Sunday, May 06, 2012

Inking a Marker Card

I've been animating on the computer for so long now that I was fearing I would forget what paper pencils and markers were. I had to do a poster for someone so thought I'd share the process step by step with the rest of you cavemen who still draw with your hands and primitive utensils.
First, I rough out the drawing very lightly with a colerase pencil. I use red for Ren and Stimpy because most of their colors are warm and the red and brown markers will blend well with them.
I use Tombow brush pens to ink with. They have a nice soft feel and you can do thick and thin lines with them. I keep them organized by color families. Grays in one rubbermaid container, reds, magentas, browns and yellows (hot colors) in another, blues, greens and violets in another. I always keep a rubber squeak toy handy to give me comfort. Diet coke is essential to keep the synapses firing.
I work left to right because I am right handed. I don't want my hand to pass over the freshly wet colors and accidentally smudge them. I start with the heavy outlines first. Generally the largest forms have the thickest outlines.
I also kind of stick to related colors - I'll do the warm colors first because Ren and Stimpy are mostly warm colors.
I buggered up a line around Stimpy's eye mask so I just spread the red. Buggering up is an ongoing hazard that is harder to fix with traditional tools than on the computer. I find myself wanting to click the undo button but there isn't one so instead I curse myself.
Once the big forms are inked I start in on the secondary forms - eyes, mouths, tongues etc. Their outlines are slightly thinner than the heads and bodies.
When doing eyes, it's important to KEEP THEM ALIVE. I don't want to draw perfect ovals for either the eyes or the pupils. I also don't want to draw the eyes or pupils perfectly parallel to each other. That would be a sin against biological organization.

I try to keep all the shapes and forms flowing and organic.
When a marker starts to dry out, I try to take advantage of it by getting a soft dry brush sort of effect.
Uh oh! I buggered up the line around Stimpy's nostril. In order to get the smoothest possible lines I have to draw them fast. The danger there is overshooting where the 2 ends connect. If I draw the lines more conservatively and slower to make the connection, then the lines get wigglier.
To keep the fart gas bubble looking ethereal, I don't connect all the lines.
Don't forget the extra chunks that bring authenticity to your farts.
I use slightly different colored inks for some details. It helps to bring depth and believability to the personalities of the fingernails.
To give a sense of weight to the forms, I like to make the lines under them a bit thicker and darker. It makes you feel the gravity tugging at your crotches.
I draw the lettering fast to keep it alive and not wiggly. I don't worry if it isn't perfectly on top of the rough pencils.
The last inking step: I add some little touches of detail here and there. I don't want to do too much because I still want the drawing to feel like a cartoon and not overly rendered.
The details - like wrinkles, are thinner - but they still should wrap around the forms they help describe. I have to be careful that I don't just have magical floating lines flying around on top of the characters. Each wrinkle has a purpose and direction.

Once the inking is finished, I read a comic book on the pot and wait for the ink to dry. Then I come back refreshed and ready to erase all the pencil lines.
I like these types of erasers. They don't smudge and they get rid of most of the pencil. I remember in school the art teachers always gave you those gray putty like erasers like you got in the Jon Gnagy kits. I think it was to make you feel superior to your less artistic friends but I hated them. They just make a mess and collect filth and hairs and loose teeth. Nasty little balls of crud.

You can eat the little eraser turds but I don't recommend it. I take the drawing outside and replenish the earth with them. The cats think I am giving them their daily fix of catnip. When they find out it's not, they smack my ankles with their little poo bespeckled paws. That's the thanks I get for feeding them.

Here it is all clean and ready to color.
I'll do another post about coloring.

Oh and thanks to the latest students and contributors. I hope you find some of these things useful.