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My two giant moleskines, left side is just about full, right is a fresh new one.

About a year ago, I saw my cartoonist pal pick up one of these giant (11x17ish) moleskine sketchbooks, and was very jealous.  I got one for myself, and have been working on and off in it since then, including my two latest Disgusting Duck/Dumbass Dog comics, Gym Dandy and Dozens of Cousins.

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I started this one with the intention of doing a newspaper-style strip, then abandoned that and later filled the panels with lettering for a sign gag in a story.

Some experiments with grids, little one-off comics.

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An early attempt at a grid for Dozens of Cousins, which became much smaller/denser.

Finished comics pages, largely as they appear in final product.

wp-1458595018859.jpg wp-1458595028861.jpg A couple pages of ‘reshoots’ where I replace panels, drawings or lettering that didn’t work out the first time, and photoshop into final comic.

PROS: I love having my finished stories fit easily on a shelf in book format, rather than a stack of bristol, and it’s nice to be able to flip through in order.  It’s roughly 11×17″, so it’s perfect for drawing comics that shrink down to digest-size at 50%.

CONS: Somewhat difficult to scan large pages on standard-size scanner, though I’ve got it down at this point.  Paper is tough enough for a fair amount of pencilling/inking with Rapidographs and Pentel brush pen, but it gets torn up pretty easily when erasing, and the ink fades when erasing pencils.  I usually just go back over it, and wait until erasing is done for spot blacks.  It’s hard to use a light table with pages in a sketchbook, and sometimes it would be more helpful to hold up loose pages side-by-side than flipping through a book.  The intimidation factor of not wanting to mess up pages was huge at first, but once I figured out the dense pages, I got past it.

BOTTOM LINE: I still really like using these sketchbooks for stories, particularly these dense, dialogue-heavy, sparsely drawn Dog & Duck stories.  I could see switching back to bristol for something with more difficult drawings that would require a lot of reworking/use of light table/nib drawings.

Maybe this was interesting to you, if you work at Moleskine, feel free to send me a couple free ones for the good press (I like the Folio series drawing type).  48 pages (96 if you’ve got a light enough hand to use both sides of every page), they run about $40, and I’ve found them at Blick and like stores, or from Amazon.

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