The plot thickens: plotting about the plot.
It's relatively rare when everything coalesces into an end result that exemplifies what my art is about, why I do it, and does it the best that it can - meaning, the best that I can at the time. When one single image symbolizes all that and more, that's when I get a comparatively uncommon feeling of sincere satisfaction and accomplishment. It stands out in the assembly line of production, mentally bookmarked, or one for the outhouse wall or refrigerator door.
Now that's a lot of hype for a panel that in all likelihood won't actually connect with most readers. Though I thought there's just enough of a toehold with a double entendre of sorts to let it slide. Hopefully it'll give the other half of the piece a pass, which is loaded with personal symbolism. In theory that ought to be an artistic apex of intent - the best of both worlds: straddling private + public, commercial vs intimate.
This particular panel came about after a really long and intense bout of production, marked by a phase of rendering some (comparatively) complex compositions and complicated contexts. You could look at it as overkill - paying way too much attention to the drawing aspect, or maybe just having a bit too much fun with what is normally not emphasized in a cartoon. At best there's a symbiotic relationship between the image and the text: the picture and the words ought to feed off each other and in turn enhance each other to give rise to a sort of synchronicity where a gestalt meaning is created as a result.
Also, just to ratchet up the stakes, I figure if you're a cartoonist and that's pretty much all you do, if you do decide to make one for your Significant Otter, say for Xmas and/or their birthday, then it damn well better be a good one. So right up to the day before it was due I was mulling it over - then stepped up to the plate and knocked it out, BAM. Pretty rare when that happens: it was like being in a gym and warming up for weeks before grabbing the ball and sinking the winning free-throw shot at the big game.
|Dam that'll hold a lot of cookies|
Behind the scenes: one of the infamous cheesecakes (this recent batch was a Triple-expresso Mocha w/almond biscotti crust + a White chocolate Irish cream w/shortbread crust), Atticus the Omnipresent Editor and the new kitten Moochie B. Tiberius, my new cookie jar, the annual Kliban calendar, and all the miscellaneous accouterments of our home. Not to mention the portrayal of her passion - getting hands dirty in the soil and growing things.
The next morning after I drew it it, and the ink had dried enough for erasing the pencil, and a quick scan, she got the line-art version, without any color or shading, because that's what she likes best about my work. Also posting here a direct scan off the print version from the newspaper for comparative purposes. The printers of the paper do a hell of a good job, and this panel was a particular nightmare to print, what with it having to be run as a 4-color process even though mostly black & white, so there's a faint off-ness, like a haloed tint to the grayscale, plus being reproduced at such a small scale it's a real challenge to maintain registration. As usual, I was ecstatic to open up my copy of the Sunday edition and see it "live." And I'm also left grateful for the venue and opportunity to showcase a momentary self-indulgence.
Now back to plotting...