The Creative Process

Every cartoonist likely does things differently, but below are some of the steps I take to create a gag.

Step One: The Idea
Definitely the most critical and time-consuming step in the process. I find I have to pay attention all the time--especially at church (no sleeping through meetings here). I usually have a sketchpad with me to jot down or sketch ideas. Later, I'll look over those sketches and decide if they're worthy of this website. On average only about one in two sketches ever are used. (Given the dregs I publish, this should give you an idea of the quality of the stuff I don't publish.)
I'll rarely draw a gag without sketching the idea out first (I'll usually run it past my wife/editor before I start drawing too).

Step Two: Penciling It In
 Once I've settled on an idea, I'll pencil it in on paper. This allows me to be much more loose than when I'm going to ink it later.
Using a pencil allows me to be much more loose than I'd dare be with a pen.

Step Three: Inking over the Pencil
The next step is inking over my pencil lines. I use a black Micron .45mm pen. After I've inked the picture, I carefully erase my pencil lines.
It's starting to look better.

Step Four: Scanning, Cleaning Up, and Adding Text
Next I scan the illustration into my computer. I like to scan my work as a black and white drawing. This has the effect of limiting the scan to the lines I meant to capture. I next carefully review the drawing in Photoshop making sure to clean up any unwanted or missing lines. Finally, I add the text using a font titled Digital Strip.
There were a couple of lines I missed with my pen (like the "Y" on the boy's shirt), I'll catch these in Photoshop.

Step Five: Coloring the Strip
Finally, the strip is ready to color. This, too, is done in Photoshop. And the gag is ready to be published onto the worldwide web.
Notice I've changed the text. Since the wording is usually the most important ingredient to a joke, I'm always playing with it until the very end.


  1. Interesting combination of hand-drawn and computer art. I used to cartoon but can no longer draw, so I'm limited to the computer now. Sometimes I use to create the basic line art then mess with it in a graphics program.

  2. I love this! It's nice to get a window into your creative genius.

  3. So cool how you create these cartoons.

  4. (Given the dregs I publish, this should give you an idea of the quality of the stuff I don't publish.)

    Dregs? You're welling yourself too low. You do a great job!

  5. I agree with Demosthenes here. I would like to see all the other ideas!

    Seriously, though, as an Iowan who spent almost every period of high school (and junior high) as the only LDS in the class, this kind of stuff is a true refreshment to tune me in to Mormon culture

  6. I just barely stumbled upon this page of your website. I e seen your sketchbook. I don’t think there’s a single thing in there that isn’t funny. But what I want to know is this: do you still have any old sacrament meeting programs from when we were kids with your cartoons drawn all over the margins? Mom used to tell us we couldn’t bring stuff or food to church but we never needed to because Joel and I had you. And you had a pen and a sacrament program. That’s all we needed if we were bored.