There goes Walters again telling all who happened to saunter by electronically all about his comic strip “prowess.” Sure, I’m one of his creations and you think I’d be grateful. Actually, his ink-stained efforts gave me the “gift of life” if you call this strange existence of simultaneously existing on thousands of printed pages and a region of neurons in the “Great Master’s” brain a life. But I digress. In fact, I always digress because superior minds can’t help it. But I digress.
Now if you are really interested how to create a comic strip you can go here to Robert Walter’s site to see how it’s done. Or you can stay here and get the “inside” story of how to make a comic strip—with the caveat that it’s from a fictional character’s perspective.
What is a comic strip?
To you Earthlings it’s a series of panels that tell a short story. To me, it’s my home, my entire world! Mr. Robert “Rembrandt” Walters insists on 4 panels when the rest of the comic world—due to the high price of ink—is working in 3 panels. Who does he think he is, Doonesbury? Walters claims that the extra panel stretches the comic’s premise setup to a higher tension so there is a more hilarious “snap” of a punch line can delight the reader. Give me a break! I am there all the time and I see no evidence of a funny comic strip. It just means I have to act 25% more which means us fictional cartoon characters really need a union.
I know it’s time for work when I slowly come into existence as a pencil sketch. My first impressions of sentience is cloud-like, I am only a vague outline, a hazy torso with ill-defined appendages. But soon, things firm up and I become… ZENO! I mean, how fortunate for you!
Unfortunately, it’s not quite over yet. It takes forever while Walters figures out an expression that he likes. He draws one expression, erases it, draws another, and erases it. It’s like being an extra for Star Wars, sitting in makeup all day long while the makeup artist slowly builds an alien proboscis with its associated sharp teeth. But eventually it’s over and I’m either frowning or laughing or whatever. I like it best when I’m glaring condescendingly.
After the torture of penciling, at least there is some relief when he inks the cartoon. Taking his trusty pen nib in hand, he slowly draws over the pencil lines that he just made. Frankly, this is the best part; it’s like a massage. Cool smooth ink covers the fine granules of graphite that make up my form. As the ink dries, I feel the energy in me grow. Soon I’m completely set (set in ink on the page that is!) and I’m ready for another day’s work in pointing out to earthlings their innumerable inferiorities. Now that’s how to make a comic!