Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Nonverbal Communication

Today's Rhymes With Orange comic explores an aspect of human-animal interaction.
The idea came from Foster, one of my own feline studio assistants, who can be persistent and persuasive when he's ready for some affection. Below is my submission drawing, which isn't too far off from Hilary's final gag.
I worked out the idea with some sketchbook roughs, which aren't staged as economically as the eventual strip, but have a certain appeal in their own right.
I can't take any credit for the idea of the cat pulling on a pant leg to demand attention. That's Foster's concept.

If you liked today's cartoon, perhaps you'd care to browse through my other collaborations with Hilary Price. They're all archived for your reading pleasure.

Finally, to give credit where it's due, here's a candid shot of my studio assistant taking a break while I practice the ukulele.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Liberty, Equality... Fraternity?

Today's WaynoVision cartoon was started almost five years ago. I submitted an early version to Dan Piraro as a possible Bizarro panel.
NOTE: I used Dan's font in submission sketches to make them look more Bizarro-like
Dan rejected it, and I filed it away, later submitting it to Hilary Price for Rhymes with Orange. Hilary also passed on it, in part because of the implausible premise of human beings speaking to a giant lobster. I had to agree that there was no grounding in reality as a starting point for the joke.

I archived the image in a "failed ideas" folder and forgot about it until June of this year. I started to redraw the cartoon, but realized that I hated it before completing a penciled version.
After abandoning this new sketch, I tried to devise another way to use the idea of a lobster (or maybe a shrimp or crawfish) being tricked into entering a steam room. The decision to replace the people with animals brought to mind a fraternity initiation. The unsettling thought of two creatures leading one of their own to its doom felt like a perfect opportunity to use these crustacean stand-ins to comment on an unsavory aspect of human behavior. After scribbling the quick thumbnail at the bottom of the page above, I roughed out this drawing in my sketchbook. 

During my time assisting Dan Piraro as his colorist (2011-2014), I paid particular attention to his realistic drawings of animals and insects. An accurate rendering provides a sharp contrast to unnatural behavior in a gag, and can give a cartoon extra punch. When animals appear in my cartoons, I generally try to make them lifelike, to the best of my artistic ability.

College fraternities provide plenty of material for comment, and have inspired me in the past. Putting aside meritless elitism, what I find most baffling about fraternity culture is the notion of humiliating, beating, torturing (and sometimes killing) people as a test to become "friends." 

Initially, the cartoon had a slightly different caption.
The "unfortunate incident" wording reflects the way horrific events are often downplayed by apologists, but "Prawn State University" could be interpreted as a reference to a particular school. That was not my intention, as despicable fratboy shenanigans occur everywhere. 

Changing the name to the "Kappa Delta Prawn" made it more universal, and produced a satisfying sound in the mind's ear. (You must admit, the word "prawn" sounds funny on its own.)

I'm pleased with the way this one finally turned out, and owe thanks to my colleagues Dan and Hilary for rejecting it in its earlier incarnation.

This is an appropriate place to quote Jay Kennedy (1956-2007), a champion of cartoons, and a friend and mentor to countless cartoonists:
[I]n the fine arts, artists generally comment on the world only obliquely; and sadly, only those people who have the leisure to study art history can fully appreciate their comments. By contrast, cartoons are an art form accessible to all people. They can simply laugh at the jokes or look beyond them to see the artist’s view of the world. Cartoons are multi-leveled art accessible to everyone at whatever level they choose to enjoy.

I hope that today’s cartoon is one that can function on the multiple levels Jay described so eloquently.

Thanks for reading, at whatever level you choose.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Busman's Holiday

Just in time for vacation season, here's a new Rhymes With Orange gag.
Hilary Price's published drawing is very close to my sketch, which tells me I was fairly successful at both the staging and the dialog.
Most of us are still connected to our jobs, even when on holiday, and I imagine that therapists are no different.

Please feel free to browse my previous collaborations with Hilary in this blog's Rhymes With Orange Crate.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


I'm pleased to show my latest collaboration with Hilary Price.
I can barely take credit for this one. The idea came from my spouse, Kim. We were walking and avoiding dried worms on the sidewalk the day after a rainstorm, when she commented, "But to the birds, it's free jerky."

I immediately sketched out a gag based on her obeservation:
Hilary often uses these sketches as springboards, and her version is more economical with the dialog and art. Also, the bird's reaction provides an insughtful comment on the human tendency to assign supernatural causes to normal occurences.

I'll be back in the RWO space again tomorrow, so be sure to check in. Also, our previous joint efforts are archived here.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Career Goals

We close out April with another Rhymes with Orange gag written by yours truly.
RWO's creator, Hilary Price, retained the dialog from my sketch, but changed the setting. 
As always, working with Hilary is a delightful break from the solitary labor of cartoonery, and I look forward to more chances to aid and abet her.

Please feel free to review our many collaborations here.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Draw Blood

Here's my latest collaboration with Hilary Price.
This one grew out of a very simplistic spin on a cartoon trope, shown in my submission sketch, below.
We both thought the gag as submitted wasn't quite satisfying, though we liked the idea of the wolfboy's father being the culprit, and agreed to see if we could come up with a better comic. 

We hit a dead end, but, two weeks later, Hilary told me that she had woken up with the idea that resulted in the published comic. Oftentimes, the cartoonist's brain continues to churn, even while sleeping, with the goal of salvaging a gag. This one worked beautifully.

You are encouraged to view all of our previous joint efforts here.

Finally, I feel obligated to share the earworm I'm experiencing as I compose this post. Please enjoy the words and music of the late Warren Zevon.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Office Space

Here's my latest contribution to Hilary Price's Rhymes With Orange.
Click for larger view
For cartoon scholars, here's my original sketch.
Hilary reversed the reader's point of view, deleted one criminal, and edited the dialog, all of which improved the gag.

In my own webcomic, I present gags in a vertical panel, so working in a strip layout, a wide landscape space, feels very different. 

Hilary's version of this gag took advantage of those dimensions, and it reads very smoothly left to right, without any unnecessary elements. The story unfolds with a very particular choreography. First, the sight of the distressed victim and musclebound enforcer creates tension. A third character appears at the door, and we wonder why he's there -- more questions. Finally, we read the cordial explanation setting the lost traveler on his way.

I have two more gags in RWO this month, so keep checking in. All of the earlier ones are archived here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

In addition to my webcomic, WaynoVision, from time to time I collaborate with my pal Hilary Price on her daily panel, Rhymes With Orange. Over the next week and a half, she'll run four of our joint efforts.

Here's today's comic.
Click for larger view
As is often the case when we work together, the published cartoon bears little resemblance to my initial idea.
My sketch toyed with the similarity of the words "stalemates" and "soulmates." We thought it might be interesting to show pigeons sharing a crumb of stale bread, which added a layer to the gag, but then Hilary came up with the very funny comic we see today.

This process of revision and reinvention happens all the time when a cartoonist is working on a gag, with an early sketch or phrase serving as a seed that sprouts in unexpected ways, if it survives at all. Going through a few iterations of a gag with a collaborator can be more productive, generating something that neither artist might have come up with alone.

Our earlier collaborations are archived in this blog's Rhymes With Orange Crate. Feel free to poke around.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Peanut Bummer

My latest collaboration with Hilary Price appears today.
The published comic looks very much like my submission sketch, although Hilary's revised dialog has a more natural rhythm, and delivers the punchline more effectively.
RWO is, I believe, the only daily strip that includes a title block. Hilary always makes excellent use of the extra flexibility it provides to her comic, which is somewhere between a strip and a panel. In today's edition, the title ("The Estate Plan") sets up the gag without giving it away, and also adds an extra beat before the reader puts the joke together.

To see another side of Hilary's personality and humor, check out her recent appearance as a Moth storyteller.

All of my previous RWO gags are viewable in this blog's Orange Crate.

I've also got a new WaynoVision cartoon online, so my fingerprints are spread around the web today.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tonsorial Tinsel

Today, I'm happy so share my latest collaboration with the mighty Hilary Price:
Cartooning is mostly a solitary pursuit, so it's a treat to toss ideas around with someone else whose work you admire as much as I do Hilary's. 

Here's the sketch I sent for her to review:
When I pitch gags to Hilary, I like to present them in the strip format she uses, to see how I can make it work in that layout.

The idea here is simple. We're exploiting two different meanings of the word "trim." Trimming a beard normally means to cut some of it away, but we applied the seasonal definition of adding decorations. Hilary capped the drawing with the title "Hipster Christmas," which adds a festive touch.

All of our previous collaborations can be viewed in this blog's Rhymes With Orange crate.

Thanks for checking in, and Happy Hipster Holidays to you and yours.