Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Joshua Barkman

Joshua Barkman

Cartoonist (False Knees)

Posted in cartoonist

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Joshua Barkman and I make the comic False Knees.

What hardware do you use?

All of my comics start with pencil on paper at my small, glass, drafting table. I'm not super picky about pencils, though I have been favouring Castell for years. I use hot press watercolour paper for its smooth texture (good for pen flow). I'll usually be using some collection of reference photos found on the internet or taken myself for animals or environments, which I'll have up on my desktop computer (iMac). I'll then apply India ink using dipped ink nibs for all text and most linework, switching off with Pigma Microns and other fine pens. After waiting for the ink to dry, I erase all the pencil mess and start to colour using gouache. I used to use watercolour paint, but switched to gouache a couple of years ago because I find it more versatile. It can behave much like watercolour if you add enough water, or closer to acrylic if you use it straight out of the tube. I haven't tested enough paint brands to have any preference. They all get the job done.

Also, I sit on a Tempurpedic chair now, which I think is just as important as all my other tools.

Once I've agonized over the comic's appearance for too long, I scan it using my old Canon 4-in-1 (also works as a fax machine!) at 600dpi. I then switch over to an older Wacom Intuos tablet for making any digital changes.

And what software?

I use Photoshop (no longer pirated) to blacken blacks, whiten whites, saturate colours, fix any smudges, move text around, and occasionally to colour backgrounds. From there, I'll make smaller copies of the file for the Internet while saving the original for print. I change the format of my comics depending on where they will be uploaded. Currently, that amounts to 3 different formats across 8 platforms. If I feel like the comic would make a nice print, I will put it up in my store at this point.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup is pretty close to what I have. I'm very fortunate to have a room dedicated to my work. However, I could always use more windows and more wilderness. My dream is actually to need fewer pieces of equipment to make art so I could be more mobile and work while I travel. I would prefer to skip the whole digital side of my comic process so all I need is paper and ink and paint.