Tsuivan Comic

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I’ve been experimenting with storytelling forms with illustrations and I always find my way back to using comics! This time, I took a good amount of time trying to do the interviews correctly and working to fit the dialogue into an effective story form. Throughout the illustration process, which the black was done by hand, I was slow and careful. I decided to see what coloring in Photoshop might be like and I’m happy with the results. I enjoyed the hand drawing process the most and learned a lot through coloring in Photoshop.

This comic was another attempt at understanding how I can use the comic form to discuss an anthropological topic like the cultural heritage practice of making a national food. I’ll be using a similar method this upcoming summer to illuminate the aaruul making process of herdsmen living in Arkhangai!

Many thanks to Gerle for showing me how to cook this meal and her constant support!

Samantha and Spring

In January, I worked furiously on developing my peer mentoring program while my school was occupied with Christmas holidays. It is going well and the kids are sooo cute and I’m really happy that it is working! I’m going to present the program at that annual worldwide Social Workers Conference that his happening in June! That will be held in Ulaanbaatar. I’ve got my Masters research and peer mentoring program working in tandem finally and things are going well with that balancing act. I believe that I’ll return to UW and (crossing my fingers) it will be an okay finish with tons of stress and frustrations, etc., but I think it will be okay. 
Samantha arrived for her visit to Mongolia and we’ve enjoyed spending time together. She is a great cook and reintroduced me to what tasty food is like and also helps me to work on my neat art projects. Last weekend, we were in UB for a volleyball tournament that she played in and between her games I would wander about the huge stadium and sketch in my Moleskin. Some of the guys from the men’s volleyball/ basketball team had me sketch them too. It was a fun weekend all around.
 
As summer approaches I’ve started to think about what I’ll be doing. Of course, I’ll be writing up my research, but I hope to be spending as much time outdoors working on illustration projects. I’ve been working on a proposal and research plan to go back out to Arkhangai (where I hiked with Samantha last year) to study how the herders make a dairy snacks called aaruul and how they live in the countryside. I’ll be taking my counterpart, a PC friend and fantastic photojournalist, and translator for the ~2 week adventure. I’ve been working on developing a style of comics that depicts anthropology topics like cultural heritage practices. Right now, I’m working on one about how Mongolians make one of their national dishes called, tsuivan.
I’ve also been shown on a great website for urban sketchers enthusiasts. Check out my entry from March 3:
Samantha crocheting.

Samantha crocheting.

Samantha and Jessica chatting at my place.

Samantha and Jessica chatting at my place.

Samantha was taking a nap.

Samantha was taking a nap.

This is the original illustration.

This is the original illustration that I drew while Samantha and I were eating breakfast in UB.

Here is another illustration that I colored in Photoshop.

I experimented with the illustration by coloring it in Photoshop.

Samantha watching the volleyball games between her matches.

Samantha watching the volleyball games between her matches.

This was the stadium where Samantha competed in a volleyball tournament with community members from Choir.

This was the stadium where Samantha competed in a volleyball tournament with community members from Choir.

This is an illustration I saw in UB.

This is a painting that I saw at an art museum in UB and I drew it.

This is an illustration of a painting I saw in UB.

This is an illustration of another painting I saw in UB.

Samantha on the train. I've experimented with coloring my illustration in Photoshop.

Samantha on the train. This is another experiment with coloring in Photoshop.

Samantha on the train.

Samantha on the train.

Seeing the first sunrise of the lunar new year on Tsaagan Sar.

Seeing the first sunrise of the lunar new year on Tsaagan Sar.

Samantha and I celebrating Tsaagan Sar with my counterpart's family.

Samantha and I celebrating Tsaagan Sar with my counterpart’s family.

My friend, Amgaa, the railroad police officer.

My friend, Amgaa, the railroad police officer. I drew a comic to inform people about the issue of human trafficking in Mongolia. Amgaa helped me to hang the artwork up at the train station.

Showing my trafficking in persons comic at the train station

Showing my trafficking in persons comic at the train station.

Agaa Egee peer mentoring  program

Agaa Egee peer mentoring program

Doodler Update

Here are a few illustrations from the past weeks! I’ve been able to speed up a bit because new Moleskin drawing books arrived two weeks ago. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

A local chef chopping up a veggie.

A local chef chopping up a veggie.

There is a jazz bar in UB and a few of us were able to catch a live show. I did a doodle and talked with the composer.

There is a jazz bar in UB and a few of us were able to catch a live show. I did a doodle and talked with the composer.

Inspiration from a book about Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists.

Inspiration from a book about Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists.

The Choir train station is decorated with tinsel and a tree for Christmas.

The Choir train station is decorated with tinsel and a tree for Christmas.

Someone curled up under a rose red jacket on the top bunk.

Someone curled up under a rose red jacket on the top bunk.

The inside of a train car on my way up to UB.

The inside of a train car on my way up to UB.

Heidi Mayer presenting her group ideas during a TEFL session.

Heidi Mayer presenting her group ideas during a TEFL session.

The volunteers listening to a lecture at the TEFL IST training in UB.

The volunteers listening to a lecture at the TEFL IST training in UB.

This was an interesting experience. While I was in UB I hung out with my buddy Tucker and we found a shaaman ceremony to go to. It was in a huge ger near the downtown and there were about 7 shaamans and shaaman trainees who danced, sang, drummed, and spoke during the ceremony and about 15 guests including Tucker and I. We watched, drew, and wrote during the ceremony and then 15 minutes into the drumming and singing section we were given milk in small cups and drank those then received a tiny bill of money and candy and then we were encouraged to close our eyes and meditate for a bit. Then, after the rituals, we were able to stand and talk with the head shaaman. Usually he would offer a bit of advice, but because our Mongolian wasn’t good enough for that we just talked about where we were from and he thanked us for participating.

The head shaaman while he is giving his opening speech. It was something about mothers and fathers, money, modern day machines like cars, and other things I couldn't catch.

The head shaaman while he is giving his opening speech. It was something about mothers and fathers, money, modern day machines like cars, and other things I couldn’t catch.

The head shaaman singing while beating a drum. The inside of the ger was filled with hides, vegetables and fruit, candles, pictures, and other items to create the spiritual space.

The head shaaman singing while beating a drum. The inside of the ger was filled with hides, vegetables and fruit, candles, pictures, and other items to create the spiritual space.

Inter-Service Training

I’ve spent the last month working the capital of UB on our IST trainings for the new class of Health, Community and Youth Development (CYD), and TEFL (Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) volunteers. I was eager to promote several projects to 12 CYD volunteers and their Mongolian counterparts and throughout the weeklong training we talked about “Eco-Schools” to raise environmental awareness with students, the Agaa Egee mentoring program I am developing, the Happy Center which is done by Eva out west and raises awareness for peoples and children with disabilities, Camp GLOW which is a gender empowerment focused summer camp that we are going to adapt to Mongolia this upcoming summer, and Grassroots Comics.

It was a great experience for me to be a facilitator for these discussions and try to share my stories from my experiences. It was also reassuring that I lead a conversation with a room of intelligent, creative, and motivated individuals and not be delivering fluff the entire time that puts people asleep, but inspires a few in the room to take ideas with them to their sites.

After the sessions we’ve gone from Agaa Egee being developed by me at my site to the mentoring program being developed for starting at 9 other schools throughout Mongolia. Also, Grassroots Comics will be done at more schools and the Happy Center and the Good Father’s Project have more team members to share the development load and will start in new communities!

Also, the hotel we trained at was near an ice rink and on my second visit for the TEFL training I brought my ice skates and took some strides between my sessions :)

Heath is a great guy and working on a project to encourage fathers to be good role models and teachers to their children. It is called, "The Good Father Project."

Heath is a great guy and working on a project to encourage fathers to be good role models and teachers to their children. It is called, “The Good Father Project.”

Hannah, Muugi, and I were the CYD training team with support from Myaanga.

Hannah, Muugi, and I were the CYD training team with support from Myaanga.

Myaanga and I presenting on Student Friendly Schools

Myaanga and I presenting on Student Friendly Schools

Muugi and I showing off our Eco-Schools ideas with Didi the eco-falcon!

Muugi and I showing off our Eco-Schools ideas with Didi the eco-falcon!

The new CYD volunteers!

The new CYD volunteers!

Grassroots Comics

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I picked up on the work of Leif Packalen and grassroots comics from Finland, http://www.worldcomics.fi/, and started introducing these great ideas into my school and community. I worked alongside another Peace Corps Volunteer at my site to create anti-smoking/ anti-tobacco posters for the local Health Department and my school. Later, we held two workshops for my students and they were able to draw out their ideas about drinking and smoking in the Mongolian context.

Here are a few that Jessica and I put together ** click on the link!:

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Here are two from the students, **click on the link!:

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I also pitched and helped the teachers create a shadow play dramatizing the negative consequences of drinking and smoking.

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I’m in UB for the next two weeks helping to train and share ideas with the new class of Community and Youth Development Volunteers!

Halloween and other fun

 

 

 

 

 

The past few weeks have been entertaining and busy. My counterpart and I have been busy working on implementing our mentoring program, an eco-awareness program utilizing a hawk mascot that we crafted, and are now in the midst of an alcohol and tobacco awareness campaign. We’ve also been working on smaller events like a chalk-art activity, teaching students how to create comics to talk about social issues, and I’ve been working on a trafficking in persons comic to build awareness in schools.

On the 31st of October we celebrated Halloween with thrilling activities like Witch Limbo, Mummy Races, and Ghost Busters.

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A little boy is going under the limbo line and about to win the whole competition and was carried around on the shoulders of other students. No joke.

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This was the game we called “Ghost Busters.” Those are panty hose on his head with potatoes in the legs and he is trying to knock over the ghost bottles.

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Here, I am painting the portrait of a local Bactrian Camel.

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Waiting to get my haircut at the Grace Salon.

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The local water tower.

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This is our environmental mascot that my counterpart and I made. We used styrofoam and foam padding to create the head and then we paid a local seamstress to sew a cloth “mask” onto the form. My counterpart will wear this to primary grade classrooms and speak about environmental issues of Mongolia and around the world.



This is an art carpet project that my students did along with other participating schools in the States and Mongolia.

This is an art carpet project that my students did along with other participating schools in the States and Mongolia.

Art at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering!

 

I received some incredible photos from my art show, which celebrates the cowboy poet and hero Georgie Sicking. Thanks to all of you who made this possible, from the custom frame builder to the all the folks in Elko who celebrate Western heritage including cowboy poetry. Of course, I give my utmost respect and thanks to Georgie who lives life her way and the rest of the cowboy poets and their families who stand behind the life and art of cowboy poetry!
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