Giant Friday is a collaborative effort between husband and wife team Justin & Devan Folts. That's us!
So who does what?
I (Justin) create the art for the comic and website. I come up with some of the jokes, and Devan comes up with others. Often we'll flesh out a joke together. I write the newsposts in my voice - though Devan contributes significantly. Devan is very good at concentrating more funny into my jokes (aka editing).
Ok, cool. So how is Giant Friday created?
I'm so glad you asked! Each Giant Friday starts its life as a quarter sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper that I slice up from waste paper that otherwise would've ended up in the recycling bin at work. Recycled comics, woo!
I then deftly scribble on them with gel pens that I bring home from work when I forget I have them in my pocket.
Sometimes I'll do a real quick mockup of rough figure positions on a different sheet of paper, but as far as planning goes, that's about it - no pencil sketch, character design, or anything like that. It goes directly from brain to gel ink.
From there, I scan the drawing in at 1200 dpi (may as well be prepared, right?) on a scanner that I got at a tag sale. It's so old I have to use Mac OS Classic in Tiger to get it to work (Dork-d-dork-dork). It's quite nice though!
Into Photoshop they go! Since no two slices of paper are quite the same shape (I'm not the best at using the paper slicer), I've tried to preserve that effect by digitally cutting out the sheet of paper once it's scanned, which creates transparency around the edges. That keeps the original shape of the comic when it's matted against the black background.
Then a paint bucket fun-fest begins! I level out the drawing, and then color it by flood filling at various tolerances (this is design nerd-speak). Once the flood fill fest is over, I use the burn and dodge tools to apply shadow and highlight.
I draw my speech bubbles and hand-write the text when I do the original ink drawing. But you’d never be able to read it that way, so I created a font based on my handwriting. (Tons of work - font designers are crazy! Still, well worth it to preserve the laziness of not writing neatly). Text is laid out in Illustrator, and then chucked back into Photoshop.
When that's all done, I matte it on the black background, and then it's off to the website!
How often does Giant Friday update?
Giant Friday updates every Tuesday and of course Friday! I try to put the comics up in the wee hours of the night the day before.
Why do you call GF semi-improvisational?
I've always been into spontaneous art, and Giant Friday reflects that. I'll know I need a man, woman, and a dog in a comic, but I won't know what they look like until I start drawing them. This makes for some fun results...and mistakes, especially since it's done directly in ink.
Giant Friday comes to life in a variety of different ways, which adds to the randomness. Sometimes Dev will hand me a joke and say, "Draw this." Sometimes I'll come up with one on my own, and Devan will edit it. Sometimes I'll create a random comic with the visual elements in place but no real joke, give it to Dev and say, "Here write a joke around this." And sometimes we'll work together on one all the way through. The variety of ways we collaborate give it a freshness that I hope is apparent.
The drawings themselves are rarely edited. I'll only edit them in Photoshop if I literally ruined the joke with something I did. The text gets edited pretty regularly, so all together, they're what we'd call semi-improvisational.
Wow, you talk a lot about the process.
Were you like, an art major or someting?
Actually, yes! I have my B.A. in Graphic Design. Devan has degrees in English and Communication which is one of the main reasons why what you read here is so good. We both went to West Virginia Wesleyan College, which is an excellent liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere, WV. Yup, that's where we met.
Who are your artistic influences?
Cartoon wise, I've been influenced by Jim Davis, Gary Larson, and more indirectly, anime. Fine art wise, I love Cézanne, Gaugin, Picasso, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Klee, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and graffiti artists in general.
Do you ever plan to sell stuff?
Yeah, definitely! That'll be something to look for down the road. Eventually we're thinking t-shirt, prints - the usual good stuff. If there's something you think would be awesome to have, let me know.
So what does Giant Friday mean, anyway?
Giant Friday is originally the name we gave our house. (Yes, we name a lot of inanimate objects. Try it - it’s fun!) We live in a crazy log house in the woods and when we first moved in, we said that coming home to that house made it feel like every day was Friday. Thus, Giant Friday! When it came time to name the comic, it just seemed like the right phrase to describe the soul of this wacky little entity we were creating together. We encourage everyone to live life as if every day had that Friday feeling - fun, hopeful, a little random, and full of possibility. If at some point reading Giant Friday makes you forget, just for a second, that it’s actually Monday morning, then we have succeeded.
So what do you love besides comics?
Oh, man! We love plants, and kayaking, and anime, and roller coasters, and vegan food, and LOTR, and Star Wars, and mountains, and MOVIES, and having spontaneous in-house dance parties, and video games, and animals, and old space Legos (this is more me), and cooking (this is definitely more Dev), and music, and concerts, and hiking, and anything fun we can experience in this life!