Hung Up on Tools

Above: "Alien Spy," a piece of Mike Lynch Juvenalia. A splash page for a comic book story of mine when I was a kid. This was when I was heavy into Marvel's Warlock by Jim Starlin.

I get emails. A lot of them are from people who want to cartoon for a living. Some of these people are good cartoonists, some of them are on the way, still learning.

One of the traps is getting hung up on tools. A cartoonist emailed me, saying that now that he had finally saved the money to buy a Wacom tablet & stylus, he could now begin cartooning.

Stan Goldberg, who now draws Archie, points out that all he needs is a piece of paper and a pencil. That's all he needed since he was a kid.

Stan, like me, was of the pre-Wacom generation.

I'm lucky that my Dad was a working graduate student when I was a kid. We had no money for fancy paper or pens, and so I was never into the tools.

Dad would being home some "scratch paper;" leftover mimeos from the classes that my Dad was teaching or, when he got his Ph.D., extra copies of internal memos. This was free drawing paper. I would draw on the back of these. Above: the back of the "Alien Spy" page.

Above: another superhero that I made up when I was a wee tot: Eagle Man. I did a lot of shading and noodling around. Notice me hiding his left hand, and making the other inot a simple fist. I was afraid to draw hands then. This period was heavily influenced by the Bob Kane Batman reprints in BATMAN: FROM THE 30S TO THE 70s hardcover.

... And here is the back of the Eagle Man drawing: a 1972 University Film Association memo from then-secretary Dr. Lynch (who would go on to serve as President).

Of course, like a lot of students, I would not pay attention in class and doodle. But that not paying attention thing leads to some bad grades. (Note the date above, written in the nerdly STAR TREK star date format -- 7612.14 = December 12, 1976.)

Best to wait and draw once I am home. (Do as I say and not as I did.)

Please do not get hung up on fancy tools. Don't let your economic situation slow you down if you want to cartoon. Cartooning can be done for very little money. Like Bob Montana said: It's the think, not the ink. That was today's message -- and the excuse for going through my nostalgia box of drawings.

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