My buddy Blag has been doing cartoons for a few months, techie humor around SAP and enterprise software. I don't always catch up to it right away, but he started getting ideas from others. The cartoons look small on his blog page, as they are thumbnail images, but when clicked on they are much larger.
As I'm a big fan of bandwidth conservation, I thought it might be worthwhile to see what a small comic strip would look like. His thumbnails were 400 pixels wide by 160 pixels high, but the JPEG images were around 90KB. I set out to do a minimal color, minimalist content strip. I told Blag I would do the artwork, and then he could do the lettering; normally someone else gives him a plot, and he does the art.
For inspiration, I dug into the stack of old reading material.
That photo was done handheld, and reduced from the default 1.2 MB size down to 400x280, about 25 KB. Can't read the dialog, but the POWs are clear enough.
Next, I drew a scaled idea of the dialog and characters, based on the joke Blag created. He told me it was more challenging than normal.
This was a 240x117 thumbnail generated by Flickr from the scanned envelope I used for the layout. The uploaded image was 1143x555, still around 70 KB for the big shot.
This is a screen shot from my NetBSD workstation, showing the image file under construction. At this stage, I had split the panel into 3 parts. Later I decided to divide the black lines into two parts, and extend them around each panel. XPaint was the tool I used to capture the screen image.
There is a historic relic on this screen image, the pop up warning message in XPaint (read the docs - I was involved marginally a long time ago) saying our canvas depth is 24 bits.
I then used XPaint to add the characters and dialog boxes. Anyone is free to copy this image, add your favorite language as long as you send a link back to me. The template has 4,560 bytes.
A few hours later, I sent Blag the template. Astute observers will be able to guess which stick figure resembles me and which one resembles Blag.
Here's the English strip, also found on:
This version sizes up at 6,986 bytes. There was an interim version that ended up over 100KB, so I asked Blag to economize. I am showing this with an image height of 250 pixels, even though the true height is 160. It scales well enough, and the bandwidth is near minimum.
I asked Blag to email me the Spanish text, so I could return the favor, and letter one of my own. Here's what he told me to include:
¿Hey Blagbert, sabías que estás liderando el concurso "El mejor Consultor SAP"?
¿En serio, sabes quien votó por mi, soy tan bueno?
Tu mamá y yo votamos por ti, tu esposa aún está decidiendo...
The punch line was supposed to be "Oh!" in Spanish, but I left the original "Sigh!" in place. I think it works.
Since I had to resort to a few tricks to get the accented characters to show up in XPaint, there are a few extra pixels you'll see if you zoom this one out. Still pretty tiny at 7,468 bytes.