Carl Rustung


Inking practice

Busted out a pad of transparent paper to get a feel for the “old-school ways” of making comics and non-digital inking.

Rubylith and Zipatone

Daniel Clowes’ “Glossary of obsolete commercial art production techniques” from Fantagraphics’ latest artist edition.


Making Comics

Book cover for Making Comics
Written byLynda Barry
Publish date2018
PublisherDrawn & Quarterly



Book cover design

As with writing, I try to fill the daunting white rectangle as quickly as possible, throwing the necessary text on there and pushing it around just to get rid of the void. Getting an idea of the shapes the words make – sometimes the titles can be rather cumbersome – then suggests certain compositions, which I’ll then sketch out on paper. Just lots of rough little thumbnails filled with scribbles.

Anything with a historical slant to it, I’ll get searching for images – ideally creative commons ones – in the hope that there’s something relevant or striking that can be used. Between the words and images and sketching, it’s then just a case of churning stuff in my head and on paper until things start to stick together. Which is possibly the dumbest description of the design process imaginable. For me, it’s all about finding the sweet spot between rational and instinctive.

Daniel Benneworth-Gray
In written conversation with Nick Asbury

Scale tricks for inking

I could never adjust to the “half-up” (150%) scale at which mainstream comics had to be drawn. I preferred to work twice up and that wasn’t an option.


I often photocopy a sketched frame, reducing or enlarging it to a size I think more pleasing, and then tape it back on the tracing paper, which looks like a patchwork quilt by the time I’m finished.

Paul Kirchner
“Sex, Drugs & Public Transportation: My Strange Trip Through Comics”
From “Awaiting the Collapse”, Tanibis Editions, 2017

Imposing structure on art

If I pay attention to what occurs to me as my drawings appear on the page, however, it will all eventually connect in ways that would otherwise be impossible to predict or control. I believe it’s the role of the artist not to impose a structure on one’s art but to let the structure build itself – and it always will, if you let it.