Photoshop Fills

Cartoonist Jason Chatfield was kind enough to offer some Photoshop shortcut advice to me after seeing me muddle through coloring an upcoming greeting card.

His fill bucket advice alone would save me tons, and I mean TONS, of time when coloring, but the thing I can never get past is this…

OK, here’s a circle I drew with the brush:


Now, using the fill bucket, I click inside the circle:


Good right? But the thing that always bugs me is this slight white line separating the original outline and the fill:


I’m really showing my PS ignorance here, but I’m not too proud to ask for a little help.

Anyone know how to get around this?

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Coming to Terms with Bob Staake

I was up with Bonnie last night from 1:30 to 3:00. After finally getting her fed, changed, cuddled and back to sleep, I decided to check my email before heading back to bed.

Well, one link led to another and I found myself at Bob Staake’s relatively new blog. Bob, if you don’t already know, is one kick ass illustrator/cartoonist. Goodness knows he’s a brilliant guy and has probably already accomplished more this morning than I will the rest of this month.

But here’s the thing…

He wrote a blog entry entitled “If Cartoonists Only Knew How to Draw” that kept me up thinking long after I hit the sack again.

Here’s the crux of the article:

For cartoonists to believe that respect would be a given when the vast majority of them would fail to push any aesthetic envelope or embrace even a modicum of visual experimentation is as audacious as it is self-delusional. While illustrators, designers, graphic artists have always been open to a broader myriad of visual influences (from architecture to industrial design, photography to typography) informing their work and infecting their subconscious, cartoonists tend to have more parachocial mindsets and remain comfortably influenced by, well, other cartoonists. Find a cartoonist who has heard of Phillipe Starck or Charles Eames or Walker Evans, and you better check his fingernails for ink.

OK, I’ve belly-ached about cartoons as an art not receiving the respect they deserve like most others of my ilk. But I gotta say I think Bob’s missed the boat here.

I’d like to think he’s lambasting only cartoon-inspired illustrators, but this suggests otherwise:

The American comic strip in particular is mired in pop cultural predictabilty, most syndicated cartoonists falling back on a well-established vocabulary of visuals and a less than venturesome imparting of concepts, ideas, humor and characters. Curse the painful death of the mass market magazine gag cartoon, but it did clean house, insuring that only great gag cartoons — those in The New Yorker — survived the plague.

So the way I read this is it’s my own fault that the art world, nay, humanity in general, doesn’t respect my cartoons as true art.


That being said, let’s remember that more than half of gag cartooning, comic strips, editorial cartoons, and the like, is writing. To paraphrase Mankoff, it’s the think, not the ink that makes a successful cartoon.

I’ll grant that I’m not the greatest artist. I have no formal training, and, truth be told, I desire none. But I doubt any of my clients would buy a cartoon considered “great art” if the thing wasn’t funny. That’s just not how it works.

Let’s remember too that gag cartooning is almost entirely an “on spec” profession. I write a bunch of jokes, draw them up and send them out to make their way in the publishing world. You do this over and over and over and over until you can make a living at it.

Therefore I’m not laboring over each cartoon for days at a time. I sketch, ink, shade and scan three cartoons a day when I’m on a non-new-baby schedule. If I invested time for daily inspiration by great art I’d be living out of a shopping cart.

(BTW, I’d like to suggest that static visual artists can be influenced by other arts as well. I count among my greatest artistic influences jazz trombonist Carl Fontana, George Carlin, and bad B movies from the 50’s and 60’s.)

And I’m so sick and tired of The New Yorker being offered up as the litmus test for gag cartooning. It’s brilliant stuff and wonderful validation to be sure, but it’s possible to call yourself a successful gag cartoonist without ever grabbing the brass monocle.

More from Bob:

Truth be told, it’s doubtful that cartooning will ever be viewed with any legitimacy as an art form. If that happens, it will only occur when cartoonists en masse make the conscious effort to approach their work with a committment to fresh self-expression both viually and conceptually rather — than regurgitating its contextual traditions, relying on established forms and a resignation to stagnation over experimentation.

So when it all comes down, I’ll probably never be considered a legitimate artist, and Bob will. OK. All things being equal I’d rather be funny.

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Daily Cartoon Typepad Widget Now Available

Tp Logo Hirez-1

For some time I’ve made available a free daily cartoon for blogs and websites. (If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!)

It’s pretty simple to utilize; you just cut and paste some HTML code and it’s up and working.

Today, if your blog is hosted via TypePad (like everyone’s fave cartoon blog here), the news is even better.

I’m proud to unveil my TypePad “Andertoons Daily Cartoon” Widget! Just choose a category, click “Install”, sign in to your TypePad account, and you’re done! It’s that easy!

Plus, act now and we’ll include two bottles of our pet stain remover, with perma-foam applicator, absolutely free!*

This is our first widget, so we’ve done a lot of testing, and the results have been wonderful.

So, all your TypePad-ers, give it a try, and I hope you enjoy it!

*Offer not valid in any way.

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Aeon Sux


With the recent rash of late night feedings, late night diaper changes and the like, I’ve been working my Netflix queue hard.

I just finished up Aeon Flux and while I wasn’t expecting a great movie, I was surprised how disappointed I was.

The source material is odd but interesting, and I think they had trouble pounding such unconventional into the traditional “we need another big action set piece here” mold. (Also, how they ended up making Charlize Theron in a skin tight catsuit look plain is beyond me.)

And am I the only one who thinks all this damn wire work jumped the kung-fu shark two Matrix sequels ago? Honestly, it’s just boring now. Time for someone to come up with something new, or, truer to Hollywood, repackage some older shit again.

Anyway, I’ll give them some credit for the attempt, and as 2 AM bottle fodder it’s fine, but for goodness sake don’t waste an evening on this wannabe stylish vanilla.

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Spot the Frog – Review


I’d grouped my copy of Mark Heath‘s Spot the Frog with an older, harder-to-find book at Amazon and found myself in cartoon limbo. After many weeks of waiting, Amazon emailed to tell me they’d been unsuccessful at getting that second book from any of their sources, and that Spot was on its way.

Now that my wife and I have devoured it, I wish I’d ordered Spot by itself with next day shipping.

Listen, I’m not a great writer past a gag line or two, and folks on/in Mark’s book sing his well deserved praises better than I ever could (the comparison to Milne was especially accurate), but I’ll give it a shot.

Spot not only made me laugh, but root for him. The strips are gently funny, but far from simple or maudlin. So many comics (including all of my failed syndication attempts) brashly aim for the jugular every time, but Spot sneaks up and tickles you in a surprising way that you can’t help but fall in love with every line, written or drawn.

I think I’ve compared it to Watterson in the past, and it certainly well deserved, but Mark has birthed a wondrously silly and fresh voice all his own, and it’s something to behold.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy, and don’t skimp on the shipping.

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