Why is Debbie a soap-maker?
Because I am very fond of soap.
If you think about it, soap is a little bit miraculous. You can take so many different organic substances—fruits, leaves, animal fats, almost anything with a naturally occurring oil—treat the oil/fat with an alkali solution and then…saponification!
And somehow the stuff that forms from this process cleans things.
Dirty clothes? Soap.
Dinner dishes? Soap.
Sticky hands? Soap.
I am kind of a fanatic about cleaning supplies.
When I deserve a reward, do I go for chocolate, or pizza? Do I have a fancy dinner and lovely beverages?
I pop on over to the store and I lunge at the cleaning supplies aisle.
(I also eat chocolate, but not as a reward. It’s an integral part of my diet.)
Some people think flowers are a romantic gift.
But flowers cost a lot, you can’t eat them and all they do is sit on the counter and die. Last week DH bought me an armful of various cleaners for shower, toilet, floor, etc. Not because he expects me to be his maid, but because he knows I love cleaning supplies.
Now that is a romantic gesture.
Flowers? No thanks. Soap? Yes, please. Flowers made out of soap? Apparently Debbie thought it was a good idea and has placed them in a glass vase.
The novice illustrator has a tendency to make glass, water, drool, tears, sweat, etc. look blue and blobby. But check out the real things…
Look at a baby for tears and drool. Look at me trying to jog for tears and sweat, and look at a…actually I don’t want to know where you find drool and sweat.
The point is, none of those substances are blue. And I continually try to improve my ability to capture clear substances more representationally than blobs of blue. Generally I accomplish this with shades of gray.
Another thing I try to do as an illustrator…
is capture fluid, expressive body language. Like Debbie’s pose in this panel.
She’s clearly doing a gloaty dance, and I feel like one can almost see her shimmying in self-satisfaction.
Shall we venture back to the topic of soap?
The paradoxical thing about my obsession with soapy stuff is, I’m also a really messy person.
Maybe that’s why I like soap so much.
Being messy involves a certain level of daily self-reproach. I look around at the mess and I think, ew. It’s a sense of subtle, nagging shame that’s strong enough to make me dislike that the mess is there, but not quite strong enough to make me do anything about it.
I know I could pick up the clothes and the bits of cardboard my dog chewed up, and the junk mail, and the shoes and I could dust things and organize…but I could also draw a comic and then write a blog post about it, and that’s usually what I do.
Patreon patron shout outs to Kerry B. and Ann M. Thank you.