Be Careful Before You Post

Here's the final for that retro-style cartoon illustration I've been sweating over at work. Although I wanted to go even farther with this-- more panels, more information-- I confess that I didn't think I'd get this far! (It's a big picture, so I've sliced it up into 3 smaller pieces below for easier viewing.)
...The newspaper job has been typically busy. For several weeks I've been drawing pieces of this assignment, off to the side, when I could. I was pessimistically expecting that I would have to resort to using only one or two of the individual cartoons as a final, but I was able to get it to this point. It's not perfect, but it's close to what I intended, so I'm okay with putting on a page. As a sequential piece, I feel it needs a few more beats between the first and second segments. I'm trying not to be so uptight. It won't kill me to let it go like this.

The art is... well, it's alright. I'm out of my comfort zone stylistically and therefore I don't have confidence in it. That doesn't bother me much. I'm trying something different, so I'm suffering from sprinkles of heightened interest and nervous excitement because of the novelty of it. I'm also feeling dread because it doesn't look like it's mine. That's normal.
...Standing back and considering it now-- a few days after I finished it-- I'm disappointed that it doesn't look as "retro" as I'd intended! I had hopes of creating a cartoon that looked like it fell out of Esquire in the 50s. I'm not getting that vibe. But it does look different from the usual stuff that falls out of my head, so I'll accept as a sign of the artist genuinely trying to grow.

...It's possible I failed because of my ability, but maybe I can also place some blame on the medium! It's drawn in illustrator with a touch of Photoshop. I don't know why I did that. I probably could have done the drawings in pencil, but I didn't. I created all the preparatory doodles on paper, and resorted to digital when it came time to push toward the final.
...Tonally, of course, it's me in "fluff mode." That's almost a given; it's what I specialize in at work. Maybe it's what I specialize in, period! Most of my art seems to come out with a cheesy smile, an annoying wink and a friendly (but slightly wimpy) handshake. There's still time to change, but I'd have to put some effort into it.
...Perhaps, someday, I will carefully craft an offensive, over-the-top, underground-style comic in order to make amends for all the cute things I've done at work. It would have to be about 1000 pages, though.

It's good to get a true comics illustration in the paper; hopefully the editors/publisher/audience won't be so startled and/or horrified by it that they forbid other such experiments.
...Several years ago I did a full-page, Christmas-related comic, and it was a lot of fun. Something about designing and drawing so many panels over such a large canvas was very satistfying. It takes a mind-set and a discipline completely different from the way I work most of the time.
...This one isn't full-page, but with a few tweaks it could be! THAT would be cool. Gosh, I think there's a little bit of Winsor McKay and George Herriman in me. Too bad that the Sunday Funnies are just about as dead as they are.

And on that cheerful note.
The End....

Epilogue: Looks like there's a link to Jessica Yadegaran's story! With some embarrassment, I notice I did not explain what the illustration is about; the link should clarify that! I'll try to pop back in and shore up the crumbly and crummy post later. Some blogs could definitely use an editor!


  1. Ok, not an artist, just pretending to be one...

    "Retro" and laptop presented a degree of challenges right out of the gate.

    All joking aside, I think the retro looking panels that did work are the 12 panels at the end (people receiving the email). Something about the blending of color as they sink into the (not solid color) background (the lines themselves become more apparent).

    Then again, what the hell do I know? :)

  2. Nice comics and nice story!

  3. GF: Yeah, the little panels are the ones that come closest to the intended effect-- I think it's all about texture. Those were the only drawings I colored in photoshop, where I'm able to create textural qualities more easily-- and I can just plain color things more quickly! That's why I did it; I was running out of time!

    The absolutely flat, even colors of Illustrator (as I used it here) destroy any chance of the human hand showing through. That's a challenge for an illustrator newbie such as myself. I understand how to vary the textures in Illustrator but it ain't second nature yet-- and it takes me a lot longer.

    E: Thank you, sir!