Thursday, February 28, 2013

Your Nimoy/Proust Pun of the Day

My spring break started this afternoon, and I was able to finish inking the strip I had drawn last night.

The first and third panels of this strip came from the deck. We haven't seen the first one before—it was a random-input panel that I drew a couple of weeks ago.

It's been a good month for cartooning here on the blog, thanks to this new process, and a good month for posts. But this February was really nothing compared to Mike's twenty-eight-day Lone Wolf and Cub read-along series. Those were good times.

More soon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quick Snapscan of the Deck

Since I didn't have time to draw a strip today, here's a glimpse of some more panels from my deck, including one that I added today. I deliberately excluded most of the panels that came up the last time I did this.

I just think these look cool, and I'm trying to preserve a few of them before the cards get passed along.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

AlphaBots: D is for Data

This week's AlphaBot is a shoo-in. I was seriously into Star Trek: the Next Generation when it was originally on, and I've spent a lot of time reading about the show, thinking about it, and re-watching it.

On my most recent trip through the series, I'll admit that my interest was much more with Picard (and, to my surprise, Riker) than with Data and Geordi, and some of the elements of the show have started to feel "dated" to me, not only for the effects and designs, but for relationship patterns that seemed to make more sense to me when I was around twenty, instead of around forty.

Anyway, even though it's not a kind of dorkiness that I have ever reveled in, I retain a soft spot in my heart for the Enterprise's resident Soong-type android. Thus, D is for Data.

Considering my meager skills of caricature, I think that's a pretty good likeness.

The randomly-derived dialogue on this card is a statement comes from my dictionary app's word of the day, xeric, and some coincident conversation about Australian lizards. It's sort of sad that xeric is now mainly going to mean adapted to dry conditions. There were better days.

Friday, February 22, 2013

So That's What That Symbol Represents

Today's deck-derived strip seems to be going in kind of a dark direction.

The new character, introduced in panels #1 and #3 (which are the new ones this time) has his hair and beard modeled on the young Ezra Pound, though I have to admit I was working from memory and would up giving him too substantial a goatee.

I'm pleased to have been able to give one name to the symbol that has been appearing on and off in the strips for weeks. (If you look at the second panel of this strip, down below the path in the background, you'll see its introduction into the deck.) Of course, the way this process works, it may never be called that again.

See you again soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Did Evade "Devo Dave's Ovid Video Void."

Here's another of the random strips that have been emerging from my "Draw Two Panels" deck-based process.

The first and third panels are new for this strip, and the first one is mainly aiming to amuse Tom Hart.

Is that weird enough?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Draw Two Panels": How to Play

I have finally drawn up the rules or instructions for "Draw Two Panels," the deck-driven / aleatory comics-making process I have been working on for a few weeks. Here you go:

You should be able to right-click or ctrl-click (or option-click) and download that image and print it out, if you like. If you have any questions, please post comments below; if you want to get a few of my "discards," get in touch with me.

(I have already modified my own rules, at least for the next twenty-three weeks, as I'm adding Alphabots drawings to my deck at the rate of one per week.)

Just to add a little graphic interest to this post, I'll include a sample of my current deck, created by dealing panels randomly onto the glass of my scanner.

I'm having a lot of fun with this project or process, and I'm really looking forward to the day when someone else's panels show up in my mailbox to further unsettle my random deck.

If Blogger's not giving you a large version of the image that contains the directions and constraints, try this link.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bonus AlphaBot: C is for Curiosity

When I drew the Cooker for this week's Alphabots, I was not (apparently) done drawing lone explorers of deserted heavenly bodies within our solar system. 

I could not get myself to go to bed last night without drawing one of my all-time favorite robots, one that has, in truth, more than once brought a tear to my eye, despite being nothing really but a big remote-control toy with some very fancy attachments.

Dear reader, C is also for the Curiosity Rover. You can follow it on Twitter.

It's really up there (or out there, maybe, would be a better word) on the real surface of the real tiny point of light that we call Mars. People put it there.

It's out there to tell us what it finds. Eventually, it will break down, waiting to be recovered or discovered or never seen again. How can your heart not go out to it?

The dialogue was summoned via bibliomancy (and slightly modified), from a poem by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, as translated by Michael Longley.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

(Seldom Is Heard) a Misunderstood Word

Well, this is a little silly...

...and I'm still not doing much by way of backgrounds. I did draw a panel with three characters in it, sort of implying that panel three (which came out of the deck) also has three characters in it.

But I think this one works okay. What do you think?

AlphaBots: C is for the Cooker

You may know this week's Alphabots robot without knowing its name. If you've ever seen the original Wallace and Gromit short, A Grand Day Out, you will probably remember the clunky coin-operated robot they encounter when they arrive for their cheese holiday on the moon. In you have never seen A Grand Day Out, and you have Netflix, you're in for a treat.

Anyway, I only learned this year that the robot in A Grand Day Out is called the Cooker.

I'm really pleased with the way this guy turned out.

As usual, because I'm using this as a card in my "Draw Two Panels" process, the dialogue is coming from a source determined by random die roll. In this case, it's from a tweet by Katie Skelly

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What Are the Chances?

I'm not sure what's going on with my deck.

I really did draw that same panel a third time in a row. It's possible that the card is a little thicker than some of the other cards in the deck, or a little thinner, in a way that leads it to come up when I cut the cards. Honestly, I was trying to avoid it this time, but apparently my sleights of legerdemain leave a lot to be desired.

I'm still not going to discard panel 1, but if it comes up again next, I'm definitely ditching it (after drawing one more strip with it).

I don't like the way the little demon in this strip turned out, and I'm really not happy with the placement of the speech balloon tail in panel 4. And maybe the joke doesn't "read" as clearly as it ought to. I don't know what I'm doing.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

Apparently my deck read my last post and decided to give me the same panel again right away.

I'm going to put it back in the deck again and hope that I won't draw it for a week or so.

Greetings, Archy Buffo, Pratfall King

Well, I'm back to my deck, and back to my aleatory experiments.

I could discard panels #1 and #3 now, since they've both been used twice. But I think I'm going to load #1 back into my deck. That seems like a question I want to ask myself again, at least once.

Stay tuned. One day soon I will tell you what I'm doing with the discards.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Arrivederci, Arturo Aleatore, Gesturist Sublime

Well, I had hoped that Arturo Aleatore would be a longer-lasting presence in my deck, but the card that names him has come up again, so I'm discarding it after this strip. Instead, I seem to be doomed to the visual proliferation of my little buglike alien dude.

But if I could make choices about that sort of thing, then I wouldn't be trusting the aleatory process of the deck.

No idea what will happen next, but at least I drew a background this time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One Way to Parse Those Three Left Hands

Here's the first strip in which I happen to use the panel that was my B Alphabots drawing.

I like the way that turned out, though I'm sort of starting to get self-conscious about using cross-hatching in lieu of a real background.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Great Arturo Aleatore

Here's another of those randomly-generated strips.

The two dealt panels, #2 and #4, are both swipes. If I recall correctly, one is from the Land of Nod catalog and the other is from the first trade of Paul Grist's Mudman. This is probably another one of those strips that will look better when it's reformatted out of the 2x2 grid.

As ever, I welcome your comments and input.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

AlphaBots: B is for Bishop

Well, I have managed a second week of Alphabots without too much strain.

If you've seen Aliens, then I'm hoping the image in this panel will be familiar:

That's right, B is for the android Bishop, he of the speedy knife trick.

I had originally thought about drawing Lance Henriksen's Halloweeny face. I'm sure he'd be a lot of fun to draw, even for someone with my meager skills of caricature. But since I'm putting this card into my "stochastifactory" deck, and since characters once introduced there have a tendency to reappear, I thought a slightly more ambiguous close-up would be a better idea.

Also, to tell the truth, I figured other cartoonists were bound to do better caricatures of Lance Henriksen than I could.

As for the text in the panel: well, when I rolled a die, the table told me to use a line from a song that was stuck in my head.

So far, every time the die has told me to use song lyrics, they've come from an episode of the Super Music Friends Show.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

If You Think of the Interlocutor as a Changeling

I'm not sure whether this one works, though I like the point it raises, and I really like the way the demon looks in the final panel.

When I say I'm not sure it works, I mean I'm not sure it really "reads" in and out of panel 3 the way it should. But here we are, and there it is.

Friday, February 8, 2013

And Now, Apparently, Outer Space

The pair of panels that came from the deck this time (1 and 3 below) seemed to pose a real conundrum. I'm not sure this is the best solution.

I'm also not sure about that ratio. How many birds in the bush do you think a bird in the mind is worth?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Random Breath of Optimism

This one has a single repeated panel, a couple of barely-hidden references to Devo, and a monkey.

As always, I welcome your input.

AlphaBots: A is for Astro Boy

I've been trying to decide whether I have time to do AlphaBots. After all, I had to bail from AlphaBooks after the letter Q, and I don't have a whole lot more time this semester, even though I have committed myself (apparently) to a weird new drawing project.

And then I thought, well, what if I combined the two projects? I'm supposed to have a deck full of random drawings; what if twenty-six of those random drawings, over the next twenty-six weeks, included an alphabet of robots, all drawn from different sources?

(The text in my Alphabots panels is still going to come from a lot of random places; this particular one is a version of a recent tweet by Matt Wiegle, edited for brevity.)

Don't see Astro Boy in that panel? (It's swiped from Tezuka's 1967 story "The Faceless Robot," which appears in the eighth volume of the Dark Horse Astro Boy reprints.) Oh, he's just little.

Do you think I'll make it all the way to "Z is for Zhora"?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Are These Strips About Something?

Well, this one has a couple of re-used panels, too.

Maybe I should say a little bit about how I'm making these strips. Each of them has two panels selected at random from a deck, plus two new panels that connect them or make sense of them. That process of "making sense" is what the project is about.

After they're used once, the panels go back into the deck.

And what happens to them after they're used twice? Well, more about that in the days to come.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another Thing I Wouldn't Have Predicted

I took a day off from the strips to inject a little more random input into the deck from which these panels are being drawn.

I still wound up with a repeat, but that's what the odds would have predicted.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Was It a Shuffling Problem?

Sometimes putting things in order randomly produces the same order twice.

I'm going to try to shake things up a little before the next strip.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Aleatory Investigations Continue

Now this is getting interesting.

I think this means I'll be ready for Phase Three of the project on Monday. Pretty exciting.