Rapidographs and Markers no more!
Every time I finish a chapter of Basewood, I take a month off to work on a side project, to clear my head before I dive into another year (or more) of work on the next chapter. This month off is also a great time to experiment with my cartooning technique, since I strive to keep all of the Basewood pages consistent, which usually means drawing the same way I did when I started drawing the project, six years ago. Needless to say, when Basewood is complete, I will never draw that way ever again.
I've been having a really good time inking my latest pages (for a TOP SECRET project, which I will announce in a few months) and one of the main reasons, is that I have sworn off using rapidographs and markers!
I suspect, like a lot of cartoonists of my generation, I started using rapidographs after seeing Robert Crumb use one in the documentary Crumb. I thought it was a "real" cartoonist's tool that would somehow help me draw better. And granted, the first time you use a rapidograph, it is one of the best drawing experiences you'll ever have. But then you have to clean it. All the time. If you don't draw with a rapidograph EVERY SINGLE DAY you have to clean it again. There was even the phase where I got really GOOD at cleaning the rapidograph. I could take it apart, clean it and put it all back together blindfolded in just a few minutes, like an assassin cleaning his rifle. But eventually the high maintenance level of this tool drove me insane.
The first rapidographs to go were the small ones. I soon learned that it was much easier to crosshatch with a real dip nib, like a hunt 102 crowquill, or a 513 EF mapping nib, or a G-nib. And for REALLY small detail stuff, I started using a .01mm micron marker, instead of the super finicky .01mm rapidograph. But I still used the larger rapidographs for inking panel borders and speech balloons.
But I've now realized that with a steady hand, and a speedball B nib, I can get the exact same line with NONE of the rapidograph hassle. Plus a dip nib uses REAL ink, instead of the grayish watery ink of the rapidograph.
At some point I also started inking all my lettering with micron markers, which I do not recommend. Even using the amazing "Magic Rub" eraser, the micron ink lifts up and turns grey under erasing. It might be a little slower lettering with a real dip nib, but it looks better, and again, it's real ink.
So now everything I'm using to ink (#2 watercolor brush, 513 EF mapping nib, G-nib, B3 B5 and B6 speedball nibs) are all dipping out of the same ink, and I'm loving how it looks!
Anyway, the semester is already in full swing here at CCS and I'm doing my best to get back up to full speed with everything I have to accomplish each week. I've been feeling a bit under the weather, which is crazy, because the low for tomorrow is 23 degrees BELOW zero!?! Winter is going strong here in Vermont. Stay warm everyone!