In the 80s and 90s, all of the color artwork used on Garfield products was created by the artists at Jim Davis' company, Paws, Incorporated. In order to create colored artwork that looked “dimensional,” the artists used a technique called AIRBRUSHING.
The artist would first create an inked black-and-white drawing of a Garfield pose. Then, this artwork would be "photographed" by a photostat camera that would create a reproducible image on special paper. The color would be applied directly to the black & white photostat with an atomizer that used compressed air to spray liquid, transparent paints or dyes.
How is traditional airbrushing done? First, an adhesive-backed masking material is applied to the entire image. The artist then used an X-acto knife to cut out a part of the mask where color is to be applied. For every color in the artwork, a part of the mask has to be cut out and then replaced before moving on to a different area and color.
Because this was a very time-consuming process, computers are now used to create digitally "airbrushed" color artwork.