Monday, July 28, 2008

Forgive the Delay, Part II, How To Cartoon

Cartooning often goes far beyond simply (ha!) writing and drawing a strip. The time involved in 'busy work' can be quite substantial, especially if you are drawing everyday. This does take away from your creative time, but like the paperwork of bills and taxes and other stuff, it's a necessary part of being a Cartoonist.

How I work right now:
When a new comic strip comes off of the drawing board, it is immediately scanned into Photoshop at high res, where I clean it up and make the image a true bitmap so that the blacks are black and the whites are white. I save the black and white bitmap in case I need a black and white comic strip for some project. I then color the strip in Photoshop, and save the color strip as a large high-res file, again, in case I need it for something. Once an image is finished, you are basically stuck at the current size and resolution. I've made that mistake in the past of creating images for the web only, and then finding myself redoing them from scratch when I needed them for print.

Cartoonist Tip#1: Do NOT try to make a book or other print project with low res images! This is not professional, and the end result will not look nice.

Anyway, in the current case of The Inquiring Minds, I then reduce the size of the color strip to the dimensions of the book I am working on, and save the strip a third time. THEN I reduce the strip to 72dpi (low res), increase the size slightly, add my byline and copyrite, and save it a fourth time for use on the web.

All of this takes a lot of time, but in the long run can save your butt. You never know when you may need a certain strip at a certain size, so plan ahead. Planning ahead is a smart way to run your business, and Cartooning is a business.

It may seem like a lot of work right now, but later on you'll be glad you have options. Reprint rights are a big part of a cartoonist's income, whether you sell the rights to someone else, or make a book of your collected works.

Cheers, JOHN :0)


Brian Hughes said...

"Do NOT try to make a book or other print project with low res images!"

Although in the case of anything connected with Garfield, this might be an advantage.

John said...


I'm sure that the dozen or so people responsible for putting out the daily Garfield comic might argue with you, but hey, I value your opinion. :0)

I'm one of those unfortunate Cartoonists who hasn't been mentored, so I've had to learn things the hard way, with a captial H. Hopefully my hard earned advice will reach those who need it.

humbly yours, JOHN :0)