I like to play with words, to have fun with them. So when I started this story project I knew I wanted to use names that had some depth, that meant something, that incorporated word play.
The starting point for my names was my setting. It’s a small town. Matt Groening chose the name Springfield for his town in The Simpsons. Springfield sounds so generic it could be just about anywhere in the United States. I knew I didn’t want that. I wanted something unusual.
I tried things like Smithereens and Cahoots, but they didn’t really mean anything. They’re just words. And I realized that I also wanted something with a Christian influence, but not so blatant that it hit people over the head. Then it came to me, I’d call my town Pyonder.
“Pyonder?” you say. “What’s that mean?”
Continue reading What’s In A Name?
Good characters are essential to good fiction, even when it’s something as visual as a graphic novel.
The characters I’m creating for this new work of fiction are ones that I want to be able to use again. I’m planning that this story will become a series. So that means I have to design my characters carefully. And since it’s a graphic novel, I have to not just consider their personalities, I also need to think about appearance. I realize that all authors probably think about the appearance of their characters, but I have to draw mine. That means that I need to design characters that look like they go together, that are easily distinguishable from each other, and that I enjoy drawing.
Continue reading Creating A Character
I’ve always loved comic strips – not comic books, so much, although I have read a few. No, it’s the newspaper comics that I grew up with that always captured my imagination. Things like Blondie, and Beetle Bailey, and The Wizard of Id, and Hagar the Horrible always fascinated me. Maybe it was the combination of art and writing. Maybe it was the way they communicated an idea so quickly and succinctly. Whatever it was, I was hooked. And I always wanted to draw my own.
Over the years I made a few attempts. But I was never happy with what I produced. In retrospect, the missing element was a theme. What I really needed was a good idea, one that would give me something to write about, and be funny about, time after time, day after day. But it never seemed to come.
At some point, I think I gave up. I quit drawing, and I quit thinking about doing my own strip. Then I realized one day that what I really wanted to do was express my faith through my art.
Quickly I realized that I didn’t want to do a comic about church, about how long the pastor’s sermons are, about church suppers and idiosyncratic parishioners. That ground was well tilled. I wanted to do something new. But what?
Continue reading The Evolution Of A Comic