Yesterday I was searching through some stuff and I came across my stash of Zip-A-Tone film, which hadn’t seen the light of day in a while.  Have you ever wondered how some comic strips in the newspaper get those black dot patterns (check out Beetle Bailey)?  Well, this is the stuff:


The sheet in the picture is a 20% dot pattern, but the stuff comes in a variety of values and patterns like hatching, cross hatching, gradients, etc.  Actually, I’m not totally sure if the stuff is even made anymore.  You mostly see it in comics by the “old guard” cartoonists in the funny pages but for all I know they may be simulating it by computer these days (much easier).  Basically it’s just a transparent film with a pattern on it, and you cut out a piece that is approximately the size you need, stick it down, and then trim the excess off with an X-Acto knife.

Here it is in use:


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