Job Description:The Inker takes an artists pencils and goes over them in ink, taking the image and turning it into a finished piece of work. The dark ink lines makes the art jump off the page as well as helping to add depth and dimension. At one time, inking was mostly used to prepare the comic page for printing, as the printer would pick up the light pencils, but today, the inker is a vital part of the comic creation process.
- Artistic Skills: – One of the misconceptions about inkers is that they are glorified tracers. This simply isn’t true. An inker needs to be an accomplished artist in their own right. They need to know about anatomy and architecture, scale and perspective, just as much as a penciller does. The reason for this is that the inker takes the artists pencils and makes a new piece of art out of it. Some pencillers will even do very rough sketches so the inker can then go over and embellish them later.
- Strong Sense Of Light: – The inker works with two colors, black and white. It is very important that the inker understands how light is represented so as to add that to the pencils. This will help give it the three dimensional appearance it needs.
- Speed: – An inker typically doesn’t have as much time to work as the penciller does. A good inker will need be able to work fast, but keep up the consistent work.
- Flexibility: – A comic book inker needs to be flexible in many ways. They never know when a job might come up, so they need a flexible schedule. Since they are working with a pencillers work, they may need to take feedback from the penciller or writer about what things should look like. If they are just beginning, they won’t have as much clout for suggestions and will need to follow the directions laid out by the editor, writer and artist.
Equipment Needed:Basic Equipment
- India Ink: – This ink, also called Indian ink, Chinese ink, or just Black ink, is a black carbon based ink that is used because it retains its color when put to the page. This is used primarily in the inking of comic books.
- Inking Utensils: – This can take the form of many different things. The most common are the crow-quill pen and brushes. The trick here is that almost anything that can put ink on paper can be used from mechanical pens, to sharpies, to q-tips, sponges, and just about anything you can think of.
- White Out: – You will make mistakes, so how do you go about fixing it? White out is the trick. Just about any kind of white out will do, but many use what is called a gauche water based paint.
- Ruler: – To make those perfect straight lines, such as panel borders, you need some kind of straight edge. You might also consider a triangle and other straight edge devices as well.
- Workspace: – An inker will need a dedicated space to work at, so that they can focus on the task at hand. Most artists will have an adjustable drawing table that will allow them to work comfortably.
- Workspace: – This may sound like an obvious choice, but having good lighting is very important to an inker. If the light in the area is distorted, it may reflect in your work. Most artists will have a good adjustable lamp to shine the light where they need it.
- Computer: – The computer is an extremely useful tool for the comic book inker. Comics are truly entering a digital age and so some inkers will get an image file to work with instead of the original art.
- Photoshop: – This program is quickly becoming one of the most used tools in the industry. Although most comics are still done the “old fashioned way,” some comics are being started to be inked digitally. This is the premiere program for doing that.
- Website: – Since an inkers work is so visual in it’s own right, it is important to have a way to showcase your work. Websites are a great way nowadays to do just that. Some cost some money and know how, but there are many free alternatives nowadays.
Some Comic Book Inkers:Klaus Janson