Dark Portents and Bright Colors! Plus…Chicken Pony!

Dipping chicken nuggets in ranch sauce apparently nullifies dark portents.

Dipping chicken nuggets in ranch sauce apparently nullifies dark portents.

The protagonist is by no means an expert in dealing with dark magic, or portents, of any kind. Just so we are clear. Ranch sauce is a good choice, though, and this strip began with the very premise that I had Lunchables Chicken Nuggets for lunch. There was ranch.

You’ll note that there is a second Goat Monk depicted here, different from the original one. Suffice it to say that there are a whole lot of out of classroom personnel, all of which are vaguely similar in their loosely defined obligations. The same can be said of any school, not just the one where I am now. That is to say that there are many out of classroom people walking around, with radios and loosely defined job descriptions.

Apparently, much of the fuss and dark portents that the Goat Monks are having has to do with an inspection next week. Called a DVR, or District Validation Review, happens in all schools with special education programs, so really, most schools have it happen at some point. For the 2015-2016 school year, selected schools will be reviewed in each Local District. We, apparently, drew the short straw.

Each school’s DVR will is conducted by a “DVR Team” consisting of team members from outside the school, two school staff members, and one parent team member. The duties of the DVR Team include reviewing parent and staff surveys, reviewing documents and student records, conducting a parent interview meeting, interviewing staff, observing classrooms, and participating in a summary conference meeting. Given my heavy load of mainstreamed special education students, I am almost certain to have one of those classroom observations.

Which, in turn, is why every out of classroom person I speak to these days is agitated about “dark portents” for next week, as they gear up for this review. The whole thing seems pretty backwards to me…the special ed department has been pretty on the ball, and gotten me all of my documents without my asking for them. In turn, I’ve been able to make accommodations in the classroom pretty easily, and without any disruption to mainstreaming. On top of that, the students are seriously working every day, so a classroom observation is Just Fine With Me.

Again…no stress. I do get it though…it can be a source of great trouble, if you don’t really know the people that are supposed to be implementing those measures. I’m kind of glad that at some point on the review they will be able to stop by my classes, which have been running beautifully. Sort of an opportunity to show all pistons firing.

Panel Two, though, is about how sometimes things go pretty awfully wrong. That poor pony in a chicken suit, waiting to be dipped in ranch in some dungeon…it’s both abstract, and sad. It combines the “not ready to fly with the eagles” concept with the Unfilled Position Problem. You’ll notice…I’ve never had a pony of any sort teaching or directly being a superhero…they are pretty much support and sidekicks. The big problem across the hall from me is that there are only long term subs, and elsewhere in the school we have the oft referenced “eagle problem,” of not doing the kinds of lessons that are best. They are consolidated in that image, with a pony having no main superhero, wearing a chicken suit because it is not ready to fly with anything, much less eagles.

The ranch is there to wash the dark portents off of the pony. That wont work, and the pony knows it.

Unrelated, I had expressed that I was unhappy with my new colored pencils yesterday, and that I felt Pony, specifically was off in color. “Off Model” as they say in animation and design. I also had to recolor the design for the Senior T-shirt (there was a severely dumb fiasco on that) and decided that I would try my new set of markers.

I rarely use markers. In fact, on some days I actually actively FEAR them. Still, I decided to print out the inks from yesterday’s art, and attempt a coloring job. I was more of less inspired by my friend Kim Moore, a colorist who was sharing her marker work with me early this week.

The markers were stressful, and at times I was like “Oh no…that’s @#$%%$ up now.” I stuck with it, digitized, and then ran through my usual post production process. I’m happy with the result, and much happier than I was with yesterday’s colored pencils:

Pony is much more "on model."

Pony is much more “on model.”

In my opinion, the stronger version. I like it a whole lot.

What’s important here is two fold: a willingness to fly with the eagles, so to speak (Kim Moore, and Bruce Timm, who uses marker); and a lack of fear of some possible repercussion. In this case, I could just print another copy and try again, if needed.

A lot like the “DVR” inspection. If something comes up “not right,” you just need to step in, and make it right. Simple solutions, to simple problems. Granted, that’s easy for me to say, as a relative outsider, who still has a background in Special Education. I only have to make sure that things run properly in my one English Classroom…these DVR’s are about making sure that happens for an entire school of classrooms, with a few days to do it.

A few days and a lot of paperwork. No wonder the Goat Priests are agitated.

I’m thinking next week we will have some kind of Goat Pope, or Sub Pope. Perhaps a Bishop? Who can tell…except for the fact that the DVR will almost certainly be a future issue.

3 thoughts on “Dark Portents and Bright Colors! Plus…Chicken Pony!

  1. I am torn over which color version I like better. The marker makes for a more vibrant image, but the protagonist looks too yellow, and pony seems more siena than brown. On the other hand Beast and the flower look great with the marker.

    • Yes…I agree. Really, the new colored pencils create a different color palette, unexpectedly. It’s not “bad” per se, but not what I’ve been using, so it seems off. The marker is definitely more bold, and I had to take a few passes at it to get it closer.

      It’s interesting that you feel like the protagonist looks too yellow…I actually used darker tones with the marker on her than I ever do in pencils. Pony’s color seemed more on model to me…also, “sienna”?

      The colored pencils I usually use for Pony are a combination of the ones labelled “light brown” and “brown.”

      I know nothing of this “sienna.” It is not in my box of crayola pencils OR markers.

      An unrelated point…kind of. You had commented that you liked that I was sticking with the current costume/uniform, with noodle cape and loincloth and brass bustier. Is it that you like the outfit, as such, or appreciate my sticking to it? I ask because at the end of the semester, there could be a change. I’m thinking of engaging the readers in some fashion, but that could be a @#$% chore, and I have no ideas at all for a costume after this.

      • First off, clearly you don’t have the 64 crayon set from Crayola, which includes both burnt sienna and raw sienna. To be fair, according to the Crayola website (http://www.crayola.com/explore-colors/burnt-sienna.aspx), both fall in the “brown” family of crayon colors. On your costume question, I am impressed that you have stuck with the current costume/uniform because it seems like a complete pain to draw; I don’t feel an particular sense of attachment to it. I kind of like the waistcoat and tails you drew above. Maybe you could move from pure fantasy to more steampunk fantasy in your next costume?

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