Sunday Mailbag

December 16th, 2012 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Do you/ have you ever use pigment liner, brushpens, manga graphic pens, calligraphy pens with chisel nibs, any fibertip or fineliners from Stabilo, Shinhan, Sakura etc. inplace of crowquill, say for Mad assignment. If you’ve tried them how do like them.

A: Yes, I do use a variety of oddball pens when I am inking jobs, particularly for MAD. I’d say 98% of my inking is accomplished with a brush or a pen nib. I use a combination of these for different line qualities and thicknesses. I’ll use a brush for the big, sweeping, bold lines. A Gillott 303 or a Hunt 102 does most of the rest of the inking…from lesser bold lines on down to fine details. For other lines and effects, I like to use Pigma Micron pens sizes 01 and 005 . . . these are ideal for background stuff like brush and foliage, skyline buildings, brick or wall patterns or really delicate cross hatching/linear shading. Here’s some examples:

Clicky to Embiggen…

Clicky to Embiggen…

I like the Microns because they fade a bit when I erase the board, which makes them less obtrusive and more subtle. That makes for nicely faded background elements which I do not want to compete with the foreground or whatever is the focus of the panel. I also occasionally use things like a Uni-ball Vision ball point pen, a Kuratake Fudegokochi brush pen, and frankly whatever else ends up in my hand when I reach over to my multiple coffee cups full of pens when I am inking. I have dozens of different kinds of pens, many from my wife’s scrapbooking supplies, so they are all archival and acid-free. Most of the use of these odds and ends pens comes after the main inks are done, the boards erased and I am doing a final look-over of the page. I’ll use these pens for touch ups, to beef up a line here and there, to add some texture or darker value via hatching to an area…last second touches, in other words.

Thanks to “Nice” for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!


  1. Nice G says:

    Man! Opened this blog like everyday…but was so blown to see my question being answered. Since I didn’t get reply for long I got convinced what my friends suggested that this might be a too sophomoric question to be answered. Thanks a lot sir for a detailed answer with examples.
    PS. I’ve bookmarked the previous mailbag question regarding payments problems. While most of the art knowledge shared here is directed at this end (money) there aren’t many people sharing problems and solutions regarding payments for freelancers.
    Thanks again Sir!


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

Workshops Ad

Dracula ad

Doctor Who Ad

Superman Ad

%d bloggers like this: