Axe Shui


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I’m going to step into the realm of immodesty and say I’m pretty proud of this cartoon. I like psychiatry cartoons and do a lot of them, but the thing I think is special about this one is the characters. I think I really nailed the look, posture, and facial expressions of each of these guys. The shrink looks as though he is holding back a combination of fear and incredulity as he struggles to remain professional. The patient looks average and harmless, except for the tenseness of his arms and hands as he clutches the axe. The stoic, far-off gaze adds to the sense of instability. I sometimes criticize myself for drawing too realistically, but in this case, the style works well.

Now let us discuss feng shui. You’ve likely heard of this but if you haven’t, it’s some kind of Asian concept that promotes the idea that the exact placement of objects in a given space somehow effect the area with positive “qi,” which I think means energy or something. It supposedly uses the laws of Heaven and Earth to do this.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I think this kind of thing is just another example of the kind of superstitious fairy tales that humans are so inclined to subscribe to. However you feel about feng shui, the poor schmuck in this cartoon has a problem that I hope makes you smile.

Please buy my new book for someone for the holidays. It is funny; they will thank you. It is cheap; you will thank yourself.


16 thoughts on “Axe Shui

  1. Love the Axe comic, its fun when you take something that seems normal in one setting and disturbing in another so it leaves you curious as to whether or not you really should be concerned. I like the way you make my mind work!

  2. Great cartoons here. I love the shrink cartoons – keep them coming. The desert island cartoon made me laugh. The man’s problem is not the tree . . .

  3. I just finished stacking a cord of wood, I too am “Woodsy”. Great cartoon, I agree with your assessment. Reminds me a bit of a Hitchcock type of character. You’re not sure why but you know that something ain’t quite right with the guy. Slightly menacing but yet, a decent neighbor.

  4. From what I know of feng shui (not much), it’s a great combination of common sense, good design principles and superstition. I feel for the poor bloke. I got strong by moving pot plants to every possible place and back for my mother.

  5. >I sometimes criticize myself for drawing too realistically, but in this case, the style works well.

    I think your style works well most all of the time. I have no artistic talent, and am in awe of anyone who can sculpt, draw, paint… depict something realistically or stylistically in some hard medium. Your style is one of my favorites. Let me tell you what appeals to me (artistically/stylistically, aside from the humor itself) in each of those panels. In the first, the glasses of the psychologist being blank, his small head, the stray hair, the monochrome jacket/sweater. You know, I don’t see fear or incredulity at all; I see a man who is just passively taking in the most “disturbing” stuff, making a note of it, but without it affecting him at all. No expression on his face, and no self-expression in his personal style means nothing really affects him, ever. For me, this aspect of the psychologist is the central point of the cartoon.

    In the second panel, stylistically I see the waves; I bet if I saw the waves alone, even with no other context, I’d recognize that as your handwork (particularly the pointy wave by the P in Piraro). And I think you “nailed the posture” here as well, even with so little detail since the figures are small… the girl is clearly standing static, contemplating; the guy has actively turned to make his point/pro-active defense. You’ve expressed the contrast in their motion to mirror the contrast of their opinions.

    Maybe I’m over-analyzing things, particularly the first cartoon, its meaning and my reaction to it. I think I even went off into a free association realm there too, but it’s the end of the thread so I guess I’m not hijacking. I’ll go ahead and post this rather than delete it (as I am now wont to do), in the off-chance it might mean anything for you.

    Thanks for the therapy — send me the bill.

  6. Pingback: - You call it ‘disturbing,’ I call it…

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