To all my wonderful readers,
A couple of weeks ago I drew and sent the last two weeks of dailies, bringing to a close the main storyline of FBorFW. It sure wasn't easy! I think the drawings were harder to do than the writing, because I'd been thinking about what to say and how to say it for a long time. I had that "running in a dream" feeling, as though I'd never get there, but once the deed was done, I felt strangely comforted; a feeling that I'd done the right thing at the right time.
For the past 7 years or so I was aware that the stories were becoming more complicated, the drawings more controlled and the characters more realistic. Gone was the loose, funny, free-hand line I had started with. As the adventures of the characters became more defined, so did the drawing, until I researched everything, from forklifts to faces, from aircraft to arcades. I was out for accuracy. Every house, every apartment had a floorplan. The furniture and the color schemes had to be consistent- as did the information I gave about the "players", and if I made an error, you would let me know!
I have always been impressed by the fast response that comes when an error has been made, or if the story has a twist to it that doesn't go down well!
Readers catch the minutest of details and I'm always grateful for a correction or a reminder!! One thing I was often asked was to tell more about folks such as Anthony's parents, but there were so many characters...and only one statement a day (less than 30 seconds) to try and tell a story, I just hoped you would make up your own minds as to how these distant players fit in!! With that said, I have now let all of this pass into the mist as the story ends and I return to the beginning.
For Better or For Worse begins again on September the 1st with new material, new art and new enthusiasm! Without the need to visit all of the auxiliary characters, I can concentrate once again on the insular little Patterson household. I have the children all to myself again. I can do spot gags and silly stuff. I can fix what I don't like about my early work as I add and subtract...redraw and just improve everything.
The crazy part is drawing the way I used to draw!! I practised, using the first two books, copying as if I was trying to draw someone else's work, not my own! It's taken some time to simulate the earlier work, but it's coming and because it's a simpler style with less detail in the background, I can comfortably do all the art myself without the need for another illustrator.
This makes the process faster and because I'll be including some of the classics, I'll be able to take some much needed time off!
I expected to find a return to my old style of drawing a bit stressful, but it's been easy! I also expected to find it hard to rip into the belief that I was a young mom again with two small kids...but this is really fun!!! I'm so enjoying the loose style, the freedom to play with the younger Pattersons again and the less complicated cast of characters. Mixing the classic and new strips, is both challenging and rewarding as I improve the work I started with. Who gets to do this??? I consider it a real privilege to be able to work on the beginning again and I hope you'll enjoy what I do. One way or another you'll let me know - and I look forward to hearing from you.