Thursday, February 25, 2010

book project - inking

I know what you are thinking. You think I forgot all about promising to come back and tell you about the next step of my book project. After all, that was a month ago. You think I am off hiking the Appalachian Trail in Argentina or something... WRONG! The fact is I have three of these books to illustrate and I have been working furiously to get the other two penciled in. I finally did, and now I am able to get to the inking phase of this book.

Here is my editor approved, 100% full size sketch with revisions and extra cheese. I put a sheet of Clearprint Design Vellum over it to do my inking on. In olden days of yesteryear, I used to trace the sketch onto watercolor paper with a lightbox so I could ink it and color it with watercolor. Now I can skip one whole time consuming step by going right to the inking stage on the vellum. At this point I can still make slight adjustments in the placement of things by just moving the vellum a bit to put the object in a slightly different position. The tweaking never ends...

Here are my archaic tools. I found this old ink bottle holder many years ago. It keeps my ink bottle from sliding off my drawing board. I don't like the narrow openings on most ink bottles so I found this little bottle with a wide mouth that I fit into the holder. A few rounds of duct tape helped it to fit in the hole better. Duct tape just makes everything better doesn't it? I have tried different pen points, but seem to just like the basic #102 crowquill available at any art store. And there is the little piece of paper where I test the ink to make sure it is flowing before I put the point on the REAL thing.

Here I am pretending to be inking, but I'm really just holding my pen while I fumble around with my camera in my left hand and try to take a picture. I have spent a large part of my life influenced by and imitating comic strips and editorial cartoons. I love the line work of many artists from Ronald Searle to Walt Kelly to Jeff MacNelly to Bill Watterson to Charles Schulz... the list goes on and on. I seem to be addicted to the black line. And I like the feel of drawing on real paper and inking with a real dip pen. I may end up doing all this digitally someday... SOMEday... but not today. Today I will get actual ink on my actual fingers. And it ain't easy to get that stuff off, believe me!

OK, now I have to get the linework into my computer and my Epson scanner does this for me. 80% of all the illustration I do fits on the basic 8.5 x 11 inch vellum and I can scan it. About 20% of the time I have a larger illustration and have to scan it in sections and stitch it together in Photoshop. Once I have scanned in the inked drawing, I can clean it up in Photoshop with the eraser. I usually end up dragging my finger through the wet ink somewhere and Photoshop has saved me thousands of dollars that I would have spent buying white out paint.

Oh, if you happened to miss out on the first installments of this project, just click on "book project" over on the side bar and you will be up to speed in no time. chop chop

Well, now we are all ready to color this piece. I will post something about that soon. But first... I need to go to Argentina and do some hiking.


Pj said...

Wow...Really liked seeing how you work, DJ! Makes me wish for the days I used that ink pen--Not! Looking forward to the next installment with basted breath.

So. How's it going with the new Cintiq..?

Scott said...

"Pretending to ink and holding the camera in your left hand." LOL! Thanks Doug! Good stuff and looking forward to seeing your books.

trowbridge chronicles said...

Wow,I guess I forgot that you ink with a crow quill. I gave up on those many years ago. The line just doesn't seem to work for me. I thought you have been using Micron Pigmas. Those are my mainstay.

Caitlin said...

Hey! I just came across your blog via Jacket Flap and wanted to say how much I love your cartoons! I too have always loved to for messy fingers I guess it's just something we've learned to deal with, but Photoshop is an excellent invention...I just have yet to scrape together the necessary extra funds, but hopefully in due time! ;) Keep sharing the awesome work.

Oscar González Loyo said...

Great!!!!!!!! Greetings from México!