I’ve often been asked how the Klyde Morris cartoon strip is made? What are the mechanics? And how does an occasional, obvious typo get through?

To start answering that I have to first highlight the software that I’ve used since Klyde first hit the Internet back in 1998. Originally, I had a Cannon scanner that came with a real cheap-O drawing software the name of which I’ve completely forgotten. The scanner was a piece of crap, but that little software package worked quite well. It was very simple to use and allowed me to take the hand-drawn cartoon that I had scanned and neaten up lines, add shades and erase stuff. Great. However, have ya’ ever tried to draw with a mouse? No can do… with any quality that is.

It was my wife who suggested getting a Wacom pad and pen which would allow me to draw right in the computer. 

Since I was already suffering from pronator syndrome from years spent flying, okay, fighting the Saab 340 in the weather of the north central states, ditching the mouse worked for me. I, currently on my 4th Wacom pad.
Yes... that pen rest is sitting on a hockey puck. Those pen holders
are always too light weight, so I glued mine to a puck. Works great.

In February of 2000, my web master and the guy who built, James Ahrens, found a utility that allowed him to take my own handwriting and associate with my keyboard. I sent him a file of every single key on my keyboard written in my own hand, both upper and lower case, and now I could write the cartoon totally in the computer! Of course I do still draw scenes and characters and scan them, but for dialogue the pen and ink were gone.

Two years later disaster struck as I had a computer crash that wiped out my desktop unit. Of course when I had the new computer built I found that Windows 2000, which was what we all were forced to use because Microsoft was no longer supporting Windows 98, would not run my drawing software!


I tried assorted popular “drawing” software programs and they all had one huge flaw… they wanted to do TOO MUCH. They were designed for people who cannot draw and they have scads of additional “tools” trying to meet the needs of all of their cannot draw users. All I needed was a simple tool that would let me draw a line, erase a line, add some color, or shading and move some items around, yet nothing really got me there without a jungle of other aids that I didn’t need or want.

Finally I was actually doing chat with an operator at a company called Ulead and I expressed my frustration. She said that her daughter, who was an illustrator, had the same complaints and she got her an old copy of one of their utilities called Photo Impact 6, which Ulead no longer sold. She suggested I try eBay. Bingo! Problem solved. To this day I use that old 32 bit utility and Windows 7 actually runs it with just a few hiccups that I’ve learned to live with.

Now, as to how the typos get through…

Any professional author or writer will tell you that you should never proof read your own stuff. Why? Because you already know what it should say and your brain can read right over what it does say. Additionally, Photo Impact 6 does NOT have a spell checker. Thus, putting the words into Klyde is very similar to old fashioned type-setting. That was way back in the olden days when news papers had every letter in every word in every story and headline set individually, by hand! In the Klyde Morris cartoon I have to type in every letter of every word and I have no magic spell check or auto correct to aid me.

That process alone dose… I mean… does… lead to countless typos. I despise typos, they make my nerves hurt, my head ache and most of all they make me look bad. 

Additionally, I was always the kid in school who spelled everything the way it sounded. Agin and agin the teechers preeched at me thit mie splling was atrochious. I’d hand in an essay which would be handed back with so many red pencil marks on it you could not even see what I had written. They did all they could do to change me- they flunked me, they put my mom through parent / teacher  conferences that were akin to Vietcong POW interrogations and my report cards were sent home with comments such as “is capable of doing better work” and “doesn’t focus in class” or “refuses to read aloud” and “was drawing instead of doing his work” or “thought it was funny to walk behind Debbie Kline and unsnap her training bra.” So now when I make a typo it gives me flash-back to the third grade… both times, 1965-66 and 1966-67.

Of course good editors normally catch those little, self-made pools of puss from HELL that are my few typos. Some, however, are so cleverly disguised that none of my two editors manage to catch what I created and then read right past myself. A good example is this cartoon, which ran for a full week and was viewed a quarter of a million times before one alert reader finally caught it…

Did you see it?

That typo was quite quiet.

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