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Cartooning Part 1 / 17 November 2007

Well the hardest part is coming up with the ideas, and this can either be a solo effort, or admitting defeat and saying to Jeni “got any ideas for this one?”. We find that we work well together in this respect, building on a vague idea and bouncing it around until we’ve got the finished thing. I then draft it out, perhaps changing some aspects of it, before sending off the roughs if it’s for a client. I sometimes get ideas from the client as well, which is great and cuts down the time quite a bit.

I try and keep up with current events with regard to disability issues and can often come up with something current for the Crippen web site. I also get emails from friends with ideas, or as a ‘heads up’ with regard to something just breaking (as in news). All this goes into the melting pot and usually emerges after a while as a new cartoon. Other blogs are also a good source of material.

I know that my style has changed a lot over the many years that I’ve been drawing cartoons. I’m less fussy than I used to be, and I now try to create bolder characters, with more simplistic lines. This has been mainly due to the use of a computer for my work, scanning in the basic drawing and then working it up using something like Adobe Photoshop. I did start with an art pad plugged into my computer, but discovered that I got on better with a mouse which I now use all of the time for drawing on the computer.

The advent of colour in my work has been surprisingly liberating for me and I no longer have to rely upon complicated cross-hatching and shadow lines to represent the subtle differences between surfaces. Now I can ‘paint’ in the colour for a character’s clothing for example, using a palette I’ve constructed of web safe colours.

The ability to ‘cut and paste’ characters from one cartoon to another; ‘rotating’ or ‘resizing’ them; reworking the individual details with the mouse; all of these facilities allow me to explore ways of creating different outcomes of an idea. I sometimes end up with several cartoons from an original idea in this way. It’s also great for creating crowd scenes from a few initial characters!

I’ll call that it for now. Don’t want to bore those who aren’t all that interested in the actual process of cartooning. Part 2 tomorrow perhaps?