5 - Inks
As you might expect, I go though several stages with this.
At the moment, I draw these in with the dip pen and thicker nib. I used a 0.5 drawing pen for ages though (in fact, I used to draw the entire comic with pens), I think that's what was using in this example.
I added in another speech bubble here (Claudia saying 'Uh. Okay'), after the pencils were finished. This was a timing issue - the second panel is so huge it makes a pause in the dialogue as you read it. In the script, Caroline says 'I should take a look at the map' and Claudia straight away replies 'Map?! You've a map of the Skein?', but with the pause / space that sounds wrong - like she's being dopey. So, changed it to: 'Okay' (pause) 'Wait ...'. It still sounds a bit
dopey, but not as unnatural - she's just not listening because she's staring at the great big twirly thing. Which is fair enough, really.
Again, I used a drawing pen for this page, but now I use the dip pen. This is where you need the ruler with a lip. If you don't use a ruler with a lip, the ink seeps underneath it and leaves a giant black smudge on the page. Trust me, I know.
Next, I go over the major lines with the brushes. I use the 000 size for most things, but I like to use the thicker 0 size for hair.
I much prefer using a brush to a drawing pen now. It took me a while to take the plunge, and it looked a bit ropey for a few pages (the first one I did with a brush is page 73
). But I got used to it a lot quicker that I expected, and you can do a lot more with one brush than you can with one pen. For example, I would have needed two pen sizes to get the difference in line between the foreground and the background trees here.
Also, I think I brush just gives a better looking line for this comic - it's nice and smooth, which is what I want. I might go back to pens if I wanted a different feel or look though.
Mapping pen (or, previously, 0.1 drawing pen) for the detail and shading. This takes a lot less time than it looks - mainly because I put so much of the shading in when I do the pencils, so I know exactly where everything has to go.
You don't need me to tell you how to do this, right?
I went back and added a bit of shading to the twirly blob things after rubbing out the pencil. I'm sometimes hesitant with inking, as it's hard to fix if you get it wrong - but they looked to unreal without any shading at all.
And finally, the ink washes. I mix the black with some water, and wash over the shaded areas with the 'wider brush I found in a draw'.
Every so often, I'll consider dumping either this stage or the pen shading stage as, in theory, they both do the same job and take extra time. But I like the extra body the ink washes give everything, and I like the preciseness of the pen - so in the end I just stick with doing the same old thing.