I have a confession to make:
I hate inking.
Even on the rare occasions that the pen doesn't
glorp random amounts of ink onto the page in varying shades of gray (and this is the pro-quality drafting pen, I mean here!), I invariably miss my intended line, mysteriously giving Dover a huge nose, or Tiffany a big square
There's also the little problem of accidentally rubbing my hand on inked areas of the bristol, but that just depresses me, so I won't mention it.
Now, inking is done for a very real and vital reason: it makes crisp, clear art that doesn't require as much post-scan cleanup as pencil. Nice, sharp blacks and bright whites give your art dramatic punch, and if you've got a colorist (*waves to katayamma
*), it gives them clearly-delineated lines to stay within.
At least theoretically. ;P
Good comic book inkers can do some amazing things ... even relatively flat art can really stand out when nurtured by the hands of a really talented inker.
Unlike, say, me.
If there is one area that I really regret not having proper art instruction in, it's inking. I have looked at The DC Comics Guide to Inking
, How to Draw Manga: Pen and Tone Techniques
et al., but none of these have really translated into better inking for me. And I've tried all sorts of materials, from dipping pens to Rapidographs to cheap disposable felt-tips. Just about the only thing I've never worked with much is a brush ... I can't stand to clean up eraser crumbs, how the heck am I going to face something that needs to be thoroughly washed every time you use it
? (Which reminds me, I ought to clean out my 1.0 Rapidograph this weekend, le sigh.)
Right now I use a 1.0 Rapidograph to do panel borders and word balloons, a disposable 08 Pigma Micron for most of my lines, and an 05 Pigma Micron for fine lines (backgrounds etc.). I don't really like the results, but it's the least-annoying combination I've come up with so far. Brush pens make lines that are WAY too thick for comic panels (although I've had some success using those for larger art pieces), and pens that are any finer just disappear in the harsh light of the scanner.
For larger art pieces (such as "The Jellyfish Incident") I still use the 08 for most lines, but then I go back and emphasize outlines with a #1 Pigma Micron, to make the figures pop out more. Usually inking at full page size is much easier ... but as much as I'd love to do my strips at that humongous scale, it would take forever and scanning the strips would be a nightmare.
Anyway, this is why "investigate inking techniques" is a semi-permanent fixture on the Too Much To Do list at the moment. Must find something better!