Carl Rustung

This week: experimenting with brush pens and panel sizes.


Did some of the experiments I wrote about last week. Testing inking on tracing paper, this week I scanned the pencil sketch and enlarged it to 2x and 1,5x the original size (78x62 mm, arbitrary panel size that fits well in my small sketchbook), then scaled it back down to see what difference it’d make to the line style. My target is capturing a certain feel, not drawing pretty.

I was sure I’d come up with this exercise myself, but (like the earlier quickies) it’s inspired by Brunetti’s “Cartooning”:

Making photocopies of our originals is quite instructional, because we get a clue as to how our work will look when reproduced and how to “size” our artwork by considering the final reproduction as we create our original. We may need to adjust and clarify our drawing if our lines do not reproduce as intended.

Avoid frills or unnecessary elaborate flourishes; simplify your range of gray tones. As Art Spiegelman wrote in Dead Dick, his Dick Tracy homage, “Never stipple when you can hatch. Better yet, use black.”

...and this quote from Kirchner:

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

Anyway, this is the result:

Top left: Pencil sketch | Top right: Last week’s 1x tech pen drawing | Bottom left: Drawn at 2x size with brush pen | Bottom right: Drawn at 1,5x size with brush and tech pens.

Still trying to improve my skills with anything brush-like, but I think the 2x brush panel (bottom left) already looks a lot more interesting than the 1x tech pen panel (top right).

Maybe it was simply because I’d warmed up at this point, but something clicked with the second attempt, and the shackles came off. The double-up size was more comfortable, but I guess half-up is still big enough for me to splat my brush around, but too small to give me any ideas about precision brushing. The first drawing is lifeless and the second suffers from unconfident strokes, but the last one feels more genuine to me – still sloppy brush work, but at least it’s starting to look like I own it.