Creating a NickerDoodle – Step by Step
August 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
I’ve been working on NickerDoodles for several months and for several different sources; Bits & Bytes Farm, HorseNation.com and the GDCTA Newsletter, “Collected Remarks”. I enjoy my horses and my horse friends, so doing NickerDoodles is a joyful task.
A few people have asked how I come up with ideas so I thought I’d share the development of a recent issue – Steve and Fred, two horse flies that accompany their friend, Horse, who competes at the London Olympics.
I wanted to do a special, short run series of NickerDoodles to celebrate the Olympics. I knew immediately that I didn’t want to feature a horse or rider, that’s a little too obvious. I thought about a groom or the parent of someone competing but wasn’t really inspired by either idea. I settled on horse flies after coming home one afternoon to find my horse, Kain, standing at the fence with a huge swollen horse fly bite in the middle of his face. Poor fella, but Kain’s booboo inspired, Steve and Fred.
I spent a few hours doodling to create the characters. Once settled on Steve and Fred’s characters, I start making thumbnail storyboards of cartoon strips. This particular example is the second or third issue. Steve and Fred are in London and attend the opening ceremonies only to be unceremoniously, but predictably, swatted by the athletes.
Each strip starts with rough sketches and copy or conversational notes in my sketch notebook. I seldom leave the house without a sketchpad. Ideas for paintings pop into my head all day and it’s handy to have a place to make a quick note. My sketchpads are an assembly of scribbles and words, non-sensicle to anyone, but like a bible to me.
Using the scribbles as a base, I draw a more refined version on tracing paper with a soft pencil. I use the same tracing paper to transfer the line drawing to good paper. At this point, I seldom make significant changes. The line drawing pretty much represents the final inked piece.
Once transferred to good paper, I grab the rapidiographs and ink, adding shadows and texture where needed. Assembling the individual frames is simply production work – scanning and Photoshop and – a new NickerDoodle is ready to post!