Hey, so you may have noticed that I’ve changed The Dinkledorfs comic strip to Jimmy Did It and added a new page to the site (Jimmy Did It – cast of characters).
This was a long time coming.
For the first two years of this comic, I really struggled with the name and just with getting the project off the ground. The strip was originally titled, “The Fapdoodles”. Wow. Isn’t that terrible? Yeah, so I hated that name and eventually changed it to “The Dinkledorfs”, which was actually not any better. But I had used up all my creative juices to make the drawings and had nothing left for coming up with names, so I just stuck with The Dinkledorfs for over a year.
You may also notice that for a comic strip that is two years old, there sure aren’t that many of them. My original burst of creativity left me with nine comic strips — those were the ones with the gray coloring added in. I had drawn those on my old iPad and used a drawing app to add in the grayscale shading. I had planned to draw up about 30 strips and send them in to comics syndicates to try to get them into the newpapers. But after doing those first nine comics, my iPad started crapping out on me. It was a crazy-stressful time in our lives, and I was also feeling my usual emotional ups and downs, so I decided to take a short break and come back to it after working out the bugs on my iPad.
Well, the bugs never got worked out, and instead we spent the next year or so attempting to sell our home in Hawaii and move to a new place. It was a crazy adventure, but we finally got through it and moved to Las Vegas last summer. That’s about when I changed the name from The Fapdoodles to The Dinkledorfs (I think) and started working on some more comic strips. But since my broken iPad was still just sitting on my desk like a worthless paperweight, I took to working with paper, pencil and pen. I created three more strips and eventually formatted them as square-shaped comics rather than as rectangular strips like in the newspapers. The art style was also pretty different, using only line art, and despite the lack of gray shading I think those ones actually looked much better than the first nine strips.
And then I stopped again, as we were house shopping in Vegas, and then we were moving in, and then we were unpacking, and then we were stressing about money all over again (the original reason why we left Hawaii for Vegas).
So that was a year ago, and not much happened on the comic in the months since, as I went back to freelance writing and other projects and a short-lived day job to make ends meet. I also started the strip, Attack Of The Words, which is published in writeHackr Magazine. I reworked ChrisDesatoff.com and updated my cartoon archives, and I also put The Dinkledorfs up on my Youtube channel and on my Instagram page and on GoComics, but other than that I didn’t really make any progress with new Dinkledorfs comic strips. Oh, and I added shading to the twelfth comic strip titled, “Trouble Sleeping”.
But still, no new comics for a long time.
Jimmy Did It
Now, I’m trying again to put together a batch of strips to send off to the syndicates to see if I can get them into the newspapers. Since I never really liked the title The Dinkledorfs, I decided to change that to Jimmy Did It (mahalos to my Dad — the original “Jimmy”), and hopefully the syndicates will like that title too. I also finally got around to making a character sheet to figure out who all the characters would be. Up til now, I didn’t really know. These past two years, they didn’t have names or jobs or hobbies or backgrounds or friends or anything, and Cassie wasn’t even a member of the family til last month — I didn’t know what to do with her or if she would even be in this strip or if she would be in Attack of the Words (maybe she’ll be in both heh heh). And that lack of character development really held me back from creating new material.
What Is A Cartoonist?
That’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned trying to be a cartoonist these past couple years — a good cartoonist is a writer first and an artist second. I should have spent a lot more time figuring out who my characters were from the beginning. Now that I’ve done that, I’m finding that the storylines and the jokes are flowing much more easily. When you really know who your characters are, you just put them together into a situation and then sit back and watch them interact with each other. Yesterday I came across a video of Jim Davis (creator of Garfield), and he said pretty much the same thing, so that made me feel good, knowing that I’m on the right track and in good company.
So…Jimmy Did It.
If you haven’t read the JDI cast of characters yet, you can check it out HERE.
Over the next 2-3 weeks, my plan is to keep drawing new Jimmy Did It comic strips and get them ready to send out to Universal Uclick (Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield), King Features (Beetle Bailey, Family Circus, Hagar The Horrible) and Creators Syndicate (Archie, BC, Wizard of Id). If I’m EXTREMELY lucky, one of them will like it enough to sign me up and start promoting the strip to newspapers and other publications around the country.
So far, I have two new Jimmy Did It comic strips ready to submit, I have two more that are almost ready, and I have ideas in my head for about 10 more strips beyond that. Once I have 24 strips drawn up, I’ll be sending them out, and I’ll do an update here on my blog when I’m at that point. Hopefully that will all happen by the end of the month. Newspaper cartoonists need to produce a comic strip every day (at the minimum), so that is the pace I’m trying to follow right now.