In my last post, I showed you some work-in-progress; a bunch of half-inked pages (some might say half-assed!) In the comments, Allen asked me about what tools I use, and to explain a bit more about my process. I decided that my answer was worthy of its own post. Or at least a good excuse for one!
At least, that’s what I thought a month ago, when he asked me!
The truth is, I don’t really know if I have a technique. I don’t know what my process is! Lately, I’m just using whatever tools are handy. I use a mostly a quill pen nib made by Deleter (a company that makes “Manga” specialty supplies). I used to rely on your basic Hunt 107 nib, or “crow-quill,” but the fact is that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. When I can’t find my Deleter nibs, and I’m forced to use a Hunt, I get very frustrated because they are so cheaply made these days. I think you’re lucky if you can use one for 3 hours before it bends or breaks. They suck. Didn’t used to be that way.
To rule straight lines & curves, I tend to use technical pens like the Copic Multiliners or Staedtler Pigment Liners. I even admit to using an occasional Sharpie to fill in blacks. I guess I’m a lot less choosey about my materials than I used to be. I’m sure many of you artists out there will be horrified to learn this. The reality is that I pretty much always scan my own work, so I’m less concerned about the ink quality and I tend to clean up the digital files rather than using Pro White or other corrective white paint on the actual inked art. This means that some of my original art has an “unfinished” look, and I may regret that fact, one day when I try to sell it all. However, for getting a job done, it can be much easier & faster for me to clean up & manipulate the pages in Photoshop, so that’s what I’m doing.
By the way, I would NOT recommend these half-assed measures to any artists out there who are trying to break in the the biz! Master your tools! That means your pens, brushes, ink & paint—as well as your computer mouse & stylus!
Now here’s my sad confessional: I really, really, REALLY wish that I were more adept at inking with a brush. I LOVE a nice, juicy brush stroke, and I’m supremely jealous of anyone who can pull it off. I like to play with brushes (and Japanese brush-pens) when I’m sketching, but I just don’t have the guts to reach for the brush when I’m working on a “real” job. I am simply more comfortable with a pen, so I always fall back on that particular tool, because I know how to make it do what I want.
But I’ll keep practicing, and one day I’m gonna knock your socks off!