Cartooning Like You Mean It

Cartooning, Teaching & Living – by Tom Hart

The Big Heads

with 4 comments

Ok this is serious. This week’s strips mark an overnight change to a big head, 2 1/2 heads tall, cutified, neotenic character designs.

The reasons are three fold:

1- Burned by recent (here and here) nixing of strips by my editors at the paper, I suddenly, from the gut, decided to make the characters more friendly, more “disarming” as my friend Brendan once said.

2- It’s much much faster to draw. It takes half the time, and I’m really pleased with that.

3- They fit in the panels more easily now.

4- I kinda like it. In fact, I really like them, I just want to be careful not to be completely unedgy.

It’s a balancing act, and honestly, I have no idea what side I’m going to fall if I lose my balance here. There’s too much of the pissant in me to not want to keep challenging people’s expectations. This design style is not nearly as ugly as the previous, Mutt and Jeff, Segar-like full figured style; it feels welcoming and there’s a part of me (acknowledgedly influenced by commercial concerns) that likes that.

It’s great if I can subvert it. Sucky if it creates its own gravity and the ideas get sucked into a black hole of cuteness.

What would a Hutch Owen Macy’s Day float look like? It would look like these designs. That scares me.


Written by hutchowen

July 16, 2007 at 12:15 am

4 Responses

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  1. Hahahaha, neoteny is the best. I of course support this decision. The natural reason 5) that you don’t mention is that in a constrained space with a dialogue-heavy strip that increased facial size lets you communicate way more with facial expressions – like you’re already doing in the first strip. Big heads rule.

    K. Thor Jensen

    July 16, 2007 at 4:33 pm

  2. I noticed before reading your explanation – not like it’s that subtle – and I liked it. But I assumed you were doing it ironically!! Like, some kind of meta-Hutch, a Hutch in quotes. What I particularly liked, though, is that the dialogue brings back Hutch as the cool savant-provocateur, which I’ve always liked; the despairing, fragile, failing Hutch prevalent lately has also been good but less fun.

    Timothy Weber

    July 17, 2007 at 8:47 am

  3. Thor- you always surprise me.

    Tim- It’s funny. I always think of him as fragile and despairing. Guess I have to go re-read what I wrote!


    July 21, 2007 at 7:34 pm


    Why would I surprise you? I’ve been on this train for a while. It’s a good train.

    K. Thor Jensen

    July 24, 2007 at 4:28 pm

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