The webcomics blog about webcomics

Boston, Ho

Gotta hit the road, this is gonna be quick:

  • Interview with Danielle Corsetto from Stumpton Trade Review conducted during the recently-concluded Emerald City con.
  • MoCCA‘s education series continues, and the sessions of interest to anybody doing any kind of comics, anywhere, ever, have got to be four Tuesdays in April and May on anatomy with R Sikoryak and Kriota Willberg:

    Through PowerPoint presentations, in-class exercises, and at-home assignments, students will learn to see and draw the structures and tissues that give the body shape and character. Willberg will—literally!—draw on live models to trace muscle groups and bony landmarks. Sikoryak will demonstrate the application of anatomical understanding to any cartooning style. Students will practice drawing from live models in class and learn to apply the lessons to their own characters.

    Details at the MoCCA site; $275 tuition, $250 for members.

  • On ideas, scarcity and plenitude: two viewpoints, from Howard Tayler and Olaf Moriarty Solstrand. Tayler’s taking exception to the most common question that creative types get, Where do you get your ideas? and giving it a right kicking. Solstrand (webmaster of the largest webcartooning network in Norway and writer of Donald Duck comics, which makes him one of the biggest deals in comics everywhere on this planet except America) has set himself the project of:

    [A] brain exercise to keep the blog updated and also to keep myself on the toes at all times: I’m trying to come up with one hundred comic ideas in one hundred days.

    For the first six days, I’ve succeeded pretty well: One idea a day, and I already have the next three ideas planned in advance. The level of ideas we’re talking about ranges from simple plot ideas to ideas on completely different ways to make comics. If everything goes well, I’ll publish idea #100 June 24 this year.

    Of course, the more people actually looking over my shoulder and expecting me to update something, the bigger is the chance I’ll actually succeed.

    I must confess, I hadn’t heard of Solstrand’s blog (and since I live in America where Donald Duck comics aren’t so common), nor was I familiar with his comics work. But since he wrote me a few days ago, I’ve been perusing his blog and enjoying the hell out of myself. Start reading, start learning, and take some inspiration.

Solstrand’s project and my own blog post on ideas stem from the same concept: Ideas are cheap. I don’t think the two of us are much of a study in contrast between scarcity and plenitude of ideas. We’re arguing the same point in different ways.

If ideas weren’t cheap, Solstrand wouldn’t be giving them away on his blog. He’d generate those 100 ideas and then try to capitalize on them.

The clever part is that he IS capitalizing on one of his ideas. He had this idea where he could post lots of ideas to his blog in order to highlight the creative process. Executing on that idea requires him to use dozens of unrelated ideas as part of the execution.

And that first idea? It’s a good one, but if he wasn’t executing on it then the next 100 ideas would just be so much singing in the shower.

We did something similar this week on Writing Excuses ( by brainstorming ideas from quirky newspaper headlines.

I agree with Tayler here: Ideas are worthless unless put to use. “Where do you get your ideas?” My impression is that everybody get ideas all the time. When the bus is late, perhaps you’re thinking “Buses should go more often here, perhaps once a minute, so I didn’t have to wait so long”. When you’re cooking, perhaps you’re thinking “Okay, I’m all out of oregano, I wonder what this sauce will taste like if I use basil instead and perhaps add an extra pinch of salt”. When you’re waiting for your girlfriend to finish trying on the ten different outfits she wants to buy, perhaps you’re thinking “If I owned a mall, it would be designed especially for men, and there wouldn’t be a single clothing store there, only comic book shops and hardware shops and an all-you-can-eat pizzeria dominating most of the ground floor”. Congratulations, you just had three ideas. Ideas are cheap.

And it’s amazing how many of my favorite comics and stories are based on very ordinary ideas. For example, I still laugh at Scott Kurtz’ PvP. It’s a comic strip about a group of people and a troll running a magazine – not the most original idea. Or look at Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Awesome idea. Now, look at The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the movie. The exact same idea, but the end product is a turd. Having good ideas is great, but execution is everything.

Thanks for the link! I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of my blog, considering that one of the reasons I started this project is that the blog hadn’t been updated in six months. Will upload some of my comic work there soon, too. Glad you like it!

[…] checked Gary Tyrell’s Fleen for updates on what’s going on in Webcomics World, and in his latest update he mentions this blog. Awesome! But he also linked to a very interesting blog post by Howard Tayler […]

A key point that others have missed in this discussion is that “Olaf Moriarty Solstrand” is one of the best names ever.

[…] a March 2010 edition of Gary Tyrrell’s Fleen, Tyrrell linked to a very interesting blog post by Howard Tayler (of […]

[…] think that I can develop it to the point where it would be very good. As we at Fleen have discussed in the past, the notion that ideas are scarce is at best a distraction — execution is all […]

[…] Ideas are a dime a dozen. Give them away. Repurpose that tweet into a comic. Don’t be afraid to burn more gags than you could use in a week. Hell, use ‘em all in one strip, your brain will bake more cookies. […]

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