Southwest Journal Interview

Here’s an interview I did recently for our neighborhood paper the Southwest Journal focusing on how I reference local locations for use in the Sally Forth strip.
On the Comics Page, Scenes from Minneapolis


For the blog post where I used Digs Studio for reference, check out:
Scouting Locations – Small Wonders Gift Shop

For Comic College check out:
Comic Book College is Moving

Other locations around Minneapolis I’ve used include…

Hillary’s school – based on Washburn High School

Augsburg College’s Campus

The Riverview Theater

Uptown – right where Magers and Quinn is located.


That’s all the locations I could think of off the top of my head. If I remember more I’ll be sure to post them.

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Unabashed plug time!

If Sally Forth isn’t in your local paper you can check it out online at…

ComicsKingdomLogo

A yearlong subscription to all of King Features’ comics (new and vintage) plus ten years worth of archives for every single strip is a pittance at $19.99 a year. Unsure? Try a 7 day trial subscription for free.

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Inktober Sketch 10/1/2017

Using fashion shots off Pinterest for reference.
The drawing surface is Strathmore Sketch paper.
Inked with a Isabey Red Sable Round Brush, size 2.

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Drop Panel – 10/1/2017

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On the Drawing Board

Preview of a panel from an upcoming Sally Forth Sunday page.
Establishing shot of Ted’s Parent’s house.

Pen and ink (meaning dip pen, brush and rapidographs) with a little razor blade technique for the grass and Pro White opaque watercolour for the trees.


Also checked my Bernie Wrightson Cycle of the Werewolf calendar (which has the lunar calendar) so I could draw the moon in its correct phase.


For more info on the art materials I use, check out Comics – Tools of the Trade.

-Jim Keefe

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Flash Gordon 3/1/1998 – Reference Pics


Reference pictures are crucial for me when drawing, especially for action shots or panels that involve a number of characters interacting. It’s the best way to get a proper feel for how figures interact.

For example, here’s the Flash Gordon page I did for March 1, 1998.

Click on images to see larger.

Now this page would have been done a couple months in advance – around Christmas/New Years. So luckily I had a number of models (in the form of in-laws at holiday get-togethers) to chose from.

Here we have my wife’s cousin Louie as Durok (the blue ape-man),
trying to blow off  Thun the Lion-man’s head – played by my wife’s nephew, Chris.


And for this shot we change it up a little with Louie as Flash Gordon, Chris reprising his role as Thun, and yours truly as Durok.

As you’ll notice, I don’t just copy the reference, but use it as a jumping off point.
This is CRUCIAL, as otherwise you get a stiff and lifeless drawing.


Speaking of which… Back when these pics were shot (late 1990s) I didn’t have access to any fancy pants digital camera that you could just take a picture then access it immediately. I took the pictures, then had to wait until the film got developed to see if my reference shots were even in the ballpark (much less in focus).

I still have that old album of Flash Gordon reference pics I took.

Lots of family got roped in to doing these over the years.
Some of the ones on the right hand side of the image shown above can be seen on a previous post: Flash Gordon 1/26/2003 – Photo Reference.

I’ll try to post more of these from time to time.
For me they’re a fun trip down memory lane…

-Jim Keefe

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For more of my work on Flash Gordon, just check out FlashGordon.com

And for those who love comic strips and can’t get enough, try out…

ComicsKingdomLogo

A yearlong subscription to all of King Features’ comics (new and vintage) plus ten years worth of archives for every single strip is a pittance at $19.99 a year. Unsure? Try a 7 day trial subscription for free.

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Scouting Locations – Small Wonders Gift Shop

When a scene in Sally Forth calls for a specific locale (grocery store, movie theater, etcetera) I’ll often use spots around my hometown of Minneapolis for reference. Take the following…

A recent script for Sally Forth from Francesco called for me to create a store called Small Wonders, a store that resembled one of those arts & craft/greeting cards & candles stores you see in small tourist towns.

I always prefer taking my own reference pics over google images in cases like this so I can get a real feel for the set I want to use. Scouting out locations I chose one in biking distance of me called Digs Studio.

Digs – 3800 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN


Using the reference pic above, here is how Small Wonders ended up looking.

Sally Forth 9/19/2017


Digs’ owner, Katie Koster, was very generous in letting me take lots of reference pics. Invaluable for getting a good bead on the particulars of a gift shop like hers.

Front register at Digs.


And here’s Jackie’s new boss, Tashsa, with Jackie behind the counter.

Sally Forth 9/20/2017


It’s the small details that will make or break a good drawing, that’s why it’s so important for me to get the best reference I can. If something looks off, it’ll break the reader’s suspension of belief and you’ve lost them.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little behind the scenes look at the making of Sally Forth.

And if you want to know more about Digs,
check out their website at ShopDigs.com
or the Digs Facebook Page

Until next time…

-Jim Keefe

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Al Hirschfeld’s Lesser Known Brother-In-Law Al Keefefeld

This week’s Sally Forth (9/11-16) has a title panel drawn by none other than legendary off off off Broadway cartoonist Al Keefefeld (brother-in-law to Al Hirschfeld).

Coincidentally, same as Al, he also had a daughter named Nina. And as you can see by the number 7 by his signature, there are seven Ninas hidden in the line work of the drawing.
Can you spot them all?


For more on Keefefeld’s brother-in-law Al Hirschfeld,
check out Al Hirschfeld: Looking for Nina.

Also on Facebook at facebook.com/alhirschfeld

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