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A picture of Julia Wertz

Julia Wertz

Cartoonist, writer, urban explorer

in cartoonist, explorer, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Julia Wertz, I'm a cartoonist, writer, and urban explorer. Basically, I draw doodles and write stuff, and explore and photograph abandoned places.

What hardware do you use?

For comics, I (now) almost exclusively use an iPad Pro. I refused to go digital for a long time, not because I thought pen and paper were superior, but because I didn't like the feel of any tablets I'd previously tried. Then I got the iPad and I haven't touched paper since. But when I was drawing on paper, I used Strathmore heavyweight drawing paper, a carbon nib pen, a mechanical pencil, and Microns. Microns are garbage pens that are ruined after two pages of inking, but I have never found a satisfactory replacement. Pitt pens come close, but not quite. It's difficult to explain why, but if you ask 5 cartoonists about it, at least 3 will agree. The other two probably ink with a feather quill or some shit.

For urban exploring, I use (or should say used, since I don't really do it much anymore. I'm a mom now and that means I have to "be careful" and "not do crimes.") a variety of tools depending on where I am and how much breaking and entering is required. But I always made sure to have on me a small but strong flashlight, a headlamp, a camera, and mostly importantly, a Leatherman Skeletool. I don't know where my camera is anymore but it was just a cheap SRL with a slightly nicer lens. I love taking photos but I didn't seem to have the patience to really learn photography beyond the basics.

And what software?

On the iPad I use Procreate and Affinity Designer. I appreciate the simplicity of Procreate, but Affinity handles large files much better. On my desktop computer I (unfortunately) still use Photoshop even though I'm always threatening to learn a different program because their subscription only model is a total scam.

What would be your dream setup?

A small back-house studio in a backyard of my house (I do not own a house, that's also part of the fantasy here) with a drawing desk, a drafting table, and a standing desk. A giant, fancy, wooden flat file for my original art. A lofted bed area, a small kitchen and a bathroom. Plants everywhere. It could double as a guest house, if we're ever allowed to have guests over again (fuck you, Covid.)

But more pragmatically, I'd just settle for having my own studio space in a small room again. My studio is currently also my partner's work-from-home space and where we change the baby's diapers. And soon it'll be the baby's room so RIP a space of one's own.