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How Antrageous in drawn

The purpose of this post is to give those curious readers an insight into how Antrageous is drawn.  This post isn’t intended to be a “How to draw cartoons” post, it just happens to outline the steps that I go through with Antrageous.

  • Ideas
    I really can’t explain this step.  I have the idea and I get the urge to put it on paper.  My brain does this all the time and there’s no stopping it (and sometimes I come up with ideas at the most inappropriate times … ’nuff said!). 
    If you’re a budding cartoonist and you’re stuck for ideas, then maybe your brain isn’t broken enough yet to be a cartoonist.  Most cartoonist have a very odd, surreal view of the world.  If you don’t have this, wait a few years and beer/sodas/mad cow disease/pollution/mind altering rays from the aliens might break it some more for you.
  • How far in advance?
    How far in advance are the cartoons drawn?  It varies, from weeks to a few hours, depending on what I want to put up.
  • Workstation
    Some cartoonists have a fancy cartooning workstation.  “Workstation” is another word for a flat, stable, well-lit, expensive table.  I don’t have a workstation.  I have my hands and my lap.  I like the idea of being able to take cartooning with me where ever I go, and years of experience tells me that tables aren’t all that portable.
  • Pens
    I started off using a ball point pen.  For the technical amongst you it was a Paper-Mate FLEXGRIP ultra medium point.  This pen was a dream to use, so much so that I went out and bought a stack of them.  Problem was, when the original pen packed up I discover that it must have been a freak pen – the others were nowhere near as good.  Every other Paper-Mate FLEXGRIP ultra medium point that I tried was just awful – they splurged ink from around the ball point and made a huge mess.
    At this point at stopped being cheap (as far as pens went) and invested in some Rotring Rapiodigraph technical pens.  These are a hollow steel-nibbed pen that takes a cartridge.  The nibs come in a variety of nib sizes (I have 0.1mm, 0.3mm, 0.6mm and 1.0mm nibs) that not only last for a last for a long time but they also give a fantastically consistent stroke width and lay the ink on the paper with amazing uniformity.  The ink also dries real fast and is hard to smudge.
    These technical pens aren’t easy to use initially, but after a bit of practice you won’t ever look back. 
  • Paper
    In the beginning I was a cheap-skate and just used a spiral-bound reporter’s notebook.  This worked great with the initial freak Paper-Mate pen but was too shiny for the other Paper-Mates (the ink took forever to dry and was easy to smudge).  It was worse when I changed to the Rapidograph pens, and with the thicker nibs the ink would go through two or three sheets of paper.
    Now I use an A5 135gsm (36 pound) sketch paper.  It’s nice and thick and it receives and holds the ink from sizes of Rotring Rapidograph nibs really well.
  • Post-production vvv This stage is done by Kathie
    With the cartoons in the sketch book, I then need to get them onto the Internet. 
    First, they are scanned into 600 x 600 DPI JPEG files.  These are then taken into Photoshop CS2 for cleaning up.  At this stage the original text is removed and replaced by easier-to-read type.  After a few other tweaks (usually to the levels), the image is reduced to 400 pixels wide (proportionally) and saved for the Web.
  • Upload to the Internet
    The Ants are now ready for the Internet!

That’s it.  If you have any questions or comments, shoot me a line!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
Nov 2005

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