‘Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.
I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…
I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’
‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’
What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!
I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.
One of the hardest things I find about inking is knowing when to put in fills. You know what I’m talking about - those big, dramatic shadowy areas.
Mike Hawthorne from Queen & Country Vol. 2
Doing straight up black-and-white is not one of my strong suits - I have always been reliant on grays. On shading. Shading with black always seems SO DRAMATIC HEY GUYS LOOK THIS IS DRAMA HERE but yet other people seem to do it so effortlessly. My first foray into solo black-and-white was with my comic Lipstick & Malice (also my first time using a brush pen, so there was a lot of I Don’t Know What I’m Doing happening). But here I stayed pretty timid.
I would use it mainly for lighting effects.
Or to block out the pieces of action sequences happening.
I’ve been trying to branch out more and dip my toe into incorporating more dramatic blacks, but for me it can get a little screwy. Like here, it might be fine - no big, just some shadows.
But then this is as bold as I get
And here … eehhh I don’t know what happened. (you can see by my white-out that this is even my SECOND attempt at this sleeve.)
One thing I’ve found helpful to get over my fear (besides ogling the work of other creators) is to shade in an area with pencil first - it gives me a mini-preview of what it will look like shaded without much sacrifice. Or I’ll just wait to fill in the blacks on the computer, where I have endless undo’s available. But then the originals look kind of sad, which is something I’ve been trying to avoid.
Do you guys have any tips/tricks/mantras for getting over your fear of luscious black fills? Or are you more gung ho, this is easy peasy than I am?
Other posts about inking: Inking the New Hotness Part 2Inking the New Hotness Part 1
More talk about inking! Yes! So, as I mentioned last time, for inking I use a size 6 Silver Ultra Mini brush and a pot of Bombay India Ink. Because I discovered I’d randomly bought them one day. One of the new challenges I’ve encountered with using a real brush is the ink usage. How much to put on your brush? When to blot? When to wash your brushes?
When I started using this brush, I quickly realized I’d need a blotter and a way to test out the line I was brushing before I got to the page. For me, using paper towels and a sheet of scrap paper was the easiest. Not the prettiest setup, but whatchagonnado.
Oh and I keep a roll of tape around my ink bottle for security, since this guy is always waiting for his opening.
Every time I dip my brush in the ink, I need to make sure the excess doesn’t clumsily ruin all the nice lines I plan on doing. This works for the most part - I’m still working through when I’m allowed to make certain brushstrokes during the space between dipping my brush again. Swoopy lines tend to happen for me right after I dip and blot, but thin, controlled lines have to wait until after a lot of the ink has left the brush.
Purposefully scratchy lines are something I’m still working on - for me I haven’t quite found the right balance of ink and control to get them just right. I love the inbetween, gray texture of them though.
Mostly I tend to probably OVER dip, or put too much ink on my brush. That’s pretty much how I solve every inking problem - it’s like a reset button for me. Line getting too weak? RESET, GIMME MORE INK. Brush seeming to diverge into uncontrollable side lines? RESET. This here is one of my biggest pet peeves:
The dreaded brush off-shoot. You know, where suddenly one or two hairs on your brush decide they’re NOT all in it together and decide to go their separate ways. Then, just when you think you’re inking one solid, has-it-together line - BAM - a tiny twin line appears, just to mock you. I used to think this meant I needed a new brush, or needed to wash it out more frequently. I’m still not exactly sure what the cause is, but naturally my solution is RESET. MORE INK STAT. Then I feel more comfortable ignoring the problem, because it’s slathered down with more ink, less likely to cause trouble if I keep weighing it down.
This can get a little messy. And because of my tendency to over-ink, I’ve taken to washing my brush out after each page just to start fresh once again. Or if my line starts getting really out of hand and acting out on me, I’ll wash my brush to see if it helps.
Now, since I am a novice at inking technique, and a super novice at using a brush, I’d love to hear how YOU guys are going about it. Are you washing your brushes all the time? Replacing them all the time? Using different sizes, or one size like me? I’m especially curious to hear whether or not you plop your brushes in soapy water during your inking - I’ve been wondering if that would solve my split personality brush hair problem. All these inking samples are taken from my webcomic Gods & Undergrads, and the book I’m currently working on for Oni. :)