Monday, December 27

Where Are The Women?

Perhaps you've wondered why there are no women in my strip, yet.  That is no big mystery: I've just been adding characters one at a time, and it's easier for me to conjure and draw a male character than female character. But at this point, the time is ripe for the introduction of my first female character. 

I've had some in mind, but it is only when I really need to have a character, that I get serious about creating one.

Today I did some sketches, and the first character that emerged has dark hair, and is a 'girl-next-door' type. After I drew her, I thought that she might look like a character from the strip, LuAnn. So I checked, and have decided that my character looks unique enough, i.e. unique enough to be a new character in the LuAnn strip.  But since, I'm putting her in my strip first, I've got dibs, so there.

I've not finalized the character, but I'm going to add her, anyway, and develop within the strip. And as an extra added bonus, you get to watch my (her) progress as it happens!

Saturday, December 25

Watched C-Span2 For 53 Hours

This one was especially fun for me.  I got to do a different character, scene, and perspective. I used muted colors in the middle panel, and no outline around it. My lettering is still rough, and I'm not sure how I'm going to improve it, or if I even can soon improve it.  I might use Photoshop to produce nice uniform text.  We'll see.

Thursday, December 23

Yachts O' Luck

I guess we can't all live in the rarefied air of Larry's world, although Larry doesn't seem to know that in this case. The good thing about 'telephone characters' is that I don't have to draw them. This strip reminds me of some comedians in the early sixties, who used this one-sided telephone conversation  shtick in their acts, especially Bob Newhart.

Tuesday, December 21

This Doesn't Suit Ivan

Ivan thinks he's in deep trouble, but I don't think there have been any successful heresy suits in the last several decades.  Can Larry be dissuaded?

Sunday, December 19

Ivan's God Painting

Steve Jobs As God
Our heroes come and go so quickly.  It's difficult to find people who are blemish free.  Yet we all seem to want to have someone to look up to, and emulate.  The really good ones are hard to emulate, precisely because they have higher standards than the rest of us.

Friday, December 17

Ivan Has A High Aspiration

Mr. Rhooms changed his shirt (color).  Cartoon characters usually wear the same clothes all the time.  That's the good thing about cartoonland: no laundry, and no ironing.

I don't know if anyone uses the word 'jazzed', but I like the sound of it.

Wednesday, December 15

Drawing God

Drawing God is really really hard.  That's why you don't see Him drawn much, although lately He appears in cartoons, often in Heaven, (which is evidently in/on clouds), making a smart remark about some poor sap, who is not getting what he wants.  Perhaps there is a lesson there: don't complain about not getting what you want.

BTW, why aren't thousands of people reading my blog? That just sucks.

Monday, December 13

Music As Heaven/Hell - Answers

Here are the answers to December 7th fun trivia quiz about Heavy Metal vs Spa album names.

Heavy Metal: 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16
Spa: 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 15
The following updated album list includes the artists:
 1. Dawn Of A New Century: by Secret Garden
 2. East Of The Full Moon: by Deuter
 3. Filth Hounds Of Hades: by Tank
 4. Fire Down Under: by Riot
 5. Iron Fist: by Motorhead
 6. Jeweled Space: by Iasos
 7. Liquid Crystal Love: by Iasos
 8. Kill 'Em All: by Metallica
 9. Ocean Memories: by Bola Sete
10. Piece Of Mind: by Iron Maiden
11. Roses And Solitude: Kelly Yost
12. Screaming For Vengeance: by Judas Priest
13. Sirens: by It Dies Today
14. Throne Realms: by Iasos (CD: Timeless Sounds)
15. Tranquility: by Tranquiliity
16. Welcome To Hell: by Venom

And yes, some of these might have been possible for either category!

Saturday, December 11

Only One Creator?

The inventor, Ennis, holds a unique position in the thoughts of RoboCat.  It would be safe to say that RoboCat has a personal relationship with his God.

Since the last strip, I'm back to RoboCat having its speach shown in full 'computer-text', but I forgot the heat-vents on his back.  It's always something ...

Thursday, December 9

Missionary Charlie Meets RoboCat

This is the first strip with RoboCat in color.  He has red 'Droid'-like eyes, but I got that idea from 2001: A Space Odyssey, so they are now public-domain eyes. RoboCat has sharp teeth here; I'm playing around with the look. I forgot to have RoboCat text in 'computerese', which I do in Photoshop, but at least I have the squiggly bubble connoting weird speech.

Tuesday, December 7

Music As Heaven/Hell

I'm easily distracted. That's why while I work, I like to listen to soothing instrumental music, sometimes called Spa music. Some of the names of the album titles are quite clearly aimed at communicating the idea of soothing and calm. The naming options seem limited, so the same sorts of names keep popping up. The opposite music may be Heavy Metal, and again there, the names seem limited.

So, in the spirit of celebrating cliches, I have a little test for you. Here is a alphabetical list of sixteen sixteen Spa and Heavy Metal album titles. See if you can tell which is which. Make two lists: one of the numbers for Spa, and one for the numbers of Heavy Metal. The answer will appear in a later post.

 1. Dawn Of A New Century
 2. East Of The Full Moon
 3. Filth Hounds Of Hades
 4. Fire Down Under
 5. Iron Fist
 6. Jeweled Space
 7. Liquid Crystal Love
 8. Kill 'Em All
 9. Ocean Memories
10. Piece Of Mind
11. Roses And Solitude
12. Screaming For Vengeance
13. Sirens
14. Throne Realms
15. Tranquility
16. Welcome To Hell

Monday, November 22

Airport Pat-Downs Should Be Fun

Lately, I have been troubled by the recent personal pain of the "Don't Touch My Junk" guy, and any man who is upset by too-familiar airport security pat-downs.  So I have arrived at a solution that I think will be acceptable to most men.  That is, to do this delicate job, the TSA hires well-built, scantily-clad young women.

This is a perfect opportunity for Hooters® to hire out their waitresses for extra work, and pocket a nice commission.  Or to avoid the additional cost, the TSA could do their own hiring, although I wouldn't trust them to do the best picking.  This also might be an excellent case where politicians could do a better job, as they seem to do a great job in picking their own young mistresses.

In the interest of fairness, although gay men might not have a problem with the current situation, we could allow for the hiring of hunky male agents.  This option will also placate irate women, or women who would like a more exciting airport experience.

And finally, all travellers would be given their choice of available pat-down agents.  After all, we all want travelling to be a pleasant and customizable experience.

(Special Note: This was posted prior to my finding out about Saturday Night Live's spoof).

Saturday, November 20

Charlie On His Own (In Color!)

Sure, I know this is another 'Twitter' reference, but in this case it fits.  BTW, this is the first instance of color in Hotel Rhooms!  It does add some extra time to the production, but I should be able to speed up the process as I gain experience with it.  But it adds pizzaz, and that's important, I'm told.

Thursday, November 18

An Unfortunate Incident

His name is Charley, and his visit to Hotel Rhooms is due to an unfortunate incident involving a breakfast.  It just goes to show that we never know when we will be 'taken away', so let's make the most of our lives, and try to dress better, at least.

Wednesday, November 17

My Missionary Position

My next thought for a new character is to have a religious one.  Nothing like politics and religion to polarize people, which isn't what I want to do.  Still, they are both areas to play with.  So I am  playing with having a Christian missionary staying for awhile.

He would be from a Church that doesn't exist specifically, but he would embody some common Christian attitudes.  So where's the comic in this?  Good question! 

Probably, not 'haw, haw' humor, but perhaps 'heh, heh' humor.  I just want to show a different slice of the human experience.  Like the Ivan, the artist, or Ennis, the inventor, everyone brings their perspective to the table, so to speak.

He will be neat and well dressed, and a man with a mission, ... I mean, important job to do.  And although he may occasionally have some doubts, he will never be negative!

However, in order to balance things out, and in the interest of fair play, I may have to introduce a satanic devil-worshiper missionary. He would have to dress bizarrely and always be negative.  But then I seem to have met too many of those people in the past.  Oh, if you're one of those people, please don't write any nasty comments.  Thanks.

Monday, November 15

Problems With Parrots

For a while I've been thinking about having a parrot character in my strip.  I don't know who would be the owner of the parrot, though.  I've ruled out a pirate, but I'm thinking the character could be an elderly woman. 

But more to the point, what can a parrot say, except to 'parrot' someone, commonly his or her owner.  That doesn't give the parrot a lot of options as to what to say.  For instance it can't be too long or complex, only short phrases at most.  Half of the time parrots don't actually say anything, and a squawking or mute parrot would not provide much of a contribution. So having the parrot deliver an actual punch-line might be too optimistic.  The best I could hope for is a punch-phrase or a punch-word.

I know that many people consider birds to be quite intelligent, but I'm not one of them.  For me, part of the charm of parrots is that they can say any words at all.  It's actually very astonishing.  They are like the court jesters of the bird 'kingdom', if there is such a thing.

Of course, there is nothing that says my parrot can't be long-winded, and wise-cracking, except that most people don't like comic strips full of text.  I know people who skip them, so I would have to be careful if I let my parrot pontificate or otherwise run-on at the beak.  For that, a parrot would need its own blog.

Thursday, November 11

Face Time At The Front Desk

You may not be able to tell, but I had to do a bit of research into what these various outfits look like. Obviously, there are some possible job opportunities for strict Muslim women in deep-sea diving. Just as obviously, the KKK would not allow women to ride with them. That's just not right; there ought to be a law!

Technical note: this is the first real use of photoshop to fill-in areas.  My next step would be a gradient fill!  I live an exciting life.

Tuesday, November 9

Pens and 'Al'

I went to the art supply store last Friday to buy two pens to replace some that I had bought in a set of varying sizes.  You'd think that the company that made the set would realize that some sized pens in the set would be used-up quicker than others.  But alas, single pens are not available. I'd have to buy another set.  At the time, I didn't have an alternative, so I bought another set. And, I'll start looking for individual pens to buy for next time.

However, I did also buy a "brush" pen, which has a tip that can be used like a brush to vary the width of the line.  I'm not sure I will use this pen for the strip, but, I did sketch an owl with it. 

 He's "Al, the Angry English Owl".  I say English because of the t-shirt he's wearing. I don't know why he's angry, but I do know that these days anger has been all the rage.

(Gratuitous Puns: another reason to be angry).

Saturday, November 6

Repeating The Past

Please disregard this strip in Argentina, as Daylight Savings Time is not practiced there, and there may be a problem with the translation of 'fall'.  And it's also probably their 'Spring'.  Of course I have no blog readers in Argentina, so please disregard this paragraph, altogether.

Friday, November 5

Vote With My Art

I am not endorsing this tactic. An actual ballot is still the better choice.

Friday, October 29

Some Jokes Can't Die

Another strange hotel visitor appears. This is tooo weeeeird!

Wednesday, October 27

Tired Traveler

Maybe it's just Halloween time, but there seem to be some strange folks around.

Friday, October 22

Wednesday, October 20

Square Bob French Guy

I saw many interesting things during my European tour, including old windmills in Holland, enough cathedrals to satiate a bus full of nuns, and the Mona Lisa. However, two things stand out as particularly memorable to me.

The first is the giant steel structure in the shape of the inside of an iron molecule, standing 335 feet high, called the Atomium. Created for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, its gleaming steel spheres recreate the 1950's view of a glorious future for cheap ubiquitous atomic power, a future that never materialized, like levitating cars.

The second is an example of graffiti on a door in Paris. Although surely ignored by most people who daily pass it by, it caught my attention for its goofy optimistic charm:  a little man with wings instead of arms, who wears a tie, and smokes, as many in Paris do. I call him, "Square Bob French Guy".

Tuesday, October 19

France Is Special

The day we are to leave France for the USA is the day of the big protest strike regarding the two year hike in the retirement age. We try to reserve a taxi, but there are few taxis available.  The trains to the (Charles DeGaulle) airport are one out of four.  They are jammed, we hear, so we go down to the nearest taxi stop, and as luck has it, a taxi pulls up, and we are off.  We are leaving with plenty of time for delays.  The traffic moves slowly, but unlike in the USA, they do not 'stop and go', as they have learned how to bob and weave.
All during the drive, our taxi driver complains sarcastically about the big shutdown and strike. He says that  France is 'special', i.e. spoiled stupid.

When we get to the airport, we learn that another United flight has the crew delayed in traffic. I hope ours is on time to the plane, as we will need them for take off.

The good part of the drive to the airport was the music, (see photo).

Wednesday, October 13

Play With Dickie

This afternoon in Brussels, I walked to the Belgian Comic Strip Center, at 20 rue des Sables, where I was pleasantly surprised by the large number of glass covered easels with original sheets of comic book art. It was an impressive museum and book store, primarily specializing in European comics in book format.

One odd comic book that caught my attention was one of ‘Mrs. Walker’, an American Civil War nurse, in hardback, written in French. What’s the market for that?

I especially enjoyed seeing the artists’ error corrections done with white-out, or cut and pasted onto the page, as well as their lettering, which I need to study and practice.

They had one exhibit where visitors could arrange comic strip panels in their proper sequence, starting from an initial jumbled presentation. For a reason unknown to me, it’s called “Play With Dickie”. An initial jumbled sequence is shown in the picture at left. Perhaps, if you are clever, and can see the images well enough, you can figure out the correct sequence yourself. One clue, the white dog looks like a famous Belgian comic dog, "Snowy". Click on the photo to see it larger. Let me know what sequence you come up with, in the comments.

I designate initial panels as:
top: 1 2 3, middle 4, 5, 6, bottom 7, 8, 9.

Thursday, October 7

My New Look In Amsterdam

Aside from trudging around with my tour group, nobody has spotted me for an American.  As you can see from my picture, I look quite European.  I must be looking good, because some nearly naked young ladies in sidewalk windows have been winking at me. Is this a great place, or what?

Today, I've been thinking of calling my friends in California, so I can say, 'Oh, I didn't realize the time difference was nine hours. Sorry, go back to sleep".

Monday, October 4

My Problems With Going To Europe

Earlier this year I had arranged to go to Ireland.  The day before our planned flight, the problem became 'The Volcano'. Yes, the unpronounceable volcano in Iceland began to get active again.  So I cancelled, not wanting to be stuck somewhere in some airport or hotel for days, like the thousands of travellers just before me.

This week I'm going to Europe again, and what do I read in the newspaper?  The U.S. Government has issued an official travel alert, warning Americans to be alert for terrorist activity.  Seems there are unspecific threats especially for the UK, Germany, and France.  Of course I'm going to be spending almost a week in Paris, which is the prime target in France. And of course, I will be spending my time with a group of Americans, and going to places Americans usually go to.

However, I have a strategy: I will be wearing spiffy walking shoes, a scarf, and most importantly, I've grown a goatee.  That makes me not look like an American.

Unfortunately, that makes me look like either a German psychoanalyst or a French Impressionist.

C'est la vie.

Friday, October 1

European Trip Coming Up Soon

Next week, I'm flying to Amsterdam to begin a tour through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. I will be part of a small group of people who will be staying in Amsterdam, Brugge, Brussels, and Paris. I'm pretty excited, not because pot is legal in Amsterdam; only partly: it's the plethera of bicycles and young blonds with pigtails and wooden shoes.

If I have the opportunity, a big highlight for me will be a visit to the Belgium Centre for Comic Strip Art, in Brussels. 

Since I've only recently begun to draw the strip, I don't have a back-log of strips to post during my time away from home.  But, as time and technology permit, I'll upload some fresh photos from my trip, when I get back to my hotel room (no pun intended). In any case, I will continue to post, so please check back every couple of days.

Thursday, September 30

A Fraction of Its Real Value

Ivan wants to sell one of his paintings, an adventurous and dynamic portrait of Ennis' Robo-Cat, who proves he has good built-in vision and intelligence.

Tuesday, September 28

Friday, September 24

Somebody Is Unhappy

Ennis has moved his Robo-Cat from the hallway back into his room, so things should be all better.

Thursday, September 23

A Mask That Everyone Will Like

Today's strip has Ennis trying to figure out the right mask to make his giant 'robo-cat', that is in the upstairs hallway appear more friendly to the residents.

Tuesday, September 21

I'll Take Care Of It

Here is today's strip, where Ennis takes care of Mr. Rhoom's problem.

With my current time and schedule, I can produce about two strips per week.  I hope to make a steady output of three strips per week in the near future.  This one took about four hours from blank page to posting on this blog.

Friday, September 17

Ivan Is Off

Here is the continuation of the Sept 15th strip.  Mr. Rhooms has a thought about the artist, Ivan, that he's keeping to himself (except for your unique ability to hear it).

Wednesday, September 15

I'm Possessed

This is the first full strip with the artist, Ivan, who is nothing if not enthusiastic.  For Ivan, it's all about the creative process.

Tuesday, September 14

68,647 New Yorker Magazine Cartoons

A friend recently loaned me his copy of The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker, which has all 68,647 cartoons from 1925 through 2004.  I'm up to 1951.

I notice a huge difference in how people talk now, compared to years past, and there are a lot of years past, here.  People seemed to have been more polite; they weren't better, they were just more politel.  Even the criminals were more polite.  Of course, these are cartoon criminals, so maybe there is a bit of 'translation' going on.

It's fun to see what cartoon ideas still hold up well today, and could be displayed now without explanation.  The great majority show their age.  But humor is humor, and the mere fact that they are drawings to make us laugh, is still enchanting and endearing to me.

Thursday, September 9

The First Full Panel Strip

This is my first full strip just done on my newly bought 11x14 inch paper.  My scanner is too small, so I have to do two scans and combine them in Photoshop. Luckily, it's not too much trouble.

Recently, I had an idea for a laser can opener, and saved it until now.  I knew it had to explode something, and came up with SpaghettiOs.  Wanting to spell it correctly, I Googled it, and found that last June, they recalled some products due to undercooked meatballs; thus the punch line.

Saturday, September 4

Bought Ruler & Bigger Paper

Today's blog feels like one of those where I have nothing of import to say.

It's true, but today I did buy some Bristol paper that is 14 inches by something, that will allow me to create a full length strip of 13 inches by 4-1/16 inches.  And I bought a see-through ruler to make connecting the lines easy.

Now my problem  is my scanner: it only can scan to 11 inches max.  So I will have to put two scans together to make the image for the web. Maybe some day I'll replace my graphics tablet with a new one, but the large ones cost plenty, and the ones that the artists at Pixar use are $2,000 each.  Not in my immediate future.

Thursday, September 2

Penguins Are Easier To Draw Than People

Today I sit down to draw a mini-strip.  I get an idea for it: the hotel manager asks the inventor if he can make a robot that will put his "coat away, feed the dog, fix the faucet, take out the trash, and turn off the light when it's done".  The inventor, who I've just now named Ennis, says, "Your wife is on your case, right?"  ... Ok, so far.

But that's just one panel.  My mini-strip has two panels, so I have one blank panel staring back at me. This is where I start to run into trouble.  In the last panel, something else should be said, I think, and if so, what, and by whom. I think of a few possibilities, but none of them felt good.

So then, I just start doodling, being reminded of a comic strip with penguins that I found yesterday.  I also drew some sketches of the manager's wife: a large woman wearing an apron. But I liked drawing the penguin.  It was easy, so I think, "why didn't I think of just doing a strip with penguins". Surely the world could take two penguin strips, and it would be a heck of a lot easier than drawing people.

Tuesday, August 31

Now I Remember: Cartoonist Ronald Searle

I've been trying to remember a cartoonist I liked years ago, for his pen lines, unique style, and incredibly wrinkly old people.  His lines have an sensitive irregular beauty, like Richard Thompson, Saul Steinberg, and Ralph Steadman.

Well, today I remembered, and looked up Ronald Searle. He is 90 years old, living in France with his wife, and pretty damn chipper for his age, having been using champagne each day for 'lubrication'.

I didn't know that he was captured and held in prison by the Japanese during WWII, and while there, he managed to make marvelous sketches of prison camp conditions, that would be found, even if he didn't make it back alive.  He has been prolific, since selling his first cartoon at the age of fifteen.

So for today, I have no artwork of my own, but recommend checking out one of the greats: Ronald Searle.

Monday, August 30

Mini-Strip With Giant Robo-Cat

Until I get the proper paper size and board, I will have to to two panel mini-strips, so I can practice working in the roughly 4" height.  Here I have a back-lit panel to start, then the scene at the front desk. This is the first appearance of the hotel manager.  So far he has a light mustache, and a comb-over.  I was going to never have him speak, but that idea has been dismissed.  Why prevent anyone (or thing) from speaking?

I need to get a couple of plastic rulers and ellipse stencils to use as guides. As you can see, I'll need them to draw straight!

Thursday, August 26

The Artist Character - Next Version

The next character I'm 'tackling' is the Artist. This version looks a bit like Andy Warhol, who is actually one of my favorite artists, as he captured the fabricated nature of popular culture that blossomed in the late 1900s. However, I don't plan on my character being Andy; and there may be a slight California surfer aspect to him.

Here are two studies: a head shot for more detail, and a panel to see how he gets drawn into the strip. This version is quite different from my earlier version.

Tuesday, August 24

Coincidence? I think NOT!

Just after I posted the last blog, I went to Darrin Bell's site, and saw a link to a video of the very same speaking engagement.  So here is a link for you, if you want to watch what I witnessed on November 12, 2009.  It is the whole presentation, a 74-minute video produced by the Contra Costa County Library, and the Walnut Creek Library Foundation.

Comics More Real

My desire to do a comic strip has been rekindled, because a few months back I went to see two comics artists, Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), and Darrin Bell (Candorville), at an evening speaking event. So in some way I was making the connection between my dream of cartooning, and real cartoonists, and that made my dream more real, and thus realizable.

Anyway, here are some sketches from today ...

Thursday, August 19

First Test (Mini) Strip

Attention deficit tendencies have inspired me to switch from character development to strip development. Basically, I just want to get a sense of the size at which I will be drawing the characters.

Since my style changes with the size and media, I need to work a bit at the actual finish size. After doing the strip, I notice that it does change the look and the style. I also need to work at a speed that suits me, and that too will change the look, too.

Fair warning: the characters will be morphing a tad, as I work through the early stages, and test different looks, even from panel to panel, at first.

Monday, August 16

First Sketches of The Artist

Today I drew a couple of versions of "The Artist", who of course will have a name.  I'm including two versions, shown in the order I drew them.  The first one shown is literally the first version. My artist is trying to make a living by selling original works, so he will be trying to think up ideas to make money, especially since he has very little.

Thursday, August 12

Handyman Studies

Today I concentrated on creating the handyman character (HMC).  While drawing several versions of the HMC, I realized that the face has to be able to form different expressions, and still be recognizable as the HMC, and I thought of Spongebob Squarepants (SBSP), and all the extreme transformations he is able to go through, and yet still be recognizable as SBSP.  Of course he is a yellow sponge with a red tie, brown pants, and two buck teeth, so by keeping those attributes, the artist keeps the identification.  My characters, while not sponges, will none-the-less have to always keep certain basic qualities, too.

No final version of the HMC emerged today, but I started, and that's ... well, that's a start.

Wednesday, August 11

An Ugly Truth

After making a to-scale mock strip, albeit only 11 inches across, leaving off half of the last panel, I discovered that the drawing looked like the kind I think is done without very much talent. Since I believe I have talent, I (must) think that I need to pay more attention to what I'm doing. And I need to make sure that I do the best work I can, and hope it gets better. It seems that it's more difficult to draw a strip than to doodle some interesting characters just once on a page. This may not be so frikken easy.

Now that I've scared myself, I tried scanning in black and white, and opening the scan in Photoshop. I get black horizontal lines throughout the image, when viewed in PS. I googled this problem, and found nothing. So I'm now back to scanning in color, and enhancing the contrast, and will destaturate, if necessary. The images look OK, so they may be OK as is. We'll see.

Monday, August 9

Character Sketches

I'm working on designing my characters, and have two that I'm tackling now: the handyman and the inventor.  I also want to work in the size that the final drawings will be, so I can get a feel for that. As far as I've determined, the strip size will be 4-1/16 inches by 13 inches.  Unfortunately, my sketch pads are not that large.

Here is an early sketch of the inventor character.  He appears to be a child, so I may have to either justify that, or make him older.  Changes could be major.

Wednesday, August 4

Initial Characters, and Other Thoughts

Well, today I actually spent 30 minutes with pencil and pen in hand, doodling two characters: the handy-man, and the actress.  I have to keep in mind that I'm going to be drawing my characters many times, and need to keep them as simple as possible, yet fully expressive. As they may morph over time, I also want to develop them enough so that they won't have to change too much. But if they only get better, iz no problem, right?

I used my new set of Sakura Pigma Sensei® "manga" pens of varying widths, and the included mechanical pencil, and 'latex-free' white vinyl block style eraser. I'm not sure why being latex-free is a big deal. In any case, I like the eraser. It does a nice clean job of removing the pencil lines, without effecting the ink. I'll have to see whether an electric eraser makes sense for me later. With my current output, definitely no need.

Monday, August 2

First Sketches

Saturday, I went to Richard's Art Supply in Alamo, CA to buy some drawing pads, and low and behold, they had a 'back to school' sales of sketch pads for half price.  So naturally, I bought twice as many as I planned to. But I bought one of each type of pad, so I could determine which will be best suited to my work style, assuming I have one.

Then the next day, I began to sketch, using the new set of "manga" pens I bought.  So far I have sketches of four characters, and I realize that I'm very much out-of-practice.  And I will need to draw them from all angles to solidify their shapes.  Much work lies ahead, before I can even begin to do the strip.

Today I'm preparing paperwork to refinance my house, so didn't do any drawing.

Saturday, July 31

Future Website

Today I decided to update the website that will be used for the strip. Currently it's being used with on obsolete name, so at some point down the road, I'll have to move it to its new site.  I registered the domain names (one with dashes and one without) the other day.

I realize I'll need to work out the page layout, and can anticipate making changes as I add elements to the page. All-in-all today was satisfying, as I made real progress.

I thought about some ideas for the strip. The scene will be a residence hotel, and my characters will be the residents, with occasional guests, and the ever-present hotel manager/owner, Mr. Rhooms. Some characters may be an inventor, a handy-man, and a waitress/actress ...

Thursday, July 29

Day Two

Today I realized that I can't create my comic strip, if I spend the greater part of the day watching a recorded full stage of the Tour de France, and a bunch of other interesting TV programs, no matter how educational or enjoyable they may be. So I've decided to pull out the sketch book that my girlfriend gave me, and doodle while watching TV. A perfect solution!

Since I always have my cell phone with me, I'm now using the 'Memo' application in it to jot down ideas for my strip elements and characters. I know I'll have to be careful, and make it clear that I'm not using the people I know as my characters. So I'm stating right now that I'm not, and if it seems like I am, that's only because people will be looking for themselves in my work. And if you seem to see yourself in my comic, that is not you, Jessica. Plenty of other people have a similar personality, size, and shape.

Wednesday, July 28

Hey, Let's Start A Comic Strip

I just fully retired, and decided after 35 years to get back to cartooning. When I was a kid, I drew cartoons, and doodled all over my school notes. My mom loved the cartoons I drew, but she loved most of what I did anyway, except for the things I never understood that made her really mad.

After graduating from San Francisco State University in 1975, I called the Walt Disney Studios to find out about a job, and the man on the other end of the line told me they wanted younger artists. I was 30. I looked around for local animation studios, but they didn't need anybody, so I got a temporary job working for the 'bus company'. That's the company I just fully retired from, and now that that's over, I'm ready to try cartooning again. I hope I haven't waited too long.