Saturday, May 9, 2009

Digital Inking

For the past few months, I've been experimenting off and on with digital inking. The latest experiment involved scanning in a rejected LK thumbnail and simultaneously blocking out the characters while refining the lines.

In general, I can see the advantages to this. For starters, you save a lot of money on paper and ink supplies. If I were to use this process, I'd pretty much only need a pencil, a stack of 5 x 8 notecards, my tablet and the GIMP. It also allows for making changes to the art rather quickly. Part of the headache with inking something on paper and posting it is having people come to me and say "This panel is confusing. You should have done it like this and this or moved this here."

I've seen videos of artists using digital inking processes for Penny Arcade, Looking for Group, and Octopus Pie. They're quite good at it, although Meredith at Octopus Pie seems to have made the move to traditional inking. From a money saving and editing point of view, it makes a lot of sense. What's not to love about it?

Well, I did find something that I hate with this process... I like the feeling of paper under my hand. I like the way my pen runs across the bumpy surface of whatever it is I'm putting ink on. I like being able to rotate the page at any angle to get it just right without hitting keys on my keyboard. Apparently, I'm a freakin' traditionalist.

So in all honesty, I don't foresee myself ever using the digital inking for my projects. Even if I were to use a Cintiq, I don't think it would help me feel any closer to the art than holding my Micron to the Bristol board. Or maybe I'm just doing it wrong? Perhaps one day, someone will show me that special technique in digital inking that will blow my mind, make me a convert, and I'll never look back. But until that day happens, I'll happily rip the pages from their pad, slice them down to size, and deal with the ink blotches as they come.

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