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

Showing posts with label a tutorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label a tutorial. Show all posts

Friday, July 18, 2014

Small things

Here's another teaser quote from that impatiently-awaited, incipient best-seller the Art of Whosis (as  seen on TV!*), But this time I include some actual text, taken from an actual PDF of the actual book, to sweeten the deal! Once again the part of "BW" is played by Bill Watterson while I assay the rĂ´ll of "RT" (we did funny accents),

This is what I was trying to get at in the previous post about the specific vs. the general. A comic strip is the ideal medium to bear small ideas (no jokes, please), especially one with little kids in it. I'll show you; here's a strip from the Post Magazine that's not in the Complete Cul de Sac because I forgot about it, even though it's one of my favorites; I gave it to my brother for Christmas. He kindly lent it back for use in the Art book. 

That's taken from a true, well I hate to call it a "story"; it's barely an anecdote. But both of us remembered it, that one inch gap between iron and shirt that made the animatronic maid's efforts so stupidly poignant. Woodie's windows were an important part of Christmastime for us as it was for many in the DC area, so I knew this would resonate back when CdS was a local strip.

Here's perhaps the height, or nadir, of smallness. For a week Dill followed that bug. You can't get much punier. Yet in  the last year of CdS, I tried some microscopic gags, all to make producing  the strip easier.

This is a rough for Stacy Curtis to ink. A week of repeating the same scene led to this-

In short, the constant search for Ways to Do Things Faster, the Shortcuts to Fill the Page, make smallness ideal.  Look at one of my favorites-

There's so little movement in it that I used the same rough for 8 panels! Alice is the only movement, and she's just fidgeting around. And the smallness is carried through the dialog; casual chitchat that goes nowhere. I'm almost embarrassed to've constructed a whole strip around this.

But that's my other point; that a comic can be made up out  of the mist desultory, small, nothing  banter imaginable and successfully present a legitimate funny, universal idea. And there's a chance you'll make your deadline.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Agreed; The Specific is Funnier Than The General

In the last chapter of the forthcoming must-have book of the year, the Art of Some Guy, I bloviate, dilate & expound on comic strips at excruciating length with Bill Watterson, with a few unrelated ventures into global politics, sports and fashion. At one point, there's this exchange;

RT: I remember one of the first interviews I gave to some reporter somewhere. She called and I told her "the particular is always more funny than the general." And she said, "could you be more specific?" (BW and  RT laugh). And I couldn't! I hemmed and hawed for ten minutes! (Laughter).
My point is not that I can hem & haw for ten minutes (my current personal best for hemming & hawing is 24 hours). My point is the Specific is funnier than the General. It's axiomatic, whatever that means, and I still can't think of any specific examples. So let's run some strips to distract you and make you think you've learned something.

Be sure to watch for future helpful & informative tutorials on the comic arts!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Creating Character

Character is a mystery. Someone said that the shallowest human being is infinitely more complex than even the best-written creation, so what's the use? I always scared myself off trying a comic strip because it seemed too difficult and incomprehensible. How could I build a water-tight character that'd walk off the page and respond in ways that'd surprise me? Then I'd see Walt Kelly do it with ease, and I'd want to punch him.

I think part of the trick is to start small and to work with opposites; Alice & Petey worked as foils because they were total opposites. I called them the Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object. Also, they liked each other, or at least tolerated each other; early on, they were more argumentative and it wasn't funny. Stand outside your own work when it seems to get too thick and it clogs up, y'know?

Petey Otterloop may have been my Magnum Opus in character design, as some would say, but he's really  a list of opposites with enough of me thrown in to make him hold together. He's the anti-Bart Simpson, the mirror image of cool. I even chose the name Petey because it 's got a finger-snappin', G-droppin' quality that's so alien... What can I say? irony's good for a laff.. 

No, where I think I got it right is in Petey's cohorts from Cartoon Camp; Loris Slothrop & especially Andre Chang (the connection to Andre the Giant didn't occur to me). Loris is kinda one-joke: she's fast and full of energy. But Andre has depth. They were designed out of necessity; Petey needed a milieu, he was surrounded by nothing but little kids and he needed somebody his own size to pick on him. I had to think-what would a friend of Petey's look like or be like? The same but the opposite. Large where Petey is small and loud where Petey'd be quiet.

I am absurdly proud of Andre.