Currently browsing Posts Published January 2012

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Bear Trapped

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Y’know, when I’m completely sick of drawing the same stupid bear over and over again, I like to take a break and look at family phot…ah, crap, there he is again.

Actually, I’m enjoying this experience, except for the part where I compacted all the work into like 4 days. After getting a feel for the workflow, I can actually imagine doing this for a living, discounting the fact that hardly any cartoonists are paid a living wage.

My ideal pace would be about 8 hours per cartoon, not including writing. Most of the strips for this contest were done in about two or three hours. But I find that the more time I’m able to spend with a cartoon, especially if I take breaks and look at it with fresh eyes, the more polished it becomes. I’m able to correct weird mistakes and improvise new jokes. And if I were to spend a full day on a cartoon, I could actually get into drawing backgrounds; so far my characters inhabit the same bleak whitespace that Garfield calls home.

For me, writing is completely separate, and luckily it’s been pretty easy so far. For this contest, I just went ahead and latched on to every idea that popped into my head, which is why most of them will make absolutely no sense when you read them.

But hey, if you end up hating it, blame the niece! It started when she named her stuffed bear Kerkel, and I had a little conversation with myself:

Me: You want to enter that comic strip contest. Why not make it about a bear named Kerkel?

Me: Eh, I can probably think of something better.

Me: What’s the last character you created as an adult?

Me: Ummm….er….OK, Kerkel it is!

Since then, I’ve really latched on to the notion of acting on my best idea at the moment, however mediocre, instead of waiting for some impossibly great idea to hit me like a thunderbolt. So, even though I was, and still am, on the fence about Kerkel and some of my gags, I just went ahead and used them. Some of those ideas led me in directions that surprised me, creatively.

Likewise, I hope these seemingly random artistic endeavors take my life in directions that surprise me. For now, I have no specific endgame; I just want to get better at the stuff that makes me smile.

By the way, in February I’ll be entering an 11-second animation contest!

Bear’ll Roll

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

I’m steadily inching toward the deadline. Here are my two favorite panels so far. This isn’t even the punchline, but for some reason I wanted to see if I could draw a bear leaping over a counter, only to accordion on the floor below.

Edit: Argh, I took a second look at these panels and realized, it’s hard to read what the bear is doing in the first panel there. I think sometimes when I’ve been drawing something for too long it starts to look right even when it isn’t.

Here’s my re-do:


So, I think that’s easier to read, and it’s a much better action (a genuine jump instead of meekly rolling over the counter…probably more sanitary, too).

Ironically, I couldn’t for the life of me conjure up this simpler action from my imagination, so I hired a goofy-looking model:


Bare Chair Pair

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


My sister will be happy to know that I’ve been subjected to dude nudity for the last two classes, but today’s class was unusual because it featured two models, one of each gender, alternating poses. The teacher lectured on the structural differences between men and women.

I’ve signed on to this class for another quarter. I think it’s really helped me out, even with my cartoons; I’m no longer apprehensive about drawing a person in motion. Luckily cartoons don’t have to be anatomically perfect, but the important thing is, I don’t need a reference to, say, draw Mary reaching excitedly for her UPS box. ┬áIn the past, I might have scoured the internet for someone in the exact pose I wanted to draw, or just picked an easier pose.

Bear Claw

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Ack! Only two toons in, and my elderly hand is already cramping up. Of course, in this particular strip, the character is reading a letter, which I’ve written by hand instead of using my usual custom font.


Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Quick initial sketch of Mary Rae’s Uncle. Got any good Uncle names?

On Your Mark…

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

One comic down, nine to go. According to the rules, I can’t post them here until the contest is over, but I can give you this brief glimpse. Any idea what’s in that box?

I find drawing comic strips to be a lot of fun. Writing’s a bit tougher–still fun, but I haven’t really been able to rein it in. By that I mean, I can’t schedule it as a task; ideas only pop in to my head when I’m doing something else and my mind wanders. Running seems to work best.

So, here’s hoping my next few runs are very inspiring. 10 strips due February 1st. “Nothing like the last minute,” a certain slacker was fond of saying in the `90s.

My “New” Toy

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Thanks, Grandpa!

And yes, my hair really does look like that right now. Jealous?

Slap Happy

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Engaging in animation practice, like any good Disney employee. I analyzed a few frames Groucho Marx slapping a guy, and am trying to recreate some of the gestures.

This is also known as procrastination–I should be working on a comic strip. Which I’d probably be drawing right now if I were procrastinating on an animation.

Sigh. Can you see why I was a C student?

Drawing Bears is Oso Hard

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Revisiting the bear; I know this looks rough, but it’s actually better-constructed than the bear I posted the other day, in that he’s made up of well-defined 3D shapes, making it easy to visualize what he’ll look like from all different angles. As a bonus, his features are closer to my natural style of doodling, so I think I’ll have a lot more fun drawing this version.

I’m sure there will be like 10 more versions, and by then he’ll be a turtle.

The Sketch is Silent

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Was thinking about seeing “The Artist”, and realized it these actors might be fun to caricature. It’s especially fun because they’re basically unknowns, so I didn’t have any preconceptions about what their caricatutures should look like.

Those who have seen it, yea or nay?