~This is part 2 in a series. Part 1 begins here
It was Henry's idea that I try doing a comic strip. “Really?" It hadn't even occurred to me. Comic strips, besides Peanuts, had never really appealed to me because there were so few that I could relate to. They were either about family life, or mischievous little boys, or old people.
So, I decided to start making cartoons of a character that I could relate to – a 20-something woman out on her own, stumbling through life.
I certainly had plenty of material to work with. I didn't cook (unless you count toast), I couldn't budget the little money I had, and I had no long term 'plan' like my other friends seemed to have. I just knew I wanted to be an artist and, while I was slowly making that happen, my skills at “adulthood” were probably around a D-/F+ grade.
But why be insecure about it, I thought, when I can use this as ideas for my comic? My first ideas centered around cooking disasters, money troubles, and more cooking disasters. I also had a fair amount on body issues and insecurities.
The more cartoons I did, the more I was enjoying myself and the process of creating funny situations for Claire. The question was, although I could relate to these things, would others? Would this character make for a strip that readers would want in their newspaper?
I compared Claire to the heroes and heroines of the successful comic strips: all were much more complex.
Charlie Brown was insecure, but always tried to do the right thing.
Calvin was misbehaved but philosophical.
Get Fuzzy's Bucky is mean but has strong convictions.
Compared to them, Claire's character still seemed paper thin.
We sat and wrote and talked, and eventually, Henry and I developed a better Claire. Next time, I'll tell you what we came up with!