Saturday, September 3, 2011

Petey Sits In, or, Most Of This Week's Cul de Sac

And not in a small chair, fortunately. The dream of all who draw a daily comic strip is to have somebody else please take it off their hands for as long as humanly possible.

Happily, Petey became available at just the right moment. We were on an abbreviated vacation in Duck NC when some of these strips were drawn, which means I didn't have any of the elaborate technical apparatus normally available when I work. I've grown reliant on a lightbox, a tilty art table, 5,000 pens, a stereo, 3,000 CDs, a messy floor, etc, and downsizing to a dining room table in a beach house that also has a nice & distracting view is difficult. So I let Petey do the drawing for a week of so.

I've been making this stuff up as I go along, more or less from week to week, with only a vague idea of what happens next. It took me a while to realize that Emilio Spinnerack's assignment to draw a comic from real life would mesh nicely with Alice's play, which I hadn't really thought through. All I knew was that the play should be incoherent, as though each player was the author and star. So I get to kill two birds with one stone, or fill two weeks with one joke. Regarding Monday's strip, I don't like drawing in public much either.
Drawing in a "child-like" style is tremendously fun in many ways. I've thought about shifting Cul de Sac's art more toward a style I'd call Little Kid Expressionism for a while. By Little Kid Expressionism I mean the characters' anatomy would be clumsified, the perspective would tilt, adults would loom larger, etc and the whole thing would be easier to draw. I can see this but I can't describe it. So this is a way of sneaking up on it a bit. And if anyone complains I can blame it on Petey.

Though I do worry about the lettering being legible. I'd used Petey's handwriting a few times so it seemed a good idea to keep it going for continuity's sake. Petey is at heart a perverse traditionalist, especially fond if unnecessary traditions, and I figured he'd like cursive, probably fancy Spencerian lettering, just for its difficulty. It makes a nicely absurd mismatch with the art too.
(I forgot to include the above strip in the original post) All I can add is that drawing a ceiling always a good move.
A cameo by Kevin's dad and mayne his mom.I'm guessing the whole Kevin family is annoyinng.


  1. I'm loving "Pete"'s p.o.v., but overall I prefer your style! You don't seem as neurotic as Petey (I could be wrong) so your drawing and lettering are more subtle! I love cul de sac. As Pogo, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes were, cul de sac is, the strip-you-just-have-to-see-in-the-morning-with-your-first-cup-of-coffee

  2. "Little Kid Expressionism". I think that label succinctly describes what I love about childrens' art.

    These were great strips. I especially like Petey sitting behind "buckethead".

    I'm happy to see Petey writing in cursive, because they just stopped teaching it here. For whatever reason, this has made me profoundly sad.

  3. Petey is WAY better than those "Little Jeffy" comics done by that "other" cartoon. He is insightful and letters so beautifully!

  4. I've always thought of your style as being from the Ralph Steadman school of illustration.

  5. This story has been great! As far as the screen version goes, Petey's handwriting has been perfectly readable. I don't know about the newspaper version, because my newspaper doesn't carry it (though, I've called them up and asked them to print it.

  6. How on earth did Petey learn cursive? (don't get me wrong, I think it fits his voice)-I'm just thinking of all the hours I spent paying attention to proper posture, proper pencil grip finger positioning (a kid will grip a pencil like a crow if you let them)-then hours (probably minutes) of Peterson Plan Pensmanship exercises, the upstrokes,downstrokes to the dotted lines, and finally, oooh, the spirals, Slinky-like, tornado-like, therapeutic, somehow making walking home smelling like a sweaty pencil seem more worthwhile.
    So why is my handwriting so lousy now?

  7. My newspaper just started carrying it this week!!! I was so excited I almost exploded!!! Anyway, having now read it in the newspaper I can verify that Petey's cursive is entirely legible in the tiny tiny space allotted to the strip in the newspaper.
    And, yes, I did right and thank them for adding Cul De Sac. Twice.

  8. I, too, loved "Pete's" cursive. Can copperplate and iron gall ink be far behind?

    I tried to pick up on as many Petey clues as I could: slightly skewed pictures, the proportion between himself and adults--"very" small. I loved "smatter, smatter, smatter." I hate to see Cartoon Camp come to an end. I've already got a huge crush on Petey, but now little Loris has won me over. You can throw anything at her and she's got it covered.

    I noticed in one strip where the ink got lighter than the rest of the writing, and boy do I hope that was done on purpose or ...oops.

    P.S. I had to stay after school learning cursive. It was an issue with my "I's," (being left-handed,) and "yes," they used to punish you for things like that. I believe my left-handedness was called a "perversion," until my mother finally said, "Leave her alone."...and also "yes," I studied Petey's "I's."

  9. As a buckethead myself, can I speak up for my kith and kin and say that not all bucketheads are annoying?

  10. Wow , is it true Petey is taking over the strip? He is the best! I hope he wins the Reuben next yr!

  11. With all due respect, I think I prefer your style the way it usually is, and I'm not sure I'd like a new style.

  12. A scary thought: what if you drew the strip in Alice's style?

  13. Lately, I'm loving the way Petey draws the checked shirt and how all the lines run right across the a kid would do. Nice touch.