Coming Back to Cartooning

I haven’t been posting in a while, but that certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. Aside from working on the finishing touches for two novels, I’ve recently started looking back on the earliest part of my career and wondering if I should revisit it…

There are many places where I could say my writing career started, but I think the one that truly cemented things for me was, of all things, a comic strip. And not even a drawn comic strip. One that looked like this:

Yeah… it was a little rough.

Now, for a bit of context, this was around 2002. Twenty years ago. The dawn of the age of webcomics. And I had a very basic digital camera to work with. As time went on I got more creative and challenging in what I did. At first it was just roleplaying on a table, but by the end… well, let’s just say things escalated.

Fuzzy Knights ran for about five years online and in print in Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine. And while I got better cameras, lighting, sets, and found cleverer ways to wire the toys to pose them, I never felt it was as good as it could be.

And the real reason I chose this route? I couldn’t draw worth a damn. And even if I could, the idea of drawing on paper and then transferring it to a computer and spending tons of time processing it there… well photocomics seemed easier to me.

In some ways it was, and in some ways it wasn’t. There’s a deceptive time sink involved in creating sets, lighting, poses, taking far more pictures than you need just to get the right one, and any photo manipulation needed after the fact.

But it was what I was capable of at the time, and it was responsible in many ways for me becoming the writer and editor I am today. Because it forced me into a work ethic. I had to plan ahead and produce comics two or three times a week regularly. Day after day, week after week, I was always thinking about how things would develop and how I could do better than before.

But it’s been a looooong time since I’ve worked on Fuzzy Knights. And every time I’ve thought about bringing it back, I would remember all the problems photocomics brought to the table. I could get a better camera, sure, but there is a lot more to it than that. And no matter how good a photo comic is… it’s still a photocomic. There’s a reason those aren’t popular. Word balloons and photos together will never look good. Ever.

And here’s a sad thought – the original toys are looking a bit rough these days. I could wash them up, maybe dye them, but…

Guess aging affects us all, huh?

So, what’s changed? Technology. But I’ll get to that next time.

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