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Favourite tools of the trade

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, April 30, 2021

When it comes to making comics, I have gone through many phases with regards to my tools. These days I stick mainly to creating comics using digital tools and programs but that’s not to say that it is the only method of producing art.

I first started drawing webcomics using plain, ole pencils. I was particular about my quality. I favoured a set of pencils my brother left me. Those poor babies got worn to nubs before I finally switched to mechanical pencils. Straightaway I was hooked! No longer did I have to worry about the sharpness of my lead, but I was able to switch out the lead from 2B to 6B whenever I wanted. I loved using them, particularly for a spooky horror comic I was drawing at the time.

I also spent time painting pages in gouache. There’s a collection of terribly written and painted pages bound together in books buried at my parents place, which shall remain so for the time being. The level of cringe is real. Amateur writing aside, it did mark my conversion from watercolour to gouache. I loved it’s vibrant colours and versatility. You could lay it on thick like acrylic or thin it out to become the consistency of watercolours. It was forgiving which, for a young artist, was what I needed.

However, the moment my father brought home a bootleg copy of Photoshop Elements, I was forever changed. He went on to buy me my first digital tablet; a blue plastic little thing that eventually fell apart but man did it troop on when it could. Throughout the years my tablets have been slowly replaced with better models. Today I use a Wacom Cintiq which allows me to draw directly on it.

Hopefully in the future I can upgrade my setup to be a powerful and intimidating monstrosity. But for now I am happy with my tools of the trade.

What is your favourite medium to create comics? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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rickrudge at 6:55PM, April 30, 2021

As far as analog, I started drawing for comic books using a pencil and a black PaperMate Flair felt tip pen. I moved on to the Pilot Precise V5 and V7 Rolling Ball pens. I’ve since evolved to a less wasteful mechanical pencil and refillable Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch pens. The Rapidosketch was kind of high maintenance, so I started using refillable fountain pens like the Pilot Prera and the Kakuno. As far as the digital end, I scan my comix using an HP LaserJet Pro MFP into my MacBook Pro and manipulate it using Lemke Software’s GraphicConverter. I also bought a Wacom Intuos tablet but haven’t really used it much.

hushicho at 3:55PM, April 30, 2021

I always warn people against Adobe anything, though I think after the Flash debacle, people are a little more careful. I use Clip Studio Paint, but I did enjoy some other suites like Sai and a few others. Of course, I used Gimp for many years, at least to do the last bits of processing. In terms of traditional media, I love gouache too! I love watercolours, but gouache is just very special to me. Of course, I love ink and I love pastels, I love coloured pencils, and I love charcoal. Digital media, though, makes it much easier on my body. Traditional approaches are more physically demanding, especially hunkered over a drawing table for hours at a time. An artist should do what resonates with them most and is least harmful to them.

PaulEberhardt at 12:33PM, April 30, 2021

Pencils! And three fineliners for inking (usually 0.05 mm, 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm). I feel I have to stare at some damn screen more than enough with all the other things I do. Also, it looks best for my drawing style. My pencils are almost always H or H2, because I can erase them without leaving traces my scanner can pick up but can still see my own lines easily. I became very picky with pencil brands over time, because I found my hand sweat is aggressive enough to dissolve the "eco-friendly" varnishes a lot of manufacturers use these days. (I used to have green fingers all the time and some of the originals of my older pages still have green blots while the formerly greenly varnished pencils I was using turned "au naturel" alarmingly quickly.) All of the mechanical pencils I tried gave up the ghost very fast and didn't feel comfortable in my hand anyway, so I ditched the upgrade to pencil 2.0 and beyond.

fallopiancrusader at 9:30AM, April 30, 2021

Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I did everything with pen and ink, markers, and watercolor. In those days, digital tools were too expensive for me to afford.

Hapoppo at 8:27AM, April 30, 2021

I'm pretty much digital only at this point, I occasionally do traditional for fun but there's the issue of physical storage space plus it's just impractical to bring art equipment to work. Currently I just draw on my hone (Galaxy Note 9) when I'm at work, and switch to my Tab S at home. And don't neglect your backups! I use a trio of 32GB USB drives to back up all of my work.

Furwerk studio at 7:36AM, April 30, 2021

I love penciling layouts for comics, animation and digital inks to finish. Illustrations for projects like RPGs projects I love to use nibs, brushes and inks to give it a "feel.

theRedDeath at 6:17AM, April 30, 2021

I alternate between traditional and digital pretty arbitrarily, and it's also not unusual for me to draw a page partially with the knowledge that I can then go in and do the rest digitally. A lot of my big group shots are done that way, where I draw a foreground group on paper and fill in background groups digitally.

skyangel at 4:26AM, April 30, 2021

I love the simplicity of being able to sketch with a pencil and notebook at any time and any place, especially in summer when it's nice to sit in the garden. I've no idea how tactile it feels to draw digitally but with a pencil I feel so connected to my emotions that I don't even have to think about the technical set-up involved. When I'm inking over my pencil lines it often feels like I'm crushing the original atmosphere of the art, but at the same time the inking does also enhance the drawing enormously and I love being able to tweak the art digitally to create a more pure image.

dpat57 at 3:48AM, April 30, 2021

Yay traditional art... and yay digital art also, whatever works for you is the right way. I occasionally try going back to ballpoint pen doodles and coloring pens but it never quite works out. Achy fingers and wrist, booo.

bravo1102 at 12:46AM, April 30, 2021

I've gotten hooked on being very hands on with the figures, costumes and sets. Love looking through the camera lens and adjusting the blocking for just the right shot. Then into Photoshop and lots of digital magic to make the figures alive.

jerrie at 12:19AM, April 30, 2021

for me...old school pencil, pen, and paper. scanned into computer, then colored with corel paint shop

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