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  Sneaky colored ink touch-ups over watercolorAug 31, 2016 10:56 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:On the last couple pages I've resorted to an old trick of mine, ie making touch-ups over the watercolor by mixing a little watercolor into the white waterproof ink I normally use for touch-ups—it usually only works on what should be white areas of the page, right, but if you can manage to mix in the right amount of the right color, you can put it more or less seamlessly over actual watercolors, and nobody would probably even know unless I pointed it out. Can you see anywhere I did it in today's page? Aside from tiny spots here and there that actually pretty much are too tiny to see now, you can probably make out some pink touch-up right under the bird's neck in the left foreground (where I fumbled and dropped my small brush while it had dark purple paint in it :"P), and some light blue over the background running along the outside of Selenis' legs at the knees, just to tidy up that boundary a little after multiple layers of shadow had left it a bit muddled.
 
Oh! And the highlights on Selenis' cheek and chin, although originally those weren't meant to be highlights: I accidentally made the ink & watercolor mix I'd meant to cover up some messy watercolor touch-ups a little too light ; ). But then I scrubbed at it with a stiff wet brush and the light blue ink dissolved into a sort of diffuse highlight across those parts of the face, which actually works rather nicely, fortunately. : D
 
 
 
 
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  A* art up at Phinney Center Gallery, SeattleAug 30, 2016 10:35 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:As I blogged last week, my local show of A* art opens tomorrow, the 31st, at the Phinney Center Gallery on the top floor of the Phinney Neighborhood Association here in Seattle (map). Dad and I (it was mostly dad!) took the framed A* art to them today, and they notified me this evening they'd got it all set up, so the show is ready to go when they open for business tomorrow. : ) The other artist I'm showing with, Jessica Keteyian, had her literal tower of art in place already when we were there, and it was indeed an eye-boggling thing to behold (and it lights up inside! : o). So check it out if you're in the neighborhood, and pop in not this Friday but *next* Friday, September 9th, between 7 and 9 pm, for our reception, where you can tell me what you think of life, the universe, and free cheese on crackers. : d
 
You can see samples of our work, as well as a view of the gallery space (during a previous show), on the Phinney Center Gallery's web site.
 
Oh yeah also in that top-linked article with more info, I said we'd have a whopping 17 pieces of A* art on display—well, I was wrong! We found one I'd lost track of, so there are actually 18 pieces of A* art on the gallery's freshly painted mobile display walls. : )
 
 
 
 
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  A* on ComicArtFansAug 29, 2016 10:35 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:After trying to decide for years whether I was allowed to or not, I've started showing A* original art on ComicArtFans, which is a big site where people can show off the original comic art they own, or try to sell it, or whatever. So yep that's what I'm doing, in fact I've got to go update it now with the art and auction listing for today's page! : P
 
 
 
 
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  An Inky HallwayAug 27, 2016 12:00 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:A* readers are savin' my bacon through the A* Patreon campaign; they've been keeping the lights on here so I can bring you a comic each day : D. Here's an ink sketch I got to send to one of them for their support:
 
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The support I get through Patreon is a *huge* help, thank you all very much!! : D
 
 
 
 
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  Scanner happy somehow : DAug 26, 2016 12:19 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:It's a miracle! After weeks of grinding and complaining and requiring a warmup pass before it could make a good scan, my trusty ol' scanner is back to scanning in the daily page art smoothly, quietly, and efficiently. Whew! Crisis averted. : D As for how it magically fixed itself... Nanobots? : P Or hm well it has been unusually warm here in Seattle the past few days, eh... Hopefully it'll keep working well once the temperature goes back down. : o
 
 
 
 
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  September art show at Phinney Center Gallery!Aug 24, 2016 11:34 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I've just submitted the list of framed A* art prints we'll be showing at my September art show here in Seattle: there will be 17 pieces total, which I think is more A* art than we've ever shown in one place before, and 7 of those are A* pages we've never included in a show before. Oh and 2 others we've shown at the last couple shows, but will now be in new prints that better display their color. So it's probably also the most *new* A* art we've ever shown before!
 
So I may as well finally tell you where this visual extravaganza will be taking place! It will be at the Phinney Center Gallery, a cool, high-ceilinged place taking up the central hallway of the top floor of the classic old public school building that is now the Phinney Neighborhood Association, at 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA, USA (map). The show will run from Wednesday, August 31st through Friday, September 30th, with the opening reception taking place on Friday, September 9th, from 7-9 pm—hope to see you there! : )
 
Fellow Seattle artist Jessica Keteyian will be showing her work there as well: she creates hypnotic geometric art, and made mysterious mention of mounting her display on a towering, custom-built structure in the middle of the floor, which should be suitably awe-inspiring!
 
 
 
 
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  The news that wasn't reallyAug 23, 2016 9:55 PM PDT | url
 
I thought I had a nice little news item saved up just for an evening like this when it's a bit later than I'd like and I need something quick and easy, but upon investigation it turns out that that item wasn't really ready for prime time, so here I am left with a pretty weak item about an item that was too weak. Zoinks! Well, the topics for the rest of the weak I mean week are a little more in the dependable line, so things will probably get better from here. : P
 
 
 
 
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  Must be some kind of brainiacAug 22, 2016 9:25 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :
 
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It's a big help! Thank you very much! : D
 
 
 
 
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  More swords! Yarr!Aug 19, 2016 6:33 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Working on this comic full time (since 2009!) sure is fun, especially with readers (since 2014!) helping me pay the bills through my Patreon campaign. : ) It means a lot! Here's a sketch I got to mail to a reader for their support through Patreon in a recent month:
 
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Excelsior! I mean, Excalibur! Anyway, thanks! : D
 
 
 
 
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  Slowly accumulating novas and other thingsAug 18, 2016 9:51 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Normally I stream my daily drawing and painting of the upcoming A* page live on my Twitch channel (past days' art vids are sped up 6x and archived on my YouTube channel), but I didn't stream today and probably won't tomorrow because my streaming computer, which is normally pretty speedy, is busy with this instead:
 
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I started it last night, and it chugged up to 83% after an hour or two, then stayed there. : P I left it overnight, and by morning it had advanced to 91%! And then it stayed there all day. The drive light flickers now and then—or at least, it had been...hm—so maybe it's still doing something, just really, really, really slowly. Judging by the timing (not that the update tells you...) this is Microsoft's big "Anniversary Update" for Windows 10, and apparently I'm not the only one having this problem with it, so that's some consolation, I guess. "This may take a while," it says. :"P I'll let it run through the weekend, and if it doesn't finish up by Monday, I'll have to reboot it, *hopefully* reverting okay back to the previous version, and then...not accept a Windows update for a few months in the hope that Microsoft works out the kinks in it. : P
 
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Anyway, real news, a Polish team has managed to assemble before, during, and after photos of a white dwarf star 20,000 light years away going nova, says the BBC, complete with cool photo sequence. This white dwarf, whose nova occurred in 2009, is part of a binary, orbiting its companion every five hours—they're so close together, their orbit would fit inside our Sun. The theory in cases like this is that the dwarf sucks material off the companion star, accumulating it on its own surface until "it kicks off a runaway, explosive thermonuclear reaction" that blows the extra material off into space—this is the nova explosion. The white dwarf, back to something like its original mass, survives the explosion and probably goes back to gradually accumulating mass from its partner again, heading for another nova thousands of years down the line.
 
 
 
 
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  Longest time I've taken to draw a page : PAug 18, 2016 2:29 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Oh I spent way too long trying to figure this composition out, so now I'm going to bed, huzzah! : D
 
 
 
 
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  I guess I have a thing for capes : PAug 16, 2016 8:25 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Readers are helping me keep A* going with as little as a buck a month through my Patreon campaign. Every dollar helps! : D Here's an ink sketch I got to send to a reader as the reward for their support in a recent month:
 
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Super Selenis! Thank you! : ))
 
 
 
 
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  Scanner musicAug 15, 2016 11:01 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:My trusty scanner, which has been scanning my A* pages ever since I started doing them traditionally almost five years ago (: o) has begun needing warm-up scans, and making all sorts of creative creaking and grinding noises while scanning my daily A* art. So I guess if one of these days you see a photo of a page instead of a nice clean scan of a page, it'll be because the scanner finally given up the ghost and I'll need a few days to get a new one. : P But hopefully it chugs along for at least another five years! : D
 
 
 
 
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  Great Krypton!Aug 12, 2016 5:45 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I get to send some of the wonderful folks contributing to my Patreon campaign little rewards each month in the way of thanks for their support; here's a sketch I mailed to one of them a little while back:
 
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Thanks everyone for reading the comic : )
 
 
 
 
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  Upgrades for September A* art showAug 11, 2016 9:02 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Got the artwork selection for my upcoming September A* art show here in Seattle finalized today. We'll have seven framed pieces we've never shown before (of course, if you've been reading this comic, *you've* seen them ^_^), so that's exciting. : D
 
 
 
 
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  Who misses puffy space suitsAug 10, 2016 8:18 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a watercolor painting I made as the monthly reward for a reader who's supporting A* through my Patreon campaign : ) :
 
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These folks help me keep bringing this comic to you! Thank you very much! : D
 
 
 
 
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  Sci-fi groovin'Aug 09, 2016 9:38 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's an ink sketch I sent to a supporter of the comic through my Patreon campaign as their reward for a recent month of support:
 
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Thank you very much! The support I get from readers through Patreon is a huge help in making this comic! : )
 
 
 
 
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  Dragons and swords forevvvvvverrrrrrAug 08, 2016 9:39 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I suppose I could keep up this dragon battle for, like, weeks if I wanted. Temmmmmpting! But maybe just a couple more days and then we'll enter the battle's endgame. : P
 
 
 
 
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  That Wistful WayAug 06, 2016 12:03 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:This comic is brought to you every day by readers supporting it through my Patreon campaign! :"D Here's a sketch I mailed off to a reader as their reward for supporting the comic in a recent-ish month:
 
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Yeah! Thank you! :D
 
 
 
 
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  Commercial US Moon mission is Go!Aug 04, 2016 10:05 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:A new BBC article says the FAA's "Office of Commercial Space Transportation" has just given its first approval to a private company for an unmanned moon mission: Moon Express plans to use a private Rocket Lab ship to put a "suitcase-sized lander" on the Moon in 2017; this would make them the first non-governmental agency to land something on the Moon, and win them Google's $20 million Lunar X Prize. Moon Express' declared long-term purpose is to set up mining operations on the Moon.
 
 
 
 
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  A real dragon, huhAug 03, 2016 8:52 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I'm not sure, but this *may* be the last time I have to draw Selenis diving for cover in this episode. =p
 
For those interested in such things, here are the two images I used as reference when coming up with the design of this robo-dragon: (note: these go to external sites, and could in theory change to horrible things at some point : o) this and this. Huzzah for Google Images! (They came up in Google Image searches for "bat wing" and "lizard foot" respectively, I think; a reverse Google Image search now tells me that the second in fact shows a "central (or inland)" bearded dragon, so, that's neat. : )
 
 
 
 
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  Sketchy foreground people!Aug 02, 2016 9:17 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a sketch I sent to a reader as their due monthly reward for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :
 
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Thank youuuuuu! : D
 
 
 
 
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  Oppenheimer's understandingAug 01, 2016 10:24 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:When I got to thinking of what to name the painting for today's page, this little explosion in a desert, somehow the quotation Manhattan Project scientific director J. Robert Oppenheimer said crept into his head upon seeing the successful culmination of his efforts in the horrifyingly beautiful fireball of the first man-made nuclear detonation at his "Trinity" test site in the New Mexico desert on July 16th, 1945, crept along into mine: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds"—that is Oppenheimer's own translation, anyway, from a Sanskrit verse in the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita.
 
According to contemporaries, Oppenheimer was relieved—even elated—by the success of the test. But he and others on the project were dismayed when the military dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, August 9th of that same year, three days after they had already dropped the world's first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima; in their view, the use of the second bomb had had no military purpose. Oppenheimer traveled to Washington D.C., where eight days after Nagasaki he hand-delivered "a letter to US Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson expressing his revulsion and his wish to see nuclear weapons banned"; in October, he managed to get in to see President Truman, telling him in person—to the President's disgust—that he felt he had "blood on my hands."
 
Oppenheimer went back to teaching at Caltech for a few years, but in 1947 accepted the directorship of the Institute for Advanced Study, a private, inter-disciplinary research institute in Princeton, New Jersey that had boasted among its continuous body of 28 academics some of the most successful modern minds, including Einstein. Oppenheimer is still the Institute's longest-serving director, remaining in that capacity until 1966, the year before his death from throat cancer.
 
At the Institute, Oppenheimer gave a lengthy interview to broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, the televised version of which, originally broadcast on January 4th, 1955, you can watch on YouTube, here. By this time, Oppenheimer, having used his remaining official capacity to push for putting all nuclear research under a neutral, international body, had alienated the US government to the point where, in 1954, they revoked his security clearance; now outside the system, but still widely respected in the scientific community, when Murrow spoke to him he was beginning to push even harder for international cooperation, understanding, and learning. You can see his optimism in the interview, but also his caution, and you begin to get a glimpse not only of his complex relationship with the deadly power he had helped give to the world, but also of his fitful genius, as he frequently checks and corrects himself, his mind roving through unpredictable byways.
 
My last clip of him comes ten years later, from the 1965 NBC documentary The Decision to Drop the Bomb; the brief clip shows a visibly older, haunted Oppenheimer describing that fateful day two decades earlier in New Mexico, and as he speaks aloud the full context of his famous thought from the Bhagavad Gita you can hear in his increasingly quivering voice, and see in his eyes, and the hand he briefly raises to his face, than in the ten years since his interview with Murrow he has had more than enough time to understand the full implication of the passage as he had invoked it in that weirdly glowing desert twenty years before.
 
May the sentiments he expresses so eloquently there last at least as long as his most famous invention.
 
 
 
 
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