Monday, January 26, 2015

Making a Boo-Boo

Today's WaynoVision comic shows a happy user of the new "Thinning the Herd" iPhone app.
This panel was drawn months ago, but its publication is timely, after this weekend's news reports of several bears dying in the New Hampshire woods after "sportsmen" baited them with chocolate, which is toxic to many animals, bears included. Apparently, trapping bears is illegal, but baiting is A-OK. Baiting is the practice of luring the animals to the hunter's location, where they can be picked off with firearms.

I wasn't aware of this hunting situation at the time, but wanted to comment on our tendency for over-documentation of experiences (real or fabricated). A pet peeve of mine is watching a musical performance through the cellphone camera of the person standing in front of me.

I'd also recently read reports of the fad for dudes to have their portraits taken in the company of exotic animals for posting on dating sites, which eventually led to today's gag.

Amazingly (to me, anyway), according to an article in today's Telegraph (UK),"bear selfies" are actually a craze that's causing concern in the US Forest Service!

Thanks for following the blog, and please visit the GoComics WaynoVision page regularly. Every click puts a fraction of a penny into my pocket!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rough Draft

Once again, I've had the pleasure of working with East End Brewing Company, designing a label for one of their special bottlings. This time around, it's Sketchy Beer:

Sketchy is appropriately named, given its long and circuitous journey to the swingtop bottles it currently occupies. It began its odyssey in 2013, when Scott Smith and the EEBC gang brewed the third incarnation of Illustration Ale, a project I've served on as "curator," recruiting six Pittsburgh artists to create labels, and shepherding the art through the Federal approval process along with Scott.

There was a spot of trouble with the yeast, which, like any live organism, doesn't always follow orders, and it didn't condition the beer properly. The original bottling had insufficient carbonation, and was not up to East End's quality standards, so they started over with a re-brew, and Illustration Ale was released to great acclaim, with labels created by six terrific artists.

Ever game to experiment, EEBC carefully transferred all of the original batch—over a thousand bottles!—into red wine barrels, and did an additional slow fermentation/aging of the beer with a brettanomyces culture. The beer aged in the barrels for nearly a year.

When they did a tasting panel to assess the barrel aged brew, it was found to be an excellent beer. Some tasters judged it to be better than the original base recipe. It was bottled in October of 2014, and while it conditioned and carbonated, we started talking about a label design.

All along, Scott knew this would be named "Sketchy," but beyond that, he was open for ideas. After a few false starts and wrong turns on my part, we decided on a label that calls to mind a well-worn blueprint. While working on the layout, Scott sent me a handwritten flowchart describing the path the beer took, as if we'd planned it all along. A sketchy plan, indeed. Rather than re-draw the flowchart, I thought it would be perfect to have the brewer's hand featured on the label, and just rearranged it to fit into the design.

I've yet to taste this one, but am of course looking forward to it!

To view some of my previous work for our good friends at EEBC, browse the blog's beer cellar.

Monday, December 01, 2014

See You In the Funny (Web) Pages

Today, thanks to the nice folks at Universal Uclick/GoComics, my new weekly comic panel hits the net. Here's the very first installment:
Click for a closer look, if you dare!
To kick things off, we'll run five new ones this week, Monday through Friday. The regular weekly schedule will begin on Monday, December 8.

Please check back regularly, and if you are a regular GoComics visitor, I hope you'll consider adding WaynoVision to your favorites. 

The GoComics mobile app is a nice tool for setting up your favorites to read as they're updated. I use it to follow The Fusco Brothers (as well as J.C. Duffy's other comic, Lug Nuts), Wiley Miller's Non Sequitur, Maria Scrivan's Half Full, Dave Blazek's Loose Parts, editorial comics by Jen Sorensen and Matt Bors, and many others.

As always, every comment is very much appreciated, as is every click on the GoComics site!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Like, Purr, Man

Here are a couple of recent animal-related pieces.

First up, we have Jazz Cat and Art Dog, two characters I worked up for the Manchester Craftsmens Guild Jazz Program. The Guild is one of Pittsburgh's cultural gems, a center for education and a place to hear great music, and it's always a pleasure to work with them.
Next, a piece of fan art, created for the award-winning webcomic Untold Tales of Bigfoot.
Vince is a very talented cartoonist and storyteller, although he's very soft-spoken and humble, and would disagree with any compliment that may come his way. UTOB has been running online every week for more than two years, and in 2013, won the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Best Online Comic in the long-form category.

Speaking of online comics, I've spent the past few weeks hoarding gags and drawing them for on a new web comic of my own. It will be a weekly gag panel, and as soon as we set a launch date, I'll spread the word.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Hold the Parasol

Today's Bizarro comic eases us into Friday after a rough week at the office.
Dan Piraro's finished art employs a completely different camera angle from the one in my submission sketch.
Either approach works, but I see some good reasons for his choice. The view from behind the customer puts the reader more in the scene, as if we're just walking into the bar and overhearing the comment. The fish shows up a little better from this angle, and it provided an opportunity for him to depict a nice assortment of bottles behind the bartender, with several Bizarro Secret Symbols gracing the labels.

Please feel free to wander through this blog's Bizarro Cartoon Cellar to view our many collaborative gags, and stay tuned for more hilarity.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Today's Bizarro cartoon includes character types who are favorites around these parts.
We have no real submission sketch to show this time around. The gag originated with the simple idea of a "pirate crossing" sign, followed by conversations where we tried to find a context for it. At this point, it's little more than a prop, not enough for a satisfying gag.
We wondered if it would be funny if the sugn was just sticking out of the ocean as a small sailboat goes by, perhaps with a word balloon coming from the sailboat saying, "Something tells me we're in dangerous waters."

We also tried to figure a way to show a pirate ship docked somewhere, and show the sign being observed by some puzzled landlubbers, or perhaps use the symbol on a rest room sign.

Finally, we hit on the idea that became the published cartoon.

As with all of our joint efforts, this was the result of a collaborative process.

Please feel free to unearth our earlier two-man gags by coming below deck to the Bizarro Brig.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Salty Site

Today's Bizarro reminds that there's something for everyone out there on the Web, if you know where to look.
The submission sketch is oriented opposite to Dan Piraro's final art, and uses a thought balloon for the text, but is otherwise very similar. Flipping the image places the payoff (the cracker) farther to the right side of the panel, which is something we try to do in order to add a little delay before the gag is revealed.
If you haven't read our earlier collaborations, or if you'd like to revisit, please wander over to this blog's Bizarro Storage Bin to see them all.

Monday, May 12, 2014

William Ask,...

Today's Bizarro comic features a legendary 15th century folk hero, transplanted to modern times.

The staging of Dan Piraro's finished art is very close to my submission sketch, with some improvement to the wardrobe. I wasn't sure what to do with Tell's right hand, but Dan solved that quite neatly.
I still think "Pippin" sounds funnier than "Red Delicious," but I wouldn't get into a duel over it.

Although I try never to listen to friends' suggestions for gags, and make it a practice to discourage anyone from offering them, I broke my own rule here. My friend Mike, an attorney with a weird sense of humor, emailed me with an idea involving an elderly William Tell reading an eye chart with apples in place of letters. The eye doctor would say something like "Sorry, but if you can't read at least the third line, I'll have to take your bow."

I really loved the idea of the apple eye chart, and decided to stew on it for a while, and finally came up with the familiar, stressful situation of passing a physical in order to get a job. Generally, we try to edit the wording for brevity, but the term "mandatory pre-employment physical" is such a ridiculous, clumsy piece of HR-speak, that we used it as our caption.

We've got more cartoon duets coming your way soon. Meanwhile, please browse through our previous collaborations in this blog's Bizarro Comics Corncrib.

Oh, and please don't send any ideas for gags. I'm trying to get better at writing my own! 

Thank you, dear readers.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Dogfather

Today's Bizarro recasts a familiar television/movie situation with canine actors.
The gag is pretty straightforward. Substituting the word "pack" for the expected "gang" creates a question, which is resolved when the reader realizes that, of course, a gang of dogs would indeed be called a pack.

Bizarro's creator, Dan Piraro, transposed the positions of the cast, which makes for a nice descending eye-trail from upper left to lower right, but otherwise followed the submission sketch pretty closely.
There was no deep strategy behind choosing the name Banjo, other than its satisfying sound, and the feeling that the head honcho would naturally address the reluctant participant by his first name, in order to lend his words a threatening air.

We'll be back with another collaborative funny early next week. In the meantime, please browse the Bizarro Comics Root Cellar to view all of our earlier joint efforts.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wait For It...

Today's Bizarro shows us what's actually behind a common warning sign.
This gag was inspired by a conversation with my spouse when we saw a "slow danger" sign on the road, and started joking about what it could mean. She snapped a quick iPhone picture of the sign so I'd remember to do a sketch back at the home studio.

My submission sketch is a rather sloppy hybrid—the turtle was scanned from a sketchbook drawing, the road sign was clipped from the photo we took, and I digitally scribbled in some rough background details.
Dan Piraro's finished art takes an already absurd idea and refines it, replacing the turtle with a tiny snail, and reducing the time bomb to a single iconic stick of dynamite (one of the recurring symbols he loves to tuck into his cartoons). This is a nice example of the benefits of editing and economizing.

We'll have more new collaborations appearing in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, feel free to mosey through the Kartoon Time Kapsule, where you can find all of our earlier joint efforts.