Monday, February 20, 2006

Flight Plan

Dry Bones cartoon - El Al Anti Missile Systems
This is one of those cartoons where I have fun taking a minimalist approach to "animating" through the four panels of the strip. Only Uncle Shuldig's eyes and mouth change from panel to panel.
I believe that readers will "get" the changes in facial signals without being consciously aware of them. I also think that it's funny. Let me explain.

Shuldig's body pose is identical in the four panels.

But in the first panel his eyes look at us and at the same time are tilted slightly up. This signals that he is both speaking to us and remembering at the same time.
In the second panel his eyes show that he's thinking and speaking to himself.
In panel three, his eyes are focused on the text that he's reading.
The "pained" eyebrow In the last panel completes the eye sequence.

Mr. Shuldig's mouth also goes through a similar four step sequence that I think communicates without being noticed.

One trick that I thought would be noticed (and appreciated) was my switching of lettering style for the quote Shuldig reads from the newspaper.
I commented on it to an artist friend who'd stopped by my studio and had just read the cartoon. "Gee" she said, "I didn't notice that."

Oh well,
You can't win 'em all.