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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Lowlights!

State of Grace Volume 1 Issue 4


In This Issue:

You Can Be Anything! Screw Society’s Standards!  Cover.

Napoleon Complex? Nah! It’s Simple! Thoughts on a recent commission.

I Wanna Be Your Dog – What’s Wrong With This Picture? A scene with the New York Dogs.


Napoleon Complex? Nah! It’s Simple!

ganderson-napoleon

I recently had the pleasure of working on a personal commission that brought together my love of classical art, and my enjoyment of silly juxtaposition. A modern take on the ultimate Dude-Bro, Napoleon.


What’s Wrong With This Picture?

newyorkdogs

Give me your guesses in the comments.

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. 

 

Artisanal Hipster Bingo!

I had the good luck to visit with an old friend in Seattle last weekend who inspired a fun little project and pastime for our trip. He suggested we play Hipster Bingo, since his neighborhood is pretty much the hipster capitol of Seattle.

The original card- all marked up and folded and bent from being hastily shoved into and brought out of my purse. Victory was declared after a beet tattoo was spotted.
The original card- all marked up and folded and bent from being hastily shoved into and brought out of my purse. Victory was declared after a beet tattoo was spotted.

Things we learned while playing this game- Portland hipsters and Seattle hipsters are pretty different (we’re a little more crunchy in PDX, there was no chicken talk in Seattle, but lots of start up shirts). We also learned we are both way more hipstery than we’d like to admit. This was not a shock to my friends when I confessed this discovery.

It took us nearly 24 hours to complete the game- but we persevered (he was way more vigilant than me, I was too busy drinking delicious coffee or pondering how good mac and cheese is at Pike’s Place).

hipsterbingo-graceanderson

We had so much fun with this I thought I would share the game with you all, feel free to print this out, or if you’re feeling decorative about it, I’ve also posted it to my Society6 here.

Queen Elk

One of my close friends works outdoors teaching kids how to be wild in safe ways, and yesterday she posted a picture of herself with mud all over her face and twigs in her hair. She does this for a job, and is basically everyone’s hero/idol. She knows what plants you can eat, and what plants are totally great to wipe your butt on (for real). Last week I learned she can make rope out of anything. When I saw her after work selfie I got totally inspired and created this:


I’m getting pretty jazzed about the idea of a girl in the wild, and I’m hoping my friend can add her vast knowledge of the natural world to make this more than just a sketch! Until then, I will keep playing with this new ‘toy’!

Wandering Into the Forest

It is hot in Portland. Not like, ew, I’m a little sweaty hot, but like, it’s almost 8 PM and it’s still triple digits out. I grew up in the desert, I should be able to deal- but there is no humidity in the desert, this heat is a whole different beast. All I want is to go sit in the forest and cool off. Of course instead I made a painting.

Paisley Bear and Squishy Baby Go Wandering
Paisley Bear and Squishy Baby Go Wandering

 

Allow me to introduce a thought I’ve been thinking, and I must thank my friend Sarah for suggesting there should be a baby in the scene- it really ‘ties the room together’.

Why Captain Couch?

It’s no secret that I absolutely love where I live- Portland is so full of history and amazing neighborhoods. It’s also full of streets and rivers that are hard for non-Portlanders to pronounce, and when they learn the right way they find it downright silly.

  
The silliest of all belings to Couch St, pronounced ‘kooch’, named for Captain John Couch, one of the early seafarers who created Portland as we know it. I’ve been taken completely by this seemingly silly name, with a noble past. When it came time to name the characters in my latest manuscript, I decided to turn to the names that surround me in my day to day life- I happen to live around the corner from Couch Park.  

 

Introducing… Captain Couch

captain couch cat children's illustration portland

 

While I’m working on wrapping up the dummy for Laurel & Hawthorne, I thought I would start introducing the main characters! Without further ado- let’s get to know Captain Couch.

Captain Couch has seen a lot in his 10 years with the Spencer family. He arrived in the house as a little orange ball of fur, as he has grown, so has his family. His first companions were Rose & Cully, then newlyweds, who showered him with colorful toys and squishy beds (though he prefers bits of string, candy wrappers, and the windowsill). A few years later, Laurel came along, bringing a whirl of excitement, curiosity and new games with her. Best of all, Laurel is the perfect napping buddy. Recently a new member of the family arrived, Laurel & Captain Couch are still getting used to wild little Hawthorne.

Captain Couch loves:

  • sneaking sips of coffee out of Rose’s mug
  • napping with Laurel (and Hawthorne when he is being civilized)
  • helping Cully get work done on his laptop
  • finding new hiding places
  • watching the world outside the window