I first saw Lorie Ransom’s The Daily Drawing when GoComics announced they were going to carry it, back around Jan. 19, 2015. She had a strong, solid art style, which she used to present single-panel gags that required a bit of thought to figure out. That is, she didn’t feel compelled to spell the joke out for the slower readers. I liked it from the beginning, but it wasn’t until the April 18, 2015 panel with the hamster stretching for a run that I really fell in love with the strip. I enjoy the low-key approach to many of the strips, yet she can also be a bit macabre or jabbing when she wants to. TDD runs M-W-F.
BC: Who are you?
LR: I’m a smallish wife with 2 cats and a house in the soggy but beautiful Pacific Northwest. I do web design and development for my day job so I can afford to sit around making silly drawings in the evenings.
BC: How do you consider yourself as an artist?
LR: I consider myself a person who draws (the title “artist” has always seemed pretentious to me unless one is making a living at it), and a moonlighting cartoonist. I’ve always been inclined to make artsy stuff, but I tend to draw one-off, comic-type art because my short attention span won’t let me do anything more complicated. I also like for there to be an idea behind the stuff I create. Nice drawings are nice to look at, but I want it to be interesting, too. And I like to make people laugh, including myself. Comics seem to fit the bill.
BC: How did you get your start as a “drawer”?
LR: I’ve never been super driven to create. I’ve gone long stretches without doing any kind of art. I had one of those stretches about 3 years ago, and decided to try and snap myself out of it by committing (publicly, via Instagram and Facebook) to do a drawing a day for a year. I started doing random pencil sketches, slowly migrated to using ink and incorporating silly ideas. Eventually I started adding dialog. By the end of the year I had amassed quite a few comic-style pieces. I tidied them up and sent them off to the syndicates, and ended up getting signed by Uclick/GoComics.
BC: How long have you been at this, and what do you think your biggest breaks were?
LR: It’s been a little over a year and a half since I started posting on GoComics. That’s been my biggest (and only?) break!
BC: Do you have anything else going on right now?
LR: I would like to try and publish a book – I definitely have enough material at this point. The trick is dedicating the time to pursue it. So far it’s just an idea in my head.
BC: Which of your works are you most happy with?
LR: I like the panels that are equally weird and clever – and that make me laugh. These are usually the ones that are popular with other folks but not always. “The New Culinary Classics” was shared by Alton Brown, so that was pretty cool!
BC: How did you learn to draw? One of my favorite TDDs was the hamster warming up to start running on the little wheel (above). I thought that one was very well-done.
LR: Thank you! I’ve been inclined to draw as long as I can remember. I remember kindergarten teachers oohing and ahhing over my mad Crayon skills. I think I inherited it from my Mom who is a talented painter. I got a graphic design degree in college so I did get some formal art training there.
BC: How do you approach that blank sheet of white paper?
LR: I usually sit down with a sketchbook and just start drawing. Sometimes the ideas come from just thinking about what could be funny, but more often they come from random doodling. The ideas come from me looking at the doodle and thinking “oh this looks like this other thing, which weirdly relates to this other thing. That’s kinda funny!”
BC: If your strip had a soundtrack, what would it be/sound like?
LR: Some 70s sitcom with a bad laugh track.
BC: Who are your favorite artists/writers?
LR: I absolutely love Monty Python. Their ridiculous humor kills me.
BC: Do you follow any other comic strips right now?
LR: I follow a few – B.C. and Pickles are my top 2 favorites at the moment. I’ve been reading B.C. since I was a kid. Pickles is usually reliably funny and reminds me of my parents (hi Dad!)
BC: What do you look for when you read someone else’s strips?
LR: I like simplicity in the drawing style and typography. If it’s hard to read even a little bit I might skip it (going back to the aforementioned attention span issue).
BC: What do you think makes for a good comic?
LR: I think a good comic is reliably funny, and also has a “hook” – characters people love and can identify with, and makes them want to come back and read your strip again. I would hope my work is fairly consistent in the funny category, but I’m still seeking that hook. My panels are pretty random at the moment.
BC: Single-panel strips like F-Minus, the Far Side and Argyle Sweater seem to do fine with unrelated, disassociated gags. Is having a hook necessarily important in this context?
LR: Yes, I think a hook really helps but obviously isn’t necessary for comic rock stars. Gary Larson is an incredibly talented creator who also had the advantage of publishing a strip that was pretty unique for the time period. He did develop a bit of thematic continuity (cows, scientists, bugs) that perhaps helped “brand” his work so installment feels familiar to his audience. I don’t follow F-Minus and Argyle Sweater (I actually try to avoid other panel strips at this point because I’m afraid their ideas will sink into my subconscious and boil back up into ideas that I think are my own), but the panels I’ve seen are artistically wonderful and hilarious – all these artists have talent that I aspire to.
BC: Every so often, someone will come into the GoComics TDD comments, complain about TDD not being “daily” (then leave and never come back). How do you approach replying to this kind of person, and should we really care what the name of strip is?
LR: Ha! That’s hilarious. As a rule I don’t respond to negative comments, but I have seen a few commenters who seem genuinely curious about it. The strip is named The Daily Drawing because I didn’t really think too hard about how confusing it would be if I only posted 3 days a week. It made sense when I was approaching the syndicates, assuming if the strip were picked up then I would do daily installments. I’d love to do one every day but since it’s not a full-time gig, that’s more time than I can invest. My internal reaction to such comments is “Sorry it’s confusing, but oh well, it’s a comic, does it really need to make total sense?”
BC: Has TDD helped you get over not being driven to be creative?
LR: Somewhat – I’m definitely compelled to create now for the deadlines but I wouldn’t say I’m any more driven! The good news is I feel like I’ve honed in on a style and it’s been fun to work and grow within that.
BC: What do your friends and family think of TDD? Do they always get the jokes, or do you have to explain the punchlines to them?
LR: Some think they’re hilarious, others don’t really get them, which is fine. You can’t please everyone!
(All artwork here has been reproduced with the permission of the artist. © 2016 Lorie Ransom. All rights reserved.)
(This interview is the copyright © of Curtis H. Hoffmann 2016. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the author.)
Poll: Can you get the joke in the last panel of the interview, without help?