With Comic Kingdom’s recent spotlight on cartoonists’ tools of the trade, bumping up this post from April of 2013…
Addendum to Jim Keefe’s lecture for the Graphic Novel Illustration class
at the University of Minnesota – 4/1/2013.
Class Instructors: Rowan and Bly Pope
Can’t stress enough that this is the equipment I currently have that works for me
(and my budget).
I love pen and ink so I personally don’t see the need to invest in a cintiq at the moment, but that’s not to say I don’t use digital (as seen by the intuous5 shown below) or that I wouldn’t down the line. Find what what works best for you, but don’t get mired down in the familiar. Try new tools (cutting edge and old school) and keep experimenting.
15″ MacBookPro and Artograph Lightpad A940.
intuous5 Touch Medium pen tablet.
Mustek A3 2400S flatbed scanner.
Nice and big so it fits the pages I’m working on.
Drawing and Inking Materials:
One of the better book out there regrading this subject is Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden.
Chapter 8, Inking with a nib pen, is worth the price of admission in and of itself. If you want a world of knowledge go buy it. I’m going to concern myself here with the tools I’m presently using.
Side note: There’s a number of other books I could recommend – but that’s for another post…
From left to right…
3h for light sketching and blocking in shapes.
2b for tightening up drawing.
Pental Twist Erase with HB lead for a clean line.
white drafting eraser.
X-acto knife (for removing ink by cutting away layer of bristol paper).
Whetstone for sharpening X-acto blades.
Triangle, ruler and T-square.
Tape to hold art in place.
And above tape, piece of paper to have under your hand when penciling or inking.
I also have a larger T-square and ruler – but the smaller size comes in pretty handy.
From left to right…
B6 and C5 lettering nibs.
Japanese G NG-3.
Hunt 513 EF.
Winsor & Newton (In partnership with Blick) Round #1.
Winsor & Newton Series 7 #2.
From left to right…
Kohinoor Rapidograph 2/.60.
Kohinoor Rapidograph 1/.50.
Presto fine point correction pen.
Inks, Paper and Odds & Ends
For inks I love FW’s black acrylic for how dark it goes down, but lately I have been using Speedball super black as it’s comparable and comes in a big bottle (thus saving me money).
For Flash Gordon I used both 1-ply and 2-ply vellum. Of late I’ve been using 2-ply smooth (or plate).
Underneath is an Alvin green cutting mat – very handy for not only cutting, but for tacking things up as well.
Last but not least…
Inking templates: Circle, oval and a set of french curves.
Erasing shield (bottom right hand corner).
Ames guide for lettering (to the left of erasing shield).
For inking, a water jar, rag, paper towels and some scrap bristol are also a necessity.
I can’t stress enough that the items listed above are not the only ones I own or use. For instance, I have a number of different inking and lettering nibs, the ones pictured are just the nibs I am currently using the most. Check back in a year and you’d probably see some slight variations in what’s shown above.
Parting Thought: Getting the Work Done
Colleen Doran has a great blog post in regards to time management which I found essential reading. Check it out.
For my parting thought I’m actually handing it over to Zak Sally. First met Zak while teaching at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He’s a great teacher in that he has the rare ability to make lightbulbs go off in your head where you didn’t even know you were in the dark in the first place. Here he talks about one of his favorite artists,
Kim Deitch at his drawing board.
“Kim Deitch, he puts in 40 hours a week. He doesn’t put in 40 hours dicking around… Not time thinking about drawing. Not time thinking about when you’re going to draw. Not time drawing but then you get up and look for reference. It’s straight up time sitting there working on it is what he marks down. That’s huge for comics people. It’s putting your ass in the seat and keeping it there. It’s amazing the stuff you can do in an hour if you’re working the whole hour.”
- Zak Sally from Documenting the History of Minnesota Comics
by Britt Aamodt and Barbara Schulz.
All for now – deadlines looming…