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A: Not really. There’s an “everyperson” who happens to look eerily like me, and I occasionally like to throw my brother in, but I hope people find themselves in the strip.
Q: So, what’s “Rhymes With Orange” about?
A: It’s a strip about dogs and cats, relationships, therapy, word play and absurdity.
Q: Where did the name come from?
A: When I was a kid, my aunt told me that no word rhymes with orange. I like to think my style of strip represents a voice that hasn’t been represented in the comics.
Q: How did you get started?
A: I always liked to doodle. I was an English major and I wanted to get paid to write, so I got a job — briefly — at an ad agency. I had to put together a portfolio of fake ads. It was the ones with comics that caught the editor’s eye. After that, I started drawing single panels. The editor of the books pages of the San Francisco Chronicle would slip them in now and then. Eventually, I went to the library and got a book about syndicating your own cartoon.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: I read a lot — the Boston Globe, the New Yorker, cereal boxes, whatever. I’m not looking for jokes so much as topics. I also get ideas from my life. I write them all down in my journal. I’m a writer who draws, rather than an artist who writes.
Q: Describe your process:
A: There’s a lot of writing and rewriting. When you’re drawing a strip, you want to get your idea across in the clearest, fastest way. It’s takes me about 4 hours of work to produce a strip that some will read in four seconds.
Q: Do you have an advisory board?
A: Sort of. Every Thursday, I sit down with an old colleague, who’s a graphic designer, and run the panels by her. I buy her breakfast. She does a lot of work for yogurt and a banana.
Q: When do you know you’ve got it right?
A: When someone e-mails and says, “You captured my life.”
Connie Nelson • 612-673-7087
Starting today in print, “Rhymes With Orange” will replace “Rip Haywire” on the daily comics pages. The new strip will also run on Sunday. If you’d like to comment on the change, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.