Years ago, I gave in to the demands of ones (like hundreds or dozens, only smaller) and created this page to explain how I go about creating a comic. These days it is pretty out-of-date, but it's still very 'true' to how things were done around here 'back in the day.'

I'm hesitant to call this a tutorial, since I'm not sure I would want to recommend emulating the process that resulted in my earlier work. Consider this less a "tutorial" and more an "exposition." Perhaps you will find it interesting, much in the same way that learning the cause of a car crash or devastating plague is interesting.

Remember, from this point on, you will be listening to the Sam Logan... of the past! For the sake of... whatever, everything below is untouched from it's original presentation. I barely resisted the temtptation to go all George Lucas on it.


Planning: Where do you get the ideas for your strip? I think this is one of those questions that cartoonists get asked all the time, and with due cause, I suppose, since coming up with a new joke every day (or every other day, for those as lazy as me) is not really an easy (or normal) thing to do.

Most of the humour in Sam and Fuzzy is character-based, playing off of the conflicting personalities of the cast members. Usually, if I think of a particular subject or situation to throw the characters into, they really write themselves. If I think the result is funny, I'll make a strip out of it. The challenge is to keep coming up with these new situations, which is why I constantly am writing notes of concepts for jokes. The other day I found a sticky note in my room that said "Fuzzy: Goggles." I have no idea what that was about. This happens to me all the time.

I do a few things to counter the dreaded writer's block. First of all, I work about 22 strips ahead at all times, meaning that I can afford to go for an unproductive week or two if I really have to. Also, when I'm having trouble thinking of lots of little ideas, I will choose to write a series of strips on one subject. personally, I find storylines way easier to write than one-shots, although I think there are a lot of people who would disagree with me on that one. Occasionally, if I am really stuck for ideas, I will remake one of the old Sam and Fuzzy strips I did in high school.



Penciling:
I have a hard time getting motivated to draw when I'm at home. So, I've learned to make my whole cartooning operation as portable as possible. Sam and Fuzzy is drawn in a 8 1/2 by 11 sketchbook. I'm not necessarily recommending this... it isn't very professional and it really limits how big the strips can be printed. But personally, I find it much easier to draw when I am far away from my computer, my television and my piano. So this comic is drawn in locations where I have nothing better to do: during lunch breaks, between classes, during classes, etc etc.

Sometimes I draw outside. Remember outside?

As you can probably tell, I don't do much detail with my penciling. Again, this is not necessarily something I would recommend. But for me, I like to treat the pencils simply as rough layouts. The inking is where I really breathe life into the strip.



Inking:
Yes, I ink the comic by hand, right on the pencil drawings. I'm kind of low tech that way. Like my penciling, I ink most strips on the fly, so I have to use easily portable brush pens rather than an actual brush and ink. I've been using Staedtler brush pens for years now, and I heartily recommend them... even if I manage to go through about one every two weeks.

I do all the dialogue and detailed linework with pigma Micron tech pens, because I can. And you could too, if you were an all star.


Computering (or whatever):
I try to do as little on the computer as I can, because I find it very tedious. What I do with the comic can easily be done by any monkey using photoshop or paint Shop pro. After scanning the comic, (as a 300 dpi, 2 bit image) I paste the comic onto a blank background I made that has the logo, byline, and a big empty black box for the comic to go in. I touch the comic up a bit to clear up any sloppy inking or other mistakes, but this seldom involves altering the actual artwork -- quite frequently, what I really have to do is fix the dialogue to make my writing more legible. I suppose I could use a computer font, but it would be a lot more time consuming.

Anyhow, using the amazing wand tool, I copy all of the parts of the image that I want to go outside the panel borders. In most strips, this is usually just the speech bubbles.

Then I draw the panel borders with filled black rectangles. I don't even use exact dimensions or anything like that. I just eyeball it and go with what looks good. Then, after all the borders are drawn, I paste the stuff I copied back into the drawing, on top of the borders. After that, all I have to do is reduce the sucker to fit on the website, and I'm done.

UPCOMING APPEARANCES

Emerald City (Seattle)
Mar 28-30
Fan Expo Vancouver
Apr 18-20
Calgary Expo
Apr 24-27












Sam and Fuzzy is Copyright 2000-2014 by Sam Logan