Expanding the Borders

Some times three panels just aren’t enough. Then you have to figure out where to fit an extra one. Here’s what I wound up with for the layout of a Furry Widdle Bunny strip I worked on this afternoon.

4 Panel Layout

Crazy, right? Even with this I’ll wind up with art breaking through one of the panels…

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Pencilling the FWB Strip

With six weeks remaining before the debut of the weekly Furry Widdle Bunny strip, I’ve started pencilling the first storyline. Here’s an in-progress peek at the very first panel, awaiting finishing and colors!

1st Panel of the FWB Weekly Strip (Pencil)

The lettering is completed, barring any minor nudging, and I’m pretty happy with how the custom font is working out.

I’ve settled on really thick borders, not rigidly squared. It has a nice bold feel to it that I like. FWB started without any panel borders at all, which I still think worked for the opinion page look it was shooting for. Funny page strips thrive on borders, though, so I’m over-compensating by giving more border than required.

Onward to “inking”!

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Panel Patter Spotlights Rafer Roberts

Hula Cat friend and collaborator Rafer Roberts is going to SPX, and Panel Patter’s Rob McMonigal has some nice words about what’s in the works.

Panel Patter: SPX Spotlight on Rafer Roberts

If you haven’t read “Nightmare the Rat”, I heartily encourage you to check it out. It’s goofy and unsettling, all at once, and the eponymous tooth-stealing rodent is hardly the weirdest or worst denizen of Hell City.

Nightmare the Rat

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This Is Only a Furry Widdle Test

With the deadline for prep work looming, it was time to bite the bullet and actually test out the theory that I could produce a comic digitally. This meant learning the tools at least well enough to make myself look silly. This, I feel, has been accomplished. Behold the test strip, written in seconds and taking hours to produce. At least I have an idea of what I need to do for the real strips… that I need to start drawing by this weekend, if I want to keep my schedule!

FWB Test

Probably my biggest concerns are getting the panel and word balloon borders in shape. The rest of it is relatively under control. Anyway, I’m still feeling excited about this. Now back to work!

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Modeling Cartoon Anatomy

From the time of the third Furry Widdle Bunny strip I drew, I fretted over how to handle characters in side view. The full circle head works for the front view, but looks bizarre from the side — and it honestly doesn’t make any sense. A spherical head on a cylindrical body would have a squashed bottom, like a Fisher Price toy. But I wanted that full circle from the front view!

For the new strip, I wanted to solve this problem. I downloaded a 3D modeling app and worked it out.

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It’s a bit rough, but I think it corrects the biggest problems. And, yes, that’s a butt bump in back.

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Learning to Draw Again

I plan to dive back into producing webcomics later this year, and as part of my preparations I’m learning how to draw on the computer with a spanking new tablet and pen. Wendi advised me to begin by drawing over text. Letters are comprised of the basic shapes that underline any drawing, so it’s a good way to make the adjustment to working digitally.

So I fired up my drawing app and wrote a long sentence in a word balloon.

Text-Based Drawing Goal

Then I took my first stab at digital art.

1st Attempt to Trace with Tablet Pen

I’m going to need just a little more practice.

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Billy and Dr. Gravely & IDW!

Earlier this year, Rafer Roberts asked if I’d be interested writing a 2-page Billy and Gravely with a quick turn-around time to appear in a Kickstarter comic anthology: Imaginary Drugs. Would I? Oh, hell yeah! Those sciFI (heavy on the FICTION, light on the science) hooligans are a blast to write, and as “Dope Fiends of the Zombie Cafe” and “Wild Women of the Kitty-Kat Galaxy” demonstrate I love getting Rafer to draw crazy shit.

Over a few emails we worked out a scenario, and the comic came together with a quickness! Then came the news — Imaginary Drugs had been picked up for distribution by IDW!

That’s due out later this year (and believe me you will hear about it!), but first comes the promised Kickstarter release. I just flipped through my PDF proof copy, and It Is Gorgeous!

I’m all a-tingle, I am. :)

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How to Get Your Hands on Wild Women!

“Wild Women of the Kitty-Kat Galaxy!” is now available for purchase! It’s listed, along with “Dope Fiends of the Zombie Cafe!” and the “Plastic Farm” issues with Wendi’s artwork, on the DC Conspiracy Hula Cat store!

DC Conspiracy is a comic collective centered around Washington DC, and Rafer happens to be a member. He’s volunteered to handle orders of the Billy and Gravely comics, so show him some love and check out the Rafer Roberts store while you’re picking up your copy of “Wild Women…”!

You might poke around the other DC Conspiracy stores, too. There’s a lot of good comics just waiting for you to read them!

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It Came From Out of SPACE

SPACE is over for another year, and it’s left me exhausted but enthusiastic! So many great creators and appreciative comic fans; it’s like a weekend spent just loving the medium.

Special thanks to Ka-Blam for getting the copies of “Wild Women of the Kitty-Kat Galaxy!” printed and shipped in time, despite my tight turnaround time. The comic was well-received, and more than a few people asked if a 3rd Billy and Gravely story might be in the works. (The short answer is “yes”. The long answer is not short.)

Much love to Rafer, who let me squat at the Plastic Farm table! (I promise I’ll pay for my own next time!) We talked of many things, some of which were even related to comics, and he introduced me to a lot of fine folk with whom I got tipsy on Saturday night. I’m not sure how badly I embarrassed myself, but I seem to recall one conversation about Wonder Woman Underoos not coming in adult sizes…

Also, an awkward man-hug for Matt Dembecki, who uncomplainingly drove us around a bit and agreed with my proposition that the early, werewolf-bitten Moon Knight was the best.

It’s good to be back in business!

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