Well, it all starts with an idea, doesn’t it?
Ideas are funny things – they need to be molded and formed into a gag, or a fully realized concept, and that can be a fairly complicated process at times.
So, to illustrate the lifecycle of a cartoon, I thought I’d show a step-by-step of the whole process using the cartoon from the June 17 Beer/Father’s Day post.
I wanted to work the idea of ‘craft’ beers…some of the flavors are just insane. I also wanted to ‘invert’ the flavors with goofy yet classic summer references. The last leg of this marathon involved making sure I used proper beer terminology.
As you can see, the writing on this piece involved a lot of trial and error…some words tend to be funnier than others and the terminology is ripe for parody.
Also, as you peruse the rough, notice the relentless editing. They say brevity is the soul of wit and this is a good example. Trying to get just the right mix of phrases, names and descriptions with no repetitious references (i.e., ‘finish’, ‘nose’, ‘bock’) is an exercise in detective work.
At that point, I put together a fairly tight rough to ink off of. I might add, that not all my cartoons are laid out this methodically – this particular one simply required a more focused composition.
Anyway, I just slip the rough under a piece of layout paper, and ink with my trusted Pigma pen.
Now I have a nice tight inked drawing, and I scan it into the computer at 600dpi.
The coloring work is done in Photoshop. This is the kind of work I can put on some music…say, Wilco, or The Beatles… and simply cruise. It’s fun, somewhat mindless work.
When finished, I just flatten the doc, hit ‘save’, and we’re good to go!
And there you have it – the birth of a cartoon (he says, in his best documentary voice). I could elaborate further on each point (and may do so in the future), but I figured I’d go with the Reader’s Digest version.
The process for any idea to reach the finish line is always an adventure but the journey, frankly, is worth it.