Rick’s Drawing Table


My iPad. In my effort to go more paperless, I don't print out gags anymore. I read them off the iPad. And when no one is looking, I can stream TV episodes.


My watercolor set. I was turned on to these by the great humorous illustrator Elwood Smith—not to be confused with Elwood Blues. Pelikan watercolors are fantastic. In these days of coloring strips and book covers by hand, I use them much less than I used to.


A T-square. Sort of. It's screwed to the drawing table and runs on ball bearings up and down the side of the drawing table and you can lift it up out of the way because it's hinged all along the side. I don't think they make 'em anymore. This one's a little wobbly now and not always square. But I like it. I've had it around 30 years. Kind of hard to part with it. It's seen a lot of drawings.


My Mayline adjustable-height drawing table. Just the thing for someone with a bad back. I now stand to draw. Much less hunching over than sitting in a chair.


Notes of some ideas to send to Jerry.

Pro Wheel

Proportion scale (also called a Pro Wheel). Almost no one in graphics under the age of 40 knows what this is. It's for figuring out what percentage to enlarge or reduce something. Invaluable—even today.


One of my USO badges. This one from my first trip to Afghanistan.

Messy Desk



Not quite finished daily strips. They need borders and copyright lines. Then it's off to the scanner!


My Wacom tablet stylus. Keep an eye on it. Later, I'm going to ask you where I left it. Maybe there's a Cintiq in my future. This thing's around 15 years old.

Big Graphite Pencil

My Caran d'Ache pencil. Big 3mm graphite leads make this a terrific pencil for drawing the daily and Sunday strips.

Old Mech pencil

My trusty old Pentel mechanical pencil. I've had it for over 22 years. If I ever lose it, I'll have to retire.

Mech pencil-bigger

Another mechanical pencil that's in between the size of old, small one with the green cushion and the big 3mm Caran d'Ache. Mostly used for putting flecks in the couch and signing the byline. I also now use a Blackwing pencil for lettering. Who knew pencils were so specialized?

Black Faber

Faber-Castell Polychromos: the colored pencil with which I used to draw the finished Sunday strips.

Blue pencil

Non-photo blue pencil. In the old days of actually photographing artwork, it was used because the blue didn't photograph. So you could use it to draw or write things on your artwork you didn't want to show up. Nowadays, I use it to block in daily strips before finishing them with the graphite pencil.


Lead sharpener for the big leads in the Caran d'Ache pencil. Why is it taped? It has a tendency to come apart and dump graphite shavings all over everything. You don't want to be around when that happens.


My Mug O'Writing Utensils—a coffee mug with a tool belt on it.


Kneaded eraser. Perfect for illustrators. Doesn't leave crumbly stuff behind. Snacks are for that.