Origin of the Triplets

The idea for Twice the Triplets came pretty easily, almost as if it just created itself inside of my head. I don’t remember where or when this happened, only that I was thinking about making a new comic and my thoughts went something like this:

Hey, what if I make a comic about a guy who suddenly has to take care of some kids?

He should be related to them – probably not their father, but what if he’s their uncle?

Maybe I should make the kids girls? I’ve made comics before about kids, but I always made the main characters boys.

I know, I’ll make the girls twins! No wait, triplets!

Wait a minute. Waaaaait a minute.

If I’m gonna do that, how about making it two sets of triplets? You know, to really make the guy have his hands full?

I could call it “Twice the Triplets”! And refer to it as “2×3”, as a kind of stylized abbreviation!

It was that quick, and that straight-forward. Next thing I remember is coming up with a gag – I immediately knew it would be a gag-a-page type comic – in which the uncle character would be planning some bedtime activity with a ladyfriend, and some of the kids would inadvertently scare her off. This idea would eventually become the fourth page of the comic, titled “Grownup Stuff”.

Right from the conception of Twice the Triplets, Fred just couldn’t catch a break.

It would be a while before that happened, though, because the next thing I did was to file away the ideas I had for Twice the Triplets in the back of my head. A cutesy comic about kids? I should probably try to do something a little bit more sophisticated than that for my next comic, I thought. In the months that followed, I did have other ideas I tried to make use of.

Original design for “Katie Can Fly”. Katie’s in-comic counterpart ended up looking slightly different.

One was a comic called Kate Can Fly, a (slightly) longer-form comic about a teenaged girl who suddenly sprouted wings. I remember being so excited about this idea at one point that I had trouble sleeping because my brain wouldn’t stop writing the script in my head.

I went on to write the actual script for Katie‘s first story, and a few pages of the second, the following day. Then I went to work on creating the character design, followed by the actual comic. After three pages, my enthusiasm waned. I didn’t mean to quit working on it, I just… waited a bit. And I kept waiting.

This was in early 2013. In the summer of the same year, my drawing hand started getting itchy again and I decided I wanted, no, needed to get back to comicking. But I somehow didn’t feel like resuming work on Katie. Or Badass Brat. Or any of the numerous comics I had at one point or another started working on only to forget about it after finishing a handful of pages, if that.

That’s when whatever librarian keeps order in my brain managed to dig back up that idea I had discarded some time before. Twice the Triplets? Should I give it a shot, after all?

“For now,” I decided, “I’ll at least sit down and do some drawing. See what I come up with”. My idea for 2×3 wasn’t very fleshed out at that point. I knew there would be two sets of triplet girls (it didn’t occur to me until after I had begun work on the actual comic that since I decided not to make the triplets identical, they didn’t all have to be of the same sex) and a grown-up guy. I didn’t have any concept of what they would look like, what their names would be or what their personalities would be like. I simply improvised a drawing featuring the needed number of characters.

First ever depiction of Fred and the triplets.

That first drawing, although I kind of cringe looking at it now, was enough to convince myself I should go ahead and make Twice the Triplets. I liked the characters I had drawn. I wanted to see them come alive and interact with each other. I wanted to do funny gags with them and maybe even make people like them.

Their names came later. Then the script for the first page. It took me four days to complete “Intro Video”. Considering how much this page relied on copy and paste, maybe it shouldn’t have taken that long but hey – it was the first page. I did absolutely nothing in regards to practicing drawing my new characters before getting started on it, I just jumped right on in. I had to keep checking my original drawing to make sure I was still drawing the same people. Hey, I never claimed to be a professional.

By the time I had finished the first two pages, I had probably already planned about a dozen more. At first, I had wanted to make every page a completely stand-alone gag that every new reader could read and understand without any context. By the time I had made the first five to ten pages, that had already changed, as I’d written the outline for a storyline I would do later on, perhaps a couple of years later, in which Fred would lose custody of the girls and they all ended up in separate foster homes for a while until Fred managed to set things right. When I introduced the character of Mrs. Zellner in the 20th page, “Visitor”, it felt like I was finally starting to carry out plans I had laid a long time ago. Sure, it had been mere months since I had started Twice the Triplets, but given my track record in recent years, making it to page 20 was not unremarkable.

I had made the decision early on: This time, I wasn’t going to abandon the comic after three pages. This time, I was going to force myself to see this comic through. Not because I believed in it more than I had believed in Katie Can Fly or all those other comics I ended up giving up on, but because dang it, I didn’t want yet another one of my creations to end up amounting to nothing after initially having put a lot of work into it.

After I had finished five pages or so, I created the website – twicethetriplets.com – and thus, I had committed to the project. I figured if I actually spent money paying for a domain and hosting, I definitely wouldn’t let myself off the hook so easily.

Setting aside for a moment the fact that it’s currently on hiatus due to my broken arm, Twice the Triplets is still going, four and a half years since I started it. More importantly, I still enjoy doing it. I still love the feeling of completing a page and sharing it with people, and I still get excited over ideas I get for the future of the comic. Every once in a while I get ideas for other comics I’d like to do and get a little annoyed that I just don’t have time to start new projects while also keeping up with Twice the Triplets. But hey – who’s to say I wouldn’t just give up on those other ones after three pages anyway, right?

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