Panel from Geek Date

I drew a one-page sequential story a few years ago entitled “Geek Date. Coming across the piece in one of my sketchbooks recently I decided to redraw and ink with pen and brush. Here is panel one from the story both before and after inking.

I used a dip pen, Higgins Black Magic, and a 78¢ brush I bought at an art store in Monterey. It’s a Japanese Style brush with a loose point and rough bristles that are wearing out pretty quickly, but it is very easy to clean and I kind of like the rough (and somewhat unpredictable) line it gives. You’ll notice that I don’t use straight-edges of any kind. This is partly due to laziness, partly due to lack of skill, and a smidgeon due to that fact that I like rough lines. I let the thin, dip pen lines say “artificial” rather than razor-straight lines. It also makes the inking process less of a chore.

I read in the back of Doug TenNapel’s collected “Gear” that inking for him is his favorite part since he is so loose and organic. He uses rough brushwork in his stories and it adds so much energy and character to the narrative. Clearly, I’m not there, but I think having the freedom to be messy can bring joy and life into what can sometimes be a tedious process.

A word about the coloring: I decided to use color to accent the storytelling rather than colorize the entire story. In the panel the main character is colored to give him focus as well as the sky outside the office building which connects to the characters blue shirt and hints to the fact that something is drawing him away from his work.

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