Some Comments

The Basic Idea

OK, I admit it. In general, I find the XKCD comic strip to be more smug than funny and often having the basic frame of "I know something you don't" presented in a way that isn't enlightening as much as trying to one-up everyone else. And "the reader" is cast as the character who is always wrong, given "conventional wisdom." And often there are references to fairly niche trends, fads, or semi-obscure items from online culture, with an implicit note from the author of "I'll wait for you to look this up, so you can see how much more connected I am to all these things than you are." I also know there's exists a strip where the main character punishes someone for being so picky and detailed about some stray case, yet I feel a lot of the ones I see are exactly that.

Also, unlike this strip, I don't read XKCD regularly—usually only when someone points me to one. And I don't mind that it's successful or that others like it. Actually, that's great. Just not my cup of tea.

The Angle

The thing that kind of amused me about this was that I wanted to try to express my bitching without it being all that bitchy. And my general style is that I'll make fun of "me" (the character isn't me, but it's using what is presumed to be my voice, even if it's not accurate). So it seemed funnier if "I" am (or rather the main character is) actually obsessing over it, and thus can show my silliness rather than ranting about a clever, popular, successful strip, thus enhancing the shallowness of it all.

Also, since the strip uses stick figures, I didn't really want to parody it. I could deliberately draw worse versions of stick figures, but I'm not good enough to do that so it looks intentional. It would simply look shitty. And I don't like stick figure style. I use that in my initial sketches for positions, but then fill them in. I didn't really want to do that. So I avoided it. It amuses me to draw a parody of a visual art form without actually drawing it.

The Art and Fonts

I also wanted to play with a bottom-lit figure with an all black background. It's frighteningly easy to do in Illustrator. I also used a different font instead of my normal DigitStrip, because I wanted lower case, so that the bold, uppercase text when the main character is describing what he wants to use for dialog. I wanted it to be kind of ranty (and whiny). So I used Mighty Zeo. Both fonts are from, a great font source.

I was also satisfied with the hands in the second frame. They're not great, but they're recognizable, and the thumbs are on the right side (I think). I like how the other character is on her tip-toes looking at the (unseen) work in progress. She immediately knows what's going on. And taken to another level, by making the "meta-muse" reference, perhaps she is even aware of her own situation.

I sketched it in Photoshop and then inked in Illustrator. The inking likes are getting a little better, but still need work. The speech balloon tails are generally OK. Also, knowing how much space they'd take up, I knew there wouldn't be a lot of stuff going on in the drawings, so I kept them simple. I only added the floor/wall line in the first frame at the end, when I realized there was too much empty space. And I didn't want to color this one (I'm on a "work on my basic drawings" kick). Since the characters are shown from different angles, it's hard to do much that's distinctive about each one, but I think it's good enough. I realized as I was inking the third frame that I had given the other character long hair in the first frame, but had forgotten. I updated the sketch and continued. I think it's OK. Showing hair textures from just a few lines is another think I need work on, but these seemed passable. The whole thing was pretty fast. A few hours, split over 2 days.

The Thieving

The last line is stolen from an old Halloween episode of The Simpsons. Grandpa Simpson says it after he accuses Bart's doll of being evil.

The Original

And finally, the idea of "meta-muse" came up when I was writing the dialog. The main character doesn't really even get it, but that really summarizes the whole idea, since this is a parody of writing a parody, which is more my style.

This page last modified Jun 02, 2014.
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