Monday, March 26, 2007

You draw that yourself?

In answer to the many inquiries I have received about my process for creating It's the Michaels, here is a short overview.

Episode structure
You may notice that I refer to each update to the story as an installment. That's because it's not an episode. If you look at the bottom left corner of every page in the cartoon you will see that these installments are all part of Episode 101 (Season 1, Episode 01). When completed, Episode 101 will have approximately 80 pages. Season 1 will comprise about 6 episodes, each taking place during a different weekend of the summer. How many seasons will there be? I can't say because as the overall story evolves it may change. I can tell you that there will be a bridge episode in between each season that will take place from September to May. These will be fun for me because the setting and time span will be very different from the regular episodes.

Step 1
On to the drawing process: Episode 101 has already been written from start to finish and drawn out as pencil roughs. This pencil rough draft is where I being when I draw a new installment. So for all my cartoons, Step 1 is complete before I start: I have a pencil rough that gives me the dialog and basic composition.

Step 2

The final drawing starts out the way you think it would: as a pencil sketch. Using the rough draft as a basic guide, I make final pencil drawings of the characters and any props they have.

Step 3

I trace the pencil drawings with a pen onto a new piece of paper and scan the pen drawings into the computer.

Step 4

The drawings are combined in Photoshop where I piece them together to form the final layout and I add the dialog. I don't hand-letter any of the text. I use a font called Alter Ego.


Backgrounds are created a little differently. I will explain that process in a future posting.

About today's installment

Here's what I didn't really pull off in this cartoon that I wanted to: What you are supposed to notice when you first meet these two guys on pages 7 and 8 is their height difference. Then - and here's the funny part - You realize that they are actually the same height! One of them was just wearing platform heels the whole time! And he's a boy! Get it? Hysterical!

The reason it didn't work out was that Bryce also has a feather boa wrapped around his arms that needs to stay to below frame until the reveal. So I can't have him high enough in the frame to convey a real height difference between him and Connor. And even if I did - exactly how high are these platform heels supposed to be? I'm still happy with the overall scene even though the joke doesn't play out the way I wanted it to.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Quick update

This is just a short note to let you know that you can expect the next installment of It's the Michaels to go up on Monday. It might go up sooner, but when does anything ever happen ahead of schedule?

If you would like to be notified every time a new installment is ready, send a message to and I will add you to the Michaels Mailing List.

Monday, March 19, 2007

First update! Yay!

Talking about Roxy is so last week but I'm going to do it anyway. Two interesting articles were printed about it. One was in the New York Times, and in it John Blair reveals that Roxy's patrons were rated 1 - 4, with 4s being the beautiful people and celebrities who got in for free. The straight and the ugly, meanwhile, were lumped together into the 1 category.

The Village Voice had an interesting piece that discussed Roxy's significance in the history of New York's club culture, citing its 1991 opening as a revitalization of gay nightlife.

You can read the Times article here and the Voice article here.

About today's installment

Just in case you weren't overwhelmed memorizing four new people in the first installment, here are two more. Are you taking notes?

The house exterior seen here is based on the house my friends and I rent out each summer. This is done out of necessity so I have a real-life example when I draw backgrounds. The kitchen, however, is completely made up, save the water cooler in the background. This is how our kitchen might look if Ty Pennington stopped by with his megaphone and a few friends.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Live into that

"Live into that" is the advice my friend Sean dispenses when I call him up panicked that my comic will never see the light of day. He means that I should not focus on the immense pile of work yet to be done, but instead define my goals and then decide what I can start doing today to get there tomorrow. It's an actionable approach to living one's dream, and - I'm just going to say it - being a cartoonist has always been my dream.

So here it is! My goal is to update this comic weekly, but I set that goal knowing that it will depend heavily on my workload. I am instead going to "live into" working on my comic at least once a week and updating the blog at least twice a week, and I will see how often that produces comic updates. As with many cartoonists, my work is a labor of love, not profit.

About today's installment

Page 1 is my favorite of the batch, largely because I drew it last so it's newer to me. But I also think the layout and Toomey's pose are pretty eye-catching.

Page 2 was by far the hardest for me to draw. It took about as long as all the other pages combined. I wanted people familiar with the Pines Harbor to recognize it immediately, but I took a lot of license to fit all the elements into one frame without making the figures too small.

Pages 3-5 introduce a lot of the cast. I crammed many names into very few frames but don't sweat it - you have plenty of time to figure out who is who.

About Sean
My friend Sean is no stranger to web comics himself. You can check out his work at Sean's work is very adult, by which I mean erotic. Sean approaches sexuality the way he approaches all aspects of his life, infusing his comic with the same love of life and positive energy that got me through so many mini-meltdowns.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Live! From New York!

It's my web comic! This is what we in the web biz call a soft launch. The web site is live but I've only told a few people about it. As of this writing I plan to add a title page and then add some background people to the opening scenes. But I am driving enough traffic here that I wanted the people kind enough to check in to have some indication that the site is, for all intents and purposes, live. The official launch date is only a few days away, and will be marked by a massive email to just about everyone I know. I will also be linking here through a series of super-redundant profiles on various social networking sites. Then all of those profiles will also link to each other, so people can read the same three exciting facts about me and my comic in many different places.

For what it's worth, tonight is the Last Dance at Roxy. It seems like only yesterday I was lamenting the last dance at Pavilion. Where does the time go?