Sunday, August 10, 2003

I've been inking comics for nearly eight years now. Inking is that part of the process of drawing comics wherein the inker goes over in ink what another artist has already drawn in pencils. To the casual observer, it may well be considered Tracing, but a lot more things go into it than that. It would be difficult to explain exactly what I mean, as I myself was unsure of what the inker was supposed to do even during my first professional year as an inker. A perfect demonstration would be to take a pencil drawing and have a non-artist ink it, and then have a copy of the pencils inked by a professional, say like Tim Townsend, Jerry Ordway or John Beatty. Results should immediately be obvious. Inkers SHOULD be artists in their own right themselves, as only they can fully know what is going on in a penciller's mind and have the sufficient talent and skill to bring the artwork up to its full potential.

For a site that will give you all you need to know about inking, check out Larry Dempsey's Inking Survey Site. Larry has been able to interview and amazing array of artists from many places in the industry on the subject of inking.

That said, I think I've done everything I can possibly do with just inking, and want to move on to drawing. And by drawing I mean both pencilling and inking my work. To me, pencilling and inking is a single step in a process, a step that has been split in two in many American comics. Here in the Philippines, artists have always been trained to take pencilling and inking a single step. When you are asked to draw comics, that really meant both pencilling and inking. My correspondence with this amazing artist Socar Myles, who specializes in painted work both digital and manual, has reinforced my wish to return to drawing comics full time. I'm 35, and I'm not getting any younger. If I'm to make that step, I have to do it now.

Actually, I have been doing it on the side for quite some time. In 2002, I did both City of Light for Unbound Comics, and Ochlocrat for Comics Conspiracy. While I didn't get much feedback for City of Light, feedback for Ochlocrat had been plentiful. Looking at the work, I have to agree with a lot of the critiques my art has gotten and I tried hard to have it help my work. Hopefully, the results can be seen in The Judge's House, a 16-page adaptation of Bram Stoker's short story which I pencilled, inked, and lettered. It should be out in a Graphic Classics book spotlighting Bram Stoker in September. I'm still not fully happy with my work here, as it seems like a mutant between evolutions. In certain pages you would probably notice that I can't fully decide what direction to go, intricate, or simple. I'll be continuing to improve my work with a Creations story I'm doing for PSICOM. More info about that soon.

I think I'll do a little bit more inking after Birthright, but after that, I'll take the plunge and make the best of it. I know I'll never be a Jim Lee or even a Leinil Yu, as my comic book aspirations are completely different. When I draw, I tend not to draw Superheroes, but when I need to, I can draw them, but they would look different. I see myself doing stuff like Berlin rather than Captain America, Gemma Bovery rather than Green Lantern. I'd be tickled pink to do Wolverine though, as it has always been a dream of mine.

This year all throughout next year, I'll try really hard to get more into drawing comics, and possibly writing as well. Wasted, Dead Heart and Crest Hut gave me the confidence that I can do it . A lot of people have also suggested I do more writing, and I guess I just might as well do it.