INTERVIEW: Hip Hop Family Tree's Ed Piskor on the weird old tools of classic comics

Ed Piskor, creator of Hip Hop Family Tree (which debuted right here at Boing Boing) shared with us some of the ancient artistic tools that inspires his unique technique.

While drawing a splendid Happy Mutant, he takes us through his "war chest": zip-a-tone sheets, letraset, a Leroy lettering gadget, risography, and the immortal spirit of great cartooning.

He also muses on what it's like to teach students who know every corner of a Wacom tablet, but recoil in horror when the only undo level is a splodge of white-out.

Enjoy the 35-minute visit to his studio! And keep an eye out for the Happy Mutant you see below—we'll be auctioning them for a good cause soon. edpiskor-happymutant

Notable Replies

  1. This is fantastic. I had to learn to use zipatone, letraset, and rubylith (along with hot wax, x-actos, and ruling pens) in design school as the professors slowly learned how to use computers, but I've always wondered how a Leroy lettering tool works. The answer is as painfully slow as I expected; I can't imagine lettering an entire comic with one of those.

  2. Part of my art course in the 1980s was typography which involved setting lead type whilst being told by the lecturer that all this was obsolete, but that the polytechnic couldn't afford a computer to show us how stuff was done these days.

  3. WOW. Lead type was obsolete about thirty years before then!

    My typography course in college was taught by a very old professor who'd started teaching in the 60s. He insisted we learn how to burnish letraset in even rows, do typography mockups using square-lead pencils and t-squares, and learn to prepare flat art for separations. Whenever he left the room, the TA would say "I'm sorry. Please humor him. You will never, ever use any of this stuff in your career. It's obsolete. Treat this course like a museum and contact me to learn how it's done in Quark."

  4. Awesome & the way you shot it was really cool too, good work

  5. Of course, when society collapses back in to a post technological feudalism, you and I will have the skills necessary to spread the thoughts and edicts of our warlord masters. That should keep us out of the potato fields.

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