Cartooning Like You Mean It

Cartooning, Teaching & Living – by Tom Hart


with 8 comments

1c54e5d4-947b-4232-a45c-05f7e906c4abMatt says:


My proposal to you is that I give you an increasing number of constraints for each strip, in other words I’ll give you one constraint for the first strip, two for the second, and ultimately five for the fifth one. I will also try to make the constraints more complicated and perverse as I go.

I think I should give you the constraint and you should ask questions about it if you need to, then at some point you should show it to me so I can critique it (final say, though, being yours), either in pencils or in a decipherable thumbnail form. I would like to have the opportunity to take you to task if you’re not engaging the constraint enough, or if I feel you’re taking the easy way out.

I also like the idea of having this dialogue on line, so if you still want to do that, why don’t you make a post announcing this on your blog. Then we can continue the dialogue in the comments field…

I want to keep your first constraint pretty straightforward and limit myself to the formal material of the daily strip. You’ve already provided me with a direction in your repeated caveats that it’s “only” a strip of four or five panels. Your anxiety makes an obvious first choice for me to tell you to make a strip using 20 panels. How you arrange the panels, what size they are, etc., is up to you.

Two additional advantages of this constraint are that 1) it will signal to readers that a change is afoot in this week’s series and 2) it has a faint echo of Lars Von Trier’s requirement of Jorgen Leth that his first re-make of The Perfect Human contain no shots longer than 12 frames (consider yourself lucky in comparison!).

Good luck!



Matt and I will continue on the comments thread, until there is a new obstruction waiting to be posted by me or posited by him.

Written by hutchowen

June 8, 2007 at 11:36 am

8 Responses

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  1. Oh jeesus. I don’t recall my particular “anxiety” about the number of panels, but I’m sure you saw it and I expressed it. I tried to be cool and objective and just describe MY specific constraint merely as the space and shape.

    I’m not happy about this…

    20 ?!!!!

    I’ll post my pencils when I’m ready, probably Sunday.

    Hutch Owen

    June 8, 2007 at 11:50 am

  2. “Anxiety” is overstating for dramatic effect a little, I admit, but since the one immutable factor is the size and length of the strip, that seemed like a good weak spot at which to begin my assault! I think you’ll find it’s not as tough as it seems, but we’ll see…

    I’m looking forward to the results!

    Matt Madden

    June 8, 2007 at 12:04 pm

  3. I’m much looking forward to this, guys. Sounds like fun on both sides.


    June 8, 2007 at 12:49 pm

  4. I like the sound of this, and I think Matt is definitely off to a good start. (Attack the weak spot, indeed!) I have the feeling that at the end of this exercise we’ll all have a better sense of what a single strip can do. Awesome!

    Good luck with it, Tom!

    Isaac Cates

    June 8, 2007 at 1:41 pm

  5. This is definitely a lot of fun. Looking forward to it!

    Stephen Frug

    June 9, 2007 at 5:49 pm

  6. The obstructions argue to the turmoil of the creative process…brilliant!

    Looking forward to the solutions.

    Robert Tracy

    February 13, 2009 at 6:57 pm

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