Life imitates art imitates life - again. If FB crops this in your feed so you can't see the part that's a drawing of me, click the image so you can see the whole thing, because that's the part I'm really proud of! This is one of the drawings I've been working on this week, and I gotta say - although it's for a poetry comic that's not directly related to the past week's dumpster fires, it pretty well captures how I've been feeling about the world right now, especially since Roe was overturned. It's helped to have an outlet for at least some of what I'm feeling, though.

If you wanna read the post for this drawing, you can find that here:
- I tried to resist wading into all the current political messes, because at least right now, in the thick of all these overwhelming emotions, I'm trying to be more mindful of when I wade in to that morass and for how long - and when I need a break. Aaaand...I waded in anyway, because it's hard to think about anything else. But I included a few links there that I think are really important, regarding the overturning of Roe vs Wade and the January 6th hearings. Check those out even if you're not interested in the rest of what's there! I'll try to share those links here directly but my head is hurty & I'm running out of energy, so I might have to come back to that.

Hang in there. Keep fighting the good fight. Take breaks. Then get back up and make your voices heard.

Here's the poem:

The Silence Between

Siren screams split the
night — how many in an hour?
Again — now, and now,
the silence between measured
in ragged breaths and worry.

What are some of your iconic memories? What images or sounds or experiences or photos or headlines most epitomize the past year for you?

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[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: An image of a one-page poetry comic made of 5 panels over three rows against a black background. The title "The Silence Between" is hand written in white at the top left, and signed by the artist along with their social media handle: "— Akire Bubar • @akirebubar" at the top right. The full text of the poem is "Siren screams split the / night — how many in an hour? / Again — now, and now, / the silence between measured / in ragged breaths and worry." The top row has three equally sized not-quite-square panels, each of which is divided diagonally. One triangular half of each panel is nearly black, and the other half bright white with splashes of inky red ambulance lights, with a drawing of the covid-19 virus superimposed here and there. Across these three panels are the first two lines of the poem: "Siren screams split the night — how many in an hour?" The next row fills the middle of the page, and is one large nearly-square panel divided into angular sub panels that show ambulance lights moving across a wall, interspersed with moments of darkness. At the bottom left of this panel are 4 light grey rectangles forming the shape of a window. The 5 sub-panels start narrowly at this window shape, and grow into larger wedges angled up and to the right like beams of light or fractured glimpses of a bare wall. A transparent beam of light shines from the window shape in the bottom left up across the most vertical wedge at the far left, projecting an even brighter window-shape on the wall near the top. The window shape is filled with splashes of bright white and red ambulance lights. The rest of this angular sub-panel is medium grey, a wall in a dark room made a little lighter by the glow of the ambulance lights. Text reads "Again —". The next sub panel is the nearly black of a dark room, angling from the bottom left window up and to the right. The only text is an ellipses: "..." The third sub-panel is medium grey again, showing another beam of light angled at a diagonal up and to the right, projecting another bright window-shape filled with red and white ambulance lights. Text reads, "now," against the medium-grey background. The fourth sub-panel angles up and to the right, but much lower. The panel is the nearly black of a dark room again, and again containing only the text "..." The 5th sub-panel extends horizontally from the bottom left to the bottom right, the top edge angled upward. This panel is again medium grey, a wall illuminated by another beam of red and white ambulance lights, projecting a third bright white and red window shape at the bottom right of the panel. Text here reads, "...and now". The third row of the comic is a single low & wide nearly black panel. It shows the jagged bright red lines of a heartbeat monitor - two beats, a pause, two more beats, a longer pause, and a final beat, flatlining to the right and trailing off into nothing. Written above and below the heartbeats, the poem concludes "The silence between measured/ in ragged breaths and worry."

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Originally posted to FB 7/08/2021

A year into this pandemic, and up until now I haven't been able to write about it much, or create anything from it. It's been too overwhelming, too constantly in mind. It's like when a beloved shows me something on his phone but holds it too close to my face and my eyes can't focus on it - everything blurs together, indistinct and intensely uncomfortable. It's only when I gently nudge his hand back another 6 or 8 inches that it comes into focus.

It's like that, except the pandemic isn't over. I'm immunocompromised. And the more everyone else insists on acting like it's over & throwing caution and masks to the wind, the less over it can be for me, or for others like me - at least not yet (yes, I'm grumpy about this. I think that's reasonable.). So it's not that I'm able to take a step back from the past year, not really - it's more that the disconnect between how I feel about it and how so many others seem to feel about it is thrown into stark relief, and that has me thinking about it differently. And yes, for all that the continued danger is real, the situation here in the US is way, way less dire. I may still have to be more cooped up than other folks at this point, but at least the three or so people I see with any regularity are way less likely to bring the virus with them when they come calling. That's huge. At least now I don't have to be afraid of the people I love. I celebrate the hell out of that fact, and try to hold the anxiety I feel about the rest of the world at arm's length.

This poetry comic (a tanka) is a memory from the worst waves of infection - lying in bed at night, watching ambulance lights move across the walls of my room with increasing frequency. It's an iconic memory, for me - one of the things that I think will always come to mind when I think of the past year.

Originally posted to FB 10/27/2019

Welp, that got a little dark. But it's like that, sometimes.
Hugs, anyone?

CONTENT WARNING: Depression, and mention of trauma, abuse, mental illness, and suicide; no specific details given.
[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of part of a computer monitor showing digital artwork of dress-up doll clothes in black, and a tyrannosaurus rex in blue. The items pictured, clockwise from top right, are a crown, a pair of overalls, a tutu, inline roller skates, a jeweled necklace, sunglasses, a ball cap, a pair of shorts, and a sundress with hearts on the bodice. Across the top left, the page is labeled, "T-Rex Dress Up Doll". There are two sections of much smaller unreadable text. The digital workplace shown is Clip Studio Paint. Next to the monitor, at the bottom right of the photo, is a grey track ball with a blue ball on a light wood-grained desk. Above and beyond that is a yellow post-it note, above that is a small blue pot of succulents, and above and beyond that is a bright red geranium and the sunny corner of a window.]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A rough single-panel comic sketched quickly on a 3" x 5" index card. The comic is drawn mostly in black ink, with areas of grey shading created by smearing the black ink with a water brushpen. On the left, a child of 9 or 10 kneels in the grass. Two flowers and a leaf are visible near where she leans on her hands. A large thought bubble shows her to be imagining a fairy of some kind. The fairy has curly hair and 4 wings like a dragonfly. She is smiling and wearing a dress covered in stars, her knees bent as she floats in midair. In her left hand she holds a magic wand tipped with a large yellow star - the only splash of color in the drawing. To the right of the thought bubble, the child's father stands with his hands on his hips. He is wearing glasses and a plaid shirt with pens in the front pocket. He is smiling admiringly at the child as a speech bubble shows him to be saying "I really like how you don't waste time on silly make-believe like other kids". The child is looking at him apprehensively from the corner of her eye, his words having caught her in a moment of solitary make-believe and fairy-fantasies. In the upper left hand corner of the comic, an arrow points to the child, labeling her "ME". In the upper right corner, an arrow points to the man identifying him as "DAD". The panel is surrounded by a heavy border of black ink, except where the thought bubble, speech bubble, and the word "DAD" break through it. In the bottom left corner, the panel is signed "Akire Bubar" by the artist and dated "6.20.2022".]

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I had 3 minutes to draw a comic in a workshop yesterday, and this is what came out.
It wasn't what was supposed to come out - the exercise was supposed to be fiction. But I hadn't expected that. And suddenly I wasn't just caught off guard - I was triggered and in full-on panic.
I'm proud of myself for not fleeing the class, proud of myself for staying present & using the exercise to instead ask myself *why*.
The "why" matters. I know I'm not the only one with this awful screeching voice in my head sometimes. Kids are sponges. They soak up every single lesson you teach them - including the ones you don't intend. And those lessons, both good and bad, stick with us. Kinda like the Bumblebee Tuna jingle that was popular when I was a kid, and the commercial for Monchhichis. I still know every word! I'll spare you the earworms, but I'd love it if you'd read what I wrote about the messages we get as kids, and the ways they affect us still as adults. I hope you'll find the hope in it, too, that we can all do better by each other & the generations to come.
Here's the link:
Also? I'm sending virtual hugs to anyone who needs one. ❤️
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[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A comic illustration of a woman juggling brightly colored chainsaws while balancing a basket of feral kittens on her head and lighting fireworks and explosives with her toes. The speech bubble at the top of the image reads," Feed the Dream! comics, coloring pages, art updates & more -". A second pointy and explosive-looking text bubble lower down reads, "Make art happen for as little as $1 a month!" In the drawing, the center chainsaw makes the sound effect "Rrrrrrrrr!" One of the kittens in the basket is attempting to bat at one of the chainsaws tossed overhead, and another is saying "mew?" inquisitively. The other kittens in the basket are watching the whole scene with rapt attention. There is also a kitten on the floor, and another one climbing the woman's right leg, claws extended. The woman has a lit match between the toes of her left foot and is attempting to light a stack of fireworks. She has long blond hair and is wearing tight purple pants and a pink t-shirt. The t-shirt has a drawing of a multi-colored brain on it, and the word "Neurodiversity" arcing above the brain.]

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Originally posted to FB 06/14/2018

Yep, still plugging away at a design for the back of my business card! As much as I genuinely loved the idea I floated last week - and was surprised at how many other folks loved it too - it felt too dark. Because for all that I go dark places, that is not, ultimately, how I define myself. All other issues aside, a business card should represent one's work and one's sensibilities. I talk about my mental health struggles because I want to remind anyone else who's grappling with this that it's possible to do so and still hang on to the brighter side of things. That you can go to a dark place and still come back shining. That you can end up at the bottom of that hole repeatedly, and still know it's not where you live.

So I'm going with this idea instead, I think. A little wild, only barely kinda sorta under control. Juggling chainsaws and still making it work. I think that's a better statement about who I am and where I'm at. It's also a clearer plug for my Patreon page, which was the whole point in the first place.

As an aside, if you value the artwork I post regularly, or my writing about mental health issues, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Think of it like NPR - I'm doing my best to share a lot of my work with the world for free. But I can't pay my bills with good vibes, so if $1 a month is something you can afford and you value my work, please lend your support so I can continue doing it! Even $1 a month makes a huge difference - really. --->

Onward to further tweaking and perfecting so I can get this to the printer!

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[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of a sketch of a golden-eyed red fox against a brightly colored landscape. The drawing is done on beige bogus paper glued into a sketchbook journal. The artwork spills over the edges of the bogus paper onto the white page underneath. The fox in the drawing lounges on their belly, forelegs crossed on the green grassy ground before them. Behind the fox we see rolling hills dotted with a few pine trees, white at the tops with reflected moonlight. A giant waning crescent moon hangs low in the sky, its surface bright white with subtle swirls of shadow. Beyond the halo of the moon, the sky is a brilliant speckled blue that darkens in the areas furthest from the moon. In the bottom left of the drawing, a brave and probably unwise mouse sits on their hind legs near the fox's tail, looking up at the fox. Nearer to the fox's front paws is a bright red ladybug. The drawing is signed "Akire Bubar" by the artist in the bottom right of the drawing.]

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Originally posted to FB 06/24/2021

OH MY GODS CAN I JUST TELL YOU THE IRONY. I keep tying myself in knots over this, first in writing it, and now in trying to figure out what to say in posting it here. Why is this so friggin' hard?
Here's what I most want you to know.
[CONTENT WARNING: non-specific discussion of the far-reaching effects of abuse.]
The thing about abuse, especially childhood abuse, is that it gets its tentacles into every part of a person. It teaches you who you are, what you're worth, and what your place is in the world. And you can't just shake it off because it's not the conscious bits that are the problem. It's the way it shapes all of the gazillion little assumptions and decisions we make all day that never rise to the level of conscious thought. It's the whispered story about ourselves we don't even know we are telling. And healing requires learning to hear that whisper, and then an exhaustive reexamining of all of its assertions - because if we don't understand the story we are telling ourselves, we can't rewrite that story into something better.
I've realized recently that perfectionism is often the voice of that whisper, at least for me.
Here goes. I hope you'll read on.

Originally posted to FB 05/15/2020

YIPPEE!!! 😊😺🥰 The world may be one big dumpster fire, but I have good news, check it out! I'm so happy to share this with you.
If you're excited about my art & writing too, keep the momentum up & become a patron - or if that's not your style, put a tip in the jar at . Your support makes everything possible - thank you! ❤️🥰❤️
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[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of the artist, a delighted smiling woman giving a thumbs-up with her left hand. She is wearing a purple, green, and blue hoodie, and glasses, and her hair is pulled back with a green and ivory headband with only a small tuft of light blondish-brownish hair showing over her left shoulder. She has a star tattoo on her left forefinger. Behind her on the left, part of a white air conditioner is visible, with the brand Della on it in black letters. To the right of that, over her left shoulder, a laptop sits open on a light-wood-grained desk, the screen bright, its display too washed out to discern anything. To the right of that is a grey track ball with a blue ball. To the right of that, a weekly pill box is barely visible, and to the right of that sits a small blue pot of succulents. To the right of that is a stack of bank books, behind which is a a stainless steel thermos, and a beige canvas pen case decorated with a black cat. In front of the bank books, at the center of the right edge of the photo, is an open planner with a purple cover. One black drawer with a silvery oval-shaped opening is visible below that at the front of the desk. Behind the desk are two potted geraniums, and behind those the bright white rectangle of a window is visible along the top edge of the photo.]

Originally posted to FB 05/25/2021

The shit I do when I should be draw goofy comics about how tired I am. Because that's totally logical, right? 🙃

What are you doing, when you really should be sleeping? Anyone else here prone to late-night puttering of one sort or another?

I swear I totally look like that one on the right once it gets late (early?) enough. Sure feels like it, anyway.

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[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of a bit of comics journaling in black ink on white paper. In the upper left corner is the time "2:26 AM". The face of a person with long hair is sketched three times. The first face is captioned "Tired." and shows a face with eyes drawn as sleepy slits, mouth slightly open. An asterisk indicating a blank mind hovers above the face. The second face is captioned "Tired-er" and shows the face with dazed spirals for eyes, eyebrows angled upwards as if pleading, mouth hanging open. The mumbled sound "...zzzmphMMM?" is written above this face. The third face also has spiral eyes and a baffled look, but this face is distorted in horizontal zigzags, as if viewed in a fun-house mirror. This face is captioned "Catapulted by tired into an all-too-familiar alternate dimension." The entire comic is surrounded by narrow black border. In the bottom left corner, the comic is signed "Akire Bubar" by the artist, followed by the artist's social media handle "@akirebubar".]

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A comic in black ink on a white background, showing three scenes aligned vertically. In the first scene, a person with long hair sits at a table, their tongue sticking out in concentration as they scribble in a journal. To their right, text describes their writing: "...Thoughtful... ...Thoughtful... ...Thoughtful... ...Thoughtful... ...INSIGHT!... ...Thoughtful... ...Thoughtful... ...Thoughtful..." A numberless clock in the upper right reads approximately 1pm, and text under it reads "Time makes at least a modicum of sense". Below this, the ears and eyes of a cat peek up above the table's edge, eyeing the pen & journal. The next scene below this shows the same person dazed & staring blankly at the phone in their left hand. On the right are a jumble of numberless clocks showing various times mixed in with a jumble of circled question marks. Weaving through this, text reads "WTF even is time?" Above, to the left of the person's head, we see the partial word "Thoughtfu-" disappearing into a swirling vortex labeled "Internet Vortex of Doom". On the other side of the vortex, lines form rough hand-shapes reaching towards the person's head, along with the words "amazon" and "Gmail". Below, a looped arrow points from the left side of the vortex to text on the right side that reads " 'reasonable' reasons for picking up phone". Another looped arrow points from this to the person's head further to the right. To the right of the person's head is an assortment of app icons: Google Photos, Google Chrome, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and YouTube Music. The pages of the journal on the table stick upright, ignored. The cat to the left of the person bears an open-mouthed, white-fanged eager smile, and is reaching up and extending their right paw forward to bat at the pen lying on the table, causing it to roll away. The third scene at the bottom shows the person face down on the table, their head on their crossed arms, the journal sitting ignored to the right. On the left, text reading "Internet-induced DESPAIR" bears an arrow pointing towards the person's head. The sound "SOB" is coming from the person, and a thought bubble to the right reads "whyyyy does this keep happening???" The cat, now to the right of the person, gives the person side-eye and says, "mrrrp?" In the bottom left corner of the comic, hand-lettered text reads, "Ya know, Life is Hard Enough without adding POINTLESS SELF-SABOTAGE to the mix..." In the top right corner of the comic, the border is interrupted by the date "5.17.2021". Along the right side of the comic, the border is broken by the artist's social media handle "@akirebubar". Along the left side of the comic, the border is interrupted with the artist's signature - "Akire Bubar".]

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Originally posted to FB 5/19/2021

If you're reading this, you're on the internet, so I know you know. Or - if you are somehow magically immune to the Internet Vortex of Doom, can you please tell the rest of us your secret? Pretty please? 😺
*shyly scuffs floor with foot* - Hey, also, if you like my writing or get a kick out of my art & comics & whatnot, please share! And consider supporting me on Patreon, if that's a thing you're able to do (and if not, no worries, I totally get about tight budgets, that's why I'm asking). You can also follow me there for free! A lot of my posts are public because it's more fun to share. ❤️✒️❤️

Originally posted to FB 5/2/2020

I keep meaning to add color to this one, but I haven't yet. Still, she might be exactly the hero I need right now.... 🥰♥🦛
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[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of a sketch done with a dry black brushpen on white mixed media paper glued into the cream-colored pages of a journal. The sketch is of a pegapoticorn - a made-up animal combining a pegasus, a hippopotamus, and a unicorn. An animal that looks like a hippopotamus with wings and a horn wears an aggressive expression as she charges through the sky, surrounded by big puffy clouds. She has a labrys tattoo on her right forearm. In the center of her right thigh is a tattoo of a heart filled with a boat anchor; the heart is set against long swooping swirl lines that run the entire length of her thigh and up onto her right butt cheek. The sketch is signed "Akire Bubar" in the bottom right corner. Along the bottom edge of the page spread, the tips of two fingers can be seen holding the pages open.]

Originally posted to FB 4/20/2020

How are you managing? Tell me what you're doing to take care of yourself. Or tell me something you wanna complain about, serious or trivial - whatever you need to get off your chest. I wanna know, if you wanna share. ❤
On my end, I offer up some sketches, and some thoughts on panic attacks, productivity (mostly the lack thereof), and getting through all this.
Corvid, covid, corvid, covid, corvid, covid... It's easy to get stuck in an infinite loop angsting about covid-19 chaos. But corvids! Corvids, on the other hand, are fine, fine things. ❤
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[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A photo of a two-page spread of three ink drawings of crows. The paper is part of a brown paper bag, cut up and glued into a notebook. The crows are primarily black ink from a brush pen, filled out in places with grey ink, and highlighted with white ink. In the upper right, a crow stands, wings folded, looking back over their right shoulder. This crow has more detail and uses less black ink than the others. Below this, in the center bottom half of the page spread, a flying crow facing left reaches downward with their feet, beak also pointing dramatically downward. In the top left corner, a smaller crow flies facing right, wings pointing downward in mid-stroke. Below and to the right of this crow, in the center of the page, hand lettering done in black and grey ink reads, "An Assortment of CROWS". In the bottom right corner of the page spread, black handwriting reads, "...because today I am really frustrated with my own inertia & lack of focus & damnit I just really need to draw." In the bottom left corner, the artist's signature reads, "Akire Bubar".]

Originally posted to FB 10/10/2019

What's better than art for sale? *Mystery* art for sale. Heh. Read on for details... (Have I had too much sugar today? Too much coffee? Not enough oxygen? Ummm... 😜)

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On the internet, everyone knows you're a cat — and that's totally okay.