Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Job of Writing Comics

I discovered a great quote from Ted Slampyak, the artist who currently draws “The Orphan Annie” comic strip.

“Drawing comics is as much a job as it is a calling — and on days when you don’t really hear that calling, it’s still a job. And for most cartoonists, it’s not a very good paying job. So it’s essential that you have a system in place, a streamlined and standardized way of going about the task.”

On his blog Slampyak describes his process of creating a comic from start to finish. I imagine every artist is different. He has some very good ideas. I especially like his planning worksheet. His description shows how much preplanning and problem solving go into making a strip.

You can see his whole tutorial on his blog, http://www.tedslampyak.com/2007/07/how-i-make-comic-strip.html

Sunday, July 29, 2007

In Living Color

This is a drawing of Sonoma Jack, one of the characters from my comic strip called T.A.I.L.S.

My son Daniel colored one of my drawings on the computer for me. I drew it in pen and ink and scanned it and he took it from there. He knows a lot more about computer art than I do. Thanks a lot, Dan!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Life, life, and more life!

The toughest obstacle to knuckling down to draw is the demands of life! I’m taking Phd classes (wow, are they a lot of hard work), and I have a one-year old. Those two things place a lot of demands on my time, though the baby is a very joyful part! Of course, then there’s work and we also have four teenagers!

In other words, progress is slow, but at least there is progress. Today I scanned and submitted things for publication, and sent an invoice for payment!

T.A.I.LS. Update





I’m trying to improve the lettering in my comics. I’m doing them by hand now with an Ames lettering guide. I invested in two expensive ink pens, Rotring Artpens. These are the kind Stan Sakai uses in Usagi Yojimbo.

One obstacle in getting work done for me is space! We were in tight quarters before with four kids. Then we had a baby and he took over the house! My daughter is going to college in the fall and said she wouldn’t mind if I used her room to draw in while she’s gone. She’s an artist to so we’ve fixed her room up as kind of a studio.

That may seem funny, but to me it is all part of “clearing the runway for take-off”. It’s tough to use the dining room table and then have to shove everything away so we can eat dinner!

Whatcha wanna do -- How ya gonna get there?



One thing I am trying to do to educate myself through reading. One book that’s helping a lot is “Making Comics” by Scott McCloud. Another good one by the same author is “Understanding Comics”. I’d highly recommend both of those as well as “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel”.