This collection of art blog posts is all Throwback Thursday, all the time. Well, not all the time. Thursdays, primarily. Old stories from the Survival Anxiety Comics archive, dusty, but good!
Happy Throwback Thursday! This weeks art from the archives is Crows Be Prepared, an evergreen story I feel is just as relevant today as it was when I wrote it. Mostly I just wanted to draw a crow in an army helmet. Mission accomplished!
It’s Throwback Thursday at Survival Anxiety Comics! Remember the Zika Virus? The Crows remember in this week’s archive gem Crows and the Zika Virus.
The Zika epidemic was a hot news item in 2016, and mosquitoes got most of the (deserved) flak for spreading it. The Zika virus was a big concern for pregnant women, who could pass it on to their fetus, potentially causing brain anomalies. Adults could suffer rapid muscle weakness. There was also concern for the athletes participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Simpler times, am I right? Mosquitoes ruin every party.
When working on the character design for the crows, I had envisioned one crow to be kind of dumb, while the other was smart. It’s a common setup. I got bored with it. The smart one became kind of condescending, at least in my mind. I wondered why they would even be hanging out together if that was their dynamic. The crows are supposed to be friends, with differing points of view and experiences. So I eventually eased off on dumb vs smart characteristics, and in more recent comics especially, they compliment each other better. I feel like they’re becoming a bit more like an avian Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets. Judgemental about human behaviour, but certainly not without their own flaws.
I used Clip Studio Paint for this comic, although I think it was called Manga Studio 2016. I’m going to stop saying that every time I mention Clip Studio Paint. A comic lettering process I used at the time was to lay out all the dialog text with the Text Tool, then I traced the letter characters with a lettering brush. Something akin to a tech pen. I still use this process for digital illustrations. It feels a bit mechanical here, because I was just figuring it out. The goal was to have comic lettering that visually fit with the cartoon art, and was more unique than a comic lettering font. And tidy. Very tidy lettering.
Of course, today I hand letter all my comics, and it’s a glorious mess, but that’s a blog post for another time.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome to another Throwback Thursday, here at Survival Anxiety Comics! Today, it’s the first full page crows story, called Crows and the Mosaic-Tailed Rat. I was going for a different look in 2016. I like it, but couldn’t sustain it.
In real life, I had to contend with crows getting into our garbage bags on garbage day. Those birds would rip into my garbage bags, even toss the lid off the garbage can, and make a real mess of the trash. One would show up, then call all their friends to join. They’d drag baby diapers all over the road. What a prize!
I’d run out out of the house to the road, waving my arms like a lunatic, yelling at these feathered bastards to get outta there! They’d just take a hop backward, and indignantly caw back at me. As if to say, the garbage is on the side of the road! We have every right to it! Caw, caw!
And so all that filtered through my brain into this idea – a couple of crabby crows, opining, and judging about people things.
Around the time of this comic, the mosaic-tailed rat had gone extinct due to climate change. A tragic story, to be sure, and also a suitable discussion for these two crows.
Side note – I avoid 9 panel comic pages these days. My panel template allows for it, but if my story is more than 6 or 7 panels, I’ll try to spread them out over two pages. I’ll leave 9 panels for the pros.
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.
Time for a Robot retrospective!
In 2003 I took a crack at creating a web comic strip. The result of that effort was The Good Little Robot. It was the adventures of a robot stranded on Earth, struggling to make sense of this planet, and the people who live on it. It was met with a resounding meh from the internet at large. I ended it in 2006. Here is the first strip made using Adobe Illustrator, a couple custom brushes and a drawing tablet of some kind. Could be worse – I mean, that third panel is pretty great.
Bored and creatively stagnant in 2016, I decided comics that hardly anyone reads aren’t going to up and make them selves. So, after experimenting with a couple of crows comics, I dug Robot out of the dustbin. I mean, I like this guy. He’s smart, and free. A bit insensitive and reckless maybe, but we all have flaws. I had moved on to Clip Studio at this point. I don’t really like that app anymore, but the brush engine is really great, if you like that sort of thing.
By 2021, Robot has become exponentially more expressive, adventurous, and weird (but not weird enough). I’m creating with ink and paper now, which is equal parts harder, and more creatively satisfying. Your mileage may vary, you should create with whatever makes you happy.
So that ends Robot Through the Years! Now go make something of your own!