Tuesday, January 27, 2009

FOWP Infomercial: Getting Ink Done

Similar to when I began the pencilling phase, I have discovered more products that normally one would never take into consideration.

I was already a fan of sharpies from my logo designing process but when it came to the inking phase I had to learn about two whole new areas: ink and paper.

Initially I'd always planned on just inking over the top of my penciling in my visual diary. But I soon realised that by being a tightarse and only buying a 120 page (60 pages, 120 sides) visual diary for a story that ran to 98 pages (later revised to 100) I had left myself with no choice but to draw one page on the back of another. Which ruled out using a sharpie or other time saving inks because they bleed through the page and make it all unreadable and crucially, unscanable.

I had also however been having increasingly frequent dreams most of which shared this basic plot:

I am sitting in a restaurant when I am approached by a friend, the friend asks me what I've been up to and bursting with pride I talk about drawing my own comic. They typically ask to see it and even though they make encouraging noises like 'wow, great' and shit they inexplicably seem to deliberately damage the work.
The most vivid one was the simple cuntact of ripping the pages out of my visual diary. Not actually damaging them or scrunching them up or anything, just making it almost impossible to keep track of them and keep them intact.

I've been sleeping a lot easier since I scanned them all in, and my visual diary has remained double wrapped in plastic.

But I'd also thought that I'd ink in a light pen over the top of my pencils and then use photo shop to do the big black fills instead of using a sharpie. Except photoshop is not exactly intuitive, nor easy and I realised I'd have to spend a month or so extra just learning how to do what I wanted to do.

It took me over an hour to figure out how to draw a rectangle of my desired frame width, something that befuddled the straight forward way I thought it should work.

So I decided to just print out each page on it's own sheet so I could use any pen I damn fucking well liked.

In hindsight it probably would have been good to print them all to A3 for the really fine detail, I just thought of this then though and I also think it would inevitably double my workload and ink consumption. I am not good enough at drawing to really warrent the effort required to do it justice. Infact it wouldn't be doing it justice, like giving someone like Paris Hilton a billion dollar inheritance.

Anyway the first thing I had to learn about was paper stocks, Harvard suggested 'bank pad' because I wanted something bitey like my visual diary but that I could feed through a printer. He said he had to use it at work but hated it. And much like harvard loves rice and hates potatoes while I love potatoes and hate rice (if you follow my meaning) I figured that would be good.

Turns out Office works doesn't sell Bank Pad, but I am eager to learn about where one can go to buy and order all different types of paper. Now that I've done something where that is an important decision I find myself desiring a specialty shop just for paper stocks. I'm sure one will exist, like dean's art or some shit. But I didn't have time, because time is money and I want to finish this thing someday.

Anyway I pretty much made the decision based on the only variable available to me, or rather two variables. Price/gsm. Gsm I assume is grams per meter squared, Harvard texted to say 'thickness' but I couldn't find shit about roughness. I bought 110 gms inkjet hp paper because I figured I was inking and so something that is good for inkspots over burning must be good for ink based pens.

I have already sighted the De La Soul tribute to pens, I don't for the record like papermate, there cheaparse eraser fucked up a lot of my drawing.

But here are the various pens I have accumulated in the last 4 days:

1. Sharpies classic (for shading large areas and black fills)
2. Super sharpie (a big version of 1 when concerned about my Sharpies drying out)
3. Mini sharpies (a small version of 1 that goes on a keychain, and a super small version of 2)
4. Unineedle 0.1 mm fineliner black (my weapon of chioce for detailing)
5. Uniball 0.5 mm ballpoint black (good for detailing on larger scale pictures and doing hair textures and what not)
6. 3 x 0.5 mm fineliner Steadler (for doing thick lines and non-detail lines)
7. Shitty biro black brand unknown (ballpoint with sticky low quality ink which I use for blood effects)

The trick to inking I have discovered is trying to not swap pens as often as possible. Starting with detail is less than ideal though and I still work one frame at a time largely because this is the only way I can keep track of what I've done and what I'm yet to do.
But if you start with the detail you end up using the fineliner 0.1 mm on a bunch of lines it would be much faster and really need the 0.5 for. So I like to work from big to small, but shading last.
I guess there isn't much sense to that because if you fuck up the shading and have to start again you have wasted the most amount of effort.
I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Still though I am amazed at how much can be achieved with two colours black and not-black. Or rather I'm not using white per se, but negative space to shape textures and spaces and even the different kinds of ink make tremendous difference.

Again I'm so glad I've done this, the images are finally coming to life, and I can see close to what it will look like in print. Anyone whose life is stalling, I recommend this process over travel.

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