Weapons of choice


(Mar 26, 2010)


So I realized that my posts on the blog have been pretty stagnant for the most part. I mean to say that there hasn’t been a lot of variation – it’s been me posting the illustrations I was assigned that week with maybe some splashes of quick drawings here and there.

To try to break that up and in honor of me finishing up Americus wicked soon, I thought that I would show a little behind the scenes the next couple of weeks and document me in the process of drawing up a page of comics, as well as go over the tools I use to do what I do. This could be interesting to anyone who doesn’t really draw comics and potentially boring to anyone that does. Regardless, I hope you enjoy!

Part I, Weapons of choice

I didn’t think I used that much when I draw, but after going through what I actually use I realized the list is longer than I thought, though not really that crazy or diverse. Anyhow, my weapons cache consists of a the following tools:

2H pencil

Pictured is Samson. He’s the pencil I used to draw EVERYTHING starting with my last year in college up until a year or two ago. Seriously, EVERYTHING. I think someone left him behind in one of my classes, and I picked him up and it was magic for many, many years. The only reason I started to use different pencils was because I thought I lost him and was forced to get a new ones.

That boring story being told, I like the 2H because they last forever, and since I do a lot of sketching and redrawing when I work on stuff, it’s nice that the hard lead doesn’t smear like softer Bs do.

100 lb. Strathmore smooth Bristol board

I used to use a vellum finish, which has a little bit of a tooth, but as I slowly moved to using the brush exclusively and relying on a more clean line, I have switched to the smooth. I’ve found that if you want to do some dry brushing, the vellum is better.

#1 Rosemary brush

I used to use Windsor Newton Series 7 Sable brushes up until very recently because in school we were told they were the Winchester rifles of brushes and that hype was generally lived up to. Then they started to suck. Like suck bad. Like every brush I would by would fray and lose its tip after the first time I used it. Luckily, my good friend, amazing illustrator, [and maybe roommate in the future] Meg Hunt introduced me to Rosemary Brushes. It’s this lady in England that makes the brushes by hand [I don’t think she personally makes them.] Anyhow, I would swear by these brushes now. They’re incredibly affordable and I’ve found them to keep their tip through and through.

And as a side note to brush selection: I used to use a #2, but since drawing Americus, I’ve found a #1 gets me the fine line I need. I don’t know if it’s because my touch is getting less delicate, or if I’ve just needed to have a finer line in my drawing, but the #2 has just seemed a little too clumsly for me lately.

Micron pens, [#1 & #3]

I only use the Micron for tiny details that are too fine for me to get with a brush, like facial features in wide shots and what not.

Pentel brush pen

These bad boys are really, really great when you’re traveling and want to draw and sketch with a brush on the go, but don’t want to worry about having to carry around all your inking supplies. They’re nice because they have actual bristles. I’ve seen some brush pens that just have tapered felt tips and they are really, really horrible. Anyhow, I’ve also found the Pentel brush pens to be really great for lettering because the brush has a consistent tip and you don’t have to keep dipping them into the ink. It’s a completely different experience, but if you’ve ever wanted to start drawing with a brush and need a stepping stone these are great way to get the feel of the tool without diving straight in. They also come in varying colors, so you can try out some different stuff with them. I just have a black one and then a grey one in hopes of sitting down and practicing tones one of these days.

and finally

Windsor Newton Black India Ink.

To be honest, I haven’t really used a lot of other inks so I can’t bring up comparisons of them to the Windsor Newton stuff. I have used Windsor Newton ink since I started drawing comics and I haven’t found a reason to switch.

I’ll be finishing the first draft of Americus today, but I still have some edits to do and then I have to throw it all into a PDF and send it to my editor, but I should be able to start devoting more time to art for myself, and as a result, my blog posts should be a little more diverse and experimental. Please stay tuned!

3 Responses to “Weapons of choice”

  1. Nice post! I’m always fascinated by artsy stuff. I actually have a Strathmore Bristol pad laying around somewhere, I think, from a brief, “I’m going to start practicing sketching” period.

  2. I really enjoyed this post! Fun to see what you use and why.

  3. I’m glad you guys enjoy this sort of stuff. I have some other ideas for similar type posts/projects that I should have some time for in the near future, so stay tuned.

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