When it comes to older generations, perhaps a lot of us grew up reading our favorite comic strips in the newspaper every day. However, as times changed and things like the internet became prominent in our lives, we started to look for forms of entertainment online as well.

The comic scene also shifted with the age of the internet, and now most of the popular comics can be found online. The internet has given rise to the term “webcomics,” a new phenomenon of comic strips that are based completely online.

One of the newest artists we’d like to introduce you to on our platform is artist James P. otherwise known as "But a Jape" on his social media. His comics are funny, colorful, and feature weird and quite unexpected twists like aliens keeping humans as pets, and much more!

More info: Instagram | twitter.com | butajape.com | tapas.io | webtoons.com

Bored Panda reached out to James, the author behind the "But A Jape" comics. First, we asked the artist if he had any life-changing influences that might have helped him with his art and art style in general when it comes to his comics.

"Perry Bible Fellowship probably most represents my ideal form of comic-based humor—both the writing of the jokes and the art accompanying them serve to make each comic more than the sum of its parts. The jokes are simple, but executed elegantly with no extraneous dialogue or overly complex visuals. And speaking of the visuals, Nicholas Gurewitch’s ability to employ different art styles to complement different types of jokes is another skill I aspire to emulate—though I wouldn’t say I’ve developed this skill quite as well as I would like. Making myself release two comics a week tends to limit my ability to experiment too much with my art style when a simpler one ensures I can finish more at a time.

SMBC is another major influence in terms of how I approach humor. In fact, it may have influenced me more than I thought, since I often receive comments of, 'I thought this was SMBC until I read the author’s name.' To be honest, I’m still unclear as to where exactly the overlap in our comics is, but it’s given me a bit of a complex where, after finishing up every comic, I stop to think to myself, 'Does this look like SMBC?' or 'SMBC didn’t do this joke already, did it?'"

"Hark! A Vagrant is another one of my favorite webcomics that I’m consciously aware has influenced my work. My title, But a Jape, is even partly inspired by it, what with being a rather anachronistic phrase. Earlier on, I actually planned on having a lot more literature and history-based humor for But a Jape, much like Hark! A Vagrant, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Also, those types of comics tend not to gain as much traction as some of my others. Not that I’ll stop making them, though.

There are definitely more influences I could go through, but then I’d be here for days."

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Art, in any kind of form, takes a lot of time, not only to practice but also to produce, therefore we asked James how long it takes him to fully finish his comics.

"This is hard to say, because I like to have a lot of variety with my comics—some are short with simple artwork while others are longer and more complex. The shortest time I’ve taken to write a comic was about 1.5 hours, while the longest has taken me over a couple of weeks. But for, let’s say, one of the standard 4-panel types where I already have a clear image of how it looks and what the text says? Those average me around 3 hours, start to finish. That is, if I’m disciplined enough that day to sit still and work the entire time."

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Sofia Gonzalez
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My gosh Emily!! Just get over being human!! It's not that big of a deal!!

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Being an artist is not easy, one can easily encounter a lack of inspiration, burnout, etc, so we wanted to ask the artist about his ideas for the comics.

"I’ve always been the kind of guy who just makes amusing observations to himself and then turns to tell them to the nearest person willing to listen. Sometimes it’s observing a pattern I’ve noticed in a lot of stories or just an awkward interaction I’ve had with another person. Eventually, I got the idea to try it out for stand-up comedy and began taking notes on my phone any time I came up with something I could stretch out into a bit. When I began writing comics, I did the same thing but rewrote them to work in a visual medium. In fact, a number of my comics are recycled from my short-lived stand-up days. Not a lot of them, though, the stand-up days were very short-lived. If I ever do get back into stand-up, I might just recycle some of my comic's material."

As we mentioned before, sometimes creative work can cause quite a burnout, therefore we asked the artist if he had to deal with it as well.

"Not yet, at least, not while I’m still making the work I want to make. I learned a long time ago that I absolutely hate making art that other people want me to make - when I used to make art for school, I would always hit a point where I thought, 'I’m bored of this now, I want to make something else,' but my teacher would say, 'This isn’t finished, you still need to do X, Y, and Z!'

At this point in time, I’ve still got a lot of funny ideas and stories I want to share, so I’m not worried about forcing myself to make something I don’t want to. And also, the only person actually forcing me to make my comics is me, so I would hope if I ever do feel burned out, I would have the self-control to give myself a break when I need to."

People's reactions can be quite amusing at times, so we couldn't hold ourselves back and just had the ask the artist about how people reacted to his work.

"I typically feel awkward bringing up my work to others in person; it would feel like I’m fishing for compliments. And even then, I don’t think my friends would tell me if they didn't like one of my comics, so I wouldn’t expect people I know to tell me anything other than, 'I liked it,' or 'It was funny.'

But strangers on the internet seem to enjoy them, if likes and upvotes are to be believed. Sometimes my comics will initiate some thoughtful discussion in the comments, which I think is nice since I do sprinkle in some social commentary every now and then. Mostly likes and lols, though."

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Chich
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Bears often frightened when you make yourself bigger :)

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Kesam
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Haahaha 😂 Reminds me of a game in "I'm sorry I haven't a clue" where one team tells a story and tries to trip up the other team, who have to act it out simultaneously, with these kinds of "plot twists." Can't remember the name of that game but it was hilarious.

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The creative process is not easy, but there are many enjoyable parts to it as shared by "But A Jape".

"It doesn’t happen every time, but when I put the finishing touches on a comic and think, 'Wait, am I done?' then look at the entire thing and think, 'Wow, that actually looks like how I pictured it!' While I’m creating, I’m always second guessing myself and wondering if my lines look wonky or if the colors aren’t quite right or if the joke’s even that funny in the first place—and you can always find imperfections in anything when you scrutinize it enough. But even if there are minor imperfections, when you stand back and take the work in as a whole: 'Hey, this actually looks like something one of those professional funny guys on the internet could have made!'"

We also asked about the inspiration behind Jame's Instagram account where he uploads his work.

"I have never been a social media kinda guy. I have a Facebook, but I really just glance at status updates from people I barely knew from high school and college, then move on. Even on internet forums and Reddit, I’ve never been one to participate in conversations, I would just lurk and watch everyone else interacting with each other. So when I started making comics, I really didn’t know what I was supposed to do to publicize them. But from what I could tell, if you’re an artist, you post on Instagram, so I figured that was what I had to do."

Digital art and art, in general, is not easy and requires a lot of patience, time, resources, and in most cases even money, therefore we wanted to know how the talented comic artist started his own path in digital art.

"During my school days, I was the kind of kid who would doodle cartoons and anime in his notebooks, which was my earliest practice with art. Eventually, one of my middle school art teachers was impressed enough with me that she recommended I sign up for an advanced art program in high school—the kind of program where kids who absolutely knew they wanted to become artists would learn all the fundamentals. I hated it, learned I never want to make art that other people tell me to make, and dropped it after two years. But I do credit them for laying a foundation of artistic principles for me to build from later on.

Other than doodling in my notebooks, I never really pursued art seriously since then. After university, I ended up in an office job that had a good amount of down time during the day, so I would occupy myself by doodling on Post-It Notes. My coworkers tended to decorate their desks with pictures of friends and family, which wasn’t my style, so I decided to decorate my space with my Post-It doodles. Eventually, this sparked enough of my creativity that I wasn’t satisfied with 3x3 Post-Its as my canvas anymore and I considered going back to making art more seriously again."

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Abigail Coty
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is all too relatable, but for me it’s more with forgetting earbuds

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"But, contrary to the stereotype of artists, I actually really hate mess and clutter. One of my least favorite parts of my school art projects was the mess of papers, graphite, pastel dust, paint, and so on that would be left after working. So I didn’t want to buy a bunch of notebooks or pencils or paints that would take up space in my room - instead I bought a drawing tablet, so all of my work would be kept nice and orderly within my computer.

I started off drawing a few private illustrations of various characters from stories that had been bubbling in my brain for the past couple of decades, but I never kept consistent with making it a habit. When the pandemic lockdowns started and I realized I needed some sort of regularity in my life to maintain my sanity, I decided a comic would be the best way to practice my comedy, writing, and art skills all at once. So here we are."

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Laura Henderson
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Spot on for everyone's reaction to "Paradise Lost". Me included.

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Motivation is a major thing for many artists, and in some cases, it can be attributed to things such as curiosity, the search for beauty, or even meaning.

"I’ve always had a very active imagination. As a child, I would imagine stories and characters in my head and play them out in the solitude of my bedroom. But I was a very quiet and shy kid, so I never publicized these ideas for fear of judgment. But I also didn’t want these stories to just stay in my head, I wanted to see them right in front of me, and the only way for that to happen was to make it myself. So I needed to know how to draw in order to see them. If other people happen to see them and think, 'Pretty cool,' then that’s a nice little bonus as well.

As for my comedy, even though I was typically a very quiet kid, the few times I was comfortable enough to joke around with people, they would usually find me funny and laugh. And I liked that, so I wanted to keep telling people jokes so they’d laugh. Now I draw those jokes."

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Izzy Curer
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I do this with my cat when she's trying to pester me. I just hug her, and she freaks out and runs away

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Marika
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh my goodness, that's so true and it happens way too often!

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Sue Lynn Chan
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

True, but on the other hand. Realities are disappointing.............Want to trade?

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Sue Lynn Chan
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Now I think about it. Is there any shows that don’t have romance scenes ( Squid game is the one that pop into my head)

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Note: this post originally had 60 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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