Tag Archives: illustration

Good Doogie

Tess grew up in a haunted house. The ghost was mischievous, unpredictable, and ever-present. A little spooky, sure, but he was easy to laugh off in the light of day. At night, though… well, I think Tess can be excused for wanting an escort…












It’s time that long-suffering Doogie got some credit for being a Good Boy.

If you like Doogie, you might want to check out this entry from my sketchbook, Call of Doogie: Bark Ops.

Also, The Middlest Sister will now appear on Justthefirstframe.com, which is a cool way of browsing for new webcomics. The site displays just the first frame of webcomics, and if you decide you want to read the rest, you just click on the frame to take you to the comic right at the creator’s own site. Pretty neat!

August Nights

Hello everyone! I’ve been traveling a lot and am now suffering some sort of plague. The fever plus the August heat have inspired this particular comic. I’ve spent the last two nights too hot to fall asleep, and actually did pick up a book of ghost stories just to feel goosebumps again.









Happy birthday to Charlotte, who loved “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” as a kid. Still the scariest illustrations imaginable!

A Day at Long Lake

Our house was a short walk from this lake. It’s my dream to one day own a house right on the water of a lake like this, even if it’s a run-down old shack. Even if it’s just a pop-up trailer. Even if it’s just a tent. I’d be content. For as long as the water moccasins didn’t bite me.










Meeting Sam

Like many children, I had an imaginary friend. He was a middle-aged man named Sam who worked as a professional clown. We hung out during his down time, though, so he was rarely in makeup; and to be honest, he wasn’t very funny. I remember the day we met quite vividly. I was scared out of my mind.

It was laundry day. I had a dirty dress.

The usual gentle purr of the washing machine was interrupted by a loud THUMP!

The machine began to jump as though possessed.

As quickly as it had begun, it was over. The machine sighed.

Unable to quell my curiosity, I peeked inside.

And there was Sam, so pleased to be clean.

Naturally, I screamed.

I ran screaming from the laundry room. "There's a man in the laundry room!" By the time Dad came back with a baseball bat, however, Sam had made himself scarce.

I Am Right, You Are Wrong Again

I have eaten crowsicle. Typically when we went sledding, we dragged our sleds down to the elementary school or to the big hill behind the library. One day, I was feeling a bit too lazy to make the hike, so I suggested to my sisters that we try sledding down the slope of the beach at the lake. It was much, much closer to our house and I thought it would be amazing to go flying over the ice on the lake. Even though it had been a bit warmer lately, I thought the shallow waters of the lake must surely still be frozen. I know– that makes no sense. Well, I was 9.

The girls peer down the sloping shoreline of Long Lake.

"I don't think it's frozen anymore..."

"It looks frozen..."

"It's not."

"It's still winter, isn't it? Of course it's still frozen."

"Whee! That's what you say when you're having fun. You refer to yourself and some other people. "– Mitch Hedberg

Nicki celebrates her short-lived victory

CRACK! I will never forget that chilling noise.

"I am right! You are wrong! You are the freezingest thing of all!"

Seriously, it doesn't even rhyme.

A Valentine for Ewe

Chrissy spreads the valentine's day cards out in front of her, her heart heavy.

You're still filling out those valentines, honey? What's taking so long?

Just LOOK at these valentines.

The sappy valentines lay before her.

"Bee mine"? I can't give that to a boy! They'll think I LIKE them!

The only one remotely platonic is "Beary kind"... but like I really want to give that to some scab-eater.

I just think the makers of these kits need to get a litle more realistic..

You are fowl

It’s kind of late, but if you simply MUST have “You Are Fowl” as a card, I added it to the Zazzle shop here. If you can’t see it yet, it may take a day to process.

OR you can print these mini valentines for FREE if you want!

Here is the pdf of all the valentines

And one of just the FOWL valentines

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

No Trespassing

On the street where we grew up, there was this derelict old shack on a heavily wooded lot. My sisters and I spent endless hours wondering about it and trying to get a better look inside. It was a great mystery and remains a mystery to this day. If you happen to know the story behind this little abandoned shack, please do not tell me. I’m sure the stories we invented about it are much better than the truth.

The girls stare at the shack

"I wonder who used to live there?" "I wonder why they left?"

"I wonder why they left all their stuff!" "WOW, Really??"

"Let's break in!" "Let's look for clues!"

"We can't. Read the sign." "No Trespassing. Violators Will Be Prosecuted"

"Prosecuted. What does that mean?" "I don't know. I'll go ask a grown up. Don't do anything until I get back!"

"Mrs. Z! I read a word, but I'm not sure what it means. Can you help?"

"I'll try, Sweetie. What's the word?" "It's, um... pros... pors... persecuted..."

"Oh, dear... hmm... how best to explain...?"

"Well, you know what they did to Jesus, don't you?...Well, that's what that means!"

"Well?" "You guys, we can NOT go in there."

That the punishment for entering this shack was so severe only strengthened my belief that there was something hugely significant about this rotting, broken down little building.

House Rule No. 1

Our family had very few, but very firm house rules. Mostly meant to keep the peace, once a rule was pronounced, it was set in stone. We’re all adults now and we STILL obey the house rules every time we visit home. I actually take great pleasure in invoking this rule even at age 30.

"C'mon girls! Let's get a move on! We're late!"

The girls head toward the minivanChrissy and Charlotte reach for the handle at the same time"What are you doing? It's MY turn to ride shotgun!" "No! y last turn didn't count. It was only a 5 minute ride."Ashley, Tess, and Nicki eat popcorn"Well that's too bad for you. Now it's MY TURN." "That's not fair! MOOOOOOM!""THAT'S IT! From now on, seniority rules. The oldest kid in the car gets to ride in the front seat. No more fighting.""WHAT?!"House Rule No. 1: Oldest gets the front seat


The Perils of Rosella

If someone told me I could have all the hours back I spent trying to beat King’s Quest IV as a child, I would say “No, thank you.” My sisters and I devoted so much time to this game. We didn’t know there were cheat books. Sometimes we’d be stuck on a puzzle for months at a time. That’s when we’d see what else Rosella could do.

Sigh. I'm stuck. I don't know what to do next."

"I know! Make Rosella say a swear word!"

"Chrissy. Rosella is a princess. Princesses don't swear."

"Fine, then I'll do it!"



"Now tell her to pee in the river!"

Roberta Williams, the creator of the King’s Quest games, was and is someone I admire. I read that she once said, “Back when I got started, which sounds like ancient history, back then the demographics of people who were into computer games, was totally different, in my opinion, than they are today. Back then, computers were more expensive, which made them more exclusive to people who were maybe at a certain income level, or education level. So the people that played computer games 15 years ago were that type of person. They probably didn’t watch television as much, and the instant gratification era hadn’t quite grown the way it has lately. I think in the last 5 or 6 years, the demographics have really changed, now this is my opinion, because computers are less expensive so more people can afford them. More “average” people now feel they should own one.”

I hope she won’t be too disappointed when she finds out the truth.

Halloween Candy Exchange Rate

Every year, we would survey our Halloween spoils and start trading the second we got home. And every year, Dad would laugh at us, confiscate our candy, and then ration it out to us 3 pieces a day… until he reconsidered the dental bills and then just got rid of it all. We really, really loved Halloween anyway.

So we're agreed... Tootsie Rolls, root beer barrels and Smarties are of equal value."Here's the exchange rate so far. Any questions?"

Candy Exchange Rate chart"Yeah. What about Starbursts?"

"I dunno. That's a tricky one. If you get a pink, you're golden. 3 yellows though... you might as well have gotten razor blade apples."

"What should we do with these homemade popcorn balls?" "Toss 'em"

"Poisoned?" "Nah, just gross."

"If that's all then LET THE TRADING COMMENCE!""Heheheh""It's so cute you guys think you actually get to keep all that candy..."

Scream faces for everyone!


Baby Baby Stick Your Head In Gravy

This was a popular taunt when someone started to cry. I know my sisters and I didn’t make it up, but no one else I know has ever heard of it. Have you heard this taunt before? Please let me know!

"Aww Did the little baby fall down in a puddle?"

"Is the little baby gonna... cry?"

"Baby baby Stick you head in gravy Washing it out with bubblegum and send it to the Navy""Baby baby Stick you head in gravy Washing it out with bubblegum and send it to the Navy"

"Baby baby Stick you head in gravy Washing it out with bubblegum and send it to the Navy"

"Baby baby Stick you head in gravy Washing it out with bubblegum and send it to the Navy"



Charlotte sheds a tear

Hear the song now in this video! Featuring the vocal stylings of my sister, Charlotte Belanger the Third!


The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2

This Part 2 of a three-part series. Read the first one here!

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton "Oh, no! Mr. Cotton and his pal Spike are lost at sea! Will Mr. Cotton be forced to eat his dearest and most faithful friend? Or will Poseidon take pity on these two rapscallions?"

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Mr. Cotton kicks up dust as he zooms away from Barbie's Dream House, having taken her for every penny she was worth"

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Waaaaaah! That was my grandmother's feather boa! Give it back, you scoundrel, you thief."

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Oh no! A myserious potion has transformed Mr. Cotton from his usual mild-mannered self to a grusome and toothsome monster! Will the potion wear off before it's too late?!"

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Tess, honey, it's bedtime. Put that hamster away now." "Okay Mom. Goodnight!"

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Goodnight Mr. Cotton. I love you. You're my best friend"

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "My best friend"

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Doogie glares"

And now, here are some photos of the real life Mr. Cotton, possibly the best hamster who ever lived or ever shall live. I apologize for the poor quality; these photos were taken by children with a disposable camera.

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Mr. Cotton lost at sea"

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Mr. Cotton on the run"

The Middlest Sister: The Life and Times of Mr. Cotton, Part 2 "Mr. Cotton is BIG"