Every December, I aspire to make my own holiday cards to send out to loved ones. Maybe every two or three years do I make that a reality. As I consider this year’s design, I thought I’d share last year’s holiday cards, where I went with quantity over quality and designed three of them.
If you want to print any of these cards for your own use, have at it! They can be found here as a PDF. The cards are laid out two to a page, so will have a finished size of 4.25″x5.5″ once folded.
My sister-in-law bought me a small sketchbook for Christmas last year. At first, I didn’t really know what to do with it and spent a week or so jotting down thoughts before I went to bed. Because I can be pretty dumb about obvious things, it took me a while to figure out that one of the things I could do with the book was to sketch things in it.
I hadn’t been drawing regularly for a few years, so it took me a while to figure out the things that I could sketch. It started out with weird self-portraits and drawing Donald Trump as a swastika. After a couple of months, I realized that I could start drawing scenes from the Dungeons & Dragons games that I run. I could even draw scenes in advance, and show them to the players as they were happening!
Anyway, here’s some of those drawings:
I can’t remember what game this came from, but white guys being assholes is a pretty consistent theme in my games.
Here’s some more white guys being real jerks. One of them ended up getting killed and then being made into a stew.
The above two are from a game we never got around to playing. An evil creature had trapped a small village in a never-ending winter, and a small band of people teamed together to escape the village and seek help from a neighboring town. This guy was the only one who made it to the town, but not before the evil creature (a monster called a Bheurr Hag) knocked him out and stole one of his gloves, resulting in the hand that I drew. Pro-tip: don’t Google “frostbite”!
On the way out to confront the hag and rescue the village, the D&D players would encounter this dragon, which some of them have encountered before. It’s not particularly bright – it’s pretty much a talking house cat, just much, much bigger than a house cat. A house cat that can breathe a cone of frost that can freeze people to death in seconds. The players will eventually run into this guy again.
Here’s the Bheurr Hag that the characters would eventually have to confront. In the game lore, it’s a creature that delights in causing the suffering of others, so her goal was to try to threaten the characters enough to send them back to the town for reinforcements, thus bringing her more people to torture.
Here’s the village that the characters would try to save. Of the 110 inhabitants, only 24 were to be alive at the beginning of the game. The Bheurr Hag wanted to drive them to cannibalism, but the village people were too smart for that – they knew about wendigos!
You might notice that there’s a ballista in the picture of the village. I’d first started planning this game back in February, and at that time, the big bad guy was supposed to be the dragon. But then this past season of Game of Thrones happened, and suddenly my plans looked like they would have been derivative! It still would have been a useful weapon to use against the hag.
The sketchbook is nearly full now, and I’ll get another one for the next year. I’ve been really enjoying doing these type of drawings, so I am sure that I will post more in the future. And if you’re ever interested in joining in on one of my D&D games, get in touch with me via Facebook.
Last month, I designed and illustrated a poster for Know Your City‘s World’s Largest Sing-A-Long event. Here’s the poster: And here’s a larger version of the main image (members of the crowd include a Where’s Waldo type guy, an elf, Marge Simpson’s hair, a cat, and someone throwing devil horns): I didn’t get a chance to make it to the actual event, but it was fun project to be a part of. I hadn’t designed a poster in probably about 8 years, but it reminded me how much I enjoy doing it. If you need a poster made, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Harry Lane, in office from 1905 to 1909, is one of my favorite mayors that Portland ever had. If you’ve never heard of him, you should read the Wikipedia entry on him. Some of his highlights: “Father of the Rose Festival”, pro-suffrage and anti-white supremacy (unlike his grandfather). Oh, and he ended up being a US Senator, too. He hated corruption, and was very hands-on with some of his practices. According to E. Kimbark MacColl in The Shaping of a City (pages 340 – 341), the two incidents drawn in the comic were described by Harry Lane himself and widely reported by others.
Two years ago, my friend Drew Anderson started his website Millions of Hundred Dollar Ideas, or “MoHDI” for short. I ran into him one night, and he asked me to draw a burglar mask for him in his sketchbook. I did as he asked, and saw my burglar mask drawing up on his website a few days later along with, to my surprise, something to the effect of an announcement that I was the newest staff member. Drew’s one of these guys who does not stop thinking, no matter what, and he’s coming up with this constant stream of crazy ideas. One of those ideas was that I should quit my job and work for him on MoHDI. That never happened, but I did do a few illustrations for him over time. I’ve never really collected them in one spot, but I figured I should do something with them, so I’ve posted them below. The “khrissoden.org” on each of the images is a new addition that arose from the “Famous Sock Puppets in History” image; I get about 2000 image hits on that a month, and after a couple of years of that I finally decided that maybe I should advertise myself a bit.
The next two aren’t ones that I came up with, but were ones that I was requested to draw. I think that Drew submitted the “Securi-pee” (definitely not my idea) to a couple of invention contests or something:
One of the familiar nicknames for Portland is “Stumptown”, but do you know how it received that name? “Stumptown” just happened to be the first nickname that Portland ever had. Here’s a comic that explains it.
Although credit usually goes to Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy for founding the township that would become Portland, it was really Will Overton that came up with the idea of claiming the land. Here’s a little comic about him that I came up with.
Stories of Overton meeting his end in Texas are hard to verify. In Harvey Scott’s History of Portland, it’s Pettygrove that describes this as his fate, while it’s Lovejoy’s wife that claims he actually went back to Louisiana to take care of his mother. Either way, there’s not a very good record of Overton’s story.