Sunday, June 18, 2006

Inking other artists

For those of you not comicbook savvy, the comicbook art process works like this- because comics are usually monthly books, the art chores are broken up into different jobs. There's the penciller who's really the star of the show, he/she does all the groundwork, decides on panel layouts (with the writer), angles and basically draws everything. There's the colourist who colours all the comic pages (these days on computer) to look nice and shiny for print. And in between these two is the inker.

What the inker does is interpret and embellishes the penciller's scribbles (and sometimes that's all they are) into ink drawings which reproduce better in print. The inker is an artist in their own right and is usually called upon, not to just 'trace' the pencils (as inking is sometimes misinterpreted as) but to determine lineweight, shadow placement, and even to correct minor or major errors that the penciller has made. So basically, a crappy inker can ruin a great penciller's work, and a great inker can make fairly amateurish pencils shine.

Which brings me to my joy of inking other artists' work. Sometimes it's nice to just let someone else do all the hard work and to just be able to concentrate on refining and enhancing their pencils through ink. I've never done it professionally, and the following examples were done only for fun.

Here I've inked a Mark Bagley 'Spiderman' (one inked in pen, the other in Photoshop), a panel from a 'Punisher' sample page by Aussie artist Andy Finlayson, and a page from Steve Rude's 'Nexus'. Heaps of fun.


Blogger Henry Elmo Bawden said...

This is fun to see. I am currently trying to learn how to ink my own work better. I can take a nice drawing and totally screw it up when I ink. So, I bought the DC comic guide to inking and a few other inking books and have been trying to learn how to properly do it. Thanks for the post. It is good to see.


2:38 AM  
Anonymous Cactus said...

When you say you ink in photoshop, how do you go about that?

5:04 AM  
Blogger Tonia said...

seriously how good was the Dude - I so miss Nexus. Always love your inks Chris (did you use to like the Brit guys as your ink work kind of reminds me of some of them?)

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice stuff, chris.. and you've also reminded me of how good NEXUS was. maybe you could offer to bring it back with all that spare time you must have :D


11:55 AM  
Blogger killeroo said...

dammit chris, can't you just leave a field where you won't show people up? SOme of us are trying to make a living here and you're not helping!! ;)

12:34 PM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Henry- Best of luck, Henry. My advice would be to use a brush and ink and stick to it, the results would be worth it (this coming from a guy who only uses pens, but I wish I stuck to brush)

Cactus- Inking in Photoshop's very easy if you have a graphic tablet. Put your pencils on a layer and decraese the opacity until you can just see it. Then on a new layer use the pencil tool or the brush tool (using the hard round brush) and ink over the top of your pencils. Once finished delete the pencil layer.

Tonia- Yep, a copy of the Steve Rude Sketchbook sits proudly on my shelf.

I think my inking influences are mostly american- Terry Austin, Scott Williams, Mark Farmer. Although I always loved Jamie Hewlett's inking on Tank Girl, oh and who can forget Brian Bolland.

Dillon- Spare time? What's that again?

Killeroo- Maybe I should try my hand at animation or sculpture. Would that make you happy? ;)

10:40 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Chis- very cool of you to post this- I have been taking a stabat comic book inking myself lately- I posted a page on my blog, if you get a minute, I would love to have you critique what I did. I am hoping to get a few more samples posted soon. Yours look excellent, tight and clean as always. Great work man!

2:36 AM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Patrick- Thanks Patrick. I'll check out your inks and post a comment.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Angel said...

I liked the inking on the left, probably the digital/photoshop one? Very confident line.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Thanks, Angel.

The Spidey on the left is actually the hand inked version. I'm more confident inking by hand than with a tablet.

5:32 PM  

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