John Lee's Suburban Tribe - New Comics every Monday thru Friday!Parental Advisory - Explicit ContentAlan WoodsJessica ManciniTiffanyDave JablonskiCaesar

Suburban Tribe for January 20, 2003

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stop me if you've heard this one, but Dick Cheney is out hunting and sees a Leprechaun...

No strip today, sorry. I actually got a really good "Ask A Cast Member" email the other day, but it would've taken too long to draw by the time I got it written. Instead, here's a sketch of Dave and Alan's new roommate, just so you know I haven't forgotten about him.

No comic today because I am still struggling with this story. Bascially, from here on out, everything hits the fan and I have to have it all planned out as meticulously as possible or this thing will end up running until June and the art will go all sloppy again.

God, I really need to start cracking down on my writing. I may have become too reliant on the Tribe charcters telling me what they're supposed to do. It almost makes me think I should set an "end" date for ST and start a new comic series so I won't be so lazy...

Anyway, I have to be at the dentist at the asscrack of dawn tomorrow morning, so I'd better turn in. Haven't been for a while, so I'm (only) a little nervous, but I'm rather looking forward to getting the choppers cleaned. I know there are a lot of good dentists out there, but there are a lot of judgemental sons of bitches, too. ("No, I DON'T floss every day, sir. I'm too busy drowning puppies and making babies cry. It's a very tight schedule.") If I catch a whiff of attitude from this guy or his hygenists, I won't be going back to him.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Art Nerd

My foray into digital inking continues.

The day after I posted my last blog enrty, it dawns on me that ever since I've been using a Wacom tablet and stylus, I've been using it quite poorly. The stylus is like any other art tool; in order to master it, you must practice with it until you fingers fall off. Over the last couple of years, I've been using old model hand-me-down Wacom tablets in a sporadic manner. The most recent model I had was a 9x12 Intuos original. So I went online to see what Wacom is up to these days, and I was blown away by what they've had on the market for a while now.

So I picked up a 4x5 Intuos3 and I am thrilled with this thing. It is a significant leap forward from what I've been using over the last 6 years, with 1,000+ of levels of pressure, a stylus that actaully feels like some professional tool of a medieval/Renaissance craftsman, and a minature set of keys
on the tablet that can be mapped to perform any command in any number of art programs. I'm tempted to name it "Gladys" or "Elyse" or something:

Even better, after much digging around the internet this weekend, I finally found ink brush settings for Painter that rival the reuslts I was getting in Photoshop.

The downside to all of this is that learning to ink with this tablet is like learning to ink all over again. I used to be able to ink a strip in half an hour. It now takes 3 times that. However, I remain convinced that once I get a handle on this technique, the major stumbling block to getting this strip to the next level wll be hurdled.

I feel a little green around the gills tonight. Think I'll turn in early.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


So about a week or two ago, I finally stumbled over the reason I hate my inking so much; I'm drawing too small.

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that several strips over the last two weeks have taken on a different look. Compare this strip, inked using Photoshop CS, to this one, inked using Pigma Micron pens.

Ye Gods, what a difference! Laying down the lines in Photoshop with a Wacom pen lets me zoom in to 300% of normal size and get almost perfect detail. Don't believe me?
This could very well be the art breakthrough I've been looking for. The big disappointment of Haley's debut story last year was that the art was so rushed; I'm almost ashamed of it. But now I'm hopeful that I can make up for that with this follow-up story and new technique.

The only caveat here is that I would much rather use Corel Painter to do my inking, simply because it lets me turn the "page," making drawing easier. However, I've already become used to my new Photoshop brushes. Does anyone know of a way to convert/export Photoshop brushes to Painter brushes? Please let me know.

In other Tribe news, I have discovered why nearly all self-published comics are in black and white and not color. It's not the expense, it's the time involved. If all self-published creators colored their work, it would cut their output by 1/2, easy.

This means that I've decided that the first print collection will only have one story arc in color; the second story arc will be black and white. I hate to it, but if I don't, I'll never get this thing published.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Story Interruptus

Had to go into "Stand-alone" strip mode today. There's a few wrinkles in the Haley Returns story to iron out. Back to the story Friday.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Delinquent behavior

So very sorry about no comic this past Friday. I was stuck at the office until late, late, late the night before and had to turn around and go in early the next day. By the time I got home, I was totally wiped out. Hope today's strip makes up for it.

Hey, today marks the 3-year anniversary of the comic! On Monday, January 20 2003, this strip first appeared online. Yay.

In related news, as of this weekend, webcomic site overtook Finnish Heavy Metal band website in Google search results for the phrase "Suburban Tribe." Yay.

My ten year old nephew, Dalton, has created his own comic and asked if I would post it for everyone to see. He spent an entire weekend creating these six pages. Click on the images below to read and enjoy the adventures of Trent, Brent and The Mail Lady in
Ultimate Comedy Holidays 2006. Maybe now Scott McCloud will link to this site.

page 1
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page 6

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Want to see your name in a Suburban Tribe comic? "Ask a Suburban Tribe Cast Member" is a recurring feature that showcases Alan and the gang addressing fan eMail. Send an eMail to me with "Ask a Suburban Tribe Cast Member" as the subject line, along with a question to the character of your choice. Questions that are creative and brief have the best chance of being turned into a script, so get writing!