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Archive for the 'Process' Category

How to Fill Up a Sketchbook

September 2nd, 2013 by

Let me first say that this is a new experience for me. This is the absolute first time that I’ve ever filled a sketchbook up on purpose.

I’ve been doodling in this sketchbook since 2010. Some people fill up a sketchbook a month and I find that super impressive. I’ve been terrible with my drawing habit, but finishing this one Moleskine was oddly easy. Doodles. Driving directions. Convention & inventory notes. All kinds of random sketches and notes. Anything and everything went into filling up Mitch’s Sushi and I will feel awkward not carrying it around with me. Perhaps that is only because Mitch’s successor has yet to be named.

It took over 3 years, but I’m pleased with the results. There are comic notes in there and a bunch of ridiculous stick figure comics that people(and I) have enjoyed. Following this is a brief gallery of some of my favorite pages. There’s sketches of Doctor Who, Misfits, random  garbage and many, many stick figures. I really like that skull-faced lady with the grocery bags, too. Not sure what to do with her yet, but she’s interesting to draw.

Paper Cutter

May 16th, 2013 by

Investing in my future comic career, I ordered this enormous paper cutter. I had heard about this thing via Dustin Harbin’s blog. I looked and looked and looked all over eBay and eventually found what appeared to be the exact same thing that PERFECT was selling, just without their logo on it, for half the price. What a deal.

It works pretty darn nicely.

That makes one enormous chore of cutting comics into a very small and manageable task!

Denver Comic Con Banner Ideas

May 11th, 2013 by

2013-05-04 14.20.08

Rather than print my banner out, I am going to paint it on canvas. There’s the setup at right: canvas and PVC pipe. It will be a bit taller than that in the end. Right now, it’s about 6 feet.

So on to the ideas. I want some stick figures to feel larger than life! Plus, very strong lines of action are required. That’s what I enjoy and I want that to show through.

Looking at the pirate one now, it could be a lot stronger.

Which ones are your favorites? Pick 2!

On Pens & Sketchbooks

March 4th, 2013 by


I don’t know about you, but I like to have a dedicated Sketchbook Pen when messing around in my smaller, everyday sketchbooks. Long ago, there was a Uniball pen that made some really great doodles.

Now, I’ve been terrible at filling sketchbooks. On the right you can see Mitch’s Sushi, my current Moleskine. Yes, I named it. I show it there as it’s maybe three-fifths of the way full. It wasn’t until I came across Gary Panter’s drawing tips that I finally started carrying it with me everywhere. That article is probably 50% of how I got into a better sketchbook habit.

Before reading that, I had wanted to have a full sketchbook. After (more…)

PNGOUT is the Best

February 15th, 2013 by

Recently I started using PNGOUT, a command-line program that amazingly reduces the size of your PNG files without any loss of quality. It’s tantamount to sorcery, it works so well. As most of my comics are currently black & white, I export them as PNG files because, unlike GIFs, they can contain meta data for organization purposes. That is, if I remember to tag things as I create them.

In the screen caps below, this little tutorial shows you how I reduce my comics to almost HALF their original size. You can even download the original and the optimized one to compare on your own, if you like. This was on a greyscale image though. Don’t expect these kinds  (more…)

How I Learned to Not Give a Damn and Just Fuckin’ Draw

February 8th, 2013 by

oh godThe only people that think drawing is easy are either crazy or don’t do any drawing themselves. I suppose there are some that may find it incredibly easy, but that has not been my experience.

Now, I’ve been attempting this Webcomic Career for quite a while and failing to produce steady comics every step of the way. It’s ok. It’s very obvious. Clearly it is not easy. If it were, I’d have accomplished a lot more by now. After years of drawing I only have about 100 comics done. 150 if you count the Adventures in Retail stuff. 150 comics over nine years is approximately 16 comics a year. Ouch. Not a good average.

Why is this year going to be different? I finally figured out how to draw. No, not well, but how to draw on a regular basis and enjoy it. Nothing will be perfect, but enjoying the process and making lots of sketches is more important and after enough time, art will just be better.But I'm working!

First, I have two very distinct goals this year, albeit very similar:
1) draw 52 comics for Chronic Malpractice
2) draw 52 comics  for Illustrated Thesaurus.

The only way I’ll be able to complete them is because two key ideas I’ve been reading about for years have finally been burned into my brain and made real. It happened this past weekend when I achieved something like never before in my comic drawing career: I drew two comics in one day.

just-fuckin-draw-01I’ve read a TON of “how to be a better artst” and “how to get better at X” articles. It’s basically all I used to do when I should have been drawing. In every one, though, are these two ideas: 1) just do it and 2) don’t worry about it. The first part is basically an investment of time and effort, and it is hard. You just have to buckle the fuck down and do it.


Viking Birth Control Sketches and the Importance of Thumbnails

October 1st, 2012 by

Viking Birth Control sketchesI don’t just throw these comics together; thumbnail sketches are super important! This is a scan of a 14″ x 17″ (35.6 x 43.2cm) sketchbook. I don’t make tiny little thumbs on tiny little pages. Here’s the comic if you need a refresher.

That’s right, I use the whole page. And I want you to see the whole thing, so beware: this is a big picture. Below I will try to walk you through this mess of a sketchbook page by corresponding to the letters and numbers I drew over the thumbs.

A) Here’s the original thumb. I really work well with the three-panel layout for my comics, so this is my default starting position.

B1 & B2) At some point I decided on four panels being the optimum quantity to get the comic across. It’s way better to do this during the planning stage than when halfway through the inking stage on the final comic.

C) Since I hand letter almost every comic, even the digital ones(I’ll tell you some other time how), I like to work out some of the word arrangement well before I start on the final comic.

1) You can see the change from A to 1 that I rearranged the characters in panel 1. This also serves to put the word balloon first in the panel. The tail then points into the panel, leading the eye.

2) Panel 2 final decision. There are multiple versions of this all over the page before winding up on the final one. You can see them all over because who cares! Draw wherever you want. It’s your sketchbook.

3) All versions of panel 3 look pretty much the same. Probably because I’m lazy, but how else do you draw a bunch of folks around a catapult that’s flinging a baby toward the horizon?

4) There’s only one sketch of the last panel because I(in my opinion) pretty much nailed it in the sketch. Was this the most successful version that could be made? Who knows? I wanted the father to be pushing the kid backward and in USA comics culture, anything going left is seen as the opposite of progress. Thus, the overbearing weight of the father’s arm is awkwardly pushing the kid backwards as he implies that the kid’s life will be sent in the opposite direction of progress, i.e., death.

More Thumbnailing

September 30th, 2012 by

Here are some more thumbs for a comic strip that I haven’t started working on yet. Other than these thumbs of course. I hope these are as interesting to you as other artists’ process pictures are to me.

Almost every thumb(disregard those two 9-panel grids on the left–that’s from an exercise in Drawing Words Writing Pictures) on the page deals with the second panel. Perhaps I’m over-thinking everything, but I don’t want all of my comics to just be talking heads and the like. I want interesting and dynamic camera angles. That’s what is so fun about comics! You can do anything because there are no physical limitations!

So when I see a strip that’s boring. Or composed poorly. And the word bubbles are awkwardly placed. All I can think is, “doesn’t the artist care?”

Gatorchuting Sketches

July 25th, 2012 by

You may have noticed a fancy new page of the most exciting and classy new sport was posted. The next page is finally colored, but it’s not scheduled til next week. Can’t give this gold out too fast. Heh. Heh. Heeeehhh.

Anyway, here are the layouts/preliminary work that I did in Manga Studio for the pages 3 and 4 of the comic. After getting the “pencils” where I liked them, I printed them out on 11″x14″ bristol and inked them.

page3-sketch gatorchutingpage4-sketch gatorchuting

There’s only one page left to this saga. I only have one question for you: should I move the old comics UP in the gallery(make them more recent) or post the new ones back to 2008? How would you like to see them in the Chronic Malpractice archive?

Baby Grapin’

June 20th, 2012 by

Well, no use beating around the bush. This is probably the most offensive comic I’ve ever made. Your imagination is what makes it so terrible, so you are a willing participant in this atrocity.

In the end, I made a nice animated .gif file of the drawing process.

Did you know that the most important part of drawing a comic is including space for the word bubbles? When you are creating your thumbnails for the comic, be sure to include the general shapes of the bubbles, if not the words. That way, your comic won’t look super cramped and sad when you have to try to add the word bubbles and the dialogue in later.

baby graper process gif