Cartooning is, to me, an art form of simplification. The artist uses a minimal amount of lines to communicate characters and place to a reader. Mouths are often oddly-shaped black holes. Cartoon evolution often does away with lips, body hair, elbows. Eyebrows are reduced to lines. Eyes become dots. A background might be a line indicating where the floor and wall meet. Maybe a squiggle of distant trees, or a cloud. Maybe just a flat field of color. Continue reading
PRO TIP: As a graphic designer, when you open the previous day’s newspaper layout and start replacing the old placed graphics with new graphics, you should endeavor to look at the computer monitor with your eyes and ensure that the newly-placed graphic is properly formatted.
What are the odds of two single panel comics being published next to each other on the same day – both depicting a parent splayed out on the floor, drawn from almost the exact same point of view? The odds are apparently very good.
There’s a lot of crap out there when it comes to syndicated comic strips. I could get all Comics Curmudgeon on your asses and pick apart tons of strips for a variety of different reasons, but today I feel like picking apart one in particular. And that would be John McPherson’s Close to Home. This strip debuted in 1992, apparently an unabashed Far Side ripoff, except less weird and drawn worse. In the intervening bunch of years, it has apparently gotten much much worser. It consistently delivers the blandest stereotypes and joke set-ups, which is the worserest thing of all. It is a comic featured in my local newspaper, The Daily Hampshire Gazette (syndicated in like, 700 other papers, too, says wikipedia), and I look forward to reading it with great relish every morning. Because I hate it so so much. Because it perfectly encapsulates everything that is wrong and bad about newspaper comic strip writing. Because it is so poorly executed, I usually spend more time trying to comprehend what I’m looking at than I do not laughing at the punchline. Continue reading