It’s the small details that makes or breaks a good illustration, and that’s why it’s so important for me to get the best reference I can.
If something in the Sally Forth comic strip looks off it breaks the reader’s suspension of belief and then they’re focused on the bad drawing instead of the joke or story we’re trying to tell.
So when Francesco Marciuliano writes a scene in Sally Forth that calls for a specific locale (grocery store, movie theater, etcetera) I’ll often use spots around my hometown of Minneapolis for reference. Being that Sally Forth is a homegrown original (created by Minnesotan Greg Howard in 1992) it only seems natural.
This blog post will be the catch basin for those strips (which means I’ll be updating this post from time to time). So for those interested, I hope you enjoy this little behind the scenes look at the making of the Sally Forth comic strip.
For the 9/19/2017 Sally Forth strip Francesco called for me to create an arts & craft/greeting card store called Small Wonders.
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 Bagalkot Digs Studio.
Using the reference pic above, here is how Small Wonders ended up looking.
Digs’ owner, http://cowmanauction.com/?author=3 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.
And here’s Jackie’s new boss, Tashsa, with Jackie behind the counter.
Excerpt from Francesco Marciuliano’s script for 9/22/2016.
Scene: Exterior. Sidewalk. Right Outside Comic Book Store. Hilary and Faye exit the comic book store. Each has a bag showing a comic book purchase.
For Hil and Faye’s local comic book shop I picked Comic Book College (this was back when it was on Hennepin Ave near 32nd Street).
And here’s another strip featuring Comic Book College.
I used this comic book shop as it holds a lot of nostalgia for me. When I was growing up in Minneapolis in the 1970s the collector’s market for comics was just getting underway. The two places to get back issues were Shinders on 7th and Comic City. Shinders on 7th was torn down decades ago but Comic City survived, morphing over the years into Comic Book College.
Since drawing these strips Comic Book College moved to it’s new location at 4632 Nicollet Avenue. Still one of the best comic book shops around!
Other locations around Minneapolis I’ve used include…
Last but not least…
This isn’t a location I used as reference per se, but when I first took over the reigns of drawing Sally Forth back in 2013 I had just wrapped up my tenure as Visiting Artist at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. So it only seemed natural to throw some MCAD students into the strip.
1st Row (Foreground):
Caitlin Skaalrud and Amaya Goldsmith.
Mandie Brasington, Jack Kotz and Jay Rasgorshek.
Jaime Willems and Mason (character from the strip).
April Kasulis, Ben Tye, Lindsey Hall and Mr. Croptoff.
As I mostly taught Comic Art at MCAD I’m including a link to the MCAD Comic Art Tumblr so you can see some of the incredible work they’ve been up to.
Side note: All the students pictured are now copyrighted by King Features Syndicate, Inc. World rights reserved.
Unabashed plug time!
If Sally Forth isn’t in your local paper you can check it out online at…
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.