Friends! Romans! Friends of Kate!!

We have returned!!! Get ready for another series of wacky shenanigans and hilarious adventures. 

That's right, folks: Kate the Great is back, and she's bringing her BFFs with her! Join us here every Monday for a brand new strip starring Louie the crazy dragon, Zuzu the cutest pegacorn (a unicorn with wings), Harlan the surly gargoyle, and Tidas the scholarly griffin! And of course, the glue that holds the band together, the catalyst for every adventure -- everyone's favorite eight-year-old -- Kate! 

Questions, anyone? 

"Yeah!! Where the heck have you guys been?? And how's syndication going?" 

Since April of 2014, Jaime and I were contractually bound to not post our comic strip online. We missed you dearly, and we couldn't wait to share our work with you again, but while the syndicate was working to find placement in newspapers, all we could do is wait patiently... and write and draw a whole bunch of new strips for you. :) 

Unfortunately, the newspaper business didn't work out. Our former syndicate, Royal Comics in Finland, tried their best, but the industry isn't doing well. Due to changing technology and the lasting effects of two recessions (the one in the U.S. and the one in Finland), many newspapers have closed their doors. Consequently, there are no new slots for comic strips in U.S. and Finnish newspapers. What does that mean? If a comic strip isn't already in the funny pages, then it's probably not getting into them anytime soon. (The good new is, Garfield and Peanuts seem to be doing okay. The bad news is... Kate the Great won't be joining them.) 

Jaime and I are thankful for the opportunity we had to take Kate the Great global. It was worth a shot, and we're glad we took it. (Always take your shots, kids! Shoot for the stars! And beyond!!) Even though we missed our initial target, we're still firm believers in the Jack Gilbert philosophy: "Icarus was not failing as he fell, but just coming to the end of his triumph." 

We achieved a triumph -- a big one. For two years, Kate the Great was syndicated! How many cartoonists are fortunate enough to say that about their work? Not many, unfortunately. Yet, we want you all to know: Even though our initial triumph has ended, we're not giving up! Now that our contract with Royal Comics has expired, Jaime and I are free to publish our work online again -- and we'll be exploring some other opportunities, too! 

We'll be looking into other syndicates around the globe, and we'll be finding new and different ways to promote Kate and share her with new readers via social media. 

One of the great things about Kate the Great is how well she plays with others. With other kids, animals, mythological creatures, and even other genres! Kate started out in comic strips, but Jaime and I are now exploring some exciting possibilities in children's picture books. If that's something you'd like to see, let us know!! We'd really like to read your feedback. 

As always, we'll be sharing the details of Kate's journey here. We'll describe the bumps, twists, and unexpected turns on the road to publications. So buckle up for the ride! 

We're really excited to be back. Let's talk soon, okay? 

~ W. & J.

We Need Your Help!

Dear friends,

Kate the Great is launching in newspapers, and we need your help! If you like Kate and her pals, please contact your local newspaper and tell them that you want to see Kate the Great in the funny pages!

To make it easy for you, we’ve come up with a three-step process: 1) Click the following link. 2) Fill out the form. 3) Click SEND – and you’re done!

http://www.royalcomics.com/index.cgi?p1=ktg_day_fi&p2=suosittele&lang=en_US

As a special thank-you for your support, we’d like to provide you with this link, too:

http://www.royalcomics.com/index.cgi?p1=ktg_day_en&p2=day&index=83&amount=1&lang=en_US

There is a previously unpublished story that appears at the above address! We call it Kate the Great and the Bubble-Bath Dishwasher. It’s a whopping 17 parts, and it all starts with strip 83. Click around a bit; you’ll also find new Sunday strips. And you can even find out what Jaime and I look like! (Jaime is the handsome one.)

We still don’t have a firm date for when we can start publishing our work on the social networks again, so check back often! And if you see a strip that you really like, please recommend it to your local newspaper. (If it makes you laugh, then there’s a good chance it’ll make an editor laugh, too. And that might be just what we need to get Kate into your newspaper!)

Our goal is for Kate and her friends to entertain you at your breakfast table every morning. With your help, we can make it happen! 

Be Safe, Be Healthy, Be Happy,

Wayne Bartholomew and Jaime Garcia

Amazing News!!

Dear Friends,

We have amazing news to share with you:

KATE THE GREAT JUST GOT SYNDICATED!!!

Royal Comics Syndicate has signed our strip, and they’ll be distributing it worldwide. Starting this summer, it’s possible that you could see Kate the Great in your local newspaper! Kate and her pals may also appear in magazines, but we’re not sure which ones yet, so we’ll have to keep you posted.

And now the sad news:

Because newspapers may want first publication rights, we won’t be able to share new strips online for a while. We won’t be taking down anything that we’ve already shared, so no worries there! You can browse our archives all you like, and some months after we start publishing in newspapers, we’ll begin posting strips online again. So if Kate the Great isn’t in your newspaper, you can always look for updates here and on the Royal Comics website. When the link is ready, we’ll share it with you! And before you know it, Kate, Harlan, Louie, Zuzu, Tidas, and Kate’s awesome folks will return to the Internet!

For now, we’d like to leave you with something special to commemorate this exciting event. Today’s strip is called “Kung Fu Boogie.” We chose it because we think it’s the perfect example of Kate being Kate. Nothing more, nothing less.  :)  

We thank you for your support on this wonderful journey that has just begun. We don’t know where it will take us, but we know that we’re enjoying it immensely.

Our intention has been to share our art with you, into which we put a lot of work, enthusiasm, and heart. We hope it was as fun for you to read the first chapter of Kate’s journey as it was for us to write/draw it.

Over the course of the last year, we've received many wonderful comments and emails from readers telling us how Kate has touched their lives. Your words have meant a lot to us; they've really kept us going this year, and we appreciate them – and you. 

We’ve tried our best to respond to all of your comments, and we apologize if we missed anyone along the way. Every comment and every email is important to us.

Your support has been much better than anything we could have dreamed of.

This isn't good-bye. It’s “be seeing you.” Hopefully soon, in the funny papers.

 

Wayne and Jaime

  

PS. We’d like to leave you with some of our all-time favorite dialogue. It appeared in the final Calvin and Hobbes strip.

Calvin: Wow, it really snowed last night! Isn’t it wonderful?

Hobbes: Everything familiar has disappeared! The world looks brand-new!

Calvin: A new year… a fresh, clean start!

Hobbes: It’s like having a big white sheet of paper to draw on!

Calvin: a day full of possibilities!

Calvin: It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy …

Calvin: … let’s go exploring!

 

PPS. If you want to see Kate the Great in your local newspaper: write to the editors! We’re sure they’d love to hear from you. You can recommend Kate the Great to your local paper soon by emailing them a link to our syndicate’s website. As soon as the link is ready, we’ll post it here!

Sketchbook Update (With Video!)

Jaime and I are super stoked to tell you -- we're going to be including a set of wallpapers with each digital sketchbook download!   

You can see a preview of the wallpapers below. They will consist of the same design (Kate and her friends on a rainy day!) in multiple colors.  

These wallpapers are an homage to an early textile design that was created by an Italian-American artist. That artist is the late, great Antonio Petruccelli. If you'd like to see some of his work (textile design pieces, as well as maps he made for National Geographic and covers for The New Yorker!), then click here

To see the piece that inspired us, keep scrolling down! Over eighty years after Petrucelli painted it, the design was on display at the Butler Institute of American Art, and it was made into a book cover. (Originally, it was used for pajamas!) 


WHAAAAAAA...?! 

What was that awesome thing you just watched? :)  

Why, it was my smartphone, of course! I equipped the lock screen with Jaime's rockin' pencils and the home screen with one of the finished wallpapers. (You'll be able to use the wallpapers on your tablets, your laptops, and your desktop computers, too!)

 

Pencils! I put 'em on my lockscreen.

Pencils! I put 'em on my lockscreen.

The finished art. I made this the wallpaper on my smartphone's home screen.

The finished art. I made this the wallpaper on my smartphone's home screen.

These colors will also be included. (We're also thinking about doing one in gray and one in a very light orange. Thoughts?) 

These colors will also be included. (We're also thinking about doing one in gray and one in a very light orange. Thoughts?) 

 "Umbrellas" by Antonio Petruccelli. (The piece that inspired it all!)        © The Petruccelli Estate. All rights reserved. 

 "Umbrellas" by Antonio Petruccelli. (The piece that inspired it all!)        © The Petruccelli Estate. All rights reserved. 

Permanent link to this post: http://www.katethegreatcomics.com/news/sketchbook-update-with-video

Good Skill, Not Luck: How to Improve Your Work as a Cartoonist and/or Animator

Recently, a reader sent us an email saying that he can't afford art school, but he'd really love to be a cartoonist/animator. This definitely struck a chord with Jaime and me, and so, we sent him the following response. We don't typically publish responses to individual messages in a such a public way (if you write to us privately, we respect that and respond in kind); however, in this particular case, we thought the information that we sent to Mr. XXXX XXXX, Jr., would prove helpful to many others. 

If you're interested in becoming a cartoonist and/or working in the field of animation -- or even if you just have a passing curiosity as to how an artist might improve his or her work -- then the following is meant for you, too. 

 

Dear Mr. X, Jr., 

We're sorry to hear that you're having trouble affording art school, but here's an encouraging thought for you: Jaime and I are self-taught. 

Sure, I have a master's degree in English, but I didn't learn a single thing about writing comics in college. (No one knows less about commercial writing than an academic!) I earned my education by looking to the great cartoon writers of the past and learning from them. Guys like Bill Watterson, Berkeley Breathed, Gary Larson, and Hank Ketcham taught me more about entertainment writing -- and life in general, really -- than any of the teachers I had in school. And Jaime loves art so much that he looked to many of the greats artists -- guys like Alex Toth, Bruce Timm, Waterson and Will Eisner -- and learned everything he could directly from their work. 

Stop by your local public library and pick up some books about cartooning and animation. Jaime would definitely recommend reading “Comics and Sequential Art” by Will Eisner. It’s perhaps the book he learned most from, especially about narration. And for animation: “The Illusion of Life” by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas. It’s a Disney art book that is considered the Bible of the Animators.

Jamie also suggests “Making Comics” by Scott McCloud -- “a comprehensive book,” he says, “that will motivate you to draw immediately.” And as a curiosity, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. Conchita and Jaime both find it to be an interesting book that will amaze. (It’s about how we learn; how the brain works when it comes to drawing, and how to take advantage of that knowledge to improve our drawings.)

Jaime also says, “Do not be discouraged. All are born with innate talent, but everything can be learned. The creative mind works with great constancy; we learn something new every day. The key is consistency and practice. If it’s something you love, then that’s your road. Persevere, and you’ll come to wherever you want.”

Good skill to you!   (<-- Mr. X's thing. Because skill is better than luck!)  

 

Permanent link to this post: http://www.katethegreatcomics.com/news/good-skill-not-luck

Birthday Strip

For today's installment of Kate the Great, Jaime and I welcome the work of a special guest writer: my dad! 

Several months back, my father approached me with the idea for this comic strip. He's written lots of stuff in his life, but never a comic strip (this is his very first one!), so he had a little trouble articulating exactly what he wanted to see Kate doing. (The difficulty was compounded by the fact that my mom and brother kept asking him questions.)

My Old Man: "Louie is looking out the window --"

My Ma: "But why?"

My Old Man: "I'm getting to that, Patti. Anyway, there's a whale in the yard --"

My Brother: "Why a whale? What's a whale doing out there?"

My Old Man: "Well, it's been raining, and --"

My Ma: "When it's raining, I don't think the whales come out."

My Brother: "I think they do."

My Ma: "You should Google it. On that Googley thing."

My Old Man: "It's not raining now!! This is after the rain. And Kate is yelling to her mom--"

My Ma: "You know what Kate should do? Read a good book."

My Brother: "That's not funny, ma."

My Old Man: "Just forget the whole thing."


But I didn't forget! I wrote down his idea and did a crude sketch, and Jaime did a way-so-much-better sketch, and then finished it. And I printed the piece and framed it, and yesterday, I gave it to my dad for his 60th birthday.

That's right: my old man is 60! (I've got to stop calling him "old man". It might hurt his feelings, now that he is one.)

Kidding, kidding!!! I don't think 60 is old. 

Age is a state of mind, really. It's how we think and how we feel. And if you can think like a kid (and this strip is proof that my dad can), and if you're in good health (and my dad is, and we're lucky for that), then you're never REALLY old. 

And on that profound note, I'll wish my dad happy birthday just one more time this year, and post his strip. (It's pretty good, right?? Leave him some love in the comments below.) 

 

Permanent link to this post: http://www.katethegreatcomics.com/news/birthday-strip

Good news, everyone!

Jaime and I have been hard at work on an awesome side project that we're hoping to share with you very soon: a Kate the Great sketchbook. This bad boy would have more images like the expression sheet we posted a while back on DeviantART (pictured below), some process pieces that show KtG in its various stages of completeness, never-before-seen scripts, a little bit of background about how the strip came to be... You name it, it's probably going to be in there.

Would you be interested in seeing something like this? If you'd be so kind, leave us a comment below and let us know why or why not - or what you might want to see that hasn't been mentioned above!

The many faces of Kate.

The many faces of Kate.

Permanent link to this post: http://www.katethegreatcomics.com/news/good-news-everyone

Kate the Great © Wayne Bartholomew and Jaime Garcia. All Rights Reserved.