Making Comics – Imaginary Creative Spaces are Messy

June 29, 2021
Detail from Pity Party page 3, the cartoonist examines ideas in his Ideas Room, and doesn't think highly of them.

Pity Party Page 3 is nearly finished. A bit of clean up and scanning left to go, as the cartoonist’s characters get into mischief in the cartoonist’s Ideas Room. Read the completed pages of Pity Party in the Survival Anxiety comic archive.

I like to imagine that this Ideas Room space changes all the time. Like if I came back in a year, the door could lead to a desert island. Or an ice cream parlour. Or a black void. Your imaginary creative space is no doubt very different.

It’s unclear at the moment if our imaginary creative work spaces are eligible for work from home tax breaks, but I’d go ahead and claim them anyway. I’m sure it’s fine.

I’m laying off the sponge effects a bit on this page. I got a bit heavy with it on the last page, and tried to dial it back on this one. I realize I need to start creating texture in different, and in more specific ways. For example, the shelf wood grain above, or the book cover. A little sponge goes a long way.

Throwback Thursday! Communication Breakdown

June 24, 2021
In this comic, Willa and her dog Marnie build a machine to communicate with aliens. It doesn’t go as expected.

It’s Throwback Thursday here at Survival Anxiety! This week, it’s the first full page comic I made in 2015 called Communication Breakdown. Technically, Survival Anxiety didn’t exist then, but Robot is in this comic, so it counts.

In 2015 I was using Clip Studio, probably learning Clip Studio, for any comics or illustrations I was creating. The font is from Blambot. I used it previously for a webcomic attempt called The Good Little Robot, staring Robot and Francis the Sheep, so it was easily at hand when I created this comic. I’m not sure where the colour palette came from. It’s fairly bright, so maybe I cooked it up on the spot. I really like that last panel.

I don’t think I had made much in the way of comics for about 10 years before this one. This comic was made because at the time I was working on a kids picture book called Wrenched, and I needed to flesh out the characters in that story. I read a comic could be an effective and fun way to do that, so I did it, and it was. The characters in the book ended up very different from this. I’ve considered bringing this girl back into Survival Anxiety, but that idea has never evolved beyond a passing thought. Maybe one day.

Read the full size Communication Breakdown comic in the Survival Anxiety archive.

Story Time – Apple Tree on a Forest Trail

June 22, 2021

There is an apple tree on a forest trail. It’s tall, and old, and covered in tiny green apples. I’ve walked that trail dozens of times, and never noticed this tree before today. Maybe I don’t look up enough. Maybe it’s shy. Maybe the squirrels are holding it for ransom.


Pity Party – Page 2

June 17, 2021

Page 2 of 7. New comics pages will be uploaded as they are finished. All completed pages can be read together here.

Pity Party - Page 2. The cartoonist is forced into his Ideas Room by his cast of characters. It's a cavernous room, full of everything you can imagine. Page 2 of 7.
View Comic Transcript

Pity Party - Page 2

Comic written and illustrated by Ryan Reid

Panel 1: The CROWS are munching on POPCORN from the BOWL DEATH brought to the party.


When a cartoonist runs out of ideas, they always insert themselves into a story.


Classic hack move.

Panel 2: ROBOT pokes CARTOONIST in the belly, confronting him on the observation the CROWS just made. He doesn’t buy it.


Is this true? Are you out of ideas?


I’ve had some trouble lately…

Panel 3: DEATH, munching on his POPCORN snack, points at a door. It’s labeled IDEAS ROOM.


What’s in this room then?

Panel 4: ROBOT pushes CARTOONIST toward the IDEAS ROOM.


I have a bad feeling about this!


C’mon! Let’s go see!

Panel 5: The IDEAS ROOM is a huge multileveled place, packed full of stuff. The walls are lined with shelves and artwork. The shelves contain all manner of things - from the normal. like books and jars, to the strange, like oversized fruit, and gigantic bugs. There are plants and trees growing everywhere, as well as a

large aquarium, a swimming pool, and a restaurant. Anything goes in here.

Panel 6


Nothing good ever happens here…

Making Comics – Enter the Ideas Room

June 15, 2021
Detail of comic Pity Party page 3, Death and the crows review some relevant Ideas Room shelves.

Pity Party page 3 is under way. Our motley crew has relocated themselves into the cartoonist’s Ideas Room, with, spoiler warning, predictable results. Read the completed pages of Pity Party in the Survival Anxiety comic archive.

One of my favourite things about making comics is the tools I get to use. I moved drawing comics off the computer a couple years ago, because I wanted to experience that tactile feeling of the paper, and ink, and pens again. I love the tools, and I wanted to learn how to be good with them.

I use a Rapidograph .8 for panel borders. Thankfully it’s the one in the set that gives me the least amount of grief. The .5 gums up endlessly. I recently cleaned them all out with 70% rubbing alcohol. It did a great job, but I may not refill some of the pens. I have a small set of Copic Multiliners that I recently outfitted with new cartridges that I keep around for when the Rapidographs need a night off. They don’t make the same lines – the plastic tips on the Comics have a little bit of give to them that the metal Rapidographs don’t have. They have different uses. Rapidographs for ruled lines, Multiliners for circle templates. Rapidographs for throwing across the room in disgust, Multiliners for asking the kids what did you do with my pen and why is it not at my desk GO GET MY PEN.

I don’t have lots of time every day to work on my comics. I get maybe a half hour on a week night, a few hours over the weekend. That’s why it takes me a month from script writing to posting a comic page online. And while I love the pens and brushes and ink, when any of them don’t work, it’s infuriating.

I’m still learning. At times it’s very frustrating. But the feeling of finishing a comic strip is still the best thing.