Friday, March 30, 2012

You are about to be boarded

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist

Tools of the Trade

27. DRAWING BOARD/LAP BOARD - A portable wooden board or flat surface set at an angle in your lap against a table. Also known as portable drafting tables or portable drawing boards.

28. PARALLEL STRAIGHTEDGE BOARD - A compact, portable unit set at an angle in your lap against a table.  No t-square needed as the portable drafting board has the parallel straightedge attached for drawing straight lines. The pulley system moves the straightedge easily and precisely up and down over the drawing paper.

29. PARALLEL STRAIGHTEDGE - A straightedge that replaces the t-square when attached to the drafting table or drawing board.

30. DRAFTING TABLE - An adjustable drawing table.

It's not a good idea to draw by laying the drawing board flat an a kitchen table or having your drafting table flat. The drawing may be distorted. You want to angle the board so it's almost parallel to your face. This is better to see what you're drawing and for your back.

The steeper the angle, the more fluid the ink has to be, to flow properly.
The lower the angle, the slower the ink has to be, in order not to flow too fast.


to be continued...

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rock Paper Scissors

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist

Tools of the Trade

24. SCRAP PAPER - This can be cheap paper or if you have cut your bristol board, then the excess that is left over can be used. Scrap paper will be good for doing thumbnails, notes and for inking. You can use the scrap to always get rid of excess ink or to twirl your brush to a point to get started if needed. Also you can try out strokes before doing it on the final art. If you haven't yet mastered not putting your hand on the paper while you draw, then you can put scrap paper underneath your palm to prevent oil from your hand getting onto your drawing surface.

25. HALF-TONE SCREENS/SCREENTONE - A transparent printed flexible sheet with an adhesive layer that can be peeled off a backing paper and placed onto the art to simulate tones, shades an textures. It represents gray levels in the image using single black dots of varying sizes.

Saves time by allowing you to apply quick shades/texture to your line art. You need to take into account how much an image will be reduced when published. Best to make a photocopy at  the reduced size as a test. A test is a must if you are going to overlap screens.

There are various other papers used in the art world that can give you different effects such as tone paper and coquille board. Go out into the world and explore these papers/boards and stretch your artistic muscles.

26. ARTIST WHITE TAPE - A white tape that is acid-free and you are able to reposition it. Look for a good quality tape that is ink and pencil receptive and removable from most surfaces. It won't damage your paper upon removal.



to be continued...

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Paper Tales

Boy walking in bubble

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist



Tools of the Trade

22. PAPER - Three-ply bristol board with a kid finish is the best to use. A kid finish has enough tooth (roughness) in the paper for the pencil and is smooth enough to lay down india ink. Plate finish is too smooth for pencil work. A rough paper needs a fast, fluid ink. A smooth plate paper requires a slow ink.

While three-ply is the best; for economic reasons two-ply is used by most companies. But you can still be economical and use the best paper. Bristol board is available in large sheets. Buy it this way and cut it down to size. The art store may cut the paper to size for you in the store; if you are nice and say pretty please. This is the cheapest way to buy paper and get more bang for your buck.

Nowadays there are pre-cut, pre-lined prefabricated comic boards for sale. You can still beat these prices and get better quality paper even if you only buy the 14" x 17" pad and cut it down to size. If the art store won't cut it for you, then you can do it at an office supply store.

Comic books and graphic novels are usually drawn on two-ply bristol board. A rough finish may make some pen nibs catch on the tooth if you apply pressure. Ink takes longer to dry on the smooth plate finish, so be careful not to touch it. 

There is a difference between different brands of paper. Cheaper brands are less relaible.

PAPER SIZE

Comic book art pages used to be twice the size of the finished product. Now both have shrunk in size due to rising paper and oil costs.

Now the live art area is 10"x 15". The paper size is 11" x 17". You can draw any size as long as it's in the correct proportions to the comic book. Graphic novels give you more freedom to draw at any size and print at any size. I know an artist who draws on a paper size that fits his scanner.

Comic strip live art area is 13.25" x 4.25".  The same rule apples concerning the correct proportions. A half-inch border on every side is good to have.

Single panel comic strips live area is 3.5" x 4" high. You can use any size if you keep the proportions correct.

23. VELLUM - A translucent material not related to the bristol board finish. Vellum paper is like tracing paper but is smooth, durable, better quality and costs more. This is great for artists who erase a lot and wear the paper surface away.  But remember, I've given you ways avoid erasing. So this shouldn't be an issue.

You can ink on this very well. Vellum is more delicate than bristol board, so tearing it is a major concern. Mount the vellum on a piece of white board when you are done.


to be continued...

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't Use White-Out!

Black and white outline of male body

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist



Tools of the Trade

19. WHITE PAINT - Use white gouache or tempra paint to correct inking errors or white gesso. You can put these down smoothly to make a good drawing layer.

Alternatives
You can use a blade to scrape ink off the paper.

Redraw the offending section on a separate piece of paper and paste the new section art over the old section of the art.

20. RUBBER CEMENT - is an adhesive used for pasting in art or lettering corrections. It is used wet on both surfaces that make contact. Then it is allowed to dry to form a bond. The solvents evaporate and the "rubber" portion remains behind, forming a strong, yet flexible bond.

There is also one-coat rubber cement which only has to be put on one surface and allowed to dry before pasting to other surface.

21. RUBBER CEMENT ERASER/PICK-UP - It is made of natural, crepe rubber. Designed for erasing dried excess rubber cement and cleaning up areas around glued surfaces. Roll gently over dried adhesive until it balls up and then brush away.






to be continued…

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Copyright 2016 H. Simpson

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Hunger Games - When you're starving and can't afford brushes

Black and white art of hungry boy in a bubble

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist



Tools of the Trade

17. MARKERS - A porous tip of fibrous material. I don't highly recommend this, however I have seen others use them very effectively. My reason not to use them is that markers can smudge and will fade based on exposure to direct sunlight. There are brands that have fade proof ink so look for those to buy. Also look for acid-free brands.

Brush Markers the usually have a flexible nylon fiber brush tip with which you can achieve fine, medium or bold brush strokes simply by changing the pressure on the point. The tip should spring back to hold its shape. These markers are also good for those who want to ease into using an actual brush.

Pen Markers usually have a hard nylon tip that allow you to create consistent lines, tight drawings, panel borders and lettering.

18. ROLLERBALL PEN - Water-based liquid or gel ink through a ball point writing mechanism. The ink is more easily absorbed by paper than oil-based ink and the pen moves more smoothly across the paper surface.

Water-based ink is prone to smudging. Liquid ink can bleed into paper. So gel inks are a better choice to use for drawing.

to be continued...

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Put your arm into it!

Black and white art of boy with brushes and palette raining down

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist



Tools of the Trade

16. BRUSHES - I've avoided brand names for products as much as I can. I do have some opinions about what brands to use, but prefer you to find out what works well for your style. If you're interested in which brands I think are the best, then please leave your question in the comments box and I will answer.

So the weak of heart will have to toughen up and be prepared to spend lots of money on good brushes. Invest in a good brush! Wet the hair and make sure it will come to a point in the store. Hands down the brush to buy is Windsor·Newton Series 7. Number 2 and 3 are good sizes to own.

Now you're the proud owner of an expensive brush and worried about how often you will have to buy brushes now that you've decided to travel this path. Guess what? If you take really good care of them you may never ever have to buy another brush again or at least for a very long time.

Dip only the bottom of the brush in the ink. Never dip to the metal. Don't bend it as you ink. The brush is an arm instrument, not a wrist instrument like a pencil. Hold it practically perpendicular to the paper and use smooth motions; arm motions.

Never set your brush down to let ink dry on it for more than a few minutes. Always rinse it out in a jar of cool water. Hot water will weaken the glue that holds the brush hairs. If any ink has reached the metal base of the brush, you need to clean it immediately. DO NOT let ink dry here as it will weaken the glue or cause hairs to go in different directions, instead of coming to a point. 

After you've washed the brush, twirl the end between your fingertips, in the crease of your hands, tongue or lips to restore the point.

Old and cheap brushes are still useful for creating textures, patterns and tones.

to be continued...

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Staying Alive

kid playing video game

Sorry I haven't been here in a while. No, I'm not playing video games.
I've been busy with some projects.

I should be back to this in a few days.

Now you can use the dock on the right to follow and subscribe to me. So please let me know you're out there. I will answer any questions you have.

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copyright 2012 H. Simpson


Friday, March 9, 2012

Inkers like to go with the flow

Comic Strip about sharing between man and woman

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist



Tools of the Trade

12. PEN NIB - The metal part of a dip pen and fountain pen that carries ink from the pen and deposits it on the paper. They are usually made of 14K or 18K gold alloy or of stainless steel. They have also been made of palladium and titanium alloys.
There are:
A. narrow/pointed or broad - that produce thin and thick strokes
B. medium rounded nibs - not designed to produce line variation
C. oblique nibs - a nib cut with the edge at an angle, instead of straight across, which changes the orientation of thin and thick strokes

A narrow nib must use a fluid, fast ink and gives the best performance.
A broad nib must use slow ink with higher viscosity.

Fast ink will leave the nib before or at first contact with the paper. A slow ink will stick to the nib and will not want to leave like a adult living in their parent's basement.

If your style does not rely on thin and thick strokes, then NEVER touch the nib to the paper. Let your nib hover closely above the paper and let the ink forming on the nib provide the contact

13. TECHNICAL PEN - A pen with a tubular tip and an ink reservoir in a cartridge.

14. FOUNTAIN PEN - A pen with a nib and an ink reservoir that supplies ink to the nib as needed. The release of ink is usually controlled by capillary action and an inflow of air so that flow is continuous like that of a fountain

15. PEN HOLDER - The body of a dip pen, the part into which the nib is inserted. The barrel and section of a fountain pen.


to be continued...

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Inkers like to stroke

Comic Strip about sharing between man and woman

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist



Tools of the Trade

11. INK - a liquid or paste that contains pigments and/or dyes

Three types of ink:
A) A pigment plus a binder, which is colorfast.
B) A dyestuff such as fountain pen ink.
C) A chemical precipitation such as ferrogallic or iron gall inks. Rembrandt and Van Gogh drew with iron gall inks.

A) A pigment is a powdered substance that is mixed with a liquid in which it is relatively insoluble.

Chinese and Japanese Ink Sticks have soot as pigment. Around 2,000 years ago stick ink was invented in China. India may be thought of as originator of India ink because of the name. During that time any ship which traveled round the Cape of Good Hope from the East was listed as coming from the East Indies. The Chinese are the inventors of ink.

With Stick Ink, you control the thickness and fluidity to complement the paper, desk angle and your drawing style. 

Liquid India ink was made in China during the middle of the 3000 BC. It is made of fine soot (lampblack) combined with water to form a liquid. A binding agent; gelatin or shellac is also added, which dries water-resistant and gives a permanent line.

You don't want to use ink that is not waterproof. India ink is most commonly used for comics.

B) A dyestuff.
There are two types of natural dyes: substantive and adjective. Substantive or direct dyes, become chemically fixed to the paper without the aid of any other chemicals or additives, such as indigo or certain lichens. Adjective dyes or mordant dyes, require some sort of substance, (usually a metal salt) to prevent the color from washing or light-bleaching out. 

Chemists in many countries have found a means of extracting highly concentrated powders or pastes from traditional dyestuffs.

C) A chemical precipitation is a formation of a separable solid substance from a solution. In the Middle Ages ferro-gallic ink was mostly used with quills. The disadvantage was that it aged and dried up in the bottle very quickly.

to be continued...

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Erasers are not for mistakes

Disaster area observed by cat

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist



Tools of the Trade

7. ERASERS - Pink Pearl, plastic, art gum, kneaded and erasers are the kinds most often used.  You don't want to let your palm touch the paper while you're drawing. Hand oils and sweat harm the paper surface and can make it difficult to erase and to lay down ink. So you certainly don't want to buy an eraser that has oil in it.

Pink Pearl  has a pumice - a volcanic ash from Italy - that helps the organic rubber erase and gives it an abrasive quality. The rubber and vulcanized vegetable oil (factice) gives the Pink Pearl its distinctive aroma.

It's good to clean tarnished contacts on computer circuit boards, cotton upholstery, golf balls, gold, piano keys and to remove scuff marks from floors. Never use it on your art, as it is an abrasive eraser that loosens and removes the paper fibers. 

Plastic (vinyl) is  made of polyvinylchloride (PVC), calcium carbonate (chalk), chloride, and coloring agents among other ingredients. It is white or blue. It is gentle on paper and works better than pink erasers. They are prone to hand oil smears. They also smear when erasing large areas or dark pencil lines. It is much better for erasing light marks and precise erasing. On soft graphite it tends to smudge.

The residue left behind clumps together and can be easily brushed away.

This is used in electric erasers and as a stick in a knock pen.

Art gum (also known as soap eraser) is a brown solid factice eraser which may contain modifiers and chalk. It rubs out graphite cleanly without eroding away the actual paper surface or leaving behind smudges. Best used for large areas. Not good for precise work as it leaves pieces of eraser all over the place every time it is used. The residue must be blown or brushed away

Kneaded eraser is the gentlest on paper. Not as effective if you press down hard on your pencil. It is made of vulcanized vegetable oil (factice), natural and synthetic rubbers, pumice and coloring agents. Mold it with your fingers, stretching and folding, twisting and making the shape you need for precise or broad marks. Good for cleaning up, picking out soft highlights and gently graphite.

All of the above have oil in them which I stated is not good for the paper. So what is an artist to do?

The answer is simple use something that doesn't have oil, which is POSTER ADHESIVE (poster putty). This is the removable/reusable adhesive used to hang posters and papers sold in most drug and stationery stores. The actual ingredients are corporate secrets. The important thing is it contains no oil!

These erasers are great because they work like kneaded erasers and last a long time. It has greater tack and lifting strength. The adhesive is stretchy. This is great when you want to shape them to fit into a tight point or when you want to ball them up to eraser a wide area. Place it on an area that is a little too dark, press down and you can instantly lift graphite to lighten an area. Repeatedly touching the adhesive to a drawing pulls more graphite free, gradually lightening the work.

To clean this poster adhesive just stretch it out, fold it over and repeat until clean. Over time it does become gray, yet it is still good to use. After a long time when it has too much graphite it loses the smooth surface and gets sticky. Then it's time to move on to the next one in the pack. One pack can last years and years. To last even longer, don't use a entire piece. Just break off a small ball to use.

Now the best thing is to never use an eraser for mistakes. Use it as another art tool. 

If you draw light for your initial rough sketches/layouts or use non-repro blue, then you don't have to use an eraser.

8. DRY CLEANING PAD - Contains eraser bits or grit-free powder that gently removes graphite, dirt and smudges without harming the paper surface.

9. ERASER SHIELD - A small metal or plastic piece about 2 ¼ “ x 3 ½” with a variety of openings. These different shapes and sizes allow precise masking of small areas. The shield allows you to erase without smearing or accidentally erasing other areas of the drawing. An eraser shield is good for correcting and editing a drawing.

10. FEATHER DUSTING BRUSH - Will gently lift away loose particles. Excellent for artists using pastels, chalks, charcoals and other powdery media.

to be continued...

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copyright 2012 H. Simpson