Branding

branding

click to enlarge

Launch Date May 2001

Background When I was an early teen, I wanted to have all the "cool" clothes and brand name stuff. As I got older I started to realize that I was PAYING someone to take out ad space on me. That just seemed completely backward--shouldn't they be paying me? Or shouldn't the clothes be free? Over time, I just started to see logos and brands everywhere; it's like life had become one big commercial

So this cartoon has been kicking around in my head for awhile. I'm not really sure if this comic really makes the point or not. Maybe a better caption would be "do you own it, or does it own you?"

Original Sketch Probably half of my comics are born on the back of some piece of scratch paper. There's something about a sketch pad that is a little intimidating, but if you doodle on throwaway paper, you have a little more freedom. This one happened to find it's way onto the back of some 8 1/2 " x 11" envelope.

I knew that I wanted a simpler, more "cartoony" style. On the way to the drawing board I decided that the right hand panel needed some more people. The hardest part was thinking up other logos, because I really don't know that many different brands outside of junk food and computer equipment. I really don't know from clothes anymore (I really do try to ignore the ad barrage). You'll note all the brands are recognizable but fake. I'll put the real ones in once I get the check.

Inking I was hoping to knock this out quickly. You always think that a simpler style should be simpler, right? But it never is. Anyway, in trying to belt it out quickly at first I used some crappy pens for the border and the lettering. They tended to smear. Once I realized that this really would take awhile, I slowed down and tried to do it right.

I tried a different inking technique this time. If you look closely, you'll see that the people (and cow) in the foreground have a heavier line weight (thicker line) around their "perimeter." The idea is that the heavier line will make the objects "pop" out more and stand apart from the lesser important objects and background. I have always found this particular technique to be a bit of a cheat--things that are closer to you don't really have a darker outline. Nevertheless, I decided to try it. I think it works okay--it does kinda give the image a sense of having more than one plane--but it also tends to make the people look like cardboard cutouts. I definitely think the trick works better with the more cartoony images rather than a more "realistic" style.

Even though I was trying to go for a much simpler style, I still wound up with lines galore. So many in the left panel, in fact, that I actually used white paint to cover a lot of them up. You can't see it in the reproduction, but that panel was largely black before. Another by-product of trying to do it fast rather than right.

I did spend some time on the faux-logos, although I'm not really sure that any of them are really big enough to make an impact. Do you just lose sight of them? I'm not sure if the point is really made. I also tried to make the people faces reminiscent of the cow's face (big eyes, frown) without completely making them look like cows.

Ultimately In case you can't read it, the note at the bottom right says "brought to you by Cej brand comics." Just because you critique, doesn't mean that you escape...