In the last few posts, I’ve described my part of the process of creating a comic book page, specifically a two-page spread from Number Of The Beast #1. Beginning now, I’ll attempt to explain what happens once I’m finished with the pencil drawing.
As I mentioned in the last installment, I box up the pencilled pages and FedEX them to Karl Story in Atlanta, GA. Karl and I have worked together off and on since 1992 when we were teamed up by editor Michael Eury on the DC Comics series Legionnaires. Karl is one of the founding members of Gaijin Studios, whose website can be found HERE, and he’s one of the best inkers currently working in the industry(if not THE best). As an inker, it’s his job to go over my pencil lines and shading with black India ink using various brushes and pens. He does more than trace the lines and fill in areas of solid black, though: he cleans up and finalizes anything sketchy, adds depth to the drawing using various line weights(traditionally, thicker lines on closer objects, thinner on background objects), and creates texture where none was present or merely hinted at in the pencils(compare what Karl did with the chrome on Engine Joe’s belt/bumper or the little pieces of rubble around Joe’s feet to my pencils to see what I mean). Some comic artists ink their own pencil artwork, but the standard practice is to split the pencilling and inking into two separate jobs done by two different people in order to save time. This works out well for me, since I am barely competent at inking, and Karl brings a level of polish and finish to my work that I could never achieve. I have repeatedly thanked him for making a turkey of a page look good, but he also makes pages I’m happy with look spectacular! Judge for yourself with the image above!
Once Karl finishes his inking, he scans the pages at high resolution into his computer and sends them digitally to the Wildstorm offices in San Diego, where the final two steps in the process, lettering and coloring, are completed. I’ll cover those steps in the next two posts.