Install Theme

Katherine K. Wirick


The finished page!

Dad’s funeral is next weekend, and I’m really too tired from planning that to write up any kind of analysis, but here are links to all the progress posts: workspace, roughs, panel borders, detailed discussion of roughs, pencils closeup, pencils, line art, ink wash video.

Here’s the video. If I’d realized how much time I’d have to spend listening to my own voice, I would’ve made my husband edit it for me.

The whole page is done now, except for some digital cleanup—I’ll post it this weekend, probably.



When I get to the ink wash on this page, I was thinking of having my husband shoot a video of me while I work on it. Just a short thing, a couple of minutes, explaining what I do, and then I’d put it up here. Would anybody be interested in that?

Pencils! This page got delayed by some heavy-duty family stuff I have going on, but it always feels good to get through a stage of the process. (Taken with Instagram)

Let’s talk about roughs

I used to be super lazy about doing roughs. In fact (confession time), when I was an undergrad taking comic book illustration, I used to go straight to pencils, then lay a sheet of vellum on top and reverse-engineer my marker roughs in the ten minutes before class. This was bad, boys and girls! Roughs are VERY IMPORTANT.

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Today I am drawing panel borders! I use a ruler to measure them out, but I ink them freehand. My lines are always a little wobbly but I like them that way. 

George Grosz used to draw with bamboo pens. I’m, um, not George Grosz (they are unforgiving), but I like the bamboo pen for inking borders because it gives you a line of even width, like a Copic marker, and you can use it with any ink you like. India ink dries fast and is waterproof, so when I start painting these panels, the borders aren’t going to budge. I use undiluted ink for my borders and line work.

Roughs are done! (Taken with Instagram)


Sorry about the low-quality photos. I would have used a real camera, but I am visiting my mother and have installed a temporary studio in my childhood bedroom, and you know I’m telling the truth about that because only a 13-year-old would have picked out that wallpaper.

Shown here, at very low resolution, are all the tools I use to make a page of NERVENKRANK:

Cup of clean water
Blue painter’s tape
Panel templates
Kneaded erasers
Pencil sharpener
Prismacolor pencils
—Light, medium & dark shades
—I use this for roughs; it is extremely cheap
—Contains most of my reference photos
Arches watercolor block
—9x12” 140lb hot press
—This is where final pencils and inks happen
Watercolor brushes, size 00
—I do my linework in these
Incredible Nib
—For applying masking fluid
Bamboo pen
—For drawing panel borders
Watercolor brushes, misc sizes
Butter knife
—I use this to cut finished pages off the watercolor block
—Palette knives also work; X-Acto knives are too sharp
Copic pen, size 0.7
—I letter with this
2B pencils
Dr. Martin’s Bombay Black India ink
—This is the only black ink I use, ever, no exceptions
Watercolor brushes, large
4 pre-mixed ink wash tones
—These are made from Dr. Martin’s ink and water
Jar of Windex
—Did you know you don’t have to buy that expensive blue cleaner they sell at Blick to get India ink off your nibs and brushes? Windex works great!

In future posts I’m going to go through my process step by step.

Couple rough panels from page 7.

Rough for page 8. Made possible by the generous assistance of Andrew Wyeth, James Whistler and Camille Corot.

Page one, roughs to final. I do my roughs in colored pencil on a really cheap sketchpad, and my final pages in India ink on hot press watercolor paper. Aside from the panel borders, all the inking gets done with brushes.

I really need to pick a title for this thing…

(Links to higher-res versions, because my theme inexplicably doesn’t show them: roughs, final.)