Cartooning Like You Mean It

Cartooning, Teaching & Living – by Tom Hart

Archive for the ‘Obstructions and Challenges’ Category

FourTH OBSTRUCTION: Tom’s Final (mostly)

with 4 comments


Here’s my (mostly) final to Matt’s fourth obstruction



I say mostly because I clearly need to add some more black to the last panel (the floor) and will do that later.

I made a lot of changes: changed the character in the last panel, went pictorial in the first panel (after writing a pangram for it, with “extreme sliding”, “futbol”, etc.)

Still awaiting Matt’s fifth and final…


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Written by hutchowen

June 15, 2007 at 12:54 pm


with 4 comments


As I get working on this, I’m posting some sketches. Not much here, and I have an idea that will take it in a (possibly annoying) direction. But just to get a little something out there.


One missed opportunity is the last one: trace the Crane strip at actual size from the Smithsonian book and work AROUND it, Spiegelman-like. I figured it wouldn’t print well.

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Written by hutchowen

June 14, 2007 at 11:36 am


with 2 comments


Here are the four constraints that make up your fourth obstruction:

1. You must base your strip on a tracing of the following Roy Crane


You can add or subtract elements as you see fit, but this strip (including narration boxes) must be your starting point.

2. The narration of this strip must be a pangram, in other words,
every letter of the alphabet must appear at least once (as in The
quick brown fox, etc.)

3. The incident you relate in this strip must tell the story of a
case of mistaken identity (related to the pictures, of course).

4. You recently remarked that you despaired of ever mastering the use
of blacks, so let’s see if we can’t remedy that with some shock
therapy: 50% of the image in this comic must be solid black.

Viel Glück!


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Written by hutchowen

June 13, 2007 at 10:15 pm

Third Obstruction: Tom’s Response

with 12 comments

Ok here my response to the third obstruction


This was fun, stressful, a lot of work. There’s only one eno lyric in here, but I riffed on a lot more. A whole lot. Also- this will make Matt mad: I drew the dots. You’ll see what I mean. Maybe he’ll make me erase them; they are pictorial, after all.

Chronologically, I place it between strip 1 (the 20 panels) and strip 2 (the dolphin and the sea.)

I started inking and realized people would want to kibitz, so I am posting partially inked.

As a special treat, here is a recording of my Macintosh reading out loud my working script.

(Note from 2016: Still looking for that file on a missing hard drive. I quite like it, will post soon!)

(I confessed having rushed to post to make a personal 1 am deadline, but I mostly like it. May make gentle revisions (maybe after I revisit an earlier draft.))

Matt tells me he will post my 4th on Wednesday morning.

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Written by hutchowen

June 13, 2007 at 1:08 am

Second Obstruction: Tom’s Response, FINAL

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Well, as I work on #3, I am posting my #2 final. I tried to make the smallest number of edits possible, to keep to the spirit of the thing. In fact, I made only one drawing edit- a flipping in panel 3. I made three text edits, but one of them is in panel 3, so I broke Matt’s rule.

I’m working on #3. I’m looking at making it a bridge between strip 2 and 1.


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Written by hutchowen

June 12, 2007 at 10:11 am


with 7 comments


OK, now I’m under constraints of time and end-of-day loaginess, but here’s what I’ve come up with for your third, three-part obstruction:

1. you cannot draw anything in this strip. You can only use lettering
(along with balloons, etc, and including sound FX), panel borders
(and shapes, but they can’t be representative), solid black (a whole
panel at a time, all or nothing), or emanata. The strip must have a
reason for not showing any figures, and it can’t be a snowstorm (the
classic cop-out for cartoonists on deadline).

2. Text must only use monosyllabic words. (You can use multiple words
but none can be more than a syllable.)

3. Since you mentioned Brian Eno in a recent post and since we both
share a longstanding interest in him (I believe he was one of our
earliest points of connection when we met in Austin back in the
mid-90s), I want you to incorporate a line from a song of his in this
strip. It must play into the narrative of the strip in some way and
it must also observe the mono-syllable rule (Ooh, I just thought of a
great one, but I’m not going to tell you). Whether you signal it as
an Eno quote or disguise it is up to you.

Buena suerte!

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Written by hutchowen

June 11, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Second Obstruction: Tom’s Response, part 6

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Well, here is the final, the first panel.

I’ve made a mess of it, but it’s not unsalvageable. Of course, “salvageable” was not the challenge here, so we’l have to see let a dialogue about it ensue.

Here is the final strip.


I forgot to mention my one Mulligan I was going to ask for was a character flip in panel 3- which isn’t even essential, it would just read more easily.

So I neglected to be rigorous in my pursuit of the color constraint. It fell away. If I reworked this to ink (ideally) I would add a gentle flip to the ending somehow to bring this stuff more around. Not sure yet.

It’s a strange enough strip- as a sort of adventure, between point A and C strip- so that I don’t dislike it, but it’s not wholly satisfying.

I’m awaiting the 3rd Obstruction. I’m sure there will be some negotiating, advising, thoughts from all around on how to proceed to in finishing this.

Matt- have you written backwards like this before? I’ve done it from the last panel a million times, but never one panel at a time, diligently trying NOT to engage with the previous panel before finish the later ones.

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Written by hutchowen

June 11, 2007 at 5:29 pm