The week kind of got away from so even though I inked this page on Monday, I haven't really had a chance to post the inked version until now. So without further adieu, thar she blows!
Basically, as an inker, when I work with a penciller who knows what he's doing (like Jamal), I pretty much try to stay out of the way. The goal is to bring out the best in the pencils and, like a doctor, the first rule is "Do No Harm."
I didn't quite get the results I wanted in every panel but I don't think I really hurt the art so I guess it's a decent page. I don't know...it can be hard as an artist not to see anything except for the missed opportunities.
As far as the inking thought processes that went into the work (aside from the basic foreground/middle ground/background separation), I generally tried to give the muscular guy a stronger contour and make him a little more harder edged. I attempted to keep the pretty girl's contour softer and more rounded. It's a very subtle change in line quality but I think it helped to provide a physical contrast that matches the contrast in their personalities.
When inking the girl, I held the brush higher up on the handle (about halfway up the brush like a Japanese Calligrapher) and with a slightly looser grip to give the linework more bounce, to make it more playful. Gripping tightly at the base adds control to the line but eliminates a little spontaneity in the linework. I wanted her contours to match her personality, which is perky and unpredictable. I tried to add some variety of weights, gradating from thick to thin even to the stripe pattern on her shirt to give everything about her more life.
Anyway, these are examples of the subtle little touches that inkers think about that no one ever really notices or cares about. It's not about tracing, even if you're staying very faithful to the pencilled work. It's about thinking through and living in the line, if that makes any sense. Zen inking, I guess. While the result ratio is mixed on every page, it's better to try and fail than to not think at all.
Except on a tight deadline when you say "screw it!" and just crank the pages out like a machine.
Actual working time on this page was a bit less than 5 hours inking time and about fifteen minutes of erasing and touch up work. I also inked the first panel entirely in nib to give myself a change of pace and stay focused. Shaking things up like that can be good mentally.
The file itself is a low rez jpeg, hence the broken line and poorer quality reproduction. Hopefully, anyone reading can still get the idea.
Thanks for reading,
Keith, that page looks fantastic! Excellent work. Thanks for giving some insight into the inking process too, that was very cool!
I am glad you are on the book Kieth. Your inks go perfectly with Jamal's. Here's to a nice long run.
Whoa! I don't think you realize how resourceful this kind of insight can be for a beginner amateur artist like me! Thank you very much for such awesome description, and of course, for such an awesome work!
Very insightful commentary by one of comics' ink-slinging stars!
I agree with the fellas pretty insightful. Having been a comic fan for going on 3 decades I tried my hand at illustation a few times. As bad as I was with a pencil, I was 10x worse with an ink brush/pen in hand. It was always a disaster. And that's why some people should just be fans and leave it to the pros.
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