Friday, March 20, 2009

How We Roll

From what I've read, newspaper comics artists generally try to stay two weeks ahead of schedule, meaning that they're writing and drawing a strip today that will run two weeks from now. I've heard that Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, spends a few solid months writing and illustrating all of his strips for the year. Chris Browne, writer/illustrator of Hagar the Horrible, once stated on his website (iirc) that he's generally riding on "the edge of destruction," perhaps staying only a day or two ahead. And so now I've reached that point, myself.

A friend asked me this week how much time I actually spend working on a comic. My response was "too much." Charles Shultz, from what I've heard, treated cartooning like a full-time job, working on Peanuts at his drawing table for eight hours a day. I've read that Darby Conley set out to make Get Fuzzy both really funny and really well illustrated and once spent upwards of ten hours per day on a single strip. With Cake and Potatoes, though images are repeated in the comic, everything's hand-drawn, hand-inked, scanned, and manipulated in Photoshop. There are four separate files saved for each image, Word documents containing HTML code and weekly scripts, CD backups for everything. The idea is that I could virtually break my laptop in half and still manage to produce a comic for the week. Now reality has set in.

Cake and Potatoes began as a diversion, an outlet for creative energy while I recovered from graduate school, something to do until I could get back to "serious" writing. The strip means a little more than that to me now. Images, image consciousness, image skepticism are all major aspects of our culture and everyday lives; I personally think that it's high time they became an integral part of our literture, as well. Images do more than entertain; they instruct and orient, provide quick and easy context, and create a fun interplay with the written word, challenging assumptions about how one should read a text. They also take a long time to create.

Hence, I'll have to cut back to producing comics every other week. And eventually, Season 2 will have to end in order for me to generate new material for a third season (hopefully). I'll check in during the off weeks for little rants on culture, comics, and criticism (like this post), and maybe even preview some images for the coming week. And as always, feel free to check out the archives anytime to peruse older cartoons.


New cartoon next week!!


Vanessa said...

As long as we get something some time. I want to use these comments in a workshop for next year's Multicultural Symposium (at the school where I teach). So, you know, produce. For me. It's all about me. ME! I AM THE ONE!

Vanessa said...

These comics. Not these comments.

macon d said...

Kudos for not letting the Internet take over! You're a strong one, that's for sure.

I can wait for two weeks instead of one, if that's what it takes to keep you sane.

Onward, sanely,


marko said...

dude, i'm feeling you 100000%

i was hoping to have Economical Quarterly out by the end of this month, but there's freelance gettin' in the way... but then again can't argue with the $$$... gotta get that cheddar (cause i want to buy some more computer junk... mostly hard drive space cause these psd's and ai files for Economical Quarterly are starting to get out of control hahaha... one hand washes the other i suppose)

but i tell ya

i think we're doing the best work we've ever done... i don't think i've felt as creatively driven since the late 90s... if only i had a staff of 9 Old Men (or Women) to do my animation bidding :-D

Jackson Brown said...

Thanks for the support, folks!

Glad someone is getting some practical use out of these cartoons. :-)

Yes, sanity is good. Plus I'm finding that these cartoons are getting more complex visually and take longer crank out. Maybe once I have a big bank of images, I'll be able to get back to publishing a strip every week.

Bold statement, my friend! Your old doughboy strips are pretty top notch. But thanks for the compliment. Can't wait to see EQ.