My Comics Process: Inking

It's time for Part 3 of my Comics Making Process - Inking!

When we last left off we had a page all pencilled, waiting for some ink:

So I gather together all my favorite inking tools. I prefer the Pentel Brush Pen, and Microns of various sizes. The Pentel is a fairly recent obsession of mine (and by fairly recent, I mean since 2008, when I started using it), recommended to me by the incomparable Chris Schweizer. Finally, a brush pen that kept its fine point for months, even years after purchasing! It was a bit of a learning curve at first, and occasionally my hand will still spazz out and give everything a thick line, but overall I loooooves it.

Okay, so I've got my inking tools and my page to be inked. Now depending on the contents of the page, I'll use one of the Microns and a ruler first in order to block out all of the architecture - basically anything requiring a straight line. Sometimes I'll go over lines without the use of a ruler, which, for me, is almost always a mistake. (I've got those blasted coffee hands - all a-jittery)

This might be common sense, but I try to ink from the upper left hand corner of each panel down to the lower right hand corner so I limit my ink smudging as much as possible. Apart from the straight-line items on the page, I'll use the Microns for anything tinier or more precise than I trust myself to be able to do with the brush pen.

Now, with inking (depending on how you eventually finalize each page), you have a chance to really add some good shadows and depth. Pay attention to what time of day it is in your scene, where the light sources would be coming from, etc. In my earlier comicking days, I tended to shade everyone equally, as if there were a little sun hanging directly over each and every character. I didn't really get that I had to create a whole environment for my characters to be running around in, I couldn't just light them all individually. Anyhoo.

Now for this page, you can see I didn't play too much with shadows and contrasty lighting. In the past, I've colored my Gods & Undergrads pages. Recently I haven't had enough time to fully color each page, so I've been doing them in straight black-and-white. However, since I one day hope to color them, I don't add as much depth with my inking as I would if this were closer to the finished product. Also, you'll notice I've left the borders of the panels as-is - no inking by hand. I'll leave that for Part 4 - Computerizing!

My Comics Process Part 1: Thumbnailing

My Comic Process Part 2: Pencilling

My Comics Process Part 3: Inking

My Comics Process Part 4: Computerizing