Debbie Huey

Comics: "Bumperboy Loses His Marbles", "Bumperboy and the Loud, Loud Mountain"
Making comics since year of: 2002
Art education/schools attended: University of California, Santa Cruz, BFA


Pencils: I use Sanford Turquoise Drawing Leads in Non-Photo Blue and a nifty lead holder that I guess a lot of draftsman use. It is sort of a cross between a mechanical pencil and a regular pencil in that you use lead refills, but also requires sharpening. Lately, I've also begun to go back to using Col-Erase pencils for sketches and such.

Inks: Right now, I am using Speedball Super Black Ink. I used to use Higgins Black Magic for quite some time, but soon got fed up with the inconsistency of its quality. Speedball Super Black seems to have the right thickness and blackness that suits my taste very well.

Brushes: I've just started to use brushes more and more, so it is still a somewhat new tool for me. But ever since I got my Windsor Newton Series 7 #2, I am completely hooked. This brush is slowly becoming my best friend. I have yet to ink a full comic with it, but am eager to do just that very soon.

Pens: I have a number of nibs that I like to draw with, but my favorite is the Gilotte 170. It isn't too stiff and it isn't too flexible...just right! I also use a number of lettering nibs that have a flat and broad tip. I use these for drawing panel borders. When I am not at my drawing desk, I always carry around my Pentel Pocket Brush. This pen is great because the ink is waterproof, and it is also refillable. Definitely one of my favorite pens. I also like to carry around my Pitt artist pen variety pack that includes nice regular pens and a brush pen. I like their regular pens a lot, but I'll use the Pentel Pocket Brush pen over the Pitt brush pen.

Paper: I use Strathmore 400 Series Bristol (brown cover) that comes in a pad. I have been switching between the vellum and smooth finish but I think I like the vellum more. I have also been switching between 9x12" and 11x14" sizes, but at the moment I've settled on the 11x14".

Lettering: I have always hand-lettered my comics but I believe my arm is hating me for it. I might be switching to computer lettering in the future just to save my arm, but I would rather have a font of my own handwriting before I take the plunge.

Color: I color my comics on the computer. It's easy, quicker, and helpful when I keep changing my mind with color choices. I use a Wacom Intuos 2 tablet for all my computer work.

Layout/ Composition: The beginning stages of my comics always begin with rough ideas in my sketchbook. Once I have a general idea of how the story will go, I will script out all the dialogue. Then I will proceed into drawing thumbnails of each page. After the thumbnails are finalized, I begin to pencil and ink my pages. My layouts tend to consist of a pretty basic grid system.

Convention Sketches (when different from illustrations done in the studio): I use my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for all convention sketches.

Tool timeline, starting from when you began drawing in any serious way until the present, and what spurred the changes: I use to often rely on my vector art because I wasn't as confident in my manual line quality. Slowly I would become more confident in my line work with the dip pens. Now, I am using brushes more because they help me with a line quality that I feel is richer, and they are quicker to use. Brushes also seem to put less stress on my arm that can easily get fatigued.

What tools you'd never use, and why: I will never use bad, watery ink ever again. I also won't use any kind of non-archival pen, such as Sharpies, that will change the image over time.

And lastly, any advice you'd like to give: Be aware of how some tools may wear out your drawing arm/hand more than others. If your arm or hand begins to feel funny or a little numb from drawing, STOP. Take a break, and stretch everything out. It is a scary feeling when you realize what would happen if your arm gets messed up!