December 11, 2006

Have I mentioned I need surveys? I do. Bad. So if you haven't done so yet, and you've been making comics for a long enough length of time to experiment with your tools, take the survey.

December 8, 2006

Katie Skelly

Comics: Discomaxx, Sourpuss, Worrywort
Website: and drawing journal at
Making comics since year of: 2003
Art education/schools attended: Moore College of Art + Design, Syracuse University


Pencils: I like Bic mechanical pencils, preferably 0.7

Inks: India ink, but rarely used

Brushes: I do some gouaches from time to time but usually just take whatever I can get here!

Pens: My favorite pen is the Papermate Flair pen, in any color, but usually black. It gives a really smooth line that is just thick enough. Even though they aren't meant for drawing, they have never bled on me. They are very fun to draw with, and your drawings will look instantly finished and very graphic. I also use Sharpies when I think something needs a little extra kick, but rarely.

Paper: Nothing fancy, but I do like Strathmore watercolor paper when I do gouaches.

Lettering: By hand with my trusty Papermate flair.

Color: Photoshop and occasionally gouache.

Layout / Composition: I draw composition ideas on computer paper and often like them so much that I ink them immediately. In terms of influence, I will reference the drawings of George Grosz.

Tool timeline, starting from when you began drawing in any serious way until the present, and what spurred the changes: I started using Microns a lot because they were recommended to me when I first started doing comics. I could never find the right thickness and couldn't understand how to apply the appropriate amount of pressure with those. They are a little too delicate for me. Then I tried brush pens, but those were another dud. Then one day I saw my friend drawing with Papermate Flairs and loved what he was doing, so I tried them out and I've stuck with them ever since.

What tools you'd never use, and why: Brush pens. They just aren't my style because they allow for a lot of line variance. I like to keep my lines very narrow.

And lastly, any advice you'd like to give: You may think you have to spend a lot of cash money, but in the end you should just use what best suits you. The sooner you find what suits you, the more money you will save. You don't need the fanciest stuff to do your best work. Don't look back!

December 6, 2006

Announcement for the benefit of people who didn't notice the thing at the top of the page/ get this via a feed:

I'm switching to a M-W-F update schedule!

That's all.
Jonathan Mahood

Comics: Hoover the Rechargeable Dog
Website:  and at 
Making comics since year of: Early 80's
Art education/schools attended: Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) York University, Toronto


Pencils: Prismacolor Col-erase 20044 blue pencils (no erasing!)

Inks: Dr. Martin's Black Star, Winsor & Newtons Black India Ink

Brushes: Brushes and I don't seem to understand each other...Would love to fix this relationship someday, I see old Pogo strips and wish I could do that.

Pens: I finally found a great nib and I've had a lot of people ask me what I use... the Brause Steno nib. After a short break in period it really gets flexible and gives these great smooth thick and thin lines. No scratching either. ( available at  ) For lettering I use a Speedball B-6 ...if I could find a replacement for this nib I would because every nib is different! The production quality of these suck, some I use once and toss because they don't flow right. I've tried lettering with pigment liners but I like the flow you get with ink. The No. 127 Koh-i-noor nib holder is great and the cork makes it very comfortable

Paper: Strathmore Smooth Bristol

Lettering: By hand...some comics computer lettering works and some it doesn't match the artwork 

Color: Photoshop CS2

Layout/ Composition: Most of the time I go straight to the final product. I find my first sketches are always the best.

What tools you'd never use, and why: Markers for the drawings and computer fonts for the lettering

December 1, 2006

"Those Japanese Nibs"

Liz Baillie & Matt Bernier both mentioned these nibs in their surveys, and I've been eyeing Liz's nibs everytime we get together & are drawing, because they're really eye catching (read: shiny) and nifty looking. So I did a little investigating. I stopped by New York Central, (which, to my knowledge, is the only place to get them in person) and asked for the Japanese pen nibs. You have to ask, because the display is kept in a side room. Ask for Joe Flood, he makes comics and knows what you need. The sign on the display says, "Manga Comic Pro," and they'll be in the package in the picture above. They're about $5 a package for three nibs, mostly. The T-99 mapping pen was two to a pack for the same price, I recommend getting the little holder with it, because unlike the cheap Speedball Hunt pen holder, there's a little metal deal that sticks out into the nib & holds the pen from the inside, instead of surrounding it on the outside. It's the blueish thing in the picture here:

From left to right, the nibs are the T-99, the T-3, and the NG-3. The pens are divided into two types, Nikko & Tachikawa, and I have no idea for sure what the difference is. If anyone does, please comment & correct me, I'm dying to know. The best I can tell is that they're brand differences, but the packaging is absolutely identical except for the logo:

So I'm absolutely confused. They look pretty much like the exact same thing, and are packaged almost exactly alike down to the same fonts, but they're completely different companies? Google turned up Wet Paint, which sells G pens by Nikko, Tachikawa & Zebra, and you can get Deleter G pens (from the source) which Liz tells me are pretty much the same thing.

Anyhow, I got home, broke out my old Hunt nibs & some W&N creepy spider guy india ink, and tested how well they each worked for lettering, crosshatching, and sketching. Each one was done freehand, not tracing, and this is how each one turned out.

All I really have to say is that if the bunny I drew with the Hunt 102 were real, it would be the bunny kids point to and ask, "Mommy, what's wrong with that bunny?" I officially hate the 102 nib. I don't even think the 102 ever got much use back when I still used my nibs, so I'd hope that maybe I got one of the busted ones or something. About 4 years have passed while the box was sealed & left alone in a drawer, so age could be a factor, but the one I used the most often was the 513, (which I believe Alec Longstreth mentioned in his post) so that one ought to have had the most wear. I'm not that great with nibs, I've been using brushes for years now, so if anyone with more practice wants to have a go, I'd be glad to see what other people can do. Anyhow, I hope this was remotely interesting/educational for someone.
Next post will be up on Wednesday, between the Friends of Lulu anthology deadline coming up this weekend, out of town friends visiting, and a wedding, I won't have the free time by my computer to update until then. Still looking for surveys! We may be moving to a M-W-F schedule for a bit. So enjoy the little feature!