Design and Philosophy
For some strange reason, some people seem to expect a degree of detail and perfection from CGI comics that they don’t expect from drawn comics. So I thought I’d make a list of excu-, er, design philosophies behind the making of TMI.
I am not a “traditional” comic artist. – I have no art training. I can manage stick figures at best. I can do decent drafting and maps, having been trained in drafting in the US Air Force. So I don’t know the standards many comics follow. I don’t even know the right terms. My layouts are “wrong” and I break “rules” all the time it seems. However, I’m reasonably happy with what I’m producing and I’m learning to get the results I want.
I’m winging it. – What I set out to produce is often very different from what I get. Most of the time this is simply a dynamic process, but sometimes what I originally wanted is beyond my ability or, worse, more effort than I can manage at the time.
Good enough. – Karen Ellis (of Planet Karen) has related to me more than once that she will sometimes draw and redraw the same art over and over until it’s just right. I follow the philosophy that sometimes you settle for “good enough.” Did I mention being lazy?
Detail. – No one complains (much) when a line art comic has no background. However, some people seem to consider it an absolute sin to not have art and other details in a scene when working in color or CGI. Screw that! First off, every unnecessary object in a scene adds to the rendering time. Unnecessary items can also distract from the story. Also, I have to have licenses for anything used to produce TMI. What I’m shooting for is a representation; nothing more. There were no monitors in the room, but you know Jaz was in the hospital. Are paintings on the wall needed for you to recognize a corridor?
Extras. – I’d love to include passers by on street scenes, other diners in a restaurant, and the occasional unnamed co-worker in scenes, but every extra person takes designing. If I’m going to design or purchase a character, they get a name and a role. Maybe one of these days I’ll find something that lets me generate random people to throw into the works.
Lighting and Shadows. – This is a weak point that still gives me trouble after 3 years. Lighting can be real complex when trying to set up a scene, and I’m sometimes forced by time constraints (or exhaustion) to settle.
Do Overs. – Maybe. I’ve gotten more than one list of grammatical and typographical errors. Sometimes I have time to fix them. Sometimes there’s other things I’d rather do.
Print Edition. – I started TMI with no intention of ever producing a print version. There’s well over 400 comics that would have to be redone for print. Boring! But on my list of things to do.
Commercializing. – I’m thinking of starting with an Ace plushie . . .
Outfits. – I forgot to mention outfits. Many of my characters wear the same outfits over and over. Sure I may simply not feel like “redoing” the character’s attire, but part of it is to make them more recognizable. Also the better looking clothes often cost me real money. So Carly’s rarely seen in a different “house” outfit from the pink sweater and skirt, and the gray sweater and black skirt for work. Given her prominent size and bald head, Rocky actually has the biggest wardrobe. She’s appeared in over 13 different outfits.