When you’re learning to do something new, like making gallery posts, it’s a good idea to reinforce what you’ve learned by doing it again while the memory of learning it is still fresh in your mind.
So to close out a week of posts about minicomics, here is a gallery of photographs of some of the tools I use for making them. Note that I’m leaving out the pencils and erasers, pens and ink, paper and rulers that go into the original art; you’ve seen those before. This is the heavy equipment, the stuff that turns the arsty-fartsy domain of the studio into a unit of serious production. Actually, while this gear lives in the studio, it usually gets used in the kitchen. There’s more room to move around in there, and the countertops and the smooth surface stove top are exactly the right height for setting up staplers and other serious tools.
My paper cutter: it’s a Fiskars 12” Rotary Paper Trimmer. I find this kind of cutter is much more accurate than the guillotine style, and less dangerous too.
This is the key tool. If you invest in a saddle stapler, you’re investing in making minicomics. It’s easy to see how it works: fold your pages and assemble your comic, then arrange it over the saddle. The framework assures that the staple goes right into the center of the spine, every time.
All the data you need to get your own saddle stapler. Yes, Boston makes one, and it works fine, but you really want a Swingline. It’s a classic.
Saddle staplers use a different kind of staple from the standard size; you can order them from any place that stocks your stapler. There are also a lot of different kinds of staple removers, but I’ve never found one that works better than this particular fork. It lives in the box with the stapler, and it’s pulled many a dud staple out of the back of a comic– and more than once out of my finger.
The famous Yam Box. When you see the Yam Box sitting on the stool in my kitchen, you know that minicomics production is in full swing. The easiest way to get into a rhythm when collating and stapling comics is to staple and toss– just toss the finished comic into a box, without worrying about stacking, counting or arranging. Plenty of time for that when you’re done stapling. The comics are safe in the box until you are finished.
The art on the Yam Box. I was ridiculously pleased when one of my friends told me I could just take it home one year in the aftermath of a series of holiday feasts. I just knew it was going to be my toss box for many years to come. When I’m not making comics, the saddle stapler lives in it.
The latest addition to my heavy equipment: a Kangoro long throat bookbinder’s stapler. It’s the most powerful manual stapler there is. This beast can (in theory) staple up to a thousand pages of 20 lb paper. I doubt I’ll ever try that many, but I am sure thinking about tape binding a giant sized minicomic of 100 or 150 pages some day soon.
And, finally, a shot of the camera that takes all these pictures: my Canon PowerShot SX 150 IS. The paracord wrist strap is a pure indulgence from DSPTCH, and is highly recommended.
all images are ©2012 Pam Bliss