Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bill and Buster's Holiday Classics, Part 2

Here's the 12-strip Bill and Buster "Christmas special" I ran for 12 days last year on Myspace bulletins. Most people have never seen it all togther, so may I present, in its entirety, "Bill and Buster's Twelve Days of Christmas"!

And finally, the Christmas card I designed, printed and sent to my family and friends last year, a fitting conclusion to this series of strips.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Early 6-Panels Part II

One of the things I love about revisiting stuff I drew in the past is seeing what I was thinking at the time I drew it. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was growing along with the characters. My artwork got better with practice (and, of course, college education) the jokes got better, and "Bill and Buster" became more personal. I knew I was doing something right when people started asking me for copies of some of these.

Before I knew it, these guys were starting to channel my thoughts. With most of these I just drew them straight-ahead, sometimes I'd have a punchline in mind, a setup, or just something I was thinking about and wanted to draw out somehow. Subconsciously, Buster started acting out my more outgoing, impulsive side, and Bill became the voice of reason who gave advice to Buster. Id and Ego, angel and devil on the shoulder, whatever. This one is a prime example:

Even in a surreal or abstract idea, I found I could make the characters believable.

All of the great artists, whether visual, musical, literary or performing, talk about drawing from life experiences. I drew this one with the guys in my fraternity in mind, as sort of a wink-wink-nudge type of thing. It was supposed to be funny, but it had quite a different effect on people. I had a copy on my dorm door along with some others, and I never saw any of the guys laugh at it...instead they would tell me it was moving, and one Brother even asked for a signed copy when he graduated. I don't know if he still has it, but I gave him the original ink drawing, all I have left is a digital copy.

The very same fraternity brother is a talented musician, and played drums in a band for a few years (see "The Pomonas" in the links column). I'm sure this one was inspired by the many college road-trips I went on to hear them play, often on multi-band gigs with a lot of weird up-and-coming groups who fit Bill's description more than anything else!

I'll leave this post off with this one, the reason most sane people in the world, even if they're musically inclined, don't join bands!

More on the way soon!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bill and Buster: The Early 6-Panels: Part 1

When I first started doing gag strips with the Bill and Buster characters, they were 6-panel "Sunday Format" comics. Many were loosely based on my personal observations of college and the weird and unusual things that happened to me and my friends there. They're not the most polished-looking comics, but they were good for something: I saved nearly all of them over my 4-year college tenure and eventually scanned, colored and printed them into a booklet for the William Woods University Senior Class Art Show in 2006. I've since started going back and cleaning them up even more. I hate pulling a George Lucas on something that's fine as it is, but straightening up the ones with hand-drawn panels and replacing hand-written dialogue with digital type simply looks better. Here are a few VERY early 6-panels, some original, some "remastered":

This gag was probably the first of the bunch, from 2003. It was meant as an editorial for the college newspaper, and judging by the roughness of it, I don't blame them for not picking it up. At the time, every toilet paper dispenser on our small campus was terrible. They were all the same...this little metal box with a rickety roller and sandpaper-like tissue that would either come out in a flood or in single sheets. I think they've been replaced now.

Here's a sort of "Tex Avery" style joke from early 2004:

My college friends and I loved to cook outside on the grill on Sunday afternoons. On One such afternoon we had some unwanted guests...a relentless bunch of yellow jackets. We'd shoo one away or swat it, and another would show up, bigger and more annoying than the last. The monster that stung me inspired me to draw this:

More to come!

Friday, December 05, 2008

10-year-old Bill and Buster doodles!

Bill and Buster have been lurking in my head since I was a kid in grade school. I was always in trouble with my teachers for doodling in class. I recently dug up my book from Journalism class my freshman year of high school, and just had to scan a couple doodles from the margins. Maybe I was mad at William Zinsser for not including any illustrations in "On Writing Well"?

Here are the original drawings, and my Photoshop colorings of them just for fun. You will notice that the characters look different...but this is how they looked originally. Bill was chunkier and less detailed, and Buster was brown, not orange, with a much different look to him.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bill and Buster's Holiday Classics Part 1

I'm not sure if I have time to create a series of Christmas strips for Bill and Buster this year or not, but I have some ideas. Here's a look back at some strips from 2006 that were fairly well-recieved. In this mini-serial, Buster decides he's had enough of seeing Christmas decorations appearing earlier and earlier every year, and declares "War on Early Christmas".