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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fever in the West

Here's one I dug out of the cartoon vault. It was a silly gag back then that never really worked and because of my own inexperience I wasn't sure why, but when I pulled it out of the folder a couple days ago and looked at it again, I immediately knew what it needed.
By re-drawing the prospector on the left and giving him a set-up caption, it works much better now, avoiding the lapse in time it took previously to process the information. There has to be some processing to get the viewer involved, but too much and you lose the momentum of the gag. Whether it's a success or not, at least it flows now, and I'm happy, because I always loved the old guy who was having such a bad day. -Ted Blackman


  1. Hey Ted, what's your process for editting ideas? Do you usually let ideas sit for a while and revisit them with fresh eyes? Do you have a circle of trusted friends you show? Haha, maybe you don't tho, you got a bunch of gems posted on the blog already

  2. Chris, I think in one of my early posts I mentioned that I have a stack of what I call 50 percenters, gags that are only half resolved but have enough potential that I just can't let them go. Most of them just stay that way, unfortunately. I've learned a few formulas over the years, but the best gags are the ones that just pop into my head and make me laugh out loud as if I'm seeing it for the first time. The weakest gags are usually the ones that I labor over and force. The worst thing about it is, drawing up a gag at night that you think is perfect and upon viewing it the next morning fresh, it's not funny at all. That's when you really start doubting yourself, and that doubt doesn't go away until your next winner, then your cocky again and the process starts all over.
    Yes, I do have a good friend that I cartoon with and we constantly bounce ideas off each other, that's very important. Gag cartoonists are a lot rarer than people who pursue drawing, painting and design, and although I work at cartoon studios, they're surprisingly filled with a lot more of the latter. In my 26 years in cartoon animation, I've only worked with a small handful of people like me. Isn't that strange? -Ted

  3. Yeah Ted, I'm new to studios and I'm looking for the funny folks. Hopefully someday I'll grease myself up and break into the studio where you work. Security won't be able to catch me and I'll learn your secrets. Thanks for sharing, I'll be following close!

  4. this one really struck a nerve with me too.
    pun intended, of course.
    Until I finally went back to school to get my credential, it seems like I was doing this every few years.
    But when I'm in the classroom?
    Man, it really rocks (ooh, another pun)

  5. omg
    you know my favorite part of your comics is looking at how you draw people. they always look soooo funny. didn't even have to read the dialogue! (but i did)

  6. I love coming across these revamped oldies! Poor guy!