Today’s strip was actually conceived 8 weeks ago. The problem with working so far out on deadline is a lot can happen in 8 weeks. If you’re doing political jokes, this can be risky. Years ago I wrote a strip about a presidential candidate I thought for sure would be in the race by the time the strip ran. A week before it was to be published, that candidate dropped out. It was too late for me to pull it from newspapers, so it had to run. Today’s strip was a safe bet.
When I originally wrote this one, I had the man living in a run down house surrounded by factories. He was standing at the door dressed in a tank top and boxers. It worked in my head, but when I drew it up it felt completely wrong. It looked to me like I was equating poverty with crazy. I chose instead to make him a middle-aged, generic sort of fellow. I wish I had taken a photo of that first drawing for this post, but I erased it before I realized this.
I work my roughs up with a #2 pencil, trying to stay as loose as possible. I always add the word balloons first, then draw the characters around them. After I have the drawings where I want them, I ink the letters. I used to use a #3 Rapidograph, but switched to #8 Microns about 4 years ago.
After I finish the lettering, I start right in on the inking. I use a #3 Windsor Newton round watercolor brush and Speedball ink for everything. When I’m through, I erase the pencil lines and it’s ready to scan for color. It takes me 1-2 hours to pencil and ink a Sunday.