Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to TAGS

TAGS character sketches
Multi-color ball-point pen ink on paper.
each 21.59 cm x 27.94 cm (8.50 in. x 11.00 in)
May 19 & 20, 2008

I doodled a few "TAGS" characters in a sketch book, the first time in many years. These designs, are a lot closer to those from my comic strip which ran previous to "TAGS," "BackStage." The "TAGS" character designs feature the characters with big heads and much more anthropomorphic bodies, all within a tight height range - pretty close to Charles Schulz's "Peanuts," very similar to Richard Scarry's Busytown critters. The reason was practical, so that they would fit into the tiny panels of the TAGS daily strip format.

I have mentioned "BackStage" previously, but to re-cap: it was a free format comic strip which started as lunch break doodles about the shenanigan of working in a restaurant in a popular amusement park. Auto-biographical? Sure. The characters were anthropomorphic animals representing my co-workers. The designs, like the strip itself, were what I made up as I went along. It wasn't too disimilar in style and quality, I now think, from what you may find in an independent comic.

I used that as a spring board for "TAGS".

There's something I find appealing about dealing with characters of such widely different body types and sizes. It is at least more interesting for me to draw. Beyond the confines of comic panels, I do let the designs stray to the "BackStage" way.

I wonder why Disney didn't do more of it in their animated features: clothes wearing anthropomorphic critters, especially with Mickey and the gang as the company's foundation. Really just "Robin Hood." Of lesser examples are sequences in "Song of the South," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," plus characters sprinkled in "Pinocchio," "Alice in Wonderland," and the anthologies.

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