Cartoon and Illustration

Quick inking notes (or should I say “Qick” inking notes?)

So, briefly (because I am just taking a break for a few minutes today) I am presently inking a set of five pages for the upcoming issue of “The Other Dead” from IDW.

Thought it might be good to mention this as I’m working and maybe drop in now and then to tell about the progress of the process.

What happened is that I’m friends with Joshua Ortega the writer of this series–which has taken off like a rocket since it’s release in late summer–and when the team got behind they asked a number of friends to step in and ink a few pages each to get things back on track.  

First off let me say that I’m really enjoying inking over Qing Ping Mui’s pencil art (thus the bad pun in the subject line).  Qing has a very free-wheeling pencil style.  Equal parts Van Gogh and Carmine Infantino, is how I’d describe it in artistic influence terms (if I’m any judge of such things).  Which allows me a great deal of freedom with my inks.

I’m doing pages 11, 13-16.  Also a great position to be in.  The story is well in swing before I ever have to appear, and the characters are all established by their costumes, attitudes, etc.

So when I have to draw President Obama whacking zombies with an axe there’s not a lot of pressure to make him a political caricature–or any such typical shorthand.  Just follow Qing’s pencils.  It’s kind of like if an actor is portraying a particular historic figure–once they’ve got the basic shtick down they can just be themselves.

 Free-wheeling myself today.  Just drawing little loopy lines and not worrying about the technical bits right now.

I’ve got some ink on all five pages of blue-lined artwork (which I output yesterday by means of hastily sent tiff files, a run through photoshop to make the pencils look blue and then a trip to the local printers to use their color laser printer to put it all on bristol board).  This is a great way to ink–it’s sort of like moving all over the entire canvas when doing a painting–working it up all over rather than getting too concerned with one single area.

Qing also has a really cool style when it comes to drawing animals!  Some awesome looking zombie animals in this issue.  This is not the sort of book I’ve previously been that associated with (I did do a pin-up in issue one, but that was the very first zombie art I’d ever done).

Anyway, I’m just at the point of pulling out the fine point brush right now.  I’ve been doing all the pen work up to now and want to take a break from that.  Which involves me also putting back on my glasses and backing up a bit to “spot in the blacks” (as we say in comics-biz).

Another cool thing about working for these guys is that they all say, “Just have fun with it!  You’re a consummate pro–it will look great!”  I don’t hear that from editors and publishers very often.  Thanks for the strokes, guys.  I’ll try to do you proud.

Also, this book is under the creative consultation of Kevin Eastman–Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator?  That can’t hurt my career any.

Back to work.


Cartoon and Illustration

Small observation today–mowing compared to inking

A small observation came to me today as I was doing some lawn work:

Inking a comic book and mowing the lawn are similar in that you can’t expect to do a good job with just one tool.

Just as I need to use a riding mower to cut huge areas of lawn, I need to know how to use a brush for large areas of black on my pages.

In the same way that I sometimes need to use a walk-behind (or “push”) mower I need a flexible pen for many of the more spontaneous lines.

And finally, I use a string trimmer for tight areas, and I use fine pen points for small details.

I know this won’t be a huge philosophical break through in most people’s minds.  Most people could care less about inking comic book pages–then again most people probably don’t give much thought to mowing their lawns.

My point is that not every tool is right for every job, or even every part of a single job.