Making Comics – Graphite Pencils, Blue Pencils, Get Yer Own Pencils

July 13, 2021
Pencils for Pity Party Page 4.

Pity Party – Page 4 is well under way. The pencils are done, and I’ll start inks tomorrow. The Ideas Room is about to get a bit more dangerous, as some old and bitter ideas are released! Yikes! Be careful what you think.

My pencils are a mess, but I don’t like to think too much when I start inking. I want all the visual math to be sorted out in pencil. I have a rough version of this page sketched on a comic template I print on letter sized paper. I copy that sketch onto bristol, add all the missing detail, sleep on it, add some more detail, line up the lettering, sleep on it some more, then boom! Ready for ink. Comics are easy!

I pencil with 4H graphite in an old mechanical pencil. It’s a very light line. I darkened this image in Affinity Photo so you could actually see the pencil. I prefer a harder graphite for this stage – there is less smudging, and it erases easily. For lettering I pencil with non photo blue, also in a mechanical pencil. The ink I use for lettering fades too much when an eraser is applied, and non photo blue pencil doesn’t need to be erased. I could just use non photo blue for all the lines, but I do a lot of thinking in pencil, and blue is harder to erase. You can probably see that in this scan. It would just be a blue page. Like looking at a summer sky.

If you aren’t familiar with non photo blue pencils, the primary benefit of them is they won’t be seen by the scanner, when scanning line art in black & white. After scanning the artwork, I apply a threshold adjustment layer in Affinity Photo. This effectively removes any line lighter than the black ink lines – so I don’t have to spend much time erasing graphite lines before scanning, either.

This Thursday is another Throwback! See you then!

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