The Art Of Funny


I can always tell when I’ve overworked a drawing. I can see it – for the most part though, no one else can – and it’s frustrating.  There may be something stiff about it, or it doesn’t have fluidity…in a word, it’s lacking something.

I’m referring to spontaneity – it’s a contradiction, but spontaneity can be a lot of work.

Spontaneity is tough to cultivate because, paradoxically, its so easy, and requires at some point, being in what could be called, a ‘flow’ state. You just have to let it roll and doodle, draw, sketch, whatever. So, you doodle. And you doodle, again. And then draw some more. Inevitably, if you keep at it, your own naturally sunny personality shines through, and that becomes ‘style’, which is another post for another time.

Anyway, I’ve had drawings come out nice, right out of the pen, and then there have been times where I’ve had to work back into it, creating multiple versions. Not exactly fun, but rewarding when you make the lines do exactly what you want them to do.

Intuition plays a big part as well – after a while, you learn to let mistakes creep through, and not over-think the drawing. Easy for me to say…I tend to erase a lot at the rough stage, but that’s where you should get it all lined up – before you do the finish. I then ink them by tracing over the rough – that’s where it all comes together for me. And I don’t have to wait for the ink to dry to erase anything. I’d rather get the hard compositional stuff figured out at the rough stage, and then enjoy the process of creating the finish.

Let’s face it though, in the age of computers, it’s pretty easy to doctor up anything after the fact, and we all do it…photoshop is, after all, an amazing tool. Yet, photoshop isn’t very useful if the original drawing/rough you’re working with is stiff or lifeless.

When I first got into social expressions work, I idolized one cartoonist in particular – his stuff was fresh and hilarious to look at…it had an immediacy to it and looked utterly effortless (still does, in fact)…like it was just knocked out in seconds.

I found out years later, that he struggled over every single drawing to get it ‘just right’, doing multiple redraws.

Somehow, I felt better about erasing a lot.

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2 thoughts on “The Art Of Funny

  1. elizjohn2000 says:

    I love this post. As a writer, I can relate because the process is somewhat similar. Of course, the characters you create using the written word will direct you accordingly…but still, there comes times when the character–much like your drawings–are just not “right”. It takes work to get their personas together and make them sound and act as natural as you intend them to.

    Really good post. I enjoyed it.

    • patsandy says:

      Thank you so much! Yeah, sometimes creative stuff can look easy, and sometimes through inspiration it can be, but there’s a whole lotta fussin’ behind the scenes most of the time…when it comes to cartoons, often it’s a very, very little thing that can change the perception of the idea.

      For example, today’s cartoon, “Hopster” – I had a brief moment where I was about to roll with several bunnies wearing various “urban cool” gear, and I was gonna title it “Hopsters”…I dunno…I just thought better of it, and chose to abbreviate visually…

      At a certain point, it’s about trusting your creative instincts, really…tough to do in a world of ‘gatekeepers’…

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