Here's a page out of my sketch book. I don't remember why but I was having a blue day when I was writing. You can see where I was playing with different punch lines in the scribblings around "Harv". Following is the strip that utilized Harv's thought...
Did you ever have one of those days where you just felt like everything was . . . blah? Like your house needs redecorating and your wardrobe is . . . nonexistent and your hair style looks maternal and your strip isn't funny or worth reading and it's just a matter of time before everyone realizes that and who are you trying to kid with this comic strip career thing anyway? Ever feel like that? ( with your own personal inserted blah-issues of course )
I drew Harv with a perplexed, sympathetic look because I wanted to show that he realizes that Susan really is feeling down-in-the-dumps. If I had drawn him rolling his eyes or with an indifferent "here-she-goes-again" look, it would have changed the entire feeling of the strip. As it is, it's not a gag strip, it's a "I know how you feel strip".
The other doodles show me fooling around with how to position Susan sitting on couch with Emma.
This strip is another part of this "blue day" series. This comes from a very nice memory I have from my daughter. (I know I've mentioned this at some point earlier in this blog but here goes again...) My strip was appearing in an online poll for a major newspaper a few years ago. I knew it was going to tested but I didn't know when. The strips appeared online for a month and of course, readers could post their comments.
Well, I really started out on the wrong foot. When I saw that my strip was going to appear the next week, I checked back to see what I had written for that time period. AND THOSE STRIPS WERE AWFUL! I actually REMEMBER the week I was writing those strips. It was one of the worst writer's block weeks I'd had in years. I was totally blank. I remember thinking I should write about Kim because she hadn't appeared for a while, so I did some strips to continue a little intermittent story line I had going for her. The gags were lame. I admit it. Completely uninspired, nothing original. But it was just one of those weeks.
Talk about bad first impressions.
I got CRUCIFIED in those online comments. Some nice comments appeared throughout the month but for the most part, it was terrible. I hate online polls. The anonymity of posters fosters a very cruel streak in a lot of people. Not liking a strip, thinking it's boring, stupid, poor art, etc ...those type of comments are one thing ... but personal attacks, downright MEAN, juvenile, hateful comments. . . well, I just don't see the point.
Anyway, at one point, the comments got to me . . . it was probably another blue day . . . and I actually went upstairs to my husband and cried. I don't ususally do that. I'm pretty thick-skinned about this rejection stuff after 15+ years in the business. But on that day, it got to me.
My daughter, who had overheard me talking to my husband, went to her room and drew a poster for me that said, "MOM, YOU ROCK."
And it made me feel better and I'll always remember that. (and I have the poster...somewhere) It just seemed appropriate to use in this strip within this series.
So, no big point here. Just a behind the scenes look at the thinking process.