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Daryl Cagle posts how he creates his cartoons

Daryl Cagle has posted his answer to an age-old questions: “what kind of pens, papers, inks to you use to do your cartoons.” The surprising answer is that he doesn’t ink his drawings. After he does a his pencil sketch he does:

At this point most cartoonists would pull out their pen, brush and ink bottle to draw on top of the pencil in ink; the final step would be to rub a soft eraser over the drawings, softly removing most of the pencil and leaving the ink. Most cartoonists would be drawing on a sturdy bristol paper that would hold up to the erasing and would resist curling with heavy ink. I used to do that, but I found that I liked my sketches better than my finished ink drawings, which looked too stiff to me, so I started working with drafting vellum and pencil to make my final drawings keep the spontaneity of the pencil sketches.

I lay the vellum (Duralene, a heavy, plastic paper I prefer, that you can see through like tracing paper) on top of the sketch and I draw on the vellum with a chisel point pencil, the same yellow office pencil that I used for the sketch. I could use the eraser on the vellum, but I don’t because I’ve worked out all of the questionable parts of the drawing in the sketch. I draw with a heavy hand, because I want each pencil line to show up as if it was ink. Then I scan the art – usually in two parts because it is too big for the scanner, and I crank up the contrast to 100% in Photoshop so that it ends up looking like an ink drawing (below).

Young cartoonists often don’t think of inking (or lettering, cross-hatching) as completely different skill-sets than penciling. I know I’m a stronger penciler than I am an inker – so I think I’ll try this method on my next cartoon and see what happens.

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