Sunday, May 31, 2009

The swiss army knife of comic strips!

It's 26 strips in 1! Whenever I turn over a template, I do it by making all comic layers visible and merging them - getting a mess like you see here. I dunno why I get such a kick out the results, but I do. (click the image for the full-sized jumble.)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mercy killing the latest sketchbook

Today was a no energy day, which meant sketching! Because sketching isn't that useful with a pile of work to do! Whatevs. I sketched until I ran out of pages, so here's my tradition "leftovers" sketchbook post!

As with most sketchbooks, this one had its token "I'm still a fine artist!" drawing.

Here's a fun one of Sydney in her aforementioned pikachu PJs! To balance it out, I added an Ivy sketch to make a mommies compilation.

Sometimes I like to give myself a challenge just to keep things interesting. These two sketches are me trying to figure out what Suzette's mother might look out. I have no plans to include Suzette's family in the action at all, I don't have any inclination to assign a name or personality to the woman. I just wanted to reverse engineer to see what genetics would create the girl. The one on the right is clearly better, but is it lame to pull the "almost clone" tactic? Oh well, it's not like Suzette's home life is ever getting shown.

Tomorrow a new sketchbook adventure begins! Motivation to start one tonight: None.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Up to no good

Well, my inking plans for today stopped at one eighth of a strip so far (damn you, double-sized Sundays), but I did get some fun sketching done. Enjoy this classic scene of (insert adult here) discovering the destruction (insert child/children here) has created. Always a good time for all!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

National Portrait Gallery on line one...

The first painting of Tiffany is coming along nicely. I have to touch up some details, smooth out some colors, pick a background color (and ideas?) and then I'll have a Precocious painting done! You know you want it.

Edit: Here is background attempt #1. I am not sold. Maybe powder blue?

Edit again: Powder blue failed me, so I went with pale violet. On my blue-heavy monitor this looks like PERIWINKLE, but I assume you see the warmer version.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Under pressure

Hoo, busy day. So many plans have gone unfulfilled. But I did finally get some me time to work on my latest gigantic painting. As you can see, we're in the early stages, but the form is starting assert itself. This is a significant upgrade from the original attempt (in yellow) which was a big heap of "I don't know what I'm doing."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Working to avoid working

Today was supposed to be the day I started scanning in June's completed strips, or at least inking some more June strips. Yeah, that's tedious, so screw that. LET'S BE CREATIVE!

The upside is that I got these two bite-sized paintings completed. The one on the left makes me happy. The one on the right leaves me merely content.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I was told there would be no math

Ok, let's explain this confusing number situation (if today's comic didn't do it enough.)

Precocious has:
98 intro strips
1 intro/meet the kids strip
3 "bonus" Sunday strips
98 numbered 2009 strips

That's 200 total. PARTY! But it's on number 98. Why not wait until Wednesday. That's 100! PARTY! But it's not even the 100th of 2009. Counting the bonus Sundays, 97, the Beatles strip, was number 100. PARTY?

Either way, this is a week of milestones. Depending on what you want to celebrate, you can have a PARTY! No matter how you count, Precocious has come a long way since it launched on January 1st. One might even say Precocious' development is... precocious?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I got nothin'

Sometimes it happens: I can do a bunch of work and still have nothing to show on the blog. Today I've drawn up future vote incentives, inked a handful to strips and worked on some non-blog stuff. I'd like to continue that stuff, so I am going to cop out for Sunday.

Enjoy, suckers!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More bite-sized painting fun!

I hit a wall with the painting stuff. Lack of inspiration? Nah. Stupid hands not executing properly? Nope. FORGETTING TO BRING WARM COLORS TO DC!? *facepalm*

My reds are all too dark. My yellows are all too light. When combined, THEY DO NOT EQUAL ORANGE! This is what I get when stocking my paints with stuff I need for my giant abstract stuff. Naturally, I end up working teeny tiny!

None of these paintings are done, but all are at a place where you can see how it'll end up. I'd like to knock a few of 'em out and then pack up painting for a while so I can use my staging table for Precocious inking.

For those only interested in the Tiffany painting, I can probably mix the colors I need to finish the painting here. That being said, I may wait until I'm home again so I can finish all Precocious paintings at once.

Friday, May 22, 2009

You got your painting in my cartooning

No, you got your cartooning in my painting! Hmm...

Worlds are colliding! That's right, you are looking at Precocious as a painting! I've never tried to paint my characters before, so this could be a fun experiment. Aside from the Bud/Autumn painting, I also started work on a small Tiffany piece. You'll see it in tomorrow's post.

Will I be able to pull this off? I hope so. I'm so excited! I'm so scared! *pops caffeine pill*

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Homework or Busywork?

I'm in DC again and too lazy to set up my scanner, so you'll have to deal with a photo of my "to do" list. That's three weeks' worth of strips there in various stages of completion. They represent May 31st through June 21st. Can I get them done while in DC? Probably not, as I intend to do some painting here too - but I can dream! What's the story told in June's strips? See the headline for a clue.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Serenity now!

These ambitious Sunday strips will be the death of me. Why must I make ART!? Why can't I cut corners? *takes deep breath* *passes out anyway*

Oh well, this sketch is the easy part of the strip scheduled to run on the 31st. The harder stuff still requires more sketching, but it'll all come together. It should be wonderful and sweet when I'm done with it. Sketching adds time to the process, but it's a necessity if I keep going artistically ambitious. (Just wait until you see this Sunday's strip!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Tuesday! RIOT!

(No, you are not expected to get the joke in the headline. Only one person will.)

Today is a strangely social day. After two weeks of complete isolation, I've managed to socialize with two my three remaining friends (sorry, Dana! I still love you and miss you!) I needed the unwind/work time, but it's nice to be social again - especially since I'm heading back to DC later this week.

What I'm saying here is this: I'm busy! You will take whatever I sketched today - even though it has no theme - and LIKE IT!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Parental Guidance

Last night, my mother was in a panic. She had let the cats out and they never came in. As the night went on, they she grew more anxious, swearing that she was hearing them meow and fight outside. Visions of predators taking them or neighbor cats luring them too far away filled her head. She vowed never to let the cats out again.

Yeah, she had shut them in a room upstairs. That is remarkably different than outside. Way to go, mom! Hey, at least she was home!

So here are some cartoon mommies! These mommies are much more on the ball than real life mommy is right now. Ivy is the mom who knows what's going on. She knows know the kids work and it's hard to put one past her. Sydney is also quite savvy, really. She just doesn't care. This woman never got the "be selfless" message at mommy school. Not that she's criminally selfish, mind you; she's just not selfless. No mommy of the year award for Sydney, but she won't be a FARK headline anytime soon...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Act casual...

Today is an inking day. Inking is so... permanent! I'm making THE comic! If I screw up, well, sucks for me. Oh yes, and tension does up the chances of screwing up. I gotta relax.

So I took a break! Gotta fulfill my blogging duties anyway. Today's sketch is of another buttoned-up character, Ms. Monster. She dresses frumpy and boring for her class - a "how not to be seen" experiment - all in a sick effort to keep her professional and private lives separate. It's kinda stupid, really. (I should note here that I've stopped the flimsy parallels to link the sketch with the day's theme and I'm on to just talking character.) Anyway, the point is that Bette hates having her worlds collide. (Tiffany seeing both Bette and Ms. Monster is an unfortunate exception.) For Bette to show up to class in short sleeves, something has to go horribly wrong.

So I course I made two Sundays' worth of strips about it! You'll see 'em come June. Consider yourself teased.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shiny happy people holding hands

Why do I set myself up for this? This Sunday strip is expanding rapidly, now featuring a giant shot of the class - in what should be a full class shot. Oh, SCREW THAT! I have neither the patience nor the skill to draw 15 desks and 13 kids spread among the desks with a few in the center forming a discussion group. WHY DO I SCRIPT THESE THINGS?

So here is my first attempt at a compromise. Forget the damn desks - they pushed them all back so EVERYONE can join in the discussion group. And they sparkle, because in comic visual language, that means EVIL CUTE! (Because Bud and Kaitlyn holding hands isn't enough of a sign that evil reigns.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Destroying more Childhood Memories

Who else could turn paddleboats into a life or death battle? Also, this is the first proof that Sapphire Lake DOES actually involve a lake.

I'm finishing up the sketching of the remaining May strips, and one involves a rather complex composition involving a paddleboat battle with Diamond Bluffs in the background. Considering I can't even handle the perspective of a COUCH, this may have been a bad idea. Oh, the things I do for my art!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We hope you will enjoy the show!

Stupid ambition, now I have to draw my characters as Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band! That is ADVANCED cartooning! Oh well, practice makes perfect...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Magical Mystery Tour

Oh yes, I am veeeerrrry tempted to finish Precocious: The Musical week with a Sunday tribute to the Beatles. How indulgent can one get? LET'S FIND OUT!

It's been a lot of fun drawing my musical strips, citing favorites such as R.E.M., The B-52's (twice!), Talking Heads, Radiohead and Peter Gabriel. Provided you the know the music (I only chose the hits, don't worry), the strips are pretty darn funny too. Only Saturday's is truly a "you have to know this" strip. The rest... you have NO EXCUSE FOR NOT KNOWING THAT! The fault is yours! KNOW BETTER MUSIC!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The art of screwing up!

Today is hammer-at-the-bloody-website-until-the-brain-snaps day! I was hoping for be-awesomely-productive-and-finish-lots-of-strips day, but the stars were not aligned.

This image is the lone non-tedious task I did - and also completely unnecessary! I spiced up my 404 page. After all, I'm going to be doing lots of hand coding, and a typo is bound to creep in - I might as well entertain them with my failure! Try it out:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Big Suit + Small Cartoon Child = Problem

This week's vote incentives for Precocious are indulgent music references. NEXT week's strips OF Precocious, are EVEN MORE INDULGENT music references. Obviously, at some point I was going to draw one of my kids in David Byrne's oversize suit from Stop Making Sense.

Turns out cartoon proportions are a sartorial nightmare. Let's ignore the whole "how can they fit those giant heads through those tiny collars" thing and focus on arms and legs. Tiny, short legs. As Calvin once said to Hobbes, "SHORT PANTS TOUCH MY FEET, OK?!" Granted, my kids aren't quite like that, but when an oversize jacket gets in the way... Calvintown.

Will I keep the visual gag, which fortunately was not vital to the strip, or will I chicken out and draw Jacob in his already-difficult Waldo shirt?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Child Abuse: The Wallpaper

Here's the latest Precocious wallpaper, featuring the Oven family bonding as normal. Isn't it adorable?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Toss your kid in the air day!

See! I haven't forgotten the wallpaper I owe everyone! (Now *you* stop forgetting to vote for Precocious!) The drawing is inked and ready for coloring. (NOT TODAY.) I still need to think of a good tagline for the image. "Good family values"?

Friday, May 8, 2009

I am a jinx

You know, with my history of the universe screwing me over at every turn (see: my dying family and the wall of water between me and relaxation at home) I should never have done this.

Not only did today's Precocious feature Tiffany in a Capitals jersey celebrating, but I had to go and do THIS. A hockey game was starting, and I was looking at the goalies. Goalies like to paint threatening images on their masks. I thought, what is the most threatening Precocious character? Suzette, of course! So here is Tiff acting as goalie with a Suzette mask.

As I post, the Caps are down 3-1 at the end of the 1st period - and three of those goals were the "how could the goalie possibly miss that?" variety. The last one (which happened WHILE POSTING) was akin to the Caps goalie catching the puck and TOSSING IT IN HIS OWN DAMN NET. This was the guy who was UNBELIEVABLY GOOD before.

What have I DONE?

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I'm back home, after a long time away - and nature did all it could to keep me from making home. I would have been better off taking a submarine home. What I'm saying here is... FUCK RAIN! That was overkill, you damn weather gnomes, and you know it!

See: Proof the world is against me! Life is cruel and damp out there. MY VOW IS TO HIDE FROM EVERYTHING AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Max Power

“Max Zeit — he's the man whose name you'd love to touch...
But, you mustn't touch!
His name sounds good in your ear
But when you say it, you mustn't fear
Because his name can be said by anyone!”

(Yes, this is a filler post. I have the funeral today, damn it! Be glad you get anything at all!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The rise of Hopetails

It's the hairstyle that's sweeping the nation! For those confused, check out the comic Alone in a Crowd. Author Thomas D. Szewc wants to make his mark on our lexicon, and who am I to stand in his way. Besides, Autumn in hopetails is a nice combo of cute and sinister. As for Tiffany, I couldn't do a Hope-inspired sketch without including Faith!

AIAC is rapidly approaching strip #100, so congrats, Tom!
Even though *my* strip is at 180 already. ;-)

Monday, May 4, 2009

I don't have freckles anymore

I did in the old day, which is where Bud gets his dashing good looks.

I wanted to play more with the t-shirt idea in the previous post, but I'm staying with my grandfather right now and we've go to clean up the house. (Mostly this means spraying off the pollen that's caked on he porch and calling hospice until they pick up everything.)

Instead, you get the rare cartoon attempt at me in a stupid t-shirt. With the faint hint of freckles for Precocious continuity.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Babyface Pub Crawl

A babyface discussion on Twitter let to this idea by Kez led to maximkovalenko suggesting using our characters...

So I went with it! Had to go with Sky, as she's both the youngest parent, youngest-looking parent and, um, the heaviest drinker of the parents.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

RIP, Grandma Byrd

Friday, May 1, 2009

Outside, but looking in

Continuing the outsider theme, here's the other half of the ignored part of the class. These sketches are not as good as yesterday's, which is a sign that maybe I'm moving back to work. I don't know why that balance exists, but there you go. Good productivity means bad sketches. Good sketches mean bad productivity.

I also don't feel like dying today, which is a bonus. While I'm not feeling great, this improvement means the culprit probably was stress. A few days of relaxation should help. Well, as much as I *can* relax...