This week and next, we’ll be taking a little departure from the usual cartoon-a-week format. Today I’d like to have a brief discussion about [cue the voice of James Earl Jones with lots of reverb] The Creative Process. I’ll be referencing my own process for cartooning here, but it probably isn’t too different from that of other creative people. Generating ideas for cartoons and such is a lot like building and training a muscle. It is a little weak at first, but with regular usage it will grow bigger and stronger.
The first thing is to become a sharp observer. Many years ago when I was teaching myself the basics of cartooning, I made it a point to become more observant. In my art school classes we are constantly training and developing our observational skills. However, anyone can become more observant if they make it a habit to notice things.
The sources of humor are all around us. Look for humor in everyday situations. People watching is essential. Everywhere you go notice how people stand, walk, and gesture. Pay attention to speech patterns, expressions, style, and dress. Look for uniqueness and little quirks. People say and do the most peculiar things.
Gathering information from a wide variety of sources is a valuable habit. Books, magazines, TV, radio, the internet, and conversations with intelligent people are all worthwhile each in their own way. For this artist, 95% of what I read is non-fiction. I believe in the old adage that, “Truth will always be stranger (and more interesting) than fiction”. The weirder the truth, the more I like it!
The subconscious mind has a wonderful capacity to assemble information in new and interesting ways. Feed yourself a wide variety of information and then allow that 3lb. computer between your ears to go to work. The subconscious will make connections for you that would not normally occur through conscious thought. When these new associations are ready, they will bubble up to the surface of the conscious mind. Newly formed ideas will enter into conscious thought often while one is engaged in the most mundane and routine activities. Things like shaving, showering, walking, exercising, cleaning house, and driving are good times for ideas to show up. So be ready. It is important to document your "idea bubbles" because just like actual bubbles, once they "pop" they're gone, and you may never have that idea again. It is for this reason that I carry a large index card and a pen with me at all times, so I can scribble down ideas and thumbnail sketches. Soon I'll purchase a hand-held digital recorder for those times when sketching is not possible or the ideas are highly detailed.
Cartooning essentially is seeing things in new ways and then presenting them graphically in a fashion that others will find amusing. It comes down to having a different perception or slant on life. Finally, it is important to not only understand your own creative process but to honor it as well. And you do that by putting your ideas into action.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Today BuckToonz celebrates its 2nd anniversary--Yay! On behalf of all of us here at the BuckToonz World Headquarters & Proving Grounds we want to thank you for your loyalty and continued interest. Without an audience a blog is indeed a pointless pursuit. I'm very pleased with the continued growth of the blog, and I have learned much along the way. A tip-of-the-hat goes to the two blogs that have informed and inspired me the most: gapingvoid and Guitarz Please check them out when you have some time.
In our third year together you can expect the following things; Posting will continue to be once each week on Saturdays. There will be a big increase in the number of new cartoons as my inventory of pre-existing work has been almost exhausted. There will be an online store opening before the end of 2012. The store will have a variety of BuckToonz related merchandise as well as other desirable art creations by yours truly. More about this later.
I expect it will be a great year.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Traditionally, Country & Western is an uncomplicated, and uncluttered style of music that requires only a few instruments. One of the signature attributes of C&W is the use of space within the song composition. This being true it has always puzzled me that in many C&W bands there are a plethora of guitar players. Far more than necessary. Multitudes and minimalism are in opposition to each other and yet there is a strong tendency to fill the stage with guys holding "ghee-tarz". This idea may be a holdover from back in the days when playing music was a big social activity, so the more participants the better. The fun and challenging part about drawing this cartoon was creating a different look for each one of the extraneous guitarists.
The Rock, Metal, and Pop genres have their own set of quirks as well and literally beg for parody. This has been brilliantly accomplished by the likes of: Frank Zappa, Spinal Tap, Weird Al, Tenacious D, and most recently Steel Panthers.
The approaching 2nd anniversary of BuckToonz blog has me feeling a bit magnanimous today-- so here is a bonus cartoon. This toon was originally created in the 90s for submission to a music magazine. The editors enjoyed my effort but there was no room for unsolicited work. I have left it unaltered in it's original, glorious, black & white. Enjoy.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Recently, a hidden sub-basement in the deepest depths of my archives has been discovered. The result of my spelunking is today's cartoon. This one is special because it is the earliest example of my attempt at creating a single-panel cartoon feature. The other aspect that makes this cartoon special is that as far as I know, it has never been published before. So for whatever it's worth, you're seeing this cartoon for the first time anywhere. Feel lucky? Of course you do. The usual clean up and colorizing has taken place in addition to a re-working of the original caption.
Friday, July 6, 2012
BuckToonz currently spans the globe with an active readership in seventy-seven countries that stretch their way across six continents. One can assume then that there are at least seventy-six people outside of the U.S. who enjoy this blog! As much as it pleasures me to be aware of all this, I'm not someone who is content to rest upon his laurels. I will not truly be satisfied until BuckToonz has reached the shores of our seventh continent. That's right, I'm referring to the mighty, the frozen, the awe inspiring beauty that is... Antarctica!
In order to accomplish this lofty goal I'm prepared to offer a prize of $50 tax free USD, to the first person who can prove to me that they (or someone they know) have read this blog at least once while in Antarctica. Photographic evidence would be very convincing. Now granted, the US dollar is not quite worth what it used to be but--this is easy money! And, did I mention the tax free part? So contact your globetrotting friends, or get on down there yourself. Then hang out with the penguins, read my blog, and collect $50 to help defer some of the cost of your extravagant trip to the South Pole region. The longer this contest goes on, the more likely the prize money will increase. There will be periodic reminders over time to keep you all inspired and motivated.
That's enough blathering about the contest. If you have any further questions just post them here, or shoot me an email. One last thing. As much as I like penguins, they are not eligible. Why not? Because I heard from a very reliable source that penguins not only lack opposable thumbs, but they do not read very well either. Furthermore, what would a penguin do with $50? (Now that sounds like the beginning of a joke or an idea for a cartoon!)