Ink by the Barrel

July 10, 2018


It’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these, but I have my reasons. As any of you who frequent the site might have noticed the number of comics available has increased steadily with all but a few small hiccups along the way. Even with all the practice I’ve been getting lately, the creative process is still long and I still make more than my share of mistakes. To ensure that I’m putting out the best work I possibly can, I decided to focus most of my time on comics which, of course, means less time to be playing games and writing reviews.


I’m not salty about it though. Quite the opposite, in fact. The reason I decided to write this particular post was to talk about the art itself, and to let you all know what I’ve been working on.


For our most recent comic, the one titled Grim Future over on the Comics page, I decided to challenge myself to something a little different. See, while a big part of developing as an artist is repetition and honing fundamentals (something I still have to do a lot of), it’s also important to try new mediums and techniques to see what works best for you. Grim Future provided two such opportunities.


The first was in working with contrast. If you’ve ever drawn something and thought that it lacked the impact it had in your imagination, chances are a lack of contrast is to blame. Our eyes interpret the differences between stark light and dark to give an otherwise two-dimensional picture the illusion of depth. People who have mastered contrast (lots of people other than myself) can create incredibly striking images without having to rely on complex shading and detail. It was this principle that I was playing with, which I think I was at least reasonably successful at. Probably the biggest takeaway was making sure that the lighting of the campfire was consistent, and threw shadows uniformly on the surrounding objects while still maintaining at least some level of detail.


Secondly was a more technical challenge. Because of the thickness of the shadows I was going to be using, and partially out of curiosity, I decided to do the entire page with a single brush. For those of you who don’t know, a lot of professional comic illustrators (or at least the people who ink their work) use a combination of pens and brushes. I’m laughably far from being at that level, but it does help to practice the essentials so that I can get more comfortable using a brush in the future. The amount of line variation alone makes a brush a powerful tool, and I would definitely recommend trying it if you haven’t before. I’ll put a link to the ink and brush I used for Grim Future below.


I’d love to hear some feedback on what you liked, or didn’t like, about this last comic or any other comics I’ve put up. I won’t spoil anything, but Z and I have been talking about another project that I am really excited to get working on, so keep your eyes open for it.


Till next time!







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