Comics Creators

Artists tools, tricks and tips


Back when I was tattooing, there were a lot of forums where we would post pictures of our latest work, but also have a description of what we used, machines, inks, needle sizes etc. I was wondering if any of you fine artists on here would like to share what you use, and maybe share what you like or dislike about different products. I’ve only drawn a few comic pages for fun, but will gladly show what I’ve been working on and what I used.


This was all done by hand for the Star Wars art contest, on blue line pro, I inked it with a crowquill 102 nib, filbert comb brush and Dr PH Martins Black Star ink.


Good thread call. I don’t draw any more but I’m still interested in techniques and tools. Especially new methods of doing stuff, technology wise.


Me as well, I like the idea of having originals, but some of the software I’ve seen people using, such as manga studio have so many cool shortcuts for background architecture, I’d like to know what would work best for me when I have the funds!


I work in Manga Studio 5 ex. Have for about 2.5yrs now, and I doubt I’ll ever go back to doing pages on paper, unless I ever develop enough of a fanbase to warrant the cost of materials. Even the, I’d probably just do random commissions/illustrations to sell (like Eric Canete does, or Skottie Young does with his Daily Sketches)

As a digital artist myself, I’m a huge proponent for it, ESPECIALLY if it helps you work faster, and you don’t have the fanbase to support the cost of analog materials, and don’t want hundreds of pages clutting up your shelves.

I’ve developed a ton of shortcuts using MS5ex that help speed up the process of making pages. Things like templates for tedious stuff that I can copy/paste/transform onto a page. Stuff like broken glass, speed lines, bullet holes, crosshatch patterns, etc. 30 seconds to drop a template of pre-drawn speed lines into a background vs 15 minutes (or more) drawing each line (probably with a ruler) on every page every time.

The little things (waiting for ink to dry, erasing, making corrections, etc) that can shave seconds & minutes off your time consumption that you don’t notice, add up, and it’s allowed me to increase my work speed enough that I could, without interruption, produce 2 pages a day set on a city street.

As it is, like I said above your quoted post, I’ll probably never go back to working on paper, even if I was lucky enough to have a good career in comics.


Good feedback! Do you use it for the entire process? Drawing, inking, coloring etc? Can you post some samples of your work with manga studio? I’m definitely interested in trying out some digital work soon.


Hi guys… I myself use manga studio only for inking as I can’t completely abandon old school cole erase and pencils for the sketching and drawing process. I still find it more responsive and efficient for the really creative part of the job. I did old school inking from time to time and found it really rewarding ( as it feels like doing ‘real’ art…), but I must say that digital inking gives me more control on the lines I draw and it allows to get the job so faster.Besides, the tools provided by Manga studio fit me just fine, but it’s a personnal feeling… I also choose it because I can make corrections and I do a lot of these at the inking stage where I set all the black masses for example ( which I find really hard to vizualise directly at the pencil stage).
As a storyboarder on the other hand, the industry changes forced me to draw a hundred percent digital storyboards as all studios are nowadays using the ToonBoom software to ease the production pipeline. It’s cool because a storyboard is a non finished art piece so you don’t have to get into details to get the storytelling clear and the software is really powerfull and helps you duplicate BG’s from panel to panel for example.
I post some of my latest works here to show you what I do.
Hope It’ll help and no matter the technics you’re using, hard work stays the best way to achieve our goals
Keep it up!

Traditional inks

Digital Inks

And a WIP to show you the process (digital inks again ;))

PS: Of course all these pages are my property and non free to use unless I give permission :slight_smile: THX!


Yup. 100% digital. I’ve got a little art dump going on the forums, here: My Art Dump

You can see colored and lettered pages here:

I’ve even gone digital on my “sketchbook” and bought a Toshiba Write Encore 2 tablet and installed Manga Studio on it.


Great work! Thanks for the info!


Really cool stuff. For color, word balloons and lettering, what would you recommend?


I doubt any answers I have for doing comics are very eye opening. I pencil and ink analog still. These pages were done on Strathmore Bristol board pencilled in HB, and inked with Windsor Newton water proof ink, and a couple sizes of Raphael 8404 brushes (I think 0 and 1? I should know offhand but I don’t)

I did all the lettering in an old copy of Photoshop (CS2 which is basically ancient at this point, but still does everything I need)

Yesterday I added a few sketches I drew on coffee stained water color paper scraps. (Post 34 in the same thread) Those are drawn the same way, but I also used white lithograph sticks, white prisma, or white FW ink to add a highlight to pull from the mid-ground. again nothing very earth shattering in materials. But hopefully it helps continue the conversation at least. This one is about 4x6 for example.


I do it all by hand as well. But am saving up to try the modern/faster way of doing the parts I don’t enjoy :slightly_smiling:


I’ve toyed with the idea of using 3D models for backgrounds/vehicles and machinery to speed up penciling. (Way less grids drawn at least) And I think the next short I work on will incorporate some of this for sets.

But I’ll likely spend just as much time (if not more) on the pages rotoscoping and inking the models to make them not look like separate assets dropped into the panels, than if I just knuckledown and get to work.

For me if the seams show through on the final pages I’ll consider it a failed experiment. Things like that pull me right out of a story as a reader or viewer. (Though not as badly as comics that are done where the figures are just traced Poser Models)


I’ve only ever used Manga Studio (now officially called Clip Studio Paint) for everything (though the word balloons and lettering could be better, and I’d probably recommend going with good old Adobe Illustrator like most letterers use).

I’ve heard Sketchbook Pro is another great tool, and a lot of people seem to like Photoshop.

I started digitally with PS, but that only lasted a week after I tried Manga Studio (5 ex). I’d describe MS as Photoshop if it were designed to make comics instead of touch up photos. MS is very intuitive (and if you have experience with PS, it’s easy to make the transition to using it as commands are similar) and has features specific FOR making comics. (Like perspective tools that snap lines to the VP automatically)

MS has frequent sales for crazy low prices. Give all three a try and see which one suits your needs best. Some like Manga Studio, and some like Sketchbook Pro.

Personally, for drawing comics, I don’t see why anyone would bother using photoshop when the other two programs exist, besides masochistic preference. It’s great for coloring comics (I think MS will surpass it completely within the next edition or two) but having seen people use it to draw comics (and having tried it), it’s like inking a page with a sharpened feather they found on the ground when you know brushes and nibs exist.

But, like I said: Try them all. See what you like. :slight_smile:


How about a free art lesson from Neal Adams?

This thread has been abandon for two years. Do artists no longer share tips, trick nor tools?


On other social media outlets I’ve found some people willing to share, but for the most part I think artists mainly use millaworld during the talent hunts, i still post updates on my own thread on this site but rarely see any feedback. I really enjoyed the draw offs in here too! Maybe we’ll see a bit more activity if that were to start up again :blush:


Here are a few recently pages I’ve done using clip studio, a huion kamvas tablet and some customs flyland brushes you can purchase for about $6.99 USD for around 120 brushes.