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Graphix discontinues Duoshade, Unishade

Graphix is discontinuing it’s Duoshade and Unishade products. The specialty paper allows a developer solution to be brushed over an inked drawing creating horizontal lines for shading. You can see the product effectively in Investor’s Business Daily editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez’s work (see example). According to Hayley Prendergast, President of Grafix, Consumer Products, the production of the paper has grown more difficult and costly to produce while demand as declined over the years. I’m told they do have a small inventory left. Looking on their site, I don’t see Unishade on their website, but Duoshade is. If you use the stuff, order up now.

Community Comments

#1 Lucas Turnbloom
September/22/2009
@ 12:29 pm

That sucks!
A silver lining — the horizontal line shading can be easily duplicated in Photoshop.

#2 RobSmithJr
September/22/2009
@ 12:36 pm

I have fond memories of using their products. But that is the trouble, I have memories as I haven’t used the materials in 20 years.

#3 Stacy Curtis
September/22/2009
@ 2:08 pm

I was allowed to order a bunch of this paper during a summer editorial cartoonist internship I had during college. It was fun to use.
Now it’s just as easy to create the same effects (and better effects) in Photoshop.

#4 Ted Rall
September/22/2009
@ 2:43 pm

I still have a few boxes of this stuff. If one of my pals wants it, you know which brothel to find me in. This does mark a major transition, especially for editorial cartoonists.

What *I* really miss are Letramax 2000 pads…

#5 Garey Mckee
September/22/2009
@ 2:51 pm

Sigh. The passing of an era. Seems to be happening alot lately.

#6 Wiley Miller
September/22/2009
@ 3:11 pm

Frankly, I’m surprised they lasted this long. I thought they were already out of business. Graphix paper was left along the wayside with composing rooms and veloxes (I wonder how many here knows what a velox is), and I didn’t of anyone who still used it. But there’s a lot I don’t know.

#7 Jeff Pert
September/22/2009
@ 3:17 pm

Yeah, I didn’t know that stuff was still around, either. All I remember from using it in the 80’s is how much the chemicals stank.

I’ll have to look into duplicating the effect in Photoshop, as mentioned above.

#8 John Cole
September/22/2009
@ 3:43 pm

I’ll just stock up on amberlith, instead.

#9 Scott Metzger
September/22/2009
@ 5:24 pm

I remember using that stuff in the early ’90s. Ah, memories.

I’m also surprised they lasted this long. Photoshop makes shading so much easier.

#10 Jeff Darcy
September/22/2009
@ 8:58 pm

I used it up until six or eight months ago. Tight budgets and photoshop killed it off. The company is in my backyard, here in Cleveland, and duo-shade is just one of several products they make. I liked the quality and thickness of the board which I haven’t been able to match with the more economical bristol board I now use. And young visitors loved watching the lines and dots suddenly appear during demonstrations. The only downside seemed to be the shading sometimes turning brown over time and the price
I also miss veloxes. They always provided a nice thick glossy hard copy to give someone if the original wasn’t available.

#11 Pat Crowley
September/22/2009
@ 9:58 pm

Good riddance to a horribly outdated crutch. The future begins with a pencil and ends with your paint box.

And I don’t mean the digital kind.

#12 Stacy Curtis
September/22/2009
@ 10:56 pm

** raises hand ** Ooo! Ooo! I know what a Velox is! I shot a boatload of Veloxes in college.

Once you’ve used up all the Unishade and Duoshade paper, the leftover chemicals was great for chugging. I still have a weird dot pattern on my kidneys.

#13 Woodrow Barlettani
September/22/2009
@ 11:14 pm

.. we over used it back the sixty’s, doing underground comix and newspapers. You needed a good Xacto to make it work, and it still was time consuming compared to today. We had to use it for the color overlays also, more Xacto, now that I think of it you are right Pat “good riddance ” and it was a crutch, did it faster putting in our own dots and lines….

#14 Terry LaBan
September/23/2009
@ 6:35 am

The thing about saving veloxes was, after some years, they turned brown and curled up. But by that time, they people you gave them to were long gone.

#15 Wiley Miller
September/23/2009
@ 8:24 am

Well, veloxes weren’t meant to be a keepsake. They were for production in laying out the page for the printing plates and discarded after the paper was out.

#16 JP Trostle
September/23/2009
@ 8:46 am

> I wonder how many here knows what a velox is

I recently made the mistake of mentioning rubylith at work, and one of the kids in production asked what it was. I still had one sheet leftover from my first freelance studio and brought it in — and as I showed it to her I realized the rubylith in my hand was older than she was.

#17 Frank Pauer
September/23/2009
@ 9:18 am

Kids. Had the same situation as JP — they don’t even know what a paste-up is. I tried describing all this “technology” once and they were looking at me like I was from another planet. And I remembered I had a couple newspaper-page-paste-ups at home — with the printed tearsheet. So I bring it in and show it off, with like seven overlays of amberlith over my art, to boot. Then I show the tearsheet, and they sort of got it. But not really. And then I DO feel like I’m from another planet . . . .

#18 Milt Priggee
September/23/2009
@ 9:24 am

I’ll never forget the day in the mid 70’s when I asked John Fischetti (the first professional cartoonist I met) how did editorial cartoonists seem to brush on those cross-hatch and line patterns onto their cartoons.

One rendering crutch/tool replaced by another rendering crutch/tool…. neither which can take the place of good ol’ hand-eye coordination drawing ability.

#19 Wiley Miller
September/23/2009
@ 9:25 am

That would be the planet OLD, Frank.

#20 Joe Vissichelli
September/23/2009
@ 9:46 am

Well, thank God they still color Sunday comics by painting lime green shit on acetate overlays. When THAT changes I’ll REALLY feel old!

#21 Sean Phillips
September/23/2009
@ 9:47 am

I used some Duoshade only last week…

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_TaT4cPPZFEM/SrFS5Rx3_uI/AAAAAAAAB0M/7xYRQ62Az5Y/s1600-h/p34-35.jpg

It’s a shame it’s not going to be made any more, it’s just not the same doing it in Photoshop.

#22 Sean Phillips
September/23/2009
@ 9:48 am

That should have been…

http://surebeatsworking.blogspot.com/2009/09/killer-elite.html

#23 Frank Pauer
September/23/2009
@ 10:11 am

Wiley, you are, of course, entirely correct.

And I do know one cartoonist — some of you may know him, too — who still uses amberlith. Wouldn’t surprise me, though, that once he sends the art in they simply tear away those overlays, scan the thing and add the color in Photoshop.

#24 Frank Pauer
September/23/2009
@ 10:14 am

Wiley, you are, of course, entirely correct.

And I know one cartoonist — some of you may know him, too — who still uses amberlith. Wouldn’t surprise me, though, that after he sends the art in, they simply tear away the overlays, scan the thing and add the color in Photoshop.

#25 Wiley Miller
September/23/2009
@ 11:29 am

I heard you the first time, Paul! Geez, you ARE getting old…

#26 Wiley Miller
September/23/2009
@ 11:30 am

I mean, Frank… I’m old, too.

#27 Jerry Dowling
September/23/2009
@ 12:57 pm

As a former sports cartoonist, I used Graphic screens for years and made veloxes once I realized the original Graphic tone blended together or fade over time, especially when stacked.
I actually covered an entire wall with veloxes thirty years ago and they still look as good as ever, because I washed all the chemicals off.

#28 Jerry Dowling
September/23/2009
@ 12:58 pm

I meant Grafix. Sorry.

#29 Nelson Dewey
September/24/2009
@ 11:56 pm

Wasn’t there a brand of chemical-shading paper before Grafix?

Craftint — with even stinkier chemicals?
Hmmm… Singletone and duotone…

Next thing, they’ll be doing away with hand waxers.

#30 Stephen Ittner
May/19/2010
@ 12:24 pm

I don’t think they promoted their product very well. They never offered Duo-Shade in pad form or in any other size other than the huge sheet they produced. I don’t think they ever thought about comic book artists as being end consumers, just Newspaper Strip artists. If you go to just about any art store you can find blue line bristol marketed for comic artists, or anyone who wants to draw comics.

#31 Don Swartzentruber
October/9/2011
@ 6:21 pm

I still have some Duo Shade illustration board left.
The chemicals have dried up.
Anyone know of any alternative liquids that will pull the different patterns up?
I’d like to buy some more of this stuff if possible.

#32 Mark Pié
April/25/2012
@ 9:59 am

Someone has got to carry it. I know Graphix sold it. But who manufactured it in the first place. Was that graphix too?

#33 Paul Ackley
June/8/2012
@ 3:07 pm

Sure would love to draw just one more cartoon on this old school product! I always liked the smooth surface of the Duo-Shade.illustration paper. MeGwiitch!

#34 Mike Edholm
July/15/2012
@ 8:54 pm

No more Duo-shade? Crap! Anybody remember Fluoro solution for halftones? I’m sure Wiley does. He and I breathed the same fumes. :-) Wiley, did you shoot your own Veloxes? How about PMTs? Veloxes lasted longer than PMTs. Man, kids these days don’t know what they missed. Damn….

#35 Mike Edholm
July/16/2012
@ 5:23 am

Paul, I’m afraid that doing “just one more” cartoon like that would be like eating just one Lay’s potato chip…

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