Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Devil's Panties

Realizing that life quickly gets in the way of artistic endeavors, artist Jennie Breeden discovered a delightful way to force daily practice - she started a webcomic, The Devil's Panties, the second in my personal webcomic trinity.

If there is a Queen of the slice-of-life webcomic world, it must be Jennie Breeden. Aside from obvious elements of fantasy, the strip is often a word-for-word rendition of her real-life experiences. Armed with a tape recorder and an ear for snippets that will readily entertain others, Jennie captures those seemingly mundane moments that will resonate with the majority. The intimacy of the story telling would make it tempting to swamp the comic with inside jokes, but that's seldom the case here. In fact, on those rare occasions where an inside joke pushes it's way to the surface, the joke exists in the simple fact that, without context, the comment is almost completely nonsensical.

The artwork is mostly black-and-white with bright splashes of color acting almost as punctuation. Cross hatch and line shading gives a sense of tone, and the plentiful detail work is done in a simplistic style that compliments the casual feel. Many weekends, and the Portfolio page, bring an extra treat in the form of colorful portraits in various degrees of abstraction. (Don't miss the black-and-white artwork that appears beyond the first page of the Portfolio.)

The website is simple, but functional, and includes a number of fun side projects and giggle spots. Also present is an awesome FAQ section that is a must-read for new webcomic creator's hoping to turn their hobby into a full-time job. Speaking of making webcomics a full-time job, Ms. Breeden has done just that and you'll find a number of items in the online store that helps keep her going.

Above all - The Devil's Panties will always be special to me. It was one of the first truly slice-of-life comics I read, and one of the ones that made me feel as though I should give it a go myself. The whole thing has a friendly and casual feel, like a text-message from your friends. There's no pretension, no smarmy drama, just life presented in a fun and engaging way. Definitely worth the daily read.