I have tested several inks and papers during all these years, and here are my two cents about them.
Since I live in Chile I had to look for materials where are both available in Chile and / or easy to bring by mail to Chile. For instance if I start using certain kind of paper in one comic and switched to another kind of paper in the middle for me signifies a huge change in my inking method, despite that the publisher or the penciler might not realize the change, but I do and I feel that it would be a challenge to maintain quality.
So, in my opinion there are some things you can look for the best in the market and some others that I must trust that the local supplier will do the job. Let me show you an example:
– I buy my inks in the internet to an American supplier, www.paperinkarts.com. I found that store after Jonathan Glapion posted about them online. They seem to be specialized in inking materials and they have never sent me nothing but the best in the market.
– I had tried several 270 grs or 300 grs Opaline paper, which is for me – at least, locally – the best paper for inking available in the market. For two years I used a supplier that gave me a 11 x 17″ sheet paper for a reasonable price, but the best of the product was it smoothness.The paper was smooth enough to be able to use inking tools that demands a great deal of ink (quills, brushes), but still white enough to treat it carefully in case of spots and inking stains. Even thou when I used white ink, it blended great with the “whiteness” of the opaline paper. Unfortunately, the supplier ceased to work with that product so I had to start working with a lower quality paper.
However, If I had to order sheets like the Blue Line Pro paper (I’d love to test this one someday) I am worried that it might twist, bend or make it useless if the paper gets damaged because of the mailing service. and you know that inking with a damaged paper it will turn inking into a nightmare.
there are several inks that you can use in order to do cool comics and there are several things that you have in mind if you want to choose the correct ink:
– How the ink deals with the paper: It’s viscosity. Inks brands have some degree of solvent, which liquify the pigment into a liquid product. If you are using a texturized paper you may have some problems because of a way too viscous ink (Quill won’t drop ink into de paper smoothly) or way too thin ink (ink will moist paper and turn it into a mess).
– Which kind of tool will you use the ink with: some inks are to thick to run correctly with several tools, but still great as a black fill-in spot.
– The “Blackness” of the ink: For this matter I strongly suggest India Ink, which Wikipedia defines it as: “(…) a simple black ink once widely used for writing and printing and now more commonly used for drawing, especially when inking comic books and comic strips”. Please, take into consideration that inking is mostly a craft which turns penciled work into a fine printable black line. Remember the “printable” part: That means that a printable line must be clear, defined, easily readable to be able to turn it into a printed line in the big scale production, so if you use a ink which is not enough black, you will have problems by the time the pay gets into the printer.
For that matter here are the list of the bests ink brands I have tested and the ones I work with.
– Speedball Ultrablack: Best ink, for me, however it comes in a small bottle and it lasts a few pages before it gets thicken. So you need to mix it with some drops of water in order to loosen its thickness and make it more fluid. Works great with the brushes and it’s ok with the quills – it also depends on the paper. It’s quite cheap (like 5 USD per bottle) and you need to keep it in a good watery shape.
– Rotring India Ink: Surprisingly useful and not quite expensive ink (I recommend the big 250 Ml Bottle). Great black rendering, quite good (not too thick) and it helps because you can find it almost everywhere. It’s obviously not recommended for great inking tools (Kolinsky 8404, Windsor and Newton Series 7 Brushes, and most certainly, Hunt 102 crow quills does not work as well as needed with this ink). However, with other common brushes it’s a cheap ink to consider.
– Windsor and Newton India Ink: This a tough one. have tried it for a few pages and it’s great for tools, but still quite expensive. It works great with the opaline paper and still I am trying to convince myself if this is the best ink or not.
– Higgins India Ink: Here I made a mistake… I used Higgins non-waterproof black ink which is better for watercolor effects. So inking, trying to produce printable black areas was a nightmare. You can see this example, made by artist Jim Ruth, which masterfully used the different black tones to give a contrast between light and dark, but for inking a page was useless. Maybe I’ll use next time Higgins Black Magic ink.
and what about white ink? Wow… I tried like for years to find a good white ink. I tried a lot, Rotring, Whiteout, even Tipp-ex corrector, white pens, and nothing was enough good for me until I read about this piece of glory:
– Dr. Martin’s pen White ink. Brutal ink, even applied over the blackest ink or blackest paper. It’s better with quills since it’s quite viscous than the other black inks out there. It takes a lot to dry out, but the result is totally recommended for reverse inking. I have achieved great results with this ink. Just like Speedball ink it uses to dry rather quickly and you need to add some water here and there – mostly in the summer time – to keep it liquified. Unfortunately it’s only available in digital stores like Paper Ink Arts or New York’s Da Vinci Artist Supply.
Here ya’ go. That’s mostly what I know about inks. Maybe it’s not much, but I hope that it will help. Obviously it’s up to everyone’s experience to decide which ink and which paper to use.
Things that keeps me moving forward 3: Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked
Originally aired by History Channel it’s a documentary that focuses on the legacy of comic books superheroes since it’s first days. Totally recommended to enhance our motivation in this craft.
I’ll be proud to be part of it sometime.
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A couple of days ago I posted a link where all US citizens could purchase Headliners #1, a comic book penciled by Kevin Strieter where I do the inks and Aurelio Alonso does the colors.
After trying to purchase it by myself (remember that I live in Chile) I couldn’t do that. So Kevin told me that if you still want to grab a copy you can get it from Drive Thru comics, Here’s the link and it’s only 2’99 USD!
Please, show some love and get a copy!
Well, after struggling with deadlines (We lived a nightmare since January, with hospitals in between… and you know…being in hospital could only let me inking digitally) I could push the envelope and ink all 4th issue of Robin The Hood in less time than I expected. The book is closed and as far as I was informed it will see light this May. Remember that I was invited to do issues #3 and #4, so it won’t have my inks on #1 and #2.
I liked inking Luis Rivera a lot, he has a classy style. You could see him penciling some old war stories comics back from the 40’s and still would look fresh. Inking him taught me not to be afraid with bold overlines, so I kept separating back, mid and foreground planes more radically.
It’s expected to be released soon, so I hope that if you see it, please, pick it up and drop me a line with your comments.
Hope you like it.
Got two great news today that cheered me up a lot. Just in time with my first birthday as a semipro inker!
The Headliners is a indie comic book I’ve been inking since mid 2013, scripted and penciled by Kevin Strieter. We are wrapping up issue #2 and there are 4 planned and – according of what I heard, it will be more.
This comic was launched today at the Barnes & Noble website for purchasing. It’s for the NOOK service system, so if you are looking for a full of action comic book, please pick this comic up and be part of the Headliners universe! It’s only 2’99 for Ipod platform!
You can see more here:
Kevin Strieter will be at the Denver comicCon this year from Jun 13th to Jun 15th, so if you live at the area please, go say hi and get a copy!
From Trixie Dynamite #1, page 1 to Robin The Hood #4 Page #22.
This post is about what I have learnt this past year about being an inker.
March 18th 2013 was the day I quit my job, suffering for high stress after a three month period struggling with both projects and my former employer work ethics until I couldn’t be part of something that was killing me. 6 months later, while I was working in some El Viudo pages I was informed that he shut down the design studio, put everyone left on the street without a month notice and hid from many many lawsuits.
I believe I made the best choice. I can only thank my wife because she has been the best supporter I could ever wish for.
However, I did not found a stable paid job this past year. I worked here and there focused on having printed material to grow my resumee, instead of applying into the big leagues. Why? Because after one year of fully inking I realized that I am still not a professional inker. And without experience or printed material I can’t jump to the next level, so money can not be the most important matter here. It’s difficult not being able to help at home as I would like, thou.
What I have learnt this year is where am I inking wise and still I am not as good as some other new inkers out there, like Daniel Herniques, Rob Doan, J.E. Lozano, Bob Almond or Jesse Hansen. I am not worried for that because gaining that knowledge that took me 200 pages. That taught me about my limits which now I know what they are and how to improve them to reach higher goals.
I told myself that I’d spend one year trying to break into comics, however I realize that it would take more time than expected. My savings are almost zero and I will have to find a mixture in inking and industrial design to keep working. Still I can count with my wife’s understanding which is my motivation.
Right now I am understanding the dynamics, which is the best ink to use and when to use which tool and such. But also about commitment, ethics and being able to be able to everyone who may need my services.
And I inked and penciled a lot. Even in hospital last month.
It’s a matter of keep improving. You are compiting against the bests, Glapion, Morales, Miki, Batt, Friend, Williams, Townsend, Hanna, Palmer, Weems, Underwood, Farmer... Be as good as them, then keep improving and try to be better. Be positive and try not to rush. I have time against me, I’m 36, but I don’t think on that. I think of the day when some big publisher will release a comic book with my name in it. That’s what drives me today.
I’ll keep inking this second year. I only can keep fighting to become what I like the most of comics and gain my own spot. To become a professional inker.
Still have lots of new pages and new comics to ink.
Hope that you could keep interested in my work. Thanks for following my posts.