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Underdrawings & Finished Art

I was in a comics store recently with a good friend, who was astonished to learn that in comics work, there are often several artists who contribute to the finished work. The simplest explanation I could offer about the penciler/inker divide is that the pencil artist is often the better storyteller, and the inker is the better finish artist. Reasons and mileage will vary on that. In comics, I'm a one-man show (not surprising when you consider my peers like Jeff Smith, Colleen Doran, Paul Pope, and Terry Moore are as well). Commercially, it's much more common for the artist do do the work solo from start to finish.

I'm doing a lot more work in the final inking of a piece than I used to do - mostly because I already know what I'm going to be doing on certain textures, so I don't really have to render them in pencil. So for a drawing, I need to get the composition right, and certain details (such as facial features) that I don't want to improvise in ink. But all the rest can be done on the fly.

The best recent example is this piece I just did for the excellent (EXCELLENT, should be a novel) story "Mudlarks", by Kat Otis, for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show magazine. The pencil art is below. Click through on the link underneath to see the finished art to compare. (The preview is free - but this story alone is worth the $2.50 price to read the whole magazine.)


(Also - clicking on the magazine illo will give you a bigger pop-out window so you can better compare the art.)


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
Went over there
And saw your other pieces, some of which I hadn't seen before. I really like the one for The Yazoo Queen. As for the one from To Know All Things That Are in the Earth... how do you manage a different effect from the one in most of your works? Is it different colored paper or different colored pen? Or am I missing the point all together?
Jan. 31st, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
Re: Went over there
It was scanned incorrectly - and the result was so cool we just left it as is. ;)
Feb. 1st, 2010 05:44 am (UTC)
Re: Went over there
Those fortunate accidents are great. Looks cool indeed. :)
Jan. 31st, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
Until I actually tried inking some of my pencil drawings, I had vastly underestimated the difficulty of the inker's job.
Jan. 31st, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
I think the hardest has always been getting the light and dark ratios correct. In pencil, it seems easier (to me, at least), but with inks or watercolor, it's harder. There, if you wish to have a white house, you can't color lighter, you can't touch it at all.
Jan. 31st, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
Oh, James.... I run out of words.

A lovely piece, and I think you are beginning to conquer water!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )