The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Today's Cul de Sac, August 19 2010

Petey's world is suddenly larger and more populous than he's entirely comfortable with. But then, Petey's comfort zone is somewhat smaller than his own actual physical size, so it's easy to get him outside of it. There: that's what we've learned today. But we knew it already, so we may have wasted a day.

If I was home and had access to some older drawings I'd make this post be about paintings in cartoons, in this case their use as indicators of space. You'll note the two framed pictures of something in the background of panels one and two. They're both used as a simple way of identifying a flat interior wall and marking the depth of the set in this scene. See, for better example, the masterful Wiley's signature black-matted art hung so adroitly all over Non Sequitur.

 I get antsy drawing backgrounds; too much is confusing and too little looks lame. And interiors are harder than exteriors. It's easy to draw a patch of grass or a stray tree branch, but drawing a room? You draw a lamp and you have to put it on a table and suddenly you're drawing the carpet too and it's getting busy. But if you keep it simple and go with a blank wall or a strip of floor molding it's easy; for a strip featuring small kids I draw that all the time, usually with a nicely space-defining expanse of tile or wood panel floor. And a note to future researchers, please notice that when drawing a lower wall, as often as I can I put in an electrical outlet, both as a way of identifying that blank area as a wall and of introducing a potential hazard. So, there: that's what we really learned today.


gilda92 said...

Somehow this is the first time I've noticed pictures on a wall in the Otterloop home. I'm sure the one on the right is a portrait of Alice. But the one on the left? It seems to be a flower? Maybe a copy of one of those 17th C Dutch flower paintings?

Doug said...

I love Petey in the second panel... nice!

paul bowman said...

I'm a fan of your light touch with spaces indoors & outdoors alike.

Will be giving Wiley's relatively denser backgrounds a new eye.

Chris said...

One thing I think is clever in this strip (and Richard may not have consciously done it): You always know which side of the panels the door is on and which side is the interior of the house. Mrs. Otterloop stands on the left, indicating that's where she's going (the door), and Petey's always on the right, ready to retreat to his room. In the last panel, I'm sure that's what he's doing. This consistency of set structure is really valuable in a small strip where there's not much room for detail.

Navy Bean by Melange said...

I get diorama if I eat radishes

paul bowman said...

Have had a fine romp on Wikipedia since noticing your 'label' an hour ago. Never suspected you for a Rosicrucian.

I saw Stoppard's Arcadia at the Arena with a bunch of smarter & better educated people from my church in Fairfax, in 96 or so, a time when I used to hang out down in your neck of the woods a lot. I don't think I'd ever heard of Stoppard then, and I don't think I knew what was going on on stage pretty much all evening. A fine painful memory you've helped me dredge up, here.