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  Hustlin'!Mar 31, 2018 7:27 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for supporting the comic through the A* Patreon campaign : ) :
 
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Thanks to everyone who's helping me keep A* going! Even just $1 a month makes a big difference! :]
 
 
 
 
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  Last special weekly A* art sale afore summer!Mar 29, 2018 10:15 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Okay it's time for our Wednesday-ish A* original art archive sale! : ) It's where I pick a piece of A* art I particularly like, and put it up for sale at a special low price. This is the last one of these sales I'll be running before my little summer break—which will go from early May to early July—to move across the state!
 
Aaaand so this last piece is the 16" x 6.75" watercolor illustration I painted for A* episode 32, page 103, introducing that notorious night club, the Burne Unit! I guess getting to draw a huge, wrap-around mechanical billboard inspired me or something, because I mustered up an unusual amount of my particular type of pseudo precision for this page: that building and sign have a straight solidity I don't usually achieve—heck even the cursive lettering came out rather cleanly : o—the unusual angles of Selenis' head have a more-than-usual crispness, the ripple of highlights across her shoulders somehow hit in the right places, and I was really happy with how the projecting "smoking" hand of the sign achieved something of the 3D effect the advertisement needed to impress the average street-goer, and with a thick-and-thin line quality hopefully slightly reminiscent of an illustrated style from back in the golden age of ad illustration—as close as I can come to suggesting one, I mean. : D
 
So this piece is on sale for the next week, starting at just $16.99, right here on eBay. The auction listing has hi-res images, but here are some lo-res ones to get you started:
 
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That pretty much exhausts my stock of super favorite remaining pages to hock to you—that aren't too recent, I mean! ^_^—so conveniently we'll wrap these occasional special weekly-ish sales for now, possibly to recommence some time later this summer. Thanks for checking it out! : D And if you do want other A* art to buy at a similarly steep discount, do take a look at the last week's worth of brand new A* page paintings, fresh off my drawing table, which you can always find (hm well okay not during most of that early summer break I'm taking : P) listed on my eBay profile page.
 
 
 
 
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  Hold this piece of paper for yearsMar 28, 2018 11:06 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I've been drawing a little differently since I got back from my apartment-scouting trip a couple weeks ago! When I sat down to draw the first new page upon returning from that little break—page 17, it was—I realized that holding the page up on my 45-degree-slope drawing table made my shoulder hurt. Funny how a few extra days off of a routine will make you notice something that was going on all along! So now I fasten the page to the drawing table with a couple loops of masking tape on its back side, and the mysterious soreness I've had in that shoulder for uh I guess years now is magically going away. ^_^
 
And having the page holding itself there I guess somehow allows me to sort of sit back a little more and let the pencil move around with a lighter touch—rather than bearing down on it more and more as I had been doing before. It's had its ups and downs so far, but it does allow a little more flexibility and uh sort of sensitivity or subtlety or something in the lines I'm drawing. That's what it feels like, anyway! So hopefully that will start to pay off—in better drawings!—as I get the hang of it.
 
 
 
 
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  Emptying the cupboard of shameMar 27, 2018 10:41 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Finally emptied out my art supply cupboard of shame—where I'd hidden all the art supplies I tried out for A* over the years. : o The ones that didn't make the cut (which was most of them of course!) and were still in presentable packaging I put out in my apartment building lobby today with a little Post-It note saying "FREE" and they were all gone by the time I got back two hours later. : D
 
This current episode is a relatively short one, and hm hopefully it'll run right up through and end perfectly in early May, when I'll have to take time off A* to work on getting ready for my June 1st move for real. But uh yeah hopefully it just magically works out that this episode wraps up then so I at least don't leave things hanging like right at the climactic scene or something. : o Uh but I guess that's actually more likely than anything. : P
 
 
 
 
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  And I only cracked one jar!Mar 26, 2018 10:06 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Today was emptying and washing ancient spice jars for recycling! = P (Boy, cinnamon really gets everywhere if you er aren't careful : o)
 
 
 
 
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  Best thing about being in charge is the hatsMar 24, 2018 8:16 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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You get a pencil sketch each month if you contribute at the $10 level, but you can also contribute for as little as $1 a month; it may not sound like much but it makes a big difference to me and A*! Thanks everyone who's helping me keep the comic going. : ))
 
 
 
 
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  GameBoy Tetris is still the bestMar 22, 2018 11:21 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I sorted through a lot of old video games today. : P
 
 
 
 
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  And two old cell phonesMar 21, 2018 11:11 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Sorted through a bunch of old electronic stuff (and why did I have four decks of playing cards, one mini deck, and one *marked* deck? : o I don't even play cards : P) and looked into a mat for stretching and exercises—these are the kinds of things I find myself getting distracted by each day as I'm thinking about the upcoming move!
 
 
 
 
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  Sometimes it's just a pageMar 20, 2018 11:25 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I got this page done! : P
 
 
 
 
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  Egad, sir. Egad, I say!Mar 19, 2018 8:47 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Each weekend I take the live-streamed A* art-making videos I make during the week on my Twitch channel and compress them into sped-up time-lapse videos on my YouTube channel so you can watch A* artwork bloom from blank pages right before your eyes (also so I can look back and see how the heck I did something : p). Except this past weekend, which was more hob-nobby than usual, and I only got halfway through that process (videos sped up but not tagged and published)—so I'm off to go finish that up now!
 
 
 
 
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  Just stand in front of this patterned wallMar 16, 2018 11:52 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for supporting the comic through the A* Patreon campaign : ) :
 
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You get a sketch each month for contributing at the $10 level, but even $1 a month makes a big difference to me! Thanks everyone for your support, I couldn't do this comic without you. : ))
 
 
 
 
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  Gasp! 2nd-to-last special A* art auction!Mar 15, 2018 10:20 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Let's do our Wednesday special A* archive original art sale...today! This is where I pick an unsold page of A* original art and put it up for sale at a special price! I only have two pages left in the archive to try to sell to you at this steep a discount for the time being—before June at least, I guess! So anyway here's the second-to-last one, it's the 16" x 6.75" watercolor illustration I painted for A* episode 32, page 80, where Selenis is pulling herself out of a pool after escaping a sudden flood in an aquatically themed nightclub: on sale for one week on eBay.
 
That auction listing has high resolution images, way more detailed than these tiny teasers:
 
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I don't end up doing many pages with sort of selective, up-close cropping like that, and I think in this case it worked out pretty well! It was also fun to play with water effects all over the place. ^_^ Thanks for checking it out!
 
 
 
 
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  Black hole theoretician Stephen Hawking diesMar 14, 2018 9:21 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking passed away today. Hawking was pretty much the man when it came to describing the theoretical workings of black holes; for instance, his work provided the mathematical and theoretical underpinnings for asserting that black holes, rather than sucking everything in, emit their own very slight radiation, and could, if left without any new material to consume for nearly untold eons, actually evaporate; that radiation is known as Hawking radiation.
 
I read his book A Brief History of Time in my younger days; I was particularly interested in reading it because I'd heard that it talked about how black holes worked. And you know, now that I think about it, maybe that helped get me hooked; maybe without having had that book to give me more information, I wouldn't have subsequently become so fascinated when I learned about the supermassive black hole at the radiation source known as Sagittarius A* at the center of our galaxy, and have been inspired to make a webcomic set there.
 
So, thank you, Stephen Hawking. I have little doubt that black holes will be emitting your radiation until this universe is very, very old indeed.
 
 
 
 
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  Stuff might start happening!Mar 13, 2018 8:52 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Just so as not to startle anyone unduly: I think tomorrow's page is going to have some words in it. = o
 
 
 
 
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  I'm moving in June, back w/ more A* than everMar 12, 2018 10:03 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Made it back from my dash to look for apartments across the state in eastern Washington. I found an apartment! : D My lease starts in June, so my plan is to take about the last three weeks of May and the first week of June off to get the move and everything taken care of. A month without A* in early summer! = o But after that we'll pick right up where we had left off, and also I'll be able to start taking art commissions. : )
 
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The apartment I got isn't the one I tore out there to see—they called me 2.5 hours before I was due to see it to tell me they'd rented both units the day before ;_;—but this one that nearly miraculously popped up in my last, despairing scroll through Craigslist is much homier: I'll have the bottom floor of a small house built down into a hillside all to myself, with pretty much my own grassy, tree-ringed back yard to look out into. : ))
 
I want to thank everyone who's supported A* over the years, right up to the flurry of new folks who've joined my Patreon campaign in the past few weeks—your support really *is* making it possible for me to keep A* going, and with your help we'll all be able to have fun at the galactic core for a good long while to come. This move across the state will reduce my living expenses quite a bit, but I'll be depending more than ever on the income I make from A* to pay those bills, so if you've been considering chipping in even just a buck or two a month through the Patreon campaign, well, now more than ever it will really go a long way toward keeping a roof over my head while I make A* pages. : ]
 
That little compendium of cell phone travel photos up there from the trip, in chronological order, are:
 
- a snow covered lake in the Cascades
- giant windmills in the hills east of the Cascades
- a "pixel art" mosaic in the walk up to an empty storefront in the town I'm moving to
- melting crests of snow on rolling hills in the "Palouse" region
 
 
 
 
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  Out *this* week on important A*-related trip!Mar 05, 2018 11:07 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Update Tuesday 3/6:
 
Well apparently things are moving very quickly in the rental world over there, so in order to have some shot at securing a decent place for summer I'm actually now leaving TOMORROW, Wednesday March 7th, and will be gone for the rest of the week. And packing and getting ready today, so no more pages *this* week—but I should be back cranking out pages as normal *next* week, rather than being out of town then.
 
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You may notice that the auction for the original art behind today's new comic page is a 10-day auction, rather than the usual 7 days, and that's because I'm going to be gone next week—or most of it, anyway! Yes and it's even an A*-related trip: you see, the hip town I live in, Seattle, has gotten a little too hip for me to afford on my extravagant webcomic creator salary, even with an incredible amount of support from my wonderful family ^_^, so I'm taking a trip to the far side of the state to look for an apartment in a more affordable place, so I can keep doing A*! : )
 
So I won't have new A* comics for you next week, starting Monday the 12th. : o I will try to post an update or two of the trip on my @smbhax Twitter account just to show that I'm still kicking!
 
Not sure quite how long it will take (but I've got a recital, birthday party, and dental appointment to attend (separately : P) the following Sunday and Monday, so I'll have to come back before then at any rate!), but if I make it back early I guess I'll try getting the jump on my A* taxes or something, that'll be a hoot. = P Oh and if I still have time I can work ahead on another project, namely switching A* production from my old Windows XP desktop—which is running in to some trouble due to decreased antivirus and web browser support : P—to my Windows 10 laptop and art streaming machine. Easier to move just that across the state, anyway!
 
So if I do find a place, the idea will be to move in the summer, or autumn at the latest. I'll probably need to take like a whole month off of A* then : o as I dispose of most of my earthly goods, say my goodbyes to friends and family, move the rest of my goods across the state, settle in to a strange place, and get ready to crank up A* from a new HQ. That month of no comics will be a bit of a drag : | but on the plus side, if things go according to plan, the move will pay off in the end in terms of A* output. Not having any acquaintances to visit, I'll have a bit more time to work on art and stuff—so no more sometimes slightly rushed Friday pages ]_], and I'm even planning on opening up artwork commissions! I've done a couple in the past, but haven't really made it public that I'm accepting them. And currently I'm not—no darn time! But once I'm moved, I'll have more time. : ) So you'll be able to pay me, basically, to draw whatever you want me to draw. (So far I think someone wants me to paint them a moose, which could be fun. ^_^) I've had a whole art commissions wing of the web site typed up and ready to go for months now, but I can't roll that out until I actually move and am ready to do 'em, I guess. (The short version is I charge $25/hour. : P) And if it happens that I don't have commissions waiting, I'll be able to do more like special A* larger/vertical format paintings too. Heck maybe I'll do some wildlife paintings or landscapes. Anyway, lots of options! Should be fun.
 
First things first, though, and that's the apartment hunt next week. Wish me luck! : D
 
 
 
 
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  A protective helmet couldn't hurtMar 03, 2018 7:49 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I'm able to make this comic thanks in large part to the support I get from readers through the A* Patreon campaign. : ) Even $1 a month is a big help! : D And I get to send out rewards, too; for instance, here's a sketch I mailed to a reader for a month of their support at the $10 level:
 
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Thank you very much! ^_^ You help me keep A* going! : D
 
 
 
 
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  Words words wordsMar 01, 2018 11:33 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Don't worry, this silent scene won't go on for nearly as long as last episode's marathon. : o We're actually approaching the end of it already, I think.
 
 
 
 
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