Workshop Wednesday: Judy Strikes Again!

I’m so glad I finally brought Judy back! I have a special affection for Mike’s mother-in-law for some reason.

I started out knowing that Judy was going to be talking to Mike and ending with something along the lines of “I just wish it wasn’t you!” To get started, I doodled the last panel in gray (my “pencil” color) on one layer and then copied and pasted it into the other first two panels for layout purposes.

not you A 750

So once I had the “pencil” layer set (I use Manga Studio 5.0), I added a new transparent layer over the “pencil” layer. That’s my inking layer. Then I did my normal inking so each drawing is unique. I only want to use the pencil layer for layout purposes.

For some reason, the layout stage causes me incredible anxiety, so I do everything I can to make it go fast (including having the frames already laid out in a file I can use over and over). Once I have that done, then I can start tweaking, but I need to get rid of that blank page first!

I often start the inking process by lettering. That serves as my warm-up and for some reason works real well. I like the thin and thick of letters and find it strangely enjoyable.

Here’s what the “inks” stage looks like:

not you B 750

While doing the lettering and warming up, it also gives me the chance to refine the wording/pacing/timing of the gag. I often already have some notes I’ve made in a notebook, either a physical one or a digital one I keep online using  Microsoft OneNote (which I have come to love dearly).

But sometimes, I only have a sketch or an idea for a look Mike or another character has and then I try to build a strip around that. If that kind of goes nowhere or stalls out, then I save the file in a folder on my computer so I can find it later when I’m cooking up a strip and I need ideas. I’ve had real good luck in revisiting ideas even years later to finally either just spit out a finished strip or further developing one and then putting it away if it stalls out again.

For this one, I went through a couple of different iterations on what I wanted them to say to each other. I considered Judy delivering a punch line such as “I just wish my daughter had married someone else,” but, geez, that’s a mouthful. The “I just wish you were someone else” was quick, had a beat and I could dance to it so I stuck with that one.

Other places where I considered changes: Mike basically has the same face the first two panels, and you all know by now how much I hate throwing away an opportunity for Mike to make a ridiculous face. I had him doing the slight eye-tweak in panel two, like he knew Judy was up to something, and I stuck with it, though I at one point had him saying, “You do?” and kind of looking Charlie Brown hopeful, like Violet had just led him to believe she’d send him a Valentine that year, but I liked the idea of Mike still having the “what’s she driving at here” look and I felt that it also set up his little confused look in the last panel.

I also debated having Mike give his bunched up uni-brow, beady-eyed, angry look, but I wanted him to reflect my own confusion a little bit, again, at Judy’s punch line. It strikes me as one of those, “that seems funny, but doesn’t seem to make sense if I think about it” lines, so I wanted him to reflect that in his look. A pure angry look, in my opinion, wrongly indicates that there’s no little oddity to what Judy is saying.

Anyway, once I have the inks done, I usually add two layers underneath the inks and above the white layer. I put background colors on one layer and character colors on the other. So then it looks like the finished product we all know and love, here:

not you 750

This is another strip where I kind of had to trust my gut and crank it out even though I couldn’t really tell if it was “funny” or not. It’s another good example of the problem/benefit of _not_ working with a cushion: deadlines are the impetus to creativity! (I hope . . . )

See you Friday for the new strip!





4 thoughts on “Workshop Wednesday: Judy Strikes Again!

  1. This strip is, in one word, PERFECT! I know I use that word a lot with you…. But it is. The facial expressions and dialog is spot on. You nailed it!

    I completely agree that deadlines spur creativity. For some people that concept is antithetical and when I talk about creating deadlines for my comics- I get a round of gentle criticism. (I guess my thinly veiled attempt to disguise my husband’s voice isn’t really working.)
    So I am thinking about how to have deadlines without declaring deadlines.

    Love your lettering Brad! It is in a word, PERFECT!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks as always, Pam! I always look forward to your comments. Yeah, it took me a long time to find a deadline zone I’m comfortable with. I think the one new strip a week is working well for me right now. For the other posts, I was able to take some stuff I’ve already done and make them into things like art prints and mugs. I was also able to take some of my process stuff and turn that into posting material. So I like that I have three posts a week now, MWF. I’d like them to all be new comics, but, alas, such has not occurred yet! I’m thinking that if I ever get far enough ahead with what my current approach to posting, then I can inch my way to maybe _two_ new comics a week, but, really, that’s only if I can get myself a big enough cushion that I can make it regularly. I’ve tried to post more than one new strip a week before and I just can’t sustain it at the moment. We shall see! Thanks as always for reading, Pam. I appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff last night said, “You’re drawing again?”
        Okay- I’ve been drawing again for over a month but he gets points for finally noticing.
        “Yes- I’m drawing and posting comics because I can’t not do it.”
        He said, “I got it. I’ll help.”
        “Don’t worry, I’m not using a deadline,” I said, my eyes cast down, my feet shifting.
        “Yeah right. You forget- I know you.”

        I think it’s great Brad that you are posting M W F. I always look forward to your posts and would miss them if you stopped. I too would love to get to two comics a week. It’s going to take some revising of my thinking and tossing out of some other commitments. My new mantra, as of this morning, and subject to change is: “Get two done, post one.” I think I just like it ’cause it rhymes.

        Anyway- keep on. 🙂


      • I’m glad to see you’re doing the comics again. I go through phases, too. I laid off for five years at one point. Eh. And then you come back to it. Or it pulls you back in! I just try to think of things in terms of sustainable pace. Sometime that helps (and sometimes it doesn’t!). See you over at PAMO Comics!


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