Black Gold

Close-up of my drawing below.

The chapter Black Gold in Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden discusses inking comics with a brush. It’s written in such an entertaining and practical way that I thought I’d like to give it a try.

I’ve always struggled when drawing with a brush because:

  1. My hands are so shaky.
  2. I find myself thinking of calligraphic Chinese brushwork and realise that my technique is always going to fall short of that calm fluency.
One of my Merrell Jungle Lace shoes, drawn on Daler Rowney 250 gm Bristol Board.

Abel & Madden highlight some appealing aspects of brushwork that had never occurred to me, for example that brush dries more quickly than dip pen.

They take you step by step through the process of inking. I like their method of dampening the brush before dipping it in the ink, which works better than going straight for the ink. Dipping the brush several times and “tipping off” on the rim of the ink bottle helps build up a reservoir of ink in the brush without overloading it.

My drawing of the shoe took just two brush-loads of ink.

Daler Rowney Aquafine Sable Round, 10 and 6.

I used a number 6 Daler Rowney Aquafine Sable Round and Rhorer’s Black Indian Ink. I feel that I can clean the brush more easily when using the Rhorer’s than I can with my other Indian ink, Lefranc & Bourgeois Nan-King.

Scanning

Adjusting the threshold level, before and after: in the original, the ink varies in tone but adjusting the threshold level in Photoshop turns the drawing to pure black and white and gives it the look of a lino-cut or woodcut.

In a chapter on reproducing inked artwork, Abel & Madden go through the process of scanning. Over the years, I’ve scanned hundreds, if not thousands, of pen and ink drawings but I still picked up tips from their suggested workflow; for instance, to reset the resolution (dots per inch) in Photoshop before adjusting the threshold levels (the balance between black and white).


I now feel ready to progress to their follow-up book, 
Mastering Comics, Drawing Words and Writing Pictures Continued, which amongst other topics, moves on to colour.

Link

Drawing Words & Writing Pictures website

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