Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Stretch Goals Posted

Thanks again for your support on my Incompatibles Kickstarter. I promise the promo messages will now shrink. They will be replaced by cartoons!

Please let friends/relatives know it's not too late to pledge for rewards; the Incompatibles Kickstarter Campaign doesn't conclude until noon, September 3rd. And if we reach any of the following milestones, there are additional goodies for all backers:

$8000 ~ A spot gloss will be added to the printed book’s cover text, making it shiny and extra spiffy. Plus, all backers will gain download access to various Incompatibles-themed wallpapers, yo!

$9000 ~ All backers whose rewards included the physical book will receive a set of four nifty Incompatibles postcard prints. Mail them. Frame them. Love them.

$10,000 ~ All backers whose rewards included the physical book will receive a super-awesome Incompatibles fridge magnet. You will be the envy of all your kitchen guests.

Please direct would-be donors to


Tuesday, August 18, 2015


A HUMONGOUS THANKS to all the backers and sharers who made this Incompatibles Kickstarter happen in a smooth 14 days! You guys are THE BEST!!! This really would not have happened without you!

I'll post up our first stretch goal later tonight, which will include some fun rewards for the different tiers of pledgers who have already donated. For now, let's just revel in the awesomeness of having accomplished this feat.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I Feel Like Dancing

Okay, this is a little TBT on a Sunday, but this cartoon from my 100 archive succinctly expresses the gratitude I feel about everyone's Kickstarter love. You guys rock! We're at 85% funding for the book!

For those who would like to help out still, check out the project at

And thank you for your support! (I'll post a NEW cartoon tomorrow!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Incompatibles Kickstarter Project

The Incompatibles Kickstarter Project has officially launched!

Please help support this project so we can all see Incompatibles in print. Go to…/incompatibles-book-the-first-… to learn more about the book project and how you can contribute.

Oh, and please “Share” this link with all friends, family and taser enthusiasts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Blondes and Book Clubs Process

The post-it at upper left is horizontally flipped. When I originally drew the thumbnail, the girl saying "Darcy is so hot" was on the couch. For continuity's sake, it seemed more smooth to swap the girls' placement, so the post-it you see is the second one I did. Nailing the expressions on these ladies faces and hand gestures proved challenging. Sometimes I'll finish roughing a cartoon and feel there is something wrong. It can sometimes be an absent, superfluous or misplaced prop. But more often than not it is a mediocre facial expression or irrelevant hand gesture. It's amazing how much of a difference these things make in the gestalt of a gag. It's hard to see, but look at the face and hand of the gal sitting on the couch saying "I don't get it" in the redline/inked drawing. Her hand is open, eyes squinted and mouth down-turned. I really wanted to play up her complete disinterest in this activity, so I changed these features digitally once I scanned it in. In the final cartoon she is looking down at her nails with poofy red lips and you can almost hear the cynical "valley girl" tone in her voice—all this by just adjusting a few lines.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Kilts and Parachuting Process

This cartoon had a few more moving parts than usual. I had three specific things that I wanted to help people to see in the visual: the primary, kilted parachuter (obviously); the horrified mother looking on; and finally the signage that helps clarify the gag. Sure the joke is understood with just the man, the woman and the caption, but I wanted to side-step the questions an abbreviated cartoon would pose: Why is this random guy parachuting in a kilt? And why is this lady and her kids in the field looking on? Contextualizing this with the Scottish Games/Air Show twist made it come together nicely. In fact, now I'm wondering if I should've omitted the sign element and simply used “Scottish Air Games” as the caption. Hindsight’s 20/20.

The other dilemma was deciding how much detail to include in the background. I used muted colors and abbreviated line art to keep the fairgrounds from jumping forward in the composition and confusing the gag. It took a while playing with color combinations before it felt right, but I'm pleased with final result.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lazy Eye Process

Most of my panel cartoons only have captions, but occasionally I draw one that includes a voice or thought balloon. In this example, the position of the balloon seemed obvious, but what I overlooked was the positioning of the elements. The monolith and volcano were both needed in background, and they are—without fail—always arranged in a left to right layout (google Mordor, you'll see).
  When I drew the initial thumbnail, I placed Frodo on the left, thinking it felt natural since he was speaking. Unfortunately, this created a problem with linking the voice balloon to him—and I didn't want to contrive an odd connector snaking underneath and around Mt. Doom. So in the final draft I swapped the characters' positions to bring order back to Middle-earth.

By the way, wouldn't you love to try that Lembas bread? I imagine it tastes like a good batch of buttery Scottish short bread with a hint of lemon. Or a lemon bar. Either way: Mmm.

Monday, June 8, 2015


This one came together pretty smoothly. The initial post-it thumbnails were scanned and composited in P-shop and then re-outputted as a redline. I filled in the beach and background with a red pencil, then went over it again with a pen. Once rescanned and re-outputted as a finished redline, I inked the final piece. A little Easter egg for those who have been to Muscle Beach (original or contemporary): if you look in the background of the cartoon, you can see the arch for Muscle Beach Venice. 

According to Wikipedia, the original “Muscle Beach refers to the exclusive Santa Monica location of the birthplace of the physical fitness boom in the US during the 20th century, started in 1934 with predominantly gymnastics activities on the south side of the Santa Monica Pier.[1]  

Muscle Beach Venice is the contemporary title of the outdoor weightlifting platform constructed in Venice, California, 18 years after Muscle Beach was established. Muscle Beach Venice was officially titled in 1987 by the City of Los Angeles with the distinguishing name 'Venice' added to the location to honor the original Santa Monica site.[2]”

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Currently I'm finishing up the stragglers for a book of 100 Incompatibles that I'm putting together at the end of July. I actually love this point where I've taken my little cro magnon thumbnails and evolved them into page-sized homo sapiens. It’s fun to see the details fill in as this transition occurs. I usually go overly detailed on the redline, but then weed out a lot of fussiness in the inking. I have to keep in mind how the step after inking—the digital coloring—will affect the composition and focal point(s). I ask myself things like: What color arrangement will best reinforce the gag? Narrow the focus? How can I make the illustration interact seamlessly with the caption? Is there too much visual information? Too little? Does the cartoon make intuitive sense when all is said and done?

This is the schizo conversation I have when redlining.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

3-Leaf Technique

I forgot to post these doodles from church two weeks ago. I did these using a technique where I take three leafs of tracing paper (or drawing vellum) and fold them over to create nested signatures. I saddle stitch them with my stapler and then start doing very loose doodles on the inner-most page. I then turn the page and do a more improved version, and repeat again on the outer-most leaf. At that point I really know where my lines and shading should go. This is a great technique when you want to draw loosely at first to establish proportion (or exaggerate it).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tips of the Trade 1

So I thought I'd post some tips on techniques and materials–mostly so I don't forget what I've learned through the school of trial and error.

Tip #1: You don't have to get the most expensive brushes to pull off excellent inking art. I've owned Windsor Newton brushes in the past (and they are wonderful brushes), but you can avoid the sticker shock of the Series 7 brushes by trying lesser-known brands for your cartoon inking. Princeton's 9560 Snap! series is one example. I use their Round #6 and even though it’s a synthetic brush, it loads ink well and handles beautifully, yielding wonderful thick and think lines.

Tip #2: One big issue in using synthetic brushes successfully is keeping tips intact. I've experimented with home remedies and found that CVS styling gel (which is water soluble and contains glycerin) does a great job in keeping your brush tip in shape. I just wash my brush immediately after each use, then apply a generous glob of gel, making sure to work it into the brush fibers. Then I sculpt the brush tip in the fold between my thumb and index finger. Works like a charm. When I next use the brush, I rinse if off easily with water and I'm ready to go!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Post-It Sheriff

The utility of a post-it perpetually amazes me. Such a nifty tool to document random words and images. Completely non-threatening as it is so small and disposable.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Shower Cat process

I wasn’t happy with the initial kitties I did in early thumbnails, so I did some variations (below) before I settled on the final feline. I struggled with two ideas here: 1) a hissing cat, and 2) something that resembled the shape of a shower cap. It felt like one had to be sacrificed a bit for the good of the joke. I let the hissing cat win here, even though it meant standing him up more in an arched shape. This actually made it easier to show his nails digging into the man’s scalp. I did these sketches on different scraps of tracing paper, then compiled them on one page to compare and contrast.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Easter Bunion process

There actually is a missing step between the first post-it and the second pass. In fact the second pass is a value study I did before I inked the final drawing. I wanted to convey the fatigue of the bunny in his posture. I still think I could've gotten him to sag more into his frame, but it was time to move forward with this one. Sometimes I'm not completely happy with the solution but have to proceed with something that's good. Sometimes I've just looked at it too long. Other times edits can begin to erode the work. Not to say I don't rework things—I do—I just find sometimes you get to the point of diminishing returns when you get mired in the quest for perfection. It can begin to paralyze progress. The fact is there are multiple solutions to any creative work. Have to keep it all in balance.

Nerd Descending a Staircase process

My apologies to Mr Duchamp.

From Wikipedia:
Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (French: Nu descendant un escalier n° 2) is a 1912 painting by Marcel Duchamp. The work is widely regarded as a Modernist classic and has become one of the most famous of its time. Before its first presentation at the Parisian 1912 Salon des Indépendants, it was rejected by the Cubists as too Futurist. Yet the work was exhibited with the same group at Galeries J. Dalmau, Exposició d'Art Cubista, in Barcelona, 20 April–10 May 1912,[1] and subsequently caused a huge stir during its exhibition at the 1913 Armory Show in New York. The painting was reproduced in Les Peintres Cubistes, Méditations Esthétiques by Guillaume Apollinaire, published in 1913. Nude Descending a Staircase is in the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.[2]

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tarzan and Jane Goodall process

I'm sort of projecting my childhood memory of Jane Goodall in this cartoon. I realize I am portraying her as the person I learned about in elementary school some forty years ago. Many 20-year olds probably only know her as an old woman—if they know her at all. She's 81 this year.

Goodall is best known for her study of chimpanzee social and family life. She began studying the Kasakela chimpanzee community in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, in 1960.[16]She entered the world of primates back in 1957 after cold calling Louis Leakey while in Kenya.

Some interesting trivia from Wikipedia: Leakey, believing that the study of existing great apes could provide indications of the behaviour of early hominids,[9] was looking for a chimpanzee researcher, though he kept the idea to himself. Instead, he proposed that Goodall work for him as a secretary. After obtaining his wife Mary Leakey's approval, Louis sent Goodall to Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where he laid out his plans.

In 1958, Leakey sent Goodall to London to study primate behaviour with Osman Hill and primate anatomy with John Napier.[10] Leakey raised funds, and on 14 July 1960, Goodall went to Gombe Stream National Park, becoming the first of what would come to be called The Trimates.[11] She was accompanied by her mother, whose presence was necessary to satisfy the requirements of David Anstey, chief warden, who was concerned for their safety; Tanzania was "Tanganyika" at that time and a British protectorate.[8]

Leakey arranged funding and in 1962, he sent Goodall, who had no degree, to Cambridge University where she obtained a PhD degree in Ethology.[8][12] She became only the eighth person to be allowed to study for a PhD there without first having obtained a BA or BSc.[2] Her thesis was completed in 1965 under the tutorship of Robert Hinde, former master of St. John's College, Cambridge, titled “Behaviour of the Free-Ranging Chimpanzee”, detailing her first five years of study at the Gombe Reserve.[2][12] The rest is history.