May 22, 2007

Pat Lewis

Comics: THE CLAWS COME OUT (due Nov. 2007 from IDW), various minicomics including "Thankless Job," "Hideous," "Abominable," "One Horse Town"
Making comics since year of: 2002 maybe? It's hard to pinpoint exactly when I quit screwing around and got serious about it.
Art education/schools attended: No formal art training, but writing is an important part of making comics, too: I have a BA in English from Penn State.


Pencils: I sometimes do my penciling in a coffee shop, away from my studio, so anything that needs to be sharpened isn't a good option for me. Right now, I use a Koh-i-noor mechanical drafting pencil with Pentel .05 blue leads. The blue drops out when you adjust the threshold in Photoshop which is good because you don't need to erase your pencils that way. The bad part is that you CAN'T erase them very well, which can be a pain if you need to redraw a panel multiple times.

Pens: Micron 05 (or equivalent), Faber-Castell PITT artist (brush) pen, Uni-ball Micro for tiny details.

Paper: Canson 14" x 17" vellum-surfaced bristol, cut in half to make two 8 1/2" x 14" sheets (I draw my pages at 8" x 12"). Lots of people swear by Strathmore, but I like the Canson--it's a brighter white and has just enough "tooth" for my tastes.

Lettering: No one ever talks about Ames guides! I space my lines of text with an Ames guide, but I'm never too sure what to set the wheel at, so I use the fixed set of holes on the left-hand side. I do the finished lettering with a Micron 05, and a Penstix 0.7 mm drafting marker for bold text.

Color: Photoshop! I recently upgraded to CS for an illustration job, but I got along fine with version 5.0 and before that, the limited version that came free with my scanner.

Layout/ Composition: Nothing fancy--I make tiny (approx. 1" x 2") thumbnails in my sketchbook, on scratch paper, or wherever's handy. I find I spend too much time and energy on my layouts, it kills my desire to work on the actual page.

Tool timeline, starting from when you began drawing in any serious way until the present, and what spurred the changes: I went through a series of cheap felt-tip pens until I fell in love with the Fountain Pentel sometime in the 90's. It gave a nice variety of thin and thick(ish) lines that you don't normally get from most felt-tips. Eventually, they changed it from a cheap, disposable pen to a more expensive refillable model, which was okay except the refill cartridges were tough to find. So I switched to Microns, which are pretty ubiquitous and can still provide a good line variety if you know what you're doing.

What tools you'd never use, and why: I never say never, but I don't really have any interest in dipping a pen or brush into India ink ever again. The potential mess and the fear that I'm going to make a huge mistake really holds me back and keeps me from working as fast and spontaneous as I like.

And lastly, any advice you'd like to give: I enjoy reading about artists' tools as much as the next dude, but don't let anyone make you feel guilty for how you work. The results are all that matters, and odds are any shortcomings you may have are probably the result of your skill level rather than what kind of pen you use (at least, that's the case with me). No matter how weird or unorthodox your methods, I guarantee there's a professional artist out there doing great work with an even crazier way of working.

May 10, 2007

Kevin Colden

In the time since Kevin sent this to me, he's started serializing his new comic, Fishtown, on ACT-I-VATE, and won a Xeric Grant to publish it, which he then turned down to continue serializing the comic online. Appologies on taking so long, Kevin!

Comics: Todt Hill (at The Chemistry Set), House of Twelve, MAULED! and others.
Making comics since year of: 2002
Art education/schools attended: Joe Kubert School (Class of 2001)


Pencils: Koh-I-Noor Rapidiomatic 0.5mm 5635 (with blue lead) and Col-erase Blue #2044 (I have a huge stockpile of these)

Inks: Speedball Super Black India 3338 for brush work; Higgins Black India 4418 for dip pens

Brushes: Raphael Kolinsky 8404 #3 (also #1 on my smaller size pages); for effects I'll also use a stiff bristle acrylic brush or a toothbrush.

Pens: Maru G-Pen (for large lines), Hunt 102 (for details), and Hunt 107 in metal nib holders (the plastic ones suck); Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph .70 for panel borders; Staedtler Mars Professional .35, .5 and .7 tech pens for ruled lines.

Paper: 11 x 17 smooth pre-ruled comic boards from EON Productions; also 9 x 12 smooth pad for smaller pages.

Lettering: Illustrator CS2 with either my own font or CC Wildwords.

Color: Photoshop CS2 on my trusty Mac Mini G4 with a Wacom Intuos 2 Graphics tablet; scanners are a Mustek A3 USB and 8.5 x 14 Canoscan N122OU.

Layout/ Composition: 9 x 12 tracing paper with a regular soft #2 Ticonderoga pencil, then blow the roughs up to size if needed on a Xerox machine or computer.

Convention Sketches (when different from illustrations done in the studio): Kaimei brush pen and Staedtler Microns of various sizes.

Additional stuff: 14 x 17 lightbox, 18 inch metal ruler, French curves, circle templates, flexible curve, 4-inch brush for eraser scum, full spectrum OTT lite and an accordion case that doubles as my taboret.

(For the curious: the previous owner of the drawing table in the photo was EC comics legend Bernie Krigstein, and that's an original drawing of his above the computer.)

Tool timeline, starting from when you began drawing in any serious way until the present, and what spurred the changes:

I've used the Raphael brushes since my school days, and I can never use another brand of brush. No other brand comes close to the quality. I stopped using soft graphite lead for finished pencils because I couldn't tell how the inks actually looked until after erasing. I started using blue lead almost exclusively as a result of that and also because my inks would fade during erasing.

I tried a number of different pre-ruled papers including Blue Line and Pro Boardz, but only their top tier stuff was worth using (barely), and it was too expensive. Most artists would disagree, but I've always liked the paper surface of Marvel and DC boards, and Eon boards are the closest I've found. I bought a bulk box with my logo on it about four years ago and I'm only a quarter of the way through it. I also have a bunch of unused DuoShade boards from an old project, so I'll pull that out occasionally for illo work.

Recently, I was using the G-Pen a lot more for holding lines, and doing more of an open-line style, but lately I've been going back to the brush. I feel the same way about the #3 brush as I do about Chuck Taylor All-Stars: I may try something else for a while, but nothing beats the classic.

What tools you'd never use, and why:
I would never use bodily fluids, but other than that, anything's fair game. Actually, I probably wouldn't use collage because I would have no idea how to make it translate well. Wait, that's a medium not a tool. Never mind. I'd use pretty much anything that does the job.

And lastly, any advice you'd like to give:
Forget everything you've read here and find your own damn tools. That's half the fun!

May 2, 2007

"Ach, I'm bad at this."

Sorry for the incredibly long delay between posts. In lieu of genuine content, I offer you excuses (and links): About a month after I started this blog, the deadline came up for this anthology I'm editing came up, and I suddenly was swamped with things to do. It's now almost about to head to the printers though, and news & stuff will be posted at It's called
The Girl's Guide to Guys' Stuff and is just filled with insanely tallented lady cartoonists.

One of these cartoonists is Canada's Faith Erin Hicks, who is just destined for greatness. In fact, her first print collection is coming out in November from SLG, a Canadian zombie apocalypse comics called
Zombies Calling. Up on her site, there's a FAQ where she answers a couple questions about what kinda stuff she uses, and on her specific ZC page she even puts up her pitch material & older versions of the comic. You can literally watch her get awesomer over time. On top of all that, she's got two web comics up, and got nominated for a Shuster this year. Have I not given you enough reasons to go check out her stuff yet? Just go.

Also, since I have had this forever and just for some reason not put it up yet, Kevin Colden did a survey that I should have put up ages ago, and will try to get up this week. (There's a lot of pictures with his. It'll come.) Since he did the interview, Kevin's started doing a comic for ACT-I-VATE called Fishtown. The first 3 pages are up now, and they look quite nice.