Pen Pals Interview: Discussing Pens and Podcasts with Webcomic Artist Joel Duggan

An interview series featuring notable people whose lives intersect with the world of pens. We got the opportunity to chat with Joel Duggan, the artist and mastermind behind the wonderfully clever webcomic, Starcrossed.

Starcrossed, by Joel Duggan

I was born and raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Currently, I work full time from my home studio in Dartmouth as a cartoonist, illustrator and designer.

When I was very young, I was inspired by classic Looney Tunes and Disney animation…in fact, I still am. Growing up, I just wanted to draw cartoons of any kind. In my teens, my interests quickly shifted focus to comic strips. Bill Amend (FoxTrot), Frank Cho (Liberty Meadows) Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman (Zits) and the venerable Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) were my canon. My first strip, “Jungle Jazz”, was published in my university newspaper for three years.

Well, I was eager to pursue a career in syndicated comics, so I submitted “Jungle Jazz” to the Creators Press Syndicate after I graduated. It got rejected, so I decided that a better way to make a living with my pencil was to seriously revisit animation. Animating for television was a fun way to jumpstart my professional career. I had the opportunity to work with some extremely talented people, in a creative environment that was geared towards churning out a ton of content.

Starcrossed, by Joel Duggan

I stayed in animation until about 2008 when I made the move to work independently full time. In 2012, I self-published my first book, Starcrossed: Volume One. Starcrossed is a return to my love of comic strips. Every Starcrossed comic is traditionally drawn with pen and ink on bristol. The popularity and freedom of publishing comics online really rekindled my interest and provided a fresh, wider-ranging audience.

While working from home the past several years, I’ve been researching online comics and art. It was during this process that I discovered the wonderful world of podcasting. A few of my favorite podcasts include the now archived Webcomics Weekly and Extralife Radio, as well as Comics Coast to Coast and Guys With Pencils. Currently, I host and produce The Citadel CafĂ©, a pop culture podcast centered on sci-fi and fantasy entertainment. I am also flattered to say that I have been a regular co-host on Comics Coast to Coast since 2011.

Starcrossed, by Joel Duggan

JetPens was first recommended to me by my online friend and fellow cartoonist Will Terrell. (@WillTerrell) I was looking for a replacement for my long time work horse Microns, along with a white pen to work with in my toned sketchbook. I found what I was looking for, and them some!

After a month or so of everyday use, I am replacing my Microns with the Copic Multiliner, which delivers a more solid ink flow. It’s also refillable, which is great since Microns always run out of ink when you least want them to. With the Multiliner, I am able to get the same variety of line weights that I previously had with the Microns. I’m really looking forward to drawing new Starcrossed comics with it.

Starcrossed, by Joel Duggan

While I’m usually more comfortable with a pen in my hand, I really like my Pentel brush pen. It’s good for more organic forms and spot blacks, and their no-mess refillable cartridges are ideal for conventions too. Zebra brush pens are another portable bridge between pen and brush, though I use them more for sketching than for finished work. I also picked up a handful of white pens; the two that stand out are the Pilot Choose and the Uni-ball Signo. They’re both great for adding highlights, fixing mistakes, or drawing white lines into black forms.

Starcrossed, by Joel Duggan

Moff's Minions

Luigi's Mansion


Ellie on Planet X

In addition to Starcrossed Online and his personal website, you can also check out Joel’s Youtube Channel for more artwork, including neat time-lapse videos like this Robot Mashup!

Ever wonder how artists use JetPens products? JetPens showcases artists every month and interviews them to see what their favorite JetPens tools are. Please send any suggestions for Artist Interviews to penpal(at)!