My Motto: Think'em, Draw'em, & Send'em!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Gag Cartoon; From Start to Finish

I thought you might enjoy seeing the steps I use to take a funny thought and bring it completely around 360 degrees to a completed gag cartoon ready for sale. From the design and pencil sketch to the inked and computerized completion. And so, without delay, here they are:

First I have to come up with a funny idea. In most cases, that's the hardest part. Once I have the (funny) idea, I work on how the gag line should read. I toss around in my mind various ways the line could read and decide on the one that seems to work best. Although, many times that still ends up changing by the time the cartoon is finished. Then I begin the sketching of the gag.

When I have completed the sketch to my liking, I bring it over to my light board to trace it in ink. I don't have a standard store bought light board. I built my light board myself with instructions from a very old "how to" book called "Animation by Preston Blair". I have seen newer versions of this book still floating around in print. Mr. Blair animated in a number of Disney movies such as Pinocchio, Bambi and Fantasia as well as the MGM cartoon "Red Hot Riding Hood". (Sorry, not to get side tracked.) I then tape the pencil drawing to the light board and place a clean sheet of 24lb., 96 brightness paper over the sketch and tape that in place too.

I do most of my inking with either a Micron Pigma pen or a Staedtler pigment liner of various sizes ranging from 0.3 to 0.7. In the past I had done the majority of my cartoons with a 0.5 tip, however, lately I have started working more with a 0.7 tip. It seems to give a better line after being shrunk down for print as with all magazines . The odd looking glove you see me wearing is to allow my hand to slide on the paper and glass without sticking to them.

Once I have finished inking the cartoon I then scan it in to my computer. I use a basic Visioneer OneTouch 7100 USB scanner. It was extremely cheap but does a really nice job. I scan my inked cartoons in at a resolution of 600 dpi and they are saved as bit maps.

Once scanned in, I open the cartoon with Photo Shop 7. ( I know that's an old version of Photo Shop, but for my use, I really don't need anything more sophisticated.) I then change it to grey scale and adjust the threshold to about 128. This changes the lines to a nice solid black. I then use the Unsharpen Mask function (twice) to smooth out some of the jitter in my lines.

Then I simply work on it a bit and clean up any lines I feel could be better. I use a drawing tablet monitor called a VisBoard. It is similar to a Wacom Cintique monitor but without all the bells and whistles that the Cintique has. However, it was about one fifth the cost of a Cintique. It does a pretty good job for the price.
As you can see I blow it up very large so I can see and correct all the imperfections before you can see them in the final cartoon. This usually consists of erasing some small mistakes and\or adding some extensions to a few of the lines. I may fill in some area that I want solid black like the inside of an open mouth or the shoes on the lady here. Actually, while doing this I forgot to fill those areas in with black and had to do them with one of my pens later. However, I really don't do to much here. Once the picture is as I like, I then add the text by using a layer of text. My final step is to save it as a JPG.
I then print out a couple of copies in preparation of mailing one off to a prospective editor\publisher for their review.
And, there you have it! A gag cartoon from start to finish!
I hope you enjoyed my little walk though.
Until next time!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Couple of Sick Cartoons!

As Fall rolls around, so does Flu season. Last year at this time the medical and news media industries were spreading the word that the swine flu could be a pandemic problem. There was a panic as to who could and who could not get swine flu shots first. Not to mention the fact that there were no flu shots available when there should have been. Many folks were frightened to death that if they did not get the H1N1 (swine) flu shot first, or at the very least soon, they would perish from the pandemic flu. That is where this cartoon idea came from. However, as it turned out, it wasn't as bad as they all predicted. Unfortunately, some people did loose their lives from this serious flu and that definitely effected all of us, not to mention their family and friends. We are all saddened by this fact. So, the cartoons above and below are to not make light of the seriousness of the flu, but are simply to add a little humor to the every day stress of these situations.

This one is obviously based on the constant advisement by the medical industry to use some form of alcohol based "sani-hands" to fight off germs. This mother seems to have solved the problem for her child.
Let's hope that this coming flu season does not bring the possibility of another pandemic as with last year and that we get through it with little, or better yet, no loss of life.
Until next time, continually wash your hands with "sani-hands. And, when you're done, do it again!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fall Is In The Air Cartoon!

With September now here, it is essentially Fall. And so, with fall in the air, that always brings to mind camping and campfires. Not that I'm big into camping, but I have done my share. This cartoon is one I especially like. I can just picture a group of kids gathered around a campfire and out comes the story-teller. They're expecting some scary and spooky stories but the next thing you know the story-teller starts his\her mime routine. I can see their faces. Their mouths drop, their eyes widen, and a feeling of bewilderment fills their souls. I did a take off of this with kindergarten students sitting in a circle at story-time and out comes their teacher in her mime clothing. I'm not sure which one one I like the best. Although, if I had to choose, I'd go with the camping toon over the kindergarten toon.
On a different subject; if you haven't yet taken the time to click on over to ,you should. Roy Delgado and Peter Plum have been hard at work with their joint venture of the comics Plum Loco and Buljert. They have sent off the Plum Loco comics to the different syndicates in hope of becoming, well..., syndicated and have been getting back responses. Check it out to see how their doing. Also, they are in the process of creating a substantial number of Buljert comics in preparation of sending to the syndicates. Take a look them, fresh off the presses. I think you'll like them.
So, until next time, if there's something you've always wanted to do, but didn't think you could, get to it! You can't accomplish what you want, if you don't first attempt it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

New "NEW" Logo

At the top of the blog you can now see my new "NEW" logo. Based on some friendly advise from long time cartoonist and owner of a sign company, Roy Delgado, I took the word "cartoons" off the top of the logo and added back the "star" I had on my original logo. He thought that repeating "toons" as in ZELLTOONS and cartoons, didn't work as well as it could. I agreed with him and thus the change was made.
Hope you like it.
Until next time!

Back In Business Cartoon

I know it's been a few days since my last post, however I have a good excuse. I took a few days to "get away". You may be able to tell by the cartoon below where I was for those few days. Take a look and see if you can figure it out.
This cartoon was from the web comic my older son (Mike) and I did for 2 1/2 years. It's name was\is RESET and you can still read them all on line at . This was a weekly comic about roommates and video games. My son did the writing and I did the illustrations. It was a weekly comic which both my son and I really enjoyed working on as well as working together. However, after 2 1/2 years and not having a really strong following, we decided to bring it to and end. Actually, it ends rather abruptly right at the beginning of a new storyline. We both felt it was time though. Well, if you have a moment, take a look at it and let me know what you think. One thing that has always bothered me about this comic illustration was that I had the train speeding down the track but the smoke stack of the train gives the appearance of the train standing still. I was thinking about correcting it for this post, but chose to let you see it as it was originally uploaded.

Good to be back in business.

Stay "tooned" for a new NEW logo thanks to some much appreciated input from my good friend and mentor Roy Delgado. In fact you can see his comment and my reply on the posting from August 17th introducing my new logo.