- Jun 7, 2018 Allergic Jun 7, 2018
- Mar 22, 2018 Time Travel Mar 22, 2018
- Feb 27, 2018 Little Booties Feb 27, 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- Oct 31, 2017 Shock Oct 31, 2017
- Oct 24, 2017 Vital Signs Oct 24, 2017
- Oct 20, 2017 Bath & Body Works Oct 20, 2017
- Oct 18, 2017 Essentials Oct 18, 2017
- Oct 16, 2017 Chili's UAE Oct 16, 2017
- Oct 13, 2017 First Walk Oct 13, 2017
- Oct 11, 2017 Our Street Oct 11, 2017
- Oct 9, 2017 Welcome to Al Ain Oct 9, 2017
- Oct 6, 2017 Middle East Soundscape Oct 6, 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- Jul 25, 2017 Small Time Con 1 Jul 25, 2017
- Jul 18, 2017 Caesar Jul 18, 2017
- Jul 11, 2017 Movie Night Jul 11, 2017
- Jul 6, 2017 Smith vs Smith Superior Sibling Challenge Cup 8 Jul 6, 2017
- Jul 5, 2017 Smith vs Smith Superior Sibling Challenge Cup 7 Jul 5, 2017
- Jul 4, 2017 Smith vs Smith Superior Sibling Challenge Cup 6 Jul 4, 2017
- Jul 3, 2017 Smith vs Smith Superior Sibling Challenge Cup 5 Jul 3, 2017
- Jun 30, 2017 Smith vs Smith Superior Sibling Challenge Cup 4 Jun 30, 2017
- Jun 28, 2017 Smith vs Smith Superior Sibling Challenge Cup 3 Jun 28, 2017
- Jun 27, 2017 Smith vs Smith Superior Sibling Challenge 2 Jun 27, 2017
- Jun 26, 2017 Smith vs Smith Superior Sibling Challenge Cup 1 Jun 26, 2017
- Jun 20, 2017 Baby Shower 2 Jun 20, 2017
- Jun 13, 2017 Baby Shower 1 Jun 13, 2017
- Jun 6, 2017 Lion Cut Jun 6, 2017
- May 2017
- Apr 27, 2017 Green Apr 27, 2017
- Apr 25, 2017 Sick Day Apr 25, 2017
- Apr 20, 2017 Quiz Apr 20, 2017
- Apr 18, 2017 Boxers Apr 18, 2017
- Apr 12, 2017 Matt's Birthday 3 Apr 12, 2017
- Apr 11, 2017 Matt's Birthday 2 Apr 11, 2017
- Apr 10, 2017 Matt's Birthday 1 Apr 10, 2017
- Apr 7, 2017 Dance Shoes Apr 7, 2017
- Apr 6, 2017 Emma's Birthday 5 Apr 6, 2017
- Apr 4, 2017 Victoria Comic Book Expo 2 Apr 4, 2017
- Mar 31, 2017 Victoria Comic Book Expo 1 Mar 31, 2017
- Mar 28, 2017 Emma's Birthday 4 Mar 28, 2017
- Mar 27, 2017 Emma's Birthday 3 Mar 27, 2017
- Mar 24, 2017 Emma's Birthday 2 Mar 24, 2017
- Mar 23, 2017 Emma's Birthday 1 Mar 23, 2017
- Mar 20, 2017 Game Mar 20, 2017
- Mar 16, 2017 New Beard Part 3 Mar 16, 2017
- Mar 15, 2017 New Beard Part 2 Mar 15, 2017
- Mar 14, 2017 New Beard Mar 14, 2017
- Mar 10, 2017 Emma Reads Smith vs Smith Mar 10, 2017
- Mar 8, 2017 Back from Vancouver Mar 8, 2017
- Mar 7, 2017 Cale's Wedding Mar 7, 2017
- Mar 6, 2017 Full Time Cartoonist Mar 6, 2017
- Mar 5, 2017 Busy Mar 5, 2017
- Mar 4, 2017 Vacuum Mar 4, 2017
- Mar 3, 2017 Every Morning Mar 3, 2017
- Mar 2, 2017 Time Travel Mar 2, 2017
- Mar 1, 2017 Cleaning House Mar 1, 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- Mar 30, 2016 Prison Mar 30, 2016
- Mar 23, 2016 Manual Labour Mar 23, 2016
- Mar 22, 2016 Thor's Yawn Mar 22, 2016
- Mar 16, 2016 Life in Kuwait Mar 16, 2016
- Mar 9, 2016 Ready in an Hour Mar 9, 2016
- Mar 6, 2016 Late Night Feeding Mar 6, 2016
- Mar 5, 2016 Kuwait Towers Fireworks Mar 5, 2016
- Mar 4, 2016 Life Drawing Mar 4, 2016
- Mar 3, 2016 March 3rd, 2016 Mar 3, 2016
- Feb 29, 2016 One Week to Live Feb 29, 2016
- Feb 28, 2016 How Much Did the Wedding Dress Cost? Feb 28, 2016
- Feb 27, 2016 Hairs Feb 27, 2016
- Feb 26, 2016 Rings Feb 26, 2016
- Feb 25, 2016 The Apple Feb 25, 2016
- Feb 24, 2016 Stuff We Haven't Even Thought of Yet Feb 24, 2016
- Feb 17, 2016 Soulmates Feb 17, 2016
- Feb 15, 2016 One Year Anniversary Feb 15, 2016
- Feb 14, 2016 After Every Vacation Feb 14, 2016
- Feb 13, 2016 Wedding Photographer Feb 13, 2016
- Feb 12, 2016 Upgrade Feb 12, 2016
- Feb 11, 2016 What Will You Be Wearing? Feb 11, 2016
- Feb 10, 2016 Blood Pudding Feb 10, 2016
- Feb 9, 2016 Clothing Feb 9, 2016
- Feb 8, 2016 The Three Sexiest Things Emma Has Ever Said Feb 8, 2016
- Feb 7, 2016 No Sleep Feb 7, 2016
- Feb 6, 2016 Cats and Emma Feb 6, 2016
- Feb 5, 2016 New Comic Feb 5, 2016
- Feb 4, 2016 Cat Butt Feb 4, 2016
- Feb 3, 2016 No Cuddles Feb 3, 2016
- Feb 2, 2016 Cat Fashion Show Feb 2, 2016
- Feb 1, 2016 Smith vs Smith Feb 1, 2016
Emma gave me a lot of really amazing Christmas presents, but my favorites are the amazing Ban Dai S H Figuarts full posable drawing figures for comic book artists. With my background in film, I'm always disappointed that my comics aren't more cinematic, but I'm hoping that these figures open up a whole new realm of possibilities! Check out the original poses below:
I'm very excited to use these little guys in the future!
Emma and I had a great Christmas in Scotland with her family, but 2017 is going to be an exciting year for Smith vs Smith comics and I couldn't wait to get back to work! For starters, Smith vs Smith is going to published in three papers in the next few weeks!
This comic is a spiritual sequel to "Stressed," a comic I created way back in 2009, when I was finishing a teaching job in Malaysia and didn't know what was next. (I ended up teaching English in Hong Kong and will be compiling the comic strips from that time into a mini comic soon). See the original comic below. I'm hoping you can see an improvement in my art over the last 8 years...!
This comic concludes Emma and my summer in Scotland. Back in June, Emma and I said goodbye to Kuwait and moved in with her parents for two months. I've done a comic already about the Scottish weather this summer.
I'm not comfortable with using colour in my comics yet, but I couldn't work out how to show a sunny day in grayscale. It jumps out, creating a strong contrast with the first two panels, but I'm not sure yet. Any feedback on the use of colour would be helpful!
Luckily, today I start the Comics and Graphic Novels course at Camosun College so I'm hoping that I will gain confidence in using colour and in my drawing abilities overall. I'm so excited to finally start this course after 11 months of waiting!
Originally, I planned to release this comic as two different strips. I was worried about being behind on comics as Emma and I were moving. Below you can see the original sketches.
Originally, the second half was going to lampoon how everyone reacted to the heat, but the day we left Scotland was a really nice day (in stark contrast to the first day we arrived) and this way it serves as a conclusion to our summer.
Below you can see an earlier version of the first half of the page.
I shared it with some people and made some changes based on their suggestion. In the final version, the sky is lighter in the second panel, so my day is "brightened" by the ice cream. I also like how the "camera" starts in a full body shot in the first panel, "zooms" in to a medium shot, drawing more attention to the ice cream. In the third panel, the "camera" "zooms" in to a close up, continuing the camera movement, before pulling WAY back to a cityscape shot to see the plane taking off, leaving Scotland and closing this chapter.
Emma and I actually had a great summer in Scotland and there were many other funny stories that happened. I am hoping to collect the last few comics and draw some new ones and release another mini comic (so stay tuned)!
In real time, Emma and I are back in Canada, getting ready for going back to school in a few weeks. I will run a few more comics about our summer in Scotland, and then I will probably collect them all with some brand new pages and release a mini comic all about our Scottish Summer. Stay tuned!
There's a lot more backstory in the first panel, referring to the night before with family friends who we never meet. One of my unofficial rules for "Smith vs. Smith" is that I want to keep the comic focused on Emma, myself and/or the cats and the relationships between the four of us. Part of the reason is to keep all these pages standalone (another "rule"). This is because most people admit to reading the comics from most recent to oldest, in "reverse" order when they first discover the site (which bugs me because that way the art gets worse as your read on). There are of course exceptions to both these "rules," but you get the idea.
So, I eliminated the backstory, starting in the middle of the story.
This is the inked page that I scanned for the comic. I wanted to repeat poses in the middle panel, so I left it blank originally, planning on copying and pasting figures from the first or last panel in Photoshop. You can also see that I only drew us sitting at the table. This was done for two reasons. One, it mimicked the agony of a hangover when you wish you could fast forward to when you are no longer hungover, or rewind to before the hangover, but you are stuck in the moment. It also allowed me to again mimic film language, with a slow push in of the "camera" as I slowly realize something is on Emma's mind.
I played around with the sizes of the characters in each panel, perfecting the change in size until I was happy.
I once again shared the comic with some friends and on a Facebook group. They pointed out that Emma didn't look hungover enough, so I redrew her completely in the first panel. Then I added the grays and shadows.
(There's a reason the panels go from skinny to wide to skinny, and it has to do with the narration captions, but I want to see if anyone picks up on it...)
On a personal note, today Emma and I fly to Canada. We will soon be starting our back-to-school year, with Emma attending art school and myself enrolled in Canada's only Comics and Graphic Novels course. We are both unbelievably excited! I can't wait for these comics to get even better!
- Matt Smith!
I wanted to work on my figure drawing and character poses, so I enlisted my sister-in-law and had her take photos of Emma and in similar poses to my sketch page. Then I digitally inked over the reference photos.
Film is my first love, and I always wish my comics were more cinematic. So I took the opportunity to use some film language along with the comic language. The comic ends on a reverse of the first panel. Where we started with Emma downstairs looking at me on the stairs and asking me to turn around and go back up, in the last few panels, I am on the ground, looking up at Emma on the stairs asking her to come back down. In film, when characters swap from left to right, it is called "crossing the line." In this case, the fifth panel is the turning point, when the balance of power shifts and the direction of the scene changes. I highlighted the crossing of the line by drawing us in white silhouette against a black panel.
The page above has good poses, but the realistic proportions look incongruous with the rest of "Smith vs. Smith." Realistic heads are much smaller than I draw them. And we both look... much wider than I like. I have drawn entire pages completely digitally before, but I keep coming back to inking by hand, so I printed this version of the page, and hand drew over certain panels.
The version of the page above is a Frankenstein's monster of hand drawings and digital. This is the version of the page I showed to a few friends and shared on a Facebook group. Overwhelmingly, people had issues with the last panel. Showing movement in static comics is a challenge, but showing subtle, slow movement is especially challenging. Based on some suggestions, I moved Emma further up the stairs and out of the frame. Angie Coe, a talented cartoonist from the Facebook group (she also does relationship comics so if you like my comics you should check her stuff out) actually drew me a quick sketch to suggest an alternate pose for the last panel.
The new pose makes the action broader and therefore, clearer. I also liked Angie's suggestion that Emma's hand stays where it is, like an anchor. For the final version of the page, I kept my pose the same during the last two panels, only changing my expression. This forces the reader's eye to search for the differences between panels more, allowing the change in Emma's position to stand out more.
This "simple" page took far more time than I would have expected. If you've made it this far, please leave a comment and let me know what you think and please share with anyone you think has ever been in a similar conversation!
It is shocking how much time and effort went into this page! First, I drew two quick versions in "The Blank," a gift from my friend Ed Moline. "The Blank" is a blank comic book that is becoming a helpful way to get my ideas down on paper. I like it more than typing out my comics like a script because for me, the writing and drawing process is so closely linked in cartooning.
I re-ordered the panels. I like the idea of ending with a soggy sandwich, as if that is the worse thing to happen all day, but the panels needed to build to the "punchline" of the fog ruining our victorious photograph.
In the second version of the page, the first few panels are all close ups, intending to mimic "getting ready" movie montages and build interest until the reveal of me in my winter coat. This is an extension of something I've tried to do in comics like "Late Night Feeding" and "Manual Labour." I like how in this page there is no text until the reveal of me in my winter coat (something that was eventually lost because I just couldn't find a better place for the opening caption).
From here, I moved on to thumbnails. I just finished re-reading all 24 issues of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip's FANTASTIC "Sleeper" series and their zig-zag panel layouts stuck with me (they also showed me how to draw rain on my sandwich). I am hesitant to use overly creative page layouts, preferring to stick to more basic pages, unless the story calls for it. However, I've also become obsessed with how a cartoonist can guide a reader's eye and I felt that a winding climb would be a good opportunity to experiment with a meandering page layout. I decided to try something different (after all, part of this webcomic is about experimentation). This decision would nearly be the death of me...
Before I drew anything, I had Emma take some reference photographs with me.
With these and other reference photos, I began to draw.
I stared at it, showed it to Emma and sent it to some friends. I had to admit the first caption had to come at the top of the page and the final caption felt like there was more to the story, making this page feel incomplete. I made the appropriate changes, thus creating the page you see above.
Then, I decided to spend even MORE time with this (far too) in-depth behind-the-scenes post. Please let me know if you found this fascinating. If enough people dig the behind-the-scenes stuff, I'll keep writing more. If you've read this far to the bottom, thanks for reading and have a great week!
The last few comics have been about Emma and my summer in Scotland, but this week I felt it was time to show what the cats have been up to. Usually, Neo and Thor spend their summer in a (shockingly expensive) cat hotel, but as Emma and I are moving to Canada, this summer they get to travel. We were worried about their first plane ride, but they handled their British Airways flight quite well (Emma and I had to settle for a KLM flight, but I'm glad the cats were comfy...).
Our main concern with bringing the cats to Emma's parents' house was the family dog, Maisie. Neo is skittish, but Thor, the smallest pet in the house, is now in charge. The three of them seem to be getting along, which was a huge relief.
This week's comic took much longer than the normal weekly comics take. I really wanted to improve my animal drawing, and since it is a (mostly) silent panel, I wanted to draw the pets in some really animated and exaggerated poses. I originally intended to do more with the backgrounds, letting the pets run across the background through multiple panels, but I could only use two panels in each row because the action is so horizontal. I'm trying to use more black in my comics, but when one of your main characters is a black shaggy cockapoo, the pets got lost in the backgrounds. After staring at the comic for a while, I decided to go back and lighten the background to let the pets POP more. Let me know what you think of the experiments in the comments. And if this comic amused you at all, please share with your friends. Have a great week,