Journal Entry #28

From the sketchbook.

From the sketchbook.

Hey folks, back to just typing out these blog entries. I might post occasional videos still but I think this is probably the fastest and easiest way to get my point across.

So March is soon approaching and the days are getting longer. I am so ready for Spring. I get my exercise shoveling snow but it is also such a drag. Since the sun comes up earlier now, it is slightly easier to get my ass out of bed and try and be creative at 5 am. I’m going to start treating my morning 5am-7am hours almost as business hours for my creative self. On weekends I’ll set aside 5:30am-9:00am to get creative work done. I’ve struggled with keeping a set time to work on projects but I’m going to stick to this schedule to get sh!t done.

This past week I made it a goal to draw in my sketchbook every day for at least 10 minutes which I pretty much stuck to. I’m sure some days I didn’t draw a full 10 minutes but the point was just to draw SOMETHING. I’m going to try to keep that up because the more I do it the more comfortable I get with actually putting my mark on the paper.

I have an idea for a children’s book brewing in my head and I really would like to get that started (and perhaps finished) this year. I don’t want to get into the story now but I have an idea that I think is great… so great that I hope it hasn’t been done before. In future posts I’ll get into the book more.

I’m trying to pare down my goals for this year. I for sure want to keep creating Habitat comics every Monday and Friday. The process of making them is going much faster, I just need to bring the quality of drawing up more. Another goal is to be well on my way to finishing a children’s book. If I stick to a schedule I should be able to work on it almost everyday. I also wanted to set up a promotional portfolio website for myself but that might have to be put on the back burner. Right now, I don’t have many illustrations I would want on the site so hopefully as I work on the book I will start creating more illustrations that I think are worthy of the website.

So that’s my life for now. Thanks for reading it. Peace.

Journal Entry # 25

sketch layerHey everyone! It’s time for another quick journal entry! First, I want to say thanks for all the views and likes. It’s always nice to know that someone is out there reading this stuff.

I feel a little bit like I’m betraying the comic strip by going digital but it is so much easier and I feel I get better results. Going digital makes it much easier to look professional. One example of that is the lettering of the comic. My hand lettering was horrible but now I use a typeface that is much more attractive to look at. Yes, it is cheating but I feel that if it makes the comic better, why not? Drawing is still involved and I still go through the same process of sketching out in blue first and then going over with the black “inked level.” It’s just way easier to fix a mistake. The comic is still not perfect but I hope that as i go along the character design will solidify and I will be more courageous with the posing of the characters.

2014 is going to be my year of “creation not consumption.” I want to be way more artistically productive. That means more sketchbook work and less television and internet (unless it is productive.) I’m going to save my money and create instead of consume. I believe we are creative animals and it is more natural for us to create something than it is to spend money on something. I don’t want shopping to become my pastime which it seems has become the national pastime. So my new motto is consume less and create more.

Alright, that’s all I have to jabber about for now. Thanks for visiting and I hope you keep on visiting. See you Monday when a NEW comic is posted! Peace.

 

Journal Entry #20

This is just a card I drew for Sara's nephew who's a marine stationed in Japan. I'm thinking of deleting his name and using it as a Christmas card.

This is just a card I drew for Sara’s nephew who’s a marine stationed in Japan. I’m thinking of deleting his name and using it as a Christmas card.

Hey guys. I’m sorry but there be no comic today. My mom had to be admitted to the hospital this past Wednesday because her blood sugar levels were in the 600s which could have killed her. She is doing fine now and will probably even get to go home today. She hasn’t been to a doctor since I was born (34 years ago) so she could have probably prevented getting diabetes. She has to take insulin and keep tabs on her diet now which I think will be good for her. I think now that she knows she has diabetes she’ll start to eat healthier and probably even feel and look better. Plus she’ll have to start seeing a doctor on a normal basis which I’m glad of.

I hope you all had a happy Black Friday Eve… I mean Thanksgiving. I swear that someday we will all forget what Thanksgiving is and just start calling it Black Friday Eve. Holidays are pretty much run by consumerism now anyway. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was the beginning of this I think, it’s a harbinger of our consumerism.

I’ve been having a hard time writing my comics and drawing them lately. About two weeks ago I became the only full-time person working in my department. It has been scary and stressful and I can only hope it will get easier. I think this has taken a toll on my creativity and my passion for “Habitat.” I also get depressed that I’m not showing any signs of improvement, so I think why even try? I know I have to keep the mindset that I’m in this for the long haul but it get’s difficult just to do this thing for myself. I think my new goal is just to keep putting out a new comic every Friday and not worry about syndication right now. Slowly, as the comic progresses I’ll start to feel when it is time to take it to a syndicate. I have to start to love “Habitat” before I want to turn it into my “career.”

Once again, I’m sorry about the lack of comic but hopefully this post makes up for it. I’ve noticed that I get more “likes” and more comments on my journal posts so I have a suspicion that people like the journal entries more anyway. I hope to get back into the groove next week and I’ll have  brand new comic for you guys. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you continue tuning in!

Journal Entry #17

Howdy folks! Although I don’t really have anything of substance to say, I thought I would post something just to let you know I still exist… plus I think people like knowing the boring, mundane things that go on in people’s lives… I know I do.

I’m still writing scripts for “Habitat” pretty much everyday. Even when I’m feeling uninspired I force myself to write a strip. Amazingly enough they turn out to be pretty funny (to me at the time.) I’m enjoying my time away from drawing the comic. I know that since I’m a cartoonist I should like drawing but I find drawing for an audience or for a goal stressful. I believe even one of my heroes, Chris Ware, said in an interview he rarely finds drawing pleasurable. I’m rarely pleased with how my stuff turns out so I struggle at making drawing pleasurable for myself as well. So every time you see my comic, be aware of my inner struggle to make it better! LOL

You’ll notice in the next comic (on Friday) that there is just a little bit of computer shading added to each panel. I’m thinking of doing a basic “talking heads” sort of comic for awhile until I can master drawing the faces of the characters. I started out the comic thinking I could be as detailed as Walt Kelly with “Pogo” but, now I think mastering one aspect of the comic at a time would be best. So in future comics you’ll probably see a bit of a de-evolutionized “Habitat.” I’m bringing it back to basics: just two characters from the waist up, text, speech bubbles, and gray background. I’m just letting you know so that when you see the upcoming comics you don’t wonder what the hell is going on. It may be more boring to look at but I’ll try to make up for it with the writing.

Lately, I’ve been getting up early to work on re-teaching myself algebra. I got myself a book from the library and I’ve been working on it every morning. This sounds insane but I do a have reasoning behind it. First, I’m trying to knock the cob webs out of my brain and trying to become more knowledgable of math and science. Second, If I do have to take any placement tests for math in college, I want to try to test out of as many math classes as possible. Thirdly, if I ever have a child it would be nice if I could help him or her with algebra homework.

I’ve blabbed for long enough. Thank you to everyone who continues to read my junk. LOL Stop by on Friday to see the new comic! PEACE!

Journal Entry 14

Howdy folks! This is going to be a short blog post because I really don’t have much to say as far as “Habitat” goes. And because of not having much to say, I thought I would answer a commenter’s questions here in this post.

I was asked “why the name ‘Habitat’?” My initial idea was for a comic about all sorts of animals that you would find outdoors in a suburban setting. I still would like to add more characters into the mix but for now I want to concentrate on fleshing out Morton and Finn. I wanted the name of the comic to be short and sweet like “Peanuts” (even though Schulz hated that name) or “Pogo.” Another name I had in mind was “In the Neighborhood.” “Habitat” had a nice ring to it and it described nicely what the comic was about. No real secret meaning or anything cool like that.

To answer another question, I work full-time as a graphic designer for a small, local publication. I am responsible for ad design. Working as a graphic designer could be a cool job but it’s not where I work. I’ll just leave it at that.

One more thing and then I’ll end this. A funny, crappy thing happened to me this past Tuesday. During my lunch break I got locked out of my house while letting my dog out. So I was stuck with a dog and no keys or cell phone. I could have knocked on doors around the neighborhood to ask for a phone but my anti-social ass walked 3.3 miles (I checked) across town to my landlord’s house to be let into the house. It was a nice day and I enjoyed the weather but I got a blister on my foot and I was pretty sore the next day. Just goes to show how out of shape I am in.

OK, I’ve blabbed on long enough. Thanks for reading and I hope you keep enjoying “Habitat”! Peace.

Journal Entry #10

Another sketchbook entry. I was inspired by Walt Kelly's self portrait in ink so I thought I would give it a shot. I'm satisfied with how it turned out.

Another sketchbook entry. I was inspired by Walt Kelly’s self portrait in ink so I thought I would give it a shot. I’m satisfied with how it turned out.

Hello again. In the coming weeks I’ll be making some changes to “Habitat.” I want to start working larger. I’m beginning to think that the comic can be a lot more interesting if I was given more room. I currently  have been able to fit two comics on to 11 x 17 in. Bristol board but each panel was only about 4 x 5 in. That makes for a pretty skinny panel. You will notice a change to Monday’s comic which I used on whole sheet of Bristol board for one comic. Each panel is now 6.25 x 5 inches. You’ll also notice it is very hard to read which I apologize for. I’ll be experimenting with panel size and layout in the coming weeks. I’m thinking of shrinking the comic down to 6 x 5 inches and maybe keeping the comic in two rows instead of making one long row that could make everything small on the website. For now, I want to stick with the 3-4 panel format but maybe a year from now I’ll start doing more adventurous layouts. I have always liked taking baby steps and seeing how things evolve.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of having a contest to celebrate/promote my 100th comic strip. I was thinking of giving away a piece of original art to either the 200th follower or maybe at a certain # of “likes.” I haven’t decided if i’ll even go through the trouble or not but I thought it would be a good promotional gimmick. I hope I can even make it to my 100th strip! Ha-ha!

Well, thats all for now. Thanks for reading and I hope you like the next comic. Look for more changes in the future! Peace!

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 #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!