Friday, November 29, 2013

Short Cuts and Execution

Sometimes I go through a stretch where you look back at what you've done, and you're not entirely proud of it ... and this pasta joke is one of them. Definitely an err in judgement.

While it's funny when it happens to someone else, it's hardly a well-written joke. And it wasn't especially well drawn, nor was it particularly well coloured, and no gag was written along with it to add any special value. So there's another lesson learned. Here's how it turned out.

Seems that lately there's been more "lessons learned" than things I'm proud of.... 

As for drinking toilet duck, this story arc just wrapped up on the main blog and I think it covered all the bases I wanted to cover. Towards the end of the arc, the artwork and framing really improved. At this point I was still simply drawing elements of a panel and them assembling them digitally - - whereas I think a cleaner panel is created when you do it all on the page. Adding extra elements might be "easier" digitally, but it looks like you took a shortcut. You can see how these elements came together in the final strip here.

Obviously, skipping any setting or background made this look rushed and incomplete. When I speak of "lessons learned," I guess what I'm hoping is that I won't repeat the same mistakes as in the past.

I've taken some steps to eliminate those "shortcuts," and I think it's paying off, but, of course, it means things are taking a bit more time, too.

Business Man @ Home is designed to be a whole lot simpler, though. One panel, one frame, one line of dialogue, minimal setting - - and I think it works as a motif, but ... I think people are losing their lust for the strip, though. In any case, I think the minimalist structure and the trope on "Crying Over Spilled Milk" worked well for this gag, and you can see how it turned out here.

Most of these strips were drawn back in October at some point, and I've since taken some corrections to give myself more space to build a panelled comic. I'm not just folding a sheet of paper into quarters and building a strip from there. I'm taking more time to use the space more effectively and add more detail to the images - - I think it's been working out, but we'll have to wait and see as those strips start appearing on the main site.

Something I've been looking to improve are the "brush strokes" in the comics. Frankly, none of these have the "swishing" strokes you find in clean, more professional-looking strips - - and I'm not sure I've got the correct hardware to create those lines. I MAY have to get nibs and actual ink and stuff, rather than the pigment liners I've been using.

If that happens, that'll be a whole different kettle of fish to unpack, set up, practice and keep out of the reach of my 2-year-old :S

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom! I hardly even proof-read these posts all the way down here!

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Friday, November 22, 2013

This Is It - Behind the Scenes

Some behind the scenes stuff for the "This Is It" scene - - as I've probably mentioned in every post, I had to rewrite quite a bit of the third act to add some "pay offs" and reveal what was necessary for things to make sense - - in any case, I've noticed now that I'm looking back over everything, that my inspiration for the names of each scene was definitely waning.

You can find the finished scene at this link: just click here! When I first started writing the story, too, I knew that the relic would "unlock" a device at the end, but hadn't really imagined what that device would be - - in my mind, I'd hoped it'd be this ingenious and convoluted device, but ... well, nothing to fantastic really came of it.

Though, perhaps this is fitting - - it's not like this was designed by a Mason or some brilliant engineer - - this was 1900 years ago, give or take, and in the middle of a war-torn nation.Perhaps this is more believable than some complicated Rube-Goldberg machine.

In this scene, I wanted to illustrate that once the relics returned into proximity to one another that their powers unlocked, like the earlier-mentioned magnetism experienced between the bones of Lazarus, and that they begin to react. I was aware that there may be confusion in this scene, where the relief carving of Christ on the Cross might appear like it was coming to life, whereas it was supposed to just look like it was being restored from the millenia of erosion (however much erosion occurs in a temple's sealed basement).

And then, of course, that's not the only reaction ...

Does it create just a weird laser, or do you think it means more? And if so what, but, if not, then ... it's still cool that you can shoot a laser out of a flag, or whatever that thing is, right!?

If  you've any questions, leave it in the comments section, or join up on the Facebook group and share your thoughts -- you can find contact info at the links (icons) below! Thanks for reading.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Drinkin bathroom cleaner, Jedis and Panzers for the holidays

Subhead: 4 Potshots at Mayor Ford

Photoshop is pretty excellent, and the software engineers who created that system are absolute geniuses, and these below strips required a bit more work with photo manipulation that the average gag I post.

Beginning on the upper-left-hand corner of the page, we see Beard-o with a bottle of Toilet Duck, which I required to complete a separate gag, but didn't have room on my earlier page to include. So I added him here, and then withdrew him with the cut and paste feature and it wound up looking like this.

Ultimately, I've decided to give myself more space to do the artwork going forward, because I feel there's a lot of room for improvement - - which is obvious, because I basically started doing these strips by investing as little time in them as possible. But, now that I've got the hang of them, I'd like to have a bit more pride in them. (A very little bit more pride -- these are still as embarrassing as a Rob Ford secret).

As for Yoda, I think the final image of him turned out really nicely. I created each of the elements for this gag individually, then moved the layers around to balance them as best I could. This was basically a pun on "I sense in him much fear," and required someone to be as inebriated as Rob Ford to draw the ire of Yoda - - though I'd suspect Yoda wouldn't have been a proponent of even mild recreational drug use. I would imagine that would lead to the Dark Side, right?

So, you can see in the finished panel how much of Qui Gon Jinn and that other dude with the phallic forehead are now behind the keg and party favours. I also wanted to "clean this panel" up a bit more than in the past by including a more prominent border to help make it look a bit less amateur.

"A bit less amateur" could be my theme for November, ha ha. But seriously, that definitely wasn't the theme for October! Let me be sure to make THAT clear.

The final bit here is the "What if" gag that I think had a tremendous amount of potential, but failed in the execution. Obviously, if a joke's not ready, I should probably sit on it until I'm happy that it's going to be great. In this case, the question posited is a good one: What If We Celebrated Everything with as much Vigour as we do St. Patrick's Day? Well, given that not everyone celebrates St. Patty's Day like Rob Ford in a drunken stupor, it is a bit of a cliched element of Western Culture.

For whatever reason, Passover was stuck in my head, and to over-exaggerate the holiday as much as I could, all I could do was have the celebrators REALLY do what you'd normally do, which is eat REALLY bitter stuff, KVETCH even louder and make sure Elijah was clear on no uncertain terms that you had a seat at your table for him.  .... it just didn't wind up being very funny.

I think the Panzer tank to ensure you get a good deal on a flatscreen on Black Friday was probably not an exaggeration enough ...

Once again, I took the raw images and did what I could in "post production" to give it a clean and tidy panelling, which you can judge for yourself here. Despite not being really satisfied with the overall produciton, I think the colouring is coming along very nicely - - I've always been a sketcher, never really one to colour anything, so ... I'm glad that's developing.

If you've got any questions, I'm always happy to answer 'em, unless, like, their about smoking crack-cocaine ... I'm probably going to "Ford the Question," that is to say, I'll dodge and deny, as I'm sure you'll understand.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Boogers, Sorcery, Bidets and Shitty Diapers

My Jack-o-lanterns are from "The Shining" this year

If there were ever a series of gags worthy of my Definitely Classy banner, this was it.

Snot rockets (the horrible locker-room scene good men suffer through while someone on the ball diamond has to clear his nose, .... .uggh.  The joke wasn't hilarious, but it was something I had to get off my chest, I suppose.

Caveman Inventor is a personal favourite, and that was before it became one of my most successfully received strips. It went over so well I have wanted to revisit the characters and their world and see what I can do to explore their world a little more in depth. Cavemen have been a source of comic ideas for a long time, but ... perhaps there's something there I could devine from it that hasn't been seen before.

It's certainly appealing and I'd be very pleased to do more on it. I think there's a great source of humour to be found in juxtaposing high-end concepts and primitive neandrathals at once. I'll have to wait and see what comes out of it.

Vivace Bidet Pruzzo was another joke I was eager to get out of my notes - - however, it wasn't received as well as I feel it deserved. Shortly after I came up with this idea, there were commercials about ass wetnaps which were advertized on network television, although the only thing I can link to is something promoted on the Howard Stern show, called One Wipe Charlies.

MY idea is way more funny and I especially felt designing it like a Toilet Duck bottle was even better - - nobody agreed :(

"I Stink At Financing" is taken to another level in Business Man @ Home, too - - I guess this was just an extsrapolation of that concept, put into "At-Home Dad" terms. Nothing too hilarious, I agree.

Anyhow, thanks for reading, and if you ever have any questions about the strips, just drop me a line.

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