Saturday, December 10, 2011


More and more you need to be an 'all-in-one' artist to break into the industry, which means penciling and inking your own stuff. The reason for this is it's so hard to find actual producing artists at the amateur level, so finding a penciler to ink or vice versa can be impossible. But that being said, here's some tips for inkers or pencilers who ink their own stuff.

First of all, every inker seems to prefer his or her own tools. I like to use Pitt markers and brushpens myself. I don't like dipping a brush in ink or the smears that can follow. Sean Phillips likes to use a Pitt pen to outline, then he uses a brush and ink technique with devastating results.

There are two styles of inking-the slick 'comic book' style and the fine art 'painting' style. I much prefer the latter as I feel the slick look is overdone. Almost every superhero book uses this style and I am sorta sick of it. But if that's your thing, go for it. Andrew Currie, Bryan Hitch's inker on the Ultimates is a good middle-of-the-road inker, part slick, part painter. Awesome.

I like to outline everything first, then color in the blacks, and then do the detail work. For cleanup I use white gauche. Whiteout cracks and smears-I don't like it at all. One thing new inkers seem to need to work on is the proper balance of black and white. They seem reluctant to blacken in areas-resist this reluctance. A half/half black/white balance seems to work really well. Don't be afraid of 'covering up' your beautiful artwork with black. Black ads solidity to your images.

Also, never try to fake facial shadows. Either study actual faces or leave them off. A lot of inkers use a 'shine' style to depict facial shadows-this looks lame. A shadow is not a shine-it's the exact opposite of a shine actually.

To get to the point where your inking looks pro just takes a lot of inking. I inked about 100 pages before my lines really got that solid-non scratchy unhesitating look that publishers demand.

A. Kaviraj is an artist and writer at Champion City Comics. His works include Dr Death vs The Vampire, Doctor Death vs The Zombie, and The End of Paradise.

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