Another quick inking update. Here is the bottom half of page 01. I will post the whole thing once it’s finished.
Now, the way I go about inking, especially when I don’t have a schedule or am being pressed for time is this; I go through all the pages I have to ink and do all the panel borders, or in this case, the gutters. From there I work my way through the pages bit by bit jumping around from panel to panel, page to page, finishing bits and pieces depending on my mood, how much time I have, etc. I continue to jump around pages until I start to get a page that’s awfully close to being finished and then I just sit down and finish it. That’s my process.
This helps me to keep from getting to tired of one particular panel or job. It also helps me to get past the impending doom I feel about inking.
Inking is in my mind, is the hardest part of the graphic storytelling process. You are taking the sometimes soft and loosely defined shapes of the artist you’re working with and laying down a hard, defined line. Sternly telling the reader that THIS is the image you will look at, NOT that soft beautiful image you may or may have not seen prior to the inking process. (depending on the artist and the project)
As an inker, I try and keep the artist’s wishes in mind as I finish it. Staying as true to their line as I can. Sometimes, things don’t always work out that way, though. Sometimes, the artist was tired, or just decided they didn’t want to draw, whatever it may be, in that panel. So they leave it. Sketchy at best, sometimes completely open to interpretation. It’s always something different.
The interpretation game is why inkers have to be artists in their own right. It helps to know how to draw something, that your penciler decided they didn’t want to draw. Sometimes, your penciler draws something that just can’t be inked. That’s when your artist just has to trust you to be able to finish it. The perfect example? Ever see Gene Colan’s pencils? Look them up sometime and then go look at Tom Palmer’s finishes on them. Sheer brilliance. Another good one is Walter Simonson. He inks almost all his own stuff, so his pencils are often just mildly more than fancy layouts as he redraws the art as he inks. Try inking someone like that. That’s how I started, inking over copies of Walter’s pencils. After all , I didn’t know better, I just picked up a pen and started doing this one day. I didn’t know any better. I’ve been doing this for almost 5 years, and while some people tell me different, I still feel I’m only marginally better than when I started. I’ve got a long way to go. But I do think that I have within me the capacity to be better, and I’ll keep doing this until I can ink one of Walter’s pages and be truly happy with it.
If there’s a goal as an inker, I’d say that’s a good one to shoot for.