Thursday, October 29, 2009

Inking with Tennapel

The video below is a neat 10-minute interview/tutorial with writer-artist Doug Tennapel on how he approaches inking. There's some good practical cartooning advice, but also some creative and philosophical musing that I really appreciated. I especially liked his opening expression of passion for the sensuality of working with actual paper and ink rather than digitally, an opinion that carries some weight because he's good at both. I feel the same way. Which is not to say I do everything the same way he does:
  • I use a smaller brush. On Mom's Cancer and WHTTWOT I used a much smaller brush, but am now trying a bigger one for what I hope will be my next project. It's still half the size of his.
  • In addition to brush, I use crowquill nibs and Micron pens. I don't know if Tennapel does, we don't see him use them in the video. In general, my work is a lot tighter and cleaner than his, which isn't necessarily a positive. It's just different. I do envy his casual confidence and inky spontaneity. He's really good.
  • I share his opinion of the quality of Higgins Black Magic ink but still use it anyway. However, I've gotten into the habit of leaving the cap off a new bottle for a few days to thicken and darken it, which seems to help.
  • He's a much more diligent brush cleaner than I am. I don't suck the ink out of the bristles with my mouth and then look at the color of my spit to see if it's clean. However, I do finish off my rinsing regimen with a little spit spin through my fingertips. (TMI?)
  • His goal of putting out one graphic novel per year for the rest of his productive life strikes me as nuts, or at least overly ambitious. But I appreciate the spirit of the goal, which has occurred to me as well: You've only got so much time on the planet, how will you portion it to accomplish everything you want? If I could cartoon for another 30 years, and had a willing publisher and readers, how much could I do? How much would I want to? Five books? Ten? Thirty? I don't know, but thinking in those terms helps concentrate the mind wonderfully, to paraphrase Dr. Johnson.
And I, too, like seeing ink stains on my fingers at the end of a good day at the drawing board.

1 comment:

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

perhaps i should send you some better ink. since the koh-i-noor 3505 ink is out of production, the best ink, in my opinion, is deleter #3 or #4. Great stuff, nice and dense out of the bottle with no break in period, and its not doing bad things to my brushes whatsoever.