We could be lazy and start off with a "your momma" joke, but your mom is so nice that she'd probably bake us a cake and pat us on the head, and those jokes are crap anyway. Because most moms are nice. We want to be adopted by Kitty from That '70s Show, Mrs Cunningham from Happy Days, or the coolest mom ever: Lorelei Gilmore from The Gilmore Girls. Admittedly, some moms are evil; Victoria Grayson in Revenge is pretty dire as a mom, she'd probably stab you in the nuts while kicking a badger's face off. But these moms are all fictional of course. We're more concerned about all the real moms out there, the ones that make up the FML family. Those moms can be something of a mixed bunch; from evil to embarrassing, from silly to drunk and disorderly. But all in all, we love them dearly, otherwise, we wouldn't be writing about them so much. They fill up the pages of FML like drunks at a wine tasting and we can't get enough of them. So from all of us at FML, Happy Mother's Day to all the FML mothers out there!
Good morning! I'm glad you're here, because it means that today's illustration caught your eye and you're curious to find out more about today's artist. We've welcomed a lot of different artists with a lot of different backgrounds; there are those who gave up everything to follow an art education to be sure to work exclusively in illustration. And there are those who are aware of how difficult being an artist is, and have all sorts of educations while having a webcomic on the side. Today's artist fits perfectly into the second category. What they have in common with the rest? They all end up in FML's illustrated section, for our great delight.
-Let's start this interview by asking you your name, surname and nickname?
-Online I go by Orinocou, after the Orinoco River in South America. Back when AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) was a thing, I wanted “Orinoco” to be my screen name, but it was already taken, so I added a “u” at the end. I guess I just like names with a lot of O’s in them.
-How old are you Orinoco(u)?
-Currently 28 years old. Honestly, I keep rounding up and thinking of myself as 30. I’ve been 30 in my head for over a year now, haha. It’s added something of a sense of urgency to the things I do.
-Where do you live?
-A little town about 2 ½ miles south of Chicago, Illinois. I went to school here and never really left.
-What's your job?
-I’m a receptionist at a very quiet office. It has exactly nothing to do with what I studied or what I want my career to be, but it’s the best non-career-oriented office job I could ask for.
-What's your journey?
-I wanted to study art in college but was too scared that I would never get into a program, couldn’t pay for it, and wouldn’t get a job in art anyway. Those might have been true, but I never even tried taking that first step. I studied something else that interested me but never forgot art. Now I’m older, tired of the reasons that tell me “no”, and am finally going for it.
-What are your inspirations?
-Right now I’m taking a lot from nature. When the weather is clear, its fun to go out into the country and see the stars. You can see them even clearer if you go out west to America’s National Parks. My husband and I went to a few locations in southeastern Utah to hike and see the stars. It was the first time I saw the Milky Way! Before that point I thought people were making it up! There were so many stars in the sky my brain shorted out and I couldn’t pick them apart. I’ve been in love with that part of the country ever since. Birdwatching is also a lot of fun. I hear that’s a hobby that older people like, but what can I say. Birds have an appearance and mannerism that’s just charming.
-What are the webcomics you're reading?
-My favorite right now is Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell; the story is engaging and the art is spot on. The artist is doing this comic full time, which is super cool. I wish I could give him all the money. Another fun one is Red String by Gina Biggs.
-Tell us more about your DA?
-I’m currently retelling the story of the video game Final Fantasy 6 in comic form, and have a website for that, but it needs updating. I’m not good at creating or maintaining websites, hah. That project’s been going on since 2007, and I thought I’d be farther along in the game’s story by now. But it’s a labor of love, and above all else, it’s drawing practice for me. It makes me happy when people leave comments saying they’re enjoying the story. I think a lot of readers remember this game from their childhoods, and it’s a bit of a nostalgia trip to see the characters again. I also sell handmade Doctor Who pillows, Doctor Who children's books, and art cards on Etsy.
-How do you work?
-Mostly digital with a tablet and Photoshop, but am moving into watercolors and marker work recently.
-And the last question, why did you choose this FML story?
-I wanted a story that I could communicate in comic form with no words. Wordless stories have a great appeal because it requires you to focus more on the characters’ expressions and body language to tell the story.
-And you nailed it. Thank you Orninoco(u) !
When you’re a parent, you can love your kids as much as life itself, but sometimes you need to get away from them. You might need to have a night off, go out with your significant other for a nice meal, or see a movie with some friends. Or just booze it up all nice and proper at a party (yes kids, parents do that too). Otherwise you’ll wind up eating your own eyeballs if you have to spend another evening listening to them whine about everything that’s wrong with the world (usually their lack of ponies). This is where the services of a babysitter come in. Babysitters are usually adolescent girls who are known about via other parents. Good babysitters are like gold dust to parents. Their contact details are passed around like state secrets; you don’t want everyone to know about them in case they’re overbooked for when you might require them. Trust is the key element in the parent/babysitter relationship; you can’t just leave your precious children in the hands of some unknown teenager. Especially these days, what with paranoia at all time high. They could be a meth-head. With a biker boyfriend. Who might steal your M*A*S*H* box set. Most of the time, everything runs smoothly, because, well, despite what some sources might have you believe, life usually does go as planned and is pretty much risk-free. But once in a while, both parties get embroiled in situations where things go a bit sour. Things go wrong. Embarrassing things occur. You know, the kind of situations that FML likes so much. We’ve put some into video format, and we hope that you enjoy them, and even giggle a bit.
Hello everyone! When you’ve finished mucking about with the dog or pulling pranks, we can start the best part of the week: the weekend. And to start it off, a new illustrated FML that you need to look at to get some IQ points back from when you talked to that annoying guy at work on Tuesday.
This week’s guest comes from Cluj-Napoca, in Romania, and is called Maria Surducan. “I do illustrations with one hand, graphic design with the other, comics with the other and in the last hand I hold a coffee cup. The advantage is that this way you can draw yourself the perfect life. I enjoy the moment of hesitation before pen touches paper the most, the moment when the hunter glimpses the shadow of an idea running on the surface of the mind.” That’s kind of beautiful what she’s saying. Far-out, man.
In 2010 our guest got a diploma in graphics at Cluj Art and Design University, and has been working independently since 2006. She’s currently working on adapting a Romanian tale: Prâslea the Brave and the Golden Apples. She got the money to do so via several websites that now fund stuff, and the book should be out in October. It’ll first be released in Romanian but Maria intends on getting it translated. You can get more information in English and Romanian by clicking here. Maria’s other project is an illustrated novella called The Midnight Fair, which will be published in autumn.
Cats or Dogs?
It doesn’t matter, as long as they don’t live with me.
What are the latest things you enjoyed at the movies, music, books and comics?
Film: Paprika by Satoshi Kon. Music: Amanda Palmer. Book: The Go-betweener by L. P. Hartley. Comic: Luke Pearson - Hilda and the midnight Giant.
Who are the artists you like and whose blogs you check out all the time?
Noelle Stevenson, AKA Gingerhaze has an amazing webcomic: Nimona. Go and have a look. Eleanor Davis is a fantastic illustrator. And Shaun Tan.
Tell us what you like in life, your passions, your pastimes, your vices, your everyday pleasures.
I won't! I'm saving it all up for when I write my bestselling novel! Seriously though, the most interesting things about me are in my drawings, the rest is just small talk.
Tell us a crap joke. Possible joke: if you don’t have a joke, we want to know your biggest FML.
A man had a horse. The horse couldn't care less.
Do you have a phobia?
Not as far as I know.
To finish off, ask yourself a question and choose to answer it or not.
I’m not really a big fan of talking to myself.
Let’s go back to our everyday business after two videos. Star Wars is pretty cool. Cats are cool. Putting both of them together is REALLY COOL. Meanwhile, there are days when everything is shit and things seem to conspire against us. Here’s an example. See you next week!
If you want to be the next published artist, send an email to alice [at] fmylife.com including a link to your website/blog/DeviantArt. But DON'T send your illustration right away! You need first to get in touch with me, and I'll tell you what you have to do!
The marvelous comedian Frankie Boyle reckons that "having a pet is basically just saying, 'I have tried to find love among my own species; I have f**king failed'". Some of us (well, most of us actually) here at FML have cats, so yes, we have failed then in that respect. Some more than others, but we won’t name any names. Pets can however be a source of comfort; they’ll chew on your broom to amuse you and take your mind off the fact that the weather is shitty. Pets can also be a source of stress, especially if you have a cat that manages to learn overnight how to open doors, and you have an oddball neighbor who has a copy of your keys in case of emergencies (note to self: change the locks again). Here’s a new video all about pets; not so much a case of “Pets do the craziest things”, more along the lines of “People let their pets turn them into total basket-cases because they are evil bundles of fur.” Have fun, and be excellent to your furry friends.