In the creation of the comic Scars of Seven, the inking process starts with outlining the main characters or focal points in each panel. At this stage, the characters look flat and boring.

Traditional comic inking style or graphic novel illustrations use various techniques to represent gradation of a single color.

Retribution of the dead used primarily a nib pen to create weighted lines over the form of objects to create depth and details.

In the image below you can see that the upper arm of the creature in the background ‘pops’ out and looks like it has form or 3D-like.

These gradient lines begin thin and become thicker closer to the core shadow, while following the form of the object being rendered.

After the pencil drawings are completed, the next phase of comic creation is called inking. 

How and where an inker begins is entirely up to them.

Here you can see the artist is outlining the key forms and dropping pull out feathering as he goes.

Core shadows are also outlined and then filled out with a paint brush.

Throughout the process, the artist switches between nibs, bush and fine pens.

You can see the ink is being applied directly to the penciled page. This is a destructive style of inking, where once you ink the pencils are covered forever. This method is dependent on your team and is a choice.

The review process is an ongoing part of comic creation. Refining visuals based of the current status of the story flow is an essential part of being a good visual story teller. I personally recommend getting most of your illustration corrections done early on so you don’t need to waste a lot of time going over the same panel or page. 

In our latest issue of The Scars or Seven, a dialogue change saw the need to add an additional panel. This Correction occurred on page 9. A trick we use when making new panels is first laying out the boundaries of the new panel on top of the original art. When happy with the size and that there won’t be disruption to the existing dialogue bubbles, we draw those boundaries on a new piece of paper. We normally extend the boundary of the new panel on all sides. By drawing the replacement panel the slightly larger than its planned size (or replacement of another panel) you give yourself room draw with more freedom and also you can play with the final placement to get a better look/feel on the final page.

After the panels/pages are penciled, scanned and then checked by inserting it onto their spots in the comic. We then read through the comic, start to finish, and adjust before inking and colouring.

Every artist goes through the apprehension to ink over their original pencils. For the team on ‘Scars of Seven’, feeling the indents of the pencil marks brings a whole new dimension to the process. 

When not to use the original: 

  1. Don’t ink over an original if the investment in the pages is too great. That is if you hire an artist or the time to complete is very time consuming.
  2. The paper stock isn’t right for inking. If the paper isn’t bleed proof or runs.
  3. If you are not confident in your inking abilities.