Four days ago, while I was flying to Puerto Montt, a southern city in Chile for a 4 day off with my wife visiting the Island of Chiloé I read “Comics Economics: How To Earn A Living With A Comics Degree”, an article which was suggested by my friend and colorist Kóte Carvajal. It an interesting article that sums up everything you need to know in order to evaluate if jumping to professional comic books is your thing or not.
The authors, MK Reed and Joe Flood sums in a very under stable manner every part of this process: Keeping your day job, basic economics, how to present yourself, pitching a book, how to measure your page rate, and many more.
It’s very interesting and I felt two things while reading it: First, a small chill about the idea if I wasn’t ready enough last year when I dropped my job in order to be an inker and in a second order I felt relieved since I wasn’t doing many wrong things about this carreer.
I strongly recommend this article to you, if you are just starting your career or having plans about it.
Have a good read.
Note: “Comics Economics: How To Earn A Living With A Comics Degree” is an article © MkReed and Joe Flood.
This past weekend I was invited by Draw-it to the third Santiago Comic Festival, Fic Santiago, which was held in the Design Faculty of San Tomás University. This is by all means Chile’s best comic convention, where all artists leaves their drawing tables and spend some hours together. Actually it was overwhelming the ambient. I meet almost every friend and it was great.
I teamed up with colorist Kote Carvajal in the Draw-it table, where both showcased our skills.
I had the idea of adding a monitor to my computer and ink digitally, so people could see my work while inking Starburn. It was a great moment sharing suggestions and inking tips with the visitors and I thanks both Draw-it and Fic Santiago for the opportunity.
After that we both were interviewed in a round table about inking and coloring in comics, which was conducted by Mesa Gráfica‘s own Carlos Andueza and Camilo Mendoza. I developed a small powerpoint presentation making a small resumeé of my one year experience as a semipro. It was great and it was streamed by youtube. Soon I’ll post the link of the video once Mesa Grafica releases it. I want to thank Mesa Grafica for all the good vibes. They are the finest chilean website that focuses on comic book artists and illustrators.
Here’s the powerpoint I shown at the interview. I added that scene from Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy where Jason Lee’s character fights a fan who’s does not agrees with the role of the inker. It’s in spanish
It has been released teaser #2 of Starburn, comic for Emerald Star comics.
As Creator Kelly Bender writes:
“Starburn” is the fastest ship in the galaxy, and it’s crew will smuggle anything for you to any place for the right price.
Coming out soon from Emerald Star Comics.
It’s on a good speed, so Hope you’ll be enjoying it very soon,
New announcement! This weekend, exactly this Sunday April 13th I’ll be at the Santiago Comic Convention, Fic Santiago, here are the scheduled appearances:
*DRAW-IT is a chilean comic book artists management established in 2012 and it’s managed by Felipe Benavides, who’s goal is to find and put chilean artists into the scope of big publishers. It’s supposed to start servicing next year.
– Then, from 5.30 PM to 6.30 PM closing the weekend of comic activities I’ll be talking about inking comics for a living in the panel “Inks and Color in comics”, held by my friends at MesaGrafica.com, the same chilean site who interviewed me several months ago. I will also teaming up with Kote Carvajal and hope that we both could make some sense about our work and goals in comics.
Remember, Fic Santiago, the best Chilean Comic Book Festival is being placed at the Santo Tomas University Design Faculty at 4835 th Vicuña Mackenna Av, San Joaquin, Santiago. You can find the schedule here.
Hope that I’ll see some of you and despite the fact I won’t be able to sell any comics (It was supposed to be released one of the graphic novels, but it couldn’t make it to the Con, but it will surely be at ComicCon Chile in May), I’ll be hanging around inking to show you my set of skills.
Things That Keeps me moving Forward: Jack Kirby Interview
Interview with the King on April 13th 1990 at the KPFK-FM radio station in LA, Calif. USA.
The show is Hour 25 and it’s conducted by J.M. Straczynski and Larry DiTillio.
The most important thing of this show is to get to know the values and background of the King back in his early years, where he struggled as a kid in a poor neighborhood in NY. Totally Inspiring. Love the guy’s courage.
It’s been recorded by Ken Thomas for the Jack Kirby Museum.
Please, take it a listen.
The other day I was involved in a forum – like discussion about Rob Liefeld. As usual, in this case there are a lot of negative comments towards one of the founding members of Image Comics… How he draws feet, body misproportions, copycat characters, and so on. I took the other side of the discussion that later was deleted by the admin of the site, because it got quite angry. This post explains why I defensed him, but inking wise.
Rob Liefeld, for the ones that does not know him, is a comicbook penciler who has been in the business for almost 30 years. He is one of the few that keeps working in comics today. Maybe you don’t like his craft, but still he is a professional penciler in a medium that many of us, semi pro pencilers and inkers are doing the inhumanly possible to break in.
In every artist’s career you can see an evolution from his initial pages up to those that you can see he put his soul into it in order to achieve success and finally those that are made after success where the necessity in the market is made and it seems that breaking boundaries is not a goal.
Rob Liefeld’s craft does not escape that law. When he started in DC (Megaton, Who’s who in The Legion of superheroes. Hawk and Dove, 1987), his penciling was framed by Karl Kesel’s inks and he was dealing with the requirements of a professional deadlines. Up until the last pages of Hawk and Dove you can sense his true self over his pencils. One which searched for the visual effect rather than narrative clarity which later on he succeeded on that field.
However, Rob Liefeld penciling style is always on the verge of criticism because of several topics that you can find all over his work. Lack of background, several fixed panel shoot and the above mentioned misproportions and here’s when I think that an inker would help a lot.
Here are some of the bests pages I found over the internet (© Rob Liefeld Creations and the main source was Comic Art Fans).
Case 0: Inker: Rob Liefeld.
Most of the comics out there penciled by Rob Liefeld are also inked by him. According to his Comicbookdb profile, he has inked 54 of all his +150 titles. In my opinion his inks are well known in the gap between 1990 and 1993, when he penciled New Mutants, X-Force and started his own comic book, Youngblood. By the time he was well known because the unique energy he drove to the pages and characters. However, and taking into consideration that he might have been under great deal of responsibility, his inks were not quite polished. Maybe it’s a part of his energy or maybe it’s just a plain medium to get the page into the printer, but I sense on those pages that some line weight, some over line would pop the page out. Hatchering and feathering did not follow a regular pattern textures were not as realistic as they might look.
Here I’ll focus on the New Mutants #98 Cover and Youngblood #1 double-spread, penciled/inked by Rob Liefeld.
This page: While the lighting is well applied, line weight seems quite confusing between the foreground characters and the background characters. Besides, the background hatch it’s not regular. Adds a small disturbing feeling to the frame, which might be helpful to the style. Later on, you will see how other inkers with regular crosshatching patterns helps to give another look, more defined to the page.
On this one: (details)
I’d love to see more texture details on Badrock’s shoulder gear, there lines seem to the quite arbitrarily. While Rob’s faces are pretty strong, it would be great to gain some weight to separate it from the other character.
On this other detail, what drives my attention the most is that the wheel of Chapel’s bike does not look as rubber, letting the color to do the job. If you can see the other red circle, you can see how Liefeld gave more line weight to the arm in order to separate from the background, making it more readable to the reader’s eye. However the whole page lacks volume and – besides background / foreground issues, that’s what’s makes me these pages looks unfinished.
During the next years, Rob improved his inking technique and I will use one of his most discussed pin ups to prove it.
Misproportions, jokes and photomanipulations aside and only inking wise, Liefeld’s inking gets an huge improvement. Outer lines are bold, modulated, and shows a great deal of volume. Lights are placed, despite the fact that texturing might have given some problems making Cap’s uniform looks like latex, because it looks shinny. However Captain America’s shield looks like metal and the crosshatching is regular giving the same energy as the previous examples. The pin up shows volume in the shading of the body and the feathering looks just fine. As usual, the face is the part where you can see more detail in it. It’s another chapter, and I know that there are tons of pages that mocks up this piece talking about Cap’s body misproportions. If this job would had been inked by an professional inker, would he or she suggested a better body proportion, placed the chest star correctly? I don’t know and it’s not the point of this post. I wanted to post this piece because is so hated, but still you can see something out of it that can be analyzed here.
Case 2: Danny Miki.
He’s one of the greatest inkers today, with an obsession with details and – I swear that if the guy does not have 4 inking arms or a +30 hours day sometimes I can’t explain how he is able to get as much detail in a 22 pp comic book monthly. The founder of the best inking studio, Crimelab Syndicate, started in the business inking Liefeld’s second round of Youngblood early Issues, from #6 to #13, where he was able to put his commitment together and focus on the penciling.
This page: If you compare the earlier issues (from #1 to #5) there was an huge improvement in the finished art and my bet is that it was mainly because he relied on an inker, Miki, who gave him a new set of strokes, feathering and effects that added to Liefeld’s penciling the extra mile that wasn’t there on the first five issues. Dynamic and regular feathering, use of quills, perspective lines and more important, line weight gained Rob’s art a whole new value to the reader’s eyes. The main order was VOLUME, VOLUME, VOLUME. For me he’s the best inker he has got (ok, don’t count some collaborations, like todd McFarlane or Scott Williams)…
Case 2: Ian Churchill
Despite this cover, (Cable #75, ©Marvel Comics) was inked by Ian Churchill, the interior book was inked by Lary Stucker. I’d like to focus on this piece, because I think it’s important to see the main detail. We’ll keep the dust around Cable for another time.
This page: First of all, it lacks of background, maybe it was Marvel’s suggestion, but still it’s something you can see on Liefeld pages. while the cover looks good, a fully detailed background would probably turn this cover into a great one. But still the work on Cable’s armor is stunning. See the detail above. Churchill gives in his inks everything to Cable, line weight that makes him pop out from the background with a bold and unprecedented outline. Next to it, I don’t know if the penciled page show that level of detail, Cable’s armor is broken and the details shows it in its grace. There are a bunch of inside circuits that gives more concern to the situation. My bet – despite I did not ever see the penciled page – is that these kind of details are suggestions from the inker. And that’s something the inker must do, suggest somethings that will improve the final result. Next to it lighting shows a huge set of tense muscles in motion and shaded correctly and finally, texture. the knee protection looks like fabric, metal looks like metal, hair, like hair and broken stuff as broken stuff. It would be great to see more of this tandem together.
Case 000: myself…
Ok, it does not count at all, I have not inked him professionally but only as a test, but who am I to speak about an artists’s inking skills? Well, I have not asked for permission, but instead I tried to ink a interior page to gain some knowledge about the issue I am talking today about. I meet Rob Liefeld in the latest edition of NYCC back in October 2013, and he liked it. While i was inking this piece I tought if Is he as bad penciler as some people say? It’s as easy to ink as I believed he was? the answer was a surprisingly NO. Am I wise and experienced enough to write this post? No, but I think that at least I gave it a try to understand him better. So, inking Mr. Liefeld was a challenge, it allowed me to deal with volume, line weight and most important, to improve with some black and white splatter effects to improve the pop up effect between figure and background. Yes, sure, it’s not the best page he might have seen over his pencils and the feathering sucks, but still it allowed me to really put this penciler into a real scale and know where he can be improved and still make his pencils his own. And more important, seeing was would be the possible aspects that would help his craft, attached with an capable inker, a even better experience to the reader’s eye.
Let me know your thoughts and if there’s any, please let me know about what you think about making more of this kind of posts.
It’s has been done with full respect to the artist.