Back in September 2016, Ralf Singh, a talented german penciler asked me to develop a digital sample inks panel of his new comic. It featured a dragon flying between tall linear buildings. It got me right away.
Ralf ‘s style mixes simple expressive lines but highly ellaborated backgrounds. He leaves the characters have the strenght on each panel and the backgrounds speaks volumes of his love for detail. So i tried to do the best of the dragon, but I really pushed myself to accomplish the most postapocalyptic, doomed, detailed, window by window on the buildings.
I totally failed on the dragon, but he liked the backgrounds. So I got a second chance. After the approval I decided to go very careful with the backgrounds on the sequentials. Luckily, Ralf is as methodic on the paper as he is on the communications. We use to hang out – or skype or Discord, before inking a page to focus on several details. Thanks to that kind of closer relationship, it helps a lot to enhance the final results.
As I said, Ralf linear work invites the inker to a work full of details and patience. Since the digital sample panel, and the HangOuts, I realized that my job was to potentiate the realism of the damaged environment the characters are in. For that matter, best thing is to work with Clip Studio Paint. That software gives me room for improvement in order to create a reliable background. Remember that it’s London with Dragons, so they don’t have much care of the buildings. Lots of cracks, smoke and broken windows.
On this gig, I always start with the backgrounds. Since the first scene takes place in Picadilly Circus all visual references are welcomed. I delineate the bigger volumes with a straight line giving the damage effect freehandedly. I like to add cracks to reveal the material all buildings are made of and play with the planes with lights and shadows. That way I can give more of a 3D look and make the objects (building, cars, et al) pop up.
Besides, I believe that in that postapocalyptic city all things must look like worn out, dusty, old. After discussing that matter with Ralf I had green card to loose myself a little bit on the objects like weaponry.
Then, I ink each character and there I try to go as faithful to the pencils as I can only giving some inking decisions such as 3D effects and shadows.
Finally, I give some smoke and splatters effects to loose the linear effect the pencils has and give it more realistic look.
Zinnober is not a dark comic, and artistically you can tell that it bears a little bit of hope in the pages. There are not big black areas – at least on the surface scene – which makes lines more important than ink spots. For that matter, inking a single page also takes a long effort. I spend between 15 to 20 hours per page.
I can’t wait to see this book printed. I invite all of you to visit Zinnober Facebook page (In english and German) and be around to the final announcement.
Zinnober created by Ralf Singh & Thorsten Brochhaus
Story – Ralf Singh & Thorsten Brochhaus
Inks – Cristian Docolomansky
Colors – Ilaria Fella
Lettering – Taylor Esposito