Sketchbook Update: Draw!

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Cowboys are endlessly fun to doodle.

MSP ComicCON May 16-17 in St Paul

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SpringCon, Minnesota’s largest comic book convention, has been renamed MSP ComicCON and will take place this weekend (May 16-17, 2015) from 10-5pm in the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Grandstand. Once again I’ll have a table to showcase my illustration work and promote the Pose Drawing Sparkboook, so stop on by and say hi. It’s a pretty fun party.

Sadly this will be the first year that the event will happen without the leadership of Nick Post, a giant of a man who passed away last fall. He left some big shoes to fill but fortunately there are plenty of friendly volunteers stepping in to pick up the slack and make the magic happen once again.

More info at the MSP ComicCon website. See you there!

Sketchbook Update: Koochy Koo Redux

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Last week I posted a sketch based on a prompt from the Pose Drawing Sparkbook that reads, “Trying to stop a baby from crying.” I thought a tough, scary biker trying to calm a baby might be funny. Today’s sketch is another take on that concept, with what I think is a stronger pose.

My Experience With A Standing Desk

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With Americans spending more time than ever sitting on their rumps, standing desks are gaining popularity in office culture. I began using one in my illustration studio over a year ago. Recently a friend wrote to ask me if I would recommend that he get one? After typing a long response to him, I decided it might make a good blog post.

In a nutshell: I highly recommend it, but transition may be difficult. At least, it was for me.

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For one thing, to do it right can get expensive. Besides buying the new, taller desk (which, to save money, I cobbled together using some parts from my local IKEA), I also wound up buying a few “extras” which, for me, have vastly improved my experience:

A floor mat to stand on. Standing in one spot all day can be very hard on your feet. Sliding a comfortable mat under your shoes can make a world of difference. The one I bought was expensive but is made specifically for standing desks. It’s very cushy and comfortable. As standing desks are becoming more popular, I’m seeing more standing desk mats hitting the market. This one looks like it might be worth trying.

A special one-legged stool, also designed for standing desks. Standing all day can get tiring and, if you aren’t used to it, it can be brutal on your feet (especially if you are as out of shape as I am). This stool was a life saver for me. When I get tired of standing I can rest on it for a while, but because it only has one leg and a wobbly base I still have to use my core muscles to keep my balance. It’s nice but not too comfortable, so after resting a few minutes I’m back to standing again. I hop on and off many times throughout the day, but I am never on it for more than a few minutes at a time.

An inexpensive footstool. I can rest both feet on it when I’m using the one-legged stool, or I can rest one foot on now and then as I shift my weight while I’m standing. I’m not sure why but for some reason being able to stand with one foot on the stool now and then is very comfortable. Definitely worth getting!

A soft rolling cylinder, which I picked up in the exercise and fitness area at Target. I read an article that said it would be comfortable to roll one foot back and forth on the cylinder now and then as you stand. However, I almost never use it.

After spending years sitting in a cushy chair all day, the first few weeks of standing all day were pretty brutal. I’m about 90 pounds overweight so it was really hard on my feet. I actually had to soak my feet at night in a salt solution because they hurt so much. That’s what prompted me to buy the one-legged stool. After a few weeks the pain passed. I’m not sure if it was the stool that helped, or if my body just got used to it, or both, but now I can go all day with no pain at all.

In fact, if anything I feel much better! I definitely feel more alert while I’m working. It’s probably also better for my back since I’m not slouching in my chair like a squishy blob all day.

Some people claim you burn more calories at a standing desk. I’m not sure how much truth there is to that (I certainly haven’t lost any weight) but I do think it’s healthier in the sense that I’m using my body a bit more throughout the day, shifting my weight regularly and getting on and off the stool. A standing desk is definitely no substitute for going to the gym, but all those little full-body movements throughout the day add up. I definitely feel less sluggish. Also, I have a loveseat in my studio and once or twice a day I usually have to take a break to just sit for a few minutes and rest. That tells me my body is doing more than it did when I had a chair.

Is a standing desk worth the investment? I definitely think so. Each person’s experience will be different but for me, I’ve become a fan of standing desks and have no desire to switch back.

Sketchbook Update: Koochy Koo!

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Today’s sketch is based on a prompt from the Pose Drawing Sparkbook​ that reads, “Trying to get a baby to stop crying.”