Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Breaking the Rules

I haven't submitted to the Syndicates in some time, now, but Syndication is still my goal.  As such, I treat my Cartooning as if I were syndicated, and abide by the rules, and try to see things as not only my audience sees them, but as an Editor might. This means that I follow the conventions of a newspaper comic, and go by the inherent rules.

Now Cartoonists are a special breed, and we lke to play. One way I've seen Cartoonists play is with the 'sideways' strip... a daily comic strip (or even sunday) where you have to turn your head, or your newspaper, a complete 45 degrees to read the strip. See above.

Now, I've always hated these strips... often for the reason that the Cartoonist didn't always need to go sideways, but mostly just for the fact that we cater to the reader, and shouldn't make them turn their head just to read our comic strip.

Having said that, I was doodling in my sketchbook recently, and came up with an idea that needed some height to it.  I tossed the idea aside when I realised that I just couldn't do the strip following the basic conventions of a newspaper strip.  Unless... I went ::shudder::... sideways.

The idea stuck with me, until WOW! 

Cartoonists have complained for years about the shrinking of our little rectangle that we get to draw in, and rightly so.  I can't tell you how many times I've felt constrained by that rectangle.  Of course, there's been just as many times when I'm glad it's there, because knowing your limits can help you to quickly make decisions.

Well, let me tell you something... that little rectangle takes on a whole new dimension when turned sideways!  No wonder Cartoonists make their readers turn sideways!  I felt so.... liberated... when I saw all this space, and so excited.  Yes, excited!  After years of Cartooning, it is always fun to try new things, and go in different directions.  And this was fun!  Instead of laying out each panel, I found myself layering my layout as I 'scrolled' down, to keep the focus in the right places... yes, places, not place. Multiple focus points with the two sets of word balloons create a sense of time in one panel!  As you read downwards, time is actually moving, although the image is stationary!

I know... total geek moment, but hey... that's why I love Cartooning.  There is so much to discover when you go outside the box... or turn that box sideways. :0)

Your turn!    JOHN :0)

PS On my iPod today?  The Who, Quadrophenia


Brian Hughes said...

I turned my head to the right by accident and the panel was still upside down. How about a two panel strip, each panel facing opposite directions...or, if you used the Sunday format, you could put loads of single frames in it all in different directions and tie the viewers neck in a knot? Just a thought...

John said...

Surely, Brian,
the object is bringing joy to the Reader, and not making them angry?

Then again, perhaps there would be a reason for making the reader dizzy?

Always worth thinking about, I suppose! i do love a challenge... :0)