Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Humble Beginnings

In looking for interesting things to say in order to start this blog, I'm sort of drawing a blank. It's almost funny, because this blog is supposed to be journal for the creative process of an old idea that I've had. One that I'm planning to put into production soon and see where I can go with it.
The idea is called 'Heade of Household' and it tells the story of one man's struggle with the way he thinks his life should be and the way his life really is.
The dynamic should work in theory, because its based on conflict, which is the basis for every good story. It has self exploration and positive disillusionment, and it also watches as the man's family interacts and will sometimes segue into the development of the other family members. I want to try to have it all take place in a single panel, with every seventh having a few more panels than just one, the same format as a syndicated strip.

In short, I'm picturing a 'Dennis the Menace' or 'Family Circus' pattern of dailies, with all the heart and development over time of Lynn Johnston's 'For Better or For Worse'.
There's also a strong lean toward the quality of humor that the line weight of local sports cartoonist Frank B. Lanning exhibits in his work. A lot of people in the Southern New England area grew up on his work which is a legacy, as he became his father's understudy as a cartoonist. Yet another reason why I'd choose him over Don Bosquet. (Sorry, he may be a Southern New England monument, but the guy has no website, so therefore no hyperlink reference for you to click on!)

I'm in the process now of mentally trying to figure out what sort of characters might work best for the formula of the family, without going overboard on the number of family members. Lord knows, I have enough interesting people in my life to draw from and utilize as potential victims . . .er, I mean, subjects, for the sake of this strip. I'd like to use myself as the father of the family, for more than obvious reasons, my two children; Matthew and Riley as the siblings(although I'm toying with the idea of making Matt a set of twins and Riley a tween, just to watch them develop and grow into adulthood), and of course Keri is the mother. That should just go without saying. I also have to think about co workers, introduce family members, neighbors, friends of the family, some babysitters, establish backgrounds for the family, such as ethnicity and family member history, etc. Y'know, things that are going to make the story lines not only work better, but make them incredibly believable.

In the interest of plugging other independent, family dynamic oriented strips, I highly recommend checking out a strip that a buddy of mine started called Take It Like a Husband. It's a strip that Derek's been working on for a quite a while and it's really personal to him. It's also loaded with things that have really happened to him and his friends and looks pretty good. It's got heart, it's real and funny. I hope to be able to do what he's doing in a single panel on a daily basis.

I just have to get busy on sketching some model sheets out and deciding which designs I would like to use for this, I've already got some ideas as to how I would like the storyline to start, as well as progress. I think the easy part is going to be material and condensing the jokes into a single panel that everyone will enjoy and understand.

I mean, it appears easy enough to make a non consecutive single panel strip and a Sunday strip that has a few more than a single panel, but I want to see if I can tell a good story over time in a single strip. Sort of an exercise in artistic ability, as well as storytelling ability.

Now all I have to do is put my pen where my mouth is. Figuratively, of course. If I really did that, my mouth would start to look yucky and my teeth would be black for a long, long time.

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