August 29th, 2015
by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne
Cartoonists are frequently asked what kinds of tools they use. Dik’s favorite pen point was a Gillott #170 and his preferred ink was Higgins. Here is a Sunday page from 1980 that features some of his finest rendering.
“Work has never been a big deal with me,” he claimed in an interview. “It’s fun and I love it and I do it about as well as I do anything – a whole lot better than I play golf. It’s sort of my form of crocheting.”
When Dik began illustrating Hi and Lois in 1954, he developed a style that was clean and round, closely reflecting the warm, tight-knit family theme of the feature. His talent for fine pen-and-ink detail was most evident in the beautiful outdoor scenes like the one above.
When he created Hagar the Horrible in 1973, the strip demanded a cruder, bolder approach. He aged his ink to a gunky consistency to get a rough-hewn line. This was more of his signature style.
“Your lines should not look too slick,” he explained. “They should look like a human being drew them.” Dik is remembered by his peers as the “cartoonists’ cartoonist.” His lines seemed to flow effortlessly from his pen. He was a natural.
– Brian Walker
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