A 'Toon is Born

One of the most frequent questions I get is: "Who are you again?" and the second most frequent question being: "How do you create the toons?"  While I would love to dazzle you with the complexity and shear talent required to generate these amateurish scrawls, I will fess up and admit that it is considerably easier than brain surgery, rocket science, or growing asparagus.  Having tried the home study course on neurological reconstruction, I can safely say that I have a good point of reference.  Beside, a botched 'toon isn't going to leave you banned from the ER.  How was I s'posed to know that an eraser isn't and acceptable operating instrument?

Step one: The Idea
The ideas just seem to pop in and out of my head without any rhyme or reason.  However, after much therapy and counseling I have come to recognize patterns of what triggers the conception of a 'toon idea.  There are essentially two modes that my brain is in when an idea is conjured; (a) overly stimulated by coffee or (b) near comatose as experienced in the endless meetings of my 'day' job.

In this case, the idea was along the lines of aliens abducting people by baiting them into the UFO with free beer.... 

Step Two: The Characters
3:00am doodles of the aliens.  Here was a quick doodle to get an idea of what the aliens (as well as the posture) should be. 

Step Three: The Draft
This step has been known to consume several reams of paper for a single cartoon.  This is also where the general layout and "feel" of the 'toon is refined into a crude and barely intelegiatble sketch.

(Note: the original caption (below) read: "Yeah, much more effective than the 'free asparagus' sign too!" 

Step Four: Pencil
Using a fresh sheet of paper (i.e. does not have holes worn into it from the eraser... yet), I then re-draw the images in pencil. The outline is kept crisp and details are added.

Step Five: Pen Outline
Having drawn, and redrawn, and re-redrawn the image until I am now thoroughly sick of it, I then re-re-redraw over the pencil lines with a pen and erase the pencil lines.  This is also where the notion that ink is NOT erasable sneaks into your life and pronounces itself in the fashion of an obtrusive smudge.  But alas, the whiteout IS more powerful than the pen (which would make it about the most powerful weapon known to mankind).

Step Six: Scan and Colorize
The inked outline is then scanned using my 'el-cheap-o' scanner.  The drawing is then scaled, cropped, edited, touched up, colorized and the caption added (in this case, the caption was changed significantly from the original thought).  At this point, the colonization is a lot like a digital "paint by numbers" without the numbers...or the paint:

And whala!  There is it...

Now if I could only find somebody to read this crap...