Rek Bell

December 2022. So far, December has been a month of boat work. We are currently re-doing all of the electricals on pino. Our home is a mess, but it must be done. I released my yearly update(2022dec31) for 2022, talking about the hightlights of the year!

November 2022. I spent the start of November working on assets for Kanji Study, a kanji-learning Android app developed by my good friend Chase. I will share the project assets here when the app update is released. Otherwise, I'm working on hakum, cleaning up pages in my free time. I also added an index containing all the pages published on this website.

11.11.22. I have finished another comic sequence for hakum called chase. Because I've had a hard time sticking with comic as a format, I've basically decided to just finish the bits that I like, in the order that I like. It will be weird for others to read, but that's how it's going to be (haha). The story will come together in the right order overtime. Anyway, I've got a good rhythm going on and I am truly in love with inking these comics with a dip pen, it is a game changer for me. I've spent the last few weeks working on some artwork for Kanji Study, a Kanji-learning app developed by my good friend Chase Colburn, I'll link the art here once it is released. Enjoy.

17.10.22. Pino is back in Victoria, to our usual winter spot. Although these days Victoria doesn't feel autumny at all, temperatures are still in the mid 20's and there is still no sign of rain in the forecast (the island as been dry for months). The air is thick with wildfire smoke, so these days we're staying indoors to avoid the worst of it. I found a used CanoScan LiDE 20 scanner in town and I've been scanning art with it for my upcoming free-form comic project hakum. For those who followed the project circa, you'll see that Hakum uses some of the same characters, that is because Circa was a sort of pilot project, a way for me to explore what sort of comic I wanted to do (a way to flesh out the story/characters). Many of the characters have changed, in both appearance/personality (its why I've nuked all the character profiles, I'll add new ones soon). The story and its focus has changed too! Because it's somewhat different, I've changed the story name. I've a sketchbook-full of art to paste together, something that will occupy much of my time this winter. I've inked, scanned and processed a short segment called reunited.

26.07.22. Hello Kid Rek, we haven't talked in a while. I wanted to tell you that the last two and a half months have been my most productive, drawing wise, since when I was your age. We used to fill sketchbooks so fast that we started numbering them, remember? That was a great time. But I'm sad to say that as we got older and started to draw for a living our output of personal works lessened, and was almost brought to a complete halt. Me, now-adult Rek, hasn't owned a sketchbook in years, relying instead on stray pieces of paper, small notebooks and digital sketches. I've never stopped drawing entirely, but I've stopped diving into the worlds that we'd made together, and loved. The characters were always on my mind, but I could never put them to paper. I'd resigned myself to the idea that they could only live in my head, and that somehow it was enough... this is all I could get. I did try and fill other new, blank sketchbooks after that, but never felt the same drive as back then, and the sketchbooks ended mostly unused, and eventually turned into objects of guilt. I've always assumed that drawing with such energy and passion was something I could only ever do as you, Kid Rek, that this time was over, gone, and that I could not get it back. But this year, I'm not sure why I did it, but after a 12-year gap I bought a new sketchbook. I did let it sit on the shelf for a time, with some trepidation, wondering when it too would start to throw guilt my way. I drew a commission on the first page, and hoped that it wouldn't be the only drawing that would ever populate its pages. I became superstitious, as if the mere act of thinking that I would not fill this sketchbook would turn into another 12-year long curse. Devine and I left the dock with pino in early May 2022, and now, I'm delighted to say Kid Rek, that this same sketchbook, after a few weeks, is already nearly filled with drawings from cover to cover.

What happened? I've always felt guilty spending my days drawing comics that are destined primarily for me, for us. "It's not productive," I'd say to myself, "you love it, and it animates you like nothing else, but it's not going to earn you money." For that reason I've long ignored my wants, in favor of supposed self-imposed 'had-tos'. In the summer, we lie at anchor full-time and don't have moorage to pay... and so somehow, I feel the guilt less. (I live on a boat Kid Rek, you would have never guessed that, right?) This is also my first real Pacific Northwest summer on the boat (you've left the cold Montreal winters too, impressed yet?), with no destination, few projects or concerns. This is free time, and because it is my mind is unbothered by thoughts of money and is free to roam and play... all day, like we used to to do. I did feel some guilt in the start, but it slowly ebbed away... and with every passing day I felt its pull less and less until it was gone almost entirely. Now I realize how much I need this in my life. I spend my days having sometimes pleasant, sometimes difficult conversations with fictional characters, with myself. I look to the conversations of the previous day with satisfaction. Playing out situations, different characters with different motives, backgrounds and beliefs, is nourishing my mind, I've found it to be a good way to digest information, and to develop empathy.

I've always enjoyed making free-form comics. By free-form, I mean not bound by timelines, or borders. I illustrate the moments I want, withhold others. This is what I want for my wiki, to share a story across different mediums. Some bits are better by text, other by comics, or maybe animation (this is me getting ahead of myself). For now, I am filling pages, inking them as I go with plans to digitize them in the fall/winter. When I draw, I catch myself smiling, laughing a lot. I am having a very good time right now, Kid Rek, you'd be proud. Some sketches: [1],[2] and [3].

22.06.22. The video I worked on about image optimization for the Photographer's Gallery (as part of their Green Hacks video series) is out! Watch it here. I am currently anchored in Melanie Cove in Desolation Sound. It is quiet here, and we have *some* internet (it is shit though). I have been drawing a lot by hand, more than I have in recent years. I think I needed to have this little trip up north. Having shit internet and little power to use a computer means that I turn to drawing more. It feels great. I've started a short series of drawings for a project about a rabbit and character sailing on a Turnip-shaped boat (see fsf talk). I came up with the idea when working on the FSF talk, and I want to keep making more! Devine is helping me review wiktopher at the moment, I've read it so often that my eyes are completely blind to mistakes (ugh).

22.05.16. I worked on a little video on image optimization for the Photographer's Gallery as part of their Green Hacks video series, the video isn't out yet but I'd encourage you to watch the ones that were already published (they're very good and informative, especially the one on how to install open source software on a camera). Pino and crew have left Victoria Harbor (May 10th) and we are now at anchor, slowly making our way north. Because we have less power I've switched to using obi, my low-power workstation. I'm also finishing up corrections for wiktopher.

22.04.15. Finished a commission of a lovely pufferfish, see it in its natural habitat. I am still editing wiktopher, the text is 300 pages and making sure there are no mistakes takes time. I hope to release it before summer.

22.04.03. The video for the FSF talk is out, watch it here. I was so eager(nervous, rly...) to start talking that I started talking before I was supposed to! Anyway, hope you enjoy it. I drew Varvara on a Sinclair bicycle for Devine. Otherwise, been working on a few commissions, which I will share here soon (they are not yet finished).

22.03.22. On March 20th 2022, devine and I gave a keynote talk for Libre Planet 2022. I drew some illustrations (see fsf talk) for the slide show presentation. I think the talk was recorded, I'll include the link in the project page description when it comes out. I also put together a set of Uxn stickers, I am super pleased with how they turned out.

22.02.20. I got my first-aid certification! I've always wanted to have that. As for projects, I've been working on the print copy of wiktopher, mainly. I am getting better at working with pandoc and LaTeX and I am really pleased with the look of the book so far! I asked for Devine's help to make up a game for the Iridi people, my rough idea was a mix between Domino and Go, and Dev came up with Hako. Dev made sonobe origami boxes and we played it together on the boat! Now we have a new game we can play aboard pino, and to enrich the world of Wiktopher.

22.03.03. Made a new illustration of Uxn and Varvara together. Rostiger(Mastodon) drew some amazing art of Uxn, and I realized then that I had not drawn a sideview of the character yet, so I did!.

22.01.27. uxn is turning a year old tomorrow! SO I made a little illustration to celebrate this. I finally finished adding ALL 137 drawings to the page of my 2012 hitobito project, the files were previously hosted on Tumblr. We have released 3 new languages for thousand rooms: Serbian, Hungarian and Polish. All books are now available as both PDFs and ePUBS. We also re-built the whole project, it was previously written in Ruby and was converted to ANSI C.

22.01.23. Devine & I submitted yufo to the Virtual Pet Jam. Yufo likes rock, paper, scissors, and ramen. It's a simple game that you're meant to keep on in the background as you do other tasks. Yufo has a short lifespan, and depending what you give/withhold, and how often, their appearance changes as they age..

22.01.29. I've completed transcribing the Polish, Hungarian and Serbian translations for thousand rooms. I'll add them to out itch.io page soon. I also finished a little walrus pixel logo for the website Le Morse, made in Nasu.

22.01.15. I've been working on thousand rooms this month, adding some new languages like Polish, Hungarian and Serbian. I've also been making text corrections to wiktopher. Added project page for catpot (older project I still didn't have a page for).