Storytelling 101g

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

For my last comics post, I wrote about drawing Zip and Li’l Bit Funnies. The next step in my process after sketching is actually doing the lettering and putting in all the word balloons, but since today’s comic is all about Li’l Bit, there wasn’t much lettering to be done so I thought I’d skip ahead and talk about inking. I’ll get to the lettering next time.

Inking is the part of the whole comic process that I enjoy the most. By the time I get to this step, I’ve got my drawing in pencil pretty much completed, I’ll trace over it on a sheet of clean white paper and just relax and go over all the lines in ink. The thing that I enjoy so much about it is that when I’m working, it’s very instinctual. For sure I’ll be thinking ahead and trying to plan out what I want to do, but really with every new line I put on the paper, I’m actually just reacting to the character, shape, and size of the lines already there.

Here’s an example of a finished drawing from today’s comic:

Sample Ink Artwork

For Zip and Li’l Bit, what I’m trying to do with my linework is to have fun with it. I also try to use the weight and character of the lines to provide depth (for example, thick lines on characters or foreground elements can help separate them from background items with thinner lines), and to try to focus attention where I want it.

There are two things I think an artist needs to become a good inker. You need confidence to try new things and possibly ruin your picture, and you need a good memory so you can remember not to ruin the next picture in the same manner. Of course, it’s also good to remember when you’ve done good things in a picture as well. ;)