Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Art Equipment; Tools of the Trade

In my opinion, there has not been a better tool for drawing than a number 2 pencil, and the best thing about the computer is the massive amount of printing paper available to sketch on. But that is just me. Unfortunately, syndicates find the two unacceptable. So we must yield to their desires…snobs!!

I will list the necessary items that you will need to produce a professional looking cartoon and a brief explanation as to why they’re necessary.

Until you know what type of strip you want to do, it would be advisable to use the number 2 pencil and the printer paper mentioned above. The supplies listed below are not cheap so you won’t want to waste them.

All items listed can be found at any art store but I have found most can be purchased at Wal-Mart or K-Mart. The higher priced items can be purchased later.

It is unnecessary, at the moment, to list ALL the tools you will need, but we will list them as the need arises. We will discuss the items that you will need to begin. I’m sure your wallet will appreciate it in time.

To begin you will want to buy a drawing board. Its compact size and portability will come in handy. A good size is 24” x 36”, with collapsible or folding legs. The tilted surface will save your back and you will be able to work longer with more comfort. Add a comfortable chair.
If the drawing board mentioned above does not come with a straight edge you will want to purchase a T-square used to draw horizontal straight lines in parallel.

2 clear, plastic triangles measuring 12” of 14”. One should be a 45 degree-45 degree-90 degree triangle, the other a 30 degree-60 degree-90 degree triangle.

Because most cartoonists work with human expression and gestures, a useful tool is a small simple mirror.

A dusting brush, useful for sweeping eraser rubbings and such from your work, as the hand can smudge and soil your work.

Pencils, several should be blue drafting pencils, since they do not reproduce or copy they need not be erased. Other useful pencils are the usual range of drawing pencils. Remember, the softer the lead the darker the line. I have found the most often used for cartooning layouts are the “HB” and “F”, and a pencil sharpener.

A kneaded eraser; a soft, pliable gray eraser.

Drafting tape, this holds the paper to the table just as regular masking tape but will not harm the paper when removed. Last, but not least, a swivel lamp.

Since I did not intend to write a book I will cover more items later as the need arises, such as: pens, inks, illustration paper, knives, brushes, shading overlays, tracing paper, etc.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at the address below. or

Next: Developing ideas and characters

1 comment:

Dave Stancliff said...

I'd say that covers just about everything.
One thing that would help people is to have talent...
Not everyone can draw like you Tom. That's a gift from God.