Princess Pricklepants Presents Issue No. 2
Princess Pricklepants Presents Issue No. 2
Today we presented our first installment of Princess Pricklepants Presents, an artful webcomic of delight and wonder. The single greatest webcomic ever created by us. Since this is our first comic, we had a lot to say that didn’t fit in the little speech bubbles, so in this post we’ll share details of the art, comments on things, and notes about notes. In case you missed the comic, here it is:
In this comic we managed to include references/homages to Alphonse Mucha, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Magritte, Rembrandt, the Flammarion Engraving, Hergé, with subtle references to a few other artists of note, as well as hitting the minimum recommended daily allowance of jokes, both visual and written. We also drew a whole lot of quills.
Perhaps you’re asking, “why a web comic?” Well, you might remember that Princess Penelope Pricklepants used to write stories on our blog featuring herself as a model. Now take a look at this rare behind the scenes photo of Princess Perdita Pricklepants.
As you can see, Princess Perdita is not at all fond of posing, and immediately on coming on set, is ever intent on climbing under any and every element of the set, making the old format much, much more difficult.
But we still liked telling stories and we’ve been making art that told stories. We even made a few early web comic sorts of things like Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery in the Hundred Acre Woods and Princess Pricklepants, Astrophysicist. Also we’d made little single panel comics like this off and on.
So a proper webcomic is a natural progression, and it seems like a nice way to do the kind of things we like to do. Doing these is a fair bit of work, so we created ten comics before we published to make sure we were up to the task, so you’ll be (hopefully) happy to know there’s definitely more to come. We also have many plans for more comics, and hope you’ll come along for the ride.
While this might come as a surprise, we’re huge fans of Art Nouveau and especially Alphonse Mucha, so our title image is a cartoon homage, mixing the silly and sublime in what we hope was the right ratio.
Now you probably noticed the Magritte between the Leonardo and the Michelangelo, and thought to yourself that there had to be some kind of symbolism of a surrealist sandwich with Renaissance bread. You are very astute, dear reader! There is indeed symbolism there.
While not so easy to see in the full comic, we were really happy with the comic version of Magritte:
The apple’s brush strokes, the subtle two-dimensional cubist geometric clouds, the hat’s shading… It is a tiny happy thing.
Michelangelo in comic form. I bet if he’d thought of it, he’d have done it this way.
It’s a self-evident truth that monkeys and squirrels improve everything they’re involved in. While drawing this panel, we learned a few things. First, drawing each quill and coloring them individually is a lot of work. Second, hand painting each individual square in the gingham tablecloth to define the form was probably a mistake. Third, chairs are surprisingly hard to draw.
If you’ve ever read the Tintin comics by Hergé, you’ll be familiar with the comic style called ‘ligne claire’ or ‘clear line’ which we’re using here. It’s one of our favorites. The lines are drawn with a consistent pen width, there’s no hatching/shading lines, there’s a consistent naturalistic perspective, all forms in the image are in focus with each object clearly outlined, coloring tends towards lighter tones, and in general there are no shadows. (We took a few liberties with the tablecloth and chair cover because we’re free.) We’re not going to be using this style aways, but we really like it, so expect more.
You have no idea how many times we repainted this and changed colors around and fiddled with the stars. The hedgehog running in the wheel space station is a highly hedgehog-centric joke we couldn’t resist. If you’ve looked somewhat obsessively you’ll have noticed that we’ve drawn hedgehog quills in three different styles in the first three panels.
If you’re new to this blog, you might not be familiar with our cow, bear, and robot friends. We’d encourage you to catch up on some of our favorites:
Princess Pricklepants, Blogger, Anarchist (An early work, and odd, but still a fave.)
There are many more in the archives.
There’s much more to say about our friends, but we’ll be introducing you over time. Now, let’s take a closer look at that cartoonified Rembrandt hedgehog in the back.
Just look at it! Magnificent gloriousness.
And of course, we had to include a close-up and a nerd joke. Penning those quills took much time. Since this was our inaugural comic, we perhaps took the detail in the art a little further than we’re going to for every comic. In the end, we used five (or maybe six) stylizations for quills. We believe that is a record, and will be contacting Guinness.
We’re looking forward to sharing our comics with you. We’re currently planning to publish weekly on Saturdays, though there’s a chance we’ll change to biweekly, since they are actually a good bit of work to make. If you’re not following us, please follow us on social media where we share comics, art, jokes, and all sorts of wonderful things.
or you can follow our blog with the little link thing on the side.
We also have an Instagram account, but note that we won’t be posting comics there (with the scale we prefer, they just won’t fit): https://www.instagram.com/princessperditapricklepants/
If you like our art, you can find shirts, posters, mugs, notebooks, zipper bags, and other delightful things on our Etsy Shop.
We also have a wider variety of tee shirts on Amazon.
Do let us know if you have any feedback, questions, or comments, we’d love to hear from you. (Twitter/Facebook preferred, but any work). See you next week. Excelsior!
Hi everyone, we have exciting news! We are starting an artful webcomic of delight and wonder titled ‘Princess Pricklepants Presents.’ And look! Here it is!
“You played it for the hedgehog, you can play it for me.”
2001 A Hedgehog Odyssey
Just when mealworms though it was safe to go back in the water.
Darth Pricklepants was our favorite part.
Raiders of the Lost Hog
It’s a trap!
The Nightmare Before Hedgemas
My Patronus is a Hedgehog
PP was the best Seeker in the films.
Dear Australian Tourism Bureau,
First thanks for having an Australia to promote as a Tourism Bureau, it’s a lovely place. We had a genuinely delightful trip to your continent/country. While we saw only a little of a huge place, what we saw was wonderful, excellent, and amazing. But. Unfortunately, with all due respect, and in full politeness, you have failed us terribly as a country, continent, and tourism bureau.
You might not be familiar with who we are, since Her Highness is not so well known in Australia, so we should briefly introduce ourselves.
We are hedgehog aficionados, regular commenters on hedgehog culture, and deeply dedicated to the study of hedgehog arts, literature, history, etc. Therefore, the echidna, the most hedgehog-like animal was the one we specifically visited Australia to meet. And yet, somehow, we did not see a single echidna.*
We saw this kangaroo mom with her joey, mom standing in an area that seemed like a fine meeting place for echidnas, yet look very, very carefully at that photo. The most prominent aspect of the photo is a clear lack of echidna.
Echidna-ness-less matters deeply to us. Not only are echidnas very hedgehog-esque, making them subjects of great interest, but they are also monotremes who lay eggs and raise their young in a pouch like a platypus and have a very ancient divergence from other mammals that makes them extremely fascinating. The fact that they are adorable also made them a very important animal to meet. Look at this photo someone else took when they were blessed with a meeting with an echidna!
Everyone in the world obviously would want to meet one of those, and as a tourism bureau you know this! Naturally, we assumed Australia would deliver on our reason for going there.
Echidnas aren’t Australia’s national animal (oddly), but they are still a prominent national symbol. Looking closely at this Australian flag, you might spot the echidna cleverly embedded in it…
It’s part of the echidna constellation. Echidnas play a large and prominent role as a national symbol, another reason we came to the Homeland of Echidnas (our motto for Australia which we really think Australia ought to adopt, please consider this, Australian Tourism Bureau).
It’s such a lovely place. Gorgeous coastlines everywhere and beaches that feel like this:
We began our trip in Tasmania, which is a majestic wonderful place full of rugged natural beauty and very long hikes that leave your legs sore but you happily run out and do more of the next day. There are so many beautiful and fascinating habitats all full of slightly odd but lovely plant species (so many lovely mosses and ferns and the fern trees are glorious), as well as animals that were all new and interesting.
Wild koalas are fascinating and adorable and we saw them a number of times! Amazing! What’s also amazing is that many and various websites discussing these areas mentioned echidnas as a thing you would see sometimes, we were fully expecting to meet an echidna to help promote interspecies friendship and understanding, yet there were none. Many of those websites mentioning the high echidna levels contained in Tasmania had ads from the Australian Tourism Bureau so you knew full well that you were promoting this information that was completely false as we met no echidnas. Our concerned queries to locals claimed that it was colder so they were going into hibernation, a thing these websites had not mentioned, or maybe something we skimmed past a bit. No echidnas. This is on you Australia.
We did have the distinct pleasure of meeting Molly the wombat and having some really wonderful talks/experiences with her and several other wombats. We stayed at the Wombat Haven in Tasmania, an orphanage for wombats whose mothers have died (generally in car accidents). Wombats are rather unusual in that they’re very playful and sweet as children (young wombats are called “joeys”), but they hit a terrible teen stage where all bonding to humans is dropped, and they become the grumpy, solitary, and kind of frightening animals we know and love in the wild without issues from initial human and/or hedgehog contact. We guiltlessly pet a wombat joey and played with it. They are very playful and intelligent little wonderful creatures of marvel and happiness.
We enjoyed introducing Molly to the Pricklepants Media Empire. She was delighted. We worked on opening up possible interspecies kindness and mutual tolerance were hedgehogs and wombats to interact.
We also introduces Molly to hedgehog art, which she was also delighted by. She liked this notebook’s art so much she even tried to eat it!
So, with that kind of an experience with a wombat (a creature rare to see in the wild, though we did see one in Hobart at the Waterworks Reserve), a creature much less common to encounter than an echidna in Australia, we assumed this portended well for the Echidna Emissary Quest we had made the long journey for.
We saw a lot of very pretty parrots in the trees in Australia like this crimson rosella. Just look at it!
There were a lot of parrots. These red-rumped parrots were also fairly common. It was a little distracting, since we know echidnas do not dwell in trees, but we had to look in them regularly as there were parrots in them. We still did monitor every potential echidna habitat with great care.
We spent a lot of time at aquatic habitats like this one where we saw this lovely white-necked stilt. The shore birds were sometimes the same as those one would see elsewhere in the world, but with many species like this that have similar relatives elsewhere making them extra interesting.
For instance, these brolga are huge cranes with relatives like the sandhill cranes in the US. Magnificent creatures, and an absolute privilege to be able to see such a glorious thing in nature.
While the parrots were the show stealers, the finches were absolutely gorgeous. The red-browed finches above are also known as Firetails for their bright red rumps. We also saw a wild flock of zebra finches which was fascinating and wonderful!
We saw a lot of rainbow lorikeets, another bird common in the pet trade out in the wild living their best rainbow lorikeet lives, which was wonderful. Again note that in all these pictures there have been no echidnas!
One parrot we saw quite a lot of was cockatoos. They’re very beautiful birds.
While beautiful, they did attempt to steal our binoculars. They can become a bit too clever if people leave food out for them, though this is really a human-related issue.
Cockatoos are very clever. Despite our directing the handservants to close that lid and even put a rock on it, they managed to find their way in.
We also saw emu chicks, and melted inside. Emus get to be about as big as ostriches.
Please, share the road with Emus.
We did meet one King Parrot, and it was delightful to make a calling on parrot royalty. While slightly less polite than we had expected, they were very noble, lovely, graceful, and generally stunning. Their etiquette issues only appeared in areas humans were hand feeding them, which is a human issue, really. They remained uninterested in our Echidna Emissary Quest.
The Great Ocean Road was especially beautiful as there were lovely islands, beaches, habitats with various interesting creatures, a fern rainforest that was near magical, and general loveliness all around.
We also met a number of laughing kookaburras. Their call is featured as a generic “jungle” sound in various movies, like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tarzan, Jurassic Park and other films not set in Australia which made hearing them very curious. They’re very patient birds that don’t mind people or hedgehogs much, so they were very nice, though none had seen echidnas.
I don’t think we mentioned the lighthouses, but there many lovely sweeping views from the cliffs, and the heather and other habitats we meandered through were all lovely in themselves and full of birds, especially fairy-wrens.
Fairy-wrens! Superb fairy-wrens are cute little birds, small puffs that are fairly curious and great tiny hunters. The males are incredibly lovely in their breeding plumage (less showy but still lovely in their non breeding plumage).
There are so many other new and fascinating things we saw, like spoonbills.
And New Holland Honeyeaters that were incredibly common.
And so many birds of prey! Many kites, a number of hawks, and even a few falcons. And we saw the strange and super-cleverly camouflaged frogmouth.
We saw the frogmouth at the Serendip Sanctury where it was captive and part of a breeding program. Despite much time spent searching for frogmouths at the Victoria Botanical Gardens (lovely place) and elsewhere we did not find any. Much like echidnas.
We also met many wallabies as well which are macropods like the kangaroo, but smaller and more common in most areas we were in.
While we have mentioned the breathtaking views, they were really stunning. This is honeymoon cove in Freycinet National Park. It’s literally impossible to look at this cove and not experience a sense of awe, wonder, and delight. And yet even with that, there is still that nagging sense of lack of echidnas.* Australia Tourism Bureau, why did you hide the echidnas from us? We don’t expect a refund, that would be unreasonable. But we would be very pleased and happily accept were you were to offer a replacement Echidna Emissary Quest so we could have a do-over and find your national animal.
Kind and Noble Regards,
(and handservants not notable enough to be named)
* We did see one echidna in a wildlife rescue
this doesn’t count. It was nearly hibernating, and since we must meet animals in the wild in their natural habitat for it to actually count.**
** Also, at one point drive we were driving along the road, the handservant driver spotted the echidna, turned around to investigate, but the echidna fled almost instantly, long before there was any hope of a photographic record which makes spotting wildlife count doubly since there’s clear evidence and nearly properly counts.***
*** To properly count we need an excellent photo.
For example, this photo’s reasonably well shot for an action shot, nicely composed, tells a story that’s very interesting, and has great things going on with color. We expected something similar with an echidna, obviously.****
**** Now we’re done with these footnotes. If you’re reading this, thank you for your careful followup and attention to detail.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve made a new Etsy store full of many and various wonderful things. In addition to the endlessly delightful tee shirts, we have lovely designs on mugs, sweatshirt/hoodies, notebooks, pencil bags, phone cases, posters, and even leggings. Happily, the notebooks can be ordered with lined, blank, graph, or bullet (dot) paper.
We order samples of things to ensure quality is up to our standards, and the notebooks are especially wondrous (perfect printing/registration, excellent paper, nice binding), though we also love the mugs (really excellent printing as well), and the pencil bags are both beautifully printed and basically just right.
Here are a few samples with a helpful hedge-model.
A lovely pencil bag:
A notebook both stunning and really very good as a notebook.
And mugs of joy and delight:
And look, here’s one out in the wild:
For our loyal blog readers we’re offering a special coupon – 15% off two or more items.
If you’re looking for a delightful, witty, charming hedgehog-related gift, or just feeling the need for a hedgehog lifestyle accessory, please do take a look. We really hope you’ll be pleased.
Finally, if there’s any design we’ve made in the past that you’ve liked but don’t see, please do let us know – we are happy to do custom orders.
We have happy news! We wrote a children’s book which we weren’t enthralled with so we set it aside and wrote a couple more children’s books until we found a story we really liked. We’re in the (long, not very easy) process of illustrating it now.
This little story was mostly just created to force ourself to practice at illustrating (still working at it). Hence there are no photos, though there are still many pictures with words under them.
The book itself will be a long slow slog since we’re going to be submitting to publishers and all that business. If anyone has any helpful advice on that front, we’d be delighted to hear it.
And now we begin with our first nicely illustrated picture with words under it.
Princess Pricklepants was sitting at the table with a nice cup of tea on a quiet day, thinking about things, which was her favorite thing to do. After a bit of reflection she was overcome with an unusually strong feeling that she should do something good for the world, something big. Really big.
She ran into Sam, a trusted old friend who’d always been there, and had been in many adventures, despite what some pedantic nerds might say about it. “Hi Sam, I’m working on something big!”
After fourteen seconds, Sam the sloth had finished asking, “aren’t you already big enough?”
Her Highness made a note to schedule another manners lesson with Sam.
“We need to have a talk about manners. Soon. But not yet, as I’m working on something big.”
After a long silence that implied quiet agreement, Her Highness wandered off to the study.
Approximately ten seconds after she had left, Sam had finally finished saying, “no, but I didn’t mean you were big like that.” Alas, he saw Her Highness was already gone. Sam hoped that was the end of the excitement for the day and decided it was time to slow things down a bit.
Her Highness decided to develop a theory of astrophysics that explained dark matter more satisfactorily than current models. That seemed big in every sense.
As she worked, it felt like she was in some kind of wonderful montage with a cool, kind of edgy pop soundtrack driving her quickly towards a discovery that would take far too long to describe in a narrative story format.
She developed her hypothesis:
Dark matter is actually the interstellar dispersal of lost pens and socks!
So elegant! It explained dark matter. It explained the mysteries of pens disappearing all the time. It explained singleton socks. It fit the evidence – socks and pens both had mass. This was science and this was big.
She performed an experiment to test her hypothesis. She took a nice pen out to a patisserie where she bought some nice macarons (mmm).
When she returned, the pen was gone. She then looked everywhere for it and even got helpers to look. It was nowhere to be found, thus proving it was nowhere on Earth and must have drifted off into space. Eureka! Science!
She brought her paradigm shifting work to the Forest Science Council to explain, but the idea that dark matter is actually the interstellar dispersal of lost pens and socks was received surprisingly poorly. Mr. Badger went so far as to call the idea “tosh,” which seemed rather extreme. After a disappointing meeting, she returned home to have a cup of tea and work out a better plan for sharing her amazing new scientific paradigm.
As luck would have it, that very evening the James Webb Space Telescope was brought online, and discovered remarkably unusual and unexpected forms in dark matter which the surprised space scientists described as “like a bunch of pens and socks.”
Princess Pricklepants was delighted to hear this news! With this evidence, her science was even more science-y!
She returned to the Forest Science Council to present her case with this new data, knowing there would be much less risk of having her theory labeled “tosh.”
Unfortunately, despite unimpeachable empirical evidence backing her case, the theory was still not well received. Ms. Bluejay was still concerned. Thus far the council had only seen a few articles on Facebook, but no serious academic work, and the Forest Science Council had just issued another advisory to not trust science journalism posted in exuberant articles on social media until one had reviewed the original research.
Her Highness briefly considered renting a skywriter to send the message “Dark Matter: Really Lost Pens And Socks!” but deemed it impolite to write on the sky. Also, skywriting wasn’t exactly scientific… Still, it was fun to imagine.
She realized that she would have to write a paper including the notes and research from the James Webb Space Telescope space scientist people along with her own significant parts.
Happily, once the Forest Council reviewed the work, they agreed that her work in the sciences was indeed valuable and significant, and the paper was published in their newsletter.
While it felt strange to have a story wrap up with so few twists, fairly minor conflicts, and personal stakes that really weren’t very high, she was pleased enough with the illustrations, and was honestly pretty relieved to know what had happened to all those socks and pens.
“Silly Princess, your work on art and manners and that other stuff amuses, delights, and brings a bit of wonder to the world. That’s no small thing.”
“Well thank you, Sam,” said Princess Pricklepants politely.