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.


  1. Wow Walden, these are amazing! Ughh I'm dreading this whole process of making work to show... I'm curious are you going to be at Wondercon?

  2. Hey Lulu, Great to hear from you. I will be at Wondercon. I'm not exhibiting or anything like that. But I'll be there checking out the Con. Are you going?

  3. those silvestri ones really stand out from the rest. what would your biggest nitpick be looking back on these pieces now, if you were reviewing your own work?

  4. Thanks, Adam. That's a good question. Looking back at these samples, I can see a few things I would do differently now. When I created these samples, I was using the quill nib exclusively with the exception of the brush to fill in the blacks. Otherwise, it was all nib work. Also, majority of the tapered lines aren't as nice. Some thick, some thin, and just not consistent. I don't think I even see a cluster of them nicely done on any of the samples. Not to mention the cross hatch spacing as well as the pressure of each line. I see some constant thins, then it jumps to a thick, then back to thin. Finally, you can't see it here, but the original has a lot of white out from mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes back then.

  5. Man, I'll have to say, you are/were a lot more confident in your inking samples than I was at the time I was really showing things around. Your feathering was a lot more solid than I could ever grasp. And hair. Ughh, I just could never understand that and feathering, ironically, they go hand in hand.

    Love the Pachecho page though. You're a good fit for his pencils. Shame I don't think you've ever inked him.

    Is there anyone you did samples over that you ended up working with later down the road? Especially if you looked back on the samples.

  6. Patrick, to be fair, these were the last batch of inking samples I've done. The first time I've done samples, they were horrible. Pretty much everything I've learned was from critiques at convention which I applied to these eight pieces.

    Pachecho is one of the guys I've always wanted to ink. Maybe one of these days.

    There is one guy who I did samples over which I ended up working with later on down the road. I was going to make a new post about that, actually. Stay Tuned!

  7. oh, man...the vellum lol that's what I had to ink on to get my first gig! Man, we're old!

  8. could you send the the Buckshot, mephisto, tenth and prophet high res files??? (already got and done the darkness one remember..! )


  9. Tom, Tell me about it! Back then when pencil pages were lost, I had to use vellum to ink over photocopies. I got art returns that's on vellum. If only the Blue Line revolution came a bit sooner.

    Sean, sent!

  10. Enjoyed looking at your samples. I remember when I finally attended the Con after working in animation and it felt great not having to carry a portfolio. It felt like I finally graduated. Great feeling.