Anatomy of a sketchbook cover PART 3: Digital Inks

So right after posting yesterday’s entry, I decided to immediately wade into digitally inking the cover pencils. I had briefly played with the idea of coloring directly from the pencils…. and I MAY still do that, but I also wanted to have the option of having the piece inked if I wanted to go in THAT direction. For those of you not familiar with the process of ‘digital inking’, it entails darkening up the pencil lines of a particular piece with the ‘LEVELS’ function in Photoshop to get the graphite lines to look as close to ink lines as possible. It helps greatly if your pencils are very tight, and fortunately I’ve always been a tight penciler. Once the pencil lines are darkened to an acceptable degree, then using the ‘LASSO’ tool, go in and capture all the large areas that are supposed to be ‘inked in’ or ‘filled in with black’ as is done in traditional inking, and fill those areas in digitally with… well, black. It’s relatively quick and simple. Then the last thing to do is to use the ‘ERASER’ tool and go back and clean up any residual pencil smudges, line overlaps or tangents, etc. This takes longer than anything else. I’ve got a pretty good scanner, and it picks up every little defect in a drawing. So anyway, here’s the finished, digitally inked piece:

It’s not quite as smooth and polished looking as, say, something that Karl Kesel (Inking God that he is) would do on something of mine…. but for my purposes, it works just fine. I know that there’s an ongoing debate over whether digital inking is good or not, but in this day and age of digital technology, combined with the fact that the market is in such a state that time-wise and money-wise it’s more NECESSARY for individual creators to take these new tools in hand for creator-owned projects….. I fall on the side of digital inks. At least for MY stuff. ‘Cause, y’know… I’m selfish.

SPEAKING of the great Karl Kesel, though– here’s a cover image I nicked from THE PULSE (please forgive me!)– it’s from the LAST HERO STANDING miniseries coming this month from MARVEL. I did two covers for it, and this one I hadn’t seen yet. Not only did Karl do a stunning job with the inks– the colors are amazing as well. I don’t know who the colorist is (I don’t see his sig on the cover)– but I commend you, whoever you may be! I think it turned out beautifully, if I say so myself.

OK… that’s it for today.

This is Entry 117


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