Black and white decisions and Stragglers talk.

After exploring many popular comic strip artists, anime and manga are interesting but I am personally still discovering these and I am very late to this game, I think one of the most overlooked aspects is print. Many comics were formatted for daily strips and papers had a lower profit margin on a daily run. This forced ink costs to be considered if you wanted to be printed by a syndication and thus the artist was pressed to consider black and white. Papers are being eliminated daily from our lives, for better or worse, and self publishing outfits like SoundedHeart are being formed by inspired artists. Most artists turn to digital for ease, cost, and that all important CTRL-Z, and what we find is we have everything at our fingertips.
Now we have another problem, black and white seems old and uninspired. Yes, manga is bringing black and white to the populous but this is probably the only medium I can think of where digital art is held in check. Personally when I sit down and read Garfield, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Mutts, Get Fuzzy or the random Far Side; I find myself captivated by shading techniques, line work, and detail in those black and white daily comics. I remember waking and rushing to the paper and grabbing the comic section and taking in all the stories. Sundays were coupon days in the papers, for those who are younger, and this brought revenue to the papers and thus ink was more available for use. Even then the artist had to keep colors to a minimum and generally we will see primary used more heavily then secondary. We never really see mixing or deep shading in those prints.
Color adds pop and intrigue but honestly if the story is horrible I cannot and will not back it. Calvin and Hobbes was and is my favorite story of all time. Bill Watterson masterly told a story of childhood and adventures from the eyes of Calvin and related to every single boy and man on the planet and at the same time showed vulnerabilities and that sometimes you need to cry. Confusion and sometimes deep questions are raised but it was never at the expense to the reader. His color works are fantastic but they will never be placed near his daily work in my mind. I think half the time color was used because the comic artist got bored with the same old same and wanted to express themselves in a big way.
So this leads me to believe that story is more captivating then the actual art taking place. Well this leads me into a different line of thought but I believe first you need characters. Readers need to connect with the characters through stories.
When we decided to go at Stragglers we first brainstormed the characters. We did not enter into comic ring thinking we are great artists, personally I believe this will develop and change anyway, look at '78 Garfield and '86 Calvin and Hobbes or The Simpsons on the Tracy Ulman show. What we really wanted to convey was a family displaced from the Northern US to the Southern US. It is a personal journey of a each member of the family and the struggle they have daily overcoming the aspects of the journey. I am from Massachusetts and moved to Texas early on and that was an experience. My wife and I moved to Arkansas from the west coast and then bought a home in the country, having never lived in the country...eye opener anyone? The characters in the strip are ripped from our stories in this conquest and I really hope people enjoy them. Hopefully the Stragglers family develop in art and story over time and if the journey is half as fun as our own, we are all in for a treat. It may be my hand and mind doing the work but it is our heart and soul doing the telling. I hope to see you all on the Stragglers journey!
Drop a line in the forum and comment here if you believe in stories and want to share your experience! Follow SoundedHeart on Facebook, Instagram, and check out our videos on Youtube for the latest Stragglers and other artwork. Want to share anything of yours? Hit up the forum or write a blog! SoundedHeart is open for you and will continue to thrive through you. Thanks for reading!

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