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A picture of Andreas Schuster

Andreas Schuster


in cartoonist, illustrator, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Andreas Schuster, I'm a German-born cartoonist that is currently living and working out of Toronto. I mostly work in anything around illustration and story, be it storyboard, comic or general development of characters and assets.

What hardware do you use?

My computer base is my MacBook Pro, 13 inch, from 2010. I have given it its max of 8 gigs of ram and a 250 gig SSD hard drive. I'm also using a second monitor to be able to paint in a bigger resolution than the actual 13 inch screen.

My main tool for drawing nowadays is the Wacom Intuos 3.

Most used hardware that does not need electric power:

  • A small Moleskine and a mechanical pencil (0.7 lead) that is never further than 2 meters away from me. Without them, I would never remember gags, solutions to problems, or the groceries I need to pick up.
  • Also in frequent use: cheap copy paper that I print my storyboard/comic panels on with my red pencil that I use for sketching. Red makes it easier to get rid of later when I'm inking in Photoshop.
  • And of course Google Docs to write notes once and loads of post-its everywhere to write them again and again.

And what software?

Process-wise, most ideas either start with a crude sketch on a piece of paper (more an idea recording than a real drawing) or directly in Photoshop. The more story needs be told, the more planing (sketching) needs to be done BEFORE I sit down in front of the machine.

Photoshop is sometimes TOO powerful and it's easy to get lost in the realm of infinite possibility. So yeah... the more complex the drawing need to be, the more I need to know before heading into Adobe land.

I have my own swatches set up as well as my own shortcuts and brushes. The shortcuts are set in a way so that I can have my left hand using the keyboard while the right is holding the Wacom pen. So "resize brush" for example is "A" or "Zoom IN" is Command + A.

It helps also to use the English keyboard layout. The German keyboard has Z in the place of Y and that makes UNDO (Command + Z) into a painful finger split.

Other than Photoshop, Flash is used to create vector graphics and of course animation. Nothing fancy here as Flash does not allow tinkering with shortcuts. And InDesign for creating Books and PDFs for print.

I tend to update my Adobe software often, but it's all CS5 as 5.5 did not bring anything that I cared for to the table.

What would be your dream setup?

Something great would be a PC desktop that I could update myself (I used to build my own PCs until I jumped on the Mac wagon in 2010) that STILL runs Mac OS X without having to use Hackintosh stuff. Linux would be fine as well once Adobe supports it.

Drawing-wise, a Wacom that is touch sensitive while not making mistakes would be great but honestly, I'm happy with my "old" Intuos 3.

A ton of printing ink in a great printer so I can print drawings and sketches to get a better feel for size and colour relations in print.

A constant stream of Moleskine sketchbooks that arrive at my house so I never run out of them while sitting in the subway with THE BEST idea for a gag ever.

A new batch of Netflix movies every time I check back into their site!