(1) And not just, “Why?” or “How do you not kill him?”

(2) Like all things, the “magic” reference point is relative.  Your mileage may differ.

So Court and I were talking that we regularly get asked all kinds of questions about the projects we work on.(1)  While we have worked on quite a few projects together, there are a couple that we work on more consistently – Luci Phurr’s Imps and Stixite.com.  We decided that we’d give you all some insights into how we make the magic.(2)  We’ll start with Luci Phurr’s Imps.


(4) Yup, we know exactly what will happen at the end of the strip and we’re slowly, but surely working towards that.

As I said last week, the initial concept came from Courtney, but obviously to make something like a strip work, and keep on working, we need lots of ideas.  Of course, we have the MASTER PLAN(3) of where the story will ultimately end(4) but we also have to come up with a lot of stories that will ultimately take us there.

So where do these ideas come from?

(5) Despite rumors to the contrary,(6) we do not employ a factory sweatshop of slave children in the Mariana Islands to come up with ideas.

(6) In fairness, it was me who actually started this rumor.  And in my defense, it seemed a lot funnier before I discovered that some “Made In America” products are actually made this way under way less humorous circumstances.  You can learn more here, though this is an older link.

Most of the time Courtney and I get our heads together when we have a bunch of stories to come up with.(5)  It really doesn’t matter if it’s me who says, “Y’know what would be funny….?” or it’s Court who says, “What do you think to doing a story on….?” our comic projects are always a collaboration.  Sometimes the writer and artist work very independently, sometimes, as Court and I prefer, they work very closely, but whatever the method, the end result is usually something that neither side completely envisioned.  My favorite projects are the ones where at the end of the day, you look at the pages and you aren’t entirely sure who had what specific idea.

However, once a story is set, usually what happens is that I go one way, and Court goes the other.  I will start to ponder the story, what characters we might need, whether we’ll be in new places that need to be designed as backgrounds, and how exactly the story arc as a whole will end.

While I’m doing that, Court is usually sketching.  And in an ideal world, I want to see those sketches BEFORE I finalize any specific ideas that will form the story.  What I’ve found is that even when I think I have a pretty good handle on a character, the art can just add whole new dimensions.  A throwaway detail the artist has drawn in can become something very important because it gels with some random idea I'd been kicking around.

The other advantage to working this way, is that when I get to the script writing stage, I don’t have to go into such detail when describing characters…. because both Court and myself know what these characters look like and this in turn allows us into their heads.

And at this stage, I’m ready to start writing the scripts.

In the next “Words With Dale” I’ll show you a specially written script and how it’s laid out, then the following Friday the finished strip.

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