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This is the comments section for the (food) comic website Mostly About Food.

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The First Strawberry of the Summer

ComicsPosted by Kalle Tue, June 14, 2011 21:38:56

(Posted originally on July 12th, 2006)

This is the new personal favourite of mine. Or at least it's competing very hard with "Ode to Sushi". I am a bit of a nostalgic person so I like to think back to all the good old times: that's one of the rather few ways to make me emotional.

The story in itself isn't really based on a memory of a single day, but it is quite describing of a typical day on the plantation back then. Oddly enough, for some reason I left mom out of this story, even though she was always working there, too. It wasn't until early to mid-nineties that dad relieved mom from cucumber field duty (not that she didn't go to work there after that). I have actually planned a comic series, which takes a deeper plunge into growing vegetables, so be prepared for more stories from our summer place. Today the plantation is way smaller, because nobody in our family has much interest to work that hard to make some extra income. Nowadays it's just fun to go there with mom and dad, pick a little this and some that. At times some city people on bicycles stop by and ask if they can buy some cucumbers, only to become completely astonished when dad hands them a bag with four cucumbers, a few carrots, beetroots and sunflowers, all for free. You wouldn't believe how many thank-yous people can say for a little free flowers and vegetables. Dad, of course, is overjoyed when somebody admires his (or mom's to be correct) sunflowers and shows interest in his little garden. It's all fun to watch, while eating raspberries and some of the last peas, hanging from the near-dead stalks (we're usually there in August, you see). Hmm, why am I writing this here? Should I not spare it for another comic, or what? I really am a nostalgic person, getting all carried away... well, we are flying over there in just a couple of days, so the thought of the summer place, new season potatoes and strawberries straight out of the bush is constantly in my mind.

Drawing - or actually colouring - this one was a tough one. There was plenty of details and small stuff (plenty to me, not so for Geof Darrow, for example :o), which is why I was very fortunate to learn to use the colour replacer function in Paint Shop Pro. That makes colouring a lot faster and easier than using only paint bucket and pencil tools. Development, in baby steps!

Although the layout of page one went a bit wrong (all the short panels on the left and long ones on the right, if you didn't notice: panels three and four should switch sizes to make it right) I am rather content with this one. I feel that sense of progression again, which is comforting. Sure, it has a very conventional layout and artwork and it doesn't utilize the possibilities of computer technology in any way, but at least I feel that the story has a decent flow and structure. I think I will start making my comics more internet-adapted later in the autumn. Meaning, there will be (flash) animations, more clicking of pictures, moving backgrounds, sound and stuff.

By the way, did you count all the different animals in this comic? I'm not quite sure howa lark looks like, but that's the bird on the last panel of page one. I find it extremely enjoyable to watch a lark hovering above a field and to listen to its constant singing. Then it drops down, gets all quiet and after a while, goes back to hovering and singing mode again. I've never understood the meaning of it, but it makes the coffee and sandwiches that are enjoyed after work taste that much better.