Bloozit Press at Boston Comicon and Mass Independent Comics Expo!

It looks like I will be exhibiting this year at BCC and at MICE. I have space at the Boston Comics Roundtable booth, along with my other roundtable compadres. BCC is Aug. 8-10, so I’ve been scrambling to get a book together. I’m quite proud of the results; the images are finally starting to look, on paper, the way they look in my head. I’ve even had to bind them by hand, because there’s no time to farm it out. They have a cool, handmade look to them. So here it is, the very first Hootie book, titled “You worry me, Mr. Rodent”
cover-color_thumbnail
So if you’re in the Boston area, come check it out. In past years I’ve gone to these types of events as a volunteer. They’re a blast, and a great way to connect with the local comics community.

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First 46 Hootie strips moved to archives

I’ve been doing Hootie Comics for three years now, and my…er…learning curve is clearly visible. When I go back to those early strips now, I think, “Yeesh!” Actually, the strips I’m really proud of are still sitting in the queue; they haven’t even been published yet (part of the reason I stepped the schedule up to twice per week).

I wanted to still have those old strips available, but I didn’t want to necessarily showcase them. So starting May 25, 2014, the “first” nav button will take you back to strip 47, which is the earliest strip that doesn’t make me cringe too much. To see strips 1-46, you have to go to the archives.

I think many new readers hit the “First” button and start reading from the beginning, because that’s what I do myself when I discover a new web comic. This change will prevent the rawest of my early stuff from being the first thing those new readers see.

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Hootie Comics goes to twice per week!

banner-twice-weekly

Like most cartoonists, I tend to build up a queue because there are times I get busy and don’t have much time to draw, and I want to keep Hootie Comics coming out on a regular schedule.

Well, I’ve been getting faster, and now my queue is quite long. So starting Thursday May 1 2014 (that’s the day after tomorrow), I’ll be publishing every Thursday and Sunday. Also, since I’m constantly improving, my best stuff has yet to be seen, so this will get it out there a bit faster. Stay Tuned…

-Jonny

Check out Hootie Comics, every Thursday and Sunday

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How to Stink with Style

OK, so I gave this post a somewhat inflammatory title to get your attention…and for the record, I don’t really think any of the artists I’m going to discuss “stink,” I actually think they’re all pretty good, just not Enki Bilal sort of good, and I think that they themselves would agree. So with that out of the way, here’s what’s been on my mind. There are quite a few cartoonists who, by their own admission, are not the world’s greatest draftsmen, yet their work is incredibly appealing. Charles Schulz, Lewis Trondheim, Sergio Aragones, and Chester Brown come to mind. So what makes a cartoon appealing, besides sheer technical skill? Since I’m no Sean Gordon Murphy myself, this seems worth thinking about. If you look at enough of this kind of work, patterns begin to emerge, and if you note the similarities in the patterns, you begin to see rules. I have attempted to distill them below:

Clarity
You always know what you’re looking at; there’s no mistaking what the artist is trying to show you. You’re never scratching your head going, “What IS that?! Is it a cow? Is it a bus?”

Consistency
Everything is drawn in a consistent way, at a more-or-less consistent quality level; there are no botched panels, nothing sticks out like a sore thumb. If a world is consistent enough, the viewer gets pulled into that reality, and the quirks become part of the ambience. When we read Peanuts, we just accept that we are in Big-Head World.

Correct Perspective
Even cartoonists like Trondheim who don’t use a ruler and draw everything crooked, still draw scenes with fundamentally correct perspective.

Individuality
When you look at the work, you immediately know whose work you’re looking at.

All comments are welcome, particularly counter-examples to these rules. I suspect the first rule to get attacked will be the one about correct perspective. Many artists from Picasso onward have deliberately violated perspective to produce impact, but I don’t believe this can be done successfully without KNOWING perspective first. Anyway, what do YOU think?

Check out Hootie Comics every Sunday

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New Feature: Archive Page

Tomorrow’s update will include a new feature: I’m replacing the old “jump to strip number” box with a link to a proper archive page

This is going away:
jump-box-going-away

To be replaced by this:
new-archive-page

Additionally, strips will now have proper titles, instead of just numbers.

The old jump-box was kind of a useless feature from the start. Why would you want to jump to strip 103 when you have no idea what strip 103 contains? Eventually I may get fancier and try to put thumbnails of the strips next to their titles, but for now, I think this is a big improvement.

Check out Hootie Comics, updated every Sunday

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A couple screw-ups fixed

First off, it looks like I accidentally deleted the forwarding page that I had left in the place where my old landing page used to be before the site reorganization:
cleaning_hootie
I put it back; sorry about that. I meant to leave it there indefinitely, so anyone who has the old location bookmarked will land on the forwarding page instead of getting a 404/page not found error.

The next annoyance is, some of you may have noticed that the jump feature of the nav bar sometimes doesn’t work right. This is because of the browser caching old versions of the Javascript. I figured out how to stop it from doing that, and just uploaded the fix.

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Some more site reorganization

Lately I’ve been feeling insufficiently challenged by drawing funny animal strips. So I’ve embarked on a new little project: following in the footsteps of Rick Veitch and Winsor McKay, I’ve begun keeping a comics dream journal. Here’s the first one:
Dream comic #1
I’m going to post these when I have more of them, so I had to re-organize the site to support having more than one comic strip. You see, for the past 2.5 years, Hootie was my one & only strip, and that assumption was baked into the software that I wrote to generate the site.

Refactoring wasn’t hard, but I had to move each strip into its own folder, so a couple things were necessarily broken. First, apologies if you are one of the early adopters of the single-click-bookmark button. I have to keep a separate bookmark for each strip now, so your old bookmarks are now invalid. Bookmarks you create going forward will be OK. Second, the landing page http://bloozit.com/comics_index.html has moved to http://bloozit.com/hootie/comics_index.html but I put a funny graphic at the old location that redirects you to the new location. It’s a picture of Hootie with a broom & apron, cleaning up the site.

Be good,
-Jonny

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