Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just the beginning...

Let's face it. Chew's last panel was the end of the story. Finished. Done. Kaputt. My panel is more of a hopeful epilogue ... perhaps we will have another adventure with these two characters (or maybe other members of the fellowship)?

And now it's time to submit this puppy to the anthology. Wish us luck!

So what's next? Chew and I are gearing up for Flex Fantastic 2 and a couple of other projects we have talked about. It's probably going to be a week or two before you guys see the first panel of Flex. In the meantime, I will post some drawings and comic pages that I've worked on in the past.

You have been warned ...

-Jeff Tuffenstuff

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

C'mon dude, Ask her already!

So, let me first direct an outburst towards you. Whilst attempting to upload this image, a cockroach climbed out from behind the picture on the wall above the computer and down towards my beer. Infuriated, I tried to kick the roach on the wall kung-fu style. First, however, I had to move my beer. That, unfortunately, enabled the roach to get away from my lightning kick stylee. Dang.
The question was: what is the logical approach to take with this story? My instinct was to get Fanny Ho-Ho and Hippalonia together. Actually, the very first panel in which she was introduced, I wanted to get the two of them together. There have been many couplings throughout this story thus far. This has been the only one to go the way I wanted it to: very easily and cheaply! I love the absurdity of the whole thing. Originally, I just had the two of them and Marcolm's bee, but for some reason it seemed to want more. So I added in the Lutrian envoy, Hirgen.
The other approach I could have taken was that of the Princess and the Dragon. That seemed a little heavy-handed. To deepen the gag between them, I thought it better to leave them alone. That is that. My last panel!
I still have'nt found that cockroach yet...

- Chew

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not in Kansas anymore...

After seeing Bertha and the Dragon kiss, I felt that the moment should linger in the reader's mind a little while longer. Continuing the sequence would mean setting up another gag that was better than this one and, quite frankly, nothing can top those two french kissing each other. So a switch in scenery and location seemed appropriate.

Originally this was supposed to be a smaller panel. Because I couldn't show the entire fellowship in my previous panel, I really wanted to show the entire group in this one. But I ran out of room! I called Chew the evening I worked on this and asked him if I could have his panel to extend mine. He said yes and I gleefully started drawing the fellowship. I drew four members and thought I was done until I looked at the first page of this story and realized I left out two of them! Let's just say it was a loooong evening ( I should killed off more of the fellowship earlier).

My favorite part of this panel is Fandalf storming off. I really like the idea of him being a sensitive Prima Donna. He's reacting to his mistake as though he's been chastised, but no one in the group has said anything ... Fandalf is a powerful, insecure and highly sensitive wizard. A highly unstable combination.

I've thought of a few possible ways to wrap this up in two panels. Unfortunately, the next panel is not mine to draw. And I have no idea what Chew will decide to do next...

- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Well, whilst I am finishing up my eighth cup of coffee and waiting for paint to dry on my drawing...I might as well submit this blog to you all (whomever you may be, oh mysterious persons out there). What can I say about this? I totally went there! The first thing that popped into my head after seeing Jeff's panel was an embarrassing expose' that might seal the fate of the objects of the quest of the Fellowship's quest. I decided to give you a scary little scene from Flik's P.O.V. It was rather difficult to make some of the shadows look sensible on the dragon. I also wanted it to be obvious that they were really really kissing. I tried to slip a tongue in there, but it was too bulky. Also, tried to emphasize the wartiness of Princess Bertha. I think that came off pretty well. Marcolm gave me a slow clap for this panel. Would'nt you hate to see their offspring?
Deer in the headlights, dudes...

- Chew

Thursday, May 21, 2009


"... And another one gone. And another one gone. Another one bites the dust. Hey, I'm gonna get you too. Another bites the dust." (Queen)

Getting rid of members of the fellowship brings me joy. It makes me feel all tingly inside. I thought about killing off the otter but then decided that a more gruesome fate lies ahead for the little pesky water rat. But I digress ...

I crammed a lot of characters into this panel – three for the gag and one to address the absence of the other member(s) of the fellowship and Flik who gives us the "call to action." I knew the panel was going to be a visual mess and compensated by carefully placing the word balloons. So even though the panel doesn't "visually" read right away, the dialogue leads the reader to each character which eventually leads to Flik holding the match. Flik's arm coming out of the panel (and breaking the fourth wall) is designed to lead into the next panel, give a sense of depth and allude to Flik looking into a larger space that the rest of the characters haven't reached yet. That's the general idea anyway. I've seen Matt's next panel and it ... well, you'll just have to wait until the next post. Only five more panels to go.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Light!

Looking back at it...not one of my favorite panels. It was supposed to 1) Get the Fellowship into the darkened corridors of the castle 2) Create a certain amount of tension because you just know that something is waiting for them in the dark. Since you know what it might be waiting to see how they respond. 3) Take a nod at Jeff's "ribbit" panel. This creates a certain level of visual continuity within the confines of the story, as well as building up a momentum towards that eventual finality. I'm not sure if that came across, but it is what I had going on inside of my skull. 4) Parody the Lord of the Rings, when the Fellowship entered into the Mines of Moria and discovered the grisly fate that case, the dwarves, in this...well, we shall see wo'nt we?
All in all, I feel like the panel did out what it was set to do. Not my best all seemed very clinical, and somewhat necessary. My little "sacrifice" for the panels that lie ahead. I believe my next panel, the one after the next-next one that Jeff has done is my favorite. And yes, it more than makes up for this one in the squinty eye of my mind's eyeball.

- Chew

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My pet dragon

Look! I'm not lazy! I'm not lazy!

This panel took a while. The hardest part was coming up with a way to match the mood of Chew's last panel without going too dark. I wanted to draw the pet dragon for a looong time and as soon as I got the chance, I did. At first I toyed with the idea of creating a really small dragon but I settled on a big goofy looking one with spikes instead.

I changed up the lettering style. I have to admit that I'm never really happy with my lettering. I thought I was on to something with the lettering style I used in Flex Fantastic (all lowercase letters) but when the book was reduced to it's 5.5" x 8.5" print size, I felt that the text was really hard to read. So its all capital letters in this story and I think with this panel I'm getting close...really close.

Chew and I are trying to wrap this story up in four pages and this panel completes the third page. I am curious to see if we pull this off.

I should write more but I worked on this panel for most of the evening and now it's time to watch some TV and drink some Root Beer (IBC, baby! Holla! ... best root beer money can buy). And then I'll iron some clothes and prepare lunch for the kids for school tomorrow and then ...

... then I need to get some sleep.

-- Jeff Tuffenstuff

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tummy Rumblers

Okay...this panel ran totally on instinct. I figured that we would have to get into that castle very soon. Instead of doing the obvious and sending Flik inside, I decided to go another route...the one the popped in my head and seemed impossible. Would it work? Could it work? Should I do it? I did it.
I was also rockin' pretty hard to The Horrors and Frog Eyes. I was totally amped up and to most, it might appear as if I was on a total coke-binge, but I was not and I have never partaken that substance thank you very much but I have run into some people who have and are actually still alive so there's hope for you yet ye of little faith and/or self-esteem. So, who's ready to eat? Bertha or the Dragon? I'm hungry. I'd like to get a nice pizza and have some beer with it. I like that hefeweizen. I did'nt at first. I thought it was repulsive and tasted like relish. But for some reason, I could'nt stop thinking about it and then went out to find some more. Weird stuff. I guess that's why I like it. Very temperamental. Not unlike, I would imagine, a couple of members from our little questy-league!

- Chew

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Chosen One

One thing I've never mentioned before: Chew and I work on a prefabricated panel layout. I normally draw the panel boxes on a page beforehand and then Chew and I take turns placing our illustrations into the boxes. The reason for this is pretty simple. It cuts down on time. You know the size of the box, it helps you with the composition, and you know exactly how much detail and/or visual information you can cram into your panel. When Chew and I worked on Flex Fantastic (see earlier posts - issue 2 coming soon...sorry, shameless plug) I made the mistake of using a six panel layout per page. All of Chew's panels ended up on the left side of the page and all of mine ended up on the right. So this time, we are working with odd and even numbered panels per page at varying lengths to create a better flow.
Every panel poses a problem and the fun is figuring out a solution. Our heroes are in front of a door. I've got a smaller panel to work with so it wouldn't make sense to show what's behind it -- because in my mind, there's something big or it should at least feel big. So again, here's the problem of keeping momentum and creating tension. If you show what's behind the door right away, there's no tension. If I don't move the panel along, there's no momentum. The solution: A gag and a call to action! Plus a crosshatch pattern I talked about earlier! I'm starting to see a pattern forming here...either I'm getting the hang of this or I am incredibly...


I really enjoyed drawing Flik, by the way. I really don't want to see what will happen to the little elf. I should have chosen the otter. The otter should die. Because that would be funny...again.

-Jeff Tuffenstuff

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Endless Journeys...

What??? You MUST be joking! Surely! Well, yes. That was the gag. What a mighty large panel, too. Easy breezy after my last one. Except....that it was a mighty LARGE panel to do in one night. It was the equivalent of two, or maybe even three, of the regular panels. It was totally the time to begin the journey, but instead of quickly rocketing our heroes through an unseen wilderness, we end up across the street. That Fandalf! I tell you, what a wizard he is! So full of tricks! Notice the Hrinkle-frog? Now, that "spell" did a number on his intestinal tract. The dwarven anatomical system does'nt always take too kindly to wizardry (or wizardical trickery (or transmogrification)).
I almost finished the thing the next morning, but unfortunately, I had about ten minutes of work left do to on it. I had a chance to wrap the whole thing up on my lunchbreak. Finito Maestro!

- Chew

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Poor Hrinklestaff. Alas, we knew him well.

This panel posed an interesting problem. Matt's three panels build tension and it's left up to me to finish the gag. I can't prolong the sequence because...well, it would just be too drawn out and the whole thing would lose...momentum. If I focus on the gag entirely, the whole thing comes to a stop and we lose...rhythm. So here's the solution: A gag and a call to action! This way, Chew can lead the fellowship anywhere and/or nowhere (cause I really have no idea where he's going to take this next) and the progression of his next panel makes sense. There was room for the fellowship in the background but any detail back there and the panel becomes too busy and no one would pay attention to poor Hrinklestaff and Fandalf. And that's why you have silhouettes with eyeballs.

Ribbit. Ribbit.

And soon, there shall be none...

-Jeff Tuffenstuff

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fing Fang Foom!

He just set me up, did'nt he? I mean, how could you not do something to that little guy? He was practically begging for...well, whatever, to happen to him.
I have to tell you, this was no mere "simple" drawing. The Tuesday night that Jeff was working on his panel, I found out that my Grandmother had passed away. On top of that, I also found out that one of my dogs has a tumor on her tongue. Wednesday rolls around and now it's time for me to draw. You know what? It just was'nt there. A blank space. So I ended up taking a couple of days off for bereavement. My parents went up to Ohio for the funeral. I stayed behind to take care of the dogs. Still no ideas.
Finally, Sunday saunters onto the scene. I was going to help Jeff finish painting his house on that day. Off I go. Whilst on the roof, the panel suddenly flashes in my mind. I know what I am going to do. It was all right there in my head. I could almost see it! First, I had to finish painting. Second, I had to go back home to feed the dogs and wait for my parents to return. Third, I had to unwind. I had'nt been sleeping too well because the dogs are old and on an entirely different schedule than mine (and I had time off, too!) I then sat down to work on the page. My thought was to try to finish it for the following Monday when I would return to work. I sketched, I inked, I pondered. Total crap. The scene was right, but the lines were awful. I got up and walked away from it. What was wrong? It dawned on me that I was thoroughly exhausted and never realized it. I went to bed.
The next day, still weary, I nonetheless arose with a fierce determination to make the panel correct. I basically redrew the whole thing and patched it all up. With a cup of coffee by my side, the lines were coming out smoothly. The only drawback? I had to go to work! I did not have enough time to finish the panel up. So, instead of trying to kill myself, I let another day go by. That evening, after work, I was able to finally finish up those little panels. It was a toughie...and I'm glad that it's finally finished!

- Chew

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shhhhh...Shut yo' mouth

Fandalf sure likes to talk doesn't he? This is my take on Chew's Dwarf Hrinklestaff shown in an earlier panel. The panel ended up being a complete set-up gag for Chew. I'm trying out a new crosshatch inking pattern in the background that's essentially three lines going one way and three going the other, forming a crosshair square. The squares are then overlapped to form a pattern that eventually fades into a solid black. The crosshair squares have a rythmic quality, more so than any pattern that I've used before. Incredibly boring, I'm sure. But this pattern will come up again and again. I'm trying to get to a point where I use only three patterns when I ink and this will be one of them. I think I've settled on the second but I'm looking for a third...I have this notion that by limiting the amount of patterns in an inked drawing, I can create greater depth than by using every single crosshatch and dotted pattern out there. The exact opposite of me, of course, and the exception of this newly imposed rule of mine, is Chew. Where I try to create value (in terms of color, in this case--black and white), Matt uses different inking patterns and crosshatch effects to create texture. I wish you guys could see some of Chew's originals to see what I'm talking about. His drawings have layers upon layers of brushed lines and strokes. As in all things art related, there is no right or wrong. Just what works for the individual artist (or cartoonist).

Please excuse the rant. I got giddy about squares. Chew will show what happened to Hrinklestaff in the next post.

-Jeff Tuffenstuff

By the way, I just saw the Star Trek movie...and I think it was...okay. Not great, not bad, just okay. With the prices of the movies going up recently here, I haven't seen a movie that was worth the ticket price. I not condeming the Star Trek franchise, I just expected more. Okay, I'm really ranting now and it's time for me to stop.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the quest....

...a foul desire arises within the breast of one of our own valiant heroes. And what will come of it? What is the event that will send sheer horror cascading down upon the noble heads of our competitors like a heavy snow escaping from the clutches of a terrible mountainside? Hmmmm? I can hear the Owl outside of my window calling out the answer right now! Did you know that owls are psychic? That is why they are such efficient predators. Efficient.
So, we needed to get back to the farm after Jeff's last panel. I mean, we needed to get out of dodge city, man. He took it down that road, did'nt he? So much for family friendly! But seriously, the next logical turn was back to the quest, not the future, to keep the story rolling.
So, there's ol' Fandalf just jabbering his jaw into oblivion. He ai'nt the only talker with bad grammar around these parts is he? You know what they say..."Parts is Parts".
I just said a whole lot of nothing....

- Chew