Striper is kind of a dumb-surfer-guy tropical fish. So, it would make sense that he would try to "catch some waves." These particular strips featured this week were created from unfinished pencil artwork. Here's original art:
First, I scan the art. In Photoshop, I create a layer on top of the artwork. Then I ink the strip using my Wacom tablet.
Then, I create another layer over the inks and color the strip. Here's the color layer without the inks.
This is the third incarnation of Boswald T. Bass. This time, I ditched the whole origin story and dropped the parent characters. I made the strip an ensemble cast and introduced an entirely new cast of characters. There's Crabby, the crab who's...well, crabby. There's Al, the oyster who can't form a pearl. There's Striper, a tropical fish who's not the brightest fish in the sea. There's Thurston, the egotistical star fish. And finally there's Sparky, the overly-friendly electric eel. This is my favorite version of the strip. Unfortunately, this version never made it past the early development stage. I only did a handful of strips. I think it's a good comic strip. Maybe one day I'll revisit Boswald and his aquatic pals.
This is a weird Boswald sketch that I did years ago. This is a parody that I did of the classic Diet Pepsi commercial, in which Ray Charles sings the timeless lyrics, "You Got the Right One, Baby! Uh-huh!" I like the back up singers and the Diet Pepto logo in the corner. I like doing parodies of TV and commercials and this is a fun time capsule of forgotten pop culture.
Ok. Back to Boswald again. I was always putting little fish in the background of the Boswald strip. Look in the top left corner of the second panel and you'll see an itty, bitty fish. In the third panel, watch him swim off fast. I also littered the backgrounds with shells, rocks, plants and bubbles. I think these details add a nice touch to the underwater look of the strip.
Since Shayla's birthday was yesterday, today I'm posting her portrait that I drew. I took a photo of Shayla, opened it in Photoshop and created a layer on top of her photo. I dialed the opacity back on the layer and used my Wacom pen to draw on top of the photo. I really liked how this turned out, especially the line quality. I will continue to experiment with this technique more in the future.
Today is a special day for my niece/goddaughter, Shayla. It is her 7th birthday. To commemorate the occasion, I made her a little mini-comic/birthday card. I drew this on my Wacom tablet. I made the artwork look very sketchy and loose and I offset the color to make it look messy. I hope she liked the card and had a great day.
Clearly, Boswald has a lot on his mind (even at an early age). I liked the relationship between Boz and his dad, but I think they look too much alike. Aside from a few strands of hair, Dad looks EXACTLY like Boz. If I were to draw the strip today, I would redesign Dad.
When I did this reboot of the Boswald strip, I wanted Boz to take center stage. This is a perfect example of that. At this point, he's still not talking (note the thought balloons). Soon after this, I dropped the thought balloons and he started talking. I aged him quickly so he could take his place as the star of the strip.
I'm pre-empting today's Boswald T. Bass strip for this Earth Day greeting from Slick. I originally drew this in one of my Slick books as a pin-up poster. I'm not sure why I drew this. I don't recycle and I'm pretty wasteful. I guess I just wanted to draw Slick hugging the earth. This is about as environmental as I'm gonna get.
Here's another example of me borrowing from myself. Since I was rebooting Boswald, I wanted to reuse some jokes from the first version of the strip. I posted both of these to show the development of my style and how much the strip changed from the first iteration to the second. I dropped the squiggly talk balloons. I changed the style of the dorsal fins from pointy to bumpy. I anthropomorphized all of the fish characters one step further by giving them hands instead of flippers. Also, I began to draw Boswald's nose bigger. His schnoz would continue to grow as the strip progressed.
Since I was rebooting the strip, I cheated a little on these initial comics and borrowed from myself. I mentioned on a previous post that Boswald was named by my dad. I'm pretty sure he liked the name because it sounded like Ernest T. Bass, a crazed brick-throwing character from The Andy Griffith Show (my dad liked that show). It's odd that I even let my dad name this character, because I rarely use ideas people give me.
This week I'll be posting more Boswald T. Bass strips. This is the second incarnation of the strip. I rebooted the strip with the birth Boswald (again). In these early strips presented here this week, we see Boz and his dad hanging out. However, Boswald would begin to take center stage and grow up very quickly. I thought since the strip is named after him, he should be the main focus. Comparing this second version of the strip to the first, my style was starting to develop. The art looks better; this is the original art with my original handwriting (the art was originally black & white). This comic strip is dated Feb. 19, 1990. That was 20 years ago!
Here are some quick sketches I did in Illustrator using the brush tool and my Wacom. I was pretty amazed at the line quality and crisp lines. Just the idea of drawing vector artwork straight off my pen is pretty amazing. These are just rough sketches, but I plan on practicing and experimenting with illustrating in Illustrator. Wow, that sounded redundant.
Here is an anime version of my comic strip characters, Roofus and Marty. I really love the way Roofus looks. It cracks me up just looking at him. One of these days, I have to do an anime storyline involving Roofus drawn in this style. It would be so much fun to lampoon the world of anime and manga.
This is an alternate illustration of yesterday's tax cartoon. I originally did a rough sketch but never developed the drawing any further. I liked it so much I decided to ink it, color it and post it here on my blog. In the illustration, the little devil guy represents the sin tax and he's encouraging everyone to sin in order to raise money for state education. The idea is a tad more subtle than yesterday's strip. I think I like it better.
Creator Commentary: This is another Wacom illustration. I started with the hand drawn sketch and then inked it using the tablet. I've recently started sketching AND inking using the Wacom. The more I use it, the more I love it.
I'm always saying that my handwriting font that I created looks just like my handwriting. If look at the rough sketch, you can see my actual handwriting and compare it to the font in the final illustration. Pretty damn close.
Happy Tax Day, everyone! If you're like me, you hate this day. Like most Americans, I can't stand paying taxes. I feel like I'm being punished for being moderately successful. But, what can you do? If you don't pay, you go directly to jail. Do not pass go.
This illustration accompanied a column about sin taxes paying for state education. The author made up a list of taxes that should be enforced against some of life's annoyances. She felt there should be a tax on Sunday drivers, people who take up space in the grocery store aisle, non-stop cell phone talkers, dogs who bark at night, etc. It was a funny column and it made a great editorial cartoon.
Matt Beckham went above and beyond with the coloring of this strip. He even added backgrounds which enhanced the art and jokes.
Harmony is an experimental drawing tool that lets you draw with a variety of pattern brushes right in your browser window. You can actually use your Wacom pen, which is pretty cool. So anyway, I did some sketches and decided they were perfect for Weird Sketch Wednesday. I actually deleted one of the sketches I did because it was TOO weird. Seriously.
Since about 2005, I've drawn magazine illustrations for a local monthly magazine, SB Magazine. From 2001-2009, Mike Whitehead was the editor/publisher of the magazine. When I say Mike was the editor/publisher, he acutally did A LOT more than that. One of his thousands of duties was writing a monthly column called One Last Thing. Luckily, I got to illustrate his column every month.
When I do editorial illustrations, I attempt to make an illustration that visually represents the ideas in the story, but ALSO I try to make the illustration stand on its own as a work of art. Having said that, I usually avoid doing caricatures of the author/writer. Since this was his 99th and final column, I decided to break my rule and feature a very stylized drawing of Mike.
Update: Above, I've addd an image of magazine layout. This is the how the illustration looked in the magazine when it was printed.
Bonus Illustration: This was an alternate illustration I did. I showed both drawings to Mike and let him choose his favorite. He liked the first one, so I went with it. Looking back, I think I like this one better. Before I posted it here, I did a little work on it. I added some construction paper textures. I also added some shading and highlights. The writing on the cupcake is the title of Mike's column, "One Last Thing."
Here's a recent magazine illustration that I did. In the article, the author wrote that Louisiana (my home state) was recently voted the happiest state in the U.S. I'm not sure I believe that. I know a lot of people that live here and they are pretty unhappy. I think Louisiana is a great place to live if you: (A) are a blue collar worker, (B) love hunting and fishing, (C) are old and retired. I think it's a horrible place to live if you are a creative person (I'm specifically talking about north LA since that's where I live). I think there are lots of talented people who live here, but unless you paint cats, deer or fish, no one cares. Also, the creative job market is abysmal. There's just not a lot of job opportunities for people in the creative field.
But, hey. This is supposed to be a happy blog post. Have a nice day.
To close out Alf Week, here's one last Alf pin-up that I had on file. Hope you enjoyed the crazy antics of an inventing anteater. I'm sure Alf will be back ... once he's recovered from his latest injury...er, invention.
Ernie and Arnie are Alf's friends / assistants / test subjects. They're a couple of mischievous ants who cause all kinds of problems for Alf. Don't ask me which one is Ernie and which one is Arnie. I forget.
Creator Commentary: So what's in a name? I have repeatedly had people hassle about Alf's name. Yes, I realize Alf (Alien Life Form) was a popular sitcom in the 80s. But Alf was an ALIEN (technically an alien-shaped puppet). My Alf is an ANTEATER. WHO INVENTS CRAP. There's NO correlation between those two characters at all. Plus, I'm pretty sure you can't copyright a proper name. However, if I am ever sued over the name, I have a backup name: Alfred.
TEN PANELS, COUNT'EM TEN (if you count the title panel, then it's eleven). That's about three panels shy of a full page!
The last panel is supposed to be upside down. The gag is that Alf hit the ground so hard, he went straight through the earth all the way to China. This gag was lifted right out of a Road Runner cartoon. If you look at the original art, the last panel was not upside down. I decided to flip it when I was inking the artwork. I think it makes the ending a little goofier.
In the second to last panel, Alf does a wild take. For those not obsessed with cartoons, whenever a cartoon character's eyes get really huge (usually due to surprise), that is known as a wild take. When I was a kid, whenever I saw a wild take in a cartoon, I would lose it. I thought they were hilarious. I still do.
Alf the Anteater is a formulaic strip. I don't think that's a bad thing. I think that's why I like these so much. This strip was VERY inspired by Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons. Like those cartoons, Alf comic strips are a series of sight gags, wild takes and slapstick comedy. Those are all devices used a lot in animation and I think these strips are like reading a cartoon (or like reading a very simple storyboard).