I have not discovered a way to make a picture of a sheet of white A4 picture look interesting. It should be said that the rest of this blog post is essentially about A4 paper – feel free to click away now.
A summary of tutorial 3 in my cartooning tutorials series, entitled ‘paper’: It doesn’t really matter.
I use Staples ‘Inkjet’ paper. This is because I have found, through experimentation, that the pens I use leave a sharp black line on this paper – it is very smooth – whereas on some papers there is a tiny bit of ‘bleed’, meaning that the lines are not as crisp. It does also seem fairly smudge-resistant compared with other A4 papers. I have a tendency to smudge my ink lines, particularly when erasing, so it is good to minimise this.
In Staples (our local branch at least) you can go in and take a sample sheet of each of their 5 or 6 different A4 papers and try them without needing to buy the whole ream. I did this – took a sheet of each (labelled it of course), then tried drawing, erasing and smudging with a variety of pens. I’m sure lots of other types of paper would do equally well, but this is what I now use. This is for my final drawings I should add – I use a lot of scrap paper of whatever kind for rough drawings, layouts, notes, shopping lists and that kind of thing.
Important note: do not use Staples Inkjet paper in an inkjet printer – it is entirely unsuitable. I find that it is too smooth and the rollers cannot cannot get a grip, even if I shout ‘get a grip!’
Paper size. I tend to use A4 paper even when doing a larger cartoon, such as a Greenbelt map or my ‘Church Times’ cartoon from last week’s newspaper. I just do the cartoon on two sheets which I tape loosely together when drawing and then separate to scan on an A4 scanner. I join them up again using the editing software on the computer. If my main aim was to sell the originals I would of course not do this. In an ideal world I’d have an A3 scanner, but I don’t have the space for one.
The main thing to say is that it isn’t really the paper that makes or breaks a cartoon. It’s all about the pen. No… sorry, I mean it is all about how good the drawing is. I will get onto that in tutorials 3 to 299.