Stir Faster Please

Cartoonist's Notes

Sometimes people ask about how I draw cartoons. Getting the ideas is usually the hardest part. Once I have one, I generally record it with a rough sketch. If the sketch captures something just the way I want it, or the layout is complex, I'll scan it and work up a layout on the computer. Then I print the sketch in light blue on letter size card stock. I can draw over it and when I scan the final art, the light blue doesn't show up because scanners don't register it very well. Other times, I just print a blank panel in light blue and go on to the penciling.

I pencil the comic with a 0.7mm mechanical pencil. I draw over the light blue printout if I have one, otherwise I start from scratch. Some things, like faces, I'll draw very precisely. Other things, like some backgrounds, will stay sketchy at this point. Once the "pencils" are done, it's time for inking. For this, I use several sizes of pigment based marker pens to draw over the pencils and add speech. After the pencils are erased, it's time to scan the art.

Once I've scanned it, I do some error correction on the computer. I find this is more effective for me than white paint for fixing inking mistakes. Next I convert the line art into a vector format, which gives me crisper lines. I do some more fixes and add any text that's needed. Then I can export the file for printing.

There are a few other techniques I use when needed, but that's a basic outline of the process.

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