Why I created Pete

This page takes two looks at the trials and tribulations of creating Pete, which for ease of reference I'll call before and after


Unlike most comic strips on the web, I do not create Pete the Carnivorous Plant because that's what I want to do as a job. I expressly don't want to get syndicated at some point in the future, build up a portfolio of work for a job as an artist or because I believe that hoards of people will throw money at me (although that would be nice ;).

I do it because I enjoy drawing comic strips.

There's more to it than that, of course. Enjoying drawing comic strips doesn't necessarily mean that you'll stick them on the web. So then we get to the second reason. Friends. Namely friends who looked at one off comics I created, liked them and stuck them on their webpages, and gave me the idea that 'I could do that too'.

But that still doesn't answer the question "Why create a comic every day? Why a comic strip?" Which leads to the real answer - namely my deficiencies. I am reasonable at drawing one-off comics, but have never been all that good at drawing characters consistently or creating plots for them. Thinking this over during the christmas holidays, I decided that it was mainly due to my curse of prefectionism. I was aiming too high, and nothing was being completed. So as a new milleniums resolution, I decided to create a comic strip with nice simple characters and a guarantee that a new strip would come out every day, whether or not it was funny, well drawn, correctly spelt or consistent with any previous days.

That's why I'm not overly concerned about how many readers I have, and indeed why I still haven't got round to creating some sort of counter which will tell me what my daily readership is. Indeed, having a smaller readership has its advantages - for a start, I'll feel a lot less guilty about having to stop drawing the strips for whatever reason if I haven't persuaded everyone in the world to read it. Not that I'm planning on stopping. At the very least, I want to continue until comic 119, so I can win the bet with my mother that I could keep it up until my birthday...

[My mother claims that she cannot remember making the bet. I think she's just trying to get out of paying me the five quid...]


This comic strip was started in 2001 when I made a new years resolution to produce one comic strip per day, no matter how bad the drawing or lacking the script was for that day, which I've managed to do for the full year of 365 strips above.

During this time, I've grown more and more impressed by the other cartoonists creating the other comic strips that I read on the web. People who do the same thing that I do, but with a much higher quality of art, funnier jokes or more coherent storyline (and occasionally all three). It's not that I'm necessarily impressed with their ability to draw or write plot, which for most of the comics I (probably incorrecly) feel I could do if I put an appropriate amount of time in. I'm impressed with the dedication most of them show to creating the strip.

I don't think I could show as much dedication. Pete the Carnivorous Plant was created towards milestones. On the first of January, I'd already created thirty strips (over the christmas holiday) and was working towards the 100th strip (how many people spotted the numbers I put in the centenial strips, I wonder). When I'd got there I was working towards 119, my birthday. Over the Easter holidays I blitzed all the strips up to 180 odd, so I didn't need to draw any more until my finals were over. After that, I'd got half way, and wasn't going to stop until I'd hit new year.

Once I'd hit the new year though, it was a different matter. The only logical extension I could make to the lifetime of Pete the Carnivorous Plant was an extra year. And even if I'd wanted to go on writing for the extra year, it wouldn't have worked. Pete, Horatio, Emma, Cliff and company were all one-dimensional charaters, except Horatio and Emma who were perhaps two-dimensional. The world around them existed purely for them to attempt to rule. There weren't enough interactions I could use to sustain it longer than a year.

And since I knew it would end I could plan for the ending - I've seen all too many comic strips which suddenly died when the creator gave up and didn't want Pete the Carnivorous Plant to fade out like that. By the April I'd worked out a nice plot arc. Pete would keep getting bigger, until he could walk about London. I'd worked out the strips in London a good couple of months before I used them. Then he'd get smaller again. The comic had a theme - scale! Big scary robots became small cute robots. A small boring plant became a big interesting plant. I worked out an ending and filled in the gaps to get there.

What about new years resolutions for this year, then? Well, I don't really have one. During October I was contemplating doing another comic strip, but have given up that idea because writing the plot and the script is too time consuming if done properly. One semi-resolution is to try to get some of the games that I've been designing up to a playable standard. One of them (working title: Antique Antics) is getting close; it needs some medium tweaks and some playtesting to stop it being overly luck based, but it works quite well. The other three or four, on the other hand, don't work at all and need thorough overhalling before they're even going dignified with the word game. Another is to pass all my actuarial exams. We will see how everything gets on.

I wish all my readers all the best, and farewell.

This page was last updated on 11th November 2002, and is best viewed with any browser that can read xhtml.