Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I like them FLAT!!!

Recently, I was sent two comic book pages to do some inking work on. When I got the package from FedEx, this is how it came. Man... What did FedEx do?? Used it for soccer?? Punching bag?? Every now and then, I'll get a FedEx package that's a little man-handled and the pages inside won't be harmed. After all, the FedEx box itself is much more thicker then a flat piece of art board. But THIS FedEx package was more extreme. Once in a blue moon, I'll get packages like this. So I opened up the box and pulled out the page and here's what I see...
Great...just great... So I take the page and lay it on my drawing table as pictured below. Yeap, that's my drawing table which looks cluttered. It's actually not. I have a plexiglass on top of my table where I'll slip copies of other artists work underneath so I can reference stuff. Those photocopies you see underneath were from when I was working on the HULK. I usually just leave whatever reference materials in there until I need to switch out for other projects that will require references. Besides, I think it makes my table look purdy. Anyway, back to FedEx's mishap. I put the artwork on my table and it's not flat. Creases, bumpy, curly, crappy.
It doesn't look as bad from the picture above. When I flip the page over and all you see is the white bristol board, sans pencils drawings, you can definitely tell how messed up it is. So now what? I whip out a Black & Decker Iron! Just about any Iron will do. Even the bottom of a very hot pot filled with boiling water can do the trick. I just choose to use a more modern technology than a hot pot fill with scalding hot water.
I put the artwork on top on a big thick cardboard that I had laying around. Before I put the Iron on top to press the artwork flat, I put another piece of paper in between. By doing that, I won't smudge the pencils or worse, burn the artwork with the Iron. Can you imagine? A piece of original comic book art that has a brown burned stain the shape of an triangle on it? Crazy.
After a few hot presses, it gets flatter.I place it on my drawing table to see if it's flat enough. If not, I press it a few times more. The front of the artwork and the back as well. "Left, Right, Press, repeat, flip over, repeat chorus..."
After I did all I can, I placed it back on my drawing board and here's the results from an angle pictured below.
No bad. Not perfect, but much better. There's still some creases on the artwork. As long as the creases are not like mountains and origami, I can still work it. Remember that plexyglass I mentioned earlier...? While I'm inking one of the pages, I'll slip the other in between the glass and the drawing table which I'll continue pressing it more by hand. As I rotate between the two pages, I continue doing the press while I work. Snow White's Seven Dwarfs whistle while they work... I just press flat while I work. Two birds with one stone.
Below is the final inked page. You can hardly see damaged after all the pressing and the inking. And that's why I like them FLAT!


  1. OK, I've never heard that trick before. Call me stupid but I never had. Very interesting indeed. Does any of the moisture from the heat cause the ink to bleed more when you ink it?

    And look at those Adam's black and white shots!!! Mmmmmm....

    PS: The title of this blog post is funny.

  2. so you're not inking on a light table onto a new page altogether, but directly onto the original pencilled page...?! hmmm..

  3. Patrick, there's actually no moisture when I press the pages. Unlike ironing clothing where you need to spray a mist of water, There's none for when I do this. No bleeding on the pages nor warping on the boards. It's the only way I know how to flatten boards quickly with whatever I have. If there's another way to do it, I'm all ears.

    Sean, sometimes I ink over original pencils and other times, over blueline or light box. it depends on what the client asks for. Most rare is the light box method where I'll get an original art collector who'll request it.

  4. Walden,

    Gotcha. I just didn't know if any moisture from the paper itself would ever come out due to the heat. Makes sense.

  5. man i would get some damaged pages every once in a long while, and just put up with it while I ink. Too lazy to do the above haha.

  6. Yeah. I'm with Tom... lazy. Ok not really lazy. My books are really late and we don't have time to iron! Had some pages last year from Italy that had seen some rough travel.