Drawing onboard

It’s late evening in the yacht harbor of La Linea, just outside Gibraltar, on the Spanish side. I’ve spent the evening trying to motivate myself to draw, and when failing to do so, sitting out on the dock with the other two watch leaders singing and playing on my horribly out of tune banjo (which can stand about 15 minutes outside before it starts to sound like shit.)

There has been a few requests for some documentation of the drawing process of a scratchboard comic panel, I will do that soon. In the meantime, here is a view of my onboard studio/hideaway, the famed nav station! The yellow walkie-talkie looking things on the wall are emegency whf’s. The upside-down-turned mug is for sharpening the scratching tools.

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When not on this ship I’m on the other ship, the mothership in Stockholm. This is my dinner table/studio space there. I built the table from an old door I found in the archipelago. This is what it looks like after an evening of whale carving. Note the wooden dolphin hanging from the lamp.

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AND HERE IS MY SHIP on the way down to Gibraltar, sailing 9 knots on a run!

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Current page count: 81 of 113 (part one)

Happy Birthday, Scratchboard Comic!

The Scratchboard Comic Project celebrted its first birthday (kind of) yesterday! Quite fittingly on Palma De Mallorca, the capital of Las Islas Baleares, which is exactly where we were one year ago, when the 266 page long script was finished in this little corner bar:

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(Unfortunately it was close when I revisited it)

The Scratchboard Comic has multiple birthdays, actually. It was first concieved of in the fall of 2012 when I was working on the OCF schooners in Portland, Maine and spent my evenings and days off roaming the streets in search of beer and coffee shops with my friends Woody and Brandon (they were also in search of the famous coffee shop girls who, curiously, were all named Melissa) and happened to come across a splendid art supply store where we started hanging out since Woody and I got into etchings (mostly etchings of dolphins with slogans such as “you think you’re so cute, stupid dolphin”) and I found the Ampersand scratchbord, and realized I could actually start making a scratchboard comic. I had gotten into scratchboard when I was around 14 years old, but all the major suppliers in Europe shut down their production right around then so I was confined to buying up deadstock supplies whenever I could come across them. I had also started drawing some sort of epic, monumental comic several times, but the time, and my age, were never quite right. Now, however, it all lined up perfectly, so I started working on the script, scrabbling down my “life story” in chronological order for the years I wanted to cover in the comic.

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The Speckled Ax coffee shop in Portland with a coffee shop dude, probably not named Melissa. Here both parts of the first script was composed, and subsequently the first three pages were drawn. Also, excellent coffee was drunk.
Photo courtesy: the internet

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The Snug, a location crucial to our lives back then, where parts of the first script was composed. Could I name only one place as the Best Bar on Earth, The Snug would be it. Hell, they even have a retarded dog there. How many bars do you know of that come with a retarded dog? Not many, right?
Photo courtesy: the internet

This process continued for two or three months and was finished in the house of Captain Flansburg, outside Union, Maine, where I was visiting to scrimshaw a spermwhale’s tooth together with Matt Lohan, who had come up to hang out and help me to straighten out the script. The impulse to involve Matt in the process had come to me suddenly and proved to be some excellent intuition on my part. Without the discussions Matt and I had while baking bread, chopping wood and hiking up mountains in the beautiful December Maine weather, this comic would have looked drastically diffrent (and not so to the better) today. Oh so many beautiful people that have been involved to help me with this! Often I feel so isolated in this project, but clearly, I just need to look back more frequently to remember where it is born from.

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The scrimshawed sperm whale tooth

The next step of the Scratchboard Comic was me drawing the first 9 pages, the first three in Portland, Maine again, where Matt Lohan and I lived briefly on the then ice cold schooner Westward together with Rob and Elise and their two dogs. After some crazy blizzards my patience with the weather was done for (now I usually don’t mind blizzards, but blizzards when living on steel schooners without heat are a diffeent deal) and decided to head south for the winter. I only made it to Delaware for different reasons, and ended up staying on Kalmar Nyckel for a while, and there I drew four or so pages. Drawing was slow back then.

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Westward in Portland, Maine

I then paused production after returning home to Sweden and then working all summer onboard Götheborg, which required all of my mental capacity. I resumed work again in September 2013 when I realized I had to line out the whole story and make sketches for it before I started drawing again. This was done while living in a small house in Mölnbo, an hour south of Stockholm, together with a friend and old mate of mine, Sören, his wife Helena and their son Fritiof. Roughly 2/3 of the script was written there.

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More specifically, in the kitchen of the yellow house to the right.

Then, in mid October, I started working on Gunilla, the ship where I still work, and did the same trip I’m doing this year, and finished the last 8 sketches in the bar pictured above, was so moved by the occasion that I spelled “The End” wrong, went and had dinner, went back to the ship and started drawing page 10. And that was one year ago, yesterday.

And here we are today!

My deepest thanks to each and everyone who has been and who are involved in this project, in whatever capacity.

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Detail from page 77

Current page count: 79 of 113 (part one)

Rainforest

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I’m in Barcelona drawing a rainforest. It’s fun and slightly hypnotic but man, does it take while to do it. Can’t wait for page 76 to be finished.

(I made a new scratching tool as you can see. It’s green.)

Exciting news: While publishers keep turning me down, the rest of the people who come across me and the comic are generally positive and interested, for example Ampersand! They are the producers of the scratchboard I use, and in my opinion the only scratchboard worth your while, and they agreed to sponsor me by giving me half the price off my order of 200 scratchbords. That saved me around $1,150 which is a huge deal for me, so THANKS AMPERSAND, I can now sit in a room and be totally entertained for three or so years to come. Good times!!

Current page count: 76 of 113

Barcelona

Today I recieved 1,000 followers to this blog! Still have no idea how that happened, but my deepest thanks to all of you silent supporters!

We arrived in Barcelona yesterday and I still haven’t really been ashore, the days have been filled with work and then excercise since the cooks are hardcore and think that one day of rest a week is sufficient. I guess it’s good for me, but shit, it kicks my ass.

The comic got refused by yet another publisher, so that numbes two now, which incidentally is the same number of time I’ve been dumped by lovers since I started working on it a year ago! It made me feel very close to it, as if it was a being of itself, separate from me. People just don’t know what to make of this comic, it seems, they like it and say it’s beautifully drawn and different and interesting, yet they don’t want anything more from it than to see it published by somebody else.

Here’s a panel from the latest page

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Current page count: 76 of 113