During this time, I was still very much the student learning from reading lots of comics and seeing how they put their strips together, I also had the masterclass in comic artists who offered advice and constructive criticism in the form of what would turn out to become The Root Beer Party.
This led to a bunch of sketches where I sort of redefined Mr. Blob’s look and started to define his quirky – childish personality. Being a shapeless alien blob, Mr. Blob can morph himself into just about any character or shape he wants and these sort of one panel gags were in their own way defining who Mr. Blob would become in the future. I began to see him as more than just a foil for gags and his personality began to show through a lot more.
In many of these comics, he took any song with Mr. in the title and made it about himself. Mr. Blob would not be shy about going all out to make a gag work.
Here I was directly working off of another artist in Kim Belding. He ran a series of strips in Picpak where Picpak is hanging out with the Grim Reaper. After the first 2 strips that Kim did, I then expanded the idea and brought in some back up from the Root Beer Party to fill out the story. This was during the imitation phase of my comic drawing development and I still fall back on this from time to time when I need a quick reference to a character. But now I try to freestyle it a little more and might only use a facial expression rather than trying to copy the character in it’s entirety.
Doing this allowed me to learn composition and physical expression by directly copying more accomplished artists. I had to add my own style in reference to Mr. Blob but I could learn more about the art form by learning directly from others. Fortunately, no one considered my stylistic plagiarism as anything other than the learning experience that it was.
For all that I had added to Mr. Blob over the years, It was really a collaborative effort, especially from Kim Belding and Jon Esparza who offered a great deal of valuable time to offer advice and encouragement to the development of Mr. Blob and my artistic development as well.