Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Slow Sculpture

This was the second (I think) Spot Sunday from last year. I notice that some things have changed and others haven't. Karl's shirt, for example. He hasn't changed it in a year (or owns a closet filled with fuscia shirts.)

But Spot has changed. In the last panel we see him smiling with his eyes closed (you'll need to click on the image to get a better look). I used that pose a few more times, then switched to the more familiar aspect of two eggs with a crack in the middle to show closed eyes. Another change is his arms. You'll note the line of his torse is unbroken where his arm is attached. That's because I always draw Spot without arms -- I see him more as a jumping ball, or a ball at rest -- saving the arms til last, and sometimes as afterthoughts. When the strip started, I half-liked the look of the unbroken line where the arm met the body. And then the half-like turned to dislike and I grabbed the eraser (that is, the erasing tool in Photoshop.)

A third change is the shape of Spot's eye. In the beginning they were more or less round. Now they're ovals.

And there's a reason for this. Cartooning is like slow sculpture. Every strip I draw is another whack at the marble, chipping away stone to reveal the true shape. That's why Snoopy went from walking on four legs to two legs, then flying a bi-plane, and eventually loping on the moon. He had it in him all along, but it took a few years of slow sculpture for Schulz to find it.