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!