Bizarro is brought to you today by Personally Humiliating Work From The Past.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, tomorrow, Friday the 22nd of January, 2010, is the 25th anniversary of Bizarro. A few readers understandably wondered if the cartoon posted yesterday was the first one that ever ran. It was not, the abomination posted here entitled, "Sock Exchange" was the very first, as you can see by the publication date nestled beneath the psychotically scrawled signature.
Let's deconstruct the awfulness, shall we? At present, I draw everything with a small brush on bristol board, which is a kind of very thick paper that is standard among professional cartoonists. Back then, not knowing what I was doing, how I should do it, or my ass from my elbow, I drew with a rapidograph technical pen on tracing paper. Yes, TRACING paper! So if you were wondering why the image above looks as though it were etched by an asylum inmate on wax with a piece of wire, now you know. Using a tech pen is perfectly fine if you're drawing in a clean, neat style. Like this guy. But I was was trying to use a pen to do things a brush does. Took me a few years to figure that out. Perhaps I shouldn't have dropped out of art school.
The joke isn't so bad, I'd use it today if I'd just thought of it, but the drawing is really something hideous. I had been doing ultra-realistic commercial illustrations of food products for a living, similar to this, and had not been drawing cartoons long enough nor consistently enough to have developed any kind of style. My biggest influence was B. Kliban, but my early work didn't look anything like his, either. Besides, I didn't want people to think I was borrowing from someone else's style, so I just flew off in a random direction in hopes of developing my own look. Which I eventually did, but it took a few years.
And check out that winsome signature. Such style, such grace, such suckage. It looks like it was constructed of burned fragments of a wooden fence.
I'm happy my work isn't this clumsy anymore, that's one good thing about getting older.
Below are two earlier cartoons of mine from 1995 and 1998. By this time I was drawing with a brush and you can see that I changed my lettering style somewhere between those dates. I was still using a tech pen to letter, but later did that with a brush, too.
Tomorrow I'll post a cartoon or two from different years throughout the process to show how my drawings have changed.