The Creative Process

Recently during an Ask Me Anything session I did on Reddit, I was asked about the creative process and how I come up with ideas for the comic. I gave what I thought was a brief, but incomplete, answer that I wish to expand on here.

The first step in the process is the idea, and I get ideas from everywhere. Sometimes I might see a news article that gets me thinking, while other times it might be an interaction I’ve had with someone. When it doesn’t come from there, it might come from a brainstorming session where I try to think of funny situations or topics that I’d like to talk about.

I use a note taking app on my phone to jot down ideas. For example, opening up the app right now I see a few things I’ve written:

“Jesus says to love your enemies, but how many wars have we had?”

“Encouraging words from the bible.”

“Winston tells KKK members how to be taken more seriously by having better costumes.”

“God not allowed in schools.”

“Christian changes the radio station at the gym to christian rock station.”

They’re not all good ideas, but that’s how the process begins. It’s simple thoughts and ideas that I get that I flesh out later. And I’m constantly adding things to the list even if they seem absurd at the time.

When it’s time to do a comic, I go through the list and see if anything jumps out at me. If not, I might try to think up something on the spot, but more often than not, I go with the one that I think I’ll be able to develop quickly.

Once I have the idea, I flesh out the “story” in a notebook. I decide on how many panels I think I’ll need, figure out the characters I’m going to use, and begin writing the dialog. Punchlines are always the hardest thing to write, and I find myself obsessing over those too much. I have a bad habit of re-writing a punchline just before posting only to find out that I spelled something incorrectly. Haste does make waste sometimes.

If I write a lot of dialog, I’ll go into the app I use to layout the comic called Strip Design (it’s on the iPad) and type it all in first. I do this because I want to see how much space is left for the drawing.

Once that’s done, I go into my drawing app, called Sketch Club (also on the iPad) and begin the artwork. I like this app because it simulates how I used to draw with pen and paper. It uses layers and so I create a bottom layer where I do a very loose sketch to figure out placement, expressions and poses. Then I create another layer where I tighten things up with “ink”. Finally, I’ll add additional layers for the colors and shadows and whatnot. Each panel is its own drawing so for a four panel comic, I’ll have four individual drawings.

When the drawing is all finished, I import them into Strip Design, add the comic titles and social media badges and it’s finished. At this point, if I’ve given myself enough time, I’ll let the comic sit for a day so I can come back and evaluate it with s fresh perspective. If I need to tweak the wording or the punchline I can do it, if not, it’s time to upload and start thinking about the next one.

And that’s pretty much it.

If I could give a word of advice to any young creators out there it would be, don’t obsess over the technical details of doing this kind of work. When I was young, I would drive myself crazy because I learned that an artist was using this brand of pen over another or this kind of ink over another, and I mistakenly thought that success lay in the particulars (like pens, brushes and types of paper).

It doesn’t.

It doesn’t matter what pen, paper, brush, app, computer, stylus you use; it’s the end result that matters. If you’re into writing and drawing, WRITE AND DRAW DAMMIT and don’t worry about the details that get in the way of that.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed and I give you all a hearty Oink to send you off!


The media tour continues

My pal, Lalo Dagach, has a great podcast with smart, interesting guests. So imagine my shock when he asked yours truly to be on.

Seriously though, I’m not good at speaking, but I do appreciate the opportunities to appear on shows like this, and if you’re not a subscriber to Lalo’s podcast, you should definitely give it a listen.

Check the latest out here.


I get naked

My good friend, Andrew Hall from the blog, Laughing in Disbelief, has started a new podcast called Naked Diner, and yours truly, his high holiness of ham, was called on to be the first guest.

I’m not quite sure if that spells doom for the endeavor or not. Anyway, if you’re so inclined, you can listen here.

And in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t really naked, although I did ‘take it out’ at one point.


Looking ahead

I was asked recently about what’s on the horizon for The Atheist Pig, and so here’s a brief update on what I’d like to do in the near future.

My first priority is to finally do up a proper collection of the comics. I’d like to do a high quality printed book with a mixture of the very first comics up until today with commentary on each comic. Also, I might throw in a few sketches from the old sketchbook. My vision for this is that I’d like to do a cover with artwork by someone other than myself, as I do like showcasing other people’s work (if you’d like to to a guest comic, hit me up and we’ll talk).

The second thing is that, as you may or may not be aware, there is now a subreddit dedicated to The Atheist Pig https://www.reddit.com/r/theatheistpig/. This was started by a fan (thank you), and I’m planning on doing an AMA (ask me anything) there in the near future. There is also a post in which readers can submit ideas or thoughts about the comic there.

Finally, as I alluded to during a recent interview, the thought of expanding to the world of YouTube has crossed my mind. There are many instances in which I would like Winston to expound upon an idea, but because of the limitations of the comic format, I just can’t do it. So my thinking is doing animated shorts of maybe 30 seconds. However, that would involve recruiting talent as I’m neither an animator nor a voice actor. As much as I would like to see this happen, it would be pretty far off in the future if it ever comes to fruition.

So that, in a pigsty, is what the future may or may not hold.

As always, thank you to the fans for your continued support.



Explanations and stuff

I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile because I thought you, the fans, deserved a bit of an explanation about my absence.

I’m happy to say that nothing bad happened. I didn’t get sick nor did I go to jail. The brutal truth is that things were a bit of a mess a few years back; financially and otherwise. And doing the comic wasn’t fun anymore amidst all the stress I was under. As it became more popular, it was going to become financially impossible for me to pay for more server space for the website, so I took a break.

I did plan to come back sooner, but like a stupid pig, I didn’t write down any passwords. I couldn’t get in to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. I assumed that since the site was down, then my email addresses associated with it were gone as well.

Anyway, that’s the short of it. But things are better now and I’m having much more fun drawing and writing than before so I plan to stay around for awhile.

Also, I want to thank all the fans for coming back after all this time. I’m honored.

Lastly, since many of you are following on Facebook, I would urge you to also follow Winston either here, on Twitter or on Tumblr as a backup in case Facebook decides to shut the page down due to “hate speech” or some such nonsense.



Site update (UPDATED)

First off, I want to say thank you to all those who welcomed Winston back. I’m glad to know this ham is still being enjoyed by all you people.

Second, as you can see there is a new website, and some have asked about the old comics. The sad truth is that most of those are gone. I foolishly didn’t save my archive (I am now.)

I do have a small collection of older comics that have been posted on Tumblr and Facebook. Some of these I plan to upload here as repeats, and some I plan to re-do with updated artwork. Winston’s look has changed considerably since his inception, and I’d like everything to be uniform.

So thanks again for your support. Winston is nothing without his fans.


UPDATE So a fan managed to save my archive of comics. I’m going to go through everything and re-upload some back to the site. Others I still want to re-do because they’re just too funky looking.

Never let it be said that Winston doesn’t have the best fans!

Double Oink!


Welcome back

Well, we’re back finally after a too-long hiatus.

The story of where Winston has been is long, and will be told soon. In the meantime, new comics will be uploaded here, on our Facebook page and on our Tumblr page.

As always, feel free to share the comics as you wish.