Punk Pesach

In This Issue:

  • Punk Pesach: How to have the most irreverent seder ever plus a downloadable haggadah ().
  • Worst Date Ever: A short review of a completely repulsive evening. It’s relatable! Unfortunately.
  • Eternal Flame: On “functional morbidity” and embracing the creep.

Punk Pesach

2017 has been a wild ride so far, and we’ve only wrapped Q1. With this in mind, when a friend and I started text-shouting OI OI OI back and forth one morning last month, somehow Punk Pesach seemed like a natural fit. Passover is my favorite holiday to host- something about insane standards and high stress dinners appeal to me- except this year I vowed we would ‘take it easy’ and make it into something fun. So in order to take it easy and go light on myself, I agreed to host 9 people in my studio apartment, make dinner and create an abbreviated haggadah for us to use.

For those of you not familiar with Passover, here’s a really quick run-down: It’s a roughly week-long festival, during the first 2 nights you celebrate by attending seders, which are typically super long (and sometimes kind of dull), before you can have dinner and be merry, you read the story of Passover from a haggadah, which is like a little guidebook for the seder. Seder just means order- so read this book, do it in order, et voila, you have pesach-ed.

This year I think was my favorite year ever for Pesach, I was delighted that everyone got into the round robin reading of our super short seder, especially those of my friends who created a character for their reading. To any concerned grandmas out there- we all went to a super respectable Social Justice seder the next night, so don’t worry to much about us. Worry a little bit- but not too much.

Below is the abbreviated Haggadah I created for the occasion, feel free to snag it for yourself! All content (hand lettering, illustrations, storytelling) was created by me, except for the prayers, because I’m not 1000 years old. It prints double sided and folds in half, and cost about 2 bucks at Fedex for 15 copies, so it’s economical too!

Side 1
Side 2

Worst Date Ever

 

 

Eternal Flame

One of the very best parts of the last year of my life has been embracing all the weird stuff that makes me, well, me. I’ve always heard that happens as you get older- I have to say, it’s certainly just less exhausting, and way more fun just to be myself. I’ve tried to fit into a lot of molds throughout my 20s that just weren’t for me. I think this week I’ve really reached peak ‘Grace’ though.

The first part of that was a routine trip to Powell’s last weekend, where I picked up “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Other Lessons From The Crematory”. If you’re into dark/funny memoirs, I highly recommend this book. In particular, I read a phrase that completely struck me- Caitlin Doughty describes her childhood as “functionally morbid”, and I thought, “Me too!”. She goes on to describe that term as being generally a normal, happy go lucky person who has some um.. different interests. I started drawing my name in bones as soon as I could spell it, and by 4th grade I had read every scary story/paranormal book in the school library. My teachers were so concerned that they called a meeting with my dad about it. I couldn’t help it- the stories scared the heck out of me, but I was hooked.

In addition to this completely fascinating memoir, I was also introduced to the podcast “My Favorite Murder”, which is 2 comedians, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark discussing their favorite true crime stories. I’ve been completely immersed (and maybe sleeping with an extra light on). If you’ve got a slightly morbid sense of humor and a love of being scared, you should definitely check it out.

One of the things I really appreciate about the book and the podcast is the frank and open discussion of anxiety. I guess when the main subject matter is as taboo as it is, anxiety is small potatoes, but I really appreciate that there are successful interesting women out there talking about dealing with anxiety in a high profile way.

So I guess I feel like it’s all coming full circle this year- and there are more people like me out there in the world than I assumed. Functionally morbid kids unite!

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Dirt Bikes, Markers & Bridges, Oh my!

State of Grace Volume 1 Issue 3


In This Issue:

  1. Markers, Helmets & Motorbikes: Essence of Dirt. I spent a day at this ladies only dirt bike campout in Washougal, WA and got to pretend to be a super cool person for a day.
  2. The Actual Bridge of The People: Self Governed Sellwood Bridge. I commute over this sumbitch every day, I am unwisely going to share my tactics and observations for having a better commute out of far SE.
  3. Out on the Town with One-Liner! My little party game is getting brave and being played places other than my living room. Read on!

Essence of Dirt hosted by SoulCraft Moto
This is an actual thing that happened. Keep scrolling.

Last weekend I got the extreme pleasure of observing the fruits of my labor in action and watching badass ladies do even more badass things. Earlier this year I helped the genius behind SoulCraft Moto, Kandy Longstreet (pictured above) create some cool stuff (like hand lettered and illustrated posters and t-shirt designs) to advertise her ladies only dirt bike campout in Washougal. When she invited me to join the campout armed with my box of sharpies, I knew I couldn’t resist.

essenceofdirt3
Cooler ladies than me about to hit the trails.

This was my third visit to Washougal, but this is the first time I felt a real palpable energy buzzing through the trees. As soon as I pulled off the road, I was surrounded by the sound of 2 strokes and 4 strokes whipping through the hillside, all around were about a hundred women in armor and helmets, looking like the coolest tribe from Mad Max.

essenceofdirt5
I can take credit for the poster and lettering on the sticker- but my favorite new cap was courtesy of Women’s Moto Exhibit.

Being around all these cool chicks on bikes made me giddy. I got myself set up in the mercifully shaded tent to draw on stuff (they were even more badass for being in the 90 degree weather in full armor). Seeing all kinds of stuff with the hand lettering I created stamped on it got me even more pumped- usually you send off your work for a job and maybe see it floating around in pictures on the web, this time I was surrounded by shirts and stickers and hoodies with my work on it-super surreal. The only thing that would have made it better was not having 2 broken toes, but I will ride next year!

Fearless Leader modeling a custom helmet and screen printed tank- her vision, my design.
Fearless Leader modeling a custom helmet and screen printed tank- her vision, my design.

Have I mentioned that Essence of Dirt took place on International Women’s Ride Day? So not only was I surrounded by over a hundred fearless women from all over the Pacific Northwest (even Canada!), but women all over the world were meeting to make some noise.

"How about something patriotic?"
“How about something patriotic?”
essenceofdirt2
“What have I got to lose? Draw on my bike!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hours flew by as I got to draw on weird stuff and hang out with the stellar women who made the whole event run so smoothly. I left Washougal that evening with my ears buzzing and a grin on my face- and I only got a small taste of the full campout. Next year I’m renting a bike.

Fearless Leader takes the teeter totter on her 80 from the 80s.
Fearless Leader takes the teeter totter on her 80 from the 80s.

self-wood

Last year saw the opening of Portland’s first pedestrian/mass transit only bridge, which has been dubbed “Tillikum Crossing: Bridge of the People”. I would like to argue that title however for the Sellwood bridge, which is currently a masterpiece of neighborly self governance. Having been in a state of constant construction for the past few years, and currently boasting no stoplight on the eastern entrance, it’s a bit of an obstacle course.

When I moved to Sellwood 2 months ago I ran into a morality crisis I had not had to navigate in the Alphabet District (where the moral crisis is whether or not to leave a note when you inevitably bump into 5,000 Subaru’s while trying to parallel park). I found that my commute could be cut down by an impressive 20 minutes, if I chose not to take the main street leading to the Sellwood Bridge in order to get to my job in the burbs. It felt wrong at first, to leave everyone else stranded on Tacoma while I whizzed down Miller (and by whiz I mean carefully meander in and out of parked cars so both lanes of traffic can actually get through, while also not running over the sweet but speedy and erratic Catholic school children on 15th).

selllwood-traffic

I’ve come to terms with this moral gray area by making a compromise- instead of being super greedy and taking the last street before the bridge, I enter the fray on 7th. I feel even better if I let someone in from the 6th intersection, and I feel like a goddamn superhero if I can let someone make a left turn onto the bridge from 6th. Remember that whole no stoplight thing? There aren’t even stop signs at 6th, so drivers who take the side streets really are at the mercy of all the patient/road ragey souls who have waited their turn on Tacoma.

tacoma-driver

I would like to take a moment now to apologize to everyone I commute with- I’m sure I just sold out our shortcut, fellow shortcut takers, and I’m sorry the folks on Tacoma haven’t figured this out already- but they’re probably from Milwaukie anyway, so whatever (I’m looking at you, Enoch).


The first prints!
The first prints!

International Table Top Game Day came and went a couple of weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to score a table for One-Liner! at our local game emporium, Guardian Games. Up til now, the game has only existed as my original drawings and digital copies that I sell here– for ITTGD I made the first printed copies ever. Not gonna lie, I might have teared up a little bit when I got handed the stacks of card stock with everything looking all profesh and shiny. This was after an entire week struggling with my outdated home printer and a head cold. The visit to a real printer was totally worth it.

one-liner-4

Guardian was packed to the gills with enthusiasts and game designers- it was great seeing so many people enjoying themselves and discovering new games! My favorite part was seeing what people came up with for the latest expansion, Nerds! I honestly don’t have captions in mind when I draw the cards, I still want it to be fun for me to play, so it’s fantastic when someone writes something totally unexpected and hilarious.

one-liner-1

IITGD was a great time, I loved seeing reactions to the game- its nice to have confirmation outside of my living room that people have fun with it! Since the outing at Guardian Games went so well, I decided to take it out for another test run (with my boyfriend and co-creator) at the weekly game night at My Father’s Place, which literally looks like someone’s dad’s basement bar from the 70s.

one-liner-6
The winner: “Every wedding has it’s oddball table.”

This time I left the table entirely- not gonna lie, I freaked out a little bit at leaving the cards behind. Luckily they were in good hands with our friend, I will never doubt him in the future. I was happy to hear that the game continued to be enjoyed for a few rounds, before a drunk lady crashed the party, as they do.

one-liner-5
Personal favorite caption for one of my favorite cards: “Only poor people hide their wealth in a mattress!”

It’s pretty scary bringing this game out in public and hoping people will like it- it feels a little bit like the first day of school, or going on stage for a talent show. So far so good, thanks for being nice to me Portland!

State Of Grace – Issue 1 Volume 1

State of Grace Issue 1 Volume 1

In This Issue:

  1. What is This: A short explanation of State of Grace.
  2. Becoming an Artist: How did this happen to me?
  3. A Life Well Curated: How to live your truth & look great while doing it.

What is This?

State of Grace is a mini-mag published biweekly(bimonthly, bi-yearly?), right here, for you, by me (Grace). My friend came up with the title in a fit of cleverness, and was banned to the pun porch for a few minutes before I realized it was great. The goal of State of Grace is to make you laugh, or chortle, or at go ‘huhm.. that’s.. funny.’, which I accept as an in person response and interpret as great praise. Each issue will be modeled on a different print publication- see if you can guess!

So, without further ado- issue 1, volume 1!


Becoming An Artist

Donner Party Cartoon Grace Anderson

People come to creative professions in many ways. What I find to be a super common and effective route is to be the kid the teachers are a little concerned about (but generally like); there is a fine line between being the artsy kid, and the scary kid. During your time as a budding artiste, your parents should get a lot of phone calls about ghosts in the bathroom, strange notions about something called a ‘leather bar’ in your latest storybook, and general looks of concern when all of your school projects could have been made by Wednesday Addams.


 

A Life Well Curated

(How To Live Your Truth & Look Great Doing It, Especially In Portland, Please don’t take this advice.)

Portland Living Grace Anderson

Over the years, I’ve lived in almost every major city on the West Coast. I partied in LA while being dangerously broke (the LA dream), I lived in a tiny studio apartment that left me dangerously broke in Silicon Valley (the second Silicon Valley dream, behind being rich). Now I’m working on living the Portland Dream- which from what I’ve read and observed means being painstakingly unique by means of ‘curation’. Just like every other good Californian who is absolutely ruining this area, I would like to share with you how you too can achieve this dream! I’ve included a handy photo guide, which you can add to your vision board while you work on living your truth.

  1. Begin at home: Everything must be arranged to be perfectly charming, but effortless at the same time. This actually takes a lot of effort, but it must only look effortless. I added the cat treats to let my friends know, “I’m human too, I also leave things around higgledy piggledy.” Some friends of mine intentionally leave their laundry on the floor to give the same effect, while other leave their lawns unmowed for months at a time. This is trademark Portland empathy.
  2. Treat your look like art: Living authentically means treating yourself like a precious work of art. Your look must speak to your divine truth- and be instagram worthy while you are walking along Mississippi Ave. Everyone knows Portlanders never carry umbrellas, so I have taken to wearing a shower cap on days with a more than 20% chance of rain. I see this as a pragmatic solution, with a fashionable twist (I’ve accessorized my shower cap with a dahlia, but have fun with this idea, make it your own)!
  3. Live like every day is field day: Portlanders love quirky sports. If you aren’t part of a sport typically associated with children or senior citizens, how can you let your inner child (or grandma) out to play? Keeping your inner child/grandma caged is cruel- that is why I take every chance I can to watch my friends play bocce ball- from the sidelines, just like I did as a kid.
  4. Leave no stone left un-curated: I tried to curate my cat, but she didn’t get it. That is ok because I am gentle with myself, and I don’t let others’ feelings warp my inner truth. If Leeloo doesn’t want to be curated… that’s just her authentic choice. 

 

Simple Pleasures


There isn’t much better and simpler pleasure for me than new art supplies. I decided to treat myself last night and I picked up a new bottle of ink, a travel water cup to clean my brushes (it’s so tiny!), and a couple of new brushes to be dedicated ink brushes. It might have been 10 years or so since I refreshed my little brushes- it was about time!


I had decided to break them in at one of my favorite boho restaurants on the east side, I love all the colored lights on the patio, the kitsch art and the mismatched chandeliers. If you’re ever in Portland and like things a little weird, I highly suggest The Pied Cow. The obnoxious teenagers two tables down are just bonus entertainment.


I’ve been participating in an instsgram challenge hosted by the lovely Kimberly Haydn (she blogs here), and I’ve really been enjoying the prompts she came up with. Yesterdays was ‘Flower Power’, so I decided to draw a pretty lady with some peonies. You should totally try out this challenge thing if you haven’t done it before- its a fun way to stretch your creative comfort zone and meet some cool new folks!

Laurel Meets World

Laurel shares a secret.
Laurel shares a secret.

The past 2 weeks have been so inspiring- the weather has taken a turn for the beautiful, my bike is getting a lot more use, and the SCBWI Conference soared above and beyond my expectations. I met some truly lovely people, learned so so much about the craft and protocols of children’s books, and I feel that I came out of it with a much clearer vision for my latest project.

Captain Couch explores the wide wide world.
Captain Couch explores the wide wide world.

I really can’t sum up the entirety of the conference in a way that would be useful for anyone other than myself, except to say that if you have the chance to attend one, no matter where you are on your writing or illustrating journey, you should.

Laurel wants to know everything.
Laurel wants to know everything.

During the conference I scribbled notes, made doodles, and my imagination really crystalized my vision for Laurel, Hawthorne, and Captain Couch- I always thought it was cheesy or disingenuous when authors said that their characters were more like friends, or real people- but I totally get it now. Laurel especially has taken on a life of her own, and I am loving every minute of it.

Hawthorne learns about gravity.
Hawthorne learns about gravity.

Good Morning Cat

Today she sat in my chair, as if she were seeing what it might be like to be me.

It seems in the past few months I have somehow become a morning person. With my morning coffee and a book, I’ve found there is a special space between waking and being a part of the world around me, where I can relax and cherish the still quiet of a city morning. My constant companion during those hours is Leeloo, the little orange cat who has been with me on nearly all my journeys of the last 5 years. Now we are learning to be morning ‘people’.

Every morning holds something new and unique- whether it is the sun breaking through a fluffy raft of clouds above my neighbors roofs, or just my little orange cat being her unusual self. I’m so enamored with my morning time that sleeping in for the weekends has begun to feel strange. However, some habits are harder to break, and I think that’s fine.

Italian Fashion at the Portland Art Museum

sculpture outside of portland art museum

Ever since I saw the building high banners announcing the Italian Fashion Exhibit that was making its way to the Portland Art Museum, I’ve been itching to go. However, life and the day to day seemed to fly by, through February, (plenty of time!), March (ages left!), April (I should think about that)- and today, the 3rd of May, and the very last day to see it!

Today was the perfect day to catch the exhibit- the sun was shining, and the streetcar between my neighborhood and the museum was the most wonderful way to travel unencumbered. Luckily, I left my day wide open and was able to take it in with a friend- and thank goodness I gave myself time. I was excited to see the exhibit, but I had no idea just how sucked into the world of fashion, folds, lace, and glitter I would be.

My friend and I were giddy at each new discovery- a perfectly cut suit here, an ethereal ball gown there- and then what we dubbed the Pants of Penzance. I have no way to describe the horror that was the pleated knee length jumper suit- it was unleashed upon the world in 1981, and must have taken some serious cruise ship level towel folding skills to create. It was all ruffles and swirling pleats- it had a strange mixture between shoulder pads and what seemed like wings, and the same effect mirrored on the bottom half of the pants.  Besides a few bizarre entries, the exhibit was incredible (even the bizarre outfits were artfully made, if not total head-scratchers).

I haven’t had a solid museum sketch sesh like that in quite some time- I’m so pleased with it I’ll catalogue the results below:

italian fashion sketch by Grace Anderson
This was by far my favorite dress- the back was draped in red crepe silk with red silk flowers fading into a translucent tulle train.

 

italian fashion sketch by Grace Anderson

italian fashion sketch by Grace Anderson
The dress on the right featured a curtain of beads across the back that I imagined would sway and shimmer just so.

 

italian fashion sketch by Grace Anderson

italian fashion sketch by Grace Anderson
This dress was crimson silk, from 1950- it looked like the moulin Rouge dress in reverse.

 

italian fashion sketch by Grace Anderson
I thought this glittering caftan would make an amazing set of pajamas for my latest character, Laurel.

 

 

Why I Have No Room For Guilty Pleasures

Wizards and ditzes and men in long jackets- these are a few of my favorite things!
Wizards and ditzes and men in long jackets- these are a few of my favorite things!

Earlier today, while I was sitting in traffic and spacing out, I began to daydream about how I would use some of my leisure time tonight. As usual, for me, I was thinking about sitting down with a book. Currently, I’m re-reading the entire Harry Potter series. That might seem a tad dorky, for a later end of her twenties grown up lady to do, but I’ve decided to embrace that side of myself instead- in fact, I have decided that I don’t have room for guilty pleasures in my life.

This year I moved out of a way-too-big-for-me apartment in the suburbs into my dream apartment- a small studio in the heart of Portland. The months before that move were absorbed by sorting and purging- everything unnecessary had to go. In the end, I moved with about 1/3rd of my original possessions. One of the hardest parts of that sorting was figuring out which books would go, and which must stay. It turned out, in the end, my favorite books were my ‘guilty pleasures’- a few series from my teenage years, like Harry Potter, a plethora of British chick-lit books (all with alarmingly similar plots), an ever expanding collection of Raymond Chandler novels, and a few cherished classics. What surprised me was how easy it was to get rid of all the books that had gathered dust on my shelf as some sort of nerdy street cred, as if to say, “See! I read the Wasteland! And Fitzgerald! These business books were enthralling!”.

I had a rule for myself when I made the move- I didn’t want to bring anything that wasn’t going to make me happy. I brought the books and possessions I loved, rather than the ones I had hoped people might be impressed by. To my delight, I’ve discovered that I like my space and myself much better when I’m not pressuring myself to be someone I’m not. So today I am declaring there is simply no room for guilty pleasures in my life- just real true pleasure. There’s just nothing better than sitting down with a good book (whatever that might mean).