The first step is a rough “thumbnail” version of the page. This establishes the panels, basic character placement, and first draft of the dialogue.
Moving to the Bristol board on which the comic will be inked, I draw the inking guidelines in pencil. This includes all the artwork and the lettering. At this stage I also make the final decisions about the artwork and finalize the dialogue. I draw the lines for lettering using an Ames Lettering Guide, a tool which I would highly encourage other cartoonists to check out.
In the inking stage, I first go over the panel borders with a simple Sharpie pen. Next the lettering and balloon borders are traced with fine-line art markers (0.3mm for the letters and 0.7mm for the balloons). The artwork is then inked with a Hunt 100 crowquill pen and sumi ink. I also put in some of the spot blacks at this point, using permanent markers.
Now it’s time for the tedious part. The inked artwork is scanned in and edited in Photoshop. At this stage I remove blemishes and mistakes, add spot blacks as needed, and paint in the gray tones. Once it’s finished, it goes up here for you to look at.
I started working this way beginning with Issue 8 (although for that issue I wasn’t using the painted gray tones yet). Prior to that issue the artwork was penciled on paper but inked digitally. I switched to physical inking in part to reduce the amount of computer time required for each page–and then, of course, started doing this digitally-painted graytone thing that takes almost as long. Oh well.
So that’s how it’s done, buoys and gulls.
Welcome to Issue 10. I am aware that the sky is probably not astronomically correct. Please forgive me, and enjoy the issue.