So ends episode 13! Episode 14 starts tomorrow! It will be a bit different than what we've been doing, and I think you'll dig it--and don't worry, we'll get back to what we've been doing pretty quickly, too. So yeah! More on that (and the first pages!) tomorrow.
I think I've seen the direction in which I want to head with this ink wash business, and over the past few days I've decided I may as well go for it. Naturally, it's the most difficult direction I could think of for myself, and there will be lots of stumbling and bumbling and spilling of ink along the way, but I think fairly soon you'll start to see it paying off--unless I turn out to be just awful at it, which is always a possibility! But there is no reward for timidity in art, so--onward!
If you wanna see someone with a definite bold inking style of their own, look no further than Sean Murphy. The dude is merciless with ink (over his own pencils, I should mention), and if you don't believe me check the many examples on his deviantART. For a day or so (this was around about page 161) I thought man, I'll do a ton of hard dynamic lines in a zingy linear style, just like Sean Murphy! As you can see, that did not last long--I just don't seem to work that way. Fortunately, though, Murphy does, and you can even see him at work with a brush and "crow quill" (what the comic industry seems to like calling dip pens) in this video, in which he's also talking about what he's doing as he inks a typically complicated and heavily lined background:
One thing I noticed there was that most of the dips of his brush weren't in ink--they were in water; he does that to thin the ink and get a gray. That inspired me to abandon the little pre-mixed gradations of ink wash I'd made, and start trying to mix on the fly, just with a single jar of water like that; at first I had thought it would be impossible to get consistent tones, but then I realized that each dip, swish, or wipe in the water jar will lighten the subsequent wash from the brush down by an amount you can predict if you have a steady dipping method, and have been paying attention to the results of previous dips. And this way you can quickly make any gray you need, on the fly, and mix it into what you have on the page before it dries, so you can get some nice gradients. I've been practicing that on the past two pages, and I'm still inconsistent and not-so-smooth with the technique, but it should get better with each page, and eventually the pages will be much more organic than they had been before.
Murphy also has a journal entry here about the value of original art--that he collects inked pages by other artists so that he can see their process; you see, one the secret of comic inkers is that inked pages are not actually all nice and smooth and black like they look in printed comics or even mostly online; in reality, there is a lot of dark gray, and little ridges and ripples and things that get eliminated during the scanning and Photoshopping process. So if you have someone's original inked page, you can see a lot more of how they did it. I thought that was an interesting point!
One artist whose pages Murphy collects is the late Jorge Zaffino; here's a decent gallery of some of Zaffino's work. Impressive stuff, and it's easy to see how it influenced Murphy's style.