If you click on PORTFOLIO and then COLOR ILLUSTRATION, you’ll find some new work! These are all mixed media pieces. There’s a little bit of correction going on in Photoshop, but most of what you see is true to the original illustration on paper.
The Great Heron.
Watercolor, colored pencil, and brushmarker with pigment-based ink on watercolor paper.
Watercolor, colored pencil. brushmarker with pigment-based ink on watercolor paper.
Zeb and Bel
Watercolor, colored pencil, alcohol marker, brushmarker with pigment-based ink on watercolor paper.
Photos of famous cartoonists always show them holding a dip pen. Alison Bechdel uses dip pens. Charles Schulz loved a particular dip pen nib so much, when the company was shutting down, he bought up the remaining nibs (or so the story goes) and now the nibs he stockpiled get auctioned off on Ebay.
When it comes to dip pens, I’m less like Charles Schulz and more like Charlie Brown.
I drew the line art for my graphic novel, The Real Riley Mayes, with brush markers. They’re disposable brush markers called “Fudemoji” made by Pentel. The ink is similar to sumi ink. It dried quickly on the page, and held up to alcohol markers, which I used to color the pages. It took over a year to make all the pages for the graphic novel. By the end of making all that art, I really want to try some new tools. Plus, I have… a lot… of plastic marker bodies leftover… probably enough to make a plastic lawn chair? That’s embarrassing.
So, for the next few blog posts, I’ll share my Awkward Adventures in Art Tools! Starting with dip pen nibs, and a thick black permanent ink called Deleter #4.
After about a week or two of practice, here’s my very limited advice regarding dip pens:
If you don’t want the pen to sound like an orthodontist scraping dental cement off your teeth, sand the nib a bit using the very-very-super-fine sandpaper that comes with it.
Wear black clothes, unless you wanna look like you just changed your car’s air filter
Dip up to the hole in the nib, but not past there. The little hole holds the ink so you can draw longer.
Rinse the nib every 2-3 dips, especially if using waterproof ink. Otherwise, the ink dries on there, and the dried ink blops up all the little engraved lines that help the ink flow, and it will drip on the page.
Remember to breathe air in and out. Of your nose. Or your mouth. I’m not picky.
Here’s some line art I made with the dip pen and Deleter ink. It’s a great heron. The GREATEST heron.
Back in 2015, I started drawing an elementary-aged girl who played with tonka trucks, acted out death scenes with markers, and chopped off her blonde ponytails. The character began to talk and interact with other characters in my sketchbook. Before long, I had several pages of comics about this kid. Years later, my agent Susan Hawk helped me revise the story into a graphic novel, which has been sold at auction to Donna Bray at Balzer+Bray / HarperCollins. THE REAL RILEY MAYES will be available on May 3, 2022.