Step By Step Process
Step 1: Penciling the Artwork
Stan uses a mechanical pencil with HB lead. For paper, he uses a 2-ply cold press (kid finish) Strathmore 500 series bristol, 11 x 17 inches, with a 10 x 15 inch image area.
Step 2: Hand Lettering
Aside from creating his masterpiece series “Usagi Yojimbo“, Stan is also an award winning letterer. This is what he uses: Aames Lettering Guide set at 3.25, and Rotring Sketch Pens with M or B nibs. He also makes sure to discard the cartridges they come with, and uses an ink adapter which allows him to fill them with his own ink.
Fun Fact: Stan lettered the Sunday Spiderman comic strip for Stan Lee and letters for Groo by Sergio Aragones.
Step 3: The Word Balloons
For the word balloons, Stan first pencils with templates then freehands it using a Koh-I-Noor Art pen. The version that Stan uses is very rare but essential for his unique style and feel.
Step 4: The Panel Border
Switching to a 1.0 technical pen and using a straight-edge, Stan creates the border. Notice that he switches to a different pen to achieve a different depth line for the border.
Step 5: Foreground Characters
Stan then switches back to a Koh-I-Noor Art Pen. He is especially fond of these pens and has commented that they have a nice flex to the nibs that give a nice variation in line weight. Unfortunately, these pens were discontinued about 15 years ago. Additionally, the ink he uses is the Badger Black Opaque (old formula), which is the old FW ink formula. Yet again, the old inks were discontinued and changed to an acrylic base which is rather unsatisfactory. It doesn’t have the same quality as the older formula.
Step 6: Coloring the Black Spots
The blacks are spotted with a Pentel Brush Pen filled with Badger Black Opaque (old formula). A benefit of these pens is that they have bristles, so as long as you cap them correctly, you don’t have to wash them.
Step 7: Details
He switches from the Pentel Brush back to the using both of the Koh-I-Noor art pens. Using his expertise, he intuitively switches between the new and old Koh-I-Noor pens depending on the need.
Step 8: Finishing Up and White Color
Lastly, Stan uses Cel Vinyl to ensure that any corrections are corrected. He also uses the Cel Vinyl to emphasize the white color and make it “pop.” Thanks go to Lynn Johnston and Jeff Smith for the tip.