Archives For Cartoons & Comics

 

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Lately, I’ve been watching, repetitively, a 20-year-old cartoon series that used to run on ABC Saturday Morning’s, “Nightmare Ned.”

Based off a video game, “Nightmare Ned” follows a bespectacled 10-year-old boy named Ned Needlemeyer whose nightmares are used to face his fears. Most times he comes out on top, but, other times his endings are not so good and he wakes up only to realize it was only a dream.

Finding this show was difficult, and I barely remember it being on the air. I was in middle school, 7th grade to be exact, when this show was on. I recall catching the intro and watching a clip or two. And no wonder, the show aired at 11am Central Time on our ABC affiliate here in Dallas. And usually around that time I was already out and about.

ned in a milk cow suit

The show is quite creativeand brilliant in its own crazy way. After 20 years, the show still holds up.

I’ve also studied the art style and it has helped me grow my drawing skills. Hence, Ned in cow pajamas from the episode, “Abduction.” 

Ned is relatable, especially if you were the boy who grew up facing bullies, your own personal anxieties and parents who didn’t quite get where you were coming from in perspective.

Because of “Nightmare Ned,” I’m reminded why I write what I write and how my personal experiences from boyhood are able to properly translate. I’m also reminded of my time growing up, slipping in and out of constant daydreams and having an overactive imagination and even wild dreams and nightmares.

I am reminded how some things growing up were tough, but, how things were not always that way.

I’m reminded to be OKAY with the past and write for the future, the future of other Ned Needlemeyer’s and Kendall Lyons’ out there whose experiences growing up were a bit unorthodox.

I’ve found myself writing my characters in my comic strips and in my books in such a way that they are truly “kids!” They’ve become more real because I’ve been reminded of how important it is to get real but still be funny and creative at the same time.

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Joe “Crazy 8’s” and I did these sketches during one of our meetings at a coffee shop! 

When I first started drawing I was by myself for the most part. I would post some of my work online and I would create with hopes that I would get some kind of input or advice or compliment.

Sure, at one point I was a member on DeviantArt and then later I connected with others on social media like Twitter and Facebook. It helped quite a bit.

But, I wanted even more!

Then, Instagram came in to the mix and I was fortunate to team up with other cartoonists…one in person and one from Canada.

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On Instagram, I often connect with Joe, the creator of “Crazy 8s” and Dave from Canada, the creator of the Instagram comic called “Kid and Mouse.” 

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Joe and I have constantly meet up to discuss our passion for comic strips, discussing and analyzing the works of people like Charles Schulz (Peanuts) and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and names that some might not know and independent artists.

I’ve learned a LOT from both Joe and Dave. We’ve done crossovers and collaborations together and they have shared their own tricks of the trade in comic strip creation. But, this couldn’t be if it wasn’t for the idea of connecting, networking and building a community.

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Characters from my webcomic, “By and By,” Walter Ayo and Ace Fox meet Bill and Carl!

When times get rough and we get a little down, Joe, Dave and I often will connect via the web and chat and encourage one another! This is a HUGE investment!

Every bit of that moment and time matters!

Every artist needs a community in which to connect and learn from. It’s not recommended to go it alone in a field or area of interest no matter what it is you’re studying or practicing. You need others to come alongside you and help you. You need people in which to grow with and learn and share with.

I’m fortunate that Joe and Dave are a part of that with me! And, I’m grateful for the other great cartoonists that I’ve connected with both independent and syndicated. And I’m looking forward to connecting with many more artists.

 

The Struggles with Glasses

December 24, 2016

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Growing up, I absolutely hated wearing glasses. It made me a target for a lot of bullying and teasing. Growing up, I was called “Steve Urkel,” the character that was played by Jaleel White on the ABC series, “Family Matters.”

As much as my mother wanted to make me feel better about the idea that “Steve Urkel” made a lot of money, truth is, it was not like I was getting paid for the mess I was dealing with in school.

By that rationale, Jaleel White owed me money for my mental suffering!

Kids (and adults) having to wear glasses all of a sudden can be a bit traumatic…a pretty big dea!  With one of the characters in the comic strip, “By and By,” Dylan Randolmill, I wanted him to began wearing glasses in order to do two things: set him apart from the rest of the characters….and….to bring real childhood experience to light. Dylan’s disdain for wearing glasses comes from the desperation of wanting to be accepted and loved by a group of kids in the strip who appear perfect and without blemish. He wanted to be like the “cool kids,” and while we have not been introduced by the cool kids as of yet, just not seeing them is reflective of the invisible person or persons that we try to impress but never seem to make that mark.

And truth is, most of us never will….and that’s fine!

You’re unique and genuine! Why let it be covered up by “fitting in.” Now THAT is a blog post by itself!

My friend and author, Joshua Smith, gave me the idea of setting him apart from the other kids. I chose glasses as the way to do it.

Dylan absolutely hates it, but I think he’ll began to accept it. I know I did.

In fact, the older I got, the more glasses started becoming the new “hip” thing to do. I now have over 5 pairs of glasses that I can choose from because many of them are a lot nicer looking compared to the ones I had growing up.

I personally think that Dylan looks great with his glasses! Besides, his character is not the stereotypical nerd or geek…he’s a diplomat between the “cool kids” and the kids who are not so “cool.” Will the glasses create friction and trouble for him…only time will tell as I continue to write and create the strip.