Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Creating Dude and Dude: Life in the "Dudeio"

Many of you dudes - that know I wear a few hats - have been asking how it's possible for me to draw a daily comic strip and still find time to write & promote my kid's books, travel & speak, handle marketing/publicity & sales for a local camp, do freelance cartoons and graphics, manage a home life as a husband, father and now grandfather, and keep my sanity. Dude, it's easy, you just do it!

Does the phrase, "Jack of all trades - Master of none" come to mind!

Actually, it is a very hectic life and finding the man hours can be brutal. Many days I'm left with getting up at 4a.m. to get a little time in the "dudeio" (what I call my studio) creating Dude and Dude or finishing up a T-shirt design or logo for someone. If much needed sleep wins out on a particular morning (dude, I don't know who is coaching sleep, but he has a great won-loss record), then late night "dudeio" sessions become a must with deadlines creeping up on me like a cheetah near the watering hole. Not good!
Subsequently, I've had to come up with a quicker method, for now, to produce Dude and Dude, using a bit more technology than I would like, and a little less, time consuming, freehand drawing to create a finished cartoon. If Dude and Dude continues to grow an online audience (3,400 subscribers at http://www.gocomics.com/ to date with over 100,000 individual hits weekly), and if print syndication is an option in the future, then less hats means more freehand sketching of the comic strip....The goal!!

Here is a quick overview of the process for creating the comic strip for those who asked or are curious or just a dude with some time to kill.

I spend as much time or more coming up with, writing, editing and fine-tuning each comic as I do drawing and creating them. If you see me around town I usually have a sketchbook or scratchpad with me wherever I go. I will acually designate certain coffee shops, beach locations or dude hangouts to hangout at in the hopes of having a quick nugget of an idea pop into my head. I jot it down quickly, these nuggets leave rather fast! Dude!

It all starts with sketching and inking the characters who will become part of the Dude and Dude community. In this picture is the actual first sketch of Dude and Dude. They were created in an airport terminal in Phoenix, AZ where I had just spent a week in 117 degree temperature speaking at a conference. As I sat, waiting for my flight home, all I could think about was being back in SoCal, near the beach and never wanting to leave the sand and surf again....thus, the two "Dudes," with the same mindset were born.

From the sketch, I do the final blackline inking, then I scan the image into my computer, bring it into my art program and add color. Once the character is comic ready, I copy and paste the image into that day's cartoon keeping a copy of the image saved in the library of art that surrounds the work station of each page I work on. Pulling from the library of characters, objects, backgrounds, etc. saves a huge amount of time and makes a daily comic possible at this point.

The purist cartoon critics blast me for not drawing everything fresh, and comment negatively at the similarity of backgrounds, character, etc. To them I say, "One, I agree, and Two...Dudes, lighten up!" Writing sells comics, not appearance! Abide, and go with the flow until time allows. Is it funny, satirical, slightly humorous and/or remind you of yourself, or days gone by? Then this comic is for you and all those "Young and Old Souls" out there that look at everyday as casual Friday!

When the panels are complete, the coloring is done and the gag in place, I save it all and prep it to send through an FTP site to Universal Uclick at Universal Press which now handles the electronic Distribution of Dude and Dude for United Feature Syndicate. I try to send a few weeks at a time and stay at least a month or more ahead on finish comics...that cheetah (deadline) is in the tall weeds staring at me me, waiting for me to fall behind the herd!

Dudes, if you have questions about what art format
I use, what pens, paper, etc. Contact me anytime
by email or Facebook. Please send me comments and testimonials as well for my promo file. Send me ideas, dudeisms or just your thoughts about Dude and Dude. I'd love to hear your best dude stories as well. Sign up to get Dude and Dude emailed to you daily for FREE (while the offer lasts) at http://www.gocomics.com/ Join the Dude and Dude Facebook community at www.Facebook.com/dudeanddude

The new website DudeandDudeComics.com is underway. We're hoping to launch it in September. News, Updates, Books, Products, Everything Dude and Dude will be there!.....Dude!

Keith is the cartoonist and creator of Dude and Dude. A daily comic strip Distributed world-wide by Universal Uclick for UFS on Gocomics.com - All rights Reserved

Email: keith@keithpoletiek.com
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/keithpoletiek
Dude and Dude Facebook Page; www.Facebook.com/dudeanddude

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