Monday, May 18, 2015

The Secrets of How to Use the ArtRage Pencil Tool

Part One of a closer look at using and customizing the pencil tool in ArtRage.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Can You Guess The Only Father-Daughter Tag Team in Comic Strips?

First Black Female With a Nationally Syndicated Strip

Black History Month

Barbara Brandon-Croft is best known for creating the comic strip, Where I'm Coming From and for being the first nationally syndicated black female cartoonist.

Brandon-Croft was born on Long Island, New York, to Brumsic Brandon Jr.  (1927 to 2014).  Her father was a cartoonist who created the comic strip Luther which was in circulation from 1970 to 1986 from the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. She and her father are the only known father-daughter newspaper cartoonists.

Where I'm Coming From began in 1989 in the Detroit Free Press. The comic strip is about the experiences of about twelve Black women and the challenges of being a Black woman living in the United States. The characters are based on Brandon and her real-life friends.

Basic writing rule #1. Write what you know!

Where I'm Coming From went into national syndication in 1991 with the Universal Press Syndicate making it the first comic strip by a black woman to be syndicated in mainstream newspapers.

Jackie Ormes’ Torchy Brown comic strip was not in mainstream papers.

The comic strip was featured in more than sixty newspapers between 1989 and 2004. It appeared in newspapers throughout the United States, including Essence, The Sacramento Bee, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Baltimore Sun, as well as in The Gleaner in Jamaica and the Johannesburg Drum magazine

You may read more about her here.

Other resources
Black Women in Comics NYC panel Discussion

Women in Comics

Kids's Comic Con



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Friday, February 27, 2015

Who Was the First Lead Black Cartoon Character in a Sound Cartoon?

Black History Month

Mickey Mouse appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928. The cartoon was directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. It was produced in black-and-white by Walt Disney Studios and was released by Celebrity Productions. The cartoon is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse, despite appearing several months earlier in a test screening of Plane Crazy.

This is the first cartoon with synchronized sound, including character sounds and a musical score. Steamboat Willie was the first cartoon to feature a fully post-produced soundtrack which distinguished it from earlier sound cartoons such as Inkwell Studios' Song Car-Tunes (1924–1927) and Van Beuren Studios' Dinner Time (1928).

Before some of you get your panties in a knot. Readers of this blog already know about blacks who passed for white. Go ahead. Check it out and come back. I'll wait.

Back? Yeah, that's right. Just keep looking at the picture below. You'll see it.

See Steamboat Willie and other shorts with this historic black character.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Do Any Women Draw Comics?

First Black Woman Cartoonist

Black History Month

Jackie Ormes (August 1, 1911 – December 26, 1985) 

Jackie Ormes is the first black woman cartoonist who created the Torchy Brown comic strip and the Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger single panel strip.

The Pittsburgh Courier, a weeklyAfrican-American newspaper published on her comic strip, Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem from 1937 to 1938. Torchy Brown was a humorous depiction of a Mississippi teen female who found fame and fortune singing and dancing in the Cotton Club. Ormes became the first black woman to produce a syndicated comic strip. Torch Brown bore a strong resemblance to her creator.

She created Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, a single-panel cartoon in August 1942, which ran for 11 years. It featured a big sister-little sister combo, with the precocious, insightful and socially/politically-aware child as the only speaker and ta beautiful adult woman as a sometime pin-up figure and fashion mannequin.

Ormes contracted with the Terri Lee Doll Company in 1947 to produce a doll based on her little girl cartoon character. The Patty-Jo doll was on the shelves in time for Christmas and was the first American black doll to have an extensive upscale wardrobe. As in the comic strip, the doll represented a real child, in contrast to the majority of dolls that were mammy dolls. Patty-Jo dolls are now highly sought collectors' items.

In 1950, the Courier began an eight-page color comics insert, where Ormes re-invented her Torchy character in a new comic strip, Torchy in Heartbeats. This Torchy was a beautiful, independent woman who finds adventure while seeking true love. Ormes displayed her talent for fashion design as well as her vision of a beautiful black female body in the accompanying Torchy Togs paper doll cut outs.

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Who was the First Comic Strip Character Played by Pam Grier?

Which Comic Strip Became a Blaxploitation Film?

Black History Month

Friday Foster  is the first American nationally syndicated comic strip to feature a black woman as the title character. Friday Foster debuted in 1970 and ran in newspapers until 1974.

It was created and written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Spanish cartoonist Jorge LongarĂ³n and syndicated by the Chicago Tribune Syndicate. The strip focused on the glamorous life of its title character, a fashion model.

Dell Comics published one issue of Friday Foster as a comic book (October 1972), written by Joe Gill and illustrated by Jack Sparling.

Friday Foster was adapted into a blaxploitation feature film of the same name, starring Pam Grier  in

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Who is the Most Surprising Black Character?

For decades no one knew he was black

Black History Month

My favorite Aquaman villian is Black Manta. He has a unique look and is pure evil. His evilness was enhanced to me because he never removed his helmet. (And he killed Aquaman's son.) The character first appeared in Aquaman #35 (September 1967).

It was quite a surprise when he did remove the helmet and was revealed to be a black man. His little speech was stupid, but still a surprise.

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Just Create is my blog sharing my tutorials, thoughts and how-tos on drawing comic books, graphic novels and comic strips. Discussing art, storytelling, anatomy, perspective, composition and other fun cartooning stuff.

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