Journal #35

Hey everyone! I’m back! The reason for my absence is my macbook refusing to work anymore. It was old and I figured it was time to get a new computer. I tried to restore the hard drive with no luck. I could have brought it into an Apple store to see if they could fix it but I think I just wanted a new computer anyway. I now have a new iMac running OS Mavericks. It’s nice and speedy and has plenty of hard drive space.

Along with the new computer I bought Adobe CS6. That has yet to arrive in the mail. It is a lot of money to be dumping into a computer but I see it as an investment in a possible career.

Unfortunately, when my computer crashed it took my children’s book illustration I had just finished the week before. I’ll check my external hard drive to see if I was smart enough to back it up but I don’t think I did. So I’ll probably have to start from scratch on the spread.

While my computer was down I had some time to think about the direction I want to take the comic. I’m unsure I want to continue “Habitat.” It has kind of turned into something I’m not really pleased with. The art is bad, the writing isn’t really that good, It wasn’t really taking advantage of being on the web and I’m not really feeling the characters anymore. I guess it’s not that rare for cartoonists to go through several different strips until they find one that they’re pleased with. I think I’m still going through that process. “Habitat” was getting to be a chore to do and I always disliked the outcome. I will be doing another comic but it will not be a weekly. This next strip will probably come out every other week because I don’t want to burn myself out trying to think up a new strip every week and just rush through the art like I was doing with “Habitat.” New computer, new strip.

One of the things that made me rethink my comic was watching “Dear Mister Watterson.” That movie made me remember how fun “Calvin and Hobbes” was to read and I want to create a comic like that. I want my strip to be the perfect marriage of art and writing.

Well, I think I’ve gone on long enough here. I do have more to say, but i’ll save that for another post. It’s good to be back. Thanks for reading. Until next time, keep your eyes, ears and minds open.

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!

A Blatant Self Promoter

I’ve been thinking about the subject of self promotion for awhile so I thought I would post those thoughts. Ever since I even had the idea for my new comic strip “Habitat” I’ve been wondering how to go about distributing it.

Of course, putting it on the web would seem like a no brainer but I always have reservations about the internet. Number one, it seems too much like work to me. I work on a computer at my day job and using one to get my comic out there just seems like a chore. Another reason I don’t like the internet is that it is still hard work! ha-ha You have to keep up with networking and keep posting stuff regularly for people to remember you or even care. When you have a blog or webcomic or whatever you’re trying to build a fan base with, you are crammed in with a million other people vying for attention. The average web browser probably has the attention-span of 10 seconds. I’m including myself as the average person as well.  Heck, most people probably won’t even get to read THIS far into this post! ha-ha And lastly, I think putting your art or ideas online sort of cheapens them. Don’t get me wrong, I use the internet all the time to get my stuff out there but you must admit the ready availability of art and ideas can make them slightly less desirable. Also, ANYONE can put their crap on the internet… including me. ha-ha As good as it may feel to put out internet stuff it would make me feel 100% more proud of myself if I was professionally published.

I’m not completely against internet as a promotional tool. Heck, I’m using it right now! I’m on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Deviant Art, Tumbler, and LookatME… that last one I made up. I like meeting new people online and posting my ideas. For a shy person like me its ideal. I can get my voice out there without physically speaking in front of thousands of people.

Even the idea of self promotion is a little egotistical. What makes me think I’m so great that I need everyone’s attention? Actually, I have an Internet presence so people can enjoy what I enjoy making. It would be nice to be instantly famous and already have a fan base that enjoys my comic strip but I must keep posting stuff on the net… no matter how dull it may be. 🙂 Thank you for your kind attention. Peace.

I doubt Bill Watterson would enjoy this but the idea seemed brilliant to me anyway.

I doubt Bill Watterson would enjoy this but the idea seemed brilliant to me anyway. Taken from the sketchbook. If you don’t get the reference, it is a parody of the book and movie “The Life of Pi.”