Carl Rustung

How people work together or alone to make things


Newton’s Cradle

Hopping back and forth between digital illustration and hand drawing to get through a complicated drawing. (Spherical reflections are hard.)

Rubylith and Zipatone

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



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


Chicken fat

...Drucker’s art partakes in the most venerable MAD tradition of all: the “chicken fat” aesthetic, the stuffing of panels with sight gags and visual digressions pioneered by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder (and defined by Elder as the inessential “parts of the strip that gave it more flavor,” as chicken fat gave more flavor to his mother’s soup, “but did very little to advance the storyline”).

Half the fun of reading MAD was looking for background details, never knew there was a name for it. Tried to pack my drawings full of this “chicken fat” when I was a kid, inspired by the venerable Don Rosa.