Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Blue Line Pro Comic Art Paper & Radiograph Pens
Ryuthehedgewolf at 3:32PM, Feb. 5, 2009
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Hi!

I've been wondering for a while about the Radiograph pens. The ones by Koh-I-Noor. I've been researching and stuff about them, but I wanted to get an answer from somebody who as actually used some before. I really wanted to get a few instead of micron pens, because they tend to run out too fast, and I don't want to keep replacing pens everytime I turn around.

So, is the number difference mean the size nib it is? Is it worth it?

And about the Blue Line Pro Art paper, I have been using just regular A4 paper for a while now (just copy paper), and it's been working fine. But I really wanted to try out something else, something pro. But the thing is, I might hate scanning it in, so I might hold off on that. I remember back when I used 11“ by 14” paper, it really pissed me off because I had to scan it in four parts, and piece it all together.

I heard they have pro A4 paper though, would that be more suitable for me then?

Another question, would it be worth it more if I got a Windsor & Newton brush, or a 102 Crow Quill pen?
I haven't practiced with the brush THAT much (only for a few months so far) but I'm still not gettin that line quality down. I'm really heavy handed (and left handed as well), so would it be better just to get the Crow Quill pen? Or the Brush?


Thanks for everything!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
CharleyHorse at 9:24PM, Feb. 5, 2009
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I just want to point out that if you tend to be heavy handed then you can tear your paper surface with a Crow Quill nib. For nib inking I used to prefer something like a Hunt Globe nib size 513 because it lay down a thicker line and could handle a heavier hand without tearing the bristol surface.

You should research nib types and then consider experimenting.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 5:25PM, Feb. 6, 2009
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CharleyHorse
I just want to point out that if you tend to be heavy handed then you can tear your paper surface with a Crow Quill nib. For nib inking I used to prefer something like a Hunt Globe nib size 513 because it lay down a thicker line and could handle a heavier hand without tearing the bristol surface.

You should research nib types and then consider experimenting.

Well maybe I should just get a brush then instead. I've only used a nib pen once, but it was actually made for calligraphy. But I've been using brush pens for a while now, and I think a real brush may make the comic look better. But then again, maybe not.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
skoolmunkee at 2:18AM, Feb. 7, 2009
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I thought you were gonna get a pentel pocket brush man. :]

Brush pens and rapidograph fineliners are two different animals. I've heard nothing but good about the rapidographs, comic professionals have been using them for ages. I've never used one myself though, and the initial price investment seems fairly high. I'd have to be sure I would really use them before I bought any.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 6:50AM, Feb. 7, 2009
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skoolmunkee
I thought you were gonna get a pentel pocket brush man. :]

Brush pens and rapidograph fineliners are two different animals. I've heard nothing but good about the rapidographs, comic professionals have been using them for ages. I've never used one myself though, and the initial price investment seems fairly high. I'd have to be sure I would really use them before I bought any.

Oh, I still am. Don't worry :)
It's just I wanted to see if maybe later on down the road *few years or so* if I should get into brushes or nib pens.
But with the way it's lookin, I'll just stick with this Pentel Pocket Brush :D

Radiograph pens could possibly save me money. Maybe. Since I do all my detailing with microns, I'd need the smallest size possible.

Thanks for the answers, guys!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
angry_black_guy at 9:21PM, Feb. 7, 2009
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I have a full set of rapidographs. Cost me 160$ but I've had them for four years; you just have to clean them every time you put in more ink. Just compare that to a micron or staedtler which would last me maybe a month. Imagine the cost over time with that compared to rapidograph where I only spend 5$ in ink every 6 months.

All of my comics are lettered using rapidographs and I do general editing with them. For the lineart (of which I have begun to do very little of because it's quicker to paint) I use a hunt 102 or 105. Like you, I too am heavy handed and I use thick cardstock (160lb paper which holds my paints really well) so the nibs don't scratch too deep and feather.

I think I may make a blog post on art materials because traditional media always gets the most questions.

EDIT: Also, don't bother with that blue line crap. I know a lot of “pros” support it (probably because they're paid to endorse it) but unless you're crunching comics on a deadline it's totally unnecessary. You can get the same quality paper for a much cheaper price. It's basically the generic brand name of paper.

Just go with cardstock or smooth bristol.

last edited on July 14, 2011 10:53AM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 7:20AM, Feb. 8, 2009
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angry_black_guy
I have a full set of rapidographs. Cost me 160$ but I've had them for four years; you just have to clean them every time you put in more ink. Just compare that to a micron or staedtler which would last me maybe a month. Imagine the cost over time with that compared to rapidograph where I only spend 5$ in ink every 6 months.

All of my comics are lettered using rapidographs and I do general editing with them. For the lineart (of which I have begun to do very little of because it's quicker to paint) I use a hunt 102 or 105. Like you, I too am heavy handed and I use thick cardstock (160lb paper which holds my paints really well) so the nibs don't scratch too deep and feather.

I think I may make a blog post on art materials because traditional media always gets the most questions.

EDIT: Also, don't bother with that blue line crap. I know a lot of “pros” support it (probably because they're paid to endorse it) but unless you're crunching comics on a deadline it's totally unnecessary. You can get the same quality paper for a much cheaper price. It's basically the generic brand name of paper.

Just go with cardstock or smooth bristol.

Thank you!
I think instead of nib pens or actual brushes, I'll stick with that Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, it seems like it'd suit me more.

I'd be using the radiographs for word bubbles, panels, lettering, and VERY small details. So I'd probably want to get a decent sized one, and a small one. Thanks a bunch though!

So do you think for now, I'd be okay with just copy paper? I don't have much money, and my scanner is so unbearably small that if I even attempted to draw on big sheets of paper, I'd die.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
CharleyHorse at 7:58AM, Feb. 8, 2009
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Ryuthehedgewolf, regular paper stock and the Pentel Pocket brush pen got together just fine. No bleeding at all. Just in case, though, use another piece of paper behind the one you are inking as backing.

I usually use 110lbs card stock simply because I tend to be heavy handed with my pencils and card stock is less inclined to crumple on me during the eraser phase of the work. I use my graphics program for coloring and so I don't have to worry about bleeding there either. So give it a shot first with regular paper and see what happens.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 10:08AM, Feb. 8, 2009
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CharleyHorse
Ryuthehedgewolf, regular paper stock and the Pentel Pocket brush pen got together just fine. No bleeding at all. Just in case, though, use another piece of paper behind the one you are inking as backing.

I usually use 110lbs card stock simply because I tend to be heavy handed with my pencils and card stock is less inclined to crumple on me during the eraser phase of the work. I use my graphics program for coloring and so I don't have to worry about bleeding there either. So give it a shot first with regular paper and see what happens.

Is the Pocket Brush pen better than, say, Pigma Brush Pens? Or even the Staedtler Duo 3000 brush pen? Because I've used both, Staedtler was wayy better.

The Pigma one, is terrible. So will it stay firm and sturdy? Like if I use it a lot, the line variation won't get all thick after prolonged use?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
skoolmunkee at 11:24AM, Feb. 8, 2009
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I haven't used the Staedtler ones, but I googled them quickly. both they and the Pigma ones have felt tips- which means ANY time you use them, you're slowly destroying them. You don't refill them, they are disposable. They are markers with a brush tip.

The Pocket Brush is a true brush pen- the nib is made of individual ‘hair’ bristles that are MADE to be flexible and change shape, like a real brush. You're not meant to throw it away, just use replacable ink cartridges.

When I switched from the pigma ones to my kuretake (comparable to pentel's) brush pen, the difference was remarkable. They were much easier to use and the line quality was totally different. I didn't realize what I was missing before. The hardest part was learning to have a lighter hand.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 11:44AM, Feb. 8, 2009
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skoolmunkee
I haven't used the Staedtler ones, but I googled them quickly. both they and the Pigma ones have felt tips- which means ANY time you use them, you're slowly destroying them. You don't refill them, they are disposable. They are markers with a brush tip.

The Pocket Brush is a true brush pen- the nib is made of individual ‘hair’ bristles that are MADE to be flexible and change shape, like a real brush. You're not meant to throw it away, just use replacable ink cartridges.

When I switched from the pigma ones to my kuretake (comparable to pentel's) brush pen, the difference was remarkable. They were much easier to use and the line quality was totally different. I didn't realize what I was missing before. The hardest part was learning to have a lighter hand.

Yeah, when I first got my Pigma one, it had pretty great line variation. But a few pages later, it's just terrible. Every single line I made is thick. So you're saying that the Pentel one won't do that to me? As long as I don't mash it?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
skoolmunkee at 1:51PM, Feb. 8, 2009
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Proper brushes are made to be sproingy :] I've been using mine for 3 years and it works like the day I got it.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
CharleyHorse at 1:51PM, Feb. 8, 2009
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Ryuthehedgewolf
So you're saying that the Pentel one won't do that to me? As long as I don't mash it?

You are exactly correct. This is because the Pentel Pocket brush is a real brush with nylon bristles. I recently read where one user has been using his for fifteen years. The bristles will always return to their original shape after you release the pressure. Of course you will need to purchase ink cartridges from time to time or find a way to refill the empty ones. There is information about that in my old thread from a few weeks ago.

I am sooooo glad that skoolmunkee told me about that pocket brush!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 1:59PM, Feb. 8, 2009
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Ryuthehedgewolf
So you're saying that the Pentel one won't do that to me? As long as I don't mash it?

You are exactly correct. This is because the Pentel Pocket brush is a real brush with nylon bristles. I recently read where one user has been using his for fifteen years. The bristles will always return to their original shape after you release the pressure. Of course you will need to purchase ink cartridges from time to time or find a way to refill the empty ones. There is information about that in my old thread from a few weeks ago.

I am sooooo glad that skoolmunkee told me about that pocket brush!

Wow. For me, this basically seems like the best thing ever!

When I first get a new brush pen, I love it, because the line variation is so nice and stuff. But then when it gets used a lot, I'm just like, Ew.

But anyway, this definitely makes me want to get one. Thanks again guys!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Kamoourian King at 9:05PM, Feb. 8, 2009
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I totally support Rapidograph pens. I finally got one it is worth the money, in my opinion. It does last longer and is cheaper in the long run, only buying ink for it.
As paper I am pro Bristol Board. I never used the already blue lined paper, but if you want to buy some, it would not hurt. I am bad at making my panels straight, so that will help.
And for brushes, it is great for line art and adding blacks. It is also great for hatching. But I found my .25 Rapidograph is amazing for hatching, so isn't a Sakura Micron, and a School nib.

Just personal preference. It really does not matter what everyone else uses, it is what YOU like.


Oh how I love you
The pain won't go away
Oh when I need you
You're always so far away
I cry for you
Leaving myself to blame
I died for you
I gave up everything
-Iced Earth
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
JoeL_CQB at 12:11AM, Feb. 9, 2009
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i have blue line paper, and i hate it. i'm using it so that my money doesn't go to waste.

i don't know what the technical term is, but ink bleeds easily on it.

i'd prefer sketch paper over it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 3:22AM, Feb. 9, 2009
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Kamoourian King
I totally support Rapidograph pens. I finally got one it is worth the money, in my opinion. It does last longer and is cheaper in the long run, only buying ink for it.
As paper I am pro Bristol Board. I never used the already blue lined paper, but if you want to buy some, it would not hurt. I am bad at making my panels straight, so that will help.
And for brushes, it is great for line art and adding blacks. It is also great for hatching. But I found my .25 Rapidograph is amazing for hatching, so isn't a Sakura Micron, and a School nib.

Just personal preference. It really does not matter what everyone else uses, it is what YOU like.

At the moment, I'm pretty comfortable with copy paper. I would love to switch to bristol or something, but I don't have the money to buy it, nor do I have the patience to scan it in. Because my scanner is so small, I'd have to scan it in a billion different parts! Just like I did before when I drew 6 pages on 11“ by 14” paper.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Kamoourian King at 8:30AM, Feb. 9, 2009
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Ryuthehedgewolf
At the moment, I'm pretty comfortable with copy paper. I would love to switch to bristol or something, but I don't have the money to buy it, nor do I have the patience to scan it in. Because my scanner is so small, I'd have to scan it in a billion different parts! Just like I did before when I drew 6 pages on 11“ by 14” paper.
I know how you feel with the small scanner deal. If you don't want Bristol than go with cardstock. It is heavier than copy paper and it is cheaper than Bristol. And the cardstock is the same size as printer/copy paper, so it will be easier to scan.


Oh how I love you
The pain won't go away
Oh when I need you
You're always so far away
I cry for you
Leaving myself to blame
I died for you
I gave up everything
-Iced Earth
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
lba at 12:44PM, Feb. 9, 2009
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You can buy 250 sheets of cardstock at Staples for about $15. It's way cheap and works a lot better than regular copy paper in my opinion.

I have a full set of rapidographs myself and on the few occasions I use them, they're great. I'm still using up my stock of faber castell ink pens but I'll be switching to the rapidograph as soon as they're gone. Especially since the disposable pens only give a dark gray not a true black and the rapidographs are much closer to black. My only beef is how hard they can be to clean after a long period of use because the ink can start to dry inside of the nib. I still haven't been able to figure out how to get the half dry ink to dissolve.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:29PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 6:37PM, Feb. 9, 2009
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lba
You can buy 250 sheets of cardstock at Staples for about $15. It's way cheap and works a lot better than regular copy paper in my opinion.

I have a full set of rapidographs myself and on the few occasions I use them, they're great. I'm still using up my stock of faber castell ink pens but I'll be switching to the rapidograph as soon as they're gone. Especially since the disposable pens only give a dark gray not a true black and the rapidographs are much closer to black. My only beef is how hard they can be to clean after a long period of use because the ink can start to dry inside of the nib. I still haven't been able to figure out how to get the half dry ink to dissolve.

I see a lot of people are recommending cardstock. It's not like, super thick is it? Whenever I hear it, it just makes me think of comic book boards, like protective boards.

That doesn't sound too bad, I could do with cleaning them. :D

Thanks Iba! I truely appreciate it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
lba at 7:11PM, Feb. 9, 2009
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Card stock comes in 60 or 110 lb generally. The former is about half the thickness of 4 ply bristol which is the stuff you buy in those pads. 110 lb is just slightly lighter than the bristol. The stuff they use to protect comics is actually closer to railroad board which is basically a heavy duty poster board or shirt board.

I mostly buy bristol board to do ink work on, but I've done a lot of digging to find decent sales and I generally need to use a higher quality paper for the stuff I do but for an economy mind card stock is good stuff.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:29PM
Kamoourian King at 7:19PM, Feb. 9, 2009
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If you do not add a lot of black ink, than the cardstock would work, but if you do use a lot of black, mainly black india ink, I would go with the bristol. Bristol is a little thicker and a little bigger. I like 9x12 cause I can add more panels and detail.

And if you want to feel what cardstock is, pick a card (go figure xD ) and that is cardstock.


Oh how I love you
The pain won't go away
Oh when I need you
You're always so far away
I cry for you
Leaving myself to blame
I died for you
I gave up everything
-Iced Earth
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 3:37AM, Feb. 10, 2009
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Kamoourian King
If you do not add a lot of black ink, than the cardstock would work, but if you do use a lot of black, mainly black india ink, I would go with the bristol. Bristol is a little thicker and a little bigger. I like 9x12 cause I can add more panels and detail.

And if you want to feel what cardstock is, pick a card (go figure xD ) and that is cardstock.

Oh, uh…actually, I do add quite a lot of ink to it. I mostly use sharpies though, because I tend to work on the cheaper side.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Daiconv at 10:08AM, Feb. 10, 2009
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micron pigma pens suck. I hate them! I only use them when I don't have anything else availible.

If you have the money to spend, then by all means buy the pentel brush pen, but I would suggest starting out just using a windsor newton sable brush and dipping it in ink just to see how you like it. I love using actual brushes, they just aren't very portable.

Also, using an actual brush and ink will require a thicker paper than copy paper. It should be ok with a brushpen though.

*edit:
oh yeah, and I don't much like the blue line paper too much. It just doesn't take heavy inks too well.
without buttcheecks, it's just a hole.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
mattchee at 1:25PM, Feb. 10, 2009
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I have some old blue line paper i got in a sampler YEARS ago, and i busted it out finally for a project only to discover that the bled horribly. This was older stock, though. I'd imagine their standard stuff would have to have improved over the years since they've stayed in business (and in fact I used some of their current sketch cards, and they were great). I've never purchased any BL paper, as I work primarily digitally these days, but I can tell you that I did see on their website that they sell deliniated paper made from Strathmore 300 and 400 series bristol, both which are EXCELLENT.

That said, there's no real reason why you can't just go out and buy Strathmore (in my opinion, the best bristol I've used) other than you can't find it pre-cut to 11 x 17 (but then again, you're not LIMITED to those dimensions either).

I'm guessing the only 11 x 17 strathmore being blue line is probably due to a contract that they have.

Canson sells 11 x 17 bristol pads (and other sizes) in their “Fanboy” line. Despite some fairly cheesy marketing, canson makes a quality product, I've inked on these boards with a variety of tools and found them satisfactory.

WIth bristol, probably the key thing is to get “smooth” surface and not “vellum” or any sort of textured surface. This will help you get top notch crisp lines!

Rapidographs. When i did traditional, this is what I used. LOVE em. If you take care of them, they will take care of you. That said, there's really no line weight variation happening with these, so if you're after that, you may find yourself outlining lines and filling them in (as I often did… tedious, and probably why I gave it up).

I switched to a brush shortly before making the digital jump so I really have nothing to offer there as I only have experience with one brush.

I didn't like the crow quill. I'm of the heavy handed variety, so I might as well be inking with a dull exacto knife.

I have a similar disdain of the micron pigma brush pens. I love em when I first get them, but they turn to crap very quickly. This is true for many disposable brush pens. The majority of the time, the tip turns to garbage WAY WAY WAY before the ink ever runs out. I'm looking into acquiring one of these pentel pocket brushes, and they seem to be the way to go. Aside from that, Faber Castell PITT brush pens are the best disposable I've found. Sturdy tip, which when it goes ragged, you can pull out, flip around, and use the other side (I have yet to attempt this, but its what I hear).


last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 3:29PM, Feb. 10, 2009
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mattchee
I have some old blue line paper i got in a sampler YEARS ago, and i busted it out finally for a project only to discover that the bled horribly. This was older stock, though. I'd imagine their standard stuff would have to have improved over the years since they've stayed in business (and in fact I used some of their current sketch cards, and they were great). I've never purchased any BL paper, as I work primarily digitally these days, but I can tell you that I did see on their website that they sell deliniated paper made from Strathmore 300 and 400 series bristol, both which are EXCELLENT.

That said, there's no real reason why you can't just go out and buy Strathmore (in my opinion, the best bristol I've used) other than you can't find it pre-cut to 11 x 17 (but then again, you're not LIMITED to those dimensions either).

I'm guessing the only 11 x 17 strathmore being blue line is probably due to a contract that they have.

Canson sells 11 x 17 bristol pads (and other sizes) in their “Fanboy” line. Despite some fairly cheesy marketing, canson makes a quality product, I've inked on these boards with a variety of tools and found them satisfactory.

WIth bristol, probably the key thing is to get “smooth” surface and not “vellum” or any sort of textured surface. This will help you get top notch crisp lines!

Rapidographs. When i did traditional, this is what I used. LOVE em. If you take care of them, they will take care of you. That said, there's really no line weight variation happening with these, so if you're after that, you may find yourself outlining lines and filling them in (as I often did… tedious, and probably why I gave it up).

I switched to a brush shortly before making the digital jump so I really have nothing to offer there as I only have experience with one brush.

I didn't like the crow quill. I'm of the heavy handed variety, so I might as well be inking with a dull exacto knife.

I have a similar disdain of the micron pigma brush pens. I love em when I first get them, but they turn to crap very quickly. This is true for many disposable brush pens. The majority of the time, the tip turns to garbage WAY WAY WAY before the ink ever runs out. I'm looking into acquiring one of these pentel pocket brushes, and they seem to be the way to go. Aside from that, Faber Castell PITT brush pens are the best disposable I've found. Sturdy tip, which when it goes ragged, you can pull out, flip around, and use the other side (I have yet to attempt this, but its what I hear).




Yeah, I got kinda confused when people said that. Because I looked on BLP's website, and it says that a few of their papers are printed on Strathmore.

Thanks for the tips though!
Sounds like I definitely should get radiographs. Only thing I'd be using them for is paneling, dialogue, word balloons, and details. Everything else would be done with the brush pen.

Well, I think I've made my decision. I'll stay with copy paper for a while. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
mattchee at 9:09PM, Feb. 10, 2009
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Ryuthehedgewolf
Sounds like I definitely should get radiographs. Only thing I'd be using them for is paneling, dialogue, word balloons, and details. Everything else would be done with the brush pen.

Oh yeah. Totally! You could probably get away with just one or two sizes if that's what you're after. You might want to invest in the cleaning kit too.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 5:34AM, Feb. 11, 2009
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mattchee
Ryuthehedgewolf
Sounds like I definitely should get radiographs. Only thing I'd be using them for is paneling, dialogue, word balloons, and details. Everything else would be done with the brush pen.

Oh yeah. Totally! You could probably get away with just one or two sizes if that's what you're after. You might want to invest in the cleaning kit too.

Oh alright! What's the cleaning kit? It's not super expensive is it?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
mattchee at 10:29AM, Feb. 11, 2009
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The cleaning kit comes with this cleaning fluid, and this bulb that you attach to the pen tip to flush it out. Ink will dry inside the pen and the pen will stop working if you don't clean it properly/regularly. I think the kit was around $15 total. No more than $20 I'm pretty sure (i got it a long time ago). Its made by koh-i-noor/rapidograph themselves for their pens. If your art store is selling rapidographs, they should be selling the cleaning kits nearby.


last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
Hyena H_ll at 11:20AM, Feb. 11, 2009
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Ryuthehedgewolf
At the moment, I'm pretty comfortable with copy paper. I would love to switch to bristol or something, but I don't have the money to buy it, nor do I have the patience to scan it in. Because my scanner is so small, I'd have to scan it in a billion different parts! Just like I did before when I drew 6 pages on 11“ by 14” paper.
You can get 8 x 10" Bristol; I have some. I think it's 25 p., and I know it cost me less than 6 bucks for the pad.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM

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