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Challenge Yourself!

by Pat Higgins

Doing something like the Higgins Ink October Challenge isn’t easy. It wouldn’t be a challenge if it wasn’t, right? But it’s also a good time. As a professional cartoonist and illustrator, I draw every day. I love drawing. That said, my time is also at a premium…Deadlines, adult responsibilities, and a little bit of teaching thrown into the mix. So I found a way to maximize my time and fun throughout the challenge.

Some of the drawings that I’ve used in this year’s challenge have been from a comic book that I recently completed called Pulp Bytes. It’s a horror anthology that is being published by Scout Comics this year (soon, I promise!). I’ve finished four issues of it, but it was all inked digitally. By printing out the pencil layers of some pages onto Borden & Riley #120 Smooth Plate Bristol, I can challenge myself to ink them using a few of my favorite analog tools: Higgins Black Magic ink, a Grumbacher no.2 brush, and a .60 Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph.


Printing the pencils out ahead of time

was helpful for a couple of reasons. The first being that it saves me a little bit of time. I don’t have to labor over a pencil drawing before getting to the reason for the season: INK! And I’ve got over 120 comic pages of things that I’ve already drawn. Work smarter, not harder! Also If I make a mistake, I didn’t ruin an original pencil drawing. I just print out another copy of my pencils and try again.


One of the cool things that I’ve found in doing this is that I can make the same marks, whether they’re digital or analog. It’s reassuring, and it reminds me that making art is an equal combination of good tools, creativity, and fun. I’ve also had the opportunity to experiment and try new things without the worry of destroying what I’ve already drawn.


One of those experiments happened to be a using a bottle of 80(ish) year old Higgins American India Ink that a friend of mine gave me. Believe it or not, the old still worked! However, I would have been a little hesitant to just “try it out” on an original pencil drawing.


I you were also able to find the time to challenge yourself, experiment, and have fun during the October Challenge!


Pat Higgins is an award-winning illustrator and cartoonist from Delaware. He is also a member of the National Cartoonists Society and Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. Throughout his career he has used his signature style and warped world view to create work for a variety of industries including breweries, action sports, and record companies. Pat’s new comic book, Pulp Bytes will be published by Scout Comics and out in the wild on October 5, 2022.

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