Bryan Lee O'Malley

Comics: "Scott Pilgrim" series, etc
Making comics since year of: 2001 (professionally)
Art education/schools attended: No art school, and I gave up on university (was taking Film Theory)


Pencils: Col-Erase in various colours. I like light blue and green to draw pages, and tuscan red, indigo, and other dark colours for sketchbook stuff (and thumbnails). I use those foam pencil pillow things to help my grip. I never liked mechanical pencils much because I like a softer lead. The Col-Erase pencils are nice because they're soft, but they don't smudge, plus you don't actually have to erase before you scan.

Inks: My favourite was the Koh-i-noor drawing ink with the yellow label, but lately I've gotten a lot of dud bottles (too watery to use), so I've switched to the Pelikan kind that Hope uses.

Brushes: Series 7 #2, but now I want to try this Raphael 8404 that Jim Rugg is on about...

Pens: I need to learn to ink with nibs one day, but for now I use a lot of crappy pens to fill in little details, like these cheap Pilot tech pens that I buy in bulk at Staples. I also have some various Japanese cartridge brush pens that someone brought me from Japan, but I don't use them too much. My other favourite is the Faber Castell Pitt pen (size S, and the brush pen) which I use for ruling borders and some other stuff.

Paper: Just the usual Strathmore bristol in the yellow pads, smooth.

Lettering: I stopped hand-lettering for the most part because it hurts my wrist, so now I just use Comicraft fonts or whatever. One day I'll get my own font made.

Color: When sketching I often use a Faber Castell Pitt brush pen for a colour tone. I also have become fond of watercolours. Mostly I colour in Photoshop, and I've used Painter once or twice and would like to use it more in the future. I've had my 6x8 Intuous 2 tablet since 2001, and it's pretty indispensable at this point.

Layout/ Composition: I do thumbnails just in pencil in my sketchbook. I used to print out sheets of proper-sized thumbnail templates, but I find it's faster to do it in the sketchbook now, and I can eyeball the page proportions well enough. If I switched to a radically different page format, I might print out some more templates. I do my thumbnails only about an inch and a half high, because I can't stand the idea of drawing them any bigger if I'm just going to redraw them later. I still find that my thumbnails have a disturbing resemblance to the final pages, even down to the scribbled facial expressions.
Check out Scott Pilgrim thumbs.

Convention Sketches (when different from illustrations done in the studio): When signing and sketching in books, I exclusively use a Pigma Graphic 1 plus a Faber Castell Pitt colour brush pen for a tone (and using two different colours to sign a book always seems to make people strangely giddy!). For larger sketches I use a black Pitt brush pen or a sharpie or whatever I have around. I also like these Staedtler Triplus pens, which come in some interesting colours.

Tool timeline, starting from when you began drawing in any serious way until the present, and what spurred the changes: I think when I got serious I started using a brush, because I equated "brush" with "serious". I used really bad, cheap brushes for years, until I got a good one and realized that the bad brushes had been holding me back. I've also been using the Col-Erase pencils since before I got serious, so I guess I haven't really changed my tools all that much.

What tools you'd never use, and why: I don't really like Microns and that type of thing, but for no real reason. Just personal preference. I get mad at people for using them, though.