The Making of a Comic Part 1 (Why ask Why?)

How it all began? 

It all started with the Root Beer Party.  Watching Jon Esparza and Kim Belding come up with all sorts of crazy cartoons.  It peaked my interest in doing some fan art and then fan art turned into ideas, but like any form of art, ideas don’t just hit you one day and then you start making comics, there is a process which dates back several years after I first got the original idea to try to do a comic strip.

Where do you begin? 

If you want to do a comic, you’ve got to have characters, so I began with the old writer’s quote of “write what you know.”  I was a painter, so my main character would be a painter, I loved old time lore and history of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, so I put my comic on one of the islands of the Chesapeake.  So far, so good.  I began working out a few sketches of characters.

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As you can see they were very rough and my knowledge of cartooning was nil, but still I persevered and began working on a few strips.

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I was using colored pencils at this time and working on some old canvas paper that was useless for painting, so I used it for the comics, but the grain of the paper really interferes with the drawing.  I was still composing comics the same way I would compose a painting, one frame at a time.  Looking back it is easy to see some good ideas as well as some really bad execution.  My reach still far exceeded my grasp at this point.

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I tried bringing in local dialects as well as artistic and philosophical references, but I just didn’t feel like the strip was really going anywhere, it seemed more like a statement rather than a gag a day strip or a continuity strip.  I approached each strip individually and composed them as I would a painting, it was a pose, there didn’t seem to be any life or movement in the comic and it always seemed to leave me feeling flat.  I still think some of the ideas are good, but this strip soon fizzled in my attention and the sheets were archived away in the filing cabinet.  This comic just wasn’t me.

There are many hits and misses when trying to develop ideas for comic strips.  This was my first attempt and might have been my last had I not shared them on Twitter and gotten some feedback and great advice from some of the best comic artists in the world today.  This comic may have been a failure as a strip, but it did introduce me and gain me admittance into the comic community at large on the internet and from these little sketches there was much more to come.

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