Five Cartooning Tools That Don’t Get Any Respect

My paper, pencils and pens are probably the stars of my cartooning supplies. The laptop and scanner are right in there too, as is the graphics tablet I use for my color work.

But recently I found myself contemplating some of my less flashy tools. Steady workhorses that, while lacking the panache of a sexy brush pen, show up every day and quietly help me ink out a living.

So, here they are in no particular order…

#1 – Pencil Sharpener

Pencil Sharpener

Oh how I love this little guy. I’m a sharp pencil junkie. I keep it by me while I’m sketching to keep my #2’s nice and sharp. It runs on 4 AA’s and has the great little smoked plastic reservoir to catch the shavings.

I recently bought my wife one for her classroom after I noticed several blunt nubs populating her desk on a recent visit.

#2 – Radio


I keep this on during the day and alternate between NPR, a few local radio shows and the Today show (Yep! It even gets TV stations!)

It sounds great for what it is and is small enough to carry around pretty easily.

(I also have its tub dwelling cousin to listen to in the shower!)

#3 – Address Stamp and Ink

Stamp & Ink

OK, this is kind of a twofer, but these two rely so heavily on each other that I had to list them together.

The address stamp had pounded my name and address on the the backs of untold thousands of cartoons as they leave the nest to make their way in the world. And the bottle if ink is still mostly full, even though I’ve been using it for years!

#4 – Polar Bear Pants


Yes, you read that correctly — polar bear pants!

This is my favorite pair of pants in all the world. Its ferocious fuzzy flannel has been my lower half’s choice for many moons.

Here’s a close up of the pattern.

With summer coming they’ll be packed away for a time, but come fall I look forward to rekindling our leggy romance.

Me doing my Sears catalog pose.

#5 – Coffee Table

Coffee Table
That’s Gillespie on the upper right.

My wife, son, dog, two cats and I live in a small three-bedroom ranch in the ‘burbs. I have my small office, but there’s not room enough for a proper drawing table.

When I first starting cartooning I had no idea if it would go anywhere, so all of my cartoons were drawn at this coffee table, where they continue to be produced to this day.

I sit on the floor with my back resting on the sofa and my legs Indian-style beneath the table. Believe it or not it’s really quite comfortable!

We’re probably going to be moving into a slightly larger house next summer (have I mentioned my 21-month old is a giant?), and I look forward to setting up a larger office with a fine drawing table, but this coffee table will always hold a special place in my heart and living room.

Well that feels good. I’m glad this stuff has finally gotten the attention it deserves. And now you’ve seen me in my polar bear pants!

Lucky you!

1 thought on “Five Cartooning Tools That Don’t Get Any Respect”

Comments are closed.