I’m finally launching Kid Universal! This is the cover for the first story line called Time Saving Techniques. Each week I’ll post one panel and I’ll keep an archive in a link on the left side of the page. Your feedback is needed and greatly appreciated. If you like what I’m doing or think I could do something better send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
An early attempt at “Kid Universal” from 2011
It was 2009. After a year of making poor choices I was broke, with out a car, without a place to live. I was couch surfing from friends house to friends house and occasionally crashing with strangers. Fun for a while but not a sustainable lifestyle. All of my mistakes were forcing me toward one inevitable outcome- it was time to move back in with mom and dad until I could straiten out my life.
I had good reason to believe this would work. Previously my parents had moved 1,000 miles away to a small town north of Cincinnati, Ohio. I had only been there once so I didn’t know anybody and it was far enough away from all the distractions I had let lead me to this point. Also they had a a dog and dogs are therapeutic for people who are down on their luck. I’m sure there is research to back up this claim but I don’t have it at hand. If you don’t believe me you can Google it.
So that fall I moved to Ohio. By this time I hadn’t finished a drawing in almost two years.
My parents were renting a small house with a detached garage that they used for storage. The garage was damp inside from a crack in the foundation that let in water when it rained. Spiders took up residence in the unfinished ceiling. The electrical outlets were so old that if you turned on a space heater and the lights at the same time it would overload the circuit and the power would go out. Despite its flaws it was the only space available, and I desperately wanted to draw, so the garage became my studio. It was bitterly cold but a heavy coat and a few blankets later I was ready to work.
This is where Kid Universal was born.
He started out as a sketch of a kid in a super hero costume. My nephew had been born earlier that year. I hadn’t met him yet because I was too broke to travel but I kept his picture on my desk. The inspiration for Kid Universal came from thinking- when my nephew is old enough to read, what kind of stories would he like?
I wrote short scripts that were terrible. I made more sketches that were terrible. It turns out that if you don’t make art for a long time it’s very hard to get back into it. But I stayed with it. I would work on KU until I realized something about the story didn’t work. Then I’d take a break for a few months until I came up with a better idea. In 2011 I managed to draw two pages. By 2014 I got the character to they point where he deserved a story and then I drew that story.
If you want to do something that is hard, that seems insurmountable, if you keep at it, you will make it happen.
I wanted to share this story and drawings because Kid Universal starts tomorrow and updates weekly and I wanted you to see how he started and how he changed by now. He’s just the beginning of a much wider Little Dog Comics universe. Please keep following and tell your friends to as well.
As of this posting there are 40,934,044 pictures on Instagram with the hashtag “dog.” It’s a fact, since the invention of photography, people love to take pictures of their dogs. (Check out this one from 1860.) I love dogs and old photos so I started a collection of vintage pooch photography. This is the first photo from my collection. I believe its from the 1940’s but I’m not quite sure. As I bought more photos my interests grew into vintage photography in general. These just sit in boxes and are rarely seen so I’ve decided to publish them in a monthly feature called Vintage Dog.
I wish I could start posting pages from Kid Universal and A Cupcake to Die For but I can’t until I finish a good back log of pages. However, I think it’s safe to share some of the concept art I’ve done without giving away any spoilers. Please excuse the poor image quality. These were shot from my phone out of my sketch book and hastily assembled in Photoshop. My main tools were brush, ink, 0.5 micron pen, and Copic markers.
The guy in the top left is actually a real person who lived from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. If you can tell me his real name e-mail your answer to email@example.com. The first person with the correct answer will win a sketch card featuring this character.
Following a theme from last weeks post here’s another illustration featuring a squirrel. With flowing cape and striped underpants Squirrel Boy patrols the night to defend the innocent. That rustle you hear outside your window could be your valiant protector or, if you’ve done evil, he may be coming for you!
Here’s something I don’t like doing, making prints for comic conventions. In order to make money at these shows I feel like unestablished artists have to make prints of well known characters. Boring. How many versions of wolverine do we need? So that’s where I was when I started this drawing. Feeling like I had to make something unoriginal while wanting to do something new. In the end I decided I didn’t care if it sold well that I would just make a print that I enjoyed. So far I’ve sold exactly one copy of this print and that one sale was more rewarding than the fifty I sold of an Adventure Time drawing.