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  A year of art, ink, love, and vacuum tubesDec 31, 2011 9:44 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The Henry Art Gallery here in Seattle, which I've actually been to before--it is a pretty nifty gallery/museum place--is going to be having an exhibition of webcomics in 2012, and so that you can help them figure out which webcomics to include, they've put up a poll where you can vote for your favorite webcomics to be included. It would really be a cool place for any webcomic person to have their stuff shown, so pop over there and help make it happen for some deserving folks!
 
Edit 3/3: Oops, actually I'm not sure I've been to the Henry, which is on the University of Washington campus; I was confusing it with a past visit to the Frye Art Museum over on Seattle's Capitol Hill, which is quite nice.
 
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I was sort of surprised to see that vacuum tubes were the US's 4th largest export in 2011. I mean, vacuum tubes? Is that a lot of guitar amps and WWII-era supercomputers, or what? Well, Wikipedia's vacuum tubes article doesn't really make it clear, but it does explain that new types of vacuum technology, such as vacuum fluorescent displays and vacuum nanoelectronics, are used in all sort of fancy new gadgets these days, from car stereo displays to cell phones and Bluetooth transmitters. So maybe that's part of where the $37.1 billion vacuum tube export market comes from!
 
... Probably still is a lot of guitar amps though, those things can be pretty spendy.
 
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My continuing quest to teach myself ink wash for A* turned up yet another (I mean in addition to some of the people I found in the Masters of Ink interview series that I came across last week) pretty darn amazing contemporary artist who works in ink wash: Stuart Sayger is one of those pro comic book types and really slings ink around with gusto, as you can see for instance in his Red Sonja. Here is an commentary by him from a few years back about his materials and methods:
 
No lie.. I use just about anything and everything to draw with.. but there are a few tools that I use more often that most..
#1 thing that I can't live with out is just a plain ol bottle of ink... I draw alot with sumi ink... It dries with a bit of a different surface than india inks... Sumi has more of a hard shell finish... i think that it allows white inks to stand on top more , thus the white will stay brighter... I like to apply ink with all sorts of tools.. yes, I use brushs just like everyone else, but i love to use my fingers to draw with.. I'll put my finger right in the ink sometimes.. I can make a line with my fingernail and then roll my finger to the side and controll the line's thickness .. ( no kidding !) I'll also use all kinds of different cheap pens.. I draw for reproduction, so if i am drawing with many different types of black ink and they don't really match, I never mind..
the #2 thing i need is a jar of PROwhite correction fluid/ paste/goop... I love that stuff... you can apply it just like ink except that it is thicker ( you can thin it with distilled water)... yes i'll use my fingers when drawing iwth it as well...
Alot of the old school artists don't like to use correction paint and will just about never layer ink and correction paint.. I do it on almost every piece that I make... the lesson there is do what works well and looks good to you... ( though im sure that Joe Kubert would have stuck me with a ruler if he saw how I worked!)

I think it's interesting how Sayger really does use that thick white ink over the black with a distinctive verve. And I happen to use that Japanese "sumi" ink he's talking about, which is neat to know because most of the other pros I've read about lately just use one of the two main local-ish brands, Speedball or Higgins--I haven't tried Higgins but I have tried Speedball, and it was kind of brownish actually and not nearly as black as the Japanese stuff that comes in those green bottles.
 
He's right about using your fingers, too; in fact, I have a way easier time working with that thick white ink if I can mush it around with my finger--I did a bunch of that in yesterday's page, for instance. And I like how another ink artist I've mentioned before, Sean Murphy, uses his fingerprints in black ink for texture and shading; if you zoom in on the torso of his Batman, for instance, you'll see the grays there are actually fingerprints.
 
Of course, there was a certain Frazetta fellow who also wasn't bad at ink wash; his tend to be very subtle, often just shading off from black ink so you almost don't even notice it consciously, but it really gives the lines a sense of depth and mystery.
 
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I took a bite of an apple today and it came out like this:
 
Image
 
A good sign, I think! <3 and Happy New Year, everyone--see you with lots more A* and bloggetry (which I can't seem to stop doing, even when I try =p) in 2012!
 
 
 
 
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