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Clowning Around

It’s no laughing matter.  Sometimes, I have to draw a clown.  (Okay, I guess it’s laughable.)  But, since I clown around on the job all day anyway, I guess it’s suitable.

A major part of my cartooning is with the company I co-founded, BizComics.  I’m not sure how much you keep tabs on what I do, but if you’re not aware, over at BizComics we feature a blog and a cartoon every week.  The topics include obvious stuff like business.  But we feature a lot of sales, marketing, office, advertising, tech and other comics.  On top of that, we have a quarterly graphic novel that comes out, Max Impact.  Impact is about a marketing detective with new cases each issue.

The newest blog/cartoon for BizComics features a clown.  And pie (not the tasty kind).

I thought it would be cool (or not) to show you a little step-by-step of how I develop these comics.  So, I decided to document this one in particular.  Like a clown, it’s just for the fun of it.

First off, I start off with my initial ideas.

Ideas come and go out of my head like a migraine while watching Friends.  Whatever pops-up, I jot down some illegible words and VERY rough drawings.  This is the case with not just BizComics premises, but anything I write.

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Above:  By the time you see the finished cartoon, this might make more sense (that is, if you could possibly read anything from it).

I often times go back and look at my thoughts and – believe it or not – am not able to read my own ideas.  Yeah, I need to work on my penmanship.  However, at my age, I’m guessing not much is going to change anytime soon.

Once I have my thoughts scattered on notebook paper, I pick-out bits and pieces from it and come up with a very rough, rough draft.

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Above:  My very rough, rough.

I always get scared when working with new clients, because they get these roughs (like the above picture) first before anything else and I always think that they’re going to NOT want to work with me because they’ll assume – based on my drawing – I’m a kindergartener (these roughs look slightly worse than something in preschool).  I send in a 2nd rough to make sure it looks better.  The 2nd rough is obviously more refined, but these first ones are scary looking.  I just make the point that there’s no purpose in “finalizing” even a rough if the idea itself isn’t up to par.  So, these roughs are just for idea sake. As long as you (or a client) gets the visual and joke – then I can move forward.  That’s when clients usually exhale knowing that their final cartoon won’t look quite like this.

With BizComics, I pass the above rough, rough to them (my team) first to get their take on it.  We all work together on making sure they’re solid, so we have a meeting about them and decide if any changes should be made in the text or art.  When we’re all in agreement it’s a “go”, I move on…

I pencil everything on a sheet of smooth Bristol board.  The dimensions are roughly 7.5″ by 9.5″.  The border I use a ink marker for.  The pencil I use is nothing fancy at all.  Just a cheap mechanical pencil from Kroger’s that cost me usually about two bucks.

As you’ll see, this is a bit better visually.

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You’ll notice that I use line to space the text and often times you’ll see marks I’ve erased (not in this one though really).

I then move onto the inking process.

I like to be a bit sporadic with my inking, but I do generally follow the final rough to a point.  It’s not way off course.

When inking, I’m very old school.  I enjoy using a dip pen and black India ink.  I use a HUNT (the company) pen nib for the text and line work.  I do switch it up sometimes when there are bolder areas that need covered, but for the most part, it’s just one nib for text and one for the art.  Simple.

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Above:  Mid-way through inking.  As you can see, I haven’t inked over Binky yet.

I keep moving with this process until I have the entire thing inked out.

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I’ve added little details here and there.  Not a ton of them, but there is some shading, details in the hair(s) and so-forth.

Now that this part of the cartoon is done, I’m off to color!

Coloring is all done in Photoshop.  I take this inked cartoon and scan it into my computer.  From there, it’s all digital.

Just because it’s done in Photoshop doesn’t mean it’s automatically colored or anything like that.  Nope.  It’s still a process like painting or using any other medium.  You HAVE to understand color to make it work well.  Luckily, I know the gist of colors, so I use that to my advantage and get it knocked-out in a reasonable amount of time.

And when that’s done?

You have a finished cartoon!

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Don’t forget, there is a blog added to these cartoons as well.

That being said, I’ll leave it up to you to go read the rest.  You can head over to BizComics and read the post with this cartoon BY CLICKING HERE.

And, in a nutshell, that’s how I drew a clown (and an inedible pie).