I get a lot of questions from people trying to do their own comic strips. Questions about how to come up with a concept for the strip, how to develop characters, write jokes, blah blah bladdity blah.
So now and then I thought I’d post random cartooning advice for those who might want it.
One small caveat: I’m sort of an idiot. (Of course, I have managed to get out of a job as a lawyer and now sit around in my monkey underwear, so I must be doing something right.)
My first piece of advice is on writing jokes, and I’ll use yesterday and today to illustrate this point. Yesterday, I spent four hours writing strips. They all sucked. They sucked because I was trying too hard to be funny.
Today I wrote for a few hours and got 9 strips out of it. The difference: Today I didn’t try so hard.
Here’s how you know when you’re funny: The ideas seem to flow from you naturally, almost without work. You’re more of a witness to it than a creator of it.
Another caveat: Sometimes the stuff that flows from you will be crap. And that voice inside your head will lie and tell you it’s good. That’s a risk you must bear.
But as a general idea, good jokes will pop out right before your eyes, like bunnies from a stream (I know what you’re saying — I’m good at analogies).
You know this is happening because your reaction will be, “Someone MUST have done this before.” (By the way, you’ll also get that feeling when you’re stealing ideas from The Far Side.)
So, the lesson today is this: Don’t put effort into your work. It might show.