The strip was written by my dear friend / writing mentor, Will Dawson. The line art was pre-Wacom tablet, so I relied on my pencil, bristol paper and markers; however, the coloring was done in Photoshop after we scanned the image.
In a world of steadily evolving memes, Instagram pics and Facebook videos — some concepts just need to be put on the grill, served up, consumed and let that be the end.
In a previous reboot, I took the APNF crew on a journey through the pseudo world of reality shows. I was a fan of the Real Husbands of Hollywood; which prompted me to create a story arc where the fellas are immersed in the reality show culture.
From the confessionals to the product endorsements, these series of strips were my way of taking APNF out the box of traditional comic creation.
When I began lurking on webcomic forums and watching YouTube clips about the benefits a Wacom Bamboo Connect tablet, I wasn’t convinced it was the move for me. But I stepped out on faith, bought one and it changed my cartoonist life.
Cutting my production time by 70-80% meant more episodes without taking a huge chunk out of my (already time-starved) life. In 2015, APNF is 99.9999999% digital and I wouldn’t have it any other way:
I discovered her voice while producing my podcast several years ago. I delved into her spirit through social media. Depend on what day you ask, she and I go together. Jimetta Rose Smith has an anointing on her life so strong that I can feel it all the way from L.A. to the dirty south. Just like APNF has a thing for Lalah, I have an incredibly healthy affinity for JRS.
I couldn’t wait to use her photograph in one of the early APNF strips. Years later, I found myself doodling a bomb sketch of her that evolved into a guest appearance. How does my soulquarian queen look?
I watched a lot of time-lapse videos on digital illustration and coloring during my research on creating a webcomic. Once I got APNF up and running, I dabbled in creating similar videos affectionately called “Sketch II Screen.”
Between using Camtasia to capture the video, converting the file, editing in iMovie/Final Cut Pro and exporting to Vimeo/YouTube…it was exhausting.
The process appears to be smoother than it was just 2-3 years ago. QuickTime handles the capturing and formatting. I can do a decent edit in iMovie without pulling out the big FCP guns. And honestly, the time-lapse videos are simply fun to watch; especially with a dope soundtrack playing in the background.
Looks like I’ll be adding this on the APNF to-do list. Ha!
During the excitement surrounding Iron Man and the Avengers, I thought I’d have some fun with the superhero thematic and the coolest pug ever. Everyone talks about how fly Iron Man was but no one ever thought about how a massive magnet could disturb his swag?
Shout out to Drew the Tomcat for bringing APNF back down to earth. LOL
In the midst of creating new installments of APNF, I make sure to share the process via social media. I’ve wanted to feature Carmen Rodgers on the strip ever since I met her in Atlanta over a year ago. One of the challenges is making sure my illustration of her is current with her ever-changing hairstyle
I posted my initial sketches of her on Twitter and I was beaming when she tweeted back:
Five years later and the iPhone is still one of the hottest mobile devices in the world. At this point, most have chosen a side (i.e., Team Android, Team iPhone); however, my being a Mac fanboy to the core, my choice was simple.
This was the third APNF ever created and ironically, I didn’t own an iPhone at the time. I was still beaming from owning a MacBook Pro 15″ laptop. The guys at the Apple Store knew my name from countless visits and One to One sessions – where I learned from the best on how to use my Apple products to optimal performance.
While most of them schooled me on how to maximize my photography and (of course) music, they were also super helpful when I came into the store talking about creating a webcomic. Not all geniuses are created equal but I can honestly say that my Apple Store experiences have been pretty awesome.
And for the record, I’ve never brought in a sack of bones trying to barter for gadgets. Ha!
It was his love of zombies that inspired me to create an un-dead version of a brother who is all the way live. Todd Kelley is an international DJ, producer, film artisan and graphic design genius. His mixes travel from California to Switzerland and all points in between. I’m blessed to call him friend.
During my journey in cultivating APNF, I worked in a storyline of “Zombie Todd” (ZT) bumrushing the strip periodically in a fit of rage of Kool-Aid man proportions. I decided that he was too grandiose to be restricted to intermittent comic strip appearances. He needed his own. A comic strip spin-off.
The concept evolved from mindless screams, slime and tattered clothes. Zombie Todd is well spoken. His true, undead state is hidden as he lives in the closet of a 10-year old boy. The boy’s mother thinks her son is processing the death of his dad. Zombie Todd can’t get a date. The beautiful women he encounters thinks he’s wearing a fantastic costume. He isn’t taken seriously. Zombie Todd is highly intelligent but is constantly looked over for job opportunities. Zombie Todd has a sense of humor despite his challenges in acceptance, career and love.
ZT is a metaphor of how brothers are often viewed in this country: invisible, hidden, struggling, not taken seriously and not considered suitable for real love. It’s a subtle metaphor that sounds much heavier than the strip truly portrays.
As I plan to re-launch ZT this summer, I find myself smiling at the few strips posted on Tumblr from the initial launch. I’m thankful for the myriad of ideas that I’m able to express. I’m in awe of the incredible levels of excellence found in my friends (like Todd). I anticipate this spin-off to be the ultimate jump off that brings a unique flavor to the comic world.
A wise person once said “talents that aren’t shared aren’t talents.” Despite that wise person being a fortune cookie writer, I took that phrase to heart It feels good to share my talents with those who truly appreciate me and this is one of those blessed instances.
Drawing and illustration was my first gift ever and I’m honored to still share it after all these years.