Here's what happens when you combine the talent of two legendary comic book masters. In Todd McFarlanes latest Facebook post he talks about the true role of an inker and the often overlooked importance they play in bringing a penciled piece of art work to life. Inking over the pencils of the great Mark Silvestri, he more then proves his point by adding his own iconic Todd McFarlance touch to the piece. Imagine if these two wound up working on an entire comic book together? One can only dream... With the amount of detail Todd puts into his work, it'll be a few more days before this gem is all polished up - But I cannot wait to see how turns out.
"Okay, folks…Here is what an INKER does on a comic book. The profession of the INKER has long been a mystery in the business of comics. If you tell someone you’re the “inker”, they will usually respond with something like
“Oh, you’re the artist on the book?”
You then have to tell them that there is another person who is the artist. At this point the person you’re talking to looks at you in an odd way and will sheepishly say “Well, if they have an artist then why do they need you?”
Again, you try and explain that for deadline purposes most artist only ‘pencil’ the pages and then have them ‘inked’ by someone else (this is true for about 92% of all comic titles). After a little more explaination the other person ‘s eyes will light up, because they finally understand and they say with some certainty “I get it! Your like a tracer.”
For anyone who has ever inked professionally that is the deepest cut you can make to them. And though in some cases tracing is what some of the newer or unskilled inkers might do, the majority of the rest of them try to add some additional lines to help flesh out the final look.
There are times when the pencil artist is very tight with his/her lines and other times when the pencils are pretty loose and the inker has to be a fairly skilled artist in their own right, to make it work. But ultimately, the best way for a layman to understand the dance between a penciller and an inker is to just show them the difference between the two.
With that said: Below is a section of a comic book cover for a book put out by Robert Kirkman and Image Comics. Robert was able to convince Marc Silvestri to pencil the cover and since I happen to be on the phone with him when he mentioned he was doing this cover, I offered to ink it for him. I also told Marc to “loosen up on your pencils, I’ll do some of the artistic lifting on the page.”
So, what you have is a female character riding a giant insect creature as they battle in the sky. The fist image is the pencils and the second image is some of my inking on the piece. I will be finishing it in the next day, as I just started it late today.
(**Since I will be on a plane to Paris tomorrow I might not be able to finish this until Wednesday or so.”