Big Buffer

Man, oh, man is it ever difficult for me to make enough time to put out three lousy comic strips a week!

Three strips a diggity ding-dong week. Not seven, like Charles Schultz did with Peanuts for fifty (that’s FIVE-OH) years. Only Uno Dos Tres. Three. The magic number on Schoolhouse Rock. The number of fingers on most funny animal cartoon hands. Plus a thumb. Only three.

I started Space Base 8, my comic strip, at five strips a week, Monday through Friday. I had two months worth of five-day-a-week cartoons saved up as a buffer. I planned on keeping two months ahead. The last thing I wanted was to find myself drawing tomorrow’s comic strip today. What if I wanted to take a vacation? What if I broke my hand? What if I was hung over? I wanted a lot of comic strips drawn ahead of time for emergencies. I wanted a Big Buffer!

Well, sir, within two months I fell far behind schedule, and saw my buffer go from two months to two weeks!  I stopped posting to this blog, Monkey Always wins, because I needed all my time to draw the comic. That didn’t help much! No Bueno! Must have Big Buffer!

Things looked grim. Drastic measures needed to be taken, so I switched from five to three days a week, to lighten the weekly workload. GUH! That really broke my heart, because I wanted to get a lot of strips out there. I wanted to show I was a serious, prolific cartoonist. But at least now I could use the extra time, and rebuild the Big Buffer, right?

Wrong! Why are you so optimistic? Yeesh. “Half full”, my patootie!

I fell even further behind! Soon I found myself in living The Nightmare. Sunday night you could find me in the studio, putting the finishing touches on Monday’s strip. Oh no! Bad! More drastic measures had to be taken, And more heartbreak.

I switched to digital coloring. Zeus help me, digital coloring!

For more than one hundred comic strips, I had fully painted the original art of Space Base 8 in gouache. (I love gouache!) These masterpieces were hand lettered and  rendered in color, ready to frame. Truly beautiful to behold. Surely they would someday fetch a higher price than other cartoonist’s simple black and white ink scribbles! Scribbles that were later colored digitally. Reluctantly i decided to save time by computer-coloring my strips. At least now I ‘d have time to Big my Buffer, right?

Oh, I couldn’t fool you this time, could I?

Though digital coloring can be very speedy, I still could not catch up. I finally crumpled to the floor, a wiggly word bubble over my head containing just a scribble of exhaustion. I could not handle it.

So I took a week off. No new comics for a week. And yet I am still no further ahead than I ever was.

As I write this I still have not started Monday’s strip. I have not been able to do it. Big Buffer is still a dream. But I will not give up. My comic strip is what I have wanted to do ever since I was a kid. I have come too far to let it slip away. I am lucky that I still remember my dream, even though I’m and old guy now. I am lucky that I have what little time there is to do what I really love. And most of all I am lucky to have a fantastic and supportive wife who encourages — no, insists — that I get into the studio and get back to work on my comic.

So back to it!  Back to the desk and the computer! Back to three strips a week! And back to chasing the elusive, gilded trophy called the Big Buffer.


6 Responses to “Big Buffer”

  1. January 21, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Awesomeness doesn’t even describe the magnitude of coolness that makes up David Smith. We are some of your biggest fans and couldn’t love you more, thanks for being the best husband to my BFF and a wonderful “Uncle Dave.” =)

  2. January 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    YOU CAN DO EET! I believe in you! Haha!

    No, really. Just relax, don’t stress, and you’ll get on top of the game again.

  3. January 21, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Only those of us who have followed you from Strip 1 will really even notice if you change your release schedule. Don’t most webcomics only post like once a week or something? I’m all for your high goals, but you gotta maintain your health and sanity. We’ll keep coming back for Monkey goodness whenever it’s available.

  4. 5 Cindy Smith
    January 22, 2010 at 9:10 am

    SPACE BASE 8 RULES!!!!! 🙂
    Oh…btw…. your Wife sounds Cute! 🙂
    You,ve got a lot going on right now and over time it will settle down again.. you can do this MR.!! I think… no… I KNOW you are wonderful and talented and this is something you have always wanted to do … and on your “schedule” or not…your doing it and you’ve BEEN doing it! Big Buffer or not… I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!! Love you!

  5. 6 Cindy Smith
    January 22, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Your = You’re 🙂

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