Rek Bell

2024-06-05 Alaska

Just a short update to say that Devine & I have been sailing since May 1st, leaving from Victoria, B.C. We arrived in Ketchikan, Southeast Alaska(US) on June 2nd. We spent all of May moving, taking every weather window we could to make as much progress north as possible. It is tiring, but now that we've arrived a bit higher north we can it a bit slower.

May and June are good months to spend in SE Alaska. It's been very rainy and windy since we've arrived, I'm not sure what nice looks like in these parts... I look forward to it, though. We find cell reception here and there, permitting for updates like this. We'll explore the area, and start making our way back down late July.

I won't be updating this site much in the meantime, maybe just small improvements or notes here and there. Like today, as we are waiting for bad weather to pass in Ketchikan, I worked on the finic language. I've got plans for another wiktopher book, so I'm just jotting down ideas. Because I am away, my store is closed, I will put the vancouver island mushrooms series back for sale when I return in October. See you then!

2024-04-05 Kaizah

I finished the hakum sequence kaizah. I'm pleased with the result! I also went over a lot of the comics in the hakum archive, as I've said before they are no longer canon, but I did update some of the text anyway to bring them more in line. The handwritten text wasn't easy to read, so I updated all of them with the font I made(see making a font). I also published an older short sequence I had finished named aftermath that follows night terror, a short comic to show that Dae and Seir have a really difficult relationship.

I released a new Wunderland Rabbits image. Spring is here on the West Coast of Canada, camas plants are in full bloom. We are getting ready to depart for northern waters, filling the boat with food, gathering e-books, etc.

Because I am learning modern standard arabic on the side, I've started keeping notes! I will append to this page as I go.

2024-04-04 Splash

My website now has a splash page! Hovering the cursor over characters reveals little speech bubbles, it's possible to click on those and it'll take you somewhere on this site. If ever clicking/hovering on the image doesn't occur to people, I also added a re-direct that kicks in after 10 seconds.

I am still working on the new comic sequence for hakum. Unlike previous releases, where I would publish pages as I finished them, I will publish them all at once. Here is a sneak peek.

A few months ago I bought some mochigome(sticky Japanese rice) with the goal of learning how to make mochi. It took me a long time to try because I wasn't sure it was possible to do by hand on the boat. Most tutorials require the use of powered appliances. I've seen Japanese do it by hand by rapidly beating the dough with a mallet, I knew I couldn't do exactly that, but I had a pestle. I cooked the rice, transferred the rice to a bowl, crushed the rice with a potato masher, then went to work beating the dough using my pestle. It's hard work, it took me around 15 minutes of constant beating to get it to a sticky, cohesive mass. Then, I used plenty of cornstarch to separate the dough into 10 balls. Devine & I later cooked the balls with roasted sesame oil in a pan. The result was rice cakes that were crunchy on the outside, and soft and sticky on the inside. We'll make mochi again for sure, maybe next time we'll try to stuff the sticky dough with sweet red beans(anko). See the result.

I made another small rope mat for pino earlier this month. The little black mat was even featured in the latest hundredrabbits newsletter(without the flemish coil). If you're wondering what Little Ninj is doing in the image, he is trying to flatten the mat. When a new mat is finished it won't be comfortable to step on because the ropes are still round, but if the mat is set on the floor, time and the passing of feet will flatten it out. Stamping on a mat repeatedly is a quick way to flatten it, it's also possible to use a rubber mallet. Generally, we tolerate the initial discomfort and wait for the material to settle on its own.

In the interest of conserving useful articles about boating/sailing, I mirrored two articles on my website: defensive boating and gunwale and hull cushioning.

2024-03-09 Knots

I added instructions on how to make small rope mats, the images are at the end of the post. I also shared instructions on how to make a good friction hitch. Yep, I've been getting back into knotting lately! I documented some of the knots that Dev & I use the most aboard pino on the 100r website.

I improved the look of the hakum page, adding small graphics and trying to space out the content better to make it more pleasant to read (I have a tendency to pack a lot of text in a single page *sweats*). I started a new comic sequence but progress is slow because Dev & I are preparing for a big sailing trip this summer. We hope to make it to Northern B.C., near the Alaskan border. I spend my days studying guide books and charts, trying to understand how the wind and current behaves. This coast is not easy to sail, but we want to get better acquainted with it, even if it means getting uncomfortable for a short while.

2024-02-17 Network of Trust

February 14th marks my 8th year living aboard pino! The boat is doing well, although Dev & I both suffered a cold these past few days. We are two disgusting snot fountains.

Because it is becoming harder and harder to find good information on the internet by way of search engines, I overhauled my list of bookmarks, documenting my favorite websites and resources to try and combat AI garbage generators and websites that spin content. Building lists of trusted links written by experienced and well-meaning humans, and hosting them on your website, is a good way to create a network of trust.

I completed Ruler of the Taiga. It is annoying how even if I just completed night terror, I already dislike a lot of the art. My hand and my eye keeps improving, it's a good thing but it makes it difficult to appreciate work now that I was proud of at the time of completion. The spell wears off so quickly. I am glad I am improving, but I hate being this inconsistent. I've always assumed that once I learned to draw that I could only get better at it, that regressing was not possible, but if there are too many long lulls between drawing sessions(months, years...) I realized that it is possible to lose it. The skill isn't lost entirely, but the work can appear stiff. Drawing will always make me happy, but I hope that my work eventually stabilizes. Note that this 'regression' is only true when drawing characters with realistic proportions (projects like hakum, and circa), errors are more apparent in designs like this than with a project with a cartoon style like mindbird.

I did a few sprite commissions, see Alex P., Benji and family(1), and Benji(2).

I made some modifications to rope mats, so that intructions are clearer. I made a tiny mat out of red paracord for a friend this month for v-day, I missed making mats, I plan to make more this month.

2024-01-21 New old art

Wahoo! Night Terror is finished! Currently sketching a new sequence which I look forward to sharing :>!

I did a few sprite commissions this month, see Alex, Squid, and Sofia.

I added a bunch of new(old) production art to uno and wiktopher. I'm trying to gather all of my art on this website, even the really old stuff (see old art). I logged into DeviantArt the other day and saw how they had fully intergrated AI into their platform, which makes me so, so sad. As HelveticaBlanc said so well in a recent toot(Mastodon): "I don't wanna see AI in any form, even as a joke. It's a nightmare for labor and the environment, an insult to the spirit of art, and I'm fully on the side of the Butlerian Jihad." Yes, me too. AI art is hollow, it is a grotesque parody of what it is to be human.

I've had two accounts parked on DA for the longest time (@esserawks and @mintenko), I kept them for memory's sake, but after seeing what DA has become I've decided to deactivate them. All of my art lives on this page now.

2024-01-06 Yearly review

I wrote my yearly review for 2024. It's been a busy, but generally good year for me.

The reupholstery in Pino's saloon is DONE! I learned a ton of stuff doing this project. I started working on the quarter berth cushions, and I am finding that despite having some practice I am still making a lot of mistakes. Thankfully, the cushions are still usable—let's just say that they have "character", they scream "I am unique." Yes, yes you are dear cushion.

I released 6 new pages for Hakum for Night Terror (pages 11-16). Initially, I had put the total number of pages at 17, don't know how I arrived at that number because I still have 5 more pages to do(lol). Some of the pages I've added are a bit violent, so be warned. It just dawned on me how different that project is from Wiktopher, this contrast makes appear very fickle, but there are many facets to a person. I like violent comics(Junji Ito, Blade of the Immortal) just as much as I love wholesome films like Omoide Poro Poro. What can I say, I'm versatile.

2023-12-21 Wiktopher on paperback

Wiktopher is now available on paperback! It's possible to get it here. I've already received my test copy and was very pleased with the result!

I released 3 new pages (hellooo productivity!) for Hakum, see page 8, 9, and 10 on Night Terror.

As a Christmas present to ourselves, me and Dev purchased a Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ sewing machine! We tried one for the first time in 2016, having borrowed one from a friend to repair our sail cover—we've wanted one ever since. We had another machine aboard Pino but there's a lot of materials it can't handle, we're sick of breaking needles, damaging fabric and wasting thread. Right now I am working at reupholstering Pino's interior, a good machine will help speed up that process. I'd also really like to learn to make clothes, because it would lovely to have clothes that fit properly for once.

Aside from that, I've updated my bookmarks, I've also added a bunch of drawings to a number of pages on this website to make things more fun.

2023-12-04 Wiktopher release

Wiktopher, a story I've been working out since 2017, is finally out! So far, it is possible to read it as a PDF, as an EPUB, and as a mobi file, (available on I'm waiting for a test print for the paperback version, if everything looks great then I will add that as an option soon.

I released a new page for Hakum, see page 7 on Night Terror.

I wrote down some notes on mine and Dev's first summer of cooking with the sun.

I added original art(my Vancouver Island Mushrooms series) for sale in my store. I had some pretty large dental bills recently, so any purchase will help on that front!

2023-11-20 Hakum font

I've added pages 4,5, and 6 for the Night Terror comic sequence. This month I also designed a font based on my handwriting for this same project. It was my first time ever making a font, and I really enjoyed the process, so much that I made a short write-up about it.

Devine & I worked at translating Thousand Rooms into Solresol. Devine translated the text from English, but I put the text to a staff as notes.

I drew a small illustration for Wiktopher.

Otherwise, I spent time repairing a bunch of things! I replaced the zipper on my winter jacket(see latest entry), and finally replaced the keyboard on Obi. It is so nice to have a functional keyboard again!


I've released the first two pages of the new Hakum.

concept. I'm also testing a new technique. My goal is to use the computer less to make this project, so the frames are drawn and shaded by hand in pencil. I add the text digitally (for now). The new sequence is named Night Terror.

I made two new wunderland rabbits images. One at the botanical garden, the other at a pommeraie.

I removed a lot of the old CSS of this website, and cleaned up the html to make it more readable. I'm very pleased with the result! It was a long time coming, but I needed a bit of sit-down time (as well as some motivation to do robot work for a day or two).

I got Cee and Viktor tattooed by the amazing Lizbeth, see it here.

August 2023.

Forgive the lack of updates for July and most of August. I've been in a crazy drawing mood and been mostly doing that. I've also sailed a lot this summer, took many walks and enjoyed time outside.

I've been working hard on the story for hakum. It's changed... a lot, haha. A lot of what I drew the doesn't work anymore, but that's what worldbuilding is, things change. I'm working on a new sequence now, and it's looking amazing... i can't wait to show it!

Devine & I finished the first pass of corrections for Wiktopher, I am now revisiting specific parts, moving chunks of text around and overall making sure that there aren't any mistakes (story, grammatical, or typing errors).

June 2023.

The month of June has passed me by entirely! I've been traveling with pino, seeing some new places! It's been nice. As usual, I'll be quieter this summer, focusing instead on drawing, new projects, etc. I may not reply to email right away.

May 2023.

What to say about May? So far, I spend my days making food runs to the grocery store to prepare for a summer at anchor! Devine & I are also busy closing some projects on the boat. I worked on an illustration for a school manual (will announce here when released).
I made a page for the merveilles community I share with others online, featuring an illustrated version I made of the community logo.

Some cool things found this month:

April 2023.

A lot of updates on this site this month! I added a lot of new pages, but also moved some content around. For instance, there is no more "illustration" section in the header overtop. All of the illustrations previously featured there are now scattered across 3 sections: games, books for children and projects. I put all personal and client games together, and added images of some of the children's books I've worked on since 2008.
I have so many backups of projects that I've never listed anywhere, thought it was time to add them to kokorobot. Added some old comics(2009-2010) I've done(pcbc and tdc) in stories. They are very silly comics, but I like them. Previously, these comics were all hosted on DeviantArt only. I think it is safer to host these here, I don't really trust websites that offer free hosting of data anymore.

Some cool things found this month:

March 2023.

February 2023. Two days into Feb, and I've completed the event comic sequence! It has 14 pages total, my longest one yet! These days I work on Oquonie until dinner time, and spend evenings on the comic. I rather like this way of doing things. I also sometimes have to cut into my comic hours to study for my Basic Amateur Radio license, I re-dove into Morse Code and my brain is dizzy with dits and dahs. Learning to recognize sounds as letters is an interesting and brain-wrecking process. To practice, I use (it's pretty good).

January 2023. devine & I are still re-wiring our beloved pino, we are tackling the AC side of the system, see AC electrical refit. Very exciting things are happening this month, Devine & I are finally ready to try and port oquonie to uxn. We made Uxn because we wanted a way for our games to live longer on a variety of devices, new and old. We had many puzzles to solve, but we're happy to say that we've arrived at a point where making complex games on this system is within the realm of the possible. If we succeed, this will be the culmination of many years of hard work.

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 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).