To the degree that least week’s strip challenged me, this week’s strip was just one of those strips that pops out fully formed.
After sketching out the first frame and then copying and pasting it into frames two and three, I redrew the faces in frames two and three so it looked like this:
Oddly enough, again, I knew the third panel first. I love when that happens! But what would get them there? What would the boy have a point about? Something ridiculous that could only appeal to Mike.
Bad grades! Again, who knows where this stuff comes from? It just pops into your head (at least it does when something cool is happening). So I love the F-minus in the first panels.
But the clincher for me is the kid’s face. I love all three, especially the first panel, but that third panel look he has just kills me. It really made me laugh and is the gem of the strip for me. What a smug little so-and-so! And boy is he in for a rude awakening if he thinks dad is going to carry the day here!
So the mom flipping out in the third panel I also enjoy. I think I need to show her a little more exasperated sometimes than I do. She actually normally handles things really well. I guess Mike’s response here so misses the mark for her that she feels the need to call them both back to reality.
Process-wise, I then took the sketch layer and made it gray instead of black (recall I work in Manga Studio, so I’m using layers and drawing it all up digitally). I then ink in blank on a layer above/over that gray “pencil” layer. It looks like this:
This strip is actually a second take on the “you robbed a gumball machine” strip. I originally had used the “the boy has a point” line at the end of that strip and then swapped it out for the “then where’s my half?” which I actually have come to not like as much as the “the boy has a point line.”
I actually think the line works even better here, though. And here’s where I wound up:
I don’t know where the kid’s looks come from here, but I really enjoy when that happens. It’s the pleasure of the creative process, that little surprise of “hey! look what happened!” I even enjoyed the placement of the balloons on this one. Every element in this strip really made me happy. I kind of got annoyed that I didn’t come up with a different look for the mom in the second panel, but that’s a quibble for me here.
So see you Friday for the new strip! And remember to pick up your copy of the very first Pirate Mike collection either online or visit me at one of the two conventions I’ll be at here in the Twin Cities this month! If you do pick it up from me at the convention, make sure you mention the website here and I’ll sell it to you for $5 instead of the convention price of $10 (hey, conventions are pricey!)