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Author Topic: How to be a cartoonist without really trying  (Read 7853 times)
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India Ink
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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2007, 06:52:13 PM »

The quirky, unexplained nature of The Pantomime Polar Bear is supposed to be part of the concept. I want people to find this thing and wonder, what the heck is that?

But maybe I'm creating too much work for any audience.

There is a lot of background that I've worked out for myself, re the side characters, but it's primarily supposed to be a three panel gag strip. Which generally follows the rule of panel 1-set-up, panel 2-set-up, panel 3-punch-line. With some slight environmental overtone.

But since there are hundreds of environmental gags I could do--all with the same basic point (panel 1 happy, panel 2 happy, panel 3 despair)--I've tried to give myself some wiggle room with side characters, retro bits, and various other lines I will follow in the future (if I remain interested).

But again it's a basic three panel strip, with no dialogue. A simple pantomime. Of course, if I laid it out across as a strip it would communicate that point better, but I found that laying it out horizontal squeezed it too much on a simple handbill (which is how it appears in reality) or on a computer screen--so I dropped it down to vertical aspect, with the punchline gag on the reverse side of the handbill.

Which is all too much explanation. I'm more interested in trying to work on the visual look of the thing. The technical problems of computers confound me.

And I'm not too happy with my Superman in the "cover" image.

I found myself doing a Dick Sprang Superman when I wanted to do a Curt Swan. But getting that much detail into a reduced jpeg seemed to break the image. Also I was trying to achieve a harmony of styles--so that the images of the bear, B&R, and Superman would all agree with each other. Which is probably why I kept going toward Sprang over Swan.

I'm still not happy with the image, but I found myself spending too much time on it. And I don't get paid for this--nor can I use it for one of my handbills or my website, since I don't own the copyright.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2007, 07:37:12 PM »

I think its possible to simplify the lines of Superman even more and still keep his comic look intact. Other than that, I think the shin/foot below the knee on the extended leg is a little too short.

For me, I am trying to get a handle on the bear as a living character or as a living "bear skin" rug or coat, especially as he's often drawn that way... Grin
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India Ink
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« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2007, 06:37:29 PM »

Believe It or Not, but Matter Eater Lad's comments and queries pushed me in a few directions with the PPB that I hadn't thought about and pushed me to get on with some other ideas I had put off.

I've put together a collection--called The Pantomime Polar Bear Fun Book 2007--that I hope to sell as a zine in a few local shops. The book (32 pages in b&w, plus colour cover) is half-size (a folded photocopy page) and features some of the gags I already did (resized and repositioned) plus several other new gags and extra features.

I'd put up some images, but I'm still trying to work out how to do that without taking up a large part of the thread page (and without posting an image that takes a long time to load).

I also came up with other new ideas for mini-comics (not really new, since there are many indie artists who have done these things before--but new for me), which I'm now working on. And there's a lot that I want to do that I just don't have the time to get to just yet.

So I owe a thank you to Matter Eater Lad. And the Fun Book does begin with a "Secret Origin"--however it will not satisfy M.E.L. I'm afraid. Hate to fustrate you pal, but I see the nature of PPB as being like Sheldon Mayer's Black Orchid, or the Phantom Stranger, or Alan Moore's Promethea--and therefore having several explanations, not one of which is really satisfactory.  And the Fun Book is suggestive of all those explanations.

I've also had a lot of success in finding new tools for my project. Faber-Castell makes a brush pen that is slightly cheaper than the ones I've been using, although the tip is a hair thicker, but it probably lasts a lot longer--and it seems to have good flow. I've also bought lots of other markers of different types.

For lettering lately I've been using blue-lined graph paper.

I've considered buying comic art boards (with their blue lines), but they seem too expensive for what you get. Also I like a thinner paper so I can trace over my sketches. I gather with the comic boards you have to use a light table. And buying a light table is another expense I'm not prepared to make. When I was a teen I made my own makeshift light table, by taking the glass on my bedroom dresser and proping it over a chair, then putting my bedstand lamp under that--it worked great and I used it a lot back then (I had read an Eisner interview with Gil Kane, where he said that he did all his drawings using a light table, redoing the same page until he brought it down to the essence of what he wanted to show--and he used markers, too).
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India Ink
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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2007, 09:12:40 PM »

I'm sure it will work, I was coming in cold and what you have posted left me confused if the character was even supposed to be mysterious.  Cool
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India Ink
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2007, 06:34:44 PM »

HAPPY HALLOWE'EN

« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 06:58:24 PM by India Ink » Logged

India Ink
India Ink
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« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2007, 06:57:21 PM »

The above image doesn't really need explanation.

Of course it's based on the classic Infantino and Anderson pose of Batman and Robin (with was a centrespread pin-up and a covershot and a bunch of other things).

The image is a colour version of a black & white pin-up I did for the centrespread of my 'zine.


There's lots of personal meaning for me in the pic, that's not important--but maybe everyone would enjoy these stories for Hallowe'en.

I had to find a way to get the basic look of the Batman & Robin pose that would work for my characters. Since Bellerophon is based on how I looked when I was around 5 years old, I thought of my father's old postal rain-cape. Sometimes he would wait in the rain outside our school for me and my sister to get out, in his cape--coming home himself from work at the post office--and just like a real super-hero (which he was) he would take us under his cape and he would guide us home in the rain, while we remained under the cape in his protection and care (smelling the good smell he had after working, and feeling his warmth--in our own universe).

On Hallowe'en that cape often figured in whatever costume I wore for trick or treating. One year it completed my Barnabas Collins vampire look (and it was good, because it often rained on Hallowe'en in Vancouver).

As well, there's a character I've created (but haven't written or published) who is a postman of a sort--and the costume Bell wears is based on that character, as well as my father. In the old days, my father's uniform was very mlitary (not like presentday postal outifits), with red piping on the pants, brass buttons, a smart looking peak cap. I thought of my father as a post officer.

One Hallowe'en, my sister was going to go as a fairy. However that morning some bad kid in the neighbourhood kicked a piece of glass at her which cut and injured her leg. So that evening she was a limping fairy. Which is the basis for Odile's outfit (see the bandage on her leg?). Although Odile isn't really based on my sister (except in attitude). She's sort of an amalgam of different girls I knew or know.

Odile is a name I always wanted for my daughter if I ever had one. And also Odile is the black swan in Swan Lake--the opposite of Odette, the white swan--which is why I named her Odile Swann (adding the extra n because I like five letter names--Jimmy Olsen--and Swan seemed too obvious and a copy of Curt's name)
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India Ink
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