’”

Anyway the big realisation I had was this. I want to show off my drawings more.

I have known this in a way for a while now. But this made me acknowledge how much I’m really feeling this. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive through out my whole life…  but I want to go further with it. I want to see what I can do with it in terms of a larger audience.

So I’m admitting it, that’s part one of my brave things.

Part two is this. I know I don’t have a lot readers on this blog, but I’m going to be brave and say this.

If you write and are interested in having a story illustrated, drop me a line.

If you are another artist, what ever your medium, drop me a line.

If you are neither of these, but feel like you are someone interested in being called on, to use as model or similar, drop me a line.

I can’t guarantee what the results will be. It will all depend on time, my goals/your goals and the amount of beer that needs to be drunk. However, I’ll do my best to reply to all emails, just give me a couple of days.

Email me at “mrsketchy[at]”

P.S. I’m going to leave it up to Soph and Kate if a post about why I didn’t get a submission in, counts as a submission. I think it’s a bit of a paradox and, in my generously, pass the whole problem up to them.

P.P.S. Honestly, If it were up to me, I wouldn’t…

sometimes a family secret is just an upset kid.

one of the things i found interesting when i was back in tassie, was an old family photo album. i’ve never really had any connection with my family history, but i do love some old photos.

but this had something extra to it. a mystery.

to start off, here is a picture of the interior cover. it’s near illegible to me, more because of the writing style and faded ink. but it starts off with the date my great grandmother got married and then lists the birth of all her children.

Inside cover
Inside cover

what got me really interested was the bottom of the page. it looks like someone’s name has been scrubbed out.


there is no record of any children after the name that is listed above. strange, but then one of the pictures inside is this…

as you can tell the face of the baby has been nearly scratched out. (here is a rough highlight.)


add to that, that this is one of the few pictures in the whole album that actually has some hand writing on the back of it. part of it also looks like it’s been scrubbed out.


now the obvious answer was maybe some young kid got to it and in a fit of sibling rivalry tried to removed what ever sibling had ticked them off. it would explain why the picture was defaced rather than thrown away.

my response is, ‘true, but stfu. let me have some mystery in my life!’

the problems are that there is that there looks to be an extra entry on the registry at the front, where there are no official records of another child. hardly any photos inside have any inscriptions to let you know who is who, or when the photo was taken. so basically, considering the multitude of possibilities what may have happened here and the lack of information,  i think this might be a mystery that will never be solved.

still, i would love to here any theories anyone has. even if they are just an overly dramatic made up story.

Blogging interupted

So I managed to spill a beer all over my laptop.

For over 24 hours, the laptop refused to power up and I was pretty sure it was dead.

Late last night, still playing around with it, it actually managed to power it up long enough to log on and it ran for 5 minutes before powering itself off. 10 minutes later it started again and ran long enough to open it up, open 2 programs and test the keyboard and discover 90% of the keys aren’t working, however the “j” key that seems to be trying to make up for all the others and will just start off at random and won’t stop. I’m pretty sure the fans aren’t running either, which might be why it’s shutting itself off.

So today, I’ve got to google “cleaning beer out of a laptop”, buy a small screwdriver set (cause I can’t find mine) and see if I can fix it. As it stands, I don’t know if the laptop is dead, dying or just drunk.

Moral of the story: My laptop is a one pot screamer and really can’t handle it’s drink.


So that aside, new posts are probably going to be rare, if not non existent for a week or two until my laptop is either fixed or I can source a replacement. I’ll still be checking in on my favourite blogs, but outside of business hours the only comments I’ll be able to make will be “345      jjjjjjjjj a *” <= Seriously, pretty much all the keys on my keyboard that are working.

The dead cat story.

OK, this is sort of a more serious post for me. I’ll be upfront, it’s a friend-of-a-friend story, so how much of it you want to believe, I’ll leave up to you.

So this is a story of two young women, who’ll we’ll call Abby and Betty.

Abby had a rough time growing up. Her parents devoiced when she was around four and her father left the state. Her mother got involved with someone who was a real arsehole to Abby and after a number of years, Abby decided she didn’t have to put up with it and left home while she was still in her teens. She then got herself into a fair bit of trouble, I think the phrase “falling in with a bad crowd” is one that is used in this situation. She ended up pulling herself out of it, making a real effort to get her life under control and she succeeded.

Betty on the other hand, came from a middle-class family that didn’t struggle financially, she had a supportive and loving family and really didn’t have any drama’s more that you would expect any person who grew up in such an environment to have.

Betty and Abby ended up working in the same place and despite their different backgrounds, they became close friends. Here the story skips ahead a bit. Abby had gotten back in contact with her biological father and they had bonded really well, but unfortunately, a little over a year he unexpectedly passed away and as you could imagine, Abby took it hard. Three months after this, Betty’s cat that she had since she was a child died and Betty was really, really upset.

So Abby and some other friends took Betty to the pub that night for some drink based comfort, but Betty was near hysterical over the loss of her cat. Some of their mutual friends were feeling a little uncomfortable about this as they knew Abby was still upset about the death of her father.

At one stage, when they had a moment alone, one of the mutual friends asked Abby if she was ok with what was happening and Abby asked him what he meant. He explained that he felt a little strange about trying to comfort Betty, knowing Abby had recently suffered a greater loss. Abby just explained it this way.

“What you have to understand is that this is the worse thing that has happened to Betty. She has never had any other pets dies, let alone a friend or family member die. She has had no chance to build up the defences that would help her deal with this. What she is going though now may be a small thing to some people but it is the worse thing she has ever had to deal with. Right now she is going through the most upsetting thing of her life to this point. And she is my friend and I want to be here for her.”


I hope I never forget this story. It can be easy to sometimes to dismiss an event without thinking of the emotional impact that it can have on an individual. I’ve told this story to a few times to friends, mainly when they have been upset about something but going through that stage of feeling the need to apologise for being upset. I guess I tell them this story because I don’t think their being upset over something small is silly, I am more concerned about the fact they are upset and that I want to be there for my friends when they are going through a hard time…