Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Music I'm loving right now.

Jeffrey Lewis  (Back When I was Four)
The Wombats  (Let's Dance to Joy Division)
The Flaming Lips (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots)
Sigur Ros
Massive Attack

Just about done with the first issue here.  After weeks of working at high gear, happy as anything, happier than I've been in ages really, the situation abruptly turned as I got to the inking stage.  It wasn't a horrible place to be, certainly not as bad as some places I've been in recent memory, but the proximity to those ugly times induced a bit of panic at first.  All the tools felt alien in my hands, and no matter how closely I studied books on their use and how other artists dealt with them, when it came down to actually using these pens and brushes and inks, I was completely flummoxed.  The most frustrating part being the speed, or extreme lack thereof.
It's like being on those moving sidewalks at the airport.  You're not in any hurry to catch your flight, you know you'll make it but adding a little more pep to your step makes the going feel that much better, zipping past the generic art on the walls, past other travelers, easily, breezily.

Then you hit that gap between moving sidewalks and BAM, you have catch yourself, you worry about tripping, you try to balance your teetering suitcase as the wheels catch on the carpet.  And then the world is no longer flying by, you're part of it again, and the clock is ticking.

That's inking.

It's boring, tedious, precarious and unforgiving.  Not a place I like to be.

And to go from tentative brush strokes back to steady confidence penciling the next batch of pages is not as easy as all that.  I spent most of last week stuck, staring at my board, drawing here and there but not getting into that groove, feeling the minutes and hours tick by.

I'm now getting inking help for this last set, a flashback scene, so it shouldn't disrupt the continuity.  It's a good compromise, hopefully one that will help establish some kind of truce with my brain as I learn to incorporate new skills into the routine.

Despite the hiccups, I'm really happy how it's turning out.  The colourist, Charlie Kirchoff has been sending me pages and they look amazing.  Can't wait to see this on the shiny paper stock.  It'll be one pretty book.


Charlie Kirchoff said...

Well, as someone who has seen your inks on this, I must say I can't tell you struggled. It looks beautiful!

But I hear what you're saying about inking. I could never do it myself. I never could get used to the tools and I frequently would smear the ink. Though, I've been meaning to give digital inking a try since I'm already used to the digital tools.

So, who's assisting with the inks now? Are you still doing the inks on the "present" scenes for the subsequent issues?

(Oh, and thanks for the kind mention there. I'll hopefully have more colors to show you very soon. I've been trying to finish up the colors on an issue of Dr. Who Classics and then my a/c died earlier this week during a heat wave so that put me behind. Apparently I can't work as fast in the heat. But now its fixed so I'm building up my speed again.)

Pia Guerra and Vicky Van said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pia Guerra said...

I totally hear you about the ac. We can't have one in our office and I just get all kinds of anxiety thinking about what it will be like during the next heat wave. Fortunately (?), climate change has kept Vancouver locked in winter mode for more than a month now (rainy and 11 degrees celsius thereabouts). We actually had to turn on some heat last week which isn't much better considering the cold makes my hands achey. And that's not even going into dampness affecting allergies. For now I'll just be glad I'm not sticking to the desk as my brain boils.

As for inking, I'm not sure who they've settled on yet but I'm thinking it might be good to continue with the inking of the present scenes with coverage on the flashbacks. It distinguishes the time differences nicely and I still get to work on getting to be a better inker without the dump truck of a weight on my shoulders.

Also, I've tried the digital inking and though I like the results it's still not as sharp as a pen. Charlie, you may have noticed that I've been doing corrections in Photoshop if only because the white ink I've tried to use isn't working against the type of ink in these pens, it bleeds like crazy. Makes me wonder if I can even try to sell these pages afterwards, pre-photoshop they look a right mess.

Charlie Kirchoff said...

lol, well you could always donate the "messy" pages to me to get them off your hands. :P

But seriously, you could always try selling the originals with a print of the final, digitally corrected pages if you wanted. That might sell.

Charlie Kirchoff said...

Oh, and since we had mentioned digital inking...

If you ever have any high res scans of your pencils and don't mind, I would love it if you could email me them so I could do some digital inking experiments.

I was just thinking that your art would be fun to try that on. I'll probably end up butchering it, but thats what experimentation is for. :P

pia guerra said...

Chris may have some pencils on the server but if those aren't accessible I'd be happy to send you some.

Here's a question, when you get the art and get ready to colour them what do you do to even out the blacks? Do you just mess around with the levels or is there a specific filter involved? I'm interested in how to make a cleaner page of inks.

Charlie Kirchoff said...

Well, I can't access those. I can only access my stuff on the ftp.

When I get line art thats not "clean" I use either Levels or Curves to make the blacks blacker and the whites whiter.

Back when I started most of the books I worked on were actually bitmapped so I didn't have to worry about that. But there are pros and cons to both bitmapped art and grayscale art.

The pros with bitmapped art is that all blacks are solid and the line edges are sharp so you don't have to worry about it getting blurry. With grayscale, sometimes areas that are spotted black won't be an even black. The con with bitmapped is that if you have any really fine lines or drybrush effects it usually gets lost or chewed up.

I hope that helps.

pia guerra said...

That does. I'll play around with it, see what happens.

Randy said...

It's great to hear you're stretching your artistic muscles by picking up inking (I remember you had some trouble inking Yorick's beard for some references before, but I'm sure after a few pages under your belt, your inks will be stunning!)

Is it necessary to pencil the whole batch and then ink them afterwards? I'm sure going through the full process would keep both your pencilling and inking muscles from atrophying :)

pia guerra said...

They're two different ways of thinking so in order to keep a steady pace, for me anyway, I think it's better to get all the penciling out of the way and then ink. Going back and forth is just too much gear changing. Gonna burn out the clutch before long. *g*

Jeremy Bement said...

Hi Pia,

As a big Doctor Who fan, I'm extremely excited to see your series. You're awfully lucky to get the chance to draw each of the Doctors!

I hope that when your art gets printed in the actual comic it doesn't get pixelated. I noticed in IDW's current series that a lot of pages look jerky and the lines don't flow very well due to how they were scanned. If that happens, can I get scans of your pencils so I can ink them myself? (I'm an freelance inker by trade myself.)