Make Comics Forever!!

Make Comics Forever is a forum for cartoonists dedicated to improving their productivity. This is not a forum for wimps! This is not a forum for flakes! We are here to share tips and techniques on how to produce more work and better work. Become a comic-making machine! Join the discussion now! To become a member, email a request to robyn @

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Back to the Grind

Hi, my name is Mike and I make comics.

Robyn added me to the list last week, but I haven't had time to introduce myself because I've been either making comics or eating turkey for the last week. Now that I'm back at work I have some more free time.

My name is Mike Tomasulo. I live in the Boston area, and I have a day job as a software engineer. My immediate comics goals are to produce some science fiction web comics. I'll get to the status of that later.

I figure a lot of us fall into one of two camps this week. Some people, like me, were able to use their vacation time to really get some comics done, and now have to make the effort to find time to work on it around their day job. Other people weren't able to get anything done over the holiday because of travel or guests or whatever, and now need to get back on the horse.

(Other groups of people include those who don't get time off for U.S. Thanksgiving and those who don't have day jobs.)

So, chime in with when you are going to work on your comics next, and if you got anything you want to crow about done over the Thanksgiving break!

I will start:

I'm definitely going to get at least an hour of work done tonight, and I have most of the evening to myself tomorrow, so that'll be a couple of more hours.

I was off from last Tuesday until yesterday, and I was able to get a really solid start on a web comic I'm working on. I scanned in thumbnails and did placeholder lettering for all 16 "pages". I tightend up pencils on about 6 pages, and did first pass at painted colors (in Corel Painter) for 3 pages. It's looking alright. I'm improving with every page, so I expect I'll go back and touch up the early pages once I've been through them once.

And you?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Comics Anonymous

Hello, my name is Adam. And I am a cartoonist.

I don't know about anybody else, but I tend to suffer from the torment of nonproductivity. It seems late at night between the hours of midnight to 2 am is when it tends to plague me most. When I'm lying in bed in the dark, watching the clock and thinking to myself "If I just fall asleep right NOW, I can still get 4 solid hours!", this is when I become painfully aware of how much time I waste NOT working on my comic.

I am not fortunate enough to be able to work as a cartoonist solely on a full-time basis. Like many others, I also have a full-time job. For most, the full-time job would be enough. Spending 10+ hours battling traffic and angry and uninformed clients before coming home to walk the dogs who have crazy energy to burn off because they slept all day you were gone, and finally cook and eat dinner with your significant other, this should pretty much round out your day. Nothing left to do but load the dishwasher and watch the idiot box until it's time to go to sleep.

Unless you're a cartoonist.

This is now prime drawing time. When the house is slowly winding down at the end of the day, that's when I can sneak away to my space and spend a few hours working uninterrupted on my comics. What luxury! In those few hours each night, I can get a greater sense of satisfaction and accomplishment or plain artistic frustration than all the other combined hours in my week! I draw. Sometimes whole pages, sometimes nothing more than a panel or two, but I'm in my element and I'm doing what I love to do.

Which is in essence why I do what it is I do.

It's certainly not the money that drives me. And although I get a kick out of telling people in business suits that I'm a comic book artist, it's not the prestige that drives me either. It's because I NEED to draw. It's that simple. I spend any and all free time that I can squeeze out of my day into making comics, and luckily for me, my girlfriend is a VERY understanding individual. She readily indulges my obsession.

Anyway, I apologize for the long-windedness of this entry, my next ones will be more to the point, I assure you. Here's my typical day:

5:30 - 6:00 am - Drag my ass out of my warm bed and shower, make coffee, etc.
6:00 - 7:45 am - Work on the comics
7:45 am - 8 or 9:00 pm - REAL LIFE
9:00 pm - Whenever I go to bed - Work on the comics

That's pretty much it. Of course I break it up every now and then, try to throw some change into the routine, but for the most part, I have two jobs right now: Real Life and the Comics. One day I hope to only have one job but until that day comes I'll keep plugging away and look to this blog for inspiration and motivation.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

15 Minutes

I was getting really pissed off at myself for not working on my comic book, PHASE 7. I am only 10 pages away from having #006 totally done, yet I have basically stopped working on it. And it's been more than a YEAR since the last issue came out. Granted, my life is INSANELY busy right now. I'm living in NEW YORK, which is stressful and hard in its own way, plus I'm going to school full time (taking EIGHT classes at Pratt Intstitute this semester). That means I have A LOT of homework, plus I have a healthy stack of side projects and freelance work that I need to keep up on. (Also trying to budget some time for friends, etc. to stay SANE!)

So here is my new idea: I WILL work on my comic book a BARE MINIMUM of 15 minutes per day, EVERY DAY, NO MATTER WHAT, until it is done. I've been at it for about a week now and it has been going pretty well. Usually I have been doing it at the very end of my day, after I've brushed my teeth and right before I get into bed. Because really, what is 15 minutes? (Nothing!) There is no ammount of sleep I'm going to get that I wouldn't give up 15 minutes of it to work on my self-published comic book (read: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW). And twice this week, I got 4 hours and 45 minutes of sleep instead of 5 hours, and it was totally worth it. There is something to be said for just "checking in" with my story once every day, even if it's just to touch the page, tape it down, draw a figure, erase it and then draw it again. Every four nights is another hour of work done!

Anyways, I thought that might be helpful for some people who are SUPER BUSY like me, and are getting frustrated that they never work on their Comics. Taking a small step each day will get you there eventually!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Bill Watterson's Speech at Kenyon College

Bill Watterson, he of Calvin and Hobbes, delivered the commencement speech at his alma mater Kenyon College in 1990.

It's pretty much a must read.

I went looking for it online today and found it pretty easily.

Read it and let's talk about it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I seek enlightenment........or at least some comments

So here's my situation. The 10/9 point cartoonist road to recovery has been absorbed, and is a starting point. My disorganized world is, slowly, being handled. With that, it brings working space & productivity. The reorganization has brought about a little problem........literally hundreds of idea notes & rough sketches. So what's the problem, "Where do I begin !!!"
I draw "gags", and peddle my own wares. Our recent move & the daughter's college tuition were easy to deal with compared to what I'm now facing. It's a classic case of "Sensory Overload." I would be interested to hear from any & all that may have been/or are in a similar position. I've been married, forever, with 3 daughters (13,15, 18), so I"m used to taking criticizms (it's pms everyday, of every week in our house, and I'm always wrong!) ). That passes for conversation to me. However, I would really appreciate a little insight. Thanks !!!