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Submitted on
December 16, 2009



R.I.P. Craftint

Journal Entry: Wed Dec 16, 2009, 9:30 AM
I'm taking the day off to finish up my holiday shopping, plus do such mundane tasks such as laundry. Yay!

A few weeks ago, I read an article that definitely reminded me how old I am: the company that produced Craftint boards had decided to stop producing them, stating that technology (i.e., computers & Photoshop) had made it obsolete.

I know a few of you are scratching your heads and are opening up a new browser window to look up what I'm babbling about. Hold up! I'll tell you...

Craftint doubletone paper was a unique invention that chemically embedded crosshatch lines into illustration board. The Craftint paper, when brushed with the right solutions, revealed either one or two layers of diagonal shading. Instead of doing your own crosshatching, using zip-a-tone (another invention that was died thanks to computer technology), or using such things as grease pencils, you could "paint" your tones in an illustration, saving tons of time.

Now there were definite cons to using Craftint board: if you made a mistake in your pen work, you couldn't use white paint to cover your errors, because you would be covering up the cross-hatching effect. Ditto if you would try to use a razor or Xacto knife to scratch out the mistake-- you would be ruining the board that way. Price wise, the Craftint boards were nearly three to four times more expensive than regular illustration board, plus you also had to pay for the two revealing solutions. Zip-a-tone was much cheaper to use. Plus, it was very easy to go overboard with the cross-hatching, thus making your work look overdone...

Still lots of artists loved to use Craftint-- I've seen lots of editorial cartoonists over the decades using the stuff. I know John Byrne used it during his run on Namor, plus the OMAC miniseries until he figured out he could do the same effects on his computer. A lot of artists figured that out, thus the end of Craftint. Arguably, the most celebrated cartoonist who REALLY used Craftint the right way was Roy Crane.… first used it on his first successful strip, Captain Easy, then on his longtime adventure strip, Buz Sawyer. When Crane left Captain Easy, his then-assistant, Leslie Turner, continued the strip, using Craftint also.

But, like I mentioned earlier, computers and Photoshop have made lots of things obsolete, including such art tools as zip-a-tone, rubylith, and rubber cement. Tools I started with when I was in art school and worked with during my first years as a production artist. By the late eighties, desktop publishing was starting to take off, and we had to adapt, or become extinct like dinosaurs...

  • Mood: Seasonal
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JoeJusko Featured By Owner May 10, 2012
Found this post while scouring the web for something. Wally Wood was a HUGE fan of Craftint and used it all through his EC Comics and 1950's/1960's work. That was a man who definitely knew how to use it to it's greatest advantage. No surprise it went the way of the dinosaur. Dinosaur that I am, however, I kinda like the idea of a finished piece of art done on the board. :-)
MJBivouac Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009
I feel rather stupid NOT knowing about Craftint board. I was aware of Craftint art supplies in general, and that for the most part they were not considered to be of very high quality...I know WOOLWORTH'S carried Craftint art materials until they went under.
Like so many art supplies, they are going by the wayside. Kind of sad. DESIGN MARKERS, the Cadillac of art markers at one time, are now a thing of the past. Even HIGGINS India Ink is not of the same quality that it once was. A lot of comic book artists now use Badger black airbrush paint for filling in large areas of black because the Higgins just does not cover like it once did. Even some high end comicbook artists are now going digital, and ORIGINAL comic book art is just starting to become a thing of the past.
michiganj24 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009
Wow rubber Cement is obsolete whatever will kids get high on now lol
LudHughes Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009  Professional General Artist
Unfortunately, with a lot of supplies age is the enemy. If you found old Craftint boards, you couldn't use them because of the chemicals involved.
Goldenthrush Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009
I didn't realize so many cartooning tools went by the wayside, I'd always simply used pen, ink, paper, and brushes. I'd see the stuff for sale, but yanno, cartooning isn't art, so I never learned anything about it unless I went to the library. The old books on cartooning didn't tend to cover much about technique, and the newest books at the time just talked about "Beetle Bailey's Belly Button Box" and the like. XD

It's funny, though, in music, if you need reel to reel tape, you can still get it. Vacuum tubes, analog equipment, you can even get vinyl and wire for recording.
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