April 25th, 2013

A Strip is Born

by John Hambrock

I’ve always been fascinated with how other cartoonists work. Some I know choose one or two specific days to write, and another one or two days to draw and ink. When I’m working on daily strips, I try to keep to a writing and inking schedule as much as possible. It’s very easy to get distracted and veer way off course, and then find yourself in scramble mode when the deadline approaches. Sunday strips are an entirely different story. I create my Sunday strips whenever the idea strikes. It could be 3:00 am on a Tuesday, or dinner time on a Saturday. And I’m almost never prepared when I do get an idea. When one pops into my head, I’ll write it down on whatever surface happens to be within reach: paper, a napkin, the back of my hand (yes, I have done this).


The above example is typically how I work on my Sunday strips. 1. I get an idea and write it down as soon as possible. Spelling, grammar, and common sense are ignored at this point.  2. I’ll sketch out the idea to make sure it flows properly and fits into the limited Sunday newspaper format. 3. If I think it’ll work, I’ll finalize the copy and pencil it on the final Bristol paper. This particular example is very tight. There are times where I’ll work very loose at this stage. 4. After I’m through penciling, I ink over the lines. 5. When the inking is complete, I scan the file, layer it, and send it to my color expert and lovely wife, Anne, who splashes it with her magic. When she’s done coloring, I send the files off to my production company, Reed Brennan Media Associates, for review, editing, and final production (thank you, Ealish). From there, it goes out to the newspapers.

Unfortunately, I cannot let you read the above example because it’s not scheduled to appear in papers until June 9th. Since it’s a Rube Goldberg-inspired strip, I’m planning on writing a follow up post after it’s been published, so stay tuned.




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