The Eyes Have It.

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

After twenty-four-ish years of pencil, ink and paper, I am seriously considering getting a Cintiq. Actually…I’m not really considering it…I’m going for it. For all you non-techie people, that means I would be creating my comics digitally. No more hard copy.


It makes me a little sad to have come to this decision, to tell the truth.  I like having original copies of my strips. I like inking on paper.  I love looking at the original art of other cartoonists. I’m fascinated by the faint erased pencil lines, the white-out, the cut and paste to cover mistakes. I consider it a bonus to see original comics that have little notations on the side of their panels.   Comic art is distinct in the way that you can see the process and the finished piece of art all at the same time.

Terri Libenson (Pajama Diaries) got a Cintiq a few years ago and says she fell in love with it.  She kept saying how much time it saved her.  I didn’t really understand how a Cintiq worked and couldn’t imagine that it would really that make that much difference. Jonathan Mahood (Bleeker) uses a Cintiq as well.  Recently, he even bought the Companion which is a smaller version of the Cintiq.  I still didn’t pay too much attention. (Jonathan has been chastising me for years for still using a mouse to photoshop my comics…he insists Carpal Tunnel is in my future)

So what has finally made me actually open my mind and really start looking into this whole Cintiq-business?  Two words: Rina Piccolo.

At a recent cartoonist get-together she was so enthusiastic about having bought the Companion Cintiq, I just had to start paying attention.

I won’t go into all the details…but what really hooked me was being able to enlarge the image you are drawing. Over the years I’ve gone from 20/20 to needing glasses when my eyes got tired to needing glasses all the time to using a magnifier to work on smaller details. I’ve begun to feel that some aspects of my comics-drawing are beginning to suffer and I don’t like it. (Using the magnifier helps but it’s a pain-in-the-butt.)

There are other plus factors…no more erasing (you wouldn’t believe how much time that takes) and no scanning.  I take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to photoshop 6 dailies. Paul Gilligan (Pooch Cafe) and John Martz (A Cat Named Tim) both looked at me in horror when I told them that.  Waaaaaaaaay too much time, they said. (Okay, Jonathan…I KNOW the mouse has got to go too)

So…I am going to pull myself into 2014 (yeah, I know it’s almost over and everyone is light years ahead of me) and embrace the digital.


It’s going to make my originals a lot more special…to me, I mean. Progress creates nostalgia.

Now…to face that dang learning curve….