Below are some of the tools used in creating cartoons:


It is good to keep a few sharpened 2B pencils handy, because they go blunt very quickly. Some cartoonists use mechanical pencils with soft lead refills so that they do not need to sharpen. Or you may prefer to use a softer pencil or even a carbon stick for ease of use. Some delicate work may be done on harder pencil leads. Color pencils, oil pastels and chalk pastels are also used.

pencil and eraser

pencil and eraser


Pens come in a variety of types. The normally recommended pens have replaceable nibs and are dipped in ink. The replaceable nibs come in a number of shapes, namely flat, pointed, round, and oval. Some prefer to use fountain pens, eliminating the need to dip in inkbottles. Mechanical pens with replaceable cartridges have also come into use by some cartoonists, Felt pens have also been introduced.

Very often, the pens to be used have to do with the inks. Pens to be used with waterproof inks generally need to be washed each time they are used. Dip pens are ideal for waterproof inks. For fountain pens or felt tip pens, unless you are careful to close the caps tightly each time they are stored, there is a danger of the ink becoming hardened and spoil the pen.

pen and nib

pen and nib


Inks are normally black. However, you have to test them out to see how well they reproduce in a printed page. The inks are either permanent or not. It is normally recommended to use permanent inks for all drawings. This is especially so when you are adding color into your drawings. The waterproof permanent ink will not smear.


Paperweights used by cartoonist range from light to heavy and their textures ranged from smooth to rough.

When using lightweight papers, you cannot do watercolor washes on it because the paper will curl. However, the advantage of using light papers is the ease of using light boxes for tracing.

Heavy papers take watercolor washes very well.

Smooth papers are excellent for pen and ink renderings, while rough papers are good for pencil, carbon, or pastels.

Rough papers come in a variety of textures.

Tracing papers are very useful for drawing rough drafts, especially when they are used together with light boxes.

Poor quality papers like newsprint, or even napkins are sometimes used for roughs.

Some of the papers used are:

Bristol, thick and heavy, postcard weights. Good for ink, and will not curl under watercolor wash.

Vellum, semi-smooth or transparent. Good for ink and wash.

Charcoal, coarse, good tooth. Good for pencil and rough ink line.

Coated, extremely smooth. Good for ink, pencil, markers, and wash.

Construction, rough and absorbent. Good for pencil.

Newsprint, poor quality. Good for sketching and layout.

Bond, good quality. Good for sketching, layout, and finished work. Tend to curl on washes.


Brushes are used to lay up watercolor washes on the drawings. Many artists use small brushes for line drawings in place of pens. The effect is usually a loose, uncontrolled line style. Choose a brush which hold its point well.



Other tools

Some of the tools that are useful for the cartoonists are:

Correction fluid for blanking off any small mistakes in ink lines

Pencil sharpener for pencils.

Cutting knife for cutting away stencil shapes, especially when doing airbrush work or special texture effects.

Eraser for removing pencil lines.

Masking tape for stencil work.

Cotton gloves to prevent smudging pencil work.

Air brush equipment if the budget permits.

Light box for ease of tracing