Asking this from a roleplay blog, don't mind that part, but I have an odd question--what would you recommend a lefty to draw in, medium-wise? I like the idea of a diary comic, and am considering doing one (mostly for my own benefit), but I have never been able to use anything with a nib, being left-handed. I tend to push it along, so the ink doesn't much flow. Also, do you have pointers on getting started into drawing comics in general? Silly stuff, but worth asking.
Definitely worth asking! I’m right-handed, so I had to crowdsource this one; here’s what my left-handed and right-handed-but-in-the-know colleagues had to say about things:
“Use a left handed nib. I know they exist but I’m right-handed so have never had to seek them out. They slant the other way at the business end. My favourite brand of nib is William Mitchell and they do a left-handed range,” says an illustrator friend, who is also a nib geek.
“Not in comicz, but can either get left handed pens - Lamy make them at reasonable rates - or you try to find a flat pen nib, like you’d use for an overhead projector, or you do weird hand contortions. I find holding the pen straight up works okay, or twisting the way the nib is facing, but it can be tricky and I do have permanent pen pressure callouses from weird pen holding. Left handed pen might be best bet,” says a painter friend who also loves to draw.
“You’re in luck! I’m left handed — so left handed that I do virtually everything with it — I can’t even brush my teeth with my right hand, or pick up a cup with it. This has made learning what ink-based tools to work with a bit of an adventure. Sadly, I couldn’t use the traditional felt-tipped markers and pens that are common “training wheels” for brushes, because I kept pushing against them like your friend does with nibs. I don’t have problems with crow quill nibs, oddly, but often with other styles, I need to get an aforementioned left handed nib. Most of my leftie nibs are by Hunt-Speedball/Speedball. You have to look harder for them, because even in specialty stores in America they often only have maybe one or two. For whatever reason, I find a lot more C-type, or calligraphy ones, that are left handed, but I’m pretty sure all the styles are made lefthanded,” says a leftie American I know who draws spiteful (and awesome) things.
"I only use technical pens because of lack of depth perception…but I am left handed. from what I’ve heard (during some of the most boring customer interactions ever) technical pens are good for "lefties" (shudder, no, just because we use the same hand doesn’t make me your twin flame you awful person) because it doesn’t change based on angle, only based on pressure and speed. I don’t know, probaby unhelpful. If you ever need to ask on behalf of people with no depth perception then technical pens are the wave of the future!" says a guy I know who does a comic about a dinosaur.
“I’m left handed - I tend to use staedtler (sp.??) pigment liners, and tomboy pens, and they seem to work ok. If they want to go for nibs and ink rather than pens, then I suggest getting a left handed nib - I tried to teach myself calligraphy when I was wee and totally had to do buy a whole knew nib set bc of left-handedness. But it was totally smudge central and I hated it so I stopped,” says a guy I know who does a comic that’s not about a dinosaur.
“Tablets should be able to be calibrated for the person using them, I think,” says a girl I know who does a comic that’s not about a dinosaur but that is diagetically related to that comic about the dinosaur.
“I’m just a doodler and a craft painter, but I am a leftie, and I am one of the lefties who doesn’t hook their wrist but instead rotates the paper at least 45 degrees clockwise and uses a “push-pull” motion to write or draw. Now I think I understand why I love my LePens and my Sakuras and have had trouble with painting, with Sakura brush pens, and with those felt-tip calligraphy pens,” says a friend who is… a doodler and a craft painter ;)
Last but not least, my favorite cousin, who also draws and is left-handed, mentioned she had used a pen made of sharpened bamboo, and that had worked really well for her.
As for pointers in getting stuff started initially, the only advice anyone can really give you is to start drawing and then just keep drawing. Don’t worry about whether it’s good enough now, just do it. You can decide what you want to share and what you don’t after you’re done!
I wish you heaps of luck with this!
PS: Just to let everyone know, esp. new followers, I usually answer asks privately, but questions about technical stuff I’ll bring to the General Public because everyone deserves to know ALL THE SECRETS about making comics ;)
Thank you for this comic! It's inspired me to get back into drawing and to start experimenting with pen and ink, which I'm finding I like quite a lot and wouldn't have contemplated trying on my own. I'm having trouble getting my ink washes onto the computer with any kind of fidelity -- how did you get the great look on the piece with Mrs Rogers?
I’m so pleased! Very best of luck, too. Ink is awesome :) Yay!
With regard to getting the washes to reproduce on the computer, there are a few tricks: always scan in color to get the full tone of the washes (I quite often convert that to b&w in photoshop, but usually after I’ve done everything else); scan as a tiff, not a jpg; make sure you scan at at least 300 dpi (you can go higher - 600dpi would be required for a book - but 300 is totally fine for web/most mini comic situations actually tbh); adjust the levels. Once I scan in the image, I adjust the levels to make white white, and then the rest to… well, get it as close to the image I scanned as possible.
Finally, not all scanning programs/scanners are created equal. Someone else can probably weigh in with better advice than this, but I actually use Preview and I like it quite a lot (I used to use dedicated Epson software, but Preview is treating me better).
Hopefully at least some of that is helpful. I wish you the very best in your drawing endeavours!
I’ve had quite a few messages about this lately, so I thought I’d probably better make a public announcement: neither I, nor AmCap, are dead, I’m just busy with SERIOUS LIFE EVENTS of a GRAND NATURE, (you can read all about it on my personal tumblr if you happen to be that bored and self-loathing) and they’ve kind of spannered up the works a little. But there’s a whole arc to come before Winter Soldier comes out in April next year, which I hope to start posting on Monday, and also, I’m fine, I promise. You’re incredibly sweet to have asked.
Here is a drawing that didn’t make it into Little Dog.
As (unfortunately) per, The Tumblr decided to have a series of small heart attacks while I was editing a panel of the last comic I posted, meaning that it’s re-uploading wrong on a continual loop, mostly in the form of selecting only one or two of the sections to re-upload at seeming random, and in no particular order.
Just to let you know that I’m trying to fix this right now, and I hold out great hope. But I recommend not reblogging the last post right now because odds are you’ll only get part of it.
To all of the very wonderful people who wrote in to tell me how to fix the First Page link situation. For anyone else who’d like to know, all you have to do is link to the relevant tag (which in my case is “comics”) add “/chrono” to the end of the link.
Guys, your help is sincerely appreciated. Here is a slightly edited pencil drawing of angry, teenaged Steve from my other blog.
Hi! I love your comic, for a lot of reasons there's no room for. I'm having some trouble navigating, though. The First Page link doesn't go to the first page, I haven't found any easy way to go straight to the first comic, the Archive link is hidden at the bottom of the page, and the Next button goes to the previous comic and vice versa. Maybe I just don't get Tumblr? I'm totally recommending you to my friends, but it'd be easier if I didn't have to explain how the site works. :) Cheers!
Hi - thanks for bringing this stuff to my attention (and for your lovely compliments, of course!)
Probably some other people have noticed this stuff as well, so I’m posting it live. I think, however, that unfortunately most of this stuff is just The Tumblr and its odd ways. Basically, Tumblr seems to me to be not so much of an archival tool as it is an Here Look At This New Thing Immediately tool.
For example, I’m kicking myself about the first page link, because this actually didn’t occur to me when I made it, but now that you mention it, of course since when I load new comics it pushes the older comics back, meaning that the actual page link for the ‘first page’ is going to change! I’m not super sure what I can do about that, so if anyone has any suggestions, please do tell me, because a first page link is a very fine thing and I would love to offer it.
Also I’m pretty sure the previous/next thing is just tumblr too, or at least it’s something I’ve noticed on many if not most tumblr blogs I myself have checked out. Likewise, if anyone has any suggestions about how to change this up, I would love to hear them.
Additionally - this is just a general note for everybody here: I’m sorry for the delay in posting new comics. I’ve had some issues with RSI of late and it’s made drawing a bit painful/useless (you can probably see it in the last one that went up, come to think of it). But I’m feeling a lot better now, and anticipating comics being up this week.
Apologies to readers: as I mentioned, since changing my theme to best, readable effect, I’ve been going over the archives and editing where need be. One post I have to make entirely again, as at the time I’d made it as a text post and unfortunately it’s not possible to change the style of the post after the fact. It’s also not possible to backdate posts without first publishing them and backdating them after the fact.
So: this is just a little heads up that in the next short while a post or two - of a comic you’ve already read! - may appear on your dash and disappear again. I’m not trying to mess with you, I promise, and sincere apologies for annoyance/disruption.
ETA: That all seems to have gone according to plan. Thanks for your patience, folks.
ETA 2: If you reblogged posts during the reblogging process, you might wanna check them again as a few of them needed re-editing, and panels might be out of order or missing in your version.
ETA 3: And in case you missed it, with all this other stuff going up and down, yeah, there’s more Little Dog.
I envy you. I can't really draw anything cartoony. I have to copy something I look at and I don't really see the point of it. I mean, why not just take a picture? Anyway, I really wish I could draw in a cartoon style because that's the style I like. Do you have any pointers?
Since this is a means-of-production kind of question, I’ll share it with everyone, hope that’s cool! But here goes:
Copying’s a good way way to learn cartoony stuff, come to think of it. Start by copying artists you like, or artists you think you maybe can copy. That’s a good way to get a sense of how cartoonists do the kind of tricks you like. They’re only lines, after all, and eventually you get a sense of what kinds of lines they are, and how to use them. (Most people swear by keeping up with the life drawing too, so that you retain a sense of proportion -
I used to do this kind of stuff a lot more, for example. And my drawing was better when I did. It’s like everything - you have to practice a lot, and keep up the work to stay competent, especially for someone like me who has zero instinctual talent when it comes to drawing. Literally zero. I really don’t draw very well. I just do a particular thing, and have done it for a long time).
But the most reliable tip I can give you is to play loose with it. Seriously, just mess around and see what works. Not everything you do has to be a finished drawing for publication, some things are just playing around, and it takes a lot of playing around to get where you want to be, you know? Be bold, draw wild ;)
What kind of drawing classes have you taken? Did you? (Love!)
(Matt Groening, Life in Hell, 1987)
No, I did not. I took general art in high-school, and graphic design, but I was never very good at either of them (as is evidenced by the fact that I still can’t draw perspective, and believe me, I’ve really tried!) Cartoons for me have mostly been about private study; I used books to learn basic proportions to a certain extent, especially when I was younger, and like a lot of cartoonists if the auto-bios are anything to go by, I did a lot of copying of my favorite artists as a teenager.
Taking classes is the sort of thing I always wish I’d done more of because now I think I’m too old to learn :(
Technical question! Can you please talk a little about your lettering process?
"Lettering process’ is rather a generous term for it I would have thought ;) But I letter with the same pen I draw with (the speedball C6 with the top reservoir torn off it). Here’s a picture - it’s that gold part on top I cut off.
I tend to pencil out the words very vaguely with this comic to be sure there’s enough room to write them, but I’m not as careful with that as I might be for something else (I don’t ever rule lines though. I tend to eyeball that in every circumstance, to greater or lesser effect, but it’s very much a part of my “style” now so…). I’d also generally be a bit more careful as I lettered in ink, but diary comic format means I don’t have to!
In the old days, I used to letter all my comics with a felt tip pen, but I prefer the way the lettering looks with a dip pen (it’s something worth calculating if you do comics though - lettering as well as drawing will burn through your nibs like nothing else, and they ain’t cheap. Sometimes a cut-rate felt is a more economical choice).
Hi guys. Thought you might like to know that I’ve changed the coding theme of the blog and from now on you ought to be able to read the comics on the blog itself instead of having to do all of this clicking tarradiddle that I usually make you do. It really was that simple, and obvious, and I should have done it a long time ago, especially as I’ve even had a lovely programmer friend repeatedly offer to do it for me, but for reasons unknown I didn’t do it and then last night it occurred to me that I could do it like that and now I have.
So, for reference, we shouldn’t have any more sizing issues from now on and over the next couple of weeks, I’ll journey back through the archives to make sure that that’s true of every entry for your reading pleasure.
Thank you for your patience in this matter in the meantime, guys, and of course, all the best.