R.I.P. Craftint

4 min read

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LudHughes's avatar
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. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Cran… 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...

© 2009 - 2023 LudHughes
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studio-toledo's avatar
I still have a unopened bottle of Craftint "66" White Drawing Ink with it's box!