Process of Cartooning


Outside of writing a “How To” book or piecing something together from interviews, it’s hard to get artists to describe their process for working. Cartoonist Ted Slampyak wrote a blog entry that lays out how he works.

I am always amazed that cartoonists can continually meet deadlines, so it’s interesting to see how that happens in one case. Most interesting to me is that he does the word balloons first. I’m guessing that means the art in this serves the dialog instead of the other way around.

3 responses

  1. I can answer this one a bit: the art usually serves the scipt, and the balloon placement is generally considered along with the art for overall composition of each panel.
    If you want to see a cool worksheet, check out Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work:

    I believe I first found this via The Temple of The Seven Golden Camels, a site on composition and drawing that I always geek out over:


  2. Thanks for linking to my post, David!
    It’s not really a question of art serving the script, or vice versa — they both should serve the story. Tony’s got it right — the lettering is a necessary element to the panel, and its placement needs to be a part of the design layout.
    Putting the lettering first shouldn’t be seen as giving it a higher priority — it’s simply a fact that lettering size isn’t negotiable the way art is. I always try to make the artwork as attention-getting and powerful as I can, as appropriate to the story. But the fact remains, I can show Annie from the waist up, or only from one side, but the words can’t be cut off. The quickest way to make a professional drawing look unprofessional is to screw up the lettering balloons.


  3. Thanks for the replies you guys. Ted, I am obviously not an artist, I just enjoyed the insightful way you wrote up your process.
    Thanks for the great post. I signed up for your feed!
    Tony, thanks for the links. I love it.


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