My Magical Funhouse of Inking Horrors
Last week, Hope Larson talked about her inking tools during her presentation at the school. I got a buzz when I found out she uses the same tools as me, and I always love to hear tool and technique talk by other artists. The tools are of the comic artist are pretty common and inexpensive. I spend a lot more on materials when I'm painting.
Here's my Dollhouse of Inking delight. Behold. My Star Wars figures are normally propped up like that. It's workplace flair to brighten up my day. Some people have pictures of their children or a Gary Larson calendar; I have Han Solo and Admiral Akbar. I also have a complete 1980 Hoth playset from Empire Strikes Back in case you're interested in knowing that.
Here's what I use to ink most all my comics (See photo above, from left to right):
Windsor Newton Series 7 Brush #2
I used this for half the page duty on Lucifer. I switched to using it almost exclusively for the first few issues of Local. Now, I'm back to using it for about %50 of the mark making. The #2 size is superior to the #1 because it has a larger "belly", holds more ink, snaps back perfectly and makes the same point as a #1 while providing a thicker line as well.
The problem is, I go through WAY TO MANY OF THESE. And, I don't know why. Ink gets in the ferrule and the brush is useless forever. I do not overdip. I assume the problem is that I don't clean out my water enough and I'm swishing my brush in inky water way too long. If the brush makers of the Series 7 knew how many of these I go through, they would ring my neck. Every single one of these brushes are MADE BY HAND, very delicately, by experts, maybe 12 people, and no machines involved in the formation of the series 7 pure kolinsky sable hair into the ferrule and black lacquer barrel. It's a time consuming process and that's why the damn thing costs so much I guess.
THE G-PEN (Niko, Tachigawa)
This Japanese nib is my absolute favorite right now, hands down. And I've gone through a TON of nibs by Gillotte, Brause, Hunt, EsterBrook, etc, etc. I did a ton of nibwork in Lucifer, but then I stopped it on Local. Now, I'm back to using nibs because I miss the unique line that it makes, a line that's full at one end and not a cursive line like the brush. This G pen is amazing. It's large enough and flexible enough. and I can go back and forth with , side to side and it makes a nice full line for profiles. And. It's super durable! Love it.
A standard nib in comics for a long time. The only other nib I seriously use. It's great for hatching and line patterns. It's dazzling on the smooth paper. I don't do back and forth strokes with it. It's a "drawing" nib and I realize every company has a nib equivalent to it but this one is my favorite.
PENTEL TRADIO STYLO
I found out about this pen through Peter Gross. Linda Medley also uses it, I believe.
It's non-water proof ink and it can take UP TO AN HOUR TO DRY ON BRISTOL PAPER. I kid you not. But, it dries instantly on copy paper. Bizarre. It's my secret weapon. Like a lot of Pentel (japanese) products, they're hard to find in the United States.
Faber-Castell PITT PEN
The felt tip sketch pens. Blah. I use them for some things. Some basic outlining. The Pitt Pens seem to last a long time for me.
THE PENTEL BRUSH PEN
This is the brush pen that everyone's talking about around town right now. I admit, It's pretty darn nice. A nylon tip, I suppose, but in no way can this replace the natural sable brush. It takes refillable ink cartridges (non-waterproof) but I've heard of inkers pouring their own ink in the empty cartridges. It's very convenient. I don't use it that much on my pages but it's great for traveling around with and sketching. Next to it is the Pump Pen by Ackerman pens. I'm not a big fan of it. and next to that, are my "Japanese Water brushes", one filled with ink, one with pure water. These can be fun and easy to use for sketching and spotting blacks or doing quick gray washes. They're about $6 a pop and they don't dry out. But they can be a little leaky sometimes. You can buy different tips.
I also use a lot of different India Inks. I don't have a clear favorite though.
I've been teaching an Inking class this semester so maybe I'll use this Blog to post some Inking tutorials. Fun!