12 MORE Art Hacks For Comic Book Artists!

12 MORE Art Hacks For Comic Book Artists!

you've been asking for more comic book art hacks while I'm happy to say the wait is finally over these people at the Internet I'm Scott with circle tartlets welcome back creators to the underground laboratory where we create robots alien zombies and other imminent threats to humanity we also create comics and from time to time well actually I've only done this once before this is the second one this is the sequel I guess or it's just an extension of the comic book art hack videos that I did it's probably one of my more popular videos on the channel so a lot of people have been asking me to do more and in addition to kind of some of the tips that I gave you in response a lot of you guys are giving me tips so a lot of these tips are from you guys so I really appreciate that but I I thought I would take some of these other tips and kind of kind of compile them along with some new tips that kind of I thought of that that may help you out so before I get going I want to I want to kind of touch on a few things before I get into the actual hacks first of all so these are tips for traditional artists okay so I've got a lot of digital people just saying you know oh it's just easier to do digital or whoever and and you're probably right a lot of ways it is it's easier to go digital on and do digital techniques on a lot of these things unfortunately it's really hard to do a traditional I mean a digital comic book art hack video because it just basically you know use this shortcut or use this command or whatever so yeah those I can't really figure out how to do like a decent art hack video on digital so if I do maybe I'll put one together but anyway so this is more for traditional or people like me who kind of use a combination of traditional illustration and digital techniques to complete their comics so the other thing I want to say is these are art hacks so basically I get a lot of comments saying why don't you just buy better materials or whatever of course that's probably the way to go with if you can afford it or if you happen to have those on hand but sometimes you're in a position where you don't have all those tools so you just need to hack something together that's the whole idea of an art hack now almost all of these tips or hacks whatever you want to call there's probably better ways to do them some of them will cost a lot more money middle more time or whatever I don't know but this is a hack video so when you say why don't you just use better ink okay yeah you can use better ink if you don't have great ink with you you can leave the leave the cap off and it will thicken up a little bit that was a tip from the first one so stuff like that so I understand that if you if you you know buy top and line art supplies or whatever then they will probably work better but these are hacks okay so with that out of the way I do want to get into do some of these new art hacks so what we're gonna do is we're going to the parallel escape and check out some hacks all right hack number one the high rise rulers so this is an improvement on the first hack on the first series I did I was talking about putting tape on the back here ruler but a lot of people or clerk like you see here but a lot of people said they they use like coins to raise their rulers so this is another way to do it if you want a little more lift on your rulers and you get with just the tape then you can take two coins and just put some masking tape over each side you know you can put as many I put two you might want to put three but that'll give you a little more lift but I'm not crazy about this idea so I want to do a little bit of an improvement on it because sometimes that's a little rough on your ruler or your artwork when you've got coins on there so I got a piece of velcro now this is the softer part of the velcro because you know there's the hook and then or maybe this is the hook actually no I think the hooks the other I don't know whatever it is it's the softer part of the velcro so I'm taking that and this is a self stick velcro and sometimes you can find off-brands you know it doesn't need to be super powerful because we're not really Belk putting things together we're just using that and it's it's a little fuzzy it's almost you know it's almost like you would put felt on the bottom so I just take a strip of that and that gives it a nice soft feel it's not gonna hurt your artwork and everything and that'll move it up and down a little better so that's kind of my improvement on the first hack on to hack number two slow your roll so if you're like me and when you're working on your artwork you tend to work at a little bit of an angle that creates a little difficulty because your pins sometimes will roll down off your artboard and you don't want to have that so I showed other things in the last video where we can put little things on them so they'll stop them from rolling but here's another tip that someone sent in and suggest it because a lot of us use two different tools and this also helps so we don't have to keep grabbing more tools but if you've got two tools two tools that we use all the time just take a rubber band and kind of wrap it around there and this will do two things one it will give you like a two-sided tool so you'll have to keep switching the other one this will stop it from rolling so should stay on your table and yeah that works pretty good and you can just pick it up use one side and then of course flip it around and use the other hack number three is stick it to your ink so even if you're working on a flat surface you want to make sure that your ink is in go flying all over the place depending on what you use I'm using a little bottle cap here so these this is fun tack and as you saw earlier just a little slight nudge and this thing will go flying but if you put a little bit of this fun tack and you can use a number of different things I have a fun tech I don't know what it's called blue tack whatever but that will secure it to your art desk and I'm flicking it pretty hard actually and it's not doing anything so it's gonna stay there your inks not gonna go fly you can also use like a a real like that spongy double stick tape or somebody said scotch dots I'm not sure exactly what those are but the other thing you can use if you don't have that blue stuff if you do have a kneaded eraser you can use a kneaded eraser and it's kind of kind of works the same way see now when you go and just add your ink it's not going to that's not gonna be a hazard you're not gonna get that ink all over the place so as you can I'm flicking it here and it stays pretty stationary hack number four is the metal method so if you don't like that other method I just showed you at the blue tack here's another way that's a little more hardcore the more metal you get one of these metal dishes with a magnet or the other thing you can do is use a speaker those also have magnets and they're pretty heavy so they're not going to go anywhere you get a metal bottle cap and it will just click to that magnet and there's a little more you know if you want to move it around that's it it works a little more the other one kind of stays where it is but if you need to move it but you don't want to bump it and have it go flying this is another great alternative and I kind of like this idea and now tip number five the blue line method so what I like to do if you see this you can kind of see got my love and everything I'd like to make my own templates and what I have a large scanner printer so I can kind of feed these 11 by 17 sheets through my printer and print out I actually this one I even print printed some of the type and everything on here along with my blue lines and then I'm just gonna go over and traditionally ink it but if you don't have one of those there's a lot of people don't cuz they tend to get pricey or say price would come down in those things but you can get this is this is some really bad these old blue line sheets I got a bunch of these in the kind of garbage the paper they're printed on is really bad so if you want to make your own now they do sell pre-printed that you can get but some of them aren't that great or maybe you want to just do a different kind of paper maybe you want to do maybe if you're doing watercolor instead of traditionally or digital coloring you're doing watercolor whatever you want to use watercolor paper paper or like a you know a thicker like bristled you want to make your own template so here's a way to do that and you can either rule it out yourself however you want or you can just get one of these pre-made templates but like I said if you want to use a different kind of paper here's what you're gonna do you're just gonna go through and you are going to cut along the there's two on this particular template there's two borders so we're gonna come along the inside of this border and we're gonna speed up the video a little bit because this is sort of a long process but basically just go through that border you want to cut that entire thing out so you've got kind of like a little window like a little matte frame next what you want to do is along the sides there are some little guides and those are gonna help you like when you're using your ruler and everything so you know you know they're kind of broken up so you can do your panels and everything like that most comic book layouts have those but you can if you're doing it yourself you can rule them however you like but I'm just going ahead and just cutting a line along each one of those again we're gonna speed this process up we're gonna go and cut every single one of these out and then once we're done with that what we're gonna do is just at an angle we're gonna make a little notch and we're gonna cut that notch out now you can see what I'm talking about right here so you have just cut that off and then I'm gonna go ahead and do that same thing to all of the different different places where I've already made those cuts so just go ahead and repeat that process go all along cut those notches out all right so that's the first step now you want to get another rule paper again you can roll it yourself or you can use this is just a sheet that I had done a layout that I wasn't happy so I just messed it up so I'm just gonna use it as a template so this time we're gonna do kind of the same thing but we're gonna go along the outer border and we are going to create a frame from that and once again we're gonna speed that up and now we have the two parts to our template so we've got our outer border and we'll just set that aside for a second we'll put that over there and now we got to get our other board that we cut earlier the one with the notches the inner border now what we need to do is whatever paper weren't going to put our design on our comic page whatever one we little lay out I'm gonna get that out so this is just scrap of our Bristol which is kind of kind of the same paper but I just cut that rule out but again you can use whatever paper you want this is what I happen to have on hand so now we're just gonna put these over here use that as a template now I would highly recommend that you tape this down we do and I am NOT doing that here and so mine's not gonna be perfect but you definitely want to take that down so once you get in that and then you can go ahead and just do your blue lines draw your borders there now where you made those notches you're just gonna draw a straight line on the bottom the straight part of that notch and obviously the little angle is just so you can get in there and make the line so go ahead and do that all around your your template now get your other template the one with the outer frame lay that down and again you probably want to tape that down don't do what I'm doing do as I say not as I do and go ahead and make that outer line and once you're finished drawing that line you have you now have laid out your your border panels well not your panels but you have your your main border but now you have all the guides you need so you can go in with your ruler and you can start laying out your panels okay this is hack number six x marks the spot so if you have been working in cups you probably know this where you draw a little X which would indicate that you are going to later fill in all these blacks so I've kind of got this kind of curvy crackle design here that I want to just to indicate that I could fill it in now as I mentioned before I use a combination of traditional and digital techniques so for something like this I personally would go in and fill that in digitally so that's what I'm doing now I'm just creating a lasso around it and then I'm just gonna go ahead and once that lasso is selected I'm just gonna fill it in like there and it's super simple but you may not want to work digit you may want to do everything traditional or have a nice piece of original art to sell so that's gonna lead our store next art hack which is our hack number seven use archival inks now I've seen some people that just go in and they fill in their x out spaces in sharpie that's probably not a good idea because the whole idea of doing traditional work is so you have a nice piece that you can sell and if you're selling something to somebody you want that to kind of stand the test of time so you know I've got these big fat sharpies and these would work really nice as far as filling things in you can see I'll show or you can use a regular sharpie as well you can kind of fill it in like that and those do a good job of filling in and these big giant ones here I'll show you in a second these really do a good job of filling things in but the problem is they're not archival which means that they will not last over time they're gonna be color they're gonna like turn bright I don't think they turn brown or purple but they definitely do not retain the rich black color and if you're creating an artwork for collector you don't want that so what I'm using here is this pit pin and there's this is an extra-large fiber is a fabric Castel Pippin and and it's filled with Indian so if it is archival and will last and it's got a nice big tip so I would pick up one of these as opposed to just a sharpie onto our hack number eight get a grip so this one doesn't bother me too much but some people don't like the slipperiness I guess of brushes they want a little better grip so what you can do is get a piece of masking tape I'm using this black masking tape it's like a photo tape but it's just like masking tape and that will give you a nice a little nicer grip if that's something that you're looking for this is art hack number nine a little ammonia so you know usually when we wash our brushes out or dip our brush to clean them we use just water but I have found or I have heard that if you add a little ammonia it's gonna help clean your brushes a little better so just go ahead and you can kind of remove that I've got a little eyedropper here just drop some of that in there and that's gonna kind of help clean your brushes just a little bit better than just plain water pack number ten I like box so if you need to use a light box so you need to should trace something so I have a light table and basically the way you do is just put your paper over you turn your light table on and it'll kind of shine through now not everyone has a light table now in the other video we talked about holding it up to your window on a sunny day and that light come through or I even mentioned maybe even using a laptop or something like a computer monitor but be careful because those screens can get damaged but somebody suggested using an iPad so I've got my old iPad now obviously you don't want to run out and buy an iPad just for this all right that's not the idea of the art hack but if you happen to have an iPad or tablet or whatever it does make a good it doesn't make a good like table make sure you turn your brightness all the way up and of course these are smaller so you probably be using this a smaller paper you'll have to move your paper around but so I've got a nice bright surface I'm just gonna place my artwork there my paper over it and then I'm gonna dim my lights and that's gonna that's gonna help us ride through and then just go ahead and trace and because the unlike the laptop the iPad has a glass surface so it's probably not gonna get damaged moving on to our hack number 11 form a circle so I use these circle templates but if you don't happen to have these or sometimes you don't have the right size you need something bigger we're gonna make a little circle template so I've got one of these I don't love it's like a paint stirrer or paint mixer whatever you want to call it and what I'm doing is I am just gonna mark the center of this go ahead on both sides make sure it's straight and you're gonna draw a line along the center let's do that right now just line that up I'm gonna draw a straight line right here and as then we're gonna go ahead and we're gonna make a notch whatever half an inch or however wherever you want to make those marks so I'm just gonna go ahead and mark that every half or quarter of an inch along there and then after that we're gonna get our drill and we're gonna just drill where those crosses meet whether the notches meet Plus that centre line we're gonna go ahead and do that put the whole piece of wood right there and there you go we have that and if you want you can sand it to kind of get some of that stuff out of there but that's pretty much the gist of it okay let's test this thing out so we've got our pencil and I've got a little thumbtack that I'm gonna put on the end and then I'm just gonna kind of rotate it around there I guess you kind of got to wash your hand it takes a little practice but you'll get used to it after a while and then with some practice you'll get some good circles and finally we reach art hack number twelve the noodle caddy so you can get a pool noodle or one of these it's kind of like a foam installation for pipes I like those it's kind of if you want to serve more of a black look or if you want something fun actually the colorful one might look better than the underground layer but I'm gonna use this one because I think most people probably prefer this and basically what you're gonna do is cut along this now this is a hack that I got I pretty much stole up to my friend Cory Kerr who did a video showing me this and I thought it was so ingenious so anyway so yeah so you can see this has sort of a line you can cut through it's kind of marked but it's not cut all the way through so you're just gonna cut that down the center and same thing with if it is a pool noodle you'll have to make your own line but there you go and that kind of opens up now that you do that what you want to do is you want to just go through and we're cutting a lot of notches on these videos so we're cutting more notches so just go ahead and just wherever you want kind of spaced them out but we're gonna cut notches there and it should look a little like this when you're done now all we're gonna do is we're just gonna pop that on to the side of our art desk we've got a nice little thing it might even work on the bottom like it is separate one in the bottom is like if you want to rest your wrist on it but anyway so those little notches we cut now we can just put our tools in there so they're just kind of readily available for us to grab and I don't know I kind of like this this tip it's a great one so thanks Cory for that once again I'm feeling generous so I'm gonna throw you a bonus hack so this is one of my favorite tools this is a map ruler and it you know it just rolls down your page and you can make all your lines but it's just perfect with these this is one of those things where you should get a good one all right there are some cheaper ones out there and they're not great but you know if you can't get one of these I've got a hack for this so how we gonna make our own rolling room let's put you this out so what we're gonna do is we are gonna grab our ruler we're gonna get some duct tape good old duct tape and how about a couple hot wheel cars and we're gonna make our own roller ruler so you probably guess where I'm going with this we're gonna stick some duct tape on there we're gonna duct take those best ruler right onto our Hot Wheel cars and there we go it rolls up and down almost as good as the regular map ruler how about that vroom vroom all right so there you go that's 12 more art hacks to add to your arsenal of course there's those bonuses at the end and if you work really sure that last bonus was kind of a joke all right I think that's not really a you know taping hot little cars to a ruler this is not really something I would probably recommend and they're probably doesn't work very well but anyway but I do recommend getting one of those rolling rulers so yeah those are the tips yeah so if you guys I assume you're watching this probably interested in comics or whatever so if you've got your own art hacks let me know in the comment section also I want to let you know that I do comics as well this is my comic book young and the dead it's a kid purses ami story it's like Goonies meets nine Living Dead this is the third issue I am working on the fourth issue hopefully you'll be done soon and you'll probably see more of that progress on this channel as I try to wrap everything up and get that stuff complete but anyway that's all I have for this video I will see you guys later that is all hey everyone thanks for joining me here in the art lab there's a lot other great content on the channel so click that subscribe button and you won't miss a thing if you're an aspiring evil genius visit Supercop for all your mad science supply needs and if you want to contact me hit me up in the comments section and follow me on social media I'm looking forward to it I'll see you then


  • Amanda Goodman says:

    With the iPad one the app store actually has free lightbox apps. I use one of them as lightbox and it's great and very bright so you don't have to dim any lights. And it also locks the screen so you're not pressing buttons on accident.

  • Zakary DeLaura says:

    That Lobo looks sweet. Where can I see it complete?

  • slightlylifted says:

    I love how the studio looks like Nickelodeon built it. Great video!!!

  • Lucas Oliveira says:

    Since where i live there are no brush pen for sale i was realy loking for a way to make one myself…so far havent found any thing…yet

  • Francisco Dá F says:


  • Eric Cantwell says:

    Been really happy with this as a light table. Plugs into your usb. Thin and light. Costs $24 on Amazon.

  • JEG says:

    Hey at 430….is that lobo?

  • Aaron Wood says:

    When I was a kid we didn’t call it “a hack” we called it “MacGuyver-ing”

  • Madelyn Janelle Art says:

    Yaaayyy! I love traditional but trying tgi learn digital (ish) but these are great! Keep it up!

  • Mary Marck says:

    I loved both of these hack videos! Something that I saw a manga artist use was a tiny hand-held mirror (like a makeup or compact mirror) to quickly hold over a page and check proportions and such. I got a tiny one to keep in my pencil jar and I use it all the time! Also: keeping a big brush nearby for brushing off eraser dust (so that my hand doesn't smudge or grease up the page.)

  • Cartoon Eric says:

    I like to mix it up with digital and traditional. Want to call it "Tradigital"? =P

  • Jacob Staten says:

    I find it faster easier to control, using traditional tools and techniques, then enhancing it later digitally if need be.
    As for buying better stuff, like you said, it may not be an option because of cost or access. "Poor is the carpenter that blames his tools."

  • Matthew Enstrom says:

    Great video Scott, will be using some of these as I am in the process of thee 100s. Keep up the great videos.

  • Benny Vermeulen says:

    Faber castel, is a good choice for a pen, also recommended by Ethan Van Sciver and Jimmy Reyes (both professional comic book artists and inker).

  • laup2ev says:

    Tip 11 – Wouldn't using a bow compass be easier?

  • No More BS Please says:

    Ammonia isn't very good for removing ink. An acetone or alcohol would be better. Definitely don't use acetone on an abs brush handle or bristles.

  • Michael Oxley says:

    Very fun! I'm going to use the bottle cap/magnet idea. Thanks!

  • DeeDee McGovern says:

    Ick cap soda cap nice idea

  • DeeDee McGovern says:

    A vecro dot too for ink cap

  • Victor Rodriguez says:

    Great hacka

  • The Ovni says:

    Nice hacks ! Thanks for your videos, they are really instructive !

  • LadyDate says:

    You can use rubbing alcohol to clean off (and sometimes thin down) ink on quill and dip pens.

  • Cory Kerr says:

    Great video, I expect it’ll blow up. Also, I was cracking up at the hot wheels.

  • Pete Marquez says:

    Thanks again for all the great hacks!

  • n1ghtmar3w0lf says:

    i find with sharpies the blacks are slightly different depending on the pen, meaning the black of a fine tip is slightly different then a larger one, plus at times layering them makes it much more solid

  • Gregory Giordano says:

    Good info, man! Some related info-
    HACK #5: Comic Page Template hack, FYI– the paper used for the pre-printed Strathmore comic paper is 200 series "bristol", but is more like printing Bristol rather than drawing bristol, in other words, card stock. Unfortunately, Strathmore does not use actual drawing paper for the pre-ruled boards. The yellow pad you're using is 300 series or student grade Bristol Board. So, to be honest, the pad you're using is better than the other product– it's real drawing bristol, formulated and surfaced for the job. You will get even better results spending more cash on 400 series, but that's not this tutorial. So you're better off hacking your own boards!

    7. Archival inks: Not only are sharpies (and most solvent/alchohol markers) a bad idea for archival purposes, they will not just fade, but stain! I've seen allot of original art made in the 80's-on made with sharpies and other similar pens, they turn yellow, green or fade away, PLUS leave ugly yellow or purple blooming bleeds! sometimes up to 1 inch from the lines or black fills! It's not worth it if you want to extend the sales life and general archiving of the original art.


  • Nephtalie Albert says:

    Hey Scott, if I can't afford ink, can I use brush pens for my comics? What do you think of templates for drawing? I have a learning disability, so I'm trying to find ways to learn how to draw.

  • Darris779 (Darris D Armstrong) says:

    I desperately need that ruler!

  • H.C.BrownDeadAccount says:

    18:39 that’s genius omg

  • fairz animations says:

    nice cool job liked

  • Rory Herman says:

    Matchbox ruler is Awesome!

  • ICT VINNY says:

    I know you've talked about fan art in your other videos, but you should really consider doing some fan art stuff on the side. your LOBO drawings are pretty cool…..

  • Mike Emeritz says:

    Those Lobo pages are freaking awesome!

  • ICT VINNY says:

    2nd! 😛

  • Dark Voider says:


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