I don't think anyone caught the reference last time, so this ones a bit more obvious.
Yup, that's right... Its me again, drunk as ever, trying to impart some artistic knowledge to the masses. To my credit, I did most of the foot work before the weekend, seeing as two of my best buddies celebrated birthdays, and football and blah blah blah, I knew I'd be a bit saucy, sitting in my front yard, drinking a beer and trying to type. So if my other tips seems to be incoherent, this one will probably still take the cake...
Moving on... So in the last discussion we had, we broke down how we go about creating a new character. Well so this week lets talk about finalizing that character in Black and White. I know a lot of you probably do character designs and then go straight to digital to finalize color and concept alike. I think though you're missing a very crucial step. That being... Black and White.
There's Blood in the Ink There are plenty of things to think about with inking whether traditional or digital alike, like form, light, shadow, contrast, etc. It can seem very complex and there is certainly too much to go over here, but in keeping it simple there are a few important and common elements that an inker must consider and use in most inkings as a skill set.
Certain stylistic approaches aside, there is very little that is more boring than a line with no variation. It’s flat and lifeless. It’s visual interest and dynamics are very important to the overall look of the piece. It gives a drawing life, movement and energy. Line weight adds mass, form and a substantial quality to a two dimensional image.
Total logic with respect to line variation isn’t necessary. Sometimes you add weight to a line to make something seem heavier or more substantial, or to place it solidly in front of another object, or to emphasize a light source… but sometimes you do it just to add some interest to the drawing. Ink blobs, and other accidents can often be “happy accidents” because the spontaneously add some interest to a drawing that might otherwise be very sterile. Something that I find to be a bit lacking in digital inking due to our good friend Ctrl+"z". However, where you place your thick and thin lines either digital or traditionally depends greatly on your own drawing style and sensibilities.
This term means adding areas of solid black to a drawing in a very deliberate manner. This can serve many purposes, like establishing depth, moving the eye across the page, creating strong contrasts, establishing strong light sources or to define form and mass. Many inkers begin a piece by spotting the blacks first but its something I do here and there. I tend to just jump around a whole bunch.
In terms of black and white art, it’s surprising how many ‘colors’ we see every day would register to our eyes as solid black if we suddenly saw the world in black and white. The values of most darker reds, blues, violets and greens will be plain old black in a black and white world. Try squinting your eyes at a room sometime and look through your eyelashes at the area. All you will see is values and vague shapes when you do this. See how many objects you thought about as a color turn completely black. If you're going to be coloring an image, you don't have to be too heavy handed in spotting out blacks, but as a well known comic book artist told me "Having your blacks down solid, is more than half the battle. Once you can be on point with inking and your values, that's when you can start worrying about colour." He told me this after I said that I probably wouldn't work in colour if I'm ever able to self-publish any of the comics I have in the works. He complemented my inking and told me to keep at it. I was pretty happy.
The Fun Begins
Ok so for this next part I turn in my keyboard for a stylus and you get to feast on my atrocious hand writing. This is where we break off though from the normal "Black and White" inking phase and start to really mess with value more. Something I like a lot of ink work or "Line art" lacks from time to time. so whether you're going to colour your piece or not, value needs to never be overlooked or forgotten in your overall composition.