I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the weird tools I use to draw comics. Most of my tools are pretty typical of things you might associate with making art: brushes, pencils, paper, watercolor paint. But I have a few tools that I really enjoy that many people may have never seen before.
The first tool I want to talk about is the "Painting Pen". I didn't know this thing existed until Riley Rossmo mentioned it on Twitter. I ordered one from Dick Blick the same day. A paint pen is basically a itty-bitty bucket with a teensy-tiny pipe sticking out the end. You can fill it up with ink, watercolor, thin oil paint, just about anything that is watery enough to flow out the end.
I've had it for a couple months now and it is hands down the best tool I have ever found for ruling my panel borders. I have used tons of different tools trying to find one that is easy to use and would give me the results I want, a clean, fat line. Microns, Rapidograph, ruling pens, nibs, they all failed me. But the Paint Pen is so simple and so easy to use and gives me such a nice line that I don't think I'll use anything else for a long time.
Using an eyedropper, drip 2 or 3 drops into the itty-bitty bucket. Scribble on a scrap piece of paper until the ink begins to flow out the tip. The surface tension of the ink should be enough to keep the ink from just falling out of the bottom. You might have to lightly tap the pen on the paper to get the ink flowing. Once the pen is ready, you can start drawing to your hearts content. It makes a thick, dead line that is perfect for panel borders but kind of terrible for everything else. The weird, bent handle is great for drawing lines with a ruler but is somehow awkward to use when drawing any other kind of line.
Cleanup is easy: I run it under some water and wipe the bucket out with a paper towel or a little bit of toilet paper. Once it's pretty clean, I'll blow through the bucket forcing out any remaining water or ink out of the tip. It's made of brass so it won't rust. It also comes with a little "cleaning tool" that is basically a tiny piece of wire that you can stick in there to clean out the spout.
So that's the painting pen. Let me know what you think if you use one.