Monday, December 28, 2009


Just to let you know that I haven't forgotten about this strip, and to whet you appetites a little bit, I'm posting a couple of teaser images related to the next color strip that I'm working on. Those of you who have been following for a while know that often these color strips take a bit more time than usual, and the fact that I've had art projects related to the Christmas holidays and got my hand bitten by a squirrel (yes, you're reading that right!) haven't helped at all. However, the question remains, what possible relationship could there be between this image: and this image?And, what could either of them have to do with a library? Keep mulling on that and I'll try to post more teasers as this color strip progresses!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wai Fai sketches...

Well, I'm really really late in posting this, but here's my sketch of Wai Fai in her Trinity costume. I really like how this turned out, and yes, that's a tape gun in her hand. The Matrix had tons of guns in it, and so I initially thought it would be funny for her to have a tape gun, but I'm glad that didn't make it into the final strip. Below is that same sketch colorized with Photoshop.More sketches to come this week...keep your eyes peeled!

- eli

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Search and Research #134

Well, between preparations for the Thanksgiving holidays and then throwing my back out while raking the yard the day after Thanksgiving, I haven't had much time to draw the past couple weeks. It happens. At least, it happens to me. :0)

Today's strip is based on an actual interaction one of my co-workers had with a student. In real life, the student had spread all is stuff out on my friend's desk while she had stepped out. He was apparently pretty angry to be asked to move.

The more I try to put in background elements I seem to have to either make them very detailed and risk cluttering up the design and putting in hours carrying the details on through all the panels, or I put in general shapes to sort of seem like background elements and I never know what to do with them. The cross hatching on the background elements this time around was an experiment, and I have to say that it's not exactly what I had in mind, but I didn't know what else to do with it. Oh well. Enjoy!

*Edit - I decided that the cross-hatched background elements in panels 1 and 4 were too confusing and so I just edited them out, and re-uploaded the image. For those of you who are interesting in seeing the old version, here it is:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Search and Research #133

Welcome back! I'm afraid that to fully appreciate this comic you will need to have seen Terminator, Terminator 2, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator: Salvation, or The Sarah Connor Chronicles. If you've seen none of these, please go see T2 immediately. Thank you. Also, there is no www.smartlibrarymachines.scom, so please don't spend time looking. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ayvee sketches...

Here is my black and white sketch of Ayvee as Lisa Simpson as well as my colorized version. She was a lot of fun to draw in this costume. I think I made the mistake of trying to make her legs a little too muscular looking, or put a little too much detail in her knees or something, but overall I like how this design came out. The red dress with the triangle fringe, the pearls, and the spiky yellow hair were the details that I hoped would make this costume work. Doesn't she look like she's having fun? More sketches later this week. Enjoy!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Opal sketches

Here is the sketch I did of Opal as an MiB agent. The first sketch is the version I did with gray markers. The second image is colored with Photoshop by selecting certain areas and then playing with the hue. This was in response to a request by frequent commenter Angie, who suggested she'd like to see Opal decked out as a secret agent a few months ago. Angie, these are for you. I had to do detailed research on the design of the "flashy thing". And yes, she is carrying the noisy cricket in her other hand. More character sketches to follow. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Comps and Costume sketches...

My wife is in the last semester of her MLS and this means that she is taking her comps this Friday!!! Which means that we are going to Knoxville, TN for this weekend, and I'm not planning to have a new strip ready for this next week. I do however plan to post some interesting things on the blog that I have already drawn.

As many of you are aware we recently did a comic strip which featured the staff of the library dressed in their Halloween costumes. If you haven't seen it go check it out. Based on a post from an anonymous reader, I've confirmed the costume identities of 6 of the 8 characters, but there are still two characters for you to figure out!!! Who are they and who are they dressed as? Comment if you know or at least want to guess!

In the meantime, I'm going to start posting some of the sketches I did in preparation for this strip. I did these to figure out the costume and look for each character after Jason and I decided who each staff member would dress up as. I'm almost embarrassed to say that I think these design sketches look better than the renderings in the actual strip. Probably because I could draw these ones at a larger size. Oh well. First we have Elsie as Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars. This was pretty fun for me. I'm posting my inked lines and then my color version. I colored her with my gray markers and then changed some of the hues in Photoshop. As always, you can click on these pictures to see them at a higher resolution. Enjoy!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Search and Research #132

Hey! We've got an oversized color strip this week thanks to my good friend and co-writer Jason Watts. We'd written a Halloween strip and Jason pushed me really hard to have it in color. I was hesitant to break the "every 15th strip" tradition that we have rigidly upheld for so long, but once I realized that there were some costumes that sort of depended on a visual cue, I caved and colored the whole thing. This is a super large strip, coming in at 8"x12.5", but for the sake of easier online viewing I've sized it down to about 9"x5.5". Still super large for this strip, although not as large as Optimus SCOM fighting the T-Rex, or Supermarc. So...who are all of our characters dressed up as? They represent a mixture of Jason and my interests, so some will be more difficult than others to figure out. Post 'em up! Let's see who can get them all correctly first. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Search and Research #131

Today you are all getting a treat! At this point in my cartooning career I'm using three different warm gray markers for all the gray areas. When these warm grays are scanned in as grayscale, they show up as more of a cool gray. I'm usually happier with how they look in grayscale so I post them thus. However, today I was really proud of how my warm gray markers look and felt like the grayscale took something away from the look of the strip (particularly the woman)so I'm posting a color scan of my gray markers!!! Please try to contain your jubilation long enough to enjoy the humor of the strip itself. Thank you.

This idea came to me as I was walking out to the desk and thought, "I usually tell a person who has been waiting for a while that I'm sorry for the wait, but what if I were to say 'I'm sorry about your wait'...that could really be taken the wrong way!" At which point I immediately wrote out a strip about it. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Search and Research #130

This, like many of the recent strips, is based on an actual interaction with a gentleman who took my "I'm not really a stats guy" to mean, "Please explain statistics to me for the next 15 minutes." I really enjoyed writing and drawing this strip. I hope you all enjoy it as well!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

preparation sketch...

This is a sketch done in preparation for the next strip. What role could he possibly play? Tune in on Monday to find out!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Search and Research #129

So, this is based on a recent interaction wherein a patron had a pencil in his mouth and was trying to talk to me at the desk. For some reason he refused to remove the pencil even though I had to ask him to repeat himself several times. When he gave me his card, it turned out that he was a faculty member which was doubly awful because I couldn't be snarky in talking to him. I wanted to say something like, "If you're hungry, there's a small cafe downstairs." But...I couldn't. I really wished that I could have been a grumpinator though. I mean, if anyone deserved to have a bad rest of the day, it's the guy who won't do you the courtesy of removing a pencil from his mouth before speaking, right? Is that wrong?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Well, well, well...what could this be? This is a sketch I did in preparation for the next strip, but who is this guy? How will he play into the plot? Is it important that he has a pencil in his mouth? Let the speculation begin! And...tune in next week to find out the answers to all these questions!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

3 Years Down, ??? To Go

Well, Eli and I let it slip by us quietly, but Friday was Search and Research's 3 year anniversary. I have thoroughly enjoyed helping to create this strip. I probably enjoy reading these strips as much or more than any of our readers. I always get a kick out of seeing the characters interact, and I really appreciate Eli's ability to visually represent those interactions in a way that cracks me up everytime!

Thank you to all of our fans and readers!! We have appreciated your comments and sticking with us when we have long gaps between postings. If it was just for us, we probably would have stopped creating this strip a while ago, but for you guys we keep 'em coming!

Here's to more years of fun and laughter to come!


Search and Research #128

Ahh...the mystery is solved. This still doesn't help my real life situation in which there are never any pens at the desk, but it was fun. Hopefully this pen obsession is out of my system now. Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Search and Research #127

Apparently I'm still working through some "lack of pens" issues in the workplace, so here's another scenario that kinda gets on my nerves. These questions have come up when I only had 1 pen left, and I've had to decide whether or not to lend the pen. I have to admit that I usually don't lend out the pen, under the "My need at the desk is greater than your need at the computer" Act of 2002, but there are times that I wish I could demand unreasonable collateral. But that's why I have this strip!!! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Search and Research #126

As many of you are aware, I like to address current issues in libraries in this strip; often times they are issues that are so current that they don't show up in library literature. Today is no exception...Where are all our pens going??!! Our library has bought literally thousands of pens in the time that I've been here, and we still have to go searching all over the place when we need to write out a call number for somebody! And it's not like we're buying really nice pens either...these are the cheapest writing implement we can find, so I can't imagine that there would be the "new pen" factor at work here among those taking them. Forget about Google books, the lack of pens is the thing that's going to take us down, in my opinion.

Ok, enough of that. I discovered that my faithful gray marker is almost out of ink, so I had to do some computer colors for the service desk today. I hope I'm not letting anyone down by doing that...if it's any consolation, I had to spend a lot of time talking myself into that course of action. I really want to do this strip by hand all the time. Also, Marc refers to a previous incident involving an ink-bomb. That can be seen in strip #33. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Search and Research #125

Well, well, well...look at this. A new strip! Whoa! As many of you faithful readers are aware, my life becomes extremely busy around the start of a new semester, and August and part of September are usually too busy for me to find time to draw strips, and this year was no exception. My July was also unusually busy, so has been a while. So, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you all back to Search and Research!

I had mentioned in previous posts that my younger brother Christopher would be doing a guest strip for me, but it turned out that drawing a strip was a bit daunting for him, so I'm still trying to talk him into finishing it, but I'm not sure when that might happen.

Does anybody else get a lot of books coming in with these little sticky tabs in them? I seem to find them on a fairly regular basis, and I'm always surprised that someone would consider that an acceptable condition in which to return a book to a library. I just don't understand that...

Thanks very much to all of you for sticking with this strip! Enjoy!


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Search and Research #124

Hey! I did in fact get a strip up before my summer got really crazy. I go through this thought process a lot when I'm at the desk, but they don't all turn out to be professors...let me tell you! Anyway, I'm going to say that it'll be several weeks before I can post another strip, but my brother Christopher has kindly offered to create a guest strip for me while I'm busy, so be on the lookout for that! I hope you are all having a great summer! Enjoy!

- Eli

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

more sketches...

Sometimes story ideas come to me when I draw the characters in funny ways, such as adding a hat, putting them in a different costume, etc. An example is strip #106 where I drew Marc with long hair, and the picture was very funny to me and sort of spawned this strip. Above is an example of a couple of ways I recently tried drawing Marc, first in a hoodie, and secondly as a secret agent of some kind. The second was also a chance to see what he'd look like with longer sideburns. He certainly looks...different. I'm not sure if I like them longer. Anybody got any other costumes or "looks" they'd like to see on Marc?

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's a little sketchy...

I've been thinking for a while that SCOM needs a technological nemesis. The gnome was a pretty good nemesis, but being magical puts him in a sort of different world than SCOM. A technological nemesis seems to present more options for SCOM to bust out his CIA training (recall that he was programmed by the CIA), and so an evil copier seemed the natural option. Here are my first and second attempts at an evil copier (Second attempt is beneath the body of the message.) Notice that they're similar, but I took the first design and improved the evilness for the second.

In other news, I have so much going on in the next 3-4 weeks that the strip will be irregular at best. It's possible that my brother, Chris, a recent graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design, may do a guest strip or two. Chris is not a librarian, although he's spent time studying in libraries, so that could be interesting. I may have time to squeeze 1 or 2 strips into my schedule before mid-July, but we'll just have to see. Anybody got any crazy copier stories?

- eli

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More sketches...

Back a while ago, April of 2007 actually, I introduced the character of Marc's Library Director, seen here. At that time I wasn't really happy with the design or look of her character, so she has never shown up again. I've recently had some ideas for strips involving her, so I decided I needed to update her design. Here is one example that I'm considering. You'll notice that her facial features are similar to the original drawing, but her hair and mode of dress are different. This character is still evolving.

- Eli

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Head sketches...

In a lot of ways I like Marc's swoopey hair because it makes him visually distinctive, even in silhouette, but it does present some weird challenges when drawing him from certain angles...particularly from the side. I also have trouble giving him good expressions from the side 'cause the arm of his glasses seems like it always covers up his eyes. I decided that I really did need to figure some of those angles out though, so I did a few little head sketches in preparation for the most recent strip, which I am presenting for your enjoyment today. I'm not sure that any of them really work all that well...this is sort of an ongoing challenge I'm working on solving.

- eli

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Well, due to my extended absence, I'm trying to drum up more interest in our blog here by adding content with more frequency, so I'm going to be posting some sketches that I did to sort of get me back into the mood to draw this strip. To start with, it had been a LONG time since I'd drawn Elsie, our stacks manager, so I had to go look at past strips and then I did this sketch. I think it turned out pretty nice, but I didn't go for too much detail, such as her hands. The toughest thing to get right on my characters here are the faces, so when I'm warming up I draw the face first, and then if I'm feeling particularly good I'll draw a body as well.

Ok, that's it for today, but check back tomorrow for a new sketch!!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Search and Research #123

Hey! We're back online here at the Search and Research Corporate Headquarters, and coming at you with a brand new strip! Thanks for putting up with my extended absence...I felt like I was moving for about 2 straight weeks, and in fact, I was. Phew...I'm glad it's over. It's weird how 3-4 weeks without drawing sort of gets me out of practice, but when I was inking this I just felt like I was swerving all over the place. The word balloons aren't crisp, Marc looks sort of weird, my gray tones aren't as well placed as I'd like...but I don't want to redraw it. :0)

Tell your friends, spread the word, and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

quick update...

Hey gang, I thought that I'd better fill you all in due to the absence of a new strip for the past two weeks. I was sure I'd have a new one up by now, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen for a little while wife and I are moving! Not far...just a few doors down, but it does mean that there's a lot of packing, sorting, hauling, dismantling, remantling (that's the opposite of dismantling right?) cleaning, sweeping, scrubbing, aching, baking (Hey! I just put it in there for the rhyme, ok!) to be done and I just can't get myself in an artistic mood in the midst of all that. So...I'm shooting for a June debut for a new strip. It's already written, it's just a matter of finding time to draw it. Anyway, I hope every one of you is doing well and gearing up for summer in style. Anyone have big summer plans?

Until next time,

- Eli

Monday, April 20, 2009

Search and Research #122

You know, I wish I could make strips like this all the time. This punchline is based on the ending of an actual conversation I had with my buddy Jason (who is a real life computer programmer) one day, whereupon I immediately wrote it down for future use. I was trying to figure out how to work that line into a strip tonight, and suddenly realized that Bo√ľk reminded me of Max Headroom, who at one time had a tv show but who I remember from the ads for New Coke back in the 80's, so that kind of turned into a second joke for people who remember obscure tv characters. Anybody else remember Max Headroom?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Search and Research #121

Delivered, as promised. I love it when these strips write themselves, and this is pretty much a verbatim transcript of an interchange I had with a girl at the desk. I've sometimes seen people at a restaurant say "Surprise me!" to a waiter when they can't decide what they want to eat, but it somehow loses its charm at the service desk. Enjoy!

Quick update....

I just want to send out a quick update here...I was hoping to get a strip up this past Sunday, but between the Easter holiday and a surprise visit from the in-laws tonight I just wasn't able to finish it. Strip #121 is penciled and partially inked so I'll have it up on Tuesday night. Mark your calendars!!!

- Eli

Monday, March 30, 2009

Search and Research #120

...And we're back. Thanks to you all who hung in there, patiently waiting for me to get my head around this concept. As a "thank you" I've created an oversized color strip. This takes up the majority of a 8"x19" piece of matte board that my sister-in-law graciously gave to me. I tried coloring this with markers only, and for the most part it worked. There were some things here and there that I sort of wished I could take back, but the main image that this strip started from, Super Marc punching out a virus, turned out pretty well I think. Enjoy!

Monday, March 09, 2009

A quick update...

As some of you who faithfully follow this strip may be aware, the next strip will be #120, which will be a color strip. These color strips take me longer than usual to do, and this particular one coincides with a trip that my wife and I are preparing for, so it is unlikely that I'll have the strip finished in the next couple of weeks, due to the preparations and then the actual trip. I will do my best to have it up by the end of March.

- Eli

Update 3-10-09 by Jason

Despite our frequent collaboration, Eli and I rarely have the opportunity to get together and hang out (I haven't been able to convince my wife that the 24hr round trip drive from TX to TN would work for a weekend trip). It's been about 3 1/2 years since we went up to Nashville, but now Eli and his wife are coming to East Texas. And (in my best Texan accent) we're lookin' forward to seein' ya'll!


Monday, March 02, 2009

Search and Research #119

I recently had to change my password and once again, as always seems to happen, I have a great idea for a password and think "Man I wish someone could appreciate this password other than me." Is it just me?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Search and Research #118

Sorry this is up a little late. I had a bunch of art to do last week and this just didn't make the list. I have to admit that as a person who grew up learning the whole "check-in/check-out" terminology for dealing with library books, I was really thrown when I started working at a library and everything was suddenly "charge/discharge." Personally...I still like "check-in/check-out" better. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Search and Research #116

I have to admit that I think this is one of my better constructed strips so far. I really liked the way this looked in pencils and I just hoped that I wouldn't mess it up when I inked it. I'm not the greatest inker but even so, I think it turned out pretty good. I liked the sword moving out of the second panel, and into the panel where it finds its final resting place. I had a lot of stuff to try and convey in this strip, and I think it turned out pretty well.

We have one more strip to sort of wrap up the current story arc, and then we will be returning to the world of normal library stuff. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Search and Research #115

Ok, this is the one. I have to admit that even though this story line is a little weird, and doesn't really have much to do with normal library business, I got really excited about drawing Future SCOM. Specifically the shot of him leaving his little flying ship dock and flying free. There is a lot more features that he has when he is docked (which makes it a necessary thing to draw) but who wants to be bogged down with all those accoutrements all the time?

In the interest of full disclosure, I did indeed base Future SCOM's flying base on an upside down Starship Enterprise. I spent a lot of time when I was younger drawing the Enterprise in various space battles. I even acquired many Star Trek model kits when I was younger specifically to check the accuracy of my drawings of different ships from different angles. I'm pleased that I was able to put all those hours of my earlier life to good use for the purpose of everyone's entertainment. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Search and Research #114

Sorry for the delay on this...I had a virus on my computer that was taking up all of my nonworking time the past couple of days. It was a sneaky little bugger called MS Antivirus 2009, and it was a pain to get rid of. It made itself look like an intrusion alert from Windows, but when I clicked on it, it allowed the virus to implant itself on my system. I finally got rid of it tonight, and feel comfortable uploading an image again.

So here's Wai Fai again, minus the weird hair that she had. I liked how her old hair looked, but it was a pain to draw, so I tried to simplify it. I'm still not super-comfortable drawing it, but I'm getting it. Also, I left Jason's tie white in deference to our scientific fan contingent. :0)


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Search and Research #113

I have to say that this guy was fun to design and draw. I went in a lot of different directions before settling on this one. It's sort of fun to have SCOM in the future, but I still don't know how the future should look. Every time I think about it I just draw a blank (literally!). And...on that bad joke, I leave you to enjoy this strip.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Search and Research #112

...and we're back on track. This was an interesting strip to draw, particularly trying to convey SCOM's new surroundings. I thought that the small black robot from Star Wars might properly set the futuristic tone I was looking for! :0)

As a somewhat humorous aside, the character of Jason is fairly closely based upon me, although I do not have a Mr. Spock haircut. I even wore a labcoat around in highschool. And dang it! I just realized that I forgot to color his tie...grrr. I hate missing details like that. Oh well. Enjoy!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Search and Research #111

Welcome to the new year!! This joke struck me as funny over the holidays and since it was time sensitive I'm interrupting the current story line for it. Enjoy!