Harts Pass No. 232

Ah, parents. We bring all sorts of baggage to the table -- good and bad -- for the holiday season. Lucky for us, the kids keep it sane with a certain naiveté of spirit. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


New Portfolio Pages!

Finally, after way too many years, I have published an update to my portfolio pages... and I actually have samples from recent books! By switching to Flickr as host, I get away from the more time consuming coding and javascript that was pretty much keeping me from adding new work to my old site... and this should be smoother all around with respect to flexible platforms for viewing. There are  a few ads scattered amongst the artwork for now, but I hope to eliminate those by sorting through their subscription plan in due course.

Click on the links above or find the portfolio link consistently listed in the "pages" near the top of this blog. I'll be adding additional items as we start the new year, but am excited to at long last be representing a broader cross-section of my work.



Harts Pass No. 231

There is, of course, a biological argument to be made for hibernation, but winter IS pretty great. Wolverines don't worry about this at all, but a quick question, do south American animals hibernate on the same seasonal cycle? I suspect that they do, but I'm going find out for sure. And as my daughter reminds me each recent morning, "only single digit days 'til Christmas!"


Harts Pass No. 230

This mid-December RAIN would have been a fine topic for the comic, but I can hardly stomach it. Better being fully distracted by too many other things in the next 2 weeks. Really looking forward to a few simpler days in celebration of Christmas. Cheers!


'Tis the season

Happy Holidays!

Or at least we're headed in that direction anyway. About 6 million things to do in the next three weeks, but I'm zeroing in on a holiday card image/mailing and I'm kind of excited about this snowboarding polar bear :) Back to the drawing table. Ride on!


Harts Pass No. 229

It is INDEED winter. Two weeks ago - no snow on the ground and rumblings of rain in the forecast. And a 100% chance of rain is never ideal at the dawn of winter, so the wolverines and I are perfectly pleased that it snowed instead. Wet and heavy snow mind you, so it slid immediately off of the roof and it looks like this out the front window...

Taken with a low-horizon perspective of course, but I kind of love how the 3.5 foot pile of snow looks like an arctic mountain range or a calving glacier in this image. Throw in a couple of Godzilla-era stop-motion puppets and you've got an excellent stage setting for an arctic monster movie. Cheers!


Walk in the Woods Wednesday

We're still not celebrating Black Friday here at Harts Pass, but in honor of the day we'll offer up this retro strip from November 2012. Definitely looking forward to Walk in the Woods Wednesday!

Harts Pass No. 228

I managed to stay free and clear of the internet yesterday, but Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Harts Pass! #movember


Harts Pass No. 227

A certain surliness has taken over my otherwise eternal optimism -- brought on no doubt by too little sleep and simultaneously too little vitamin D. GRRR!


Harts Pass No. 226

With GRRRatitude indeed.


Harts Pass No. 225

Crazy days need quiet drawings.


Harts Pass No. 224 - Happy Halloween!

*With the "Dream Team's" award winning pumpkin design as borrowed from children's book author, illustrator, and pumpkin craver extraordinaire, David LaRochelle!


Harts Pass No. 223

"Finally feeling like fall!" And that's good thing :) Perhaps its the anticipation of winter (much adored as well), but I've always been fond of this cold and blustery time of year.


Harts Pass No. 222

I can't be sure that marmots watch a lot of football, but it wouldn't surprise me. Football "hiberNation" or something like that :)


Harts Pass No. 221

Mustelids like the wolverine can produce a strong order under situations of stress or heightened anxiety. I've also been coaching middle school xc and this week we get to wash uniforms. Its hard to sneak up on the competition when they can smell you coming! Worlds collide :)


Harts Pass No. 220

Wow. Two-hundred twenty! A fine way to welcome fall. As my second-only-to-winter favorite season of the year, I do enjoy these annual odes to Autumn. Click the strip to make the reading easy :)


Defenders of Wildlife and Harts Pass Comics

A small but loyal following at Defenders of Wildlife recently put some Harts Pass Comics imagery to work on their blogKylie Paul, Rockies & Plains Representative at Defenders, does a nice job of summing up the recent trajectory of potential wolverine protection and in the final two paragraphs makes a case for reversing the recent decision to deny protections:

It is a fundamentally American value to protect our land, air, water, and wildlife – that’s why Congress enacted the ESA. If we’re not willing to protect one of the rarest mammals in the Lower 48, a species with fewer than 300 individuals left south of the Canadian border and one of the lowest successful reproductive rates known to mammals, how imperiled does a species have to be to gain federal protection?

Defenders of Wildlife currently has an open petition to tell Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewell – who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service – to reconsider the serious threats to the survival of wolverines and immediately reverse this unsupportable decision. Please take part!



Fall arrived. And with it, this old dog. 
I know him. He knows me. 
But faith in that
is what remains.


Harts Pass No. 219

The second week in a row where a wolverine eats something -- or at least pretends to eat something -- the lives of animals are thankfully a lot less complex than our own. Sleep. Eat. Play jokes on  unsuspecting wildlife photographers...


Harts Pass No. 218

Yes. Wolverines DO eat marmots!


Harts Pass No. 217

For sure one of those ideas that was hard to communicate in comic form, but we make our own fun here at Harts Pass Comics, so we expect you to work at it a little bit as well :) Cheers!


Grrrace, Grrrit, and Grrrattitude at the Rocking Horse Bakery

As one of my most artistically satisfying comic strips over the past several years, Bearnica seemed to cry out for a larger format. In the waning days of summer, I finally made the leap, and you can see it now (in 3' x 6' format) as one of several new pieces hanging in Winthrop's Rocking Horse Bakery. Grrrace, Grrrit, and Grrrattitude, people. The wolverine way!


Harts Pass No. 216

Sometimes its just fun to draw cute little animals. Elementary school rocks!


Harts Pass No. 215

Dear parents,
Occasionally faced with impossible questions... sometime we punt! In a nutshell welcoming both the start of a new school year AND the start of the fall football season. Go Vikings!


Harts Pass No. 214

A little late in posting this week, but here you go. Shift that point of view now and again. Cheers!


A self portrait portfolio sample - circa 1999!

A portfolio sample from WAY back. Kind of a self portrait/studio scene. Certainly some bears in the background sketches (and even a decorated trash can) that recall my first story submission for Practically Perfect Pajamas :) While I've never really done a book with quite this much detail, there is something about it that I really love. Enjoy!


Harts Pass No. 213

Worlds collide! Ongoing wildfire stories and wolverine research/recovery/protection efforts find common ground in this week's strip. Heartbreaking -- but uplifting in its thus far positive progress -- is the rescue effort involving Cinder, a 35lb female black bear who was badly burned in the Carleton Complex fire. She looks pretty good in the photo below, and clearly shows a little spunk in the strip.

In other news, the Fed has reversed its earlier track and decided that the wolverines and their demonstrable (but supposedly hypothetical) reliance on late season snowpack for denning and rearing of kits do not warrant endangered species protection. I'm with Cinder on this one. Uncertainty my butt!


Kit Courageous Returns!

As a follow-up to last week's Harts Pass, Kit Courageous returns in a full-color glamour shot. A smokey start to the week... to be followed soon by rain storms, wind, and hopefully not too much lightning. Vigilance. Tenacity. Grit. Summer rolls.


Harts Pass No. 212 -- Kit Courageous!

Many thanks across our Valley and around the west right now for all of the heroes that put themselves on the front lines of fires and rescue efforts time and time again. And thank you as well to all of you brave kids out there who are trying to make sense of distracted parents and a situation that definitely feels a little out of wack.

"Kit Courageous" and your continued bravery go a long way -- but (as Kit imagines it) some Super Soaker 6000 super powers wouldn't hurt a thing at this point either - with modulated nozzle pressure and advanced dispersal technology to reduce flash flooding impact of course!

Steady as she goes. It will be OK.


Harts Pass No. 211

The fact of the matter is that we're ALL watching the skies and surrounding hills just a little closer -- sniffing the air to decide if the wind has changed and the smoke is settling in or blowing less obviously but still ominously to the east. Its going to be a long hot summer still ahead, and while the eight recent days of highest concern seem somewhat now at bay (including, yes the disposal of many a spoiled food item) it can't hurt to remain vigilant. Oh, and wolverines (of the mustelid family after all) do tend to smell a bit -- musty.


Harts Pass No. 210

A HUGE thank you to all that stepped in and responded to the recent forest fire in our valley. A week now since things really took off and major damage was done east of Winthrop and south to Pateros, but a cooler, wetter and less windy last 24 hours has helped immensely.


Harts Pass No. 209

"Boredom" The catch phrase of summer for many kids... and an alternate theory on is origins. Hot and windy days here in the North Cascades. Fires near home but not quite in the back yard just yet. Stay safe. Stay cool. Stay busy!


Harts Pass No. 208

In this long over due addition to the "Facts VS Lore" series, Thor and Melanie offer up yet another potentially valuable reason for late sumer snow pack. Recent debate over the actual impact of climate change -- while obvious regarding drowning polar bears etc. -- is a little harder to prove for the wolverine. That being said, if sustainable den sites through May don't heft enough weight for an endangered species listing, then perhaps there is an economic argument that is equally valuable...


World Giraffe Day!

Hard to imagine how I missed it, but June 21st was the first ever World Giraffe Day. Next year I promise to be a little more on the ball!

Harts Pass No. 207

Despite their struggles over the last several years, I remain a dedicated MN Twins fan. I wouldn't consider myself a rabid fan -- and I rarely if ever watch a game on TV, but still its a sport with a certain allure -- and a certain pedestrian pace :) To the "boys of summer" and girls as well -- choke up on that bat and swing for the fences!


Harts Pass No. 206

A little vacation back to the heartland... and then back to work just as summer really gets rolling :) More breaks to come, but more to do in the mean time. Happy first official week of summer, and keep it simple people!


Harts Pass No. 205

To the Liberty Bell High School class of 2014 -- and graduates everywhere -- CONGRATULATIONS!


Harts Pass No. 204

A couple of years ago, my now 11 year old daughter did this fine Bigfoot comic. In the tradition of Bill Keene (Family Circus) and in honor of this week's Young Writers Conference at MVES, the writing credit for this week's strip goes most assuredly to the 9 year old author of "Quiet Comics." Thanks much kiddo! And I look forward to teaching another session or two of "Making Comics" on Friday afternoon.


This Week: The Methow Valley Elementary Young Writers Celebration & Conference!

An EXCITING week ahead with the annual Methow Valley Elementary Young Writers Conference - ALL day Friday at MVES - and I am pleased to say that our keynote speaker/special guest for 2014 is the award winning and very excellent David LaRochelle -- all the way from the great state of Minnesota!

 David (left) pictured here with equally excellent illustrator Mike Whonoutka and their MN Book Award winning hardware for MOO!
David's voice and sense of humor offer just the right mix, and his experience of becoming a writer -- of the work and dedication to his craft -- will be a terrific compliment to the writing and illustrating that our students have been doing in their classrooms throughout the year. 

In addition, MANY 15-20 if I remember correctly, writers, illustrators, actors, musicians and cartoonists from the local community will be sharing their styles of writing and communication in a variety of kid-centric workshops and breakout sessions throughout the day. AWESOME!

And please don't miss the Celebration on Thursday night (5:30-7:00pm) where student work is on display and students get a chance to read from stories of their own. Its a really great night  and the kids love it!


Harts Pass No. 203 & sign painting in downtown Winthrop!

The first BIG waves of summer tourism descended upon Winthrop this past Memorial Day weekend. And from my perch atop a friend's brand new local retail establishment, I couldn't help but notice that everything is looking pretty spiffy and inviting. The art brain was also working a little overtime this past week -- and at two drastically different scales (GIANT signs and tiny comics) to boot. "Lookin' good" to all and thanks for stopping by!

The almost blank canvas (letters lightly penciled in)...
...to early progress from the Genie Z Boom... 
...to getting pretty close...
... to the final touches...
...and the finished product!