Evolving drawing styles

I have so many comics that I did years ago that I would like to publish now but they are dated; not the content, but the drawing style. So I guess I need to redraw them.

I always love the original drawing styles of things – for instance when I see Family Guy or American Dad on tv, I love the originals from the first seasons – even The Simpsons and oldies like Popeye. There is something about them.

doonesbury

I love the original Doonesbury, which is sort of simple, but I like it more than the more refined look. Look at this old one, I think it’s the original one from October 1970. So simple, but I love it.

Every comic is like that, they all evolve over time. Well almost, if you look at Bringing Up Father, George McManus’ lines were impeccable from day one it seems; same with Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo, which is perfection.

I have a more refined look than I did years go, so after publishing those, I can’t really go back to the original look, there’s too much of a difference there and it throws things off. But this all of course happens with everything. Fine artists have evolved over time, it’s just natural.

Maybe I’ll show you before and after images some time, you know, of comics I did years ago and how I redraw them.

The naked guy had a mask on!

There’s this guy who rides his bike around town naked. Or almost naked. For maybe 25 or 30 years, he has been riding from one end of the city to the next, all over Miami, in a flesh colored thong, so he appears naked and basically is. He’s about 65 now, so picture it. And no, I don’t have a picture. But if you ask anyone in Miami about the naked guy on the bike, they’ll know who you mean.

I’m thinking of this because the other day I was with a friend at a bar, which was closed, but had an open pick-up window for food pick-up, and he was talking to the naked guy who was the only person on the street with a mask! He wasn’t naked at the time, he was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. But I found it funny that about 12 people where there and the only person wearing the mask was the usually naked guy – all covered up – on his face that is.

As for the naked guy, the gym won’t allow him in wearing a thong anymore, he has to have a shirt and shorts and whenever I see him at the bike shop in town he is in a t-shirt and shorts.

I got a comics idea about the situation the other day at the bar because something funny happened regarding the mask and the naked guy and my friend. Stay tooned.

The anatomy of a cartoon

So I published two weeks of Tomversation comics. Love the feeling, it brings back memories of years ago when I published daily. I am good with deadlines, I published the daily news in our neighborhood for 15 years, published daily comics and also printed and published things for so many years, including school newspapers that I guess every day is a deadline for me.

Anyway, the first comic, the “May the 5th be with you,” started out differently and I changed and redrew it many times. The day before it was to be published I started playing with it. You can see some of the incarnations here. There were more with changes related to these.

These are the finished ones, after I thought I was done and ready for publication, then I went back and moved things around and in some cases just redrew from scratch. You know, when I had Obi-Wan Kenobi handing Luke the bottle in the one drawing, I was wondering why is he just handing him a bottle in the middle of nowhere. Then I thought of the bar and added a couple of musicians, but still it wasn’t right.

I didn’t want to end up drawing that chaotic scene in the small panel I had to work with, so I ended up with the two of them at the table with Chewbacca and I did leave out Han Solo, who I believe is at the table, too. It was just too busy for everyone and everything.

This is what I love about single panel cartoons, too. You have that space and you have to make best use of it. Some guy mentioned on a social media site that the cartoon is a copy of some meme. I don’t remember seeing the meme, but that is the one thing I don’t like about single panel cartoons, it seems that everything has been done before. I’m guessing the “5th be with you” part is what he is referring to in the meme, not the whole bar set up, etc. But this is my concept, from my brain and that’s how it came to be.

Anyway, as you can see, first it was just a bartender and a guy in the bar, then the bartender ended up with a Darth Vader mask on then it ended up being the wookie bar or whatever that is on Star Wars and on and on and it finally because what it is.

I usually take 45 minutes to an hour to complete one panel cartoon, this one took six to seven hours with all the re-draws and changes!

Sheltering-in-place is creating new businesses

hotdogsIn this covid time, so many people are changing their lives. I have two friends who are sort of in the food business. I don’t know how far it will go, but there are many people who started food businesses in their kitchens.

One friend is selling hot dogs from a stand in front of his house, you know, like the ones you see in NYC. I stopped by and the whole neighborhood was out. He is doing an incredible business, especially at his prices. I only wanted a hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut but I ended up with everything, two hot dogs for $16.00! I gave him a $20 and told him to keep the tip.

Another good friend of mine is selling pies and coffee! The coffee is ground in bags from some South American country, but the pies he is making in his kitchen from scratch. I took a couple of photos of him making the pies, but he is shy, which is the total opposite of his regular job – he is a cameraman and a producer of reality tv! I won’t mention the shows, but if I did, you would know them. So he prefers to be behind the camera, rather than out front.

He is selling the pies to restaurants and to people on the street. Those he sells in front of his house, like my hot dog friend. He has an idea now to go around on a bike and sell slices of pie! There is another guy in town that for years has sold hot dogs and hamburgers from his bike – so this is the idea with the pie.

Another friend started a bagel business, but they are gourmet bagels that sell from $9 to $15 each! And he sells coffee and other things. He sells 900 to 1000 bagels a day and sells out daily! Do the math! He has a regular storefront, presently he sells through a window since restaurants can only do take-out.

These are all village people by the way, they are from my village where I live. And they are my friends. There’s something in the water here I think.

All dressed up and nowhere to go

I’m seeing and feeling my future and I like it. My goal is to cartoon full time and with this shelter-in-place going on, that’s what I am doing. Business is not good as we all know, so days are not hectic like they normally are. I wish they were because I need the business, but I like it being low key, too. I am getting lots of cartooning done. I like being home all day, too.

But it’s odd, and I am sure you are feeling the same way – you wake up in the morning and think, “What do I have to do today?” Then you remember – nothing! You don’t have to go to work or have the car washed, you don’t have to run out anywhere, there is nowhere to go. There is no pressure where normally you might feel something pressing on your to get done. There is nothing to get done!

What’s on tv now? Is there a podcast you like to listen to? Have you been cooking or baking? This blog – I’ve been posting daily or almost daily. In the past I would post once or twice a week. Now it’s all the time!

My comics have been becoming quite popular, I’m picking up fans on Facebook and Instagram and on my website TomFalco.com and I can see it growing and growing.

I was watching a sort of podcast/YouTube video the other day where cartoonists were being interviewed and they were talking about the pandemic. They all agreed that they were sort of drawn into it (no pun intended), in other words, they were doing comics on pandemic subjects. It’s hard to ignore. I’m going to possibly post two pandemic-related comics a week and the rest will be general interest, just so it doesn’t get boring.

The first week went well with four pandemic-related comics, the fifth was actually the “fifth be with you one on the ‘fourth be with you’ day.”

Merch

merch-sale

I’ve been playing around and adding and enhancing things.

Circulation is going up for my Tomversation comic; I have almost 3000 followers/fans on Facebook in just a week or so – maybe more as you read this and almost 1000 at both Instagram and TomFalco.com. I’m confidant that both will be at 1000 or over by Friday. If there is no reader overlap, which I guess there is some, that is 5000 subscribers in a little over a week! If it keeps up, that is 20,000 per month – if it keeps up. I love she shares on Facebook, I think that is what puts it over the edge, friends sharing with friends. Instagram needs to add that feature, you know, an easy share button. Universe – please add a share button to Instagram posts. Thank you.

I added a page to my Etsy site that sells things – I call it “Merch” on the ads and links I have on this blog and Instagram. I’ll add and subtract things like t-shirts, mugs, etc. There are just a few things now but I’ll design more art and items and add them.

The link is here.

And Instagram has this cool thing called “Highlights.” They are little circles above the posts where you can have things like previous stories which link to ads and other things. I added them to Tomversation.toons and my personal site Tomversation.

I found out one cool thing while setting this up – did you know that if you go into “archive” on Instagram, all the “stories” you previously posted are there? Stories are the short 10 second videos that last 24 hours. I was saving the ones I liked along with my iphone photos, but you don’t have to, they are right there on Instagram! If you click the little hamburger thing in the right corner it will open and you’ll see “archive” right there as the second item down.

instagram-highlights

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My friend Arva

arvaA friend passed away yesterday – Arva Moore Parks – she was a Miami historian who knew everything there was to know about our city and she saved so many great historic places in the city.

When I was growing up, I admired her. Every time I read about her in the newspapers or saw her on tv, I was impressed.

Some years ago, I saw her on a plane. I was starstruck, totally starstruck. I didn’t say anything, but I was honored to be in her presence. She was a person of such high regard and honor.

Years later I met her at a local protest. I was covering the news for our town and she was there protesting the demolition of a 100 year old church. She came up to me and she knew me. She knew my name! She said my name! I had never met her before but she knew my name. From that day on we were friends. Not friends where we would talk all the time, but she would contact me about things and I would contact her about things and she even honored me by writing about me in her book about the history of Coconut Grove – our village.

Over the years whenever I was writing the news, fighting with politicians and trying to save the world, I would think as I was writing, “What would Arva think?” Would she agree with what I was doing? She always did.

One of our local PBS stations shows a little thing on the history of Miami every night in between programs. The first voice you hear is Arva’s and then you see her on the screen explaining one thing or another. The music at the beginning of the segment is always the same and when I hear it, I say out loud, “Cue Arva!” and I point to the tv and smile as she comes on the screen.

You can see her obit and see how great she was in this Miami Herald obit.

This is the video when I hear the music at the beginning, I know Arva is coming on next.