Two years ago I began a series of one-frame cartoons about a character I’d created, called Particular Fox. I’d spoken with B. about him for quite some time before I set pen to tablet, and we both felt there was fun there. He wasn’t a difficult character for either of us to grasp and to expand upon – we’ve made ourselves familiar throughout our lives before us and onwards as us, with worlds of fretting mice and dithering cats; and me certainly so with my attraction to the likes of the Pathetic Sharks of Viz, and most latterly to Sheldon from Big Bang. And of course the character is also about the fusspot me.
The one-framers were to become monthly creations and outings (twelve in total), shared among Facebook friends, on Twitter, and then to the first iteration of my designer-illustrator website, which then had a ‘comic art’ section (iteration #3 hasn’t), and on many of the monthlies there’s a Picture Window sign-off, with mildly officious ‘©’, which is a nice mark of my uncertain intent upon my starting out… for Particular Fox, I mean.
Amongst Facebook friends, Particular Fox got a lot of good reaction. Close friends recognised him, or me; work colleagues whom I’d recently left recognised me more; and pretty much everyone (who liked or commented) saw a reasonably get-able suggestion of a folksy archetype placed in the wrong sort of pickle. One of my proudest moments was when my sister punched me on my upper arm and said ‘I really like Particular Fox.’
Execution-wise, I wanted the one-shots to be a little like vintage film posters or old book covers, and postcard-ish in some possible made-real future. I wanted the colours to be thick and lush, as if sticky with inks, and it’s fair to say that I enjoyed the constructions of the backgrounds most of all. Particular Fox himself is inconsistently portrayed (I do like to dive in), and it’s what I find most dissatisfying now about the pieces – along with, if I’m being picky (duh), some clumsiness in the captioning.
Recently, I’ve returned to the folder. I’m dissembling some of the frames, and I am learning how to make a better fox. But with a fondness for the spirit that made him, and a nod to the sometimes joy that is something special unresolved, I am putting the fussy bugger out there in this small way once again.
Here are Parts 1 to 6 of Particular Fox.
1. November 2nd 2012 – The original and quite possibly still my favourite. The ‘scenery’ took an absolute age, but I like its physical liberties and its colours. Also, chicken – who doesn’t worry?
2. November 15th 2012 – The shed and the cityscape and the mad skies I’m really happy with. The shed’s a direct import from a biro sketch in my notebook.
3. December 4th 2012 – As with the shed, I like reworking photos dumped in from elsewhere. This restaurant frontage is one of our locals. The ferreting fox in the rubbish is fun, but I never did properly nail the main character… and I gave him one line too many. Fab colours, though, I think.
4. December 21st 2012 – Over-worked and soapy, and I never did land the message that I wanted his fusspottery put on hold for some magical experience. All the comic material surrounding Christmas, and I ditched the laughs outright. Genius. I do like the wreath in his name, mind…
5. January 17th 2013 – I was all about the art-deco-y construct of this one, thinking it suited the cartooning of a fable. I still like the joke, and did want to nod at some time to some foxy trickster tale. Nice enough stripes.
6. February 8th 2013 – So I said ‘one-frame cartoons’, but here’s the one exception, the first and only actual strip. In case the file’s posted too small to read, it’s a basic gag-end about him just thinking about Foxy Bingo. I really liked working on the backgrounds, and was chuffed to have made PF so thumpingly heroic in his overseeing. Regrettably I was in a bleak mood when working on this, and that’s pretty much all it reminds me of. I think I ended up going out to The Range, just to have a break.
And Parts 7 through 12 will follow soon enough, I’ll be bound. Thanks for reading and looking, really.