Word Crimes

I've gotten the question "Why did you name your comic Hamlet's Danish?" enough times that I figured I'd give a little explaination. The main problem with naming a comic that's about nothing in particular is that you can't choose a descriptive or thematic name. "Scenarios I Think Are Funny" isn't particularly catchy, and is bad SEO to boot. I figured if the name of the strip wasn't going to be descriptive, it might as well convey my sense of humor. So I went with a pun that didn't come up in any Google searches.


If you know one thing about my sense of humor, you know that I love me some puns.


My first instinct when writing a script is to try and be as clever as I can with joke construction. That isn't necessarily a bad instinct to have, but it can affect a joke's accesibility if it's pushed too far. Accesibility is pretty important for a humor strip, and I need to constantly check myself before I wreck myself. Luckily, I have an assorment of trusted friends to help me know when I've gone too far. Even so, I can't help but indulge every once in a while, and I end up making a strip about MacGuffins which, if you don't know what a MacGuffin is, doesn't work at all.


But I'm ok with riding the line between accesible and niche. I want people to go back and find hidden jokes that they didn't catch the first time. I want people to wonder if they were even put there intentionally. This would be the theme of Hamlet's Danish if there was one. It's not video games or pop-culture references, it's my love and admiration for a border-line overthought joke. It may never have mass appeal, but my hope is that if a joke does hit you, it hits you hard. Hopefully it'll find an audience, and hopefully it's you.


So my wife and I had a baby last week. This may cause disruptions in my update schedule going forward. I remain optimistic that I can keep up, but we'll see. This is uncharted territory for me. I figured out how to draw with a sleeping baby on my lap, so I've got that going for me, which is nice. I'm not going to post his name on the internet, so if I need to refer to him, so I'll be calling him "Yountzilla".


It's been a while since I've launched, and I've been pretty bad about self promotion. I told myself that I wanted to have a bigger archive before I started telling everyone to visit the site, but if I'm being honest, I just don't like selling. Put me on a phychiatrist's couch, and I'd probably trace it back to an excruciatingly uncomfortable college summer working for Cutco. With Rob and Elliot, I only advertised once, and we barely made a handful of merchandise because it wasn't something that came naturally to me. I never even collected the comics into a book. I'm more of an introvert, and I really don't like to hassle anyone if I can help it. I don't post to social media because it feels like I'm bugging people, and my attitude has always been that I'll try to make the comic good enough to sell itself so I don't have to.

The thing is, if I want this comic to be successful, I'm going to need to get over it and change. Recently, I've started posting on Twitter, I finally got around to making a Facebook page, and I put a contact page in the main site menu. I'll also be offering a print of the calico cat map from this comic as the first piece of Hamlet's Danish merch soon. It's only a first step, but I'm going to try to communicate and connect with you guys to offer more than a once a week comic strip update.


Hi there, and thanks for visiting!

it's been an interesting two years since Rob and Elliot ended. Lots of things in my life have changed, but my love of making comics has remained. I've spent some time in the off-season practicing my craft, and now I'm back, and proud to launch a new weekly comic, Hamlet's Danish! I like to think of it as illustrated sketch comedy with a new cast every week. My goal is to make the funniest and best looking comics I can, and I'm looking forward to seeing where that takes me. There are three strips up in the archives to start so you can jump right in, and I hope they'll convince you to bookmark, follow, or share with your friends.

For those of you who miss the good old days, the Rob and Elliot archives are still up and full of nostalgia and musty attic odor. My brother Hampton may no longer be writing a comic with me, but he's blowing it up with his stand-up and comedy writing in LA. His twitter and vine feeds are pretty awesome.

Finally, I'd like to thank my wife and the friends and family who helped me get this new strip together.

I'll see you with a new comic next Monday!

Legend of Korra Process - Fire and Water

I'm working on a new piece for my November P.U.M.M.E.L. match. I picked the theme this time, and I decided on Legend of Korra. I was watching this season, and thought the fire and water effects would be a good way to jump into a more painterly technique. Usually, I sketch, ink, and color with either flats, like in Rob and Elliot, or 1-2 levels of shading/highlights with gradients like in my Storm/Black Panther illustration. I wanted to try out Photoshop CS6's new realistic paintbrushes, and this seemed like as good a chance as any.

I started off with a pencil tool sketch.


After that I blocked off the flat colors. I changed her legs to a running stride, and  started working on the water distortion. The water effect is on a separate layer with the mode set to overlay. For water distortion, you can create a refraction effect by shifting the image behind the water by an even amount. I moved it a little bit down and to the left. I then added undulations in the outline with displaced spots. I left the fire as a block color for now. I started painting her face to get an idea on how I wanted the water to reflect back up onto the underside of Korra's face. Since light bounces off and passes through the water, it casts more reflected light than an opaque object, so the dominating reflective colors are going to be from the fire and the water on either side of her body.


Here I added most of the shading with the Flat Curve Think Stiff Bristles brush in PS with the opacity set to pressure sensitive. I picked a main light source (top-left) and visualized the objects in 3D space while adding volume with shadows and reflective lightsources. I added the water and fire reflective light with an overlay layer. The fire effect is created by building up layers of flame-like shapes progressing from orange to yellow to white. Remember that the white part is the hottest, so it should be prominent only where the flame is thickest.


Here I added Naga, and made some corrections to Korra. You'll notice how Naga has the reflected light sources on him as well (overlay layer with a radial gradient). I also moved the fire to intersect with the water stream and added distortion effects and a glow (overlay gradient again). I made sure to use a large size brush with more visible bristle strokes on Naga to get a fur effect.


I'm still in progress, but here's a zoomed in view of the fire and water effects to give you a better idea of how I achieved them. I still need to add the distortion to naga, but since I'm not 100% sure about the placement, I haven't implemented it yet.

Illustration, Art Process

New site

Clayyount.com is live! I'll be using this blog to post some of my illustration processes, as well as info I think might help people out with illustration, web development or whatever, I'll also keep you up to date on any new projects I might be working on. For the time being, I am taking commission requests, so get them now if you are interested. Bookmark here if you want to get the rss feed

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