November 9, 2006

Shannon Wheeler

Shannon Wheeler's studio.

I grew up in Berkeley CA where I also went to college. Many years later I graduated with a degree in Architecture. I moved to Austin, TX then to Portland, OR.

Comics: Calaboose, Tooth & Justice, Gag Reflex, Too Much Coffee Man, How to Be Happy and Postage Stamp Funnies.
Making comics since year of: 1988
Art education/schools attended: UC Berkeley. Architecture.


I use a Hunt 108 (dip pen) with FW ink on Pentallic Paper for Pens. I used to use technical pens over non-repro blue pencils. The other cartoonists at the Daily Texan (notably Chris Ware, Robert Rodriquez, and Walt Holcombe) were all using dip pens. They used peer pressure to make me switch to a dip pen.

The hunt 108 is one of the more flexible nibs which allows for a brush stroke quality in the line. You can go from thin to think in nothing flat. The pen nib offers more resistance than a brush and it's easier to maintain. Fine lines and detail work are easier with a nib than a brush. I still use a technical pen for lettering, cross hatching, and some background work.

The ink is very thick. I have to bake my drawings before I use the eraser. 170ยบ for 10 minutes usually does the trick. I don't use a non-repro blue anymore since I'm scanning instead of making stats (like a photocopy but on nice paper).

I like the pentallic paper because it's thin enough to use with a light table. For the cartoons I'm doing for the Onion I use real illustration board. The drawings are small and it's much nicer to draw on.

For my freelance illustrations (I draw a lot for the Idiot Guide book series) I'll draw on cheap paper with whatever is handy, I'll scan the sketch and get the approval from an emailed jpg. I'll use the rough with a light table and the Pentallic paper to ink directly. I don't have to redraw it, and I don't have to erase pencils.

I used to letter everything by hand. Recently I've been using a comiccraft ShannonWheeler Font on the computer. I've just started some new comic book projects and I'm going back to doing everything by hand. I think hand lettering looks better. I especially hate the computer drawn balloons.

I never use cheap pens for final art. Felt tip pens usually have a cheap ink that will fade/bleed/and leak. I'll never make a photocopy and call it a 'print.'

Treat your tools with respect. Use good paper, ink, etc. People don't hesitate spending $7 on a six-pack of beer, spend some money on art supplies.

Shannon's study.


Comic Tools said...

You can still use your repro blue- it works better with scanning, in fact! Just scan in RGB, and then knock the blue right out!

Eric Dyck said...

That's what I do as well...great to hear so much about Shannon's process!