Saturday, January 15, 2005

Losing My Head

As Mary will tell you, my face is usually a stone when I read comics. It's hard to laugh when you're busy peeling back the layers, poking the organs, investigating the strip's anatomy. But there are strips that often trick me into smiling -- where the joke or art catch me by surprise and for a moment, at least, I lose my head.

This is one of them.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Telling Yarns

Mary now keeps a cloth bag by the recliner with many miles of yarn and other impliments of design tucked inside it. Mary and I have many things in common, and this is another: I tell yarns, and she knits them.

That dark green ball of yarn, by the way, is the color of my impending scarf (a subtle hint to Mary for when she reads this.)

Belle Tolls For Thee

Here's why the chair seat in my office is usually warm in the morning. I adopted Belle from a shelter a few days after Christmas several years ago. Two points to anyone who can explain the inspiration for her name. And another two points to anyone who can explain the inspiration for that Pepto-Bismol colored carpet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Off The Mark

Sorting through some old files this morning. I found this reminder from the past, for any cartoonist in the present, who has dreams of syndication in his future.

It might take a while.

Also note my keen awareness of the marketplace. I submitted a feature called Off the Mark; a niche already filled by Mark Parisi. (when this was pointed out to me, I remember thinking, "Okay, no problem. I'll call it On the Mark," demonstrating that my imagination can be as lazy as the rest of me.)

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.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

It Looks Good On Paper

Last summer I had Spot build a crowd of origami frogs, and thought you might like to duplicate the experience.

I won't be sharing it, however; the instructions may look good on paper, but my paper folding skills peak at wrapping books, or book-shaped gifts.

By the way, if you follow the instructions offered in the last step, you'll find that they work just as well if applied to the backsides of cartoonists.

Man's Best Mirror

Put a pair of glasses on this guy and you'd have a close cousin to Buddy, if the man's taste ran towards frogs, not dogs. (via