Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My last EIGHT Inking Samples

I found my portfolio I used to carry around at conventions. Unzipped it and was surprised that my last inking samples were still in them. I never took these out of the portfolio. Eight pieces that I've inked a long time ago. Before I gone Pro with the major publishers. These were also the last samples I showed at conventions to see if I would get work. I spent a lot of time on these. When I took them to San Diego Comic Con and Wonder Con one year, they were the deciding factors if I was going to work in comics as a career. Or move on and do something entirely different in the outside world. As luck with have it, I got work that same year because of these samples.

I had obtained photocopies of various pencils from different artist and companies. Then, I would tape the photocopy onto a drawing board and tape a piece of vellum on top of it which kept them in place. Nothing worse than hanging to match up the vellum to the photocopies when they shift. All the samples below were done this same way. This was before I knew about Blue Line print outs. Looking at these pieces, it reminded me how tough it was to ink on vellum tracing paper. They would wrinkle up once it got wet with ink. At times, it was hard to see through the tracing paper. While inking with one hand, I remember having to use a pencil eraser on the other hand to poke down the area I'm inking just to see what's underneath the vellum paper.

Aside from Editors, publishers, and some people at Artist Alleys, nobody else has seen these samples. Until now here on my blog. None of them were ever published. Looking at these older inking samples, I cringe because it's so bad. Of course I'm much better now. But this will show where where I came from. Everybody has to start somewhere and this was how I did it.

Below is a Cable piece which was pencilled by Chap Yeap. I believe this was a first page to a comic since there's a panel on the bottom left. Again, I only had this one photocopy and went with it. At the time, having any samples to practice on was nice. So I take what I can get.
Below is some character I don't know of. It looked cool and was pencilled by Stephen Platt. I started experimenting with toothbrush spatter effects. Wasn't sure if it was a good idea to do on samples, but I did it anyways.
Here's another from Stephen Platt. This character is names Prophet and that Tuscan character on his right arm was the San Diego Comic Con mascot. Not sure if that mascot is still the mascot. It may have been replaced by a Left Eyeball now.
Below is an interior page pencilled by Carlos Pacheco. I had to do some sequential panel inking because every so often, someone would ask I had any sequential stuff. I thought this would cover it that question.
For the most part, I did more splash pages because I wanted to concentrate on the inks. Besides, splash pages were almost always more detailed where I could show more of the inks. Below is Mephesto pencilled by Marc Silvestri. This was a popular piece because when I was in lines at conventions, I would notice other inkers with the same image in their portfolio. I believe I got the this pencil photocopy from Top Cow. Send them a self addressed stamped envelope requesting for samples and that was what I got. Check out how I signed my name... ridiculous. What was I thinking?
Below is the character, The Tenth, pencilled by Tony Daniel. I experimented with all sorts of things here as well. White spatter, black spatter, dry brushing, etc. Check out that signature again. I remember one year, another artist who was giving me a critique said he doesn't sign his name that big because it'll take away from his art. After he said that, I have to agree with him. So I started doing it smaller in my later samples compared to the one above.
Below is the piece that gave me the most portfolio review compliments. A Darkness piece pencilled by Marc Silvestri. I spent a lot of time on this piece. I made sure every line I put down was how I wanted it to be. Sometimes when you're doing something, you can get tired and rush stuff. Not for this one. When I got tired, I left it only to come back later to continue sample inking. Every leaf, every branch, every line weight was concentrated upon before I put pen to paper... um... vellum.
Below is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over Jeff Matsuda's pencils. I got to know Jeff at conventions and he gave me photocopies of the pencils and I worked on that.
There goes that signature logo again. See that up there on the bottom left? Not only do I not do that anymore, I don't even make an effort to sign my name in stuff I work on. Because I got burned out doing that logo in my inking sample years. It would take too much time to do when I started inking professionally. So what's easier? I chicken scratch it in. It's easy and fast. And I always make it a point to chicken scratch it smaller then the pencillers name. Don't need to spend time making my name nice and fancy. I rather spend that effort on the next page I'm going to ink.

That's how it all started for me. These eight pages of sample inks showned at conventions to publishers, editors, artist, and sent as sample packets through the postal system.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #41

Another project that I did some work on. Justice League of America #41. I didn't get comp copies for it this time. Or, maybe it's en route. Could be I got it and forgot I did and can't find it. Here's the cover to this issue.
There's also a variant cover for this issue and here's how it looks.
I only inked four pages and another inset panel for this book. It's my first time inking over Mark Bagley who pencilled the issue. Here's some of the pages I've worked on. Those specks on Donna Troy's outfit was done by using a toothbrush. The bigger white dots, I used a white-out pen. The white lines in her outfit, I just inked around them.
Same with the page below. The background on panels 1 and 2, Black with Stars (or what's also labeled as "BWS") is also done with a toothbrush and a white-out pen. When The penciller drew this page, the background on panel four was marked with a "X" which means that area is supposed to be filled in with black. Since Donna Troy's outfit is black and the background was also black, I had to do something to separate them. I was going to halo (adding a white outline) around all the characters in panel four then decided not to based on some of the references I saw on other books Mark Bagley has done. Of course those could have been the decision of the inkers he's work with in the past. Which I decided to follow sute. So I added a halo on the inside of Donna Troy's outfit around the waist area to separate it from the black background. I did the same with panel two.
Another page with a bunch of characters below. That girl character wearing the jacket on the page below, I'm not quite sure who she is. When I was inking her, I kept thinking she's Mary Jane from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. I know she's not because this is a DC Comic.
This comics is in stores now and you can find out more by click here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The first DC Comic I ever worked on.

Following my blog about my first comic gig ever, here's the first DC Comics I've ever worked on. JLA ANNUAL #2 which I inked over Mark Pajarillo's pencils. The art for this cover was done by Bernie Wrightson. Not bad to be covered by him on my first DC gig.
This project didn't just fall on my lap. When I started as an Inker, there was a lot of leg work. Going to conventions, creating inking samples, showing my portfolio, and sending submission samples via snail mail. All of this before the internet age... or at least I wasn't using the internet at the time. A few years before the gig, I would always attend the DC Portfolio Reviews at conventions. Throughout the year, DC Comics would be at a few conventions that I would go to. In order for your portfolio to be reviewed, DC Comics had these one hour Portfolio Review Classes that you had to attend. After attendance, you would get this gold flyer to be admitted for a portfolio review. And, if I'm not mistaken, each gold flyer had a time slot for your review. If you don't have a gold flyer, nobody at DC was allowed to look at your work at the convention floor (I believe that's still the case today). I did that for a couple of years and as luck have it, I got the same editor who would review my portfolio in those few conventions I went to. By that time, the editor had an idea who I was and gave me his contact info to send in new samples. Which I did. Right after each portfolio review, I would go home and ink up new samples. I took my time on the samples and when done, I sent them back and gave a follow up call to see if he got them. About a year into doing that (which was two or three times), I got a call from the editor asking me if I would be interested in inking this book. Which I did. From then on, the penciler, Mark Pajarillo, and I became the regular fill in art team on JLA under artists, Howard Porter and John Dell until our run ended. I even got to ink Howard Porter when the regular team was falling behind. But that, in a nutshell, is how I started and got work for DC Comics.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Covering up DOOM PATROL #8

Here's a cover I inked over Justiniano's pencils. This is the first time I'm inking Justiniano over Blue Line pencils. Well... not really, now that I think about it. A while back when we were working on another title for DC comics, FedEx lost one of the packages Justiniano sent me. Luckily, he made photocopies of the pencils before sending the package out. So he later sent me photocopies of the lost pages, I went out and bought a large size printer and did of one my first blue line printout. Guess that started the ball rolling on my Blue Line inking. Having to create blue lines under deadline pressure is a good way to start.

Anyway, back to this cover. First, I used rulers and templates to ink everything in with a pen,,. Techinical pens and microns. This page took almost a whole day to do. I started working on this sometime in the morning. Since this page had such a large robotic dog head and a metal men, there was a lot of template work. Justiniano tells me I'm crazy for using templates, I tell him I like his art to look good. This process took a while because finding the right curve or finding the right oval can take a bit. I've been using my templates for a while now that I would know which to use very quickly at a glance. Still, not as fast as going freehand, but more precise with templates.
After all the line work, I pull out a brush to fill in the blacks of the main figures and taper all the lines within them.
At this point, all the blacks are spotted below. Not to mention it's night time already and I had to turn on the drawing table lamp to continue working. It's never good to ink in the dark. After all, ink is already dark and when it's night time, that's double the darkness. Definitely can't see anything without lights. I say this because sometimes I find myself so concentrated on working, that I forget to turn on the lamp. Before I know it, I'm inking in the dark. A simple twist of the lamp nob and *click*, let there be light!
Now, I start inking the holding lines of every object. Or, inking the outlines of ever object. At this stage, I would use a quill nib and/or brush depending on how thin/thick I want a line to be.
After the holding lines, I ink in all the interior lines of every object. This is usually done with a quill nib because I like the interior stuff to be thinner than the outlines. At this point, it's all done. Then I shake up my bottle of white ink and add in some white effects. Finally, I ink in Justiniano's name where he signed it upside down on a rock near the characters left foot. When I was talking to Justiniano, he noticed that there wasn't room for my signature and said I can draw in a rock there to sign my name. Signing my name to my work isn't something that I do often and when I do, I like my name to be as obscure to the pencillers name as possible. Signing it smaller so it doesn't take away from the pencillers spotlight. So I signed it teeny tiny and squeezed it right under Justiniano's name. Well, on top of or below of since both our signatures are upside down.
Below is the the final inks I sent out for production. Nice thing about inking in blue lines is I don't need to erase the page when I[m done. Just finish the inks, let it dry for a few seconds and straight to the scanner it goes.
After the colorist gets a hold of my inks, they'll work their magic and add pretty colors on it which will be used for the cover of DOOM PATROL #8.
I've only worked on the cover and this issue will be out in March. For more info, click here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

PREDATOR #4

Just got comp copies of PREDATOR #4. The last issue of the mini-series. I've inked ten pages in this issue over Javier Saltare's pencils.

Speaking of which, I've inked Javier Salatare's pencils almost ten years ago on a book called Avataars Covenant of Shield #3 for Marvel Comics. At that time, I was still a new inker new fresh in the industry. When I got pencils for the Avataar book, they were from a penciler who would draw for themselves to ink. Where not all the details were there. I did what I could at the time. Inking every line that was drawn. It was okay, just not as polished. Fast forward to a few months ago when I got the call to help out on Predator over Javier Salatare's pencils. It reminded me of the Marvel project I did years back. I was intimidated at first, then I thought this may be an opportunity to show what I can do with Javire's pencils today. After a few pages of inks, I got his pencils down! Working some finishes here and there, fixing lines, and inking what I feel as supposed to what I see. Feels good to go full circle over Javier's pencils. Here's a picture of the comp copies.
A page of the inks where I had a bunch of rendering fun.
Another with the Predators being blasted away. Ka-POW!!!
Below is a fun one. A stat page! First, the whole page was inked. In Panel one with the computer monitor, you'll see some predators running around on the roof tops. But you don't see it in panel three right below.
Since the Predators had a cloaking effect that made them invisible in the story, there had to be some way to draw that effect in for the colorist to work on and for me to ink. So a separate page was drawn for the cloaking effect which I inked with a flat blunt line. See below.

Those outer "+" lines you see are to align the Predator silhouettes with the inked page above. Put the two images together and you'll see the final image in the comp copies photo I've taken above. Very cool effect.

This book is out in stores now and you can find out more by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #31

Just got comp copies of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #31 in which I did some work in. My inks over Justiniano's pencils on the eight page flashback sequence. Flashback sequence meaning there were two art teams. One team worked on the regular story and when there was a flashback scene, Justiniano and I were driving. The flashback sequences were spread throughout the book about the Joker... Before he was the Joker. It focuses on him as a child and how he grew up.
Here are some black and white inked pages. This is a nice collage splash page. Justiniano's great at pencilling pages like this and I had lots of fun inking it. I applied as many different textures as I can on this one page alone.
Below is another splash page with the Joker as a kid. Again, as much textures as possible. In the pencils, Justiniano indicated black for the foliage. I decided to stipple in the blacks to give it more of a leaf feel instead of just filling it in with a solid black. Some of the grass on the floor was indicated as black. I decided to ink in each spear to give it more texture. By the way, can you guys see the easter eggs in the art? First of all, when I was speaking to Justiniano, I told him that the house in the background reminded me of the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock's movie, Psyco. Justiniano's said that was the inspiration for that drawing. Then Justiniano asked me if I see the hidden image in the background. Here's somewhat how the phone conversation went...
Justinaino: You see the hidden image in the background?
Walden: What hidden image? I don't see anything.
Justiniano: The Joker is in the background.
Walden: Background? All I see is smoke, trees, and the Psyco house.
Justinaino: If you look closely, you'll see the Joker's face in the smoke!
Walden: Hum... let me take a closer look (see image below).
Justiniano: See it?
Walden: Ah! There it is. That's supposed to be the Joker's face??
Justiniano: Yeah. Joker's eyes, long nose, and the rest of the face in the smoke.
Walden: You sure?
Justiniano: Yeah.
Walden: Looks like a penis.
Justiniano: What?
Walden: Yeah... Looks like balls and a penis shooting jizz.
Justiniano: Holy shit! You're right. HA HA HA HA
Walden: HA HA HA HA
Justiniano: I didn't even notice that
Walden: That's what I see. You want me to change it?
Justiniano: Feel free to do what you like.
Walden: Okay. I'll ink it as is, since you say it's the Joker.
Justinaino: HA HA HA HA
Walden: HA HA HA HA
So, what do you guys see? Is it a smoky image of the Jokers face? Or do you see something else?
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #31 is in stores now and you can find out more by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My first comic gig... EVER!

When I was a wee lad and before I did any inking work for the major publishers, I started out small. Below is the first comic I've ever worked on. A book called Shotgun Mary Shooting Gallery published by Antarctic Press in 1996. They're also the same publishers that publishes their more popular title, Ninja High School (which I also did some inking work later on after Shotgun Mary). Not only is this my first published comic, this was also the penciller's first published work whom I've inked over. That penciller is Pete Woods who's doing all sorts of project with DC Comics today.
Pete Woods and I didn't know each other at the time. This was one of those projects where I sent in submissions samples, got a call back from the publisher, and was offered the project. We never had each others contact info while we were working on this book. It was years later when Pete and I bumped into each other at a convention and started working together again. Which lead to a lot of our early Deadpool days over at Marvel Comics. Today, Pete and I are great friends. Both of us live in different states, but we've been to each others weddings and catch up every time we see each other at conventions.

Anyway, I still remember how much I got paid for working on Shotgun Mary. Actually, I have a photocopy of that same check on display in my studio to remind myself of it. I've inked about twenty pages and got a check for $140. Which breaks down to $7 a page. I knew that was how much I was going to make going into the project. Not a lot of money which wasn't important to me. It was being able to work on a book that will be published that made me happy. Even today, I get excited over the projects I work on. Money is nice and all, but the projects... That's what keeps the excitement flowing!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fruit Loops

Kids love Fruit Loops cereal. The other day, I saw some on the table at a restaurant. I was bored and decided to play with them. I started stacking them up to see how high I can make it. Then I stacked them as if I was stacking bricks in a building. All of a sudden, I got this crazy idea. I gathered up the green Fruit Loops and stacked them like this...
Now tell me that doesn't look like the Green Lantern logo. Better yet, the actual Green Lantern as shown below.
If only I had a flash light while playing with the Fruit Loops. I could have shine a light in the Fruit Loop hole in the center and get that Green Lantern Glow effect. I'll put that on my To-Do List.