From the Desk of #6: Julia Wertz

I’m the last one to post my workspace, so I feel a lot of pressure to be fancy. I should have dressed my desk up like I was gonna take it to prom and get it pregnant. But fance ain’t part of my repertoire so instead the walls resemble a hoarder’s aesthetic paradise. So, on with the tour, intrepid voyeurs!

As far as I’m concerned, I have the best corner at Pizza Island. Sarah had it for year before I gleefully took it over. There are a few hours of afternoon sunlight that come in through the window just right so that it illuminates the thread in the paper and makes inking soooo satisfying. Also, torture on my back. Future riches are in wait for anyone who develops something to help cartoonists’ posture without actually making them change it!

These are the very simple tools of my trade. I’ve tinkered with extravagant things like nib pens, dip ink, brushes and other such artistic fanfare, but eventually realized the type of work I do is simple, and so need be my materials. I draw on Strathmore windpower with plain ole’ #2 pencils and sometimes mechanical pencils w/lead from Muji. That lead is about as complicated as my stuff gets, ever since the Pentel lead ingredients changed and got all waxy and stiff. I like soft, messy lead. I ink borders with a S Faber Castell and the comics with a .01 Micron. Microns are crap and the ink is subpar, but the felt tip is perfect so I compromise. Since I do only black and white, a cheap scanner works just fine.

Alright purists, get ready to soil your knickers…I don’t fill my blacks in by hand! Yup, that’s right, I only outline the art and then I fill all solid blacks in on photoshop. (unless I’m selling pages or panels or other artwork, obviously) The idea of doing this makes many a cartoonist churn in their grave, but I sleep just fine at night.

I spend a lot of time wasting time on the interent during the work day. Some of my favorite sites are the Comics Curmudgeon, Scouting NY, and, as of recently, Twitter. I used to be all “I haaaaate it” but now I’m like “I loooove it.” I also do the Set daily puzzle every morning but you don’t need to know that. (I can solve it in 50 seconds!) I also spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about Peter Pan old fashioned glazed donuts, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the internet. Sometimes I try to subconsciously persuade Domitille to bring them to the studio by beaming it into her brain but she’s not very receptive.

Enough art babble! Now indulge me as I tediously comb through my bulletin boards and surrounding wall hangings.

This is part of my “idea” board, or at least the part where I pin up ideas I scribbled on bits of napkins, receipts and paper. The one that consistently cracks me up is a little doodle of my brother saying, “you know what I hate? Things that are CRAP!” because when he said it in real life, he built it up like he was really going to blow my mind with something he uniquely despised, and then he said that and I was like, “who doesn’t?” That story was anti-climactic. There’s also some Tessa Bruton mice, a photobooth strip of Laura Park and me, a doodle my lil’ brother made of us jamming in the living room. He says I can’t say “jamming” which means I have to. Atop there’s Domitille and Tunde’s wedding invitation, which is so cute it hurts my tiny, cold heart. There’s also a hilarious poem from the Onion “by Dr. Suess,” as well as a smattering of water colors I did last year. 

This corner is full of sketches of my apartment from various angles, not because I need them for reference, but because used to never leave my apartment. Haha that’s sad. On the left there are some old timey illustrations ripped out of a book about the Gold Rush. Some of them are actually structured like comics and the art is pretty amazing, it’s very intricately detailed and crosshatched. I want to crawl inside those sketches and relapse on bathtub gin. 

I get some pretty entertaining fan mail at the studio and sometimes I pin them up when they make me laugh, like the postcard with cat stickers that just says “fuck you and your cat. Fuck it!” In the frame is a sketch from Al Columbia from his amazing book, Pim and Francie. To the left of that are some quick inkwashes I did for a kids book I’m slooooowly working on that takes place in New York and San Francisco in the late 1800’s. Once our landlord, whom we affectionally call Rad Dad, was snooping around and said, “ooooh, Muscle Boy!” and it was weird.

And to wrap it up, here’s an awesome ice cream box that housed some delicious red velvet cake bombs that someone sent to us. Also, I pick flowers from the public park and I spend a lot of time staring out my window at the lovely New York scenery. The end!

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12 Responses to From the Desk of #6: Julia Wertz

  1. Pingback: desks and such

  2. martin says:

    where to send fanmail?

  3. Pizza Island says:

    info for our mailing address is on the contact page!

  4. pablo says:

    how come the EMPOWER book is in all yall’s spaces?

  5. ekko says:

    Julia has the shabbiest and most inspiring workhole of all of them

  6. matt says:

    fuck all that other stuff, there is a SET puzzle of the day?!

  7. Looks like a very productive environment! Thanks for the inspiration

  8. bill says:

    What do you use the blue tape for?

  9. carole says:

    I wish i had a cat so i could receive awesome postcards.

  10. Rebecca says:

    I love when I see a working artist using a PC platform. I work an office job so to come home and work a MAC o/s is both tedious and … well, sloppy & SLOOOOW. I want to try and get PC’s more art school cred! It’s a futile journey. Anyway, I have loved your comic for years and buy the books. Keep on truckin’ (what does that even mean?)

  11. Pingback: Tools of the trade, a la Katie Beaton | This dissertation is going to be fun, like dessert

  12. Wittek says:

    Workplaces Of Comicartists in Germany (2012 + Link 2011).
    Greetings From Hamburg!

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