I’m always on the lookout for people doing interesting things with their weblogs and I’m also a fan of comics, comix, illustrated novels, and similar graphical works, so when I bumped into a blog focused on PC geek humor, I couldn’t resist asking the cartoonist about his efforts…
Q: A cartoonist. Cool. How often do you publish new work and how did you get started with cartooning?
The PC Weenies is published 3-times a week, M-W-F. I was always interested in cartooning, even from a very young age. It was always a dream of mine to become an animator, having grown up with Bugs Bunny / Road Runner on television.
In high school, I discovered Marvel comics and became fascinated with storytelling via sequential art. I didn’t really get serious about cartooning until my first professional work appeared on CNET back in
1999. As a result of that exposure, my work has since appeared in “What PC?” Magazine in the UK, and subsequently EE Times within the US.
Q: Talk us through the process of creating a specific cartoon, including what tools and applications you use. How long does it take to complete a single panel strip?
Each cartoon begins with research. I’m on various tech news sites like Slashdot, digg, ArsTechnica, and the like. I also use an aggregate RSS newsreader to keep up with my favorite news and blogs
throughout the day. I keep all my ideas jotted down using digital Stickies, on my PowerMac Dual 2GHz G5 Macintosh. Each ‘toon begins with a pencil and my sketchpad.
I use an Epson Perfection 2480 to scan the pencil sketch into the computer. I use Corel Painter and a Wacom Intuos 3 6″ x 8″ tablet to digitally ink on top of the pencil sketch, and use layers to preserve and separate the ink layer from the pencil layer. For digital inking, Corel Painter can’t be beat. Next, coloring, backgrounds and text are created using Photoshop CS2.
It takes me approximately 2 hours from start-to-finish.
Q: You’re not just using a website for your comics, you’re a blogger. Why blog, instead of just have a traditional Web site?
One of the best things about the Internet, which I have come to appreciate, is the degree in which the cartoonist can interact with the reader. Blogging not only allows me a small soapbox in which I can share some insight into my personal life, it more importantly allows me to share the behind-the-scenes aspect on creating the PC Weenies, i.e., how an idea came about, technical challenges that I faced, or even how-to-tutorials on digital cartooning.
From time to time, I also plug other webcomics that I’ve discovered, in an effort to expose readers to other works that I enjoy reading. In a traditional newspaper comic, the audience plays a very passive role. With a webcomic and blog, the reader can react and become an active participant.
Q: Do you get feedback from readers, and if so, is it mostly positive and encouraging, or do you find netheads a cranky lot?
I rarely receive feedback, but with the PCW Guest-Star option I’ve recently added to the site, feedback has gotten much better. In its nearly 8 year run, I’ve surprisingly received 99% positive feedback from my readership. Constructive criticism is also something I have received in the past, and it has been an invaluable tool in improving the site, and my work.
Q: Did you build the site yourself, or did you work with a designer and web programmer?
I designed the look and feel of the site using Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and my good friend Tom Davis did a fantastic job building all the back-end functionality using PHP and MySQL, including the rotating banner ads, the key-word searchable archives, and even the customized blog. He’s simply the most amazing programmer I’ve ever had the chance to work with, and the site definitely would not have been the same without him.
Q: What’s next? Any books in the works? Any syndication deals with more traditional media?
In the immediate future, I’m working towards finishing my thesis and graduating. However, I do plan on publishing the very first PC Weenies book later this year. I also plan to explore the realm of 2D animation with the PC Weenies – I’ve embarked on this endeavor and I hope to have it completed before April this year.
Thank you very much for your candor, K. Sadasivam! Dear reader, do you know of any bloggers who are using their blogs in unusual or interesting ways? Let me know about it…