If you didn’t get a chance to read the previous comic please do so! Otherwise this particular strip will make very little sense. This is the second part of a two part comic. It would be nice to have been able to display both parts in a single posting, but due to space limitations we sometimes have to get creative with our boundaries and layout. At this point it feels like cramming too much onto the page would mean having smaller images uploaded and you would miss out on details in the illustrations or the text would lose legibility. We’ve been trying out this new format of four panels and it works fairly well.
Posts Tagged ‘sloth’
Just about everyone has experienced the eternal longing programmed into our biological survival instincts. When that natural yearning occurs we typically seek advice from our closest friends. Sometimes it’s best to follow your heart instead of any wisdom friends might divulge. And if that doesn’t work you might be better off following your gut. Follow it to the nearest fried food restaurant and remember that the food in your tummy will fill the momentary void and will not offer too much resistance to your charms or lack thereof. But if it is a human you are looking for to pass on your genetic code with, may I suggest going outside, meeting that person and communicating with them face to face in a verbal fashion. It worked fine before the age of telephones.
This strip marked the point of our departure from the usage of digital word balloons. The available balloons generated by our programs were too hard to deal with and were not flexible enough. So this is the start of hand drawn word balloons going forward. We had tried to avoid drawing them before because we didn’t feel confident about how they looked, but they look better to us and take less time to do than the ready made ones. We just hope we don’t draw them too small or the text will suffer.
Our inker Joanna found the previous strip a real challenge especially with the buildings in the third panel. This strip too required the precision of a surgical knife, but she pulled through and it came out better than the original illustration. The design of young Chillaxasloth was not too difficult, but young Emo Caveman took a lot of time to get right. We tried several different color combinations for his hair and clothes including brown, grey, black, dark brown and orange until we settled on what you see here.
As far as coloring, this was the most fun for Lyndon to work with since the initial strip. The balance of colors, contrast and the composition of characters came together in such a wonderful harmony by the end that we stood back and looked at it for some time. So you could say we were very, very pleased with this one.
Perhaps the best part about doing this comic is learning so much about how to make a comic actually work. We’ve stated before about how this is our first web comic, but we had been tackling the idea of making our comics four years ago.
At the time, we were bouncing ideas off each other and doing a lot of experimental comic layouts and stories. What we quickly learned was how hard it is to make just a plain old comic. Basically a lot of stuff we were coming up with just wasn’t ready and was lacking certain essentials. Things like gutters, panel size, word balloons, font style, font size, character space, texture, thickness of line, eye flow, hierarchy, focus of composition, word choice, build up, punch lines, pay offs and visual jokes are the sorts of things we never took the time to consider until we tried doing them. And we are still learning as we go. But it’s really fun that way because we are learning the rules and tying different things here and there.
Characters also take a lot of effort and time to develop. And we are definitely not masters of the trade. Good characters can be placed in almost any situation and deliver delight to the audience. We felt confident about the personalities of Emo Caveman and Chillaxasloth by the time “What Dreams are Made of” came along. The surreal juxtaposition of Emo Caveman as something he would never be (a successful business man) and Chillaxasloth as his wife is an image that begs to be seen. I don’t know why this scenario works for these characters but it just does.
Originally this particular strip had Emo Caveman waking up out of bed smiling and then meeting wife Chillaxasloth in the kitchen. Later this was changed to having him getting ready in the bathroom and watching his own reflection, smiling confidently. There was a desire to avoid confusion from the reader when Emo Caveman wakes up from bed. We didn’t want people thinking he was smiling for a different reason (ahem). It was also important that we see that he’s smiling because he is excited about the rest of the day, so the mirror and the bathroom were more complimentary to the story. Although there is the chance we might have sacrificed a neat parallel between Emo Caveman waking up in the first panel happy and glad and the dismay he expresses in the final panel waking from what he believes to have been a nightmare.
This is the comic that began defining what rules we could break in the universe of Emo Caveman and what rules we couldn’t. You can see a bag of popcorn in the final panel as well as a pennant flag being waved. Neither of these items could exist in prehistoric times. But there was a sudden realization that because the story takes place before any history has ever been written down, that there were tons of possibilities for cracking conventional knowledge about the past. Who is to say that early people’s did not invent popcorn and we just forgot how to make it until recently? Why couldn’t pennants exist way back then? Further and further questions like this came to us. A paleontologist would call foul against this kind of thing, but our argument would be that they just haven’t dug up the world’s earliest bag of popcorn. Also, there’s a lot that is already sort of silly in the comic such as talking animals and emo cave people. So it feels fair game for the sake of satire anyway. Once this was settled, we were liberated to write a lot more interesting stories. There have been many cartoons and comics that have used the stone age as a setting, but we were discovering a bunch of things that have never been done before.
If you can do silly scenarios in way where it doesn’t bother the story or the audience, then you can get away with a lot of stuff like this:
Drawing Backgrounds is never easy. It is also a necessary evil. A lot of people can draw characters, or machines, or animals, but backgrounds always seem to be low priority when it comes time to think up a comic. Just make some cool characters and think of the background later right?
Like anything else, it takes practice to get it right and it’s frustrating when things don’t come out how you expected. Backgrounds operate by a different set of rules too so you can’t always apply the same techniques you would use for your characters. Perspective and all that. Unfortunately, none of the four of us are really talented for making scenery, so it became a huge learning experience when we started this comic.
Drawing Prehistoric settings requires lots of jungle, rock and mountain stuff. The usual references we use are photos from the internet and the hillsides in San Diego area; especially Balboa Park. As for color and composition, Bill Watterson is good to study and so is Frank Frazetta. But perhaps most intriguing is that a lot of “old” comics used lush scenery for jungle settings. If you look at comics or manga nowadays you’ll find it rare to see the amount of detail that was found in the comics that appeared half a century ago. Are we losing artistic technique as we move forward?
Here’s another example that continues to experiment and refine backgrounds:
This is the very first comic of Emo Caveman and there are more to come!
We are excited and happy to be doing this and we are learning more about how to make our comics as we go along. Feel free to let us know what you think. There should be a new comic up every couple weeks or so. I know that is a long time to wait, so we are doing our best to find ways of delivering more Emo Caveman to you.
You can also check out this other cool comic right here: