Inking Detox

I’m thinking it’s time for an inking detox. I’m gonna drop all inking tools except my brush.

Like many artists I struggle with every part of the drawing process, with a bit of luck you never see that in the final work, all that there is is the art and that’s it. The relentless self-loathing, frustration, abandonment of hope and more doesn’t seep through in the artwork.

A trick that I’ll often turn to to get through particularly hard points is to pick up a different tool and try that, it’s a too-easy option for inking yourself out of dead ends. Frustrated with a brush? Try a dip pen. Dip pen not working? Gah! Lift the Micron. Damn micron not playing ball, time to hit the cintiq. Cintiq effective but ultimately soulless? Let’s head back to the brush.

And the whole, horrific cycle repeats endlessly. Because really, I haven’t addressed the original problem. Like Father Ted and the car, I’ve attacked the one unsightly problem with a hammer and tried to bodge my way out of it.

As I say though, in the end, it’s usually unnoticed. But there are strips where I’ve used every possible inking tool at every point in the drawing process and ended up with a patchwork quilt of a strip. Colouring often saves it (and maybe it’s only me that notices it) but I’m left feeling incomplete, knowing the job wasn’t as it could or should be.

So, I’m gonna try a different tack – I try this often, but the temptation to just lift a dip pen is overpowering so this time, I’m gonna hide every tool except the brush.

The brush is, ultimately, the most flexible tool there is for inking. Nothing is as responsive or can give a line so much life. It’s constantly surprising and always vivid.

My big problem is I get lazy with it, and the line starts becoming unsubtle (and great subtly can be achieved). In this case, rather than throw the brush down in frustration I’ll pick up the white out and thin the line down and go back to the brush.

When you get to look at original art it’s always surprisingly how much white out is used by your favourite artists, and it’s frequently used to make lines thinner or more subtle.

So that’s the plan. We’ll see how it goes.

Author: PJ

PJ is a Belfast based comic artist, and has been for some time.