Visual Storytelling

I’ve been taking Visual Storytelling classes, taught by Jim Higgins, at Pop Secret Gallery and Meltdown Comics and I thought I’d share my collection from the first class I took. It was a six-week course and the final project was a 3-page comic. I collected them all into a booklet (found below). It’s definitely a different style of art than I’m used to but I’m looking forward to exploring it further. If you’re interested in watching my unending struggle with perspective and proportion (wait, where is that arm connected?) you can follow me on Instagram for short periodic bouts of entertainment.


An open letter to news media.

My blog isn’t followed by very many people. My audience is small and specific to my personal interests. I don’t have a large reach and it’s definitely not anywhere near what major news stations are able to communicate to. What I do have, and I hope you’ll agree, is a sense of integrity.

I don’t talk about things I don’t like. I’m upfront about my beliefs and, more specifically, making sure people know that they are just that: my beliefs. 

Tonight I watched Fox 11, a news station in Los Angeles, run a misleading and inflammatory preview for what I’m sure will end up being a misleading and inflammatory segment about pitbulls and the “pitbull problem”. As many of you know I have been an active and outspoken pitbull, shelter and owner responsibility advocate for three years now. I’ve also had a pretty bad week and a half so to say that it made me angry is quite the understatement. The news ruined what was supposed to be a relaxing evening with two of my favorite shows. I took to Facebook to voice my displeasure but it’s just not enough. It’s like walking into a crowded train station and trying to yell above the din. Ineffective, unsatisfying and lonely.

The problem is that this segment is just a symptom of a bigger issue. One that has been written about and expressed again and again but to no avail. The news no longer keeps us informed. It doesn’t provide us with the services it once did. It doesn’t give us a voice or keep us free anymore. It’s a soundbite. A tagline. A single, uninformed voice.

There’s no research anymore. It’s become a rush to see who can get the latest soundbite out the fastest. It’s about money and power and most importantly, keeping us dumb. I don’t know if you’ve picked up a paper or turned on the local news recently but there’s now more exposition than facts being reported. It’s as if they actually believe that humanity can’t be trusted to take in facts and come up with their own solutions. They are eliminating our deductive reasoning on a daily basis and it has to stop.

One day, in Ohio a few years ago, I stopped watching the morning news. I watched Andy Dominiyani and his co-anchor make fun of a woman that they were reporting on. The saddest part was that the story had been biased in her favor. They made fun of her. Blatantly. On a live broadcast. Not because it was a time for editorializing. They made fun of her because they thought the were better than her and that they were better at judging her character than anyone else. I turned off the local news that day. I put down the paper and I stopped paying attention. I have to source my news from several different sources. None of that is any better in the end but being uninformed would be even worse. 

Now it’s about being better at disregarding the bias than they are at spewing it. There’s no class for that. Worse yet, there are a lot of people who listen to the news and trust these people to make their judgements for them because, as reporters, they MUST be smarter, right? 

I have two points to make and then I will go back to my standard posts.

1. Learn to think for yourself. 

No one is qualified to decide how you feel other than you. Giving up and letting others lead your mind is giving yourself over to another person’s control. That’s enslavement. Feel how you feel and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have that right. 

2. If you have a platform that reaches above the din then you have a responsibility to be honest.

You have a voice. A voice so many people wish they had. With that voice comes a great responsibility to be honest and it should never be abused. Tell the truth, give us facts without bias and let everyone else think for themselves. If they are asking for your opinion, be honest, but remember that what they do with that information is on you too. You’re not exempt from responsibility once it leaves your mouth or your brain. You have that power and responsibility to own it and make damn sure that you’re damn sure about what you’re saying.

I’ll hop down off of my soapbox but I’ll leave you with this: Everything that I say here, I mean. If I change my mind or beliefs I will be the first person to let you know, right here. I am always open to new opinions and ideas but when I change my mind I do it because I was given facts and information that I agreed with. Not because somebody else told me to. 

Oh, and do some research before inciting a public riot against pitbulls. We advocates outnumber you and we are a lot more passionate. We also have cute, fuzzy dogs at our disposal and look what that did for YouTube.