Saturday, July 30, 2005

Scott Williams on Jim Lee

A scan I got from Tim Townsend, which demonstrates a skill that inkers are sometimes required to have. An inker needs to be an artist himself first and foremost, and cannot be an inker if he or she is not. Thanks Tim! :)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Inker's Tools

When I talk to people, especially those who aren't comic book readers, they asked me my current job. I tell them that I'm a colourist for comic books. The word colourist itself says everything about my job. But when I mentioned I was an inker, they pour me some questions. They thought I mix paints and inks for the printer. Woot?! So I explain everything. Other said "So, you trace the one that pencils the pages with pens and inks?" I told them "No, we don't trace pencillers' drawings, we draw too." Other said it was an easy job, coz you don't need to have drawing talent or something. NO, it is not an easy job in the comic biz, really.

Above are some tools that I use for inking. Just imagine, you tell us we just "trace" drawings of pencillers...try tracing any drawings with theses tools. Then say to us it is an easy job.

There are artists who uses just brush entirely on the artwork. I tried that once, but it wasn't easy, my hands aren't too steady to do straight line with a brush. I can draw with just brush before, I'm just out of practice.

Pencil To Ink Sample

This is a panel taken from the comic book HELLCOP (Avalon Studios/Image 1996), pencilled by Gilbert Monsanto and inked by Gerry Alanguilan. Both pencils and inks are shown to demonstrate a little bit of what inkers usually do.

The first thing I noticed was that the mask seemed awry so on the right you can see just how I "straightened" it out. It's the same thing I did for the round filters sticking out of the mask, the goggles and the symbols. The shoulder pads were a bit more tricky. I placed texture on it that doesn't originally appear on the pencils. Why? Probably because it looked better and I did it because it was OK with Gilbert for me to do so.

Also, in the original drawings had only a hint of mouldings on the arch above a doorway behind the figure. I went in and defined the mouldings even more, to make it clearer that it was indeed a doorway.

I'm glad that I have this kind of freedom when I ink Hellcop. I feel more fulfilled and happier with the job and I feel I really contribute to making the book a better one. I can only do this because I'm allowed to and I would not actively advice anyone else to do it without prior consultation with your penciller and editor.