What do you do when they change the spec of your favourite paper or pens?

13 July 2011

So I’m definitely enjoying this new strip, I’m starting to get really comfortable with the process, I’ve just started the fifth episode and BANG, out of the blue the Pantone marker isn’t bleeding through to the back of the Arches watercolour paper. It’s just sitting on the surface, looking all washed out and ‘thin’.
Must be a dodgy marker, I’ll just start a new one. Same result, must be the paper. No worries, obviously just a one-off, all that drawing wasted, but I’ll grab another sheet and start this page again. But before I do I’ll run a marker over it, make sure it’s okay. Ah, that’s no good either. Ten minutes later and the sky has fallen in, that whole new packet of paper is useless.
What to do, what to do? Back to the art store to buy another packet of paper. At the store buy one sheet and test it. It’s no good, they’re all no good! Try another brand of paper, they’re all the same, right? Get the paper home and do a test picture. It’s a completely different ‘look’. But, of course, I already knew that, all that experimenting before I started.
Let’s try ringing around to find a store that sells the Arches paper, one of them might have a packet of the good stuff.
Tell you what, I’ll get on with doing thumbnails and that, while you drive all over the home counties looking for paper. And don’t forget your Pantone marker for testing.
Several days later. “I’ve found some that doesn’t seem too bad, shall I buy it?” And it isn’t too bad, and I’m able to finish this episode.
But what about the next one…?

The above marker ‘bleed’ just about works. Although a bit ‘dry’, the markers do retain their vibrancy, which means that the overlaid watercolour has something to work on.

Almost perfect bleed-through, but still a few patches of badness. Of course, as usual, only I can see the difference. But that doesn’t in any way mean that it doesn’t matter.

Dedicated to my wife Chris. What she has to put up with…

2 Responses to “What do you do when they change the spec of your favourite paper or pens?”


  1. I totally sympathize, Mike. It takes years of experimenting with materials to get stuff you're comfortable with. Looking around for some particular Bristol Board recently, I bought some from Dave Gibbons that he'd had since the 80s. Don't know what I'm going to do when it runs out in a few months…


  2. This was one of my favourite scripts I (with Richard Rayner) wrote for you. So much story told in only five pages and a couple of good gags.I thought you did a fabulous job – of course I had no idea how you had suffered.


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