So part of my independent study for this semester is focusing on creating my own comics and examining my specific editorial processes. This week I’m very pleased to unveil Birth of the Cephalopoodle! I got the idea for this a while ago while my girlfriend and I were watching a Discovery Channel program about cephalopods. And who doesn’t like drawing tentacles?
The Creative Process
Right now, seeing as this is one of the first comics that I’ve actually committed to paper, I really had no idea what I was doing. I did this with pencil, on a piece of used computer paper, and inked it with a ballpoint pen… Comic making on a grad school budget! I don’t really like drawing people, wait scratch that, I’m horrible at drawing people, that’s why I stuck with a stick figure mad scientist here.
I just did some quick sketches laying out the panels and stuff. I tend to get a little to detailed while I’m working on the thumbnails, but in this case I was just really excited to draw an octopus dog. After I’ve got a rough idea of how the panels will look and things are starting to take shape I’ll pass the page off to a few people wherever I’m at and make sure that it makes sense. If it does, great, if it doesn’t I ask for some feedback about what’s not clear. Who are my editors? Random people!
Then I just get to work drawing.
What I Like
I really loved the idea of a half octopus half dog. Initially I had wanted the scientist to take his cuddly monstrosity to a dog show, have it lose, and unleash it on the other dogs. Either that or have it compete in a mad scientist “creature off.” I love having the beak in the middle of its chest. The expressions on the mad scientist were a blast and the dog itself was both frustrating and fun trying to think of where to put all his tentacles.
What I Wish I Did Differently
Gosh where do I start? I wish I had used different materials. The ballpoint pen would randomly squirt out extra ink so keeping a consistently fine line was a chore. I learned that I’m HORRIBLE at perspective. I think the second panel would look much nicer without so much sidewalk between the scientist and the cephalopoodle, but I couldn’t figure out a way to make it look right. Also in that same panel I might have had him going to the right instead of the left, to lead your eye to the next panel.
I wish I had used a ruler so everything wasn’t so haphazard looking and I wish I had given this a title somewhere. Also, I can’t believe I didn’t fill that last panel but I misread my thumbnails and realized too late that I didn’t actually have an eighth, so I just stopped. Lazy. I wish that I had done the fifth panel from a higher perspective, so it actually looks like he’s trying to force the dog into the bath, and I would have reworked the dogs expression. He looks happy instead of terrified.
I really enjoyed drawing this little comic, but I feel like it’s lacking in some very serious ways. It’s really sloppy, my craft is horrendous, and I should have allocated more action to the middle of some panels. I need to work on my perspective, it should have been longer, at least eight panels, and… I don’t know. I’m pleased with the idea behind this strip, but it needs a lot of work. I’d love to hear what you guys think about the strip though. What needs work? What do you like? What would you have done differently? Let me know!