March 11, 2016

These days, I find myself drawing hybrid cartoons. In the past, for more than a hundred years, comic strips were designed to be black and white. The Sunday funnies were an exception, of course, but that is what made them seem like a special treat, largely, I would argue, because they were something different, not better. The vast majority of cartoons were drawn in black and white, and many were works of art. Even the grays on our printed page were–are–really patterns of black and white. If you drew cartoons or any line art for publication, you came to think that way. Today, not only is there the Web, many newspapers print comic strips in color seven days a week. Still, hard as it might be to believe, a majority of readers see their comics in a newspaper that still prints only in black and white. So, what do I mean by hybrid? In the above, Arlo and Janis are heavily silhouetted in the penultimate panel as they catch the last rays of the dying sun. In the last panel, I knew I’d be adding a color that would depict the onset of deep twilight, some shade of purple. So, I went that way instead of shading them gray as I probably would have done in the day when everything was black and white. Serving two masters, if you will. This is a complicated and interesting subject. I probably shouldn’t have brought it up, because I don’t have time to do it justice. Maybe we’ll come back to it soon.