Good morning, Artafriends! So as previously mentioned, I’ve set out to learn everything I possibly can about working with ink. When I first started making graphic novels two years ago I only had the vaguest idea about where to start. One thing I kept noticing though was that many artists had fears about working with ink. At the suggestion on a fellow artist’s blog I simply steered clear of ink and worked solely in pencil, boosting the pencil darkness in photoshop so that it looked like ink. Well, as we all know, it’s fine to hitch your star to someone else in the beginning when you’re learning, but soon enough you have to break that chain and set out on your own path. I’ve since determined that I was not meant to only work in pencil. Most of the artists out there that I really, really respond to (Sean Phillips, George Pratt) are masters with their ink work, and the compulsion to revel in the black stuff is just too much for me to resist.
What to do? Rather than spreading out on a multi-pronged path to better myself across all aspects of making comics, I’ve decided to focus on one facet at a time and learn everything I possibly can. That facet for now is INK. Through a rigorous exploration of different brands of ink, substrates (surface/paper), and drawing implements, I intend to immerse myself so much in the inky blackness that I know everything about it (is that possible?).
I began with a very simple exercise. Dividing a piece of thin card stock into 16 squares I set out to make marks with a series of different implements. The ink used in this exercise did not deviate, it was Speedball Superblack.
From top left to bottom right the method of mark-making is this: Shag Brush, Side of #3 Artist Brush, Paring Knife, Plastic Bag, Brown Paper Square, Paper Roll, Bobby Pin, Thread-Wrapped Needle (jailhouse tattoo style), Cotton Swab, Cotton Ball, Screw, Miniature Plastic Sword, Dental Tool (scratched), Large Nib, Tissue Paper, Cloth Roll.
The next exercise involved taking a crowquill nib, which I’ve become very comfortable with at this point, and trying to see how many different kinds of marks and shading patterns I could make with it. This was also done with Speedball Superblack.
Let me know, if you have any other suggestions of unique mark-making instruments, or thoughts on ink. These are just the beginnings of my experiments toward broadening my experience with the medium. More to follow soon!
*(This post was supposed to run on Friday the 11th, I forgot to pull the trigger on it before I went into the wilderness and away from the computer for the weekend. Big oops, friends.)