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2010 SKETCHBOOK (60 pages, black/white/tone, print run 100 copies)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Xena the Warrior Princess!

This was something that Leif Jones penciled (I think as a try out for the Xena books that Dark Horse was putting out...if Leif reads this I would love some enlightenment). Anyway I loved seeing the photocopies of the pencils and using some overlays I tried inking one of the figures and a portrait of Xena. I had a lot of fun at the time, but looking at it now it seems a bit heavy handed...again because I feel I used the wrong tools.

12 comments:

norm said...

cool. kind of a michael golden-y feel.
I've been wondering about the multiple tools vs one tool thing though.
I remember Mike Mignola and Arthur Adams expressing displeasure at the inking of an issue of Longshot one day at Mikes apartment. They were upset that Wilce had used both a crow quill and a brush, resulting in a miss-matched look.
I just assumed, at the time, you didn't mix tools...but, now, I figure it's in which tools you mix and how and where you do it.

Alex Sheikman said...

I wonder what Mignola and Adams meant by "miss-matched" look...I'll try to dig up some Longshots and take a look.

I do think you are right saying that it is all about how you mix different tools to finish off a drawing. I also think that every tool has a special property that is interesting and utilizing them to bring that forth is very rewarding (but of course tastes vary).

For example, on some shapes, I like to outline the shape with a pen that has a very thin line and then I go over it with a brush. It makes the outline pretty solid, but also while I am using the brush I don't have to worry about trying to go super thin---the thin line is already there--so I just focus on how to vary the line with the brush.

I would love to hear what Charles, who is the real inker, thinks about the whole "mixing of the tools" thing :)

Leif Jones said...

I'd forgotten Whilce Portacio inked LONGSHOT. In my mind Art Adams' early work is always tied to Terry Austin, who's inked lines never seemed to connect with each other.

There has been some gorgeous inking in the history of comics - Milton Caniff and Al Williamson come to mind - but I tend to see it as a technique that developed out of the need to define illustrations clearly despite poor printing methods. That reason, for the most part doesn't exist anymore, so what now is the reason for inking, outside of tradition or nostalgia? What does it add?


For the record, I was going for a Michael Golden feel when I drew these. I was asked by Dark Horse to do some character likenesses with the expressed possibility of drawing a XENA one shot. I nailed Xena from the start, but couldn't get her side-kick Gabrielle to work. No matter how many times I tried I couldn't pin down a specific feature that made her recognizable as the actress that played her in the TV show.

And so another "Likeness Book" slipped through my fingers, preceded by FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, MILLENNIUM, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

Having never even watched an episode of the TV show, it wasn't much of a loss.

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

Norm, alex, lief -

first off, very Golden-esque work on the Xena. I totally get that that is what you were going for.

My view of inking is that while it came out of necessity due to the reproduction of the time, it also allows you to incorporate different tools and thus different textures in to the piece that would otherwise be lacking.

There is no question that you can reproduce from pencils now, if that's what you wish to do. And if I'm reading a Gene colan Ragamuffins book, then lets go with the pencils. But an Alex Toth story? Gimme those solid slabs of black please!

I believe that with any tool, any of them from pencil to quill to photoshop, you get something out of it and its all about knowing when to use that something. I do think that in unskilled hands you can get a "miss-matched" look, but I also think that that speaks to not using the appropriate tool in the right spot, which is as much a mental error as a physical error. you can go to just about any book I inked in the second half of my career (once I got past the initial "what the hell am I doing" period) and it should be tough for you to pick apart the drawing and tell me where the different tools start and stop. I've always used rotring rapidographs, sable brushes and hunt quills and presto correction pens.

I once handed Kevin Nowlan a page and he brought it right up to his glasses and said, "what did you use to get this line?" And that man has an eye!

Terry, by Longshot, had moved onto a less intensive style of inking where he wasn't linking up the lines. It showed up in cloak and Dagger as well. never understood the look he was going for. But Terry Austin in 1977, inking Marshall Rogers on Detective and Byrne on X-men was the finest inker of all time. His use of lines and touch and detail was unparalleled.

Um, sorry to go on so long...

norm said...

Leif, some of what you bring up about the need (or not) for ink is covered in this blog (The October 17th entry down the page a bit)

http://illustrationart.blogspot.com/

Since I have a hard time really "finishing" a piece unless I ink it, I can't imagine a world without ink.
It's funny though, because I never use ink in my day job doing concept art...just pencil and Photoshop.

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Viagra said...

It makes the outline pretty solid, but also while I am using the brush I don't have to worry about trying to go super thin