Horn draws all over The Rack

I’m sure many of you have seen my recent guest-artist run with comic writer Kevin Church (The Rack — Halloweek). If not… GO THERE FIRST BEFORE YOU READ ANY MORE OF THIS.

This is Kevin’s and my third annual Halloween collaboration, and since I detailed how I create Cool Jerk a few months back, I though I’d share how I did these strips for Kevin. It was a bit of a departure for me, in several ways.

Lookin' Sharp(ie)

First, I’m working with someone. Crazy! Kevin types up his screenplay (for lack of a better layman term), detailing each panel, caption and sound effect. Kevin even went so far as to include hyperlinks to source images, in the event I didn’t know what type of gun or video game I was supposed to draw. So for this Halloweek, there were five screenplays.

Another difference from my Standard Operating Procedure is that I’m working with characters not my own. Now, this happens all the time in comic books, but rarely for me. So I plowed through The Rack Year One (Mostly), Kevin and regular series artist Benjamin Birdie’s first volume of The Rack, and worked up my own variations of his characters. It’s kind of fun to play in someone else’s sandbox every now and then!*

The most-obvious aspect of Halloweek that differs sharply from Cool Jerk is… Sharpies. When I cartoon for myself, I use brush and ink; always have (well, since 1988… and I use Koh-I-Noor rapidographs or Sakura Pigma Micron pens for Doc Splatter). But, a couple years ago, I did the 24 Hour Comics Day challenge all in Sharpies. It allows me to adopt a loose and manic style which works great for Doc Splatter, plus it saves my hand from cramping up (which can happen if I use the brush for too long). Each Halloweek strip is about 98% Sharpie, and 2% Photoshop trickery and retouching.

Finally, The Rack uses a Comicraft font called Monologous. Thing is, Monologous doesn’t have a lowercase, so I have to use Comicraft’s BlahBlahBlah for those instances. (I also snuck in a tiny bit of Hornopolis hee hee. Look for it.)

The actual cartooning process was similar to Cool Jerk. Penciled roughs, printed panels, lightbox, Macintosh post-production, etc.

Click it to huge it up!


Thanks to Kevin for another harrowing week outside my comfort zone, and to Benjamin Birdie for clearing a week from your regular schedule.

*I recently did an illustration for Sarah Kuhn of her characters, featured in her witty and delightful book One Con Glory.


  1. Tana says:

    Wow, I had no idea how much work went into creating a comic strip! That’s awesome, Paul!

  2. Simon E. says:

    Thanks for another funny and good post. Geezo, you’ve been hella busy this month!

  3. Alma Nilson says:

    I like how Cool Jerk looks, but there’s something really cool about how your Sharpie cartoons turned out. I’ll check out The Rack for more comics (yet another one to add to the weekly list!)

  4. Elevator Eyes says:

    I wonder how Cool Jerk would look Sharpie-style? Have you ever done that?

  5. CopyThat says:

    Miss working with you at the YouTee, but I’m really happy to see you do something you really love (and it seems like Kevin’s a better boss than >ahem< others you’ve had ;) )

  6. Harmony the Girl Genius says:

    Ooo it’s weird to see you draw other characters besides your own. AND in Sharpie! I like it!

  7. Alex says:

    Nice job!

  8. Amanda says:

    I feel like I’m always looking for interesting things to read about a variety of subjects, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have honest entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more amazing material coming!

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