Well, at least here's how to draw a Rabbits Against Magic strip. Below lies the magic behind Rabbits Against Magic in just simple steps from conception to completion in ridiculously excruciating detail.
The first step is to come up with an idea. I carry a sketchbook/notebook and write down any crazy idea that enters my head. I also use it for casual life drawing, figuring out characters, scribbling observations, writing telephone numbers down and for stealing ideas from other people that I can modify for my own evil purposes. I get through about one sketchbook a month. It's not uncommon for me to wake up in the middle of the night or whip out my book in the middle of a darkened theater to write down and idea. I have lots of ideas, however nearly all of them are pretty lame in the cold light of day. I'd say currently, even with a daily schedule to keep, I still reject 90% of my ideas although it should probably be higher. So it's definitely quality not quantity that's important. I spent ages here trying to find a page of my sketchbook that didn't look completely embarrassing.
My rough sketches are so rough that sometimes I have trouble deciphering them myself. Usually this is because I am intent on getting the idea on paper as quickly as possible before I forget. I end up writing out some words again more legibly and also to remind myself how to spell them later on. There is lots of crossing out and added lines. Sometimes I have several punch lines for one joke. The example I'm going to show is an idea that originated from the little mirror I stick on my bicycle helmet. I'm not sure this idea is not one of my best. However, I've learned that sometimes mediocre ideas come to life once they are colored so we'll see.
The strip is initially sketched with my favorite Faber Castel DS05 pencil (which I've had since 1976!) with a 2B lead on Strathmore Vellum Bristol board. There are two types of Bristol board that I know of. The smooth type tends to bleed to much for my liking although most cartoonists tend to prefer it. I already started inking the first letter when I remembered I hadn't photographed this stage.
I use a green plastic Rapidesign lettering guide template. I used to use an Ames lettering guide that drew lines but I'm too lazy these days. Plus I like the effect I get when the pen slightly touches the guide and makes a straight edge at the bottom. I'm a bit sloppy with the lettering but I refuse to use a computer font as it's nearly impossible to get that to look good unless you have someone who makes a font out of your own handwriting. I should probably take more care and pride in my lettering. Something to work on I think.
Here's where the context really comes into play. The brush goes away and I use the crow quills or the Microns to add a background. I started off thinking they were going to be in front of a brick wall but at the last minute I changed to the wooden fence (this is the view I have out of my own window). Usually I wouldn't draw such a straight line at the bottom of the wooden fence but I guess I'll live with it for now. It's probably ignoring details like this that keep me from being a rich and successful cartoonist.
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