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Well I decided to get off my duff and do this page since people are asking me this stuff.  I'll display the question and my response and even show what I do to make this silly strip! (coming soon)  If you come up with a question about the strip that isn't covered here, then feel free to email me with your question! Oh, and the newest questions will always be on top!

Q: What process do you go through to draw Life at Bayside and put it on the web?
A: Step 1: is to think about what I'm going to put down on paper. Many artists will do rough sketches of what they want to eventually do. I do that most of the time. Sometimes I can, during long drives to and from work, flesh out in my mind what I'll do and then I can sit down and draw.

Step 2: is to draw the frames for the strip.  I take a sheet of 11"x14" 400 series Strathmore Smooth Bristol and cut it into 2 sheets of 5.5"x14" strips, each one representing a strip.

Step 3: is to tape a strip to my adjustable drawing table and use my tri-square to draw the squares that'll be my frames.  I usually use a 4-frame format.  They are 4 inches high and each one is just over 3 inches wide for a total of 12.5 inches.

Step 4: is to freehand sketch the comic. For the lettering and the actual images I use a Berol verythin non-photoblue 761 1/2 pencil (phew!). Non-photo blue won't show up on copies or scanners (unless you really fiddle with the scanner's settings).

Step 5: is to ink in the lines that I've sketched. I've settled in on Pigma Micron markers such as the one below.

I work with widths varying from .08 mm down to .02 mm for cross hatching and edge shading.

Step 6: is to scan the image. I have a Microtek scanner and I scan the strip as line art at 300 dpi and save it as a TIFF file.

Step 7: is to open the image into Adobe Photoshop, where I convert it to RGB color and adjust the contrast/brightness At this point it looks like the image below.

Then I add border lines, color, and other effects before resizing the image to 250x720 pixels, the width of which fits nicely on a screen set to 800x600 resolution. I convert the file to indexed color so I can play with the quality of the image (so it isn't huge in terms of file size) before saving it as a .gif or .png file. The final product appears below.

Step 8: Upload the image to my site, and walla!

Q: I've noticed that other artists have some kind of award they give to comic strips they like. Why don't you?
A: To be honest I don't like to show favoritism. If I like one comic more than another then I'll go read it and email the author with my praise or comments. I guess it's the fairness in me.  If you see a link to another site on my links page, you can bet it's because I like what the author is doing.  For me to publicly tout one strip over another may give the other artists the feeling I don't like theirs as much.  Of course I enjoy some strips more than others, I wouldn't be human if I didn't have preferences. I just like to keep things equal in the public's eye as a matter of etiquette.

Q: Where did you come up with the idea for a strip?
A: I'd been doodling since I was about 7 or 8 years old and I produced some fairly large and complicated drawings, usually of dinosaurs and space ships and such. Sometime in middle school, when I was at the height of my comic book collecting glory, I decided to make a character called Winchester J. Dickerson III, the Deflexor (don't ask). I filled nearly 3 drawing tablets with paneled, comic book-type adventures for this scientist with the mystic battle armor.

Years later, I worked at an emissions testing facility (of all places) where I had plenty of time on my hands.  I drew comics on the daily reports and everyone liked them.  I made fun of the poor guy next door in the "Bucky the Bear" costume who had to wave at passing motorists in front of the Village Inn every Sunday while sweating his buns off.

I eventually went to college and found that the comics at the University of New Mexico were pretty luke warm.  I decided it was worth a shot.  To be honest I can't remember exactly how I settled on "Bayside" as a name for a fictitious town.  I only knew that I wanted it to be a small hick town (rednecks are just too hilarious not to make fun of) somewhere on the beach. So I suppose Bayside, by the bay ... sounded good.

Bloom County is my primary role model strip, and I'm sure it shows with the idea of a boarding house and such.  But I put my own spin on it with the residents being college students with the history of the house being owned by a wealthy family who passed on through history.

Q: Where did you come up with the ideas for the characters?
A: Mohawk Bob was my very first actual character and I can't exactly say how I came up with him. I'm anything but a punker and don't have any particular use for them. I suppose I figured that since I was drawing a strip set in a college atmosphere that the audience might need that kind of shocking character.  He still remains one of my favorites.

Milton is pretty much a direct reflection of my own personality -- smart ass, biting humor and sometimes too opinionated for his own good. I decided to make him pipsqueakish, since usually the small ones are annoying (at least in my experience). I myself am 6'2 350lbs so the previous theory can be tossed back in my face ;)

Bonnie was easy. I met her in my journalism class and fell for her right off the bat.  She was cute, young, a little naiive, definitely sweet, but (once when I pushed her too far by insisting on paying for a movie) with the ability to display a nice little temper.

Chunk is another facet of my own personality. He's big and a bit standoffish until he gets to know someone and then he can be a bit like Milton.  And he has way too much love for food.

Barney is a direct result of my realization that a great many successful strips out there have a talking animal of some sort (e.g. opus) and I felt the need to have one.  I decided I wanted to be different, as most artists do, so I decided on a beer-drinking badger. No one that I knew of had a badger out there.

Rhonda came from a woman I met only once. I worked as computer lab assistant at the university and through a mailing list for the employees we locked horns over a purely miniscule matter.  We eventually smoothed things out but she did make an impression on me. Rhonda was certainly a "butch" woman, very tomboyish and very in-your-face, just like the character.

Spock obviously tells people out there that I am a fan of the Star Trek series.  To call me a "Trekki" would be wrong, because I'm not THAT zealous about the show. Spock, with his proposed lack of emotion, usually makes a great straight man and also allows me to indulge in poking fun at the series that people enjoy so much.

Jon is a character somewhat like Barney in the sense that I needed to fill a slot. Life at Bayside didn't have a minority character and a few of my readers at the University pointed this out. I honestly hadn't thought of it but quickly held a contest in the school paper and the winner was someone who suggested a regge-loving black man named Jon Irie (perfect).  The student won 10 bucks worth of "whopper cash" for his efforts.

Whizzer represents every beer guzzling athlete I ever rubbed elbows with at the University of New Mexico. Many (at least the ones I dealt with) didn't have much of a clue about anything other than playing ball and getting drunk on the weekends or any other day they could find beer.

Q: Your strip seems to contain a lot of gags.  Do you plan to develop characters more?
A: Definitely. I've wanted to try and develop each character more so I can let the readers identify with each one's personality. I'm a stand up comedian at heart and I love a good witty comeback or one liner. But at the same time I have to remember that the truly successful strips out there online or in the papers have very well-defined characters. Now I won't get into character development so much that Bayside begins looking like "Friends" or a soap opera, but they will be more defined.

Q: Ever try syndication?
A: Yep and like hundreds each year I got shot down. Those turkeys heh. I used to have 3 or 4 reject letters but lost them somewhere.

Q: Why is the sky blue?
A: Don't you have somewhere to go?

More coming soon!

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