here’s the timelapse of the couch cushion strip from a few days ago
the process usually goes like this:
i see a moment in real life that i think will work for the strip: in this case it was watching little guy move the cushion so he could sit down on the couch
(and right now i’m focusing on those moments that dont require any dialogue, right now i’m more interested in telling these little stories without dialogue, so i’ve passed on some great moments that have dialogue. maybe that will change in the future)
then i’ll need to puzzle out how this moment will break down in to 4 frames – i have to select my 4 moments which usually takes some trial and error with some really bad drawings, just diagrams really, in the sketchbook that help me quickly find those 4 moments
then i take a photo of the sketches and cut and paste those moments into the frames of the page
since i had already done a couch strip, i decided to recycle the background from that previous strip not only for continuity, but also because i am very lazy
from there i need to do the actual drawings (which in this case were pretty dismal, though they hopefully worked)
select my colors
go back in and fix little guy’s smile on the last panel (it looked a little creepy the first go-round)
and that was about it
when i write it all out like this it makes the process feel a little mechanical, but for me the magic lies in recognizing the moment when it occurs, and enjoying the finished strip when i’m done
I walked on the grey sidewalk back to the parking lot of the physical rehab facility where they were trying to get my mom’s body back in shape, even as the cancer continued to consume her, to consume everything, when I heard it: a bird song so clear and melodic that I stopped to find the bird that made it.
I looked up at the top of a leaveless tree. It was a little bird, smaller than a robin, larger than a sparrow, its body mottled with tan and white feathers.
I stepped off the sidewalk in to the pale grass to take a closer look at the little bird. It had a swatch of red on the crown of its head, and a wisp of red feathers on its throat.
I do not know birds, or birdsongs, or much of anything, really, but when this little bird sang it was with a song much larger than the bird itself. From the beak of the tiny bird, it’s song expanded out beyond the branches of the tree where buds waited to blossom in to leaves. The bird’s melody was so large that it lifted me up with it, and carried me to the top of the tree and out to the sky. It carried me farther and higher than I could ever go by myself, and for a brief moment there was no room in the world for anything else, just bird and song and sky and me.
Then the little bird flew off, away from me, a flutter of wings bobbing along currents of air, taking its song with it, and leaving me standing in dull grass once more.
I stepped back on to the grey sidewalk and walked back to my car alone.
Tomorrow it would snow.
and if you’re here more for the comics than the prose (and who could blame you, really) you can always read the comics here)
color was really important in this strip (i mean, color is always important for me, and i kind of sweat it when coloring the strip, but color was especially important to the storytelling of this particular strip)
i don’t think this strip could have worked in black and white (and some of my past strips absolutely could have, but i like color…and now i’m not even sure of what my original point was.
anyway, hope you enjoy seeing the strip come together at high speeds, it always seems a minor miracle to me when a strip is finished