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.