I think I mentioned last time that I had a catastrophic computer crash, which took out a LOT of fairly important files. Or at least files that make up a lot for what I do with the website...so...yeah. I'm not sure what's working or what ain't on that thing and a lot of the most used files and templates are...M.I.A.
"you gotta back those things up"
Yeah, I do, and I did. In a haphazard, half assed way, I dump files onto a hard drive...with no rhyme or reason. Probably I have all the files...in the giant mess of folders with such names as "aaaaaaaa" "aaaaaa1A" and "junestuff" or "fghgfghjytgh".
Anyways...they yearly "The Arsenic Lullaby Xmas Bomb Shelter"...I don't know where that stuff is, exactly.
Though, I don't know if the A.L. Xmas Bomb Shelter really provides a service anymore. Once the lockdowns started, every tom dick and hairy started a podcast telling you about their life and what color the sky was in their world. There ain't exactly a shortage of places to go and avoid the holidays if they're starting to crush your will to live. It don't hurt I guess. I'll dig up as much of it as I can from whatever asininely named file folder they're in.
ONTO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE A.L. INKING CONTEST!
The rules were simple. You could download a "penciled version" of an illustration I did for Arsenic Lullaby and ink it by whatever means you wish to. This year I even allowed digital inking, which led to results that I find upsetting...to be frank.
One thing about the images that I put for download which either made it easier or harder, I don't make or keep scans of my penciled work, so the images where finished inks that had the lines changed to "non photo blue" which is a fancy term for light blue that won't show up after you ink and scan it.
There is such a thing as non-photo blue pencil lead, which is what most pencillers used to use. In the modern age, with some inkers just working digitally on a separate digital layer, I'm not sure how commonly it is used.
BUT, that's the lines they were given to work with.
Easier in the sense that you don't need to decide on the weights and thickness and expression of the lines, harder in the sense that you have to follow the inking of master inker ( that'd be me). I inked it all with a no.0 brush and India ink.
A brush is a TOUGH tool to get the hang of. But it is like learning to ride a bike- Remember learning to ride a bike? you try over and over again, get very frustrated, try some more, get frustrated and then at some point something just clicks and then you know how to ride it...and you have no idea what the f8ck possible difference there was between attempt 100,012 and 100,013 that your brain/body just decided it knew how to balance on a bike. That's inking with a brush, after enough attempts something just clicks and then you got it.
Which is not to say it clicks and then you are a master. Just like riding a bike it take practice before you can do fancy jumps and tricks. But once your brain clicks on how to use it...you pretty much on your way.
As far as versatility, there simply isn't anything that can top a brush. It comes down to the laws of physics at a certain point. The brush (a good one) is made of sable hair, it flexes better than any synthetic material, it soaks in and releases the ink at a rate better than any man made material. It glides along the paper instead of resting on it like a pen so there is no friction or drag to deal with. This is all stuff that becomes very important when you're working at a high level of detail/precision.
Going back to the bike riding analogy...a bike with solid rubber tires, or wooden tires, is not as functional as a bike with inflated tube tires. A brush is just more versatile because of the physics of what things are made out of.
Personally I use a brush for every line, which in some cases...is a stupid idea, but I've inked enough that I can get a good line using the wrong tool.
Speaking of using the wrong tools
He did his entry with a technical pen, that'd be the term for a Micron or Pentell type pen. They have their benefits but they give one line thickness and no flex. With a brush you can make the line thicker or thinner with each stoke, as you make the line. With a pen, the thickness it is, is the line you get. If you want one line thicker than the one next to it...you have to ink the line over widening it out little by little.
Because they don't flex they are tough to use to make medium to large curved lines. Their tip is a ridged fiber and it doesn't glide across the paper like a brush. All this together means you're making life harder than it needs to be. I recommend everyone just throw those things out. But...no one's going to.
Real nice work here, if you look real close he had a little trouble of those curved lines...that's the tools not the user and If I hadn't pointed it out, I doubt anyone would have notice.
But I did point it out...because I like to feel smart, and superior. Call it petty, call it a character flaw, call it compensating for struggling with a project of my own and being unable get it right. Sometimes, your ego needs that, it needs to point out a slight flaw in someone's work who does not ink professionally in comparison to your own work done after decades of inking professionally...work which you chose from decades of possible illustrations, because you knew it looked really good and would be hard to do. You have to do that sometimes...
LOOK, that one line is not as good as that one line when I did it!
What do you mean "not really"? LOOK, you're...you're not looking hard enou...
...It's right there, plain as the nose on your face....
SEE...you see now? that round one part there is sort of less round than the one I did. MINE...is better.
Better-ish? If you look really really close?
Next is a brave soul who used a brush pen. It has a brush tip with a tube of ink attached to it, like the tube of ink in a pan. Which is the worst of both worlds. It does not have the rigid stability of a pen and is too fat and short to give you as much flexibility as an actual brush. It's the laws of physics again, it has to be fatter than a normal brush to accommodate the inktube that's feeding into it.
The benefit is you don't have to dip your brush into an inkwell every four lines. However...that ink flows considerably faster and with no controllable variation. With an actual brush you can dip it into the inkwell just a little to absorb a small amount if ink if you are doing tiny details and want to work slow.
Also the bristles are synthetic not real hair and they simply don't flex as well. Having said that...lots of inkers love those things. I find them maddening to use.
In any case, here is Teresa Gibson's work!
Pretty darn good as well, and trying to do that laundry bottle and the circles on the machines with a brush pen...nigh impossible. Good work!
Next is Gibson Pinkney Chase who also used a brush pen
Rough, but charming...and that IS the roll of inking, to add charm and life to the lines. I cannot imagine how MFing maddening it was to do this with one of those brush pens. My hat is off to Gibson.
With the goal off adding charm and life to the pencils, that one of his (above) might be my favorite of all the entrees. I dunno, I just like this one a lot.
his first entry was via traditional art/brush and ink. Pretty darn good!
THEN...in an act of hericy, he did some with digital inking.
Uhm...well...those are not far off from my inks are they? I'd say you'd REALLY need to be looking for variations to know the difference between his and mine (below).
On the upside, he mentioned it took him over 10hours, which is about as long as it took me. So, there's that.
I'm giving Kent the Grand Prize (the original art of the illustration just above) and everyone else is also getting an A.L. sketch cover comic with a sketch! and....they all did a hell of a lot of work so Imma throw in some other cool stuff too.
Anyways, as always my homebase is here
NFT work here-
Here are the other places to find me...my use of them is fluid, inconstant, susceptible to the whims and shifts of the paradigm