Oh man! It’s a beautiful world we live in, friends!!
I’ve recently had a break through with my inking process for drawings. But first, a tiny history between ink and myself.
I first learned about inking when I decided to make an effort to learn how to draw comics. I got a small book that gave me a few terms and tips about the inking process. It taught me that comics first start off as a penciled drawing that was then either inked by the penciler or sent off to a person whose job it was to ink these drawings. This job required a utility belt of tools and skills that I was never even aware of. I’ll list some of the supplies they wrote down:
- Pen holder
- Pen nibs, of the drawing variety
- Round Brush, size 3
- India Ink (some of the better brands include Higgins, Pelican, and, my personal favorite, Speedball)
- Prowhite (basically an artist’s version of white-out)
I saw that list and two feelings came over me; one of dread and one of excitement. My dread came from the fact that I was from Gila Bend, where anything that was related to art supplies was about an hours drive away. My excitement was in the fact that I had been pointed in the right direction.
Many time and money consuming adventures later, I finally had what was necessary to begin practicing. And practice I did. I must have filled up hundreds of pages worth of tick marks and feathering, all the while learning to communicate to my pen/brush what I wanted it to do (I took the time to practice with both)… When I had finally graduated to drawing a line longer than an inch or two I ran into a problem with my pen: my ink well didn’t seem to hold enough ink to keep the ink flowing. My figures could be inked but only with a lot of frustration and ripped paper (Remind me to talk about paper at some point). Brushes were fine but I really liked the control I had with a pen. I tried to come back to it here and there between present time and a few years back but my defeat had gotten the best of me, really. Until that faithful day…
That faithful day was actually last Sunday. I was in my friend Chantel’s room. I was commissioned by her to make her invitations for her voice recital this March. I knew what I wanted to do, but it would require me to take up my pen again…my commitment was more important then my fear at that point so I began, this time with a new piece of information. You see, in my previous excursions I had dipped my pen in water in order to dilute the ink enough to where it would flow from the tip. However, when my drawing teacher, Jerry Schutte, started talking about his ink drawings. He showed us his pen, which was still covered in ink from the last time he had drawn. I was confused. Weren’t you supposed to keep that thing clean…and wouldn’t the ink be less dense if you were supposed to be dipping it after every stroke. I took time to ponder this. Fast forward back to the moment I was drawing the invite, I decided not to dip in water and just let the ink build, an idea formed from seeing Jerry’s pen. I felt sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo stupid. IT WORKED PERFECTLY!!!!!! I suppose I really can’t blame myself though. The books I read on inking were never specific enough. So I’m going to be there for you the way the greats have never been for me:
I AM GOING TO EXPLAIN TO YOU HOW TO INK (for those of you that need as much explanation as I do to understand things)
- Place nib on pen and open ink
- Dip pen in as far as the little hole in the nib (called the ink well)
- Wipe bottom of nib on the edge of the rim of your ink’s container (so that it doesn’t drip everywhere)
- Draw your line (if you are having trouble getting the ink to flow then just draw a small line repeatedly on a separate sheet of paper until it starts to flow. I call this stroking)
- Draw until your ink stops flowing (or if stroking doesn’t work)
- Dip pen again
This process should work as long as your ink hasn’t started to clump up from age and drying out. If that happens you can try working with it by putting some of the ink into a bottle cap or something and working around the clumps. Sometimes the ink can turn into something like black snot. If it does that, then you can add water. Ink is a tricky friend, but a friend it is and you will come to love it if you take the time to get to know it.
I hope you learned something from this. If you have any questions about inking, let me know. I’m still learning but I do have a lot of experience with it (despite what this post might make you think) and I seem to be more available then the professionals out there that I tried to contact.
Thank you for your time and attentions,