DIY Comics for Beginners Pt. 3

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2003
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of DIY Comics for Beginners Pt. 3

What equipment should I use?

Well, I use the following:

A5 & A3 Cartridge Paper

The foundation of your work. Don't be afraid of the blank page, it's your friend! You don’t have to go and spend all your money on comic company X’s blue line paper.

A Cheap Fine Gauge Pencil

Do the rough outline of the art. Pencils come in a range of leads that are either “hard” or softness. If you get a pencil that is too soft your drawing could end up a big-ass messy blur, or if it is too hard it leaves inerasable scores/marks in the paper. HB and 2B are good options to start with.

Big Eraser

For making corrections to the page.

Pen Erasers (i.e.- the ones that come inside a 'barrel')

These are good when erasing little pieces without erasing the other stuff you want to keep.

Black ink pens

For doing the final artwork. Get a range of different gages (I’ve got .1 .8, and a chunky black marker) to allow for different line thickness in you art.

Remember that ballpoint pen is too light for most purposes, especially with the blue ink; it won't reproduce for printing very well at all. Recently digital photocopiers have started to become common. These can get a usable copy from more faint artwork such as pencil, though the copying rates are still quite high.

150mm steel ruler

For ruling up the panels, lines.

Liquid Paper Correction tape

For fixing those mistakes made while inking. You could use correction fluid but I find it takes awhile to dry and can discolour if it soaks up the ink. Correction tape doesn't seem to do this, but it can be rather fragile to work over.


Draw lines
Unless you are doing wordless comics lettering is an important part of the process; if you write in dialogue that isn't readable it makes the comic a waste of time, so practice your lettering style. Watch the size of any lettering as well, people hate having to use a magnifying glass to read their comics. Keep it nice and evenly spaced and don’t try and cram too much into a word balloon. I use an Ames lettering guide to rule up the lines for my text. Sure, it's a bit fussy but it keeps things tidy and it's better to start with good habits, especially if you are like me and have handwriting that is mostly illegible. Any good book on cartooning or comic drawing should have a section on lettering with sample fonts to use as examples. You could also use a computer to print out your lettering. There are lots of fonts on the net, a couple that I'm aware of are Witzworx and Blambot fonts.

DIY Comics

Pt. 1 - Writing
Pt. 2 - Artwork
Pt. 3 - Materials
Pt. 4 - Publishing
Pt. 5 - Copyright
Pt. 6 - Distribution

Drawings by Debra Boyask and Matt Powell

If you have a comment or question about Small Press then feel free to contact me