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!

A Case Of The Mondays

Dog Days

OK, I lied. I’ve decided it is smarter to post Mondays and Fridays. So The plan is a blog post every Monday and my comic will post every Friday. Both at 10am CST. Sorry for any confusion.  Posting on Wednesdays just seemed too close to Friday.

In an attempt to stay motivated about “Habitat” I’ve been writing a strip a day. I think just writing out a rough script every day has kind of helped me shape the character’s personalities a bit more. It has also given me a little deeper well to go to when I have to decide what strip I’m going to do next. I haven’t written anything with more than just Morton and Finn in it yet. I would like those two to be perfected before I add more characters to the mix. I’m not lacking in strip ideas yet. I’ll usually have a general idea of what I want the strip to be about (examples: rain, the softness of grass, traffic patterns) and then I’ll brainstorm from there on what the characters will do and say. I usually have the idea while I’m working so I’ll just have to quickly write the idea down and then write the script during lunch or after work…. and sometimes during work. 🙂

I must admit that I got a little discouraged when I discovered the comic “Over The Hedge.” I thought it was just a animated movie but it is actually a comic strip as well. It is a very well done strip that is set in the outdoors as well which made me wonder if I should rethink my strip. I wanted to be more original and I was bummed that there was another strip doing it better than I was. Then I thought about it and figured that my strip is different enough that no one is going to accuse me of ripping off “Over The Hedge.” I even think my strip can be just as good, if not better than “Over The Hedge” if I keep working at it and sharpening my drawing and writing skills. It may seem like I have a big head but, at times you need that ego to keep yourself motivated.

Well, that’s all for now. I want to thank all of you for reading “Habitat.” It means so much to me when I see that someone “liked” a strip… yes, I sit and stare at my dashboard for hours on end waiting for the likes to come in. lol I really do appreciate your viewership though. Feel free to drop me a comment now and then. I would love to here from you! Thanks for reading! See you FRIDAY!!

Habitat Comic #03

Created on last Wednesday. I think this is probably the most humorous one yet. I hope you agree.

Created last Wednesday. I think this is probably the most humorous one yet. I hope you agree.

It is the first of the month so here is a new comic strip for you all to enjoy. I thought I would talk a little more about this comic/blog in this post and explain what I hope to achieve with this project. I started this comic strip, web comic, or whatever you want to call it, as a challenge to myself. I wanted to create a humorous, well crafted, comic that was 100% traditionally created (besides scanning into the computer and getting rid of the blue lines.)  I want a strip that can stand beside the greats like “Pogo”, “Peanuts”, and “Calvin and Hobbes.” I am still a long way away from achieving a Walt Kelly or Charles Schulz greatness but at least that’s my goal.

Since starting the comic i’ve been trying to find inspiration everywhere. I’ve started reading  a manga series called “Bakuman.” It is about two high school kids who set out to achieve their goal of creating  a successful manga series. I don’t normally read manga but this one caught my interest. I love the idea of creating a goal for yourself and doing anything  to achieve it, even if it means disciplining yourself to do it. Since reading this series I’ve decided that the ultimate goal of “Habitat” is for it to be either syndicated or professionally published. I’m not content with just a web presence. I love my blog visitors but there is a real sense of achievement being professionally published.

I’m just at the beginning stages of this comic and I know I have a LONG way to go before I can even send something to a syndicate or publisher but I’m taking the steps to build a good firm fan base. Just having this unpaid WordPress blog is the first step. 🙂 Then once I see that I’m getting more visitors I’ll buy a domain name and have an actual hosted site. As a way to keep people more interested in myself and the comic I’ve been contemplating doing a podcast which could be on the horizon so watch for that.

I’ve come up with a new schedule for myself. The only two days I have to myself to work creatively is Wednesdays and Saturdays. I have designated Wednesdays as my pen and paper work day, where I don’t worry about computer stuff at all. On Saturdays is when I do my blogging and promotional web stuff. So look for new updates every Saturday! Thanks for visiting!

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

Howdy y’all. This past Saturday I attended the Kenosha Festival of cartooning. Cartoonists in attendance where: Dave Coverly, Michael Jantze, Greg Cravens, Hilary Price, Norm Feuti, and Stephan Pastis. Stephan Pastis was kind of the headline for the event. The festival ended on Saturday with Mr. Pastis giving a presentation on his comic “Pearls Before Swine.” His presentation was very funny but I was even more interested in the panel discussion with all of the artists talking about their craft. As I listened I couldn’t help but think that newspaper cartoonists were a dying breed and they were struggling with how to make a living on the web yet still keep a firm fan base by keeping it free. I’m really glad that this event was held in Kenosha and I hope that this kind of thing will grow in popularity. After Stephan Pastis’s talk he signed his new book and did drawings for everyone. It was definitely a great experience.

I didn’t get a chance to buy his new book for him to sign but Stephan Pastis was kind enough to sign my festival booklet.

After attending the cartooning fest I was inspired to get back to doing a webcomic. I must admit i wasn’t that avid of a “Pearls Before Swine” fan before but Stephan Pastis kind of inspired me to get back to doing a comic. I came up with a few character a couple of days ago and I’m hoping to casually post webcomics on this blog once in awhile.

I came up with these guys after going to the Festival of Cartooning. I’m hoping to put out a new webcomic soon. 

As far as the graphic novel goes, I’m still working on the page layout with pencil and paper. It’s just easier for me to block it out that way… and I don’t have to be stuck in front of a computer screen. I’m up to 12 layed-out pages and that’s about 4 printed script pages. Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Goals and Inspiration

It’s been about 2 weeks since my last post and I am still in the process of writing the graphic novel. I initially wanted to post something every Wednesday but I found I really had nothing to post about since I didn’t want to give away much of the story. I’m at 72 pages now which I am pretty proud of. I never really thought I would get this far in the writing process. I’m starting to relax on my writing schedule a little bit. It’s getting hard for me to wake up so early every morning and be able to write. I’ve been sticking to my goal of 10 pages a week. I figure as long as I get 10 pages done a week it doesn’t matter what schedule I keep.

Besides working on the book I have also been working on trying to better myself. It’s good to have goals but I find myself becoming grumpy if i don’t finish a goal I have set for myself.   That is the main reason why I have done away with my strict writing schedule. I have also been meditating more which helps slow things down and puts things in perspective. I have also noticed That I’ve let my body go too soft so I have decided to do sit-ups every day to feel and look better. These are little things but they help me to be a happier person. http://personalexcellence.co/blog/101-ways-to-be-a-better-person/ This is the site I have been going to a lot lately. It is just another self-help site but I find it inspirational and I especially like it because there are a lot of lists.

So that’s it for now. Thanks for dropping by!

Keep on Truckin’

Hello all. I don’t really have to much to report but I thought I would post something to stay in practice. I am still writing. I have completed 44 pages so far in the book. I’m averaging 10 pages a week which is satisfactory to me. Most days I get up around 5:00 to sit at my computer for about 5 minutes and try to wake up then type about a page or so. I’m sort of amazed how fast my brain can switch to thinking about what I want to write. For being half asleep I don’t think I do too bad.

I know I’ve talked about this in previous posts but I’ve decided not to do a linear story line. Instead of going chronological, I thought it would be more interesting to work the story around topics that come up. Religion is a topic that I’m working on now. I thought I blab about my experiences growing up in the Catholic church. I took a little inspiration from Spiegleman’s “Maus” by going back and forth between the present and past. In one scene I could be talking to Sara in the studio and in another scene I could be narrating some embarrassing moment in my life. I originally didn’t want to do that way but I think it opens up the book to more possibilities that way.

I’ve been sticking mostly to writing the book lately. I haven’t been working on the layout of the pages or drawing anything yet. I figure that I’ll cross those bridges when I get to them. I don’t want to rush ahead of myself. When I get to the next phase in the book I’ll definitely keep you posted. Thanks for dropping by.

 

Graphic Novel Layout Process

Hello and Happy 4th of July! I’m back again to report on how the book is going. Amongst working a crappy full-time job and all the other stuff that needs to be done in life I have been chugging away at this graphic novel. As you probably already know, I’m in the writing stage of this process. The writing is more of a script. I don’t really describe what people or places look like because that will be accomplished throughout the drawing. In school I always enjoyed english class so I thought this wouldn’t be so bad. I consider myself more of an artist than a writer but I would like to think I can at least tell a good story. Writing is a chore for me but I get at least one page out a day. I have constant self-doubts but I try to push those thoughts out of my head so I can just get down to business. I’m only at 33 pages and I hope to catch up to 40 pages by Sunday.

Along with the writing, I’ve started a rough layout of what the first five pages will look like. All these pages were done in Adobe InDesign.

Title page.

I thought it would be nice to bring in a very small element of the book into the title page so I decided to pull an image from the web just as place holder to let me know I wanted a paper fortuneteller here.

Dedication page.

I’m not too sure when in the writing process professional authors decide to do their dedications but I decided to make a dedication page now just to get a feel for page layout.

 

First page of the book.

This would be the first real page of the book. If you’re able to read the text please don’t judge my writing too harshly. It is my first time writing a whole book and this may not even be the exact final wording.

I have taken several photographs of the Kenosha, WI area so I’ll be drawing lots of little scenes for everyone of these panels.

So there you have it.  The first five rough pages. It may not look like much but it is a start and you can start to see my process. From this point I will drop in photo references. Then from there i will begin to draw out the page. I’m still unsure if I will hand letter the story or do that on the computer.

Hope you found this informative. Thanks for dropping by!

Began to Write!

Time to do some typing in Word!

Hello everyone. Sadly, I have no drawing to show this week. I have one started but I will try to post it next week.

On the upside, I have been getting a lot of my graphic novel stuff done! This past Sunday, Sara and I went all over Kenosha taking pictures of everything I might need to use in the book. I also wanted to start the book off with some photos of the Kenosha area so those photos will come in handy. I would like to keep taking more photos just to build up more of a reference file of photos.

I have also finally started writing a rough script for the book. I’ve been getting up at 5:00am to do about an hour’s worth of writing before going to work but it is coming along. I just started this past Monday so I only have 7 pages typed up but, that translates to probably twice that many pages in the actual graphic novel. It was rough actually writing the first couple of sentences but I think now that I’m into the story it’s been getting easier. I think I’ve fallen into a nice rhythm. I just hope I can keep it up.

Since this is an autobiographical graphic novel I’ve been trying not to be too guarded with what I write. I want there to be honest emotion even if some of it is embarrassing to me. I have a feeling it will get harder to tell my story as I get to my teenage and college years. I did a lot more stupid things then. I haven’t had anyone read what I have yet so I don’t know if it is any good. I might have Sara read it to see if it’s bearable.

I know this post isn’t as interesting as most of them but I just wanted to let you know what was going on with the book and let you know I haven’t given up on it! thanks for dropping by.