Jimmy: How did I get roped in to this? “It's Ask Ellen” not “Ask Ellen AND Jimmy”
Ellen: Well Ellen doesn't do Gracieland by herself, does she?
Jimmy: Not yet.
Ellen:That won't go well, because I can't draw. ANYWAY... in answer to the question...
Jimmy: Well, it's generally started on Skype (Ellen lives in Maine, and I'm in Pennsylvania). Ellen brings a list of possible topics that might make good Gracie ideas. Some are specifically Catholic, some are based on the characters' personalities, and some are just funny ideas.
Ellen: Jimmy ignores at least half of my list, and then focuses on the one or two that interest him. Usually it's the one idea I'm least comfortable with and I end up spending the rest of the week worried about it. I think he does it on purpose! Which now that I think about it, kind of offends me.
Jimmy: Well, if I worried about offending you, we'd still be on the first strip.
Ellen: Ahem. ANYWAY... Once we select the topic we want to work on. We play out various scenarios, keeping in mind the personality of the characters.
Jimmy: Right. And we also try to be mindful of which character we've used lately and try to make sure that the whole family gets rotated in and out of the various strips.
Ellen: Once we decide on the structure, we work on the dialogue, which we usually come up with by roleplaying the different characters. Then Jimmy gets his homework (drawing the strip) which he submits to me for approval.
Jimmy: Oh brother!!!! Let's just say I draw the strip, ok? I use blue pencil for the underdrawing, and then ink it with a Windsor & Newton #0 watercolor brush and india ink. That artwork is scanned into Photoshop which I use for coloring. While I'm doing all of this, Ellen takes a nap.
Ellen: My favorite part! When I wake up there are a series of photos Jimmy texted to me showing the artwork in various stages of completion.
Jimmy: Then once the artwork is colored, I upload it to the various places on the internet.
Ellen: And I go off and write the Table Talk Questions.
Jimmy: Easy Peasy.