Throwback Thursday: Killjoy!

Throwback to December 11, 2013.

Treasure 750

NOW we’re cookin’ with GAS! This strip is probably the single biggest leap for me in my cartooning process.

I leave behind the dip pens and the brushes and finally break down and go to markers. To be specifically, Pitt art pens (I _think_ I’m using a Medium here, possibly a Small) for the characters and for the letters.

With this one move, I shake off decades of worrying about “cheating” and finally get down to the business of committing myself to getting my strip out the door within the time I have available to me. This is the first step in moving toward a computer, to be frank.

By trying to work within a preset time limit, I’m also committing myself to trying to build an audience who can rely on me. The single biggest reason I stopped reading comic books in the ’90s was because the schedules were simply thrown out the window and I had no idea when a book was coming out. The comics themselves had become unreadable swill, but I still came back to the vomit so long as it got puked up on a regular schedule. No regular publishing schedule; no me reading. An irregular publishing schedule kills the audience’s ability to build and maintain expectations. I sympathize.

I also realize with this strip that the templates and the cutting out and scanning thing just isn’t working. Here is what the strip looked like originally and you can see the cutting out, the Pentel brushpen inking, the tracing paper (in a future post, I’ll discuss the role of tracing paper during this phase of my cartooning), etc.:

Treasure Hunt initial version

Enough’s enough. It was taking me forever, maybe even a week, to get one strip out. I guess I was ready to move on. So I realized that graph paper would be a reliable way to square off the panels while also giving me guidelines for lettering (buh-bye Ames Guide! and good riddance).

You can also see I’ve given up on Garfield eyes. They are now dots. I found it easier to get the expressions I wanted within the space I had available to me.

The wife’s hair pattern is still getting worked out (I don’t leave the inadvertent Bride of Frankenstein streak in her hair anymore) and the boy continues to vacillate between skinny, thick, tall and short (as he still does today, unfortunately; hey! I’m _workin’_ on it!)

The coloring here also finally starts to get some more serious attention after the MOvember coloring debacle. You can see how subtle and clever I am here with the sky fading into the horizon. We’re going for high art here now, people!

And, finally, writing-wise, I have had something click in my head here about getting that third panel to punch. I am now committed to learning the gag-structure. At some point, maybe I’ll run an even earlier notes version of this one if I can find it. But the strip originally involved a birthday party and the wife’s good silverware getting buried. Whew! Lots of stuff to plow through in three panels. I don’t always hit the money with the gag structure, but I’m at least consciously attempting to pursue it now rather than just thinking, hey, is this funny? Though sometimes that still works, too . . . 🙂

That question, though, still comes later in the editing process; I just don’t find it helpful while I’m working on the structural mechanics of the gag. It gets in the way and prevents me from finishing the strip and getting stuff posted. That’s just bad editing. So I have finally gotten to the point where I don’t do it anymore, or I at least do it less.

So, as usual, hope you enjoyed it. I still really like this strip a lot.

Tomorrow, Fresh Feature Friday! (for lack of a better alliterative title for New Comic Friday!)


7 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Killjoy!

  1. Holy Moly – now that’s a blog entry!! You’re on your way to writing a cartooning book (may want to keep these entries stored in a file in case you ever decide to do that!!) With Manga Studio, the ability to work with layers enable you to restructure things a bit if the gag develops further as you are creating the panels – that’s what I find often happens with me – now we are getting into Tweaky Tuesday, territory…
    Hey, if you ever to decide to offer an additional food promotion, you could call it “Fresh Feature French Fry Friday”… (5 times fast – go!!)


    • Yeah, I got a wee bit carried away on this one. Once I saw I had a file of the original drawing, well, it was such a great “Missing Link” moment, I couldn’t resist the “too long – did not read” blog entry! And I actually think I might be percolating a (comic) book about cartooning. We’ll see! . . .


  2. I just loved reading this! And yes- your coloring on this strip is wonderful.

    Watching your process unfold is a pleasure. I relate to much of it and it’s comforting on some level.
    I agree with Ben… you can write a book.

    Great blog entry!


  3. Ya can’;t find treasure without digging. Mothers are so unreasonable. I went the other way. I used fineline felt pens for a long time then later switched to dip pen & ink. I just like the feel of them & the line thickness variation they give


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