Roy Schneider, Creator of The Humble Stumble

20 August 2004

   Some cartoonists fashion humour from abstract ideas, from improbable or impossible flights of fancy that they spin into chuckles from invisible strings. Other cartoonists weave success from the threads of the daily routine, the family quirks, from the rough skein of real life. Roy Schneider has found his place in his comic strip creation, The Humble Stumble. In it, he knits together the filaments of his newly-single-parent status into the foundation of laughter that almost everyone can identify with.

    After separation from his wife of 12 years, Roy took the confusion, oddities and frustrations of raising a young teenager alone and set them all down in a comic strip. It wasn’t his first attempt at creating a strip but it became the one most likely to succeed. *(1) The main characters of The Humble Stumble, the father, Joe, and his nine-year-old daughter, Molly, are heart-warming and captivating, with big facial expressions to provide immediate understanding. The drawings flow smoothly and the gags made me nod in agreement and smile in appreciation. I know people just like them.

    The Humble Stumble was previously signed by Washington Post Writers Group under a development contract, but after a year with no newspaper publication in sight, Roy asked to be released.

Humble Stumble 1

    The arts are no stranger to Roy Schneider, born in Toledo, Ohio in 1969. As a child, he was a steady doodler and transferred those early skills to his adult life. He has worked as an illustrator for a number of years, with his first cartoons being published in 1992 while living in Chicago. Roy’s background includes work in toy design as an animator and 3D modeler. Mattel, Blockbuster, Disney and Fisher-Price are among his prominent clients.

    Now living in southwest Florida with his daughter, Maya, Roy works from his home studio as a freelance illustrator. On top, he creates The Humble Stumble seven days a week, including the full-colour large Sunday edition.

    Roy Schneider's artistic methods are that of a seasoned professional: With Bristol Board as the base paper, He uses a 5H pencil (hard) to sketch his ideas, then finalizes the art with a Speedball C-6 nib and various brushes. He scans the cartoons into his computer with Adobe Photoshop and applies the colouring digitally. Ray noted on comics.com that his best work his done early in the day, “Super-early morning seems to be when I come up with some of the best stuff, although I'm not sure why. I'm a bear in the morning.” A certain amount of coffee helps too.

Humble Stumble 2

   Roy’s evenings are filled with another form of art – music. Playing acoustic guitar, he appears in clubs, coffee houses and restaurants in the Naples, Florida, vicinity, entertaining the crowds with folk and blues-style music. Most recently, he performed at the Coffee Beanery in Naples, playing acoustic rock and originals, Monday and Tuesday evenings. Roy is passing his musical talent on to his daughter, teaching Maya to play the guitar and sing.

    Though The Humble Stumble is built on real life, Roy takes pains to not embarrass his daughter. Along with the true funny situations of needing an hour to find eight items in the grocery store, looking for a love interest or handling discipline with kindness, the cartoonist also dreams up ideas. “It has great humor and I can relate to it totally. It’s pretty cool when your friends know you’re part of a comic strip. You feel kind of famous,” Maya told Naplesnews.com. *(2)

    In The Humble Stumble, Roy Schneider has embroidered a delightful storyline with a colourful theme and enchanting characters that leaves readers smiling. For the moment, The Humble Stumble is published on comics.com, as Roy looks forward to the possibilities of newspaper syndication.

    It shouldn’t take long; The Humble Stumble is a great comic strip!

Read 30 days of The Humble Stumble :
http://www.comics.com/comics/humblestumble/

Visit Roy Schneider’s home page for more information – especially if you are in the market for illustrations:
*(1) http://www.royschneider.com/

An article about Roy Schneider, his life and work:
*(2) http://web.naplesnews.com/03/06/neapolitan/a126816p.htm

© Susanna McLeod 2004
TheCartoonists.ca  
     
(Originally published in The Cartoonists on suite101.com.)