What Did I Learn?
weekly webcomic reviews by Delos
(this is a repost)
Sheldon by Dave Kellett has a great foundational premise. From the website: “In a nutshell, Sheldon is a sarcastic, nerdy family strip filled with pop-culture references and fun, random storylines. At its center is this weird, wonderful little family: a boy, his duck, and the grandfather that raises them both. It’s a strip of geeks, for geeks, drawn by a geek. You’ll dig it: trust us.” There is room in that premise for all kinds of themes and humor, including as family, kid, sci-fi and pop culture gags. There’s no one thing that gets ridden into the ground, so it’s a wonderful setup. Further, the above quote actually undersells the comic (by far the best way to make me happy that I took the time to follow up on my interest.)
The main character, Sheldon, is described this way on the website : “Sheldon: He’s a ten-year-old kid who earned billions with his own software company: Sheldonsoft. Though his huge riches occasionally tempt him into buying something frivolous like, say, Panama, Sheldon remains pretty much a normal kid. (Although he does tend to go into little nerd comas over anything sci-fi related.)” So here is a character that has technical talents, immense wealth and is still a ten year old kid. That’s a lot of facets to enjoy about this one character. The other characters are just as well developed, including a talking duck, a Pug dog and a lizard. Like I said above, there are many themes for the artist to draw from (ha!) – so you can imagine how varied the storylines can be. I think this is important because true creativity is all about taking things that are disparate and finding ways to combine them.
The art used in Sheldon is finished but retains a sketchy sort of line. It leaves you with the impression that the art furiously scribbled it down so that he could get to his next idea. I should say that it does not strike me as written carelessly – just loosely, from the hip. In some of the comics, there are hatch textures and the like inked in so you get some variety from a black, white and line every so often. Sheldon is mostly done in a three or four panel newspaper strip style, although there are deviations into far different layouts as well.
As you can see, there are a lot of variations on what Sheldon does. It should be noted that the comic has a reliable baseline. When it occasionally strays from that base, it acts a little perk! moment. You think: “Oh. What’s this about?” Fun stuff.
The storylines are reasonably short and you always find yourself wondering what else might happen. I’m personally waiting for Sheldon to dive back into the coffee topic again and I’m a little sorry that it ended so quickly. It’s a funny, light comic with interesting characters and fun diversions.
There’s a cool little website thing on the upper right of each page. For all of us with our own comics, don’t you agree doing something like that is a great idea?
One final note: As of this writing, Mr. Kellet has a newborn baby girl. Congratulations!
What did I learn?
Make sure your comic has a few different themes that you can draw on, which will let you vary your stories. Be careful not to vary too much, unless that’s a posited goal of your strip. Give yourself a proper amount of material to work with and have some fun with your strip. Sheldon updates daily and with color Sunday strips.