Cartooning: What changed?

“Nothing is so discouraging as a brother with far more talent than you.”
-Some guy with a brother, probably

I loved comics and cartoons and, like many kids, wanted to do my own. They were, obviously, bad.

My brother, on the other hand, was good. Damn good. Like, could have drawn for Marvel good.

I just wanted to be okay, and couldn’t even manage that.

Eh, don’t feel sorry for me. Fact is, I was lazy. I was also cheap. The idea of wasting pages and pages of paper on stuff I was only going to throw out was anathema to me, and something I could never fully shake out of my head. I had this block going on that if I made something I wanted it to be ready to go for public consumption. So I didn’t want to do hundreds of drawings no one would ever see. I wanted to do hundreds of drawings people WOULD see, and worry about that getting better thing along the way.

That’s part of the reason I decided to take up writing. To my mind then, once you got the story out it was done. You just need to clean it up a bit before it was ready for people to see, right? Right?

Okay, so lazy, cheap, AND stupid apparently. I really wish I could have given myself a wake up call back then. One that would actually sink in and not just be accepted and forgotten.

Anyway, that’s how I eventually I fooled myself into doing photocomics, with that same combination of lazy, cheap, and stupid. Lazy because I wouldn’t have to DRAW anything, just take pictures. Cheap because the camera was digital and I could take a dozen pictures quickly and just choose the best one. Stupid, because, as I discussed last time, there’s a lot more work involved in a photocomic if you want it to look at all good.

And that’s the real lesson to take away from this, because it applies to literally everything creative. There are no shortcuts. Photography is no less challenging than drawing in its own way. The shortcut was an illusion, but it tricked me long enough to commit to doing better and putting in the work until I got better.

Which brings me to today. And, because some things never change, my current journey is also a combination of lazy, cheap, and stupid.

Somehow, a couple of months ago, I got it into my head that I’d like a decent tablet computer. One that I could read comic books on at the proper size. Ideally I wanted a color eInk ebook reader, but those are still not quite ready for prime time. But what about an ordinary tablet?

Here’s where the cheap comes in. I collect PC Optimum Points by the buttload. And every so often Shoppers Drug Mart has an offer where you can exchange 200,000 points for $300 of merchandise. And they sell tablets.

As I looked over the options, I saw one that was a bit more than I wanted to pay (which was zero) but it came with a pen.

I was still of the mindset of the old school of stylus… a thick rubber capacitor tip that basically just replaces your finger. You can’t draw with that worth crap. I tried.

But things had improved in recent years, and so I did a bit of research, and a bit more, and a bit more…

It turns out drawing tablets have progressed a lot more than I realized. And the apps available for drawing were fantastic.

Now is when the lazy shows up. Because I was thinking, “Hey, if I could just get ONE good drawing down and break it up into layers, like for arms and legs, maybe I can make a passable comic. Bring back the Fuzzy Knights for one last hurrah?”

So, I took the plunge, and got a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite.

Now, this is a surprisingly excellent budget tablet, I have to tell you. The handwriting recognition is great (I find myself writing emails on it instead of typing), it’s plenty powerful enough for my needs, works as a replacement internet phone (my old iPad was just not working out anymore), and the drawing apps, as my research suggested, were very good.

So hey, I’m all set. Time to sit down, bang off some drawings of the ol’ Fuzzy Knights, and start reaping the praise…

In case you couldn’t tell, this is where the stupid comes in…

You see, I forgot I STILL don’t know how to draw…

(To Be Continued)

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