Top tools for traditional comic making, Part II

With Inktober still going strong, many artists still have inking on the brain. Ready for more top cartooning tools? These tools are not 100% necessary but nice to have when making comics the traditional way. Short list this time.

The T-square is a ruler with arms out the sides, which you fit against the side of the page to get a perfect perpendicular line. Handy for doing panel borders and lines of text. You’ll see I freehand my panel borders, but the blue underline is t-squared in, giving me a straight guideline. In a pinch, the straight edge of another sheet of Bristol works too. But you don’t really want to measure out straight lines with other pieces of artwork, do you? The one I got was recommended to me by my instructor. Its 12” long, clear plastic, cheap, and transports easily.

Ames hand lettering guide. Nothing more than a flat piece of plastic with small holes drilled in at intervals. Used with a ruler to get evenly spaced lines for hand lettering. The drilled holes are in this circular piece fitted into the middle of the guide that can be rotated. Turning the piece allows you to control the spacing of the lines. I first heard of this tool in Scott McCloud’s Making Comics, but thought he was bullshitting until I saw it actually used by Spike in her webcomic Templar, AZ.

Correction fluid. Have you ever seen an original page of comic art? My favorites are the ones where the artist’s hand is apparent in all the mistakes they make and cover up. It’s like hearing the artist’s voice coming out of the page, “hey, its okay to screw up. Look at what I did!” The reproduction and size reduction process tends to show only the perfect finished product. As I mentioned before, I’ve been using white ink for my corrections, so that’s why I put this in the “nice to have” pile.

That’s all I got today- just the three extra tools that are not strictly necessary, but helpful to have.

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