Studio Tour


photo 3Here’s where I draw Zits in my Colorado home. That’s a twisty vine above the door, and my wife’s marimba on the left.

photo 2I like the old table my portable drawing board sits 11 I’m not sure why I have so many open ink bottles. I try different brands and mix my own combinations. Then the bottles sort of pile 10

Recently I dug my old Enquirer drawing board out of the garage and brought it into the studio so I have the option of standing while I work. First I had a shaman exorcise any lingering bad karma from stressful idea-less days as an editorial 20photo 7photo 13

My three Ronald Searle originals are my pride and joy. He was the granddaddy of us all.

photo 6photo 9Richard Thompson and Jeff MacNelly, a couple of my pals. Drawings by my friends are all over my walls.
photo 5photo 12I always keep three great brushes in my starting rotation. When they’ve lost their spark they’re assigned to the bullpen for whiteout duty.

photo 15


Speaking of which, here’s my baseball shrine. Those are balls signed by the starting eight of the 1976 Big Red Machine plus manager Sparky Anderson. On top is a foul ball I caught in 1965 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati which my brother and I went on to have filled with autographs over the next several years. And at the bottom is a ball signed by my all-time idol Jim Maloney when I met him last year. Okay, where was I?

photo 17My dad was a sign painter, and this is the wooden box he sat on everyday as he worked. I keep it nearby to remember him, but I think it also keeps some good lettering juju in the studio.

photo 22Here’s the business end of town. My drawers were built just the right size for my originals. Blank boards on one side, inked ones on the other.

A prototype for Zits boxers that never got to the market.

photo 4In my days as the editorial cartoonist for the Cincinnati Enquirer my office was on the 19th floor of a downtown office building overlooking a humming spaghetti tangle of concrete highways and the Bengals football stadium. Now I see this from my studio 8Thanks for dropping by.









29 thoughts on “Studio Tour

  1. I love your comics, and I am trying to collect as many of your books as I can. Thanks for giving me a place to escape to and laugh!

  2. Love the boxers sad that they didn’t get to store shelves…we would have bought some for my 18 year old son. We have watched Jeremy grow up with my son

  3. Pingback: A look into Jim Borgman’s studio The Daily Cartoonist

  4. Great to see where all the magic happens. I’ve been reading Zits for years. As my own youngest son has grown up I keep seeing him through your strips.

  5. Thank you for inviting us into your space to see things. Is that a Reuben award at your print station? Also what is that strip hanging on the wall behind the boxers on the door?

  6. Greetings from Kremmling Co. So awesome that one of my favorite comic strips is drawn so close to home! I love Jeremy’s antics. He’s sooo my brother while we were growing up! Keep up tha great work!

  7. When I first found Zits in our paper I was hooked and MUST check it every day. And I am convinced that you have a surveillance camera in our home! It became obvious that I must cut these and paste them in a notebook with my own notes as to when, what and how a particular event went down where I live. When my son went off to university (2012) I thought this would end – oh no – not a chance – it just gets better and better. So now I find out that there are books published. I must get them! Thanks for a clean, pertinent, comic to brighten our day.

  8. This is such a great tour! I wish I knew every specific brand and make of the tools used here, other than micron, especially those brushes!

    • Hey Emma, the brushes I use are Winsor & Newton series 7 number 3 red sable brushes. These days I’m mixing my inks from Dr Ph Martin TECH and Black Star. Strathmore series 500 3-ply smooth bristol board. And always a healthy dollop of Daler Rowney ProWhite to cover up my mistakes.

      • Thank you so much for responding, and for posting the beautiful pictures! I went out and got the brushes, and I LOVE them! I’ll have to try your other tools of trade as well- you’re such an inspiration! 🙂

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  10. Nice view from your desk. How do you keep yourself indoors when the weather’s pleasant? (How far does that path go?)

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  12. Hi, Jim,

    I saw a link on the Daily Cartoonist a couple of weeks ago and was pleased to see that you live in the neighborhood. I may have known this already, but, if so, it slipped my data base — just wait till you reach my advanced age. I’d love to get together for coffee sometime. I’m game to meet in Boulder.

    Mike Keefe

  13. Wow, what an awesome behind the scenes look. Love to see your studio and where the magic happens. Thanks for sharing!

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  15. Jim,

    Thank you for sharing these images and the tools of your trade! I’ve been studying your work since you are a master of both editorial and strip cartooning and you’re willing to share your techniques. I wish more cartoonists would do so. It would be great if you could post pictures of a Zits strip from start to finish (including how you do coloring).


    P.S. Is that an original Calvin and Hobbes behind the Zits boxer shorts? Very cool!

  16. Great tour, Jim, I’m so envious! I’ve been a big fan of your beautiful work for about 30 years now. So, I have to ask what you use the microns for, since you’ve stated elsewhere that you use the brushes for drawing?

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