OGRE ALE IV from Scott Story’s Drawing Board

Hey, it’s Scott Story again. I’m a Midwestern author and artist, and I sell graphic novels and prose novels and do art for different comics and covers. It’s time to get back to our ogre!

INKING LINE WORK

I could skip ink and take this picture straight to coloring, but I’m looking for a more graphic, comic-book look on this one, so glorious inks it is! I’ve inked my own art for years, and that’s the way I think it should be. A separate inker can bring a lot to the art, especially if that inker is a skilled artist in his own right, but if you are working on a budget, then you had better get used to doing the inks yourself.

On this drawing, I used a crow quill pen and India ink. You can accomplish very similar results with a variety of tools, from brushes to technical pens, to markers. In all the pages I’ve rendered over the decades, I’ve used every imaginable instrument, including crumpled paper, rubber bands wrapped around a wooden block, a sponge, to old brushes I’ve purposely mangled to get some sort of unique effect line. Use whatever you have at hand to get the marks you need. Next to my crow-quill pens, and my Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes, I would say the Pentel brush pen is my favorite inking tool.

When I ink my ogre, I am not just tracing, because then the end picture would probably look lifeless and stilted. Instead, I am carefully redrawing the ogre with ink, refining my pencil lines, making improvements to the illustration as I go.

A few words on line weight might be appropriate here. The line “weight” is an indicator of how wide you make your strokes. As a general rule,the heavier the lines are, the more they come forward in the picture, and the lighter they are, the more they recede into the background. At night the opposite is true. It’s also better to make the line for the character’s outlines or contours heavier than the interior detail lines because this can help unify the character into a whole, and help make the drawing more cohesive and readable.

Deadweight lines are those that do not change width and are themselves less energetic than lines with variable width. Used to be we were taught to avoid deadweight lines, but that’s a personal call these days—there are many fantastic artists, such as Mike Mignola, who primarily rely on deadweight inking, and I think his work is stunning. There was also a movement in the ’90s to make use of deadweight inking to make art look more like stained-glass windows. That was cool, too. It’s all up to you.

Anyway, I think it’s best to vary your line weight, usually from thin to thick to thin again. These are more energetic looking, giving the figure sort of a more “bouncier” look. There are other methods of how to vary line-width, but those aren’t really in the scope of this simple demonstration.

SPOTTING THE BLACKS

“Spotting the Blacks” is a term used for inking in large pools of black into an illustration. Heavy shadows add to the picture’s dramatic value, and they increase the illusion of the subject’s volume and weight.

Shadows help establish the picture’s internal light sources, and those same shadows can also be used as design elements to help frame the part of the image to which you want to draw attention. For example, the shading I have put beneath the ogre’s chin helps make his head pop forward, and the shadows on the underside of his legs and arms indicate that his limbs are rounded and heavy. I have also placed a shadow underneath my ogre, tying him to the environment and helping to “ground” him.

NEXT TIME: COLOR FLATS, AND RENDERING!

Scott Story

Scott describes himself as an author, artist, medievalist, mentor, musician, publisher, introvert, and historian, not necessarily in that order. So far he has published dozens of comics, multiple graphic novels, and prose novels, and he has contributed art to scores of comic publishers and and multiple prose anthologies.