Using Calligraphy Pens for Inking Borders: Intro to Comic Craft

Love comics?  Check out mine! 7" Kara is now a webcomic!

For this tutorial, we're using the technical pen style calligraphy pen- technical pen body with a large chisel tip ranging from 1mm to 3mm.

Two Type Types:
  • Bullet
  • Chisel

Two Ink Types
  • Pigment (Micron)
  • Dye Based (Marvy, Kuretake)

Finding pigment based calligraphy pens can be somewhat difficult, especially in larger sizes like 5mm. 

Sakura makes some Calligraphy pens, but the sizes are a bit deceptive- the 3mm is smaller than 3mm.


Calligraphy pens:
I recommend sizes 1mm-3mm
Ruler- I recommend a clear ruler
Pencil- I recommend a harder lead, 2H or so

I'm using:

The process:

Before I put things into (sometimes indelible) ink, I like to draw my borders in pencil first.  I begin with the exterior page borders, then work my way in to pencil the panel borders, then finally narration borders and word balloons (word balloons in Cicada Summer are inked with a fude pen).

Once my page's borders have been pencilled, I go over everything with ink.

When inking in panel borders, line up your inking edge towards the OUTSIDE of the paper.  Should you slip up, your mistake will be outside of your panels, and thus easier to correct.

After you ink a border, I highly recommend you wipe down your straight edge with a paper towel to remove excess ink and prevent smearing.

For the interior of the page, I can switch to my smaller clear ruler, which allows me to better line up my borders.  For the majority of panel borders, I use a 1mm bullet nib Pigma, as these borders are less important.  Larger borders should be reserved for emphasis.

As with the exterior borders, every time I pull a line, I wipe down my ruler to prevent smearing.

When drawing in borders, I make sure to leave gaps where the figure breaks the border.  Once the figure is penciled and inked, I can go back and tighten the borders so the lines match up.

In the future, I'd love to experiment with a Pilot Parallel filled with pigment ink (like Platinum Carbon Black) or used as a dip pen, or a wide tape nib.  For now though, calligraphy technical pens are great- no seeping under the ruler, very little mess, inexpensive, and I recommend you try them for your panel borders!  My preference are pigment based, as they're less prone to smearing once dry, so if you can find some, pick them up and give them a shot!

This topic is demonstrated in the video:

Cicada Summer: Pencils and Inks


Popular Posts