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Battle on!

Welcome to the Battle On!: Frequently Asked Questions. Battle On! has been running for over two and a half years and we've just hit the 100th cartoon! I'm really tickled by that as I had no idea the strip would ever go on that long or that high! I have had a complete riot doing the strip and I have met (virtually as well as real life) some wonderful nutball fans. I've had some really neat things happen to me since starting up the strip and many highlights can be traced back to June 1996 when I made the fateful decision to emai Tom Simpson some of my cartoons.

So, without further ado, here's some frequently asked questions:

Q: How do you color your strip?

A: Each strip is penciled roughly on a sheet of paper. When I'm reasonably certain of gesture and expression I will then ink the cartoon. Sometimes I'll do the dip pen procedure...sometimes if I want a softer line with a little more character I'll actually use a small paintbrush.

Below is an example of a pre-inked sketch:

Black and white image

After the strip is inked I'll scan it into my computer and using the wonders of Photoshop I'll color in the strip. Sometimes I'll combine a toon with a computer painted background that I've done on Fractal Paint. (The leather wedgie for instance...the entire background was painted on the computer and then I 'layered' the image of Xena and Argo on top of the background and added a few elements here and there to successfully marry the 2 images together.)

I just HAVE to say this...just because it's colored on the computer doesn't necessarily mean it was easier or FASTER to do...many times I'll spend more times coloring the toon than I did drawing it in the first place!

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A:Hmmm...that's every creative persons favorite question isn't it? I'm never quite sure what triggers my muse. Sometimes an idea will just come to me with the gag firmly in place. Other times I'll doodle a series of sketches and a pose or expression will trigger an idea. A lot of times my inspiration comes from the emails I get. If you've got a brilliant idea for a cartoon, let me know about it!

A few times I'll draw an entire picture without the foggiest idea what the caption or dialogue will be. A lot of times I'll have a fully fleshed out cartoon and I'll wait for the show to inspire me.

Q: How often do you have the Pick the Wisecrack contests?

A: I am a VERY busy animation student so I generally try to have them in the summer when I am not spread so thin.

Q: How long have you been drawing?

A: I have been drawing with the intent to be an artist since I was 6 years old. I'm now in my final year and final semester of Classical Animation at Sheridan College located in Oakville, Ontario. (No, I'm not Canadian. I'm from Utah.) It's been a grueling program and I'm excited about the prospect of graduation and getting out in the animation field. Any jobs out there, let me know!

Some have mentioned they've been able to track my artistic progress through the strip as I've gone through school. I would like to do some Xena animations and post them up. For a 3rd year assignment I animated Argo at a gallop and jumping over a log. I'd like to get that posted up soon

Q: Do you have a favorite character to draw?

A: Not really but I find that Gabrielle shows up a LOT in the strip. Xena is a particular joy to draw...I love doing her expressions and I find that I imitate them as I draw. I feel like I've finally gotten a handle on drawing Joxer. Ares is FUN to draw...but then I've always had a penchant for sketching buff guys. heh heh... There are a few characters that I like to throw in now and then that are chiefly my own creations...Equinon, the lovesick centaur and an Amazon I've dubbed Sayler. She's been in at least 2 cartoons...Amazon High 90210 and Treetop Women.

Q: What's the difference between a print and a cel?

A: A print is a high quality digital output of a cartoon. A cel is a hand inked, hand painted image of a character on a clear piece of acetate which is mounted and matted. I have my own personal collection of cels which several of the actresses have signed for me. I'm still biding my time waiting for Kevin Smith, Lucy Lawless and Ted Raimi to sign theirs. Over the summer I got Stephen L. Sears and Robert Trebor to sign a piece of acetate (the clear plastic) and drew their charcters right around the signature. Super nice guys both of them. Anyway since cels take so much time they're a little bit pricier but they look super nice.

Q: So...are you a subtext fan?

A: I like playing around with it... it's it's funny then I'll go for it. I have an understanding...I won't draw anything I'd be embarrassed to show my mother. To be sure...there are some weeks that I hope my mom doesn't look to closely but for the most part I feel like I do a pretty decent strip. With the show recently though, there hasn't been much subtext to play with at all!

Q: What's the most popular strip you've done?

A: I used to think it was the first one I ever did...the infamous Battleship cartoon generated a huge response, but I think a lot of that was mainly because it was when the strip premiered. NOW I think it was xjatg81.jpg. It's not very often that something about the show will get me into full fledged rant mode, but after seeing The Way I was so irritated and disgusted by the complete character assassination of Gabrielle I let it out via my comic strip. I was currently unsubscribed to any mailing lists and hadn't a clue as to how the rest of the Xenaverse percieved Gabrielles metamorphesis. I was slightly curious as to how others would take the cartoon, because it *is* extremely sarcastic, even for me. I was deluged with emails from scores of fans who echoed my gripes with Gabrielle. It seems to have struck a serious chord with the`verse.

Q: What's the most unpopular strip you've done?

A: and far the most controversial strip that ever aired was xjatg75. Some detested it and promptly let me know about it. Some told me it was their favorite cartoon.

Q: Whats the best drawn cartoon you've done?

A: Well, some I feel have some real stand out compositions like Dec 7th 97 and some I think are neat in ways that aren't overtly obvious...(xena riding Argo in silhouette is animatable. Those are key frames for a gallop cycle. However, one of the most recent ... xjatg100 is the one I have spent the most time on with the drawing getting it just so. I spent a LOT of time trying to get a quality of line I ordinarily don't do. I wanted to do something special for the 100th strip.

Q: I've heard about a Battle On! book...whats going on with that?

A: You've heard correctly. There will be a compilation of Battle On! cartoons coming out at a future date. There will be about 75 new cartoons as well as your online favorites and a 20 page comic book at the end. The story (and book ) are titled Fishing for Dinars. Those I've shown it to have laughed their head off at the story...(Xena enters a fishing contest in the village of Aquarium and Gabrielle is NOT happy. The story takes place probably early in the 3rd season. (Gab's got her long hair, BGSB and for those of you not happy with the direction of the show here's a chance for a bit of nostalgia.) For a chance to see some rough pages from the comic go to Also for some gee whiz stuff, I've asked both Melissa Good and Steven L. Sears to write intro's to the book to which they have graciously accepted. I would expect it out sometime this summer. (AFTER I'm done with school!) :)

Q: What does the T.G. after your name stand for?

A: Whoops...that's all the time we've got...thanks for your question folks!

Any more questions and comments, feel free to email me!

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© 1997 JATG