March 23rd, 2008

An Evolution…

by Terri Libenson

Of course, anyone who follows cartooning and comic strips understands that a creator’s drawing style usually changes throughout the years (just look at old Peanuts or Bloom County cartoons). Even PD, which is still relatively new, has undergone character transformations. Some of this has been unconscious, some completely predetermined.

The unconscious part was due to my being out of drawing practice when the strip launched. As I regained my skills, my drawings simply improved. Also, in the beginning, I had attempted to caricaturize the people in PD (i.e. making arms and legs rubbery, bodies shortened). This went against my inherent nature of naturalizing figures…that is, making their bodies/gestures a bit more realistic-looking like they are now.

Earlier I used thicker Micron pens, so the line quality was heavier. The colors I selected were also brighter. I seem to prefer a more  subdued palette these days…still love the gradation, though.

The predetermined part stems from the characters aging…especially the kids. The girls are taller, more mature-looking. All the characters’ eyes/noses are a little larger and bulbous, the adults’ faces slightly elongated. As for editing, I scrapped Amy’s baby talk early on (yep, you’re welcome).

Samples from early 2006:

Teenagers

Doublestandard

Samples from 2008:

(Sunday title panel – Amy and Jess)

Magic8_title

(Rob close-up)

Rob_closeup

(Sunday title panel — Jill & friends)

Friends_title

Kaplan family in 2006:

Babysitter06

***

Kaplan family in 2008:

Babysitter06

This May, readers who look closely may notice one very subtle change…hair. Amy and Jess’s hair will start growing a little longer. My older daughter always had short, kinky curls that tended to grow “up” rather than down. Gravity is just now starting to overtake it, which inspired the characters’ hair revolution. Anyway, I like the idea of toying with the characters’ hair a bit – short of sticking a thousand clips and bows in it like my kids do.

As for future parallels and whether Jill’s hips will someday expand and Rob’s hair will completely fall out (my husband shaves his head, so who knows what’s left), that’s yet to be determined. For now, I’m still in denial.

(PS New strips on the samples page coming soon. Stay tuned…)

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