Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Matthew Bogart

Matthew Bogart

Cartoonist (The Chairs' Hiatus and Oh, It's the End of the World)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Matthew Bogart. I'm a cartoonist who makes comics about regular people which sometimes involve rock stars, rocket ships, and jet packs. I wrote and drew the graphic novel The Chairs' Hiatus about the relationship between two girls, two best friends, who also happen to be rock stars. I'm currently five issues into Oh, It's the End of the World which is about two teenagers in love during the apocalypse.

What hardware do you use?

I've written and drawn most of my comics using a 13-inch 1.8ghz i5 MacBook Air with 4GB of RAM and 120GB SSD and Cintiq 21WX. Recently I bought a Surface Pro 3 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage in order to draw while away from my desk. It's been working out okay. The feel of drawing isn't what I'm used to with the Cintiq, so I still use that when I'm at home, but it's great to be able to get out of the house and get work done. Switching back to Windows has been a struggle that I'm not sure I'll get used to, but it's not been as bad as I thought it would be.

Everything I do is digital. I realized after completing The Chairs' Hiatus that not a single line of it was done on paper. Everything from first notes about the idea for the book to the finished pages was done digitally.

To read comics I use a 16GB Retina iPad Mini because it's light, small enough to take everywhere and I love iOS. That said, the Surface Pro 3 makes digital comics look gorgeous and the screen is huge. I'm excited to transition some of my reading onto it.

And what software?

To write, I switch between several Mac applications. My most used apps, roughly in order of how often I use them are Byword, WorkFlowy, Scrivener, and Celtx Desktop.

To draw I use Manga Studio 5 with the hopes of upgrading to 5EX. I use SketchUp to create virtual sets that I use for background reference. I avoid Photoshop as best I can.

To read comics I use ComiXology and Comic Zeal.

I publish new pages of my comics every couple of days on my site, which is powered by Squarespace. Once a new chapter is complete I package it together as an ebook and offer it for sale on Gumroad. I also use ComiXology Submit to get my work into the ComiXology store.

I've never had a more rewarding experience making digital comics than I've had on Patreon, where I post explanations of my process as well as occasional video tutorials on how I use my tools.

Other software not directly related to making comics that I would have a hard time living without includes, 1Password for making the management of hundreds of passwords simple, Alfred for getting almost anything done on my Mac faster, DragonDrop for making working with files in full screen mode on OS X possible, Day One for reminding me that my life is actually happening, OmniFocus for making it all seem manageable, TextExpander oh, just go get Text Expander, and Instapaper so the best stuff on the web doesn't speed right by me.

What would be your dream setup?

I want a touch sensitive tablet running OS X or iOS that draws as nicely as my Cintq, and runs software as fully featured for making comics as Manga Studio. I don't see it happening any time soon. The Surface Pro 3 is the closest I've found but doing anything but drawing is no fun on it.

I love exploring new technology. I'm always searching for that one elusive gadget that will let me create better comics faster. Truth be told however, all I really need is a ream of paper, a pencil and a pen. Even then the pencil is optional.

That's one of the best parts about comics as a medium. Anybody can make them using very, very little.

Part of the job I ask my gadgets to do is to be like Tom Sawyer. I want them to trick me into thinking that whitewashing the fence is fun. I want them to trick me into doing the work. That's fine. Whatever works.