Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Frank O'Neal...In His Own Words

If you read Short Ribs at all, you can see that a substantial amount of evolving has gone on in regard to the design of the characters. This is, I hope, the result of a desire for constant improvement of the product. Since an individual character doesn't appear more than once or twice a week, I have a little more freedom design-wise. Otherwise, the idea behind Short Ribs hasn't changed a great deal. My purpose is just a quick little spot of entertainment...perhaps with a little thought thrown in once in a while. Also, I make an attempt to make it visually interesting. I make a point of meeting deadlines, which I'm given to understand is something unique in the cartoonist. Really, there isn't any set pattern in the production of a week's work. I do, However, complete all the daily strips before starting on the Sunday page. Everything is done on clearprint tissue, in pencil, and then pasted behind a sheet of #2 ply board, and inked with  a #2 brush. Once in a while I'll use a pen for fine detail. The lettering is done with a #14 relief pen. I have a studio here in Carmel Valley Village, since I find it difficult to work at home. Too, I have an assistant who comes in three days a week. He does just about all my, filing and house cleaning. I tried to work without an assistant for quite some time...largely because of financial reasons, but I found that the assistant helped remove much pressure, and that Short Ribs was the better for his help. If I have a gag that requires a little different atmosphere, we can spend more time experimenting with backgrounds and characters. In the gag department, I usually have something ahead in order to get the week started on Monday morning. However, there have been many times when I've had the "empty page blues." So far, I've managed to come up with a gag every time  I've headed for the bathroom to cut my throat. Thank goodness. Normally, I arrive at the studio between 8:00 and 8:30. I leave any time between noon and 5:00...just depends on how things are going. Mostly however, I like to be able to see the end of a week  before I start goofing-off. By that I mean that I like to have a really good idea of just what I'm going to wind up with when I mail my weekly package to the office in Cleveland on Friday.

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