Writing Funny One-liners for a Single-frame Comic Is Hard Work

“Hit or Miss?” I lost count how many times I asked my friends that question yesterday. The jury was split. Some found it hilarious and other didn’t. The latter group wanted an explanation. Once they got one, they laughed. It sucks having to explain a joke.

I started this comic, “Jus’ fa laffs” on Facebook page back in 2009 and it had a pretty decent following of 135 people (101 are friends). Somewhere along the line I lost steam and didn’t produce a single-frame/single panel comic until now (see below).

You never know if your one-liner will be a hit or a miss
You never know if your one-liner will be a hit or a miss

I wrote in a recent blog that I was testing out the Intuos pen and touch tablet and I figured what better time to get back into illustration again. So below is one of the first comics in about three years. I must’ve written at least seven possible “funny” one-liners aiming for the classic set-up and then a solid punchline. It’s always scary to put yourself and your work out their for public scrutiny, because the truth is you want to have your work liked and appreciated.

On the flip-side, if the reviews are all negative then you know maybe you need to change your tactic, work harder and try again. Either that or the viewers just don’t appreciate great comedy! I’m not serious [a little serious]. Ultimately you need to just follow your art and eventually you’ll find a following (audience).

I’d love to hear what you thought, so feel free to like and leave a comment below.

Testing out the ‘Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small’

This week I’m doing some tests on the Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch (small) that my wife got me as a Christmas present!

Very exciting time for me since every time I would do a digital illustration or doodle, I’d be using a mouse. Let me be the first to say that it’s the hardest thing to attempt! You basically have like 50% control over the movement and you’re kind of at the mercy of the device. Okay, so we’ve cleared the air on that.

So let me get back to telling you more about the Intuos, it sort of starts off being a little counterintuitive, but only for a short while. After several minutes of looking eyes on the screen and hands on the pen and touch pad you get the hang of it. Be sure to look up some YouTube tutorials on adjusting the settings or just mess around with it yourself using the Wacom Tablet Properties.

If you’re into creating illustrations or editing photographs, this is a nice tool to start out with. It allows you to basically have an unlimited amount of canvas, all the colours you can dream up and practically creates no waste. It’s eliminated a few steps from my old process of drawing on paper then scanning the drawing into a software like Adobe Illustrator.

Bear in mind that it’s just a tool, so it’s worthless with your talent and imagination. If you draw a horse, but it comes out looking more like a dog, the Intuos isn’t going to change that. You’ll just need to practice until you get better. So far I’ve drawn a rhino and then I spent last night and this morning working on “The Batman” (see below). Just in case you can’t tell which illustration’s mine (because I’m such a brilliant artist… kiddin’), it’s not the one on the right. It only took several hours, but the result’s not to shabby. I’m still getting use to the pen.

I’ll be honest, for a while there I was thinking to myself “Maybe you should just draw basic shapes and stick men.” But I like the flexibility of the Intuos and I can see how useful it’s going to be to me. I’m thinking about getting back to drawing single-frame comics like I use to do years ago on Facebook. This is going to make it so much easier!

Oh, and this isn’t a paid endorsement for Wacom… though I wish it was. Happy doodling!


From First Shipped to Mega-hit: The Adobe Illustrator Story.

It’s amazing to see how this software was developed by such visionaries that include co-founder, John Warnock. Nearly 27 years later, Adobe Illustrator has completely revolusionised the creative and publishing industries.

Enjoy and appreciate the history lesson. It’s 20 minutes well spent.

How Your Creative Skill Can Result in an Extraordinary ‘Goal’!

The Breds – Treasure Beach Foundation has embarked on the creation of a sports park in the very picturesque south-west community of Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth. The sports park has gone through several phases of development over the last year and now boast football (soccer to some) pitches, cricket square, a tennis court, multipurpose court for basketball and netball, children’s play area with a bright red pirate ship set atop one of the most magnificent landscape you can find on the south coast of Jamaica.

A friend who is an integral and active part of the organisation asked me last year (late 2011) to create a site plan of the existing completed phases of the sports park and illustrate the features that were to follow. I was unsure of how to even approach a project like this as I had never attempted anything like this with the aid of Adobe Illustrator® aka “Ai” but knowing my persona, I was not going to refuse the challenge. More importantly I understood what it would mean for the organisation and the community as a whole. It was a noteworthy project and I accepted the job and immediately started to play around with mock-ups after doing a lot of research on the final presentation of other site designs.

Site layout for the Breds Treasure Beach Sports Park and Academy.

I wanted to ensure the integrity of the design through an accurate depiction of what was already on the ground and therefore enlisted the assistance of a good friend and colleague who is an expert in using Geographic Information System (GIS) to solve this issue as it digitally creates and manipulates spatial areas.

My colleague and I made the trek from Mandeville to Treasure Beach on a Saturday and spent over 5 hours under the blazing sun capturing each and every feature within the sports park in between excessive cloud cover that affected the satellite signal to the hand-held global positioning system (GPS) unit to the unit having its own glitches while simultaneously I took photographs, wrote notes and sketched specific features throughout the space for my own visual reference that would be used later. Our efforts were supported by the assistance of members of Breds and staff of the sports park who laid out pegs to earmark unaccounted for features not yet delineated.

The process was “simple” – my colleague would create a map via GIS and I would then translate this map into a site layout in a visually compelling way that would be at the highest possible standard. As I anticipated, it was a difficult project and I was forced as always to push what I always think are the boundaries of my creativity. After messing around with a number of effects (thanks to Ai’s capabilities), the design was finally complete.

It was well received by Breds and that for me was the greatest compliment as I knew exactly how this design was going to do a lot for the community in being a part of what was going to be a brochure and marketing tool to attract international football (again, soccer if you like) teams to the area to use the facilities in the Breds Treasure Beach Sports Park and Academy and also to attract more funding opportunities to further promote the development of sports tourism.

I had a lot fun on this project and learned some very important lessons one of which was… always bring a hat when working outdoors!