Welcome everybody to the last post in May! Time sure does fly doesn't it? Why, it seems like only yesterday I was doodling around in my sketchbook, working on concepts to send to MAD Magazine hoping to score some work. Truth be told, I don't look at old sketches very often but recently, my good friend Mark Stokes (Zombie Boy) posted one of his early sketches of the demon dog Gorr. It got me thinking that maybe it was time I sift through the CRAZY archives (no easy task) and post the very first drawings of those super stretchy tykes, Mike and Mindy!
These next few drawings were quite a jolt for me. I'm still not exactly sure what led to the creation of Mike and Mindy other than desperation maybe. They started off in solo comics after all as anonymous characters in Mushrooms. I guess I thought more about "Tom and Jerry" and the "Road Runner and Coyote" and remembered my favorite 'toons were always done as duos. A bunch of random sketches later, I had my duo!
Here we see the VERY first sketch I did of Mindy. If you look close enough, you can see where I erased the polkadots off her dress. Not too much else has changed since. The most noticeable differences are that her forehead didn't dip in back then and her eyes did not touch, a problem I remedied relatively soon after. The bulgy, overlapping eyes are a characteristic I absolutely love! It reminds me so much of the Muppets. Jim Henson was my idol as a kid. Not surprising I'd want to pay homage somehow.
Next up, we got the birth of Mike! Here, he was known as "Mike the Gentleman" because he was gonna be more of a goody two-shoes originally. Given that his forehead dips in and his eyes overlap, I must've had my "AH HA!" moment with my style by then. Very little has actually changed on Mike physically, although his spikes tended to droop a bit more early on. His hair has varied over the years, as it's tough to keep track of exactly how long those spikes really are! You'll also notice his shirt had WAY more stripes back then. Why make the change? Because sometimes less is more. That and drawing that many stripes was a pain in the ass! I should also note the the stipe on his actual shirt has gotten bigger over time, while the stripes on his sleeves remain small. You'll also notice that even back then, Mike's always had issues remembering to tie that one shoe! (Very astute readers will also note that each month, the untied shoe switches feet!)
Here we see the very first color study of Mike and Mindy including hand-written notes so I'd remember what colors to use! It's odd, but colors are something I've always felt comfortable with despite having no formal art training (Shows don't it?). I didn't try to experiment with them. When I looked through my markers, I just knew what I wanted. Blue's my favorite color, so I knew right away I wanted to incorporate that into Mike's look. With Mindy, I wanted colors that were obviously feminine but would really play well off of each other. Purple's a fairly neutral color among genders so I picked a lighter shade for Mindy. That particular shade of pink really jumped off the color swatch, so I picked it for her bow and shoes. Needless to say, I'm glad I did!
Here, we see Mike and Mindy today! The colors haven't changed at all, but the look certainly has! As you noticed in the previous images, Mike and Mindy were a lot more stiff-looking in their original appearance. Now, they have a far more fluid, more loose look. That came with time more than anything. The only real style change I knowingly made was in the way I drew their feet. I used to draw them at an odd looking angle. Now I draw their feet from a front view which I feel looks much better. As I got more comfortable as an artist, I learned to just let my pencil and pens do the thinking for me.
And thus concludes our look at (VERY) early Mike and Mindy! Why show these early sketches you ask? Aside from being inspired by a friend and mentor, I also wanted to show you, dear reader, that practice does in fact make perfect! In December of 2009, I had no idea where my career (if you could even call it that back then) was going. But I kept at it. I got feedback. I worked hard. Now, I have a following, two books out and a T-Shirt line. The point is, good things can come if you work for it. There are no shortcuts. If you wanna achieve your goals, be ready to give it your all and don't quit.
That's all for now folks. I'll be back next time with a New Mike and Mindy comic that'll have you "Leaping" for joy! And if you're heading to the Calgary Stampede in July, or just plain like Rodeos, than click here to get your EXCLUSIVE MIKE AND MINDY STAMPEDE SHIRT! It's a "Bucking" good ride! Anyway, take care, and I'll catch y'all later!