Monday, August 27, 2012

Search and Research #165

Here, at last, is the big ending of the "SCOM noir" story we've been telling. It took me a good, long time to complete this, but not as long as the last big color strip, and I was much busier this time around, so I still feel pretty good about that. Looking back, I'm not sure that I made it as clear as I could have in these past couple of strips that the propeller thing that was coming out of SCOM's head is a holographic projector, and it projects a shape around him, such as a trash can. I'm not sure how exactly I could have done that better, but anyway, that's what that was.

I had a good time drawing the "SCOM noir" sequences. I've always wanted to learn to draw in that high contrast style, and this was a good project to experiment on. I also really enjoyed drawing him with an "80's action" mustache.

I"m still pretty busy at work and have some family stuff coming up the next couple of weeks, so I'd guess that we're gonna see the next strip mid-September sometime, and pick it up on a weekly basis at that point. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my silly comic strip!

 - Eli

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Art update

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted the last strip, and I'm here with an update on strip #165, which will be a large color strip. I've penciled it out, and am in the process of inking it, after which I'll be adding colors. I'm going to go back to markers this time for color instead of doing computer colors like the last color strip. Here's a look at the strip with the panels all lined out:

This is an 11x17 inch sheet of "official comic book paper" with 14 panels on it. The blank space in the lower left corner is a panel as well, it just won't have a border around it. I'm hoping to get it finished before my "pre-semester starting work exhaustion" kicks in. I don't want this to take 3 months like the last color strip, however, I'm finding it difficult to focus on the strip when there are Olympics on tv. That's it for now I guess. I hope you're all doing well.

 - Eli

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Search and Research #164

Well, I meant to have this up yesterday, but when I sat down to post it, I remembered I hadn't yet scanned the strip (I usually scan the strips right after I finish them). I finished this one a few days ago, but wound up being busy afterwards I guess. Anyway, here is the penultimate (always wanted to use that word!) strip in the "SCOM tells a story about working in the Library of Congress" storyline.

Strip #165 will be a color strip and it will have 14 panels, so it'll take me a little longer than usual to complete. I'm going to try and finish it before my day job gets crazy in preparation for the beginning of the fall semester. If that happens, it will be the most quickly completed color strip in recent memory!

 - eli

Friday, July 13, 2012

A long week...

This has been a pretty tiring week for me, and as a result there will be no new comic strip on Monday. I spent most of my evenings this past week helping with a kids camp by teaching a cartooning workshop for 2nd-5th graders. As you might imagine, it was both fun and exhausting. I'm still recuperating from the experience, and have no energy to draw, well, anything really.

Many of you know that beyond just drawing this comic, I aspire to become an illustrator. I don't really post non-Search and Research art on this blog, but I do lots of other artwork outside of this comic strip. If you would like to see some of it, head over to my Facebook page, Eli's Art Pad where you'll find galleries of my latest watercolor paintings, pen and ink sketches, and little stories. You can also read my non-comic stories, co-written with my co-writer for Search and Research, Jason Watts, and illustrated by me, on my website.

Back in a week!

 - eli

Monday, July 09, 2012

Search and Research #163

Still exploring the intricacies of dramatic lighting. I mentioned before that I've never really drawn in this style before although I've long admired the look of that noir drawing style. In the last panel I figured that if the lights when down, SCOM's screen would be the only thing giving off light, and tried to use that to inform my lighting decisions.

You'll also notice in panel three that I've employed an interesting little lesson I learned a while ago: The expression of a character speaking must match the emotion of the last thing he says in a panel, not the first. People tend to read the word bubbles and then look at the pictures, so, if you don't match the expression to the last emotion, the pictures won't make sense. I learned that back in Search and Research 93 where SCOM discovers his missile has been replaced by a telescope. His face matches the first part of what he says rather than the last part, and the panel just winds up being weird because he looks mortified rather than slyly pleased. Ok, that little tip is free. Enjoy!

 - eli

Monday, July 02, 2012

Search and Research #162

Jason and I decided it would be fun to sort of explore some of SCOM's early days at the Library of Congress, and I wanted to try to make his "flashback" scenes distinct by drawing them in a noir style, where there is only black and white with very dramatic lighting. I've always loved that style, starting with the Tracer Bullet stories in Calvin and Hobbes. I've never been very good at it, but I thought that drawing SCOM's angular shape would be easier than trying to do the organic human shapes. Boy was I wrong! It turns out that it takes practice, no matter what you're drawing. As a result, I spent a while trying to develop the look of what I have now come to call "SCOM noir". It took about a month of off and on experimentation. Hopefully subsequent strips will easier for me now.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy what we have planned.


Friday, June 29, 2012


You may know this about me already, but I'm a big fan of comic books. I tend to follow my favorite artists from book to book, rather than being loyal to particular characters, and I'm pretty picky about the artists I like. In most cases, comic books are supposed to come out once a month, meaning that the artists must draw 22 pages of story and in most cases a cover each month. I get excited about the comics that are scheduled to come out and become really bummed out when those artists announce delays to the books they're drawing. Due to the "high in-demand" nature of most of my favorite comic book artists, and the meticulous nature of their artwork, compounded by the fact that usually just drawing comics won't pay the bills for these guys and they have to take outside work as well, I often suffer through huge delays from my favorite artists.

I say all this because I want you to know that I always have that on my mind when there are delays in this comic strip. I'm currently trying to develop a specific look for some of the story panels of our upcoming story arc, but am having some trouble because it's unlike anything I've really done before and, while it's stretching me in a good way, it's taking some time to really get it to look like what I sort of see in my head.

I'm also trying to work towards developing an illustration portfolio, and that's taking up time as well. If you're interested, you can see some of the work I've been doing recently at: I just finished moving my site over to a Wordpress based site so that I can easily update things, and have a blog. If you're interested, you can read some little stories that my Search and Research co-writer, Jason Watts, and I have collaborated on too. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

 - Eli

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Search and Research #161

Over the past few years of drawing this strip, I've noticed that sometimes I'll sit down to draw a strip and everything just flows, from the clarity of the idea in my mind to my ability to draw it. Other times, I'll have a clear idea in my head, but when it comes to actually drawing it I seem to do more erasing than actual drawing. This strip fell into the latter category. It also doesn't help I've been sick for the past few days. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Update...

Eli here, popping in for a quick update - we've completed our scripts for the next story arc, and I'm in the process of penciling the next strip. I'm going to try to complete and post it this week. To tide you over, I'm posting this sketch of SCOM I did in preparation for the upcoming story arc. I welcome your speculations as to what this sketch foreshadows...

Monday, May 21, 2012


Well, after 5 weekly strips, we've hit delays again. Jason and I have a story idea we're working on for a multi-strip arc, but we're having trouble getting all of our ideas to work together, so we're in the refining stage of writing. I feel most comfortable at this point with having an entire story arc finished before starting to draw anything, so I'm not sure when the next strip will be, but we can hope for this weekend.

 - Eli

Monday, May 07, 2012

Search and Research #160

Well, technically it's still Monday (at least in USA Central Standard Time), but last week was a pretty busy week. My friend Ryan Nelson came up with the idea that spawned this strip, and since he's about to graduate with his masters degree, and since he's been bugging me about it since he first told me his idea, this is for you Ryan. Congratulations, and hope you enjoy Japan! - eli

Monday, April 30, 2012

Search and Research #159

Jason and I had originally intended this strip to be a Valentine's Day strip, but weren't able to make the timing work, so the idea has been hanging around for quite a while. I'm glad we were able to find a way to put the idea to use. When SCOM begins reciting the poem, it's because Boük is controlling him since Boük can control technology with his mind. I tried to indicate that this is what's happening with SCOM's surprise and the instant screen change, along with the "bzzt!" sound effect, but I had a hard time trying to think about how to definitively show that this is what was happening. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on how well that came across. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Search and Research #158

I'm not sure how anyone else feels, but I'm often tempted to pretend to use the handheld scanner as a phaser from Star Trek. That's where this strip came from. I guess I'll never be too old to pretend to play with laser guns. :0) Enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Search and Research #157

There are few things more annoying to me in the library than watching students "fix" a printer or some other piece of equipment. I mean, I'm right there at the desk, they can see me...why wouldn't they ask for help? However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit I'm guilty of the same thing when I'm outside the library, and I encounter stuff malfunctioning...paper towel dispensers for instance. I have a bit of expertise in how paper towel dispensers work, so if I find one jammed, I have no problem opening it up and fixing it. I'm sure the folks in charge of them would be equally as frustrated. Anyway...enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Site updates

I'd like to draw your attention to a couple of new features I've added to the blog recently. First, I've put all of the strips into a Picasa web album, so you can scroll through and catch up on past strips or reread favorite story lines. You can access this by clicking "Just the strips" in the menu bar under the blog title, or you can click the slideshow widget on the right hand side of the page. Second, I've added a Meet the Cast page in the menu bar, in case you would like to know more about these characters. Thanks for stopping in!

 - eli

Monday, April 09, 2012

Search and Research #156

Ok, here we go with the next strip. Drawing this strip was like hanging out with friends you haven't seen in a long time, good and nostalgic at the same time. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Looking ahead...

Well my friends and readers, it's been about 9 months since anything was posted on this blog, but that's about to change. Since last July, my wife and I have moved, gotten settled, and I've been working with an illustration mentor who is helping me make a move towards being a free-lance illustrator. I've been learning about watercolors and all sorts of other stuff, which has been really exciting, and working to create a portfolio of images. I also had more commissioned artwork last year than all my previous years combined. All that stuff is the reason that I haven't posted any new strips. I felt like I needed to drop something, and Search and Research was the easiest thing to drop. However, Jason (my co-writer) has been consistent in encouraging me that we really couldn't leave these characters hanging like this, that we needed to bring some of our story threads to a conclusion. I mean, we've created over 150 strips at this point and it's worth the effort to complete the body of work. I've come to agree with him through some soul-searching and with the encouragement from one of my co-workers, and I'm pretty sure that, despite my work load, I can make this work, and produce the strip in a timely manner.

So, here's the plan as it sits: Jason and I are going to write the heck out of these strips, I'm going to draw the heck out of them and do my best to put a new strip up every week, and we're going to shoot for 45 new strips, which will give us 200 strips in total. Sound good?

Above you'll find a panel from a new strip that I penciled last night. Keep your eyes peeled and your feed-readers on! My best to you all,


P.S. - Thanks Karen!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Search and Research #155

Man, this is only the fifth strip I've posted this year. I can't believe that I still have viewers who are interested in what's happening over here. I'm super grateful to you all though! Thanks so much for sticking with the strip!

This one took a while because we kept changing the script for it. Sometimes the writing for this thing comes easily, and sometimes it requires a lot of rewriting and revising before we're really happy with it. We hope you enjoy!

- eli

In retrospect, now that I've posted it up, I should have added some color to Marc's shirt, because I chose to fully color Elsie's dress. He looks like he's wearing a white shirt....oh well. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Search and Research #154

Welcome back to the strip everybody! I appreciate you all hanging in there with me. This particular idea stems from me being heavily into Star Trek: The Next Generation, and really not being able to get into Star Trek: Voyager all that much. My co-writer, Jason, would appreciate me saying that these opinions are my own, and do not reflect the opinions he personally holds. We'll be happy to host a spirited Star Trek discussion in the comments, if anyone should care to weigh in. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Search and Research #153

I'm back! Hooray for a new strip! My goodness, it has been a while, but I've been super busy with art commissions, and doing other art related stuff. It has been great! In the meantime, the blog has been getting crazy numbers of views per week, for which I'm grateful but also sort of curious as to why that's happening all of a sudden. I'm all for it!

Hopefully our next strip will be up sooner, since my friend and co-writer Jason seems to be having a little bit more free time to help write scripts. He's really the one who is able to take my ideas and actually turn them into fully fleshed-out scripts, and I'm always very hesitant to just write this strip by myself. It almost always suffers without his input, so I've been waiting until he had time. Until the next one, enjoy!

- Eli