Archive | June, 2010

Digital comics for mobile devices – How it all started

30 Jun

So I’m starting to think about how to make comics for mobile devices like the iPhone. It is still very premature, as I even don’t own a mobile smart device. Below is a summary of how things how developed in the last 24 hours.

Yesterday I had a brief Twitter conversation with a Norwegian comics creator Kim Holm, who goes under the handle DenUngeHerrHolm.

@DenUngeHerrHolm I think the new iPhone 4 would be perfectly suited for a sketch comic like Space Monkey, where the user decides the story.

@rvbelzen yeah, been thinking the same thing. Now I just have to figure out how I can get a monkey-app made…

@DenUngeHerrHolm It need not be an app, but could also be a specially formatted mobile website, so other touch devices can use it too.

@rvbelzen Well, both would be ideal. We´ll see how much I actually get to do…

So I googled the subject and came across a comment on this article called Available iPhone Web Application JavaScript UI Library/Frameworks on

QuickConnectiPhone has what you are asking for. There is a custom project type for Dashcode that allows you to quickly create your app. If you then want to run it installed on an iPhone or touch you can then drop it into Xcode and compile it up.

It includes wrappers for AJAX and the SQLite database that exists within the Safari browser on the iPhone and touch.

You can get it at

I had never considered using Dashcode for developing applications. I thought it could only be used for making widgets for the Mac OS X Dashboard. Not so, it seems. You can also make web applications and QuickConnectFamily should be very helpful.

However, before I can get to that, I should familiarize myself with DashCode and how to create web apps. I tried a web tutorial, but soon found out that I lack knowledge about and experience with Dashcode itself.

So I had this brief exchange of thoughts on Twitter with Kim Holm:

I think I’ll whip up some screencasts how to make web apps for iPhone using Dashcode once I have enough experience.

@rvbelzen Sound very useful! Go for it!

@DenUngeHerrHolm Well, you need a pet project to go through the dry theory. My pet project will be a digital comic with bonus content.

I created a new topic on the Art & Story Supreme forum (a paid subscription forum for cartoonists):

Digital comics for mobile devices project

Very recently, I started teaching myself how to use Dashcode for creating web applications. I’m particularly interested in digital comics for the iPhone and iPod Touch. As Jerzy mentioned in one of his many rants, although the iPhone can be easily dismissed as unfit for reading comics, it is up to us comics creators to make it fit. After all, we are supposed to imagine the unthinkable, aren’t we?

If I succeed (and that’s a big IF), it could help independent cartoonists to promote their print comics, by giving a flavor of it on a small size screen, not by providing the artwork from your print comic, but rather the intent and mood. It’s like a cover design, a separate, yet integral part of your comics project. The digital mobile comic should tell potential buyers of your book something about what they will get, as an appetizer.

At least, those are my initial thoughts.

I will start as simple as possible (hence Dashcode), and slowly progress to the more elaborate stuff. My goal is a digital comic with bonus content, which has a buy button to order a copy of the printed comic book. A completed order might unlock even more content, to give a feeling of instant gratification while the book is being sent through the mail. Don’t expect a turn-key solution from me, though. I just want to show others the way, so they can improve upon what I’ve accomplished.

I will use the forum to share any progress on this project.

Mini-comic – Injun

24 Jun

This mini-comic was made for the mini-comic challenge in the Art & Story Supreme forums.

Mini-comic – How to slay a dragon

23 Jun

This mini-comic was made for the mini-comic challenge in the Art & Story Supreme forums.

Mini-comic – Why Are Kittens So Cute?

22 Jun

This mini-comic was made for the mini-comic challenge in the Art & Story Supreme forums.

Mini-comic – Why can’t you go any faster than light?

20 Jun

This mini-comic was drawn for a challenge on the Art & Story Supreme forum. I don’t know if it’s an improvement, but it is an attempt for improvement.

Mini-comic – Why do monkeys love bananas?

20 Jun

This mini-comic was drawn for a challenge on the Art & Story Supreme forum. Let’s just say, “It’s a start.”

Getting under the skin

15 Jun

Although I said I was going to do a weekly micro-cast and ditto video, I’m going to postpone that until I have mastered animal drawing some more. I would spread myself too thin if I kept doing that while drawing animals is what is powering those other projects. My guess is that it is prudent to first get better at drawing animals, and then return to the other stuff, so I can be more useful to the listeners/viewer. Although some have no problem getting ideas out of their behinds, it is not how I would like to present myself. I’m not much of a meta-person, it seems. I’d rather make content than talking about other people’s content (as a fanboy).

Anyway, I’m using The Art of Animal Drawing, written by Ken Hultgren as my guide now. Hultgren is an excellent draftsman of horses, and it seems to me that if you’re able to draw a horse from imagination, drawing other four-legged animals is much easier, because you can draw upon your knowledge of drawing the horse. So that is what I should be concentrating on.


So here is a first sketch of a young horse, in which I tried to find the underlying structure (the skeleton). The bones are clearly visible, especially in the legs. It’s just an exercise of looking at photos of horses and identifying where the bones are. I used Hultgren’s book to help me with the sketch above.

I will keep doing the incidental sketch from observation, but increasingly I will try to replace those by drawings that use my knowledge of anatomy to construct (or reconstruct) a drawing. This conversion may take several months, if not more.