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ROFL? No, RSID (Ruminating Silently In Despair)

ROFL? No, RSID (Ruminating Silently In Despair) published on No Comments on ROFL? No, RSID (Ruminating Silently In Despair)

Originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

Sometimes I’m halfway through drawing something and it strikes me that I could take it from here in a few different directions. One might be funnier. Another might be more pointed. A third might give Alex a knowing smile. A fourth might crack me up but make absolutely no sense to anyone else (except a few people of extremely discerning taste, and I thank you).

It’s hard not to start weighing that decision strategically. Maybe whoever created the painting in today’s cartoon did just that, reasoning that funny stuff won’t be taken as seriously as bleak, painful, Mayor-of-Casterbridge stuff. (Wow: half a million Google hits on “mayor of casterbridge” and “depressing“.)

For me, the trick is to not overthink it, because that’s a sure route to paralysis. But I still second-guessed myself, and reworked a few things – from the conceptual (my first approach was too close to an earlier cartoon) to execution details (am I getting LOL syntax right?). After the cartoon was finished, I went back and changed “QUTE” to “CUTE” for the sake of clarity.

And that’s not counting the million other questions whirling around in my head, some reasonable, some… less so. How can I hope to get any SEO leverage in a space as crowded as cat images? Who should be doing the talking: the man or the woman? Should they both be women? But if they are, will people think think it’s a joke about lesbians owning cats? Can I legitimately draw a cartoon about lesbians owning cats, and – wait, do I actually want to? No? How can I change this so Adobe will send me a free copy of Creative Suite 6? Will people see this as a commentary on the Greek debt crisis? All those guys at the next table are drawing with Microns; should I stop working digitally? Oh my god, how did it get to be 11 o’clock?

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never thought about which approach would help a cartoon reach a wider audience, or make a better coffee mug. (Cough.) But ultimately, the goal is to create the cartoon I want to make, and then reach more of the people who will enjoy that cartoon.

So, LOL plus cat.

Let the healing begin.

(Speaking of a sure route to paralysis: so is trying to find a profound literary metaphor. I was about to launch into a “My Wacom pen must think it queer/to stop without a punchline near” epic poem, ending with “…and miles to go before I [Apple menu > Sleep].” Turns out I was confusing two Robert Frost poems. Also, confusing Robert Frost and Robert W. Service. Also, confusing a quick little writeup to go with the cartoon with a doctoral dissertation.)


Great moments of 2011: YouTube meets Maria Aragon meets Lady Gaga

Great moments of 2011: YouTube meets Maria Aragon meets Lady Gaga published on No Comments on Great moments of 2011: YouTube meets Maria Aragon meets Lady Gaga

Five days into 2012, and I’m still dwelling on the past… but what a great bit of the past to dwell on. How many talented little girls and boys were spurred to pour even more of themselves into their art because of this?

It takes fantastic ability, and a lot of work, for someone like Maria Aragon to do this. (It also takes an enlightened attitude from Lady Gaga and her record label; reflect for a sec on just how quickly a cease-and-desist letter or a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube would have ended this story.)

In case you haven’t seen (and heard) it already, here’s Ms. Aragon:

How to use your laptop as a lightbox

How to use your laptop as a lightbox published on 2 Comments on How to use your laptop as a lightbox

Work took me to London this week – exciting stuff, as I’ve never really been (that overnight at Heathrow doesn’t exactly count), and I’ve been loving every jet-lagged moment of it.

But that didn’t mean I could skip my deadline at ReadWriteWeb this weekend, did it? And yet here I was eight time zones away from my beloved Cintiq – excuse me, that should read “from my beloved, comma, from my Cintiq…” – and from my tracing paper. It was late at night and, seat of empire and cultural crucible though London may be, I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be a 24-hour art supply shop anywhere near my Islington hotel.

Also, that would have required me to move. Did I mention the jet lag?

This video is all about how I solved the problem, thanks to my trusty MacBook Pro and my beloved (dammit, there I go again) Canon SLR.

(Oh, and many thanks to Stephen Whitehead for a very kind offer!)