Drawing Tools for Comics

Tools for Drawing:

I thought I’d write a quick post on what drawing tools I like to use when I’m pencilling my comic pages. Pencilling is an art in itself and you need to use tools that you are personally comfortable with to get the best results. As a quick review of my process (which I expand upon in How to Create your own Comic Book) I begin with my border page and I do quick sketches to lay out my pages directly from my written script.

After completely sketching out my book, as shown in this recent blog post where I showed some of my quickly sketched pages of Spectre Book 2, I will go ahead an finalize my artwork. Below is a sample comic panel that depicts a half sketched and half final pencils drawing.
Sketching vs Hard Pencils
Left: Hard Final Pencils – Right: Sketchy Layout Pencils.

It is much easier to to draw great panel artwork if it is already sketched out. Especially if it is difficult to visualize the entire finished panel. So now that we’ve talked a little bit about process, let me show you what tools I use to do this.

**Scroll down to see an image of the art drawing tools in the following descriptions.

Pencils:

I generally draw with a Koh I Nor Rapidomatic .07 Mechanical pencil with HB lead. I like to use a mechanical pencil to draw with because it keeps my line weights consistent. Although I like to vary my line weights during the inking process, I want my pencils to be mostly the same. Also, using a mechanical pencil prevents me from having to sharpen. Using a regular pencil is problematic when you want to keep the linework consistent as the lead tip tends wear down unevenly. Once in a while I will use a .05 pencil if I have small, distant items or the detail is just too fine to draw with a thicker lead.

Drafting:

After I finish the sketch in pencil portion of the pencil drawing process, I like to use a few different tools for my final pencils. For drawing straight lines, I use a small clear drafting triangle. For drawing smooth curves, I have a set of french curves that I choose from. Circle and ellipse templates are also good items to keep around in case you need them. More often than not, you will.

Erasers:

Unless you never make mistakes while drawing, it’s helpful to have an eraser around. I personally use two types of erasers. The first one is a standard white Staedtler Mars plastic eraser that can be found at any art store. This one is a good, clean, non-smudging eraser that can clean up large areas for when you make big mistakes. The second eraser I use is a precision eraser pen that is filled with a thin, white eraser that can be pushed out like the lead of a mechanical pencil. I don’t know what brand I have because I bought this bad boy in college at one of the bookstores. Any labeling that was on it wore off long ago. However, there are probably many different kinds of thin erasers on the market to use for precision erasing. I use the thin eraser much more often than my Staedtler Mars Eraser.
Tools for drawing Comics
My tools for pencilling my comic book pages.

You may have noticed that the tools I use are the tools of an architect; before the advent of Computer Aided Design. Well, they are the tools of an architect because when I’m not drawing comics, I work at my day job as an architect. These tools work for me, so I use them. You may prefer to use other tools when you are drawing and that is fine. As I stated at the beginning of this post, to get the best results you have to use tools you are comfortable with. There are many other brands of sketch supplies other than those that I’ve listed above. I’m not trying to promote any specific tool or brand, but again, I just listed what I use.

So now that you know what you need….go to the art store, pick up some good pencils, erasers and drafting tools and get started!

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