Comics are both art and commerce. I believe in the former and live with the latter. With the comic’s inflexible daily deadline there is little time for rumination. You do the best you can and then you let it go. You don’t live with a piece; you live with the process.
—Patrick McDonnell (from Mutts: the comic art of Patrick McDonnell. Harry N. Abrams, 2003). The best of many insights of what goes into his strip every day to be found in this beautiful volume. I’d definitely put this book in the same class as those by Schulz and Watterson I wrote about last month.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between comic strips and comic books lately.
Even though I’ve essentially been writing & drawing a comic strip for years now, I’ve always thought of myself as a comic book creator. And, while I haven’t yet collected the “Watusi” strips like I’ve planned, my end goal with these stories has always been for book-length (or at least issue-length) collections. Which only makes sense, given how much more my storytelling sensibilities and influences have always come from the pacing of comic books than from gag-a-day comic strips. Still, I’ve found myself paying a lot more attention to comic strips than to books lately. Partly this is because there aren’t that many ongoing monthlies that appeal to me right now, partly because my own collection is largely inaccessible in my current studio space, and partly because the (how to say this kindly?) “vintage” graphic novel collection at the Memphis Public Library includes a lot more “Alley Oop” than Saga. And they only have one “Alley Oop” book…
But I’m enjoying what I’m discovering– not just in classic adventure strips that lean naturally toward my comic interests– but also in gag strips, both those being published today and what I’m rediscovering in older strips. Continue reading “Learning new moves from experienced strippers” →
When Tom Cherry declared today “Draw Crabby Day”, I was excited by his choice. I’ve long loved Patrick McDonnell‘s expressive ink line in his daily “Mutts” comic strip, and this was a great chance to study his technique more closely. While I tried to turn it into a “Draw like Patrick McDonnell Day”, too, my character designs just don’t yield the same charm as Patrick gets with Earl and Mooch! Thanks for a fun challenge, Tom!
(While you’re here, be sure to check out my “20 questions” interview with Tom Cherry)