Thursday, 9 February 2017

How's your Handwriting?

The Idea

A recent social network posting showed a list of top 50 bad habits, and while I didn't bother reading it, I did consider that even aliens might go for this sort of trash too. So I set out to come up with a list related to aliens, and it turned out to be more difficult than I thought.

Here's my list:-
  1. Not washing the probe between jobs.
  2. Preoccupied with cows?
  3. Always holidays in Roswell?
  4. Abduction / Body Snatching.
  5. Obsessed with crop circles.
  6. Buzzing air force pilots.
  7. Ruling primitive planets.
  8. Always whistling the same 5 note tune.
  9. Leaving large drawings and lines in the deserts.
  10. Always needing more space?
  11. Taking Zambo's (God's) name in vain.
  12. Trigger happy?
  13. Prefer to work nights.
  14. No atmosphere at their parties.
  15. Watching too much TV.

OK some of those are just jokes rather than bad habits, but like I said, I (or rather we) struggled a little just to get this many. (Thanks to Julie and Shiela for your help, it would have been a small list without your input.)

Evolving The Idea

It occurred to me these sorts of things are commonly seen in trashy magazines, so I thought it'd be fun to create a parody. This got me thinking about additional articles so googled a bit and came up with the following:-
  • Fake advert for slimming supplement.
  • Gossip section.
  • What your raygun says about you.
But once I'd started drawing it up I thought it would be nice to draw a cartoon from the aliens perspective. I came up with Humanz, a simple stickman based strip, and dropped the raygun idea.

The Artwork

Here's the completed work..
Area 5.1 Bad Habits List Cartoon
There's not actually that much drawing on it, but because of the curve of the pages all the text had to be drawn by hand. It proved difficult and time consuming to get the style and size consistent across each article. It's the sort of thing that would have been simple with decent distortion tools.

When I came to writing in the bad habits I wanted them to be easy to read. (After all this was the primary joke!) So I chose quite a large uppercase style which limited the width of the text. This meant I had to play around with the words a little and even swapped out the atmosphere joke for an Erich Von Daniken gag. Some might not get it, but if it makes them google his name then I figure I've enriched their lives a little.



  1. I meant to say earlier, one idea I might have tried would have been to type all the text, print out a hard copy, arrange the pages so they're curled correctly, and photograph them.

    But I'm not sure how effective that would have been, and what you've done looks perfect, I can't believe how neatly you've got the text.

    As I read through from the top, I assumed that number 7 was the EVD joke. And given that there really are aliens out there taking holidays in Roswell, then maybe EVD hasn't been fooled but justified....?

  2. Your photo idea might have worked quite well as a template but it sounds like a lot of work.

    There were other things I could have added to the pages, like a magazine title and page numbers. Also the lean on the text isn't always right but it does give the impression of the page at an angle.

    Strictly speaking the binding shouldn't be curved, but it adds to the informal layout where not a single straight line shall be used.

    I try not to use the straight line tool these days - it's too polished. When you look at somewhere that does use it (like "My Pet Succubus") you'll notice the overall style is neat and precise. It's difficult to get that look using the ipad.