Journal Entry #9

Number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine… Yes, this the ninth journal entry! And yes, that was an over used Beatle’s reference. Anyway, not too much has happened since the last entry.

I just finished reading “Wool” by Hugh Howey which was pretty good. It’s about a post-apocalyptic society living in underground “silos” because of the deadly atmosphere of earth. In this society, if someone is arrested they are very likely to be put to death by “cleaning” the silos above-ground video cameras. These cameras are the silos only means of seeing the barren outside world. I won’t get into too much of the plot since part of the fun of reading “Wool” is to see the plot unfold. It’s not the best science fiction book about post-apocalyptic worlds I’ve read, but it is a fun read and I’m excited about the possible Ridley Scott film coming up.

This is the real-life Finn. This is a photo of Finnegan when we first brought him home. He's much bigger now.

This is the real-life Finn. This is a photo of Finnegan when we first brought him home. He’s much bigger now.

I’ll take this time to talk a little about some of my influences for “Habitat.” Probably the strongest influence on the look of “Habitat” is Walt Kelly and his comic “Pogo.” I wanted to create a strip as richly drawn as “Pogo.” If you look at the comics pages in newspapers today you no longer see anything close to what Kelly did with “Pogo.” In terms of creating a rich world with distinct, likable (and unlikable) characters, Walt Kelly was the master. I could go on and on about “Pogo” but I’ll save that for a later post perhaps.

Bill Watterson’s “Calvin & Hobbes” comes in second as my favorite comic strip. As a kid I liked reading “Calvin and Hobbes” in the newspaper and even bought a few C&H books and would devour them in one night. I would have to say “Calvin and Hobbes” was consistently funny. I could kind of identify with Calvin since I was around his age as I was reading the strip. The pairing of the raucous little boy and the more refined imaginary tiger was perfect. The brush work of Watterson is brilliant in that it has so much motion and expressiveness in it. There were only about 5 real main characters in the strip but that was all it really needed since the Calvin and Hobbes were wonderful characters on their own.

There are other strips like “Peanuts” that I love as well but I want to also mention how “the Simpsons” affected my life. Along with “Calvin and Hobbes,” “The Simpsons” was another influence in my younger years. This may sound over-dramatic but I can’t imagine my life without “The Simpsons.” Morton and Finn are basically Homer and Lisa Simpson. Those two characters are probably my favorites in the show. I always found the Homer and Lisa shows to be the sweetest. What I like about Homer is that he can be REALLY stupid but there is still a heart and real emotion behind all bafoonery. lol I like Lisa’s character because she is an idealist in a less than ideal family. Lisa could be a very boring character but she is still a Simpson and she has character flaws just like the rest of them. Once again, I could go on all day about the Simpsons but that will have to wait for a later time.

I do have many other influences but I thought I’d touch on just a few. I hope this was worth reading and I hope you continue to follow the adventures of  Morton and Finn. Thanks for reading!

Journal Entry #8

Hello again. I would like to start off by saying thank you to everyone that has been visiting the site regularly. Your readership and feedback means a lot to me. It always makes me happy when I see a spike in views but it also makes me a little nervous. I start to get self-conscience when I think about all the eyes that have see my drawings.

Sketchbook drawings.

Sketchbook drawings.

It is presumptuous of me to think that everyone likes what they see or is even intentionally visiting this site. I have always been pretty modest about my art, sometimes to the point of not wanting to call it “art.” I am aware (as I believe all artists are) of my failings. I am completely happy with about 50% of what I do. That may seem like a low percentage but I’m also confident enough to share my art with others. There is a point when you have to say “Well, I’m not completely happy with it but maybe others will like it.”

I’ve always struggled with “perfection.” Perfection has always seemed to be the unobtainable goal in life. I think it is always good to strive for perfection but it is bad to think you’ve achieved perfection. “Perfection” in art is always subjective anyway. If you think you’ve hit perfection then you no longer strive for improvement. That is why I am always so critical of myself, I want to always be improving. Never being completely happy with what you create is healthy. The goal is to just keep creating, working at your craft, and being critical of yourself just enough so that you don’t discourage yourself from trying to achieve “perfection.”

I hope this was enjoyable to read. I do ramble on occasion. Thank you for reading and I will hopefully see you again on Monday!

Journal Entry #7

Sketchbook

From the Sketchbook

Hi everyone! Not too much to report this week. I hope you are all still having fun reading “Habitat.” My drawing ability is slowly progressing. There may be a few wonky perspectives but for the most part I’m starting to become more happy with what I create. I have always been good at drawing but not great. I’m hoping that if I keep practicing I’ll achieve that greatness at some point. Someone left me comment saying that instead of motivation, discipline should be what I seek. I think that is exactly true. When you’re disciplined you throw out all your self criticisms and excuses and just work on what you need to work on. I believe if your disciplined enough motivation will come naturally.

Last Wednesday I helped my fiancé’s father with a cartooning class he does during certain times of the year at the local public museum. I actually took one of his cartooning classes when I was around 10 years old. Back then I loved drawing “Calvin & Hobbes.” This class was for kids 10-16 years old. About 9 or 10 kids attended. This class was specifically about video game cartooning so we brought in a PS2. I was responsible for policing the PS2 which really wasn’t too hard. Most of the class is just drawing / social time for the kids but there is also video games, and movies to watch as well. I wouldn’t mind teaching a class on cartooning sometime in the future. It would be fun to teach kids what I know… which isn’t much. LOL

Well, I guess I’ve gabbed on long enough. Keep tuning into “Habitat” and I’ll keep making them! Thanks for reading!

Journal Entry #6

So, I am now up to two strips a week. I originally wanted to take my time with each strip and maybe do only one or two a month but I’m sort of bending to the will of the Internet. I’ve started worrying more about how many visitors I have than making the comic better which was not my intention. In the heat of the moment, I purchased a domain name for 50¢ which I wasn’t going to do until I reached a certain amount of followers. It’s only 50¢ but I still betrayed my original idea.

I am also fiddling around with the idea of eventually buying a Cintiq Pen Display which was not my original intention. I wanted to keep this comic traditionally inked but I’m starting to wonder if going digital would be easier (and cheaper) in the long run. I’m not married to the idea of using only traditional ink but I do still want the look of a vintage comic strip such as “Pogo.” If I ever do go digital it won’t be until at least next May when I send my comics to syndicates. Right now, I’m better off concentrating on getting better with the brush pen.

I’m still not completely satisfied with the look of the comic but I’m sure that with practice I will begin to like what I’m seeing more. It’s not so much a problem now but I fear that in the future my motivation to do a strip every Wednesday and Saturday will wane. In the past I’ve posted strips to the Internet hoping for more and more viewers and then got disheartened when that didn’t happen. This time around my primary concern is to make a strip that syndicates would pick up and then get my motivation from making a strip I can be proud of. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve gotten there yet but I have to keep trying.

When May 2014 comes around and I send my stuff out and get no reply I will still keep up with the web comic. Every year I plan on sending out the comic to see if a syndicate will pick it up. Will I become rich and famous when I get picked up by a syndicate? No, but it will be accomplishing a dream I’ve had since I has a little kid reading the Sunday funnies.

Thanks for reading! New comic next Monday!