Thursday, May 17, 2007

J. Scott Campbell step by step

(entry ricH)

Thought I would do something a little different here for the next day or two. I haven't ever done an inking step by step and I have a unique piece I worked on that I thought would fit the bill nicely.

Many people don't realize that when I started at Wildstorm I worked on Gen 13 with Alex Garner and J. Scott Campbell for 2 years(check all the way back to issue 2 of the ongoing'll see my name in the credits as an ink assitant to Alex) I think I am known more now for the little detailed fine line hyper rendering like I did on Leinil Yu or Travis Charest. But I am very comfortable doing this style of inking as well.

This is about 1 hour into the piece. I've lightened the pencils a LOT in this scan so you can see how I am going in and blocking out the BIG shapes on the sillouhettes. I am VERY conscious of form and what's coming forward and whats it goes on you'll see what I mean. They key to good inking is to think like your drawing...not doing a bunch of techniques. I almost look through the image and defocus my eyes when I work. I am never looking at the small. Only the big picture. I'll hold the page several feet away from my eyes if I am checking it out on how things are progressing.

ricH.(stay tuned for more)

ok here's a bit more. You can see things are starting to "pop" and more detail has been added. I am working from front to back. The hands are in front of the face for instance so I did them first. There are some rock effects in the bottom corner that will have some speed lines through them, but generally if you are hitting them with white ink to make it "burst" save that for the end. I've also started to work on the knight. Since there is some black in his costume I need to see the balance of that with the line work in front.

Art to me is a very delicate balancing act. It's weight and lightness, it texture versus non don't want anything to steal too much attention or to pull your eye to it and then lose it there. Stuck, because something was too sort of want the eye of the viewer to dance over the page and to be able to enjoy it all/ I also think art should have a warm quality to it.

ok here's a little more. Main figure is pretty much wrapped up and I am moving outward now onto the knight figure and probably the girl with the wings. The tools I am using are: Hunt 102 (crow quill), brush (Windsor Newton, Series 7 no. 3), and I am using Koh i Nor tech pens (rapidographs) of all sizes.

ok getting there. This can be a tough part for newbies, intermediates, and pros alike and I'll tell you why. Everyone is always all pumped up to do a piece (at first). The first few hours are generally the funnest and where people do their nicest, tightest, and most focused work. BUT! Then you have to dig in and keep that kick as steam you had in the first place ALL the way through. That's my biggest complaint about a lot of artists whether they are pencilers or inkers. It doesn't matter what you do the first few hours if your wrap up sucks. Hang tough and build endurance. You have to finish as strong as you started. If you lose focus, the work will suffer, and so will your end result.

again the pencils have been lightened so you can see the inks clearly although the page hasn't been erased yet. I've got all the hard stuff done now and I am going in a doing the final bits and pieces that remain. I still need to ink the knights hand, a little of his helmet, and a few feathers here and there. Then it's time to erase. Jeff throws a lot of eliptical lines and your hand always has to be very loose when you ink him.


WOOD said...

Jeez those women look amazing! Unbelievable... Maybe I need to get out

Shaynne said...

Great insight on your inking method. I look forward to seeing the progress.

antonio said...

Rich thank you for sharing this!!!


Steve said...


You are a GODsend for posting this. It gives potentially great inkers a chance to "get inside your head" and compare and contrast approaches to tackling a job like this. You're super methodical and a lot more patient than I would have originally thought.

By the way, excellent work so far, but I doubt I needed to tell you that. Can't wait to see how it ends up!

Ashigaru said...

Great work, really tight and great control on your inks. Jeff does a great job with the pencils, but the ink is the stuff that gets *seen*.

Fabrizio said...

HEY, Rich! You're gonna beat Jack Black with this "school of inking"!!!



Nestor said...

Awesome thats a really cool cover and you are def showing that inking is not a tracing thing.

seban said...

cool man! :)


Sebastien said...

Requius said...

Been waiting awhile for this.
Thanks Rich.

I'm intrigued by your "warm quality"
comment. Would love to hear you elaborate on warmth when it comes to black and white lineart.

Richard said...

Basically it can look flat and cold. Or it can have a depth and mid tone value that keeps things feeling alive.

You might need to see more black and white comic art (in person) to understand....a lot of it doesn't look so great without color.

Viewing things online is not always a good indicator. Ask anyone who's bought art off e bay got it delivered and had their heart sink when the piece that looked pretty cool "from the scan" looked like death warmed over in person. It resizing things, bumping up the levels, there's an amount of blur that comes from 72 dpi that's very forgiving with viewing art online.

The great black and white work always looks even better in person.

Mark Henry said...

Your work is amazing dude. I had inks from Mark Irvine once for a DarkHorse project and as much as I liked it. I would have much better seen your take on my work.

Keep up the skills bro.

Mark Henry,