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The final play-along comic topics were “creation”, “morality” and “good vs evil”, and we had to pick two. I went with the first two. I spent too long writing this, and not enough time drawing it, but there’s only so much you can do in 90 minutes. I am so excited to see who won the contest. I’ve been a big fan of theirs for a long time and I’m glad to see they won!

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The latest elimination challenge themes were Religion and Candy. I went through a bunch of ideas before I settled on this one, but most centred on Willy Wonka, because I thought it was the funniest visual way to show candy. Plus it took the pressure off making a joke about religion, and just used religion as a flavour to a joke about candy. I thought about having Wonka as a devil on someone’s shoulder, or a person worshiping the golden ticket but went with this. I try to play by the rules of the show, so I didn’t look up reference for the Oompa Loompa. So I got him a bit off model, but I still think he reads at Loompa.

I’m excited to see how it plays out with the final three contestants! I’ve been a fan of Katie Rice for a decade,  so I’m rooting for her.

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I wasn’t hardcore enough to play along with the signature challenge, so my next try is the elimination challenge with the theme Cats and Cars. Had a tough time choosing what to draw for the last panel. Originally it was going to be a big ball of yarn car. Then I realized Garfield was the funniest contrast to the word pussy that I could come up with. He’s like the perfect opposite of that.

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"Roller Skates" and "Dinosaur" were the words in the latest episode’s elimination challenge. It was sad to see Monica leave. I got a chance to say “hi” to her at TCAF (Toronto Comics Art Festival) this weekend and she seemed just as nice in person. I enjoyed her backtalk in this episode.

My initial joke instincts were to do something about a dinosaur inventing the wheel. Or do a prat fall because the dinosaur invented roller skates before it invented the rink. I was thinking about that chase scene through the jungle in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, where two jeeps were able to drive pretty evenly over grassy terrain, and how that broke my suspension of disbelief way more than the alien ending.

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This episode’s elimination comic’s themes were “mystery” and “naughty”. Trying not to make the mistake of going “blue”, like I did with my nipple strip, I went for the least naughty version of naughty I could come up with.  I’m not super happy with the final gag, but I panic a bit in the writing. I missed an opportunity for a Santa joke. The mystery of how someone got on his list could have been a good joke premise. Good episode, with Abby’s sass cracking up the judges. http://penny-arcade.com/strip-search/episode/elimination-6

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This week’s elimination words were Mermaid and Ukelele. I love drawing mermaids, but I need to spend some time drawing more musical instruments. I had trouble making a tuba from memory so I mostly covered it up.

Maki’s art was solid, and so was his gag. I would have faced strong opposition. So far it looks like most of the contestants are artists first, and writers second, but I think I’m the other way around.

Looks like they’re embracing the play-from-home aspect and asking to see more strips! Hoorays. If only I had the clay to make dogs and salmon.

Here’s the episode if you want to see it again: http://stripsearch.tv/episode/elimination-5

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This week’s elimination episode threw me for a loop. What a great show this is turning out to be. I like that it’s two friendly guys in charge, instead of a television executive. They got to make the decision that was right for them. I also really like that they go and talk to the contestants after they are eliminated and give them a pep talk/honest critique. 

Anyway, the words chosen for the challenge were “country fair” and “flatulence”.  http://www.penny-arcade.com/strip-search/episode/elimination-4

My biggest problem was drawing a skunk from memory. What I pictured was a mish-mash of photos and cartoon skunks, and I couldn’t recall what sort of beast was actually attached to that tail. I believe it’s close enough to get the gag.

I think one of my strengths is that I use 4 panels instead of 3. I could have ended the strip with panel 3. Farting down bottles is kinda funny. But I feel like the fourth panel takes it just a step further. Three is supposed to be the magic number, especially for comedy, but I think sometimes four is just more.

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The skateboard challenge from Wizards of the Coast was a bit hard to play along with. I didn’t have the packet of WOTC art that really showed Chandra Nalaar’s personality or likeness, just a Google Image search with lots of fan art in it. So I tried to play up the pyromancer angle, and (what I was surprised none of the contestants did) the skateboarding angle. When I realized that broken skateboards were the same shapes as cartoon ghosts: BAM! That was the icing on the red mana halfpipe.

I only took an hour, instead of the 90 minutes I would have had, but I did colour it digitally. I didn’t know I was supposed to use non-digital media. These things come out during the rest of the show which I don’t watch until I’ve finished my play-along piece. Once the clock starts to count down, I hit pause.

I felt like Mack got a little short shrifted when he got sent to elimination for not drawing a portrait. The WOTC people were surprised it wasn’t a portrait, but they did admit they didn’t request that it was. Maybe it’s my own personal aversion to the “really bad ass” character poses that dominate a lot of realistic-style fantasy art. I prefer the comic-based energy poses and exaggeration.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/strip-search/episode/ignite-your-spark

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This was a toughie. The 3rd Elimination Challenge words were “circus” and “areola”. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/strip-search/episode/elimination-3) Tavis’ hit on a solid gag and it was well drawn. Lexi’s was a classy answer, by doding the areola visual. I felt kinda icky doing this one. I can make crass jokes, but I prefer not to. I don’t like this strip. If I had pulled areola out of the wastebasket I would have probably been sunk. Next time I’ll know to try to rise above it.

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I couldn’t do the partnered blind drawing challenge, so the next play from home episode was the Twitter Challenge. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/strip-search/episode/you-are-your-brand) The task was to promote an appearance at a comic con where you’d have and new merch, and respond to four critical tweets while being true to yourself. I think I did alright, but I see there was a more professional answer to #3 and that I should’ve answered #4 if I was thinking about who would be judging me. Scott Kurtz likes snark (probably because he’s really great at it). I think I partially missed coming up with joke answer for that because I don’t drink coffee or drink heavily, so the hangover remedy jokes that were made aren’t part of my head space, and therefore “brand”. Still, I could’ve tried harder to get in the head space of someone at a coffee shop.

I couldn’t do the partnered blind drawing challenge, so the next play from home episode was the Twitter Challenge. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/strip-search/episode/you-are-your-brand) The task was to promote an appearance at a comic con where you’d have and new merch, and respond to four critical tweets while being true to yourself. I think I did alright, but I see there was a more professional answer to #3 and that I should’ve answered #4 if I was thinking about who would be judging me. Scott Kurtz likes snark (probably because he’s really great at it). I think I partially missed coming up with joke answer for that because I don’t drink coffee or drink heavily, so the hangover remedy jokes that were made aren’t part of my head space, and therefore “brand”. Still, I could’ve tried harder to get in the head space of someone at a coffee shop.