Friday, June 5, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 60: Lettering

Lettering used to be a core part of every commercial artist's and cartoonist's training. Technology has made it obsolete--everywhere except comics. Today's supersized Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is about the lost art of letters.



Also: if you're a fan of my doodles, please don't miss the last half of this one. All 60 of the Sixty-Second Sticky Doodles can be accessed by clicking on the "Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle" link under "Labels" in the column to the right. Thanks!

For my money, nobody did more to stretch the limits of lettering than "Pogo" cartoonist Walt Kelly. His lettering gave characters voices that you could hear clearly in your head. This is P.T. Bridgeport, a blustery barker who spoke entirely in circus poster script.

Also in "Pogo," Deacon Mushrat's Gothic lettering gave him the voice of an old stone cathedral, if old stone cathedrals had voices.
And I just like this simple example of "Pogo" chugging down a railroad track because the variation of size and weight in his lettering tells you exactly how this sounds. Imagine how much less interesting and informative this text would be if it were typed out in 16-point Comic Sans.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

My Robot Army Grows

This makes me very happy! Got an email from Cameron Jones, who just found and read "The Last Mechanical Monster" after seeing the Superman cartoon it was based on, and took me up on my invitation to build a papercraft Robot using the pattern I created. Cameron not only did a fine construction job, but also set up a little tableau putting my Robot face to face with his nemesis. Check out these pics (posted with permission)!




Wonderful! Made my week! Thanks, Cameron.

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 59: A Flour Sack

Cartoonists give ink lines the illusion of life, sometimes even if the things they draw were never alive at all. Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle sees what it can do with a sack of flour.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 58: Pikachu

There are bigger, stronger, faster, fiercer and more powerful Pokemon than him, but when push comes to shove he's the one indispensable member of your squad. Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is Pikachu.


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 57: Rain

Like the good book says, "Rain falls on the just and the unjust" in today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle. I'm rooting for the just.



Rain by Will Eisner
Rain by Charles Schulz


Monday, June 1, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 56: My Daughters

My daughters don't always appreciate it when I post photos of them, but they never said I couldn't draw them. Ah ha! The Doodle Loophole! Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is of two important characters in "A Fire Story" and in my life.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 55: Figure Drawing Inks

Resolving the cliff-hanger we left on yesterday, today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle talks about the often-misunderstood art/craft of inking, an important part of the traditional cartooning process.




And here's the completed doodle:



Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 54: Figure Drawing Pencils

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is part one of a two-parter, describing the two-part process of penciling and inking. It's also a two-parter because there are some things that even I just can't finish in a minute.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 53: A Brick Wall

It's been said* that some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story; others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe. Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle looks at a brick wall.

*By Lex Luthor


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 52: Chewbacca

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle asks two important questions: who's the best copilot in the entire universe, and who owes some kid out there $10 for selling him a terrible drawing? Answer: Chewbacca and me.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 51: Snow

What better to doodle at the unofficial start of summer than snow? As I try to show in today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle, sometimes the best way to draw something is to draw nothing at all.




Snow by Bill Watterson. Notice how he omits even the panel borders to make the snow extend beyond the edges of the page. Wonderful.



Snow by Walt Kelly:



Snow by Charles Schulz:


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Twain in the Sandwich Islands


Longtime friends and readers know I love Twain (Mark, not Shania, although she's OK too). I just finished reading his Letters from Hawaii, a series of reports he wrote for the Sacramento Union in his early thirties before he'd become a literary big shot.

Twain was about as fair-minded and humanitarian a writer as you'd find in the mid-19th century, but read from 150 years later he's still pretty racist. Not a criticism--he was a man of his time, not ours--just an observation. He's quite pro-colonialism and pro-missionary, seeing them as having saved the native Hawaiians from their benighted savage ways. Even when he's complimentary to native people or culture, it's in terms of their simple innocent naivete.

At the same time, he acknowledges that something very precious has been lost, and mourns the ancient paradise corrupted by commerce and Christianity. I was reminded of present-day people who moan, "Oh, Hawaii is ruined now, you should have seen it in the 1960s!" According to Twain, it was already mostly ruined by the 1860s (just as Italians have been complaining that tourists have ruined Venice since at least the 1700s).

Still, Twain is Twain. Nobody else would write: "At noon I observed a bevy of nude native young ladies bathing in the sea, and went down and sat on their clothes to keep them from being stolen." Or: "...the red sun looked across the placid ocean through the tall, clean stems of the cocoanut trees, like a blooming whiskey bloat through the bars of a city prison..." That's good stuff.

A note on the edition I read, pictured here. I bought it cheap: cover price $5.95 marked down to $3, and I barely got my money's worth. It was bad, with transcription errors and chopped-up paragraphs. This particular book was poorly put together and I don't recommend it, which is too bad. One of the beauties of old public-domain work is that it can be republished inexpensively, but it still ought to be done right.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle 50: Iron Man

Today's Sixty-Second Sticky Doodle is Tony Stark's bodyguard, the Golden Avenger, old Shellhead (as comic-book Hawkeye called him) himself: Iron Man.





When I was a kid, THIS was the Marvel Cinematic Universe: