Liz Baillie

Comics: My Brain Hurts
Making comics since year of: I've been drawing comics since I was a little kid, but I've only been drawing them in any serious way with publication as the intent since 1998.
Art education/schools attended: BFA, School of Visual Arts class of 2002 (cartooning major).


Pencils: 0.5mm mechanical pencils with HB lead. I hate taking time to sharpen pencils over and over and mechanical pencils give a consistent line without needing to be sharpened, so everybody wins!

Inks: PH Martin's TECH ink is the greatest but also hardest to find ink. A close second is PH Martin's Black Star Hi-Carb, which is more matte and less shiny, but I like shiny things. Both can be very difficult to find, but worth the hunt.

Brushes: I don't use any traditional brushes at all, but I do use Faber-Castell PITT brush pens like they are going out of style. I'm just not a brush person.

Pens: I mostly use these Japanese nibs I get from New York Central Art Supply and the label is only in Japanese so I don't know what they're called. They are almost exactly the same as these other nibs I also use made by Deleter. They're the equivalent of Deleter brand maru pens and I also occasionally use the Deleter G-pens for fatter lines. The maru nibs are a lot like the traditional Hunt 102 nibs but they are a far higher quality and unlike the Hunt nibs, I have never encountered a problem with a random faulty nib. If you Google "deleter nib" you'll come up with a bunch of sites that sell them.

Paper: Using the pen nibs I use, I've found that a bristol vellum works well for me. I work on 9"x12" paper and it is eventually reduced to 5" x8.5".

Lettering: Faber-Castell PITT pens size "F". I prefer PITT pens to Microns because they do not bleed as much and the quality of the ink is much blacker and richer.

Color: I haven't done much color, but when I have it's been in Photoshop. I've also done a bit of watercolor and when I've done that, I've also used Caren D'Ache watercolor pencils in combination with the actual watercolor, for added texture. When I do that I use watercolor paper because bristol doesn't take the paint very well.

Layout/ Composition: When I am putting together a story, I always start with an outline that includes the beginning, middle, and end, along with any other pertinent details. From there, I write up a script and try to figure out how much information will be on each page so I know how many pages it will be. Then I do thumbnails in my sketchbook and when I finish those, I move on to the pencils and inks.

Convention Sketches (when different from illustrations done in the studio): Always Faber-Castell PITT brush pens and/or regular PITT pens in sizes S,F and M.

Tool timeline, starting from when you began drawing in any serious way until the present, and what spurred the changes: The first comic I ever drew with the intent to publish it was (believe it or not) blue ballpoint pen on looseleaf paper. When I learned about Hunt 102 nibs I got some of those along with some Higgins ink, because both are the easiest to find and I didn't know any better. I had horrible luck with the Hunt 102 nibs (they would catch and splatter and other terrible things) but I kept plugging away with them until I gave up and submitted to Microns and Rapidographs. The Rapidos were too annoying to clean and the Microns bled and looked terrible, so I started using the Japanese nibs on a teacher's recommendation. I was never happy with the Higgins ink and experimenting with different inks led me to my love of PH Martin's TECH, which is a very rich, black ink that still runs through my nibs fairly well. I also use the aforementioned PITT brush pens for filling in blacks and for fatter lines on closeups. I started using those when I was experimenting with non-nib pens and wanted to get away from Microns and I've been very happy with them.

What tools you'd never use, and why: Sharpies (they are highly acidic and will ruin your paper over time, not to mention the black *will* fade significantly over not too much time and turn brownish. In short, they are totally non-archival. Also the line quality with a Sharpie is horrendous.), Microns (similar reasons, plus they bleed), Hunt 102 nibs (call me a heretic, but I've tasted the fruits of paradise with Deleter nibs and I'm never going back). Higgins ink (it's crap, plain and simple), any non-waterproof ink (you never know when water will suddenly spill all over your pages you worked on for days).

And lastly, any advice you'd like to give: You may not think your pages are worth saving now, but you never know what the future will hold. Take very good care of all your original comic pages and try to use archival tools whenever possible. And don't cut up your original art for any reason (I made that mistake once... it's a long story, don't do it).