By Paul | April 5, 2009
From time to time I get asked for some details about how I create the strips. Here, then, is the process as it most often goes down.
Step #1: Pacing. I think up my strips while pacing. If I am not pacing, my mind wanders off into musings such as “Uh oh, did I pronounce “anthemia” correctly at last night’s dinner party?” or “I wonder if Judd Nelson is still getting any movie roles?” For some reason pacing keeps me focused.
Step #2 (Assuming Step #1 has produced results): Pencil layout. I now get to sit down. I use a technical pencil with .5 mm HB lead on a Strathmore 2 ply paper, thick enough to matter but thin enough to see through if put on a light-table. I don’t have a light-table, I use a window. So can only trace over something before sundown.
Step #3: Inking. I ink with Faber-Castell brush pens and Pilot DR drawing pens. I take a short break, ponder Judd Nelson, then it’s back to work.
Step #4: Lettering. For many years I hand-lettered the strips. I enjoyed the slight variations you could put into lettering, believing that it would shed additional subtle insights into the speaker’s mood. Then I realized that I only have a finite amount of time on this planet and the same results could be achieved with a typeface created from my lettering so it looked the same and could be altered at will when I misspelled words and misplaced commas. Oh, also, erase pencil lines here.
Step #5: Gray tones and details: For the first year or so I used good old fashioned Letratone which is the equivalent of using blocks of ice to keep your ‘fridge cold. In other words, outdated, and causes back problems. These days the grays are added in Photoshop and the file is then converted into halftone dots for printing.
Step #6: Colors added using color guides, also in Photoshop.
Every cartoonist has his own method of creating strips, these are by no means standard guidelines. As a matter of fact, whatever a cartoonist is most comfortable with is the right way for that cartoonist to cartoon. Unless the cartoonist is most comfortable drawing while supplying beer to minors. That’s illegal.
You must be logged in to post a comment.